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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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Schedule postponements and cancellations on the PGA Tour, European Tour plus the four majors: What we know so far

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With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the PGA Tour and European Tour have taken steps to cancel or postpone several events. Action has also been taken on some of golf’s major championships, and here we’ll summarize what decisions have been made so far altering the 2020 calendar.

The Majors

Both The Masters (April 9-12) and PGA Championship (May 14-17) have been officially postponed with hopes of rescheduling both events for later in the year. According to the NY Post, the US Open is also set to be postponed and rescheduled for “later in the summer”, though as of Tuesday, March 31 the USGA has made no formal announcement confirming this news.

The R&A has of yet made no announcement on this year’s Open Championship which is due to take place from 16-19 of July.

  • April 9-12: The Masters – Postponed
  • May 14-17: PGA Championship – Postponed
  • June 18-21: US Open – NY Post reporting postponed; not yet confirmed by USGA
  • July 16-19: Open Championship – On Schedule

PGA Tour

Since cancelling the Players Championship mid-event, the PGA Tour decided to cancel several subsequent tournaments. As of now, the earliest return date for the PGA Tour is May 21 at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship which is played the same week as the WGC-Match Play was postponed with plans to reschedule the event.

  • March 12-15: The Players Championship – Cancelled
  • March 19-22: Valspar Championship – Cancelled
  • April 16-19: RBC Heritage – Cancelled
  • April 23-26: Zurich Classic of New Orleans – Cancelled
  • April 30-May 3: Wells Fargo Championship – Cancelled
  • May 7-10: AT&T Byron Nelson – Cancelled

European Tour

Along with the cancelled WGC-Match Play and confirmed postponed major championships, the European Tour has postponed a further seven events. Unlike the PGA Tour, the European Tour has chosen to postpone almost every upcoming event for the time being instead of cancelling. The GolfSixes Cascais is the only confirmed cancellation as of now.

On Monday, the Dubai Duty-Free Irish Open became the latest tournament to be postponed meaning the earliest possible return date for action on the European Tour is now June 4 at the Trophee Hassan II.

  • March 12-15: Magical Kenya Open – Postponed
  • March 19-22: Hero Indian Open – Postponed
  • April 16-19: Maybank Championship – Postponed
  • April 23-26: Volvo China Open – Postponed
  • April 30-May 3: Andalucia Masters – Postponed
  • May 9-10: GolfSixes Cascais – Cancelled
  • May 21-24: Made in Denmark – Postponed
  • May 28-31: Irish Open – Postponed
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PGA Tour to provide financial assistance to players and caddies during Coronavirus pandemic

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The PGA Tour has announced plans to compensate both players and caddies after several Tour events were cancelled due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

In a memo sent to players on Friday, it was explained that due to IRS regulations, the Tour is not allowed distribute un-earned financial benefits to members, but that the organization has developed some programs to help its players during the ongoing pandemic. Players and caddies will receive financial assistance from the PGA Tour with one of the primary programs to help players based on their current FedEx Cup standing.

Players can receive up to $100,000 in bonus earnings during this period which will subsequently be removed from their season-ending bonus after play has been restarted.

Tour pros will also be entitled to request advance payments (up to $30k) for future Monday pro-am spots and advances on future earnings, while the Tour also plans on allowing players to withdraw funds from their retirement plans based on financial need.

“Playing opportunities equate to financial opportunities, and we are concerned about the toll that canceled tournaments are having on some of our members” – Tyler Dennis, a senior vice president and the Tour’s chief of operations.

Included in the memo were caddies, who are entitled to a partial mid-season distribution of an endorsement program and who can also request financial support from the Caddie Benevolent Fund.

Play is not set to resume on the PGA Tour until May 21 at the earliest.

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GolfWRX AUA (Ask Us Anything): TaylorMade fitters are answering YOUR questions!

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With the downtime, #teamtaylormade are ready to talk golf!

Go to the link below to ask any TM specific questions you may have. TaylorMade fitters from across the US will be diving in the forums to answer questions, talk golf and get you dialed. Take this opportunity to go TM crazy.

Team TaylorMade fitters that will be participating:

  • Chris Clegg, Georgia
  • John Junkin, Pennsylvania
  • Lewis Schnauble, Maryland
  • John Tabor, Michigan
  • Freddy Villarta, California
  • Matt Zerishnek, Pennsylvania
  • James Albright, Arizona

Join the discussion here.

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