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GolfWRX Morning 9: Most entertaining PGA Tour events of 2018 | Ping Blueprint irons aren’t hollow after all

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

December 21, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans.

 

 

1. Most entertaining PGA Tour events of 2018
The folks at Golfweek ranked their most entertaining Tour events of 2018. Normally, I wouldn’t play spoiler and reveal the top selections, but the most interesting element of the story is what they selected for the top trio.
  • “3. WGC-Mexico Championship…Of course Phil Mickelson breaking a five-year win drought will be high on this list (although another five-year win drought exorcized in 2018 ranks a little higher, stay tuned). Thomas put a jolt of electricity into the tournament when he holed a wedge from the fairway for eagle at the 18th to take the clubhouse lead and possibly the title. But Mickelson made a late birdie to match Thomas, and then beat him in a playoff. Quite a way to win again.”
  • “2. Arnold Palmer Invitational…There’s little in golf (outside of Tiger Woods) that can bring the entertainment value quite like a Rory McIlroy rampage to victory. We’ve seen less of that in recent years from the Northern Irishman, but he brought a glimpse again in 2018. It came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where McIlroy went on an epic closing run of five birdies in his last six holes to storm to a three-shot win. You can relive it all here. It may be in smaller doses at the moment, but Rory’s still got it.”
  • “1. Tour Championship…Yeah, Woods had this win in the bag down the stretch and nobody really charged at him on Sunday. But really, who cares? This one is all about Woods breaking a five-year win drought and how much excitement that brought. Let’s remind you of the bedlam that broke out in the crowd as Woods walked down the 72nd hole.”
See the other 7 selections in the full piece.
2. Pros skeptical of rule changes?
Kevin Casey at Golfweek…”There are a huge set of changes coming to the Rules of Golf. These alterations courtesy of the U.S. Golf Association and the R&A will take effect on Jan. 1, and you can study up on those changes here.”
  • “But not everybody is automatically on board with every change…Mackenzie Hughes, winner of the 2016 RSM Classic, took to Twitter on Wednesday to express his mixed emotions on the changes coming in 2019″
  • Hughed: ” I just went through the new rules of golf for 2019 again. I feel like a few of the changes are good (ex. caddie alignment, loose impediments in bunkers), but I feel like most of them missed the mark (ex. ball drop from knee height, damaged club, and more). Thoughts?”
  • Jim Furyk: “If I had to be skeptical of one rule, it would be tapping down spike marks,” Furyk said. He then explained his reasoning on that and added skepticism on another change:
  • “I think pace of play. I guess for no other better reason than that’s just the way it’s always been (but) I think pace of play. I think moving the time you look for your ball (before it is declared lost) from 5 minutes to 3 minutes is going to insignificantly (improve) the pace of play. But the tapping down of spike marks could tend to drag things out a bit.”
3. The story of golf in 2018 in objects
Ryan Herrington with a fun one for Golf Digest’s Loop.
  • “Bryson DeChambeau’s drawing compass…The Mad Scientist said he was using it to help him get “true pin locations” off his green-reading books. USGA/R&A officials said not so fast when they saw its use on national TV at the Travelers Championship, noting that it violated Rule 14-3a that prohibits the use of unusual equipment that might assist a swing or play. The revolution ended before it could begin.”
  • “Tony Finau’s ankle brace…Who says golfers aren’t athletes? At the Masters, Finau suffered this gruesome (self-induced) ankle sprain after celebrating an ace during Wednesday’s Par-3 Contest. He then played the next four days, shooting 68-74-73-66 to finish in a tie for 10th in his first appearance at Augusta National. Not sure if we could have watched four days of the Masters let along played in it if our ankles looked like that.
  • “Shinnecock Hills’ 13th green…And we thought the speed limit was 35 miles per hour in Southampton?”
4. LET Q-School
Brentley Romine on LET card earners… “Bronte Law set a new tournament record Thursday in Morocco as she earned her Ladies European Tour card for next season….Law, a 23-year-old UCLA product from Stockport, England, shot 26-under 334 to earn medalist honors at the final stage of Lalla Aicha Tour School, the tour’s version of Q-School. Law posted rounds of 70-71-62-64-67 at Amelkis Golf Club to edge Sweden’s Linnea Strom, who played two-and-a-half seasons at Arizona State before turning pro last winter, by a shot.”
  • “The previous 90-hole scoring record was 331. Law’s third-round, 10-under 62 included tournament records for most birdies (12) and most consecutive birdies (nine).”
  • “German amateur Esther Henseleit, England’s Sian Evans and Ireland’s Leona Maguire also earned fully-exempt status for next season. Maguire needed to defeat Sarah Nilsson in a playoff after each player finished at 13 under. The former Duke standout, who won two Annika Awards in four seasons with the Blue Devils, holed a 15-footer for birdie on the first playoff hole.”
5. Mike Taylor on his work for Bernhard Langer
