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GolfWRX Morning 9: Tour offers more support for sports betting | Best LPGA moments | Jaime Diaz on the year’s best

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

Good Thursday morning, golf fans. Mac Daddy Santa will be here in five short days.

1. Tour again pledges to go all in on sports betting
The Tour hasn’t hesitated to offer support every step along the way.
Golf Channel Staff...”As the process of legalizing sports betting at the federal level took another step forward, the PGA Tour offered their support of work being introduced in the U.S. Congress.”
  • “Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) formally introduced legislation Wednesday that could pave the way for a federal framework to oversee sports betting, the legality of which has grown this year on a state-by-state basis following a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. The Tour has offered statements in support of legalized sports betting at previous junctures in the process, and that trend continued this week.”
  • “The PGA Tour supports the efforts of Senators Schumer and Hatch to introduce sports betting legislation,” read a Tour statement. “We continue to believe that nationwide standards are the best method of protecting the integrity of our competitors and our fans. In particular, we would welcome the establishment of a national body to oversee the integrity of sports in the United States.”
  • “Sports betting is currently legal in eight states across the nation, while residents of Washington, D.C., voted Tuesday to allow legalized betting in the nation’s capital pending Congressional approval.”
2. No dot for 2019! (But still a memorable year)
An interesting headline, lead choice from Jaime Diaz in his must-read recap of 2018
He writes…”Picture a horizontal timeline of golf’s historical highlights, with only select years like 1930, 1945 and 2000 set off by dots along the continuum.”
  • “2018 wouldn’t get a dot. Its important moments weren’t sufficiently transformative, and its major champions weren’t quite special enough in terms of personage or performance.”
  • “That might sound disrespectful of brilliant achievers.  Especially Brooks Koepka, who captured two of the year’s majors, in the process winning back-to back U.S. Opens and becoming the No. 1 player in the world. And Francesco Molinari, who exhibited ball control in winning The Open Championship at Carnoustie that channeled Ben Hogan of 1953, and then went 5-0 in the Ryder Cup.”
  • “It’s just that a timeline’s purpose is pith, making the standard for when a year gets a dot of demarcation very high. The most important player of 2018 – Tiger Woods – is arguably the most prolific dot maker ever, but he didn’t win a major or break an important record. He had an incredible comeback season in which his victory at the Tour Championship put him within two of Sam Snead in all-time PGA Tour victories. And his serious contention deep into two majors has him on the verge of winning his first one in more than a decade. He’s proved he still has enough game when he’s rolling to beat today’s best young players, and more importantly, his return from the depths proves his legendary will hasn’t lost power. His next major will earn a dot. So will the win that passes Snead. But all that did not a dot make in 2018.”
Diaz goes on to reflect on the majority of the major happenings of 2018 in an excellent roundup.
3. Amelia Island to be restored…by court order
Geoff Shackelford with a wild report for Golfweek…”As many golf course real estate developments have seen courses closed and property values implode, it’s nice to see a circuit court judge recognizing the rogue work by the Omni resort to close a historic early Pete Dye design.”
  • “They have until October 31, 2019 to reopen the course in what will be a much costlier than had it been kept open. Garry Smits does a super job recounting the entire escapade for the Florida Times-Union.”
  • “Omni Amelia closed Ocean Links one day after it was still booking local tee times. The club moved in bulldozers under police protection and began tearing down the greens on the three oceanside holes with the intention of converting the property into “green space,” for parks, bicycle trails and nature trails.”
  • “The resort did not notify property owners that it had begun the demolition until that day, in an email time-dated 5 p.m. By that time, the heavy construction equipment had already been at work a full day. The Equity Club filed for an emergency injunction halting the demolition, which was granted two days later.”
4. Rules agony of 2018
Ryan Herrington rounds up some of the major rules incidents of 2018.
A couple…
  • “Rhein Gibson, Bahamas Great Abacao Classic…During the second event of the Web.com Tour season in January, Gibson got a one-stroke penalty when his caddie, Brandon Davis, picked up his ball from a hazard on the final hole of the tournament rather than Gibson. The extra stroke dropped a none-to-happy Gibson from T-2 to solo third and caused him to throw his putter cover at Davis in disgust. Davis wasn’t Gibson’s full-time caddie, but the 32-year-old Australian made sure he wasn’t his part-time one any more either, firing Davis for the blunder. That night, Davis took to social media to offer an explanation for his actions, taping an eight-minute video in which he cited Decision 26-1/9 to try to exonerate him.”
