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GolfWRX Morning 9: Stats of the year | Tiger Woods is rich…but David Copperfield is richer

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

December 19, 2018

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. The stats the shaped golf in 2018
Golf Channel’s Justin Ray looks at 2018 through the lens of key stats.
A few…
  • FINAU SO CLOSE, SO OFTEN…“By virtually every measure, it was a landmark year for Tony Finau. He had top-10 finishes in each of the first three majors. His eleven top-10s in the 2017-18 PGA Tour season trailed only Dustin Johnson.  And in December, he moved into the top-10 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career.”
  • “Yet, Finau finds himself with just one PGA Tour win so far. Over the last three seasons, Finau has 20 top-10 finishes – twice as many as any player without a victory in that span. Tony can find solace in his bank account – his $5.62 million in official earning last season are the second-most in PGA Tour history by a player without a victory.”
  • WEBB SIMPSON WINS THE PLAYERS…”The Players is one of the least predictable tournaments in golf. There has never been a back-to-back winner, no player has ever won the event at TPC Sawgrass more than twice, and the world ranking of the last five winners has run the numerical gamut (61, 13, 1, 75. 41).”
  • “So it’s not that Webb Simpson won that’s shocking, but how he did it. In the 2015-16 season, only eight players had a worse strokes-gained putting average per round than Simpson. That translated to 84th in the FedExCup standings that year, despite being fifth on Tour in strokes-gained approach.”
2. A Tiger on the rich list
ESPN report on TW’s position on the just-relased Forbes list of richest celebrities…”Tiger Woods ranked in a tie with author James Patterson for ninth at $800 million, which positions himself in the years ahead to have a go at adding “billionaire” to descriptions of him.”
  • “Lest he get too cocky, Michael Jordan is worth more than twice as much, at $1.7 billion, fourth on the list…Just ahead of Tiger is Diddy at $825 million, while Kylie Jenner, the wunderkind who is the sole owner of Kylie Cosmetics, is No. 5 at $900 million. George Lucas is a runaway No. 1 at $5.4 billion.”
  • “Last year, Woods was ranked eighth at $750 million. Woods’ improbable comeback from injuries, capped by a victory in the Tour Championship, already has paid dividends to his bottom line in 2018 and is likely to continue doing so into the future. Last month, it was announced that Woods has signed a multi-year deal with Discovery Inc. to provide content on its streaming video platform, GOLFTV.”
3. Cheers, Kyle Thompson, others
AP Report on a trip Kyle Thompson and other pros took to visit the tropps.
  • “Thompson joined David Hearn of Canada, Kris Blanks Shaun Micheel and Billy Hurley III, a surface warfare officer in the Navy and the only player from a service academy to win on the PGA Tour.”
  • “They met with the troops at Camp Lemonnier, a forward deployed military base in a country on the Gulf of Aden that shares a border with Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. They saw the operations, gave a golf clinic and individual lessons to anyone who wanted them and even had a trivia night. It was part of the tour’s “Birdies for the Brave” program. This trip was mainly about boosting morale and showing support.”
  • “Not one person was unimpressive,” Thompson said. “The coolest thing was a lot of these guys were in the reserves. The commanding officer works for Dell. The No. 2 guy works at Booz Allen. And they’ve been stationed over there for a year.”
4. Jason Day ready to make another No. 1 push
AP column…”There has to be some kind of sacrifice,” Day said in the Bahamas before shutting it down for the year. “I was reading the Kobe Bryant book, and he knew there was something he had to sacrifice, so he sacrificed sleep. Because he couldn’t sacrifice family, he couldn’t sacrifice competing, and not working.”
  • “”What can I sacrifice?” he added with a smile. “Sleep.”…Day knows the cost of being the best golfer on the planet because he already reached that summit.”
