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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

Keegan Bradley Puts Srixon Z-Forged Blades in the bag

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This week at the BMW Championship, Srixon staff member Keegan Bradley switched irons from the cult classic Z745 to the company’s current Z-Forged blade irons.

For most players, an iron change is not something you would do during the playoffs, but when talking to the team at Srixon, Keegan had been trying to replace his set for a little while. The Z745s were getting on in years and with recent swing changes, he was also looking for more consistent numbers and distance control. That’s an impressive request from one of the top-50 ballstrikers on tour

Let’s take a quick look at his stats

  • 12th in Proximity to Hole with an average distance of 34.2″
  • 16th in Strokes Gained Approach with .642
  • 38th in Greens in Regulation at 68.45%

His new Z-Forged Iron setup is 4-PW with Nippon Tour 120 X shafts.

Although Keegan started the BMW Championship in 66th place in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, he still has a chance of making it to the Tour Championship with a solid weekend in Chicago.

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Senior golf: Practical suggestions for lowering your scores

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This is the second article is our senior series. I was away for a while, so let’s get back to helping you seniors! If you missed the first article, take a look.

I live just a few yards from the green of a par 3, and it never ceases to amaze me the number of times I see two shots turned into three. Or more. All golfers, (particularly seniors) looking to cut their scores need to pay attention, not just to putts, but to the simple up and down opportunities that they missed. The par three by my house plays anywhere from 160 to 200 years, has a pond bordering the green on the left, and out of bounds (MY HOUSE) on the right. So it’s not an easy hole, and golfers miss that green all day; but even the poorer shots will come within 15, maybe 20 yards of the green. I see no reason a player should leave that hole with anything more than a bogey. Yet I see fives and sixes more than you can imagine…a chip shot is a very simple shot to learn.

MOST of your senior golf years should be spent chipping, pitching and putting.  Here’s why:

After a certain age. or perhaps when one has played a certain number of years, your golf swing can be changed slightly at the most! By slightly I mean this: Let’s say you are a 15 handicap player, you are hitting around five greens a round in regulation. If you make huge improvement in your swing, you may get to seven greens a round in regulation (the average of a 10-handicap player). That still leaves you 11-12 times per round OFF THE GREEN. Now, it’s true of course that swing improvements can also lead to missing closer to the green, but even here we are talking perhaps a pitch instead of a chip from the edge. BOTH these shots are within the skill set of most any golfer if they think and play differently around the greens. Hitting more greens is not always in that player’s capability, but getting the golf ball in the hole in fewer strokes IS!

I’ll use the green by my house as an example: the green is over 25 paces (75 feet) long. Like most courses, carts are kept on the cart path on all par 3s. I can’t begin to tell you how many players leave the cart with ONE, maybe TWO clubs regardless of the length of the shot. Those clubs are very often a wedge (of some loft) and/or a sand/lob wedge. Again most golfers are short with their tee shots (on all holes not just par 3s). So now they are standing in front of chip possibly 70-80 feet long with a 55-degree club. They either stub it or skull it, leaving themselves in double-bogey (or worse) position. That club selection is like taking a hit on 16 in blackjack when the dealer is showing 6!

Again, I know studies show that ballstriking is primary. Of course, you have to get your swing to the point where you can get the ball in play off the tee, but let me ask this question: when ballstriking is as good as it is going to get, you will still miss plenty of greens. What then? Are you doomed to shoot 94 because your swing cannot change greatly? The answer is NO, if you think better, and learn to hit short shots better. A big change in a golf swing requires time and athleticism. Short shots need technique and feel, but MUCH less strength, flexibility or general athleticism.

As a general rule, I teach most of my students the following priority list when near the green

  • PUTT whenever you can
  • CHIP if you can’t putt
  • PITCH only when you must.

Putting and straightforward chipping or bumping-and-running is a MUCH higher percentage shot. Do yourself a favor and play the shot that you are most capable of NOT the one you’ve seen on TV. Look, you’re probably not gonna hole a chip or pitch, so where do you want to be on your next shot?