  • “Phil Mickelson, U.S. Open…Did the chaos that was Saturday at Shinnecock cause Lefty to temporarily lose his mind, or did his shocking decision to hit a moving golf ball on the 13th green cause the rest of the third round to be played on tilt? Either way, what Mickelson did was pretty nutty.”
  • “USGA officials seemed to have a handful of ways they could have adjudicated the matter, and for some, their choice was as disappointing as that day’s course set-up. Because Mickelson took a swing when he hit the ball, officials said he violated Rule 14-5 (playing a moving ball) rather than Rule 1-2 (purposely deflecting a ball). The former came with a two-stroke penalty-giving Mickelson a 10 on the hole-while the latter had the potential for a disqualification penalty that some clamored for. What about Rule 33-7, which gives the committee the ability to DQ a player for a serious breach of etiquette? It was what former USGA executive director David Fay recommended during the Fox broadcast. Officials, however, choice not to go to this extreme. Mickelson played the next day, finishing T-48, and his eventual apology for his momentary lapse of reason helped minimize permanent damage to his legacy.”
5. Best of 2018 on the LPGA Tour
A solid curation from the Golf Channel staff. A few of the moments…
  • “Jessica Korda won on the LPGA for the first time since jaw surgery in December 2017 by setting a tournament record (25 under par) at the LPGA Thailand.”
  • “Michelle Wie holed a 36-foot putt from off the green on the final hole to win the Women’s World Championship by one stroke and capture her first LPGA tournament since the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open.”
  • “Ariya Jutanugarn lost a seven-shot lead on the back nine before prevailing on the fourth hole of a playoff to win the U.S. Women’s Open for her second major championship.”
6. The Dame speaks
Michael Williams talked with Hall-of-Famer Laura Davies about her incredible year, her friend Mel Davis, Tiger Woods, the state of the LPGA Tour and more.
  • On the state of the LPGA, LET Tours…”Well I think the LPGA is in a really healthy position. We’re playing all over the world. We’re playing in, you know, obviously Asia because the great influence of Asian players on the LPGA. The American tour is getting stronger and stronger. The American side of the tour is getting stronger. We play in Europe. And so I think the commissioner and all his team are doing a sensational job.”
  • Obviously the women players would like the prize money to be a bit more, but we do have some events with huge prize money…the US Open. I think that would be the only thing, is like getting the prize money up more. But by no means are any of the players complaining…You know, you got a lot of tournaments to play in and you’ve got great players from all over the world playing on the LPGA. And I think things are going really well.”
  • “Now on this side of the Atlantic, we need some help. The LET, which is the Ladies European Tour, we’ve lost some tournaments because of the problems in Europe and the lack of money for sponsors of women’s sports. So we’re hoping over the next three or four years that it’ll pick up this side of the Atlantic because we deserve to have, the young girls of Europe deserve to have a good tour to play on, and at the moment it is not happening.”
7. PGA Tour Live on Prime
Golfweek report…”Amazon revealed Wednesday that Amazon Prime customers will be able to subscribe to PGA Tour Live via its Prime Video Channels platform.”
  • “The service will be available to Prime members for $9.99 per month or $64.99 per season. This news arrives after NBC Sports Gold was announced as the U.S. home for PGA Tour Live in 2019.”
  • “Now, the service will be available on both of these platforms at the above prices.”
8. RIP, Colm Smith
Brian Keogh assembled a superb piece for EuropeanTour.com remembering long-time golf writer Colm Smith.
  • “Colm was one of the great characters,” recalled Des Smyth of those more innocent days when Smith, a former interprovincial tennis player, was a regular on the golf circuit.
  • “We spent a lot of time together over the years and he was a hell of a character and a great tennis player too.
  • “When I played my first Ryder Cup in the Greenbrier in 1979, we were free on the Monday and I fancied myself as a bit of a tennis player.
  • “Of course, I thought it would be no problem to take Colm out. But no, he beat the bejaysus out of me. He had me running around the court. He was great fun and I enjoyed his company for years.”
  • “Eamonn Darcy, Paul McGinley and Pádraig Harrington all look back fondly on those days when ‘Smithy’ roamed the fairways from Rosses Point to Muirfield Village – a fellow sportsman and kindred spirit.”
9. Serious legal beef for Darren Clarke co-owned steakhouse
AP Report…”A lawsuit charges that a South Carolina steakhouse co-owned by professional golfer Darren Clarke hasn’t paid more than $2 million toward its mortgage.”
  • “The Island Packet reported Wednesday that the lawsuit was filed by Synovus Bank in September against co-owner Michael Doyle and others. The lawsuit alleges the restaurant owed $2.5 million in unpaid mortgage payments as of August and asks for nearly $50,000 in interest and fees.”
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Francesco Molinari splits with caddie Pello Iguaran

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Francesco Molinari has parted ways with his caddie Pello Iguaran, who has been on the Italian’s bag for the last four years.