  • “He first reached No. 1 in the fall of 2015 after winning five times that year, including his first major at the PGA Championship. The following spring, he won three more tournaments in a span of six starts, capped by a wire-to-wire victory in The Players Championship that gave him the highest points average in the world ranking since Tiger Woods. He stayed No. 1 for 47 weeks and looked to be the dominant player he always wanted to be.”
5. Emerald Isle, Pt 3
A bit of our Gianni Magliocco’s latest exploration of Ireland.
  • “In Part Two of our Exploring Ireland Series, we focused on the north-west of the island, taking the trip to County Donegal and showcasing the Old Tom Morris Links. Now it’s time for Part Three, and we’re staying along the “Wild Atlantic Way,” and heading down along the coast and into County Clare.”
  • “Clare is easily one of the top destinations in Ireland. The county is home to some of the best scenery in the country, with one particular natural wonder drawing well over a million visitors each year. Along with its incredible sights, the county is of course home to some of the top golf courses on the island and is a contender for the best destination in Ireland for traditional music, with a multitude of bars hosting live music sessions each night of the week.”
  • “While Trump Doonbeg and the host of next year’s Irish Open, Lahinch Golf Club, often grab all of the headlines for courses in Clare, they aren’t the only options. Diverting away from those well-known spots, my recommendation for a day out on the links in this area is at Spanish Point Golf Club.”
  • “Spanish Point is a real hidden gem out west. The track is a nine-hole course that took the title this year for “Best 9 Hole Course in Munster.” The course opened in 1896, and sits right on top of the Spanish Point beach, offering spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.”
6. Nicklaus, Norman & more on driving
At last week’s PNC Father/Son, Andrew Tursky talked to Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, and others about driving the golf ball’
“Q: In your opinion, you can include yourself, who are the top 3 greatest drivers of the golf ball of all time?”
  • “NICKLAUS: Norman’s gotta be (up there). Norman was a really good driver. He drove the ball very long and very straight. Norman was a really good driver of the golf ball. Norman was good. I mean Hogan was really good. Snead was really good. And I didn’t see Byron play that much but I’m sure Byron was really good. I mean Irwin was a really good driver of the golf ball. I think I was a good driver. I think if you take length and accuracy I was probably close to the top of the list every year. Not that they kept stats back then. Wieskopf was a really good driver of the golf ball. Actually Johhny Miller was a really good driver of the golf ball. I’ve given you more than three.”
  • “Arnold became a good driver of the golf ball after he stopped winning majors. Arnold drove it all over the place when he was young, and he won from there. A bit like Tiger. Tiger drove it all over the place and still won. And once Arnold actually stopped winning he became a really good driver. I mean really good.”
  • “Today’s game, you know, I don’t really know who’s a good driver today. I can’t tell because they hit it so far, and I don’t think they pay much attention to accuracy.
  • “Because I think the best drivers are the guys that hit it the longest and the straightest; the combination of the two. And when they need to. And a lot of times it’s either a 2-iron or a 1-iron or a 4-wood is a drive too. It’s being smart with what club you play off the tee. Because that’s part of it, that’s still driving. Not just hitting with a driver.”
7. Ain’t what they used to be!
Geoff Shackelford referencing the Powers article that leads this newsletter.
  • “Tiger’s 4.57 scoring average on par-5s stands out. “
  • “Powers writes…The number matches the worst mark in Woods’ career; in 2013 he also had a 4.57 average. However that year it was good enough to tie him for fourth on tour. This year, that mark tied him for 24th, by far the worst standing of his career in the category. Prior to this season, Woods had never finished worse than T-6 for a season in par-5 scoring average.”
  • “While it may stand out to Tiger as something to consider, the notion that the same number this year was only good for 24th compared to 4th just five years ago is yet another remind kids to do your Wall Planks!”