Andrew Tursky talked with Mike Taylor at Artisan Golf about the 5-iron manufactured by his company presently being gamed by gray-haired maestro. Langer plays a mixed set of clubs, with artillery from different manufacturers, including the cavity back 5-iron from Artisan pictured above.
  • Here’s Taylor…”Me and the boys, we did the ’99 Apex irons back in the day, and he sent a bunch of clubs here once so we could measure them all out. And his long-irons, at that time, were ’99 Apex raws that had enough lead tape on those things they could have gotten clearance on a nuclear reactor. But you know what, I love the way he looks at his stuff. An 8-iron is an 8-iron. (He doesn’t have to play a 7-iron) just because it’s married to the 8-iron. He’s looking for 14 tools that he’s got confidence in, and that’s all it is.”
  • “To give you a little bit of a backstory on how that happened, one of my buddies was a fitter here at The Oven for a long time. He works for Titleist now, but Scott worked with Bernhard a lot when he worked for Adams back in the day. The story was that (Bernhard) had been looking for new irons for years, but he’s very sensitive. You know, when you put his clubs down, if you held them, you’d see a lot of offset in those golf clubs. And that’s one of the things that his eye is very keen to, is the offset that he likes.
  • “We made some golf clubs at first, they were just some clubs that I ground on. We had some finished heads and we built them up, sent them to him, he tested them. And based upon those tests, he decided that initially he wanted us to make him a blade set. We made the blade set first. Then, he tested those. Then, when they were playing at the event in Houston this year, Scott and myself did some additional testing with him. We took some of the cavity-back stuff with us. And that test results in ‘Ok, I want you to make me a cavity back set.’ So, we made a blade set and a cavity-back set.”
6. Vote for the European Tour’s Shot of the Year
EuropeanTour.com Staff...”There was over a million shots hit during the 2018 Race to Dubai season. But only one can be crowned European Tour Shot of the Year.”
  • “Who wins is down to your vote. We’ve selected the ten best shots caught on camera from the year, all you have to do is watch each of the shots and pick your favourite. The winner will be the shot with the most fan votes.”
  • “Will it be Ross Fisher’s hole in one, Justin Thomas’ clutch hole out, Renato Paratore’s 72nd hole escape, Edoardo Molinari’s ace, Russell Knox’s play-off winning putt, Dylan Frittelli’s enormous eagle putt, Nicolas Colsaerts’ albatross, Eddie Pepperell’s rebound hole in one, Andy Sullivan’s driver off the deck or Justin Rose’s perfect hole out in Turkey? The decision is yours.”
7. The merits of sneaking in a round on Christmas
The folks at National Club Golfer discuss under what circumstances it is acceptable to play golf on Christmas Day.
  • “Steve: If I could scale the locked fence at the club I would do this every year. It’s a perfect day for a quick nine holes. There’s no-one about, you’ve usually got some new gear to put to the test, and you can whizz round in about an hour. That’s exactly the time my other half is usually out of the house at the Christmas Park Run so everyone is a winner.”
  • “James: I’m not sure it’s acceptable. Not if you have a partner, especially not if you have children. Maybe if your other half played as well and you could go out together once the kids have all flown the nest.”
  • “Alex: I have done this a couple of times in the past – it’s the best day to play by a mile – but not a chance now I have offspring. I’ll have to just wait until she’s old enough to caddie for me.”
8. Best golfers without entering a major entering 2019
Kyle Porter assembles his list of the best players on Tour without a major championship with the new year approaching.
Here are a few of his selections.
  • “Jon Rahm: He doubles as the most decorated on this list as well. For the second consecutive year, he won at least three times worldwide and solidified his spot as one of the handful of guys most likely to win the most majors from this point going forward.”
  • “Bryson DeChambeau: Only Rory McIlroy got to five wins more quickly in recent years. I don’t think DeChambeau is “somewhere between McIlroy and Spieth” good, but he’s certainly being undervalued.”
  • “Rickie Fowler: He’s the lightning rod for this conversation. I won’t belabor the point — I’ve done that plenty elsewhere — but he remains one of the most underrated big tournament players in the world.”
9. Not hollow after all
Andrew Tursky reveals that, contrary to the assumptions of most, Ping’s Blueprint irons are indeed fully forged and not hollow bodied.
  • “Despite getting play on TOUR, however, the iron designs remained shrouded in a bit of mystery. Most golfers assumed the screw in the toe signified that the irons have a hollow body design, much like the Ping’s new i500. Most golfers were incorrect.”
  • “During a recent trip to Ping Headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, company representatives informed me that the irons do not have a hollow-body design, and that the screw in the toe is to add weight.”
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  1. smz

    Dec 23, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    If it ain’t {{{hollow}}} they ain’t gonna be in my WITB arsenal of gonadal weaponry… PXG and TM are technologically superior with hollow irons… and hollow drivers… and hollow golfers.

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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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