The 2018 Open Champion will now employ Jason Hempleman until the beginning of 2020 where Mark Fulcher will then take the reigns. Fulcher caddied for Justin Rose for 11 years, in which period Rose won the U.S. Open and Olympic Gold.

The 36-year-old announced the decision via his social media accounts, where he stated

“It’s been nearly 4 seasons of incredible emotions and really productive work, but unfortunately relationships sometimes come to an end, even if it’s not what we wish for.Pello will always be a member of my team and more importantly my family. He’s one of the most hardworking, loyal, positive, reflective people I’ve come across during my career.

We’ve had both good and tough times on the course, but most importantly we both grew together and as individuals during our time together. Best of luck for the future and thanks for an amazing run together Jason Hempleman will be on the bag until the end of the season. Mark Fulcher will be on the bag at the start of 2020.”

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It’s been nearly 4 seasons of incredible emotions and really productive work, but unfortunately relationships sometimes come to an end, even if it’s not what we wish for. Pello will always be a member of my team and more importantly my family. He’s one of the most hardworking, loyal, positive, reflective people I’ve come across during my career. We’ve had both good and tough times on the course, but most importantly we both grew together and as individuals during our time together. Best of luck for the future and thanks for an amazing run together Jason Hempleman will be on the bag until the end of the season. Mark Fulcher will be on the bag at the start of 2020. Sono state quasi 4 stagioni di emozioni incredibili e lavoro davvero produttivo, ma sfortunatamente le relazioni a volte non finiscono come tutti vorremmo. Pello sarà sempre un membro del mio team e, soprattutto, della mia famiglia. È una delle persone più laboriose, leali, positive e riflessive che ho incontrato durante la mia carriera. Abbiamo avuto momenti belli e momenti difficili sul campo, ma soprattutto siamo cresciuti insieme e come individui durante il tempo insieme. Buona fortuna per il futuro e grazie per una fantastica esperienza insieme Jason Hempleman sarà il mio caddie fino alla fine dell’anno. Mark Fulcher sarà il caddie dall'inizio del 2020 •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

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In the period Molinari and Iguaran were together, some of the highlights include Molinari’s win at The Open Championship in 2018, the BMW PGA Championship, and the 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational. However, since April, Molinari has failed to record a top-10 finish.

 

 

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Morning 9: LPGA, LET partnership? | Ryder Cup ticket fiasco | Alfredsson: Senior women’s golf dynamo

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram and golfwrxEIC on Twitter.

October 17, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. “True partnership”
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell on an exciting development for women’s golf…
  • “The LPGA and Ladies European Tour have renewed talks that could lead to “a true partnership” between the two organizations.”
  • “LET Board Chair Marta Figueras-Dotti sent a letter to LET players this week informing them of the discussions. She told players that a dialogue was “in full swing” to create a “50-50 joint venture” between the tours.”
  • “LPGA and LET officials said in a joint statement Wednesday that while it’s too early to publicly discuss specifics, they are working to complete terms of a new agreement in time to present it to LET players at their annual meeting on Nov. 26 in Spain.”

Full piece.

2. Alfredsson!
AP report on the emerging dynamo in women’s senior golf with the 2019 double…
  • “Helen Alfredsson added the Senior LPGA Championship to her U.S. Senior Women’s Open title, rallying Wednesday at cold and windy French Lick Resort to sweep the two major championships of the season.”
  • “Three strokes behind Juli Inkster entering the day, Alfredsson closed with a 2-under 70 for a three-stroke victory. The 54-year-old Swede was the only player to break par on the final day at the Pete Dye Course and, at 2-under 214, the only one under par for the week.”

Full piece.

3. And on Jeju Island…
AP report…An was on!
  • “In the first event of a three-tournament PGA TOUR swing through Asia, Byeong Hun An was the first-round leader in his home country at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES with an 8-under 64. Joaquin Niemann sits a stroke behind in second.”
  • “Jason Day’s attempt to impress International team captain Ernie Els for a spot at the Presidents Cup took a positive turn when the Australian shot a 6-under 66 to sit two strokes off the lead and in solo third after the opening round.”

Full piece.