Full piece.

8. Wearing golf clothes off the golf course. Yay or nay?
A few of the gents from National Club Golfer discuss the wearing of golf clothes off the course.
  • “Alex: Most golf clothes aren’t acceptable on the course, let alone off it. I’m talking to you, man in your 50s wearing the orange Puma outfit that even Rickie Fowler has grown out of.”
  • “Steve: Under orders to root through the wardrobe, I discovered something my wife later said was quite disturbing about my character: I wear golf clothes EVERY day. Now I’m not turning up at the gym in a pair of freshly pressed trousers or going out to the shops in a set of spikes, but at a conservative estimate I probably own about 50 golf polo shirts and not a morning goes by where I’m not sliding one over my head.”
  • “Alex: Everyone in this conversation is a dad, so I know that, like me, all of you opt for comfort over style each morning. And more often than not, your golf clothes are the most comfortable you own.”
  • “Mark: It is unacceptable and I’m as guilty as most of looking like a failed assistant pro quite often. A decent/fashionable/inoffensive pair of spikeless shoes and possibly an unobtrusive zip top are just about OK, a pair of bad trousers – with even worse piping – is horrific.”
9. FCC complaints alive and well!
Geoff Shackelford hat tipping Josh Berhow…”Nice work by Golf.com’s Josh Berhow to obtain the uptick in FCC complaints over 2018 on-course obscenities. Instagram subscribers to Bob Menery, these are not.”
  • “Interestingly it was not Tiger or Justin Thomas but the gentle Xander Schauffele who earned the most complaints for his Open Championship swearing.”
  • “On SUNDAY, my family was treated to a golfer saying the word ‘s-‘  during The Open on NBC Golf,” wrote the viewer from Paradise Valley,  Ariz. “Don’t they have a delay to cut that sound out? Seriously, a Sunday morning shouldn’t have programming with indecent language.”
Fiddlesticks! Full piece.

 

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Peter

    Dec 19, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    Ripper Maggos!

  2. A. Commoner

    Dec 19, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Public blasts of vulgar language reveal gaps and flaws in a person’s developmental history (psychological maturation). But, this type behavior is easily overcome. Anger is a poor alibi; get control of yourself and act civilized.

    • Jamie

      Dec 19, 2018 at 6:18 pm

      Which differs from a banker, lawyer, or politician in a $5K suit who will lie, cheat, steal, and kill all with a nice smile and a PC vocabulary how? Get over your delicate self.

      • A. Commoner

        Dec 19, 2018 at 7:48 pm

        How was any group or individual ruled out of opinion? (Decency may be a foreign concept to some.)

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Tour News

GolfWRX visits with Ryan Palmer

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The 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial is upon us. I got the chance to sit down with three-time PGA Tour winner and Colonial Country Club member Ryan Palmer ahead of his opening round at the PGA Tour’s stop in Fort Worth, Texas. We discussed why he loves Colonial, how it felt to win on tour again, his friendship with Jon Rahm, the Ryan Palmer Foundation, and why he chooses not to have a club equipment sponsorship.

(GolfWRX spoke with the actual, not the cardboard, Ryan Palmer)

JN: Do you have a home field advantage here at Colonial?

RP: To a point, I guess. Obviously, I have played this golf course in every type of wind. I mean, I know certain holes play shorter than they are. So, a little bit of an advantage because I don’t put much stress into the golf course itself. I just know it. And of course, James, my caddie, knows it. And that is nice. But I do put more pressure on myself because I want to play well here

JN: Why did you decide to join Colonial as a full golfing member?

RP: The history of it. To me, it’s one of the most prestigious clubs…if not the most prestigious club…in Dallas/Fort Worth. History of the golf course, history of the tournament. The more and more I played it…playing in the tournament for 16 years now…the guys that play in the ‘big game’ took me in and they’ve thrown a few parties for James and me after we won a few times. I thought the best way to give back then is to join and become a full member.

JN: How often do you play out here?

RP: If I am home for a week, I play at least twice a week. Just to play in the big game. If I am home and playing golf, I am playing here.

JN: Tell me about the Ryan Palmer Foundation

RP: I started it in ’03 in Amarillo with my dad and my good friend Billy Slaughter. We do a lot of different things but our biggest thing now is our brighter smiles initiative through dentistry. My wife Jennifer is a dentist. And our good friend Chris Swayden with Smile Workshop here in DFW does a lot of our work here and then Kyle Sparkman in Amarillo, Texas does all our dental work out there. The biggest thing was just bringing in kids to boost their self-esteem, give them a better way of life. A lot of their families don’t have the means and the funds to provide dental care. It’s an easy decision to help these kids and give these kids a sense of confidence. I have read stories about kids wearing hoodies to school because of their teeth. That’s pretty sad. I have always been about giving back and having an immediate impact. So what better way than to provide dental care.

