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GolfWRX Morning 9: “Major” moments of 2018 | A death at Barry Burn? | Remembering John Harbottle

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

December 18, 2018

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans. One week until Christmas, so if you haven’t posted your letters to the North Pole, you’d better get ’em in the mail.
1. Best major moments of 2018
Golf Channel staff assembled the best moments from the majors in 2018.
Here are a few…
  • Reed…”Patrick Reed broke through to win his first major championship at the Masters, and he outlasted some pretty big names in the final round to do it. Jordan Spieth (64), Rickie Fowler (67) and Jon Rahm (65) made Sunday runs, but Reed’s clutch birdie on No. 14 and four pars to close out his final-round 71 turned out to be enough to slip on the coveted green jacket. “
  • Ariya…”Ariya Jutanugarn started Sunday of the U.S. Women’s Open with a four-shot lead and looked like she might run away with the title after stretching the margin to seven on the opening nine holes. But a triple bogey on No. 10 rocked her confidence and back-to-back bogeys to close out her final-round 73 dropped her into a playoff with Hyo-Joo Kim. But Jutanugarn’s collapse came with a happy ending, as she hit a near-perfect bunker shot to clinch her second major title on the fourth playoff hole. Jutanugarn would go on to win the season-long Race to the CME Globe and $1,000,000 bonus, the LPGA Player of the Year award and the LPGA Vare Trophy.”
  • U.S. Open setup issues…”In what has become a familiar scene at the U.S. Open, one of the major storylines became the USGA’s course setup, particularly during Saturday’s third round. Several players voiced concerns about the sunbaked Shinnecock Hills greens, even mild-mannered Zach Johnson, who said “They’ve lost the golf course.” The USGA’s miscalculation made world-class players look like amateurs and they seemed to realize it … eventually. In an attempt to rectify the situation, grounds crews slowed the course down with unscheduled watering on Saturday night.”
2. A death at Barry Burn?
Jason Lusk at Golfweek with a wild, grim story…”A Scottish police officer was found dead in Barry Burn near Carnoustie Golf Links on Sunday, with tributes pouring in for the officer but no explanation as of yet as to how the man ended up in the water.”
  • “PC Dean Morrison, 40, of Police Scotland’s Tayside Division, was found around 12:40 p.m. local time near the famed golf course, according to multiple reports including from the BBC and the Daily Telegraph. Morrison had been an officer for 16 years.”
  • “Police are searching for a taxi driver who may have dropped off Morrison near the hotel the night before, but officials said there appear to be no suspicious circumstances. It took three hours for officials to recover Morrison’s body from the burn near the beach.”
  • “Dean was a highly respected officer, who was extremely well liked and popular with his colleagues. He was thoroughly professional in his work,” said Chief Superintendent Andrew Todd, Divisional Commander for Tayside Division, as reported by multiple news outlets. “His death is a great tragedy and he will be sadly missed by all who knew him and we will do all we can to support them during this distressing time.”
3. Double the Live
PGA Tour Live, now folded into NBC Sports Gold, will roll out 2x as much coverage in 2019.
  • Press release...”The PGA TOUR and NBC Sports Group announced that PGA TOUR LIVE, the PGA TOUR’s direct-to-consumer subscription video service that live streams extensive Featured Groups coverage of the best golfers in the world, has been enhanced and is now available for purchase in the United States on NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports Group’s direct-to-consumer live streaming product. PGA TOUR LIVE season passes are on sale now for an early-bird price of $49.99, available through the Desert Classic (Jan 17-20), while a monthly pass can be purchased for $9.99. After January 20, a season pass will cost $64.99.”
  • “In 2019, PGA TOUR LIVE will present the most robust service in its history, now with four days of live coverage from 27 PGA TOUR events, new 10-minute “Speed Round” recaps for Featured Groups players, expansive VOD content, and integrated scoring and statistics. It is also available on double the number of supported platforms vs. 2018.”
4. Golf Digest sale update…or not
Keith J. Kelly at the NY Post...”A deadline is looming “right before the holidays” for bids on the three magazines that Condé Nast is selling, W, Brides and Golf Digest.”
  • “Greenhill & Co. is said to be handling the divestment, working with Janine McGrath Shelffo, a former top executive at UBS who had worked on past deals for Condé’s parent company, Advance Publications, before joining as Advance’s chief strategy and development director earlier this year.”
  • “Among her deals was the sale of the Newhouse family’s cable operations, Bright House, to Charter Communications for $10.5 billion. It’s now part of Spectrum.”
  • “That deal is one reason that the Newhouse family, which controls Advance, is not under the same pressure as the profitable but eroding Time Inc. was in recent years before ultimately selling to Meredith.”
  • “But the family is clearly getting impatient with losses after domestic Condé Nast lost $120 million last year and is still bleeding red ink this year.”
5. Remembering Harbottle
Excellent piece  from Teresa Harbottle (with Golf Digest’s Keely Levins) remembering her husband, course architect John Harbottle, who died unexpectedly at 53.
  • She begins…”If you’ve played much golf in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah or California, there’s a good chance you’ve played a golf course my husband designed or renovated. In all, John Harbottle is credited with 15 original layouts and more than 45 remodels.”
  • “John and I met in college, at the University of Washington, and I remember when he told me he wanted to be a golf-course architect, my response was, “A golf course what?” It wasn’t something you heard people say they wanted to do. John chose architecture because he loved golf so much. He was raised in the game. His mother won the 1955 U.S. Women’s Amateur and competed against Alice Dye, the wife of famed golf-course architect Pete Dye. While in college, John wrote a letter to Pete, asking how to become a course architect, and Alice wrote back telling him to get a landscape-architecture degree and to call them when he was done.”
6. Little John!
Kevin Casey of Golfweek with a bit on Little John Daly following his strong play with pops at the Father/Son Challenge.
  • “Little John Daly dresses garishly like his dad and can summon power easily like the old man. But the teenager isn’t as vocal as the two-time major winner….That’s OK, because his clubs are doing the talking.”
  • “The 15-year-old had an impressive showing with his dad, John Daly, at this year’s PNC Father/Son Challenge at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club. The duo led after the first round and finished T-2. The Dalys had finished T-9 at the event in 2016 and 2017.”
  • JD had this to say about his son’s abilities…”He’s so gifted with his hands around the greens, the way he putts,” the elder Daly said. “If you’re a great putter, you can score. Little John is a great ballstriker and great putter, so time will tell (about his potential).”
7. European Tour things we learned
EuropeanTour.com staff rounded up eight things we learned from the 2018 Euro Tour season. Here are two.
  • “Wallace’s star is on the rise…The remarkable rise of Matt Wallace shows no sign of losing pace. After raising eyebrows with five consecutive wins on the satellite Alps Tour in 2016, the Englishman won on the European Tour at the Open de Portugal at Morgado Golf Resort in May 2017. The challenge was to kick on the following season and he did that in some style.”
  • “Wallace recorded three wins in 2018 – at the Hero Indian Open, the BMW International Open and the Made in Denmark – and capped off the season with a runner-up finish at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai to move into the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking. He gave Thomas Bjørn food for thought when the Dane made his Captain’s Picks for The Ryder Cup in Paris, something unimaginable when the last edition took place across the Atlantic. The sky appears to be the limit for a player whose performances continue to impress.”
  • Molinari’s the real deal…”Francesco Molinari’s status as one of the world’s top players was already common knowledge. If any doubts lingered, they were extinguished in devastating fashion with his performances in 2018. He joined the decorated list of Rolex Series winners by winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, before becoming the Champion Golfer of the Year at Carnoustie. His Open Championship triumph made him the first Italian to win a Major Championship and he rounded the year off with the Race to Dubai crown.”
8. $500 Challenge: Mid-handicapper edition
Trey Buchanan is back with another effort to assemble a full set of clubs for under half a grand…”Last week, I posted about what clubs you can get with $500. I built a set that I would use myself to show that even golfers with particular specs can find what they want for a decent price. Overall the feedback on the post was good, but I did want to follow up since one of the commenters put me up to a challenge.”
  • Buchanan mentions a comment that suggested he wouldn’t be able to get a set of clubs with stiff, rather than extra stiff, shafts for less than $800.
  • His driver choice...”Since I was going to be building a set of a mid-handicapper, my goal was to find a driver that got solid distance, but was also forgiving. I found this R9 460 in 10.5 degrees for $65. While the paint has seen better days, this should perform exactly how we want it to. Plus it is adjustable.”
9. From fairway to bunker
Via Michael McEwan at Bunkered (appropriately)...”Storm Dierdre wreaked havoc across the country last weekend – and delivered another stark reminder of the threat that coastal erosion poses to some of the country’s top seaside courses.”
  • “Montrose Golf Links had the second fairway of its 1562 Course – the fifth oldest course in the world – blanketed by sand blown up from the beach as high winds buffeted the Angus coast.”
Photo below.
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PGA Tour to provide financial assistance to players and caddies during Coronavirus pandemic

