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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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Phil phires a 60 | Lowry leads in Abu Dhabi | Bernhard the bricklayer’s son

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

January 18, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1.  Desert Classic
A “rusty” Mickelson leads with nothing less than a 12-under 60…
Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”If this is his idea of rusty, it could be another special year for Phil Mickelson…Before heading out to begin his 28th year on the PGA Tour, Lefty alerted his 250,000-plus Twitter followers that he was “excited” and “fresh” and “ready to get started,” but also, um, “rusty,” which is a golfer’s subtle way of suggesting that expectations should be lowered. Mickelson even told his playing partner, Aaron Wise, the reigning Rookie of the Year, as much before the round: “I’m rusty, so don’t expect much.”
  • “But Mickelson has been doing the improbable for nearly three decades now, and so maybe it shouldn’t have been such a complete surprise that in his first round of 2019, at 48 years of age, with no expectations, he carded his lowest score in relation to par in his long and decorated Tour career – a 12-under 60, to take the lead Thursday at the Desert Classic.”
  • “It was kind of a lucky day in the sense that I did not feel sharp heading in,” Mickelson said afterward. “Sometimes it’s just one of those days when it clicks.”
2. Meanwhile, on the LPGA Tour…
AP Report…”Nearly three months after Lewis became a mother, and six months after she last played on tour, she opened with seven birdies on Thursday for a 5-under 66 that left her one shot behind Brooke Henderson and Eun-Hee Ji at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.”
  • ”Pleasantly surprised,” Lewis said. ”Had pretty low expectations going into the day. Just really made a lot of putts. I had some weird shots, which I knew was going to happen having not played in a while. I don’t know where it came from, but I’m going to take it.”
  • “Henderson overcame a slow start with a bogey on the second hole and a par save on No. 3 at the Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons. She birdied five of her last eight holes for a 65 to tie Ji, who had a bogey-free round.”
  • “The tournament – the first season-opener in Florida for the LPGA since 2015 – is only for LPGA winners each of the last two years.”
3. European Tour
A report from The National...”Shane Lowry has a three-shot advantage to take into Saturday’s final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA.”
  • “A birdie at the 18th gave him a round of 67 to leave him on -17, three ahead of South African Richard Sterne.”
  • “An eagle on the final hole from Ian Poulter lifted the Englishman to -12 and gives him hope he can prevail on Saturday.”
  • “Pablo Larrazabal will start the final round on -11 ahead of a quartet of Maximilian Kiefer, Thomas Pieters, Soren Kjeldsen and Scott Jamieson.”
4. The bricklayer’s son
Bernhard Langer’s “My Shot” runs in Golf Digest this month.
A few morsels…
  • “My father built our house. When I was a boy, he would call on me to help him lay bricks. I would shovel the material for the mortar into a small mixing machine, then join him in laying the bricks, setting them carefully, one by one, using string to make sure everything was straight. I consider it a miracle to have come this far.”
  • “WE CADDIES were given four hand-me-down clubs to share. There was a 2-wood, 3-iron and 7-iron, all with bamboo shafts, and a putter with a shaft bent like an archer’s bow. By the time I was 12, I saved enough money to buy a new set of Kroydon irons. They weren’t top of the line, but they were shiny, new and all mine. I added a Blue Goose model putter that had a small indentation in the head. It was a magical putter, and I quickly became the best putter at the course, Golfclub Augsburg, and possibly all of Germany. One day the putter went missing. I frantically went through the members’ bags, and sure enough, found my Blue Goose with the indentation. But I was in a terrible situation. I couldn’t confront the member-he surely would deny everything, and I would be fired. So I kept it to myself. I never did get the Blue Goose back. I’ve spent the past 50 years looking for a putter that suits me as well.”
5. Latin American Am
AP Report…“Alvaro Ortiz of Mexico had an ideal start Thursday in hopes of turning his fortunes in the Latin American Amateur Championship, opening with a 6-under 66 to build a three-shot lead after the opening round.”
  • “Ortiz has been runner-up in the Latin American Amateur the last two years. He finished five shots behind Joaquin Niemann of Chile last year, and he lost in a three-man playoff to Toto Gana the previous year.”
  • “The winner earns a spot in the Masters in April, and is exempt into the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open and British Open.”
6. Pins in at Augusta National? Maybe…
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta…”Will players really be allowed to putt with the pins in during at the Masters?”
  • “Asked that question Thursday at the Latin America Amateur Championship, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley didn’t say no.”
  • “Under the new Rules of Golf, which went into effect on Jan. 1, players are now allowed to leave the flagstick in while on the greens, as Bryson DeChambeau so eagerly demonstrated.”
  • “Addressing the possibility of Augusta National going against the Rules of Golf during Masters week, Ridley first thanked the USGA’s Mike Davis and R&A’s Martin Slumbers for their work, then preached a message of “consistency” at the game’s highest levels.”
  • “We will, as we always do, collaborate with the governing bodies. We will talk about those local rules and conditions that will be implemented,” Ridley said.”
  • “We think it’s important that there be some consistency in top championship golf, and so you should expect that the Masters Tournament, from a rules perspective, will look very much, if not the same, as what you’re seeing in the major championships and the professional tours.”
7. The weirdest lies in golf history
Great stuff here from Coleman Bentley rounding up some of the most absurd lies (and resultant shots) in golf history (although it’s hard to believe there’s any way his list could be comprehensive, but hey, headlines, and you have to admire the effort)
  • “Golf is a game of minutely controlled chaos. Atoms crashing into atoms. Weight swooping into inertia. A ballet of bounces, spins, kicks, and ricochets that goes wrong just as often as it goes right. The beauty of a such an unpredictable game-one of inches, not yards-however, is that when it goes right it’s spectacular and when it goes wrong, well, it’s equally spectacular. Beg to differ? Well, keep on begging, because as the weirdest, wildest lies in golf’s weird, wild history prove, chaos is a beautiful thing indeed.”
  • “Shane Lowry – 2018 Abu Dhabi Championship…Before Shane Lowry could tie the course record at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Championship, he first had to conquer Trash Heap Corner. P.S. If no one’s taking that couch, we might know a guy who’s interested.”
  • “Phil Mickelson – 2014 Barclays Championship…The Leave: Just to the left of Big Jeff’s Hotdog Haus. One day Phil Mickelson will save par from the surface of the moon. We’re sure of it. Until then, his walkabout at the 2014 Barclays Championship will have to suffice.”
8. Kang & McNealy
A couple of Las Vegas-based golf pros are a couple!
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell...”Danielle Kang watched Maverick McNealy with special interest when he was mic’d up on Golf Channel’s telecast of the Web.com Tour event in the Bahamas earlier this week.”
  • “They are dating.”
  • “Kang wasn’t sure whether to reveal McNealy is her boyfriend, but she couldn’t help herself.”
  • “He’s a dork,” she cracked when asked to review his running dialogue on Golf Channel. “But he’s my dork.”
  • “She was applying the Kang needle. Both she and McNealy live in Las Vegas. She said they met at a golf course there, The Summit Club.”
  • “He’s a sweetheart,” Kang said. “I have so much respect for him and vice versa.”
  • Aww!
9. Back in black!
Titleist 718 AP2 Black and AP3 Black released in limited quantities. Previously only available in a traditional chrome finish, the new Titleist 718 AP2 Black and Titleist 718 AP3 Black irons are finished with a sleek, high polish black PVD coating. The irons feature True Temper AMT Onyx shafts stock.
  • Titleist has unveiled new 718 AP2 Black and 718 AP3 Black irons in limited black finish that will be available to purchase from March 1.
  • Previously only available in a traditional chrome finish, the new Titleist 718 AP2 Black and Titleist 718 AP3 Black irons are finished with a sleek, high polish black PVD coating. The irons feature True Temper AMT Onyx shafts stock. The shafts’ powder coat matte black finish aims to minimize glare (in addition to looking cool). An all-black Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 grip is standard as well.
  • Speaking on the move to release the irons in black, Josh Talge, Vice President, Golf Club Marketing said
  • “One request we heard from both tour players and amateurs, particularly those who have gravitated toward our Jet Black Vokey SM7 wedges, was if they could have these same irons in a darker finish. Our team spent a lot of time making sure the aesthetics were done just right. It’s a look that you just have to see.”
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Brooks Koepka with Mizuno JPX 919 irons, TaylorMade M5 driver in the bag at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