JN: How big was that win at the Zurich in New Orleans for you?

RP: It was unbelievable. Nine years since our last win. But to have Jennifer, my wife, there and our son Mason, 12 years old, was there. He was there in ’08 when I won. But he was a year and half so he had no clue. In 2010, they weren’t there. But to have them there and have him finally see it. Mason always asks “Dad, are you going to get a trophy?” So to have him there to finally witness it…that was special.

JN: How did the partnership with Jon Rahm come about?

RP: We met in ’15 at the Phoenix Open. I knew Jordan wasn’t playing this year at Zurich. Jon and I had played some rounds together. He played in my charity event last year. So, I knew Jon a little bit and I know his caddie, Adam Hayes real well. We’ve known him since we have been on tour, James and I. And so, I talked to James about players we should want to play with and Jon was one of the top ones. So, I texted Adam and mentioned the idea to Jon and he loved it. Jon and my games are pretty similar as far as ball striking. So I shot Jon a text and he accepted.

AVONDALE, LA – APRIL 28: Ryan Palmer and Jon Rahm fist bump on the fourth hole during the final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on April 28, 2019 in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

JN: Are you going to play together again next year?

RP: It would be hard not to play together again next year. I will have to run it by Jordan….no I’m kidding. Jordan was happy for me and excited. He gets it. As long as Jon wants to play, we will go try to defend.

JN: What are your thoughts on not having a full bag club sponsorship?

RP: It is just a matter of playing with what I like. When I first got on tour, you would sign a full deal and it was pretty good. Now you are signing for balls and all 14 clubs. I love the Taylor Made driver but they cut out the driver only deals. They went just full line. Fortunately, with the help of Mike Chisholm and Chisholm Sports, I have some great corporate partners. United Rentals, a great deal with Unisys, RBC. I am able to have these corporate sponsors allow me to play what I want. I made some comments like ‘two hundred grand is not worth an equipment contract on tour because of what you can make that week.’

So, I got ribbed a little bit for making that comment but honestly it is not worth it in today’s game. We play for so much money now each and every week that by the time you get a $200,000 deal, you’re paying taxes and management, at the end of the day its worth a top 20-finish. And then you have to play those clubs all year long, whether you like them or not. So now I can play whatever putter or iron or driver I want. I am only under contract with ball, shoes and gloves. Footjoy and Titleist. I test and I tinker now and then but I always go back to what I have performed with in the past. I stand over a tee shot and I think, I know I hit this driver this way at this tournament at this particular moment. Why would I change?

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Morning 9: U.S. Open qualifiers | USGA x Marvel? | Tiger miniseries?

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Owing to technical difficulties, please enjoy this very low-tech (let’s call it “minimalist”) version of the M9

1. Weir, and other U.S. Open qualifiers

AP Report…”Former Masters champion Mike Weir is headed back to the U.S. Open for the first time in six years as one of 10 players who advanced Monday from the first of 12 sectional qualifiers.”

  • “Brendon Todd continued his resurgence with rounds of 65-66 at Northwood Club and Bent Tree to share medalist honors with Nick Taylor of Canada.”
  • “Weir opened with a 69 at Northwood and secured his spot with a 67 at Bent Tree to avoid extra holes.”

Full piece

More on yesterday’s qualifying in Dallas from the USGA’s David Shefter…

  • “Todd, a former University of Georgia All-America honoree, shot 10-under-par 131 at The Northwood Club and Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas, Texas, on Monday to share medalist honors with Nick Taylor in the first of 12 U.S. Open sectional qualifiers. Ten players advanced from a strong field of 102 players that included several PGA Tour and Web.com Tour competitors.”
  • “The 36-hole sectional qualifier in Japan is scheduled for May 27, while the remaining 10 qualifiers are set for June 3 – eight in the United States, one in England and another in Canada.”
  • “I’m pumped,” said Todd, who owns one PGA Tour and three Web.com Tour victories since turning professional in 2007. “This was on my list for about a year to try and qualify for Pebble. It’s one of my favorite courses in the world. I just can’t wait to get out there and play Pebble in a U.S. Open setup. I think it will set up good for me. I think it will be firm [and] I drive it straight. It’s a course-management golf course. You’ve got to put it in the fairway, keep it under the hole and score well.”

