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GolfWRX Morning 9: Execs on the future of golf equipment | Best par 3 courses | Quirks of Tour pro speech

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

December 27, 2018

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. The Match returneth
Gianni Magliocco with the details…”The match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson was one of the most talked about events in the world of golf in 2018, and it appears that the alternative event is one that we will see more of in the future.”
  • “According to this report from Golf Digest, Woods and Mickelson signed a three-year deal, which locked in an annual event involving the two men until 2020.”
  • “Turner’s three-year deal is with both Woods’ and Mickelson’s business companies, so you can certainly expect both men to be involved in the following two events. However, as per the report, the next match-up is highly likely to be a team event, which will draw an extra two players to the contest, along with Woods and Mickelson.”
2. Former top Indian golfer arrested for poaching
Our Gianni Magliocco…”On Wednesday, former top Indian golfer, Jyoti Randhawa, was arrested on poaching charges by the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department.”
  • “Randhawa was arrested inside the forest of the Motipur range of Katarniaghat. The 46-year-old had killed a jungle fowl, and inside the Indian’s vehicle, the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department recovered the skin of an animal which Randhawa claimed was a wild boar. The skin, however, was that of a sambar deer.”
  • “Speaking concerning the arrest, Director of the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, Ramesh Pandey stated…”Our staff was on alert. We had this tip-off that a few people are roaming around in the area, and their moves appeared suspicious. Jyoti Singh Randhawa and Mahesh Virajdar have been arrested for poaching and unauthorised entry in a forest area.”
  • “A vehicle, weapon and other equipment have been seized with the skin of… (an) animal and a dead jungle fowl. They have been sent to jail and further legal action is being taken.”
3. Cheating scandal
While the implementation of the app is ostensibly the focus of the article, the cheating itself is pretty wild…
  • Joel Beall at Golf Digest…”Last spring the Michigan High School Athletic Association was rocked with a major cheating scandal when three schools-Anchor Bay, L’Anse Creuse and Fraser-were accused of shaving strokes in the state tournament. The schools, playing together in multiple groups, each shot a score more than 45 strokes lower than their teams’ season averages. For Anchor Bay, their total of 284 became the new all-time record for state regionals.”
  • “Though the two schools that would have advanced in the places of Anchor Bay and L’Anse Creuse filed a petition, the state association said it did not have enough proof to void the controversial scores. This problem became amplified during the state championship when Anchor Bay shot 738 (385-353) and L’Anse Creuse posted 777 (401-376) to finish in the bottom two spots.”
  • “Hoping to correct the issue going forward, the MHSAA will turn to an app to track scores in-round to curbing cheating in 2019.”
3. The quirks of Tour speech
A singular bit of writing from Shane Ryan, who poured over transcripts for a piece on the individual peculiarities of Tour pro speech.
A bit of what he found.
  • “Brooks Koepka: “I mean…” The three-time major winner has an enormous chip on his shoulder about the way he’s covered in the media, but maybe the real reason is just that he needs a more spectacular verbal crutch. Looking at his PGA Championship presser alone, he uses the relatively mundane “I mean” a whopping 19 times. “
  • “Justin Rose: “Obviously… “ This is a very common one in the world of professional sports, particularly golf, and despite Rose’s relative polish compared to his peers, he is not immune. In his victory presser at the Turkish Airlines Open, he deployed “obviously” 10 times.”
  • “Dustin Johnson: “Definitely” and “I felt like… “ DJ employs almost every cliche in the book as he slogs his way through his pressers, but his two most prominent crutches are “definitely” (a close cousin of “obviously”) and “I felt like.”
4. Molinari to focus on PGA Tour
AP Report…”Francesco Molinari says he may not play in Europe until the 19th-ranked Italian defends his British Open title in July.”
  • “The lure of the US PGA Tour and changes made to the European Tour calendar will combine to leave the London-based golfer short of available dates to compete on his home circuit next year.”
  • “Molinari is even struggling to commit to the British Masters in May, despite receiving an invitation from tournament host, close friend and Ryder Cup partner Tommy Fleetwood.”
5. Execs on the 5-year future of equipment
David Dusek at Golfweek chatted with a number of executives about the future of golf equipment.
  • Here’s a bit from Bob Philion, president, Cobra/Puma Golf and Puma North America.
  • ‘Innovate or die’…”I like to say, ‘Innovate or die.’ To be successful we need to push the boundaries of what is possible, delivering products that challenge the status quo, are truly innovative and help golfers of all levels enjoy the game and look and feel their best while playing.
  • “Tying into innovation, technology and data are changing the way we play golf, particularly amongst the next generation of golfers. With access to Tour-level analytics, through offerings like Cobra Connect powered by Arccos, we’re introducing a new way to experience the game. The data every amateur golfer now has access to with Cobra Connect will change how they play, how they practice, how they work with coaches and ultimately how they purchase equipment. That desire for data will only continue to grow, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of that initiative, providing the information necessary to fuel improvements in people’s games.
  • “I also see things expanding on the customization front, as the demand for custom, personally fitted products, continues to grow.”
6. Woods knows what he’s capable of in 2019
USAToday’s Steve DiMeglio filed a piece that is at once a look back at Tiger’s 2018 rise from the ashes and a look ahead at the possibilities of 2019.