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Brooks-Koepka-Mizuno-JPX919

Brooks Koepka is in action this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship equipped with a new driver and set of irons.

Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall broke the news, via Twitter, that Kopeka has TaylorMade’s new M5 Driver in his bag this week, as well as Mizuno’s JPX 919 Tour Irons.

The three-time major champ used TaylorMade’s M3 460 Driver and Mizuno’s JPX 900 Tour irons throughout 2018, and it appears as if Koepka is happy to make the transition to both manufacturers latest additions of those series of clubs right from the get-go in 2019.

Brooks-Koepka-Mizuno-JPX-919

Koepka is currently T13 after two rounds of play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and sits five shots off the lead.

 

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European Tour members have heated exchange over cheating incident…from 2013

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Social media appears to have become the new playground for golfers to air their issues with each other, and this week it was the turn of two European Tour members.

The two men involved were Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and England’s Simon Dyson, and the subject of the feud revolves around a new change in the rulebook of golf. As of 2019, players are allowed to repair spike marks on the greens, an act which Dyson was found guilty of doing when it was prohibited back in 2013, and subsequently found himself slapped with a fine and a suspension.

Fernandez Castano kicked off the fun and games following his opening round at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. The Spaniard said how the new rule “will take some time to get used to” before adding the punchline  “Unless you are Simon Dyson and you have been doing it for years.”

The bad blood between Fernandez-Castano and Dyson appears to be fully down to Dyson’s misdemeanour in 2013, as one year later on Twitter when the Spaniard was asked for his opinion on Dyson; he bluntly replied: “Used to like him, not anymore”.

Asked why he hadn’t tagged Dyson in his tweet yesterday, the Spaniard claimed that the Englishman had blocked him, before Dyson took to the stage, with a different rationale. In a since-deleted tweet, Dyson stated that Fernandez-Castano didn’t have the cojones (or something similar) and stated that the Spaniard is a “sad little man”.

After getting that off his chest, Dyson approached the incident differently, saying that he, unlike Fernandez-Caetano supposedly, had moved on from the affair which occurred six years ago.

Nothing quite like a good old confrontation on social media with a peer to begin your professional year, eh?

 

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