Many of you have heard of the “rule of 12.” I’m going to try to explain this as simple as possible and suggest quick math for the course.

  • Pace off the distance you want the golf ball to fly and land two paces (5-6 yards) on the green. NO FURTHER THAN THAT!
  • Let’s say that distance is 4 paces (two yards off the green, two yards to land on the green).
  • Now pace from that point to the hole. Let’s say for the sake of simplicity the hole is 8 yards (25 feet or so) from the landing spot.
  • You have a 2 to 1 relationship of carry to roll.
  • Here’s how to do quick course math in your head: 12-2=10 iron, PW
  • If you have 3X roll vs carry, 12-3=9, iron.
  • If you have 4X roll vs carry, 12-4=8 iron. and so on…
  • This is NOT CAST IN STONE, it is merely a guide.
  • NOTE:  This applies to chipping only; next time I’ll deal with pitching. And course, just like putting uphill, downhill, into grain, down grain etc. have to be taken into consideration.

 Simple drill:  Put a headcover two paces on the green. Chip to it, no further! See what club it takes to reach various hole positions.

No one knows better than a golf instructor of nearly 40 years how difficult it is to get someone to change their habits. I can’t tell you how many times I have suggested people try another approach around the green, and invariably they go right back to their “favorite club.” It’s your choice, but PLEASE practice your short game most of the time!

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Morning 9: U.S. Am, BMW report | Tiger’s start | ROY race

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

August 16, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Round 1 report
AP report on Justin Thomas’ opening-round 65…”On the range, Justin Thomas had no idea where the ball was going. Some five hours later, he had a share of the course record at Medinah.”
  • “Ultimately, all that mattered Thursday in the BMW Championship was taking a good step toward an important goal. Thomas already is set for the TOUR Championship next week and the chase for FedExCup and its $15 million prize. That’s not what interests him.”
  • “It’s about winning tournaments,” he said.
  • “He made his first birdie after hitting a tree on the fourth hole, leaving him a 5-iron he hit to 2 feet. His last birdie was a putt from about 60 feet on the fringe from the back of the 16th green. He did enough right in between for a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead with Jason Kokrak.”

Full piece.

2. U.S. Am
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard on the action from the Round of 16…
  • “The afternoon session on Pinehurst No. 2 began with a handful of lopsided matches, highlighted by Parker Coody’s 6 and 5 loss to Spencer Ralston. Before his Round of 16 loss, Coody had been cruising through match play with victories of 7 and 6 on Wednesday and 5 and 4 in Thursday’s morning Round of 32.”
  • “Georgia Tech’s Andy Ogletree followed suit shortly after with a 5 and 4 victory over Blake Hathcoat, with 17-year-old junior golfer Cohen Trolio defeating Alex Fitzpatrick by the same margin. Fellow teenager Palmer Jackson, 18, earned a 2 up victory over Isaiah Salinda, who earlier this Spring went 3-0 in match play to help lead his Stanford Cardinal to the NCAA national championship.”

Full piece.

Other matches: Austin Squires topped John Pak…William Holcomb V beat Pierceson Coody…Karl Vilips eliminated Brad Dalke…
3. Green in front
EuropeanTour.com report…”Gavin Green picked up where he left off 12 months ago with an opening 64 to take the first round lead at the D+D Real Czech Masters.”
  • “The Malaysian made his debut at Albatross Golf Resort last season and was one of four players to match the course record with an opening 64 before he went on to post the lowest 36 hole total in tournament history.”
  • “Another eight under par effort handed him the solo lead after 18 holes this time around, as he led the way from England’s Lee Slattery and South African Erik van Rooyen.”

Full piece.