  • A morsel…”While Woods knows Father Time is undefeated – he turns 43 on Dec. 30 – he’s been blessed with a second chance and will march on in 2019, confident he can win again. He has begun his offseason prep work, both in the weight room and on the golf course, and he could begin his year in the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii the first week of January. If not, expect his first event to be the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego, which he’s won a record seven times and captured his 14th and most recent major title, the 2008 U.S. Open.”
  • “Also expect to see him play his favorite stops – the Genesis Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Players Championship, the Memorial. And the sites of three of the four majors could prove fruitful again as Woods tries to hunt down Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championship titles. Augusta National is home to the Masters, which Woods has won four times, most recently in 2005; the PGA Championship is at Bethpage Black, where he won the 2002 U.S. Open; and the U.S. Open is at Pebble Beach, where he won the 2000 U.S. Open by 15 shots.”
  • “His peers again expect a challenge on their hands no matter where Woods plays. Bryson DeChambeau, the only player to win four PGA Tour titles in 2018, expects more of Woods’ “greatness to come forth.” Reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed said Woods “isn’t done winning.” Rickie Fowler said the red shirt “means something again on Sundays.”
7. Best Par 3 courses in America
Josh Sens does the textual honors for Golf.com’s list of the best par 3 tracks in America.
Here are a few…
  • THE LINKS AT TERRANEA, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA...”A boomerang. A punchbowl. A “Portuguese Bend.” No, those aren’t items on a hipster cocktail menu. They’re distinctive green designs at Todd Eckenrode’s scenic nine-holer, a family-friendly venue in a scenic locale along the California coast.”
  • THE SANDBOX, Sand Valley Golf Resort, Nekoosa, WI...””Take what the land gives you.” Call it the unofficial motto of the Keiser family, the same bunch who brought you Bandon Dunes. What the land has given them at their burgeoning new resort in central Wisconsin is two 18-hole courses, a third in the making and this 17-hole (yes, 17) short course, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Sandbox is the perfect name for it, given its dune-sy setting and its receptiveness to creative play.”
  • THREETOPS, Treetops Resort, Gaylord, MI…“In the olden days, before the rise of $9 million pay-per-view extravaganzas, golf’s silly season featured quaint entertainments like the ESPN Par-3 Shootout. That dinosaur of an event died in 2006, but the course endures and it’s a gem-a Rick Smith-designed stunner, etched through the piney hills of northern Michigan.”
  • THE CRADLE, Pinehurst Resort…“At Pinehurst’s birth, more than a century ago, the property was dubbed the Cradle of American of Golf. From that cradle grew an iconic resort that now boasts 10 courses, including, yes, The Cradle, a stellar Gil Hanse design with nine artful holes ranging in length from 56 to 127 yards.”
8. No Tiger at Kapalua
ESPN’s Bob Harig...”After considerable speculation that he might play the Sentry Tournament of Champions for the first time since 2005, sources said Woods has elected to forego the tournament he qualified for by winning the Tour Championship in September.”
“Woods could still change his mind and has until Friday at the close of business to enter the tournament played annually at the Kapalua Resort on Maui. He has made no public statement, nor is he required to; a commitment is essentially the process by which players are required to enter PGA Tour events.”
9. In memoriam
Fine work by Brittany Romano at GolfWorld compiling the list of individuals we lost in 2018.
  • “Individuals connected to the game of golf who died in 2018 made an impact on the sport in many different ways. From professional golfers to golf course architects to well-known personalities with affinities for golf, their contributions and legacies will not be forgotten.”
  • “The golf world mourned-along with the country-the death of George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States and a fierce golf advocate. Golf also lost a former USGA president and beacon of morality in golf, Jim Hand.”
  • “The golf media will remember a few of its prominent voices who passed away in Keith Jackson, a staple in ABC Sports coverage; Marcia Chambers, whose writing worked to address race and gender discrimination issues in golf; and Dave Anderson, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his sports writing.”
  • “The loss of a handful of prominent players, among them World Golf Hall of Famers Peter Thomson, Doug Ford and Carol Mann, brought back memories of triumphant moments in the sport. But it wasn’t just the victories we recalled, but the spirit of the individuals themselves, none more vividly than Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle. The 36-year-old’s long battle with cancer was felt across the golf community and particularly hard felt on the PGA Tour. Players and officials wore yellow ribbons to honor him and his courageous fight.”
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  1. Tom

    Dec 27, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    USGA equipment rules parameters have all but stopped manufacturers from introducing new conforming equipment with any discernible performance benefit…..all these companies have left to offer are smoke and mirror claims trying to get in your wallet. Be smart with your hard earned money, snake oil salesmen are trying to take it from you.

  2. marvin

    Dec 27, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Since I’ve topped out in my golfswing, I look forward to new clubs with high technology features that will improve my distances and dispersion. I don’t mind buying new clubs if they can help me with my game and score.

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News

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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Equipment

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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