Full piece.

Full results here.

2. Fassi!

The AP’s Doug Ferguson on Maria Fassi (ANWA runner up) capturing the NCAA individual title handily…

  • “Fassi, with her high energy and a powerful swing, delivered a bogey-free round of 68 to win the NCAA individual title by four shots. She is the first woman from Arkansas to win the NCAA title since Stacy Lewis in 2007.”
  • And from Fassi…”After a pretty perfect year that my junior year was … and then heading to nationals and playing pretty bad golf was not fun,” Fassi told Golf Channel. “It was a feeling that I never wanted to feel again. I think I just grew from that. I don’t like feeling that way, I don’t like finishing second. I think those are things that fuel me. They make me wake up early, go work out and stay here to dark practicing. I think those are the things that have helped me this year.”
  • “I think not winning at Augusta was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I can say that now that I have reflected. I know that not winning was probably what needed to happen because I knew I was going to learn a lot more from coming in second versus pulling that one off. Of course I hate losing, but coming here I knew what I was going to be put up against.”

Full piece.

3. Who’s missing?

Begging the question… was it worth it?

Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”The list of players who turned pro midseason this year was particularly long thanks in large part to changes the LPGA made to its qualifying process…The Man Out Front got to wondering – where are they now?”

A few of the departed…

  • “Robyn Choi, Colorado – Missed three cuts so far on the LPGA this season and one on the Ladies European Tour. Ranks 66th on the Symetra Tour money list with $4,381 after making four of five cuts.”
  • “Kristen Gillman, Alabama – Ranks 33rd on the LPGA money list at $156,459, getting a huge boost from a T-6 at the ANA Inspiration. (That’s the week she likely would’ve been playing at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.) Not only has her card locked up for 2020, the Solheim Cup is not out of the question.”
  • “Lauren Stephenson, Alabama – Started 2019 rookie year with a T-8 at the Vic Open. Ranks 75th on the money list with $55,673 in seven starts.”

Full piece.

4. Back to the Black

Geoff Shackelford’s thoughts on adjustments to Bethpage ahead of the Ryder Cup’s turn at the venue (plenty of time!)

  • “…Not much needs to be done at Bethpage Black for the 2024 Ryder Cup…Take down the rough cut for the bomb-and-gouge loving American team, more concession stands and way more grandstand seating…”
  • “The most complicated of all involves the oft-discussed, widely loathed par-4 18th hole…Tweaks were made this time around, more bunkers added to the already excessively-trapped, straightaway mess and a dreadful finishing hole remained so. The last time a major was played at Bethpage, the USGA tried to improve 18 by moving up tees and that just led to the regrettable sight of 6-iron lay ups and a sense that the hole was no better.”
  • “In the past, consideration was given to creating a hybrid hole utilizing the righthand bunker complex, the first fairway on the Red, and the current 18th green. Many others have advocated that players be asked to take a walk from the par-3 17th to the Red Course’s 18th tee.”

Full piece.

5. Hovland wins Ben Hogan Award

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Viktor Hovland received the Ben Hogan Award at Colonial C.C. on Monday night.”

  • “The Oklahoma State junior beat Cowboys teammate Matthew Wolff and California’s Collin Morikawa for the prize, which is given to the nation’s best collegiate golfer. (The award used to be primarily academic based, but its criteria changed in 2002.) Though Wolff has received more media attention, the honor encapsulates all amateur competitions, which made Hovland the easy choice.”
  • “The 21-year-old out of Norway is currently No. 1 in the world amateur rankings, a standing spurred by winning the 2018 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach. That victory earned an invite to Augusta National this past spring, where Hovland finished as the Masters Low Am. He also captured three collegiate events this season, and finished second at last year’s European Am.”