4. Tiger’s start
Steve DiMeglio for Golfweek“On a day when most players were in the Diamond Lane rising to the top of the leaderboard as venerable Medinah Country Club was vulnerable after recent rains, Woods got stuck in the slow lane and got lost in the leaders’ rearview mirrors.”
  • “Woods put his signature to a pedestrian 1-under-par 71 on a day when nearly half the field was speeding along in the 60s. While breaking par was a victory for Woods after he was forced to withdraw from last week’s Northern Trust with an oblique strain, there was little to celebrate.”
  • “Once I got on the golf course and felt how soft the greens were, it’s like, ‘Hey, we’ve got to go. We’ve got to make birdies,'” said Woods, who did make three in his first five holes but only one after that. “I didn’t feel any tightness in my oblique at all, so that was a positive, and I just need to clean up my rounds and get going. Seems like the whole field is under par. The golf course is soft. Even though it’s long, it’s just gettable.”
5. ROY race
Cameron Morfit at PGATour.com…”It was hard to miss the symbolism as Sungjae Im, 26th in the FedExCup and the current favorite for Rookie of the Year, stroked putts on the practice green after an opening-round, 2-under 70 at the BMW Championship at Medinah No. 3.”
  • “That’s because behind him, meeting the press after his 5-under 67, was Collin Morikawa.”
  • “…Five rookies have advanced to the 69-player BMW Championship: frontrunner Im (FedExCup No. 26), Morikawa (57), Cameron Champ (58), Adam Long (65) and Wyndham Clark (68).”
6. The fateful call
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta…”Speaking on Wednesday night as part of his induction into the Western Golf Association’s Caddie Hall of Fame, LaCava regaled attendees with this simple back and forth between him and his current boss, Tiger Woods, circa 2011.”
  • Woods to LaCava: “Are you interested [in being my caddie]?”
  • LaCava: “F*** yeah, I’m interested!”

Full piece.

7. Viktor! 
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker…”When the PGA Tour regular season ended a couple of weeks ago, former Oklahoma State star Viktor Hovland found himself on the wrong side of getting his card straight out of college, coming up an agonizing 67 FedEx Cup points short.”
  • “Naturally, there was a swell of support that he should be granted one anyway, since in five of his starts he didn’t earn any points because he was an amateur. Among the finishes that didn’t count: A T-12 at the U.S. Open and a T-32 at the Masters. Had he been retroactively awarded those points, he would have earned enough to qualify for the Playoffs and more importantly gotten a card for next season.”
  • “I knew going in that most likely the way I had to make my PGA Tour card was through the Korn Ferry [Tour] Finals,” Hovland said from this week’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship in Ohio, where he continues his quest to earn a PGA Tour card. “So I’m looking forward to getting off to a good start here at Scarlet.”

Full piece.

8. Top instructors on slow play
Digest’s Matthew Rudy chatted with some of the biggest names in instruction about pace-of-play in pro golf…
  • “Jim McLean (Jim McLean Golf School at the Biltmore, Coral Gables, Fla.): It’s a major issue. Slow play ruins golf, whether you’re talking about a tour event or a regular weekend round at a public course. How many tee times is a course losing when a round takes five and a half hours?”
  • “Mark Blackburn (Greystone Golf & Country Club, Birmingham, Ala.): Yes, it’s an issue for the Tour, but I wouldn’t call it a universal issue. So much of it has to do with course design. In the U.S., you’re usually riding, and the tee boxes are far away from the previous green. I walked 11 miles following [student] Chez Reavie in Kapalua. That takes time. A course with water and sand? It just takes longer. They’re not having the same problems in the U.K., where the classic courses have tees and greens that are closer together. You’re playing in two and a half hours over there.”

Full piece.

9. Screw the haters
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta…”During the Wednesday round he recorded a video for another user’s Snapchat account, which was subsequently recorded and made the rounds in a more public manner.”
  • “In the video DeChambeau remains unapologetic, noting that despite the viral putt he was “never on the clock last week” at Liberty National.”
  • “I’m out here, doing the right thing, having a great time with the pro-am guys, killing it,” DeChambeau said. “And honestly, we’re on these guys’ asses all the time. Last week I played under time par, this week we’ll do the same thing.”
  • …”Y’all can say whatever you want, but we’re having a f—ing awesome time,” DeChambeau said. “So screw all y’all haters, no big deal. I still love you all, even though you hate me.”
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