4. Ticket fiasco
Oh boy. JR Radcliffe at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, syndicated in Golfweek…”Tickets for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, next year sold out in less than 50 minutes on Wednesday, and fans on social media were furious with the process.”
  • “Tickets for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler next year sold out in less than 50 minutes on Wednesday, and fans on social media were furious with the process.”
  • “The Ryder Cup website did indicate: “Due to high demand, having an access code does not guarantee you a chance to buy tickets. Available inventory may vary depending on when you’re able to access the sale.”
5. “Better options”
ESPN’s Bob Harig suggests Lefty doesn’t think he’s getting picked for captain Woods’ squads…”Mickelson said Wednesday that he doesn’t expect an at-large pick from U.S. Presidents Cup team captain Tiger Woods and that he does not believe he is deserving.”
  • “There are much better options of players that have played consistently at a high level that deserve to be on the team,” Mickelson, 49, said in South Korea at the CJ Cup, a PGA Tour event he is playing for the first time. “Even if I were to win, I have not done enough to warrant a pick.
  • “I’m not asking for one. I don’t expect one. I think there are a lot of better options for the U.S. side.”
6. 58 penalty strokes!
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers on a wildly penal occurrence…”Lee Ann Walker was assessed 58 penalty strokes after it was discovered she had violated Rule 10.2b several times over the course of the first two rounds at the senior major being played at the Pete Dye Course in French Lick, Ind. Implemented earlier this year, the rule prohibits caddies from lining up golfers on putting greens, among other spots on the course. And as Walker found out, there is no limit to the amount of penalty strokes a player can incur for breaking it.”
  • “In a statement released by the Senior LPGA Championship Rules Committee, the harsh decision came after Walker notified a rules official during the second round on Tuesday that she had been violating the rule. Obviously, Walker didn’t realize this until it was pointed out to her by a fellow caddie on her fifth hole. Walker then went through her round so far as well as the first round on Monday to determine just how many times she broke the rule. Considering the total, she was obviously being lined up by her caddie on most putts.”

Full piece.

7. BK vs. Rory
Our Gianni Magliocco…”The 29-year-old, who was speaking to the AFP ahead of this week’s CJ Cup, has been on the PGA Tour since 2015 and has won four major’s in that period, while McIlroy’s last success at a major championship came back in 2014.”
  • “I’ve been out here for, what, five years. Rory hasn’t won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour. So I just don’t view it as a rivalry.”
  • “The world number one then further reiterated his lack of belief that there is currently a serious rivalry in golf and laid out his intentions to remain at the top of the sport for the foreseeable future.”
  • “I’m not looking at anybody behind me. I’m number one in the world. I’ve got open road in front of me I’m not looking in the rearview mirror, so I don’t see it as a rivalry. You know if the fans do (call it a rivalry), then that’s on them and it could be fun. Look I love Rory he’s a great player and he’s fun to watch, but it’s just hard to believe there’s a rivalry in golf. I just don’t see it.”

Full piece.

8. Meanwhile, at Q-School…
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell with the report on the action in Florida…”Germany’s going for a wire-to-wire victory at the LPGA’s second stage of Q-School.”
  • “Esther Henseleit grabbed a share of the second-round lead with a 5-under 67 Tuesday at Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice, Fla., a day after fellow countrywoman Olivia Cowan took the first-round lead.”
  • “At 9-under overall, Henseleit is tied at the top with China’s Yan Liu (67), one shot ahead of Cowan (72), Thailand’s Prima Thammaraks (68) and American amateur Sierra Brooks, whose 66 equaled the low round of the day.”

Full piece.

9. LPGA Shanghai update
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell...”Nasa Hataoka should be getting more worldwide attention.
With two Japan LPGA Tour major championship victories in her homeland over the last month, she arrived for the start of this week’s Buick LPGA Shanghai on fire.”
  • “And she didn’t cool off in Thursday’s first round.”
  • “A 5-under-par 67 at Qizhong Garden Golf Club gave Hataoka a share of the lead with South Korea’s Amy Yang.”

Full piece.

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Marcel Siem disqualifies himself at the Open de France after believing preferred lies were in place

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Marcel Siem disqualified himself from the Open de France after racking up several penalty strokes during Thursday’s opening round.

The 2012 champion was under the impression that preferred lies were in place during the first round, which was not the case, and the German amassed a total of 10 penalty strokes after moving his ball in the fairway five times.

With his European Tour card in danger, Siem was in need of a good week in France, but as he explained on his Facebook page after exiting the event, his attention will now turn to Q-School in November.

Siem was nine holes into the event when he decided to disqualify himself.

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