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The PGA Tour has announced plans to compensate both players and caddies after several Tour events were cancelled due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

In a memo sent to players on Friday, it was explained that due to IRS regulations, the Tour is not allowed distribute un-earned financial benefits to members, but that the organization has developed some programs to help its players during the ongoing pandemic. Players and caddies will receive financial assistance from the PGA Tour with one of the primary programs to help players based on their current FedEx Cup standing.

Players can receive up to $100,000 in bonus earnings during this period which will subsequently be removed from their season-ending bonus after play has been restarted.

Tour pros will also be entitled to request advance payments (up to $30k) for future Monday pro-am spots and advances on future earnings, while the Tour also plans on allowing players to withdraw funds from their retirement plans based on financial need.

“Playing opportunities equate to financial opportunities, and we are concerned about the toll that canceled tournaments are having on some of our members” – Tyler Dennis, a senior vice president and the Tour’s chief of operations.

Included in the memo were caddies, who are entitled to a partial mid-season distribution of an endorsement program and who can also request financial support from the Caddie Benevolent Fund.

Play is not set to resume on the PGA Tour until May 21 at the earliest.

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GolfWRX AUA (Ask Us Anything): TaylorMade fitters are answering YOUR questions!

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With the downtime, #teamtaylormade are ready to talk golf!

Go to the link below to ask any TM specific questions you may have. TaylorMade fitters from across the US will be diving in the forums to answer questions, talk golf and get you dialed. Take this opportunity to go TM crazy.

Team TaylorMade fitters that will be participating:

  • Chris Clegg, Georgia
  • John Junkin, Pennsylvania
  • Lewis Schnauble, Maryland
  • John Tabor, Michigan
  • Freddy Villarta, California
  • Matt Zerishnek, Pennsylvania
  • James Albright, Arizona

Join the discussion here.

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Report: 2020 U.S. Open to be rescheduled due to Coronavirus pandemic

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@sport

This year’s U.S. Open will not go ahead as planned in June and will be rescheduled for a later date, according to a report from the New York Post.

Per the report, the plan is for the tournament to be played “later in the summer”, with the location of the event remaining at Winged Foot Golf Club.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Winged Foot Golf Club would be closing its doors indefinitely. The news came after New York governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order telling non-essential businesses to suspend trading immediately due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. 

The New York area currently has 37,200 confirmed cases of Coronavirus as of Thursday 26 March.

Both The Masters and the PGA Championship have already been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic with plans in place to play both majors at a later date.

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