Full piece.

6. USGA x Marvel

A real thing that is actually happening…

  • Via Golfweek staff…”The USGA announced Tuesday it has partnered with the Marvel Universe for a comic book using some of the Marvel Super Heroes teaching kids the basics of playing golf.”
  • “The books will be available prior to the U.S. Open online. Limited-edition Marvel-themed golf posters will be distributed at the Junior Experience on June 9 at Pebble Beach.”
  • “The story follows Tony Stark (Iron Man) and other Avengers as they teach the next generation of Marvel Super Heroes about golf.”

Full piece.

7. The big win that wasn’t

Golf Digest’s Stephen Hennessey…

  • “It turns out, there was another huge payday on the line at Bethpage Black on Friday of the PGA Championship, just not one that would’ve been on anyone’s radars.”
  • “The Vegas Sports Information Network reported on the very bold “make-the-cut” parlay for the PGA Championship placed by Icelandic gambler Spencer McIlmoyle. For the casual reader, a parlay is a wager with multiple bets included, and it only pays out if every bet wins. McIlmoyle’s bet was a $3,448 10-leg parlay on seven golfers to make the cut and three golfers to miss the cut. The potential payday? $155,000.”
  • “Amazingly, McIlmoyle nailed nine of the 10 golfers’ outcomes, correctly predicting Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Maytsuyama, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau and Webb Simpson all to make the cut, and Jason Dufner and Branden Grace to miss the cut. It all came down to Shane Lowry to miss the cut, and a birdie by Lowry on his second-to-last hole of his second round moved Lowry inside the cut line, costing the gambler the six-figure payday.”

Full piece.

8. JT to return from wrist injury at Memorial

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…

“It appears Justin Thomas’ injury sabbatical is coming to an end.”

  • “Thomas, who dropped out of the PGA Championship last Monday and the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks before that due to an ailing wrist, has committed to next week’s Memorial. The tournament announced Thomas’ participation on Tuesday morning.”
  • “The 26-year-old, who dealt with a similar issue at the end of last season, hurt his wrist at the Honda Classic after hitting a tree with his club in March. In 11 starts this season, Thomas boasts five top 10s, highlighted by a runner-up at the Genesis Open. His last event was at the 2019 Masters, where he finished T-12.”

Full piece.

9. Tiger miniseries?

Report via Tim Baysinger at The Wrap

  • “A scripted miniseries on Tiger Woods, based on Jeff Benedict’s book about pro golfer is in development at Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse Entertainment.”
  • “Benedict reached a deal with Montgomery to set up a joint venture at WHE, with “Tiger Woods” as the first project that Benedict and Wheelhouse will take to market. The book, which Benedict co-authored with “60 Minutes” correspondent Armen Keteyian, was published last year and became a New York Times bestseller.”

Full piece. 

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from Monday’s U.S. Open sectional qualifier at Northwood Club

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GolfWRX had feet on the ground at Northwood Club in Dallas, Texas for this Monday’s U.S. Open sectional qualifying. We have seven galleries in our forums filled to the brim with photos from Monday’s action, and here are ten interesting selections for you to enjoy.

“Talk to me Goose.” And presumably, “I feel the need for speed.” Top Gun all the way!

Jim Nous’ bag full of Ping clubs features three visible wedges all with different bounce.

Blaine Hale rocking this great looking TaylorMade Spider headcover.

Shorts on the course –  a rarity.

Conner Koberg showing off his colors with this Iowa State headcover.

Julius Boros won the 1952 U.S. Open at Northwood Club. One of his three major triumphs. How about that bag?

Stephen Jaeger played collegiate golf at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, but he’s quite clearly proud of his homeland too.

Noah Goodwin is another player who loves the raw finish on the Callaway Apex MB irons.

Up close with the Titleist 718 T-MB utility iron

.

A glance at Northwood Club itself.

Check out all of Monday’s photos on our forums.

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