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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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Morning 9: Solheim Cup finish for the ages | Credit where it’s due | Will Tiger pick Tiger? continued

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

September 16, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. For the ages!
Ron Sirak for LPGA.com says this year’s Solheim Cup was one of the best ever (and he’s not wrong!)…”Rarely in sports does reality match expectation. More often than not, the happening falls short of the hype. But the 14½-13½ Solheim Cup victory by Europe over the United States on Sunday at Gleneagles was better than advertised – almost better than imaginable.”
  • “You’d have to search far and wide to find a more dramatic finish anywhere in the history of sports. With the last shot of the day, Suzann Pettersen – a controversial captain’s pick – rolled in a 7-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to secure the victory. A miss and the U.S. would have won for the third consecutive time.”
  • “Like the Ryder Cup, this has just grown so hugely,” said Catriona Matthew, the Scottish woman who captained Europe to victory in her homeland. “It came down to the last putt on the last hole. You can’t get more exciting than that.”
  • “The victory by Europe denied Juli Inkster a chance to become the only captain with three victories and it stopped the Americans from winning three in a row for the third time in the competition. The Solheim Cup now stand 10-6 in favor of the United States.”

Full piece.

2. Credit where it’s due
Golf Digest’s Keely Levins says that while Pettersen will rightfully get the headlines, don’t forget the work of Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall at Gleneagles.
  • “But while all of this is going on, let’s not forget two other players who deserve a lot of the credit for Europe’s win: Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall. Each posted 4-0-0 records for the week, and together they earned five of Europe’s 14½ points at Gleneagles.”
  • “Like Pettersen, Catriona Matthew took Boutier with one of her captain’s picks. The 25-year-old from France won her first LPGA event in February, the ISPS Handa Vic Open. She then went on to top-10 finish in two major championships, making her a sensible choice.”

Full piece.

3. Bright spots for the U.S. 
Golfweek’s Roxanna Scott on the shining stars for the Stars & Stripes…”Rookie Nelly Korda joined her older sister Jessica as the leading players for the U.S., with both earning 3½ of four points. Friday they played together in morning foursomes, making history as the first sisters to be paired in a Solheim Cup match. It was also the first time their parents, Petr and Regina, watched their daughters play together. The sisters won their opening match 6 and 4, and went on to dominate Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law 6 and 5 in Saturday’s foursomes.”
  • “Both Kordas were down early in their singles matches Sunday. Nelly Korda was down by three against Caroline Hedwall before the American made consecutive birdies on the 10 and 11th holes. Nelly Korda won the match 2 up.”
  • “Jessica Korda was down by two against Caroline Masson before she pulled it to all square on the 8th. Jessica Korda had three birdies in her last five holes to win 3 up.”

Full piece.

4. A late bid to flip his 2019 script
A year notable more for destroying courses in a literal sense sees Garcia get the better of a track…
SkySports report…”Sergio Garcia has won the KLM Open by one shot from Nicolai Hojgaard after finishing 18 under in Amsterdam to claim his 16th European Tour title.”
  • “Garcia went into the final day as joint-leader with Callum Shinkwin and seemed on course for a routine victory as he led by two shots at the fifth.”
  • “His playing partner Shinkwin then edged ahead by one shot at the seventh following successive bogeys on a mixed front nine at The International from the Spaniard.”
  • “But a double bogey at the 10th by Englishman Shinkwin offered Garcia some hope and the 2017 Masters champion looked to have sealed victory with a stunning approach from the rough at the 16th, despite having his feet in the bunker for the awkward second shot to dial in to five feet.”
5. Niemann breaks through
The first victory by a Chilean on the PGA Tour will no doubt be the first of many for Mr. Niemann.
  • AP report…”The 20-year-old cruised to a dominant six-stroke win on Sunday at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, picking up his first career win in the inaugural event of the 2019-20 season.”
  • “My game was feeling great, and mentally (it) was awesome,” Niemann said. “I was just feeling like I was going to win this tournament since the first day. I was in a really good mindset.”
  • “Niemann entered the final round with a comfortable two-shot lead over the field, and started the day steady – firing a 1-under 33 on the front nine.”
  • “That’s when he took off…”

Full piece.

6. 2 months, 2 Champions Tour wins
AP report…”Jerry Kelly played bogey-free Sunday at Warwick Hills and closed with a 4-under 68 for a two-shot victory in the Ally Challenge, his second victory this year on the PGA Tour Champions.”
  • “Kelly also won two months ago in his native Wisconsin at the American Insurance Family Championship.”
  • “He started the final round with a one-shot lead over Charles Schwab Cup leader Scott McCarron and Woody Austin. McCarron fell apart with a 75. Austin remained within one shot until a bogey on the par-4 15th, and Kelly stretched his lead to three with a birdie on the par-3 17th.”

Full piece. 

7. Tour pulls back curtain on POY voting process, says integrity is “not up for debate”
Golf.com’s Josh Berhow got in touch with the PGA Tour to discuss the…much remarked upon…2019 PGA Tour Player of the Year award given to Rory McIlroy…
  • “In a phone interview with GOLF.com, Laura Neal, the Tour’s senior vice president of communications, did not say how many players voted in 2019 but she did say that in any given year 45 to 60 percent of players participate. The Tour also provided GOLF.com with a copy of the ballot” [see in the link to “full piece”]
  • “…Neal said the ballot is delivered electronically to eligible voters – players who have played in at least 15 events. The completed ballots go directly to the Tour’s accounting firm, Grant Thornton. Employees there tabulate the votes without Tour supervision and send the results to the Tour. The process is broadly similar to how Academy Award votes are tabulated.”
  • “Feel free to debate whether the PGA Tour membership should have voted Rory or Brooks as Player of the Year,” Neal wrote in an email Friday. “What’s not up for debate is the Tour’s integrity – in this process or otherwise.”

Full piece.

8. Will Tiger pick Tiger, continued
Woods filed a captain’s blog for PGATour.com as he ponders his captains picks…
  • “While I was disappointed to not earn one of the top 8 spots, I’m hopeful to perform well at my next start in Japan. In the meantime, I’m going to rely on playing with some of the guys in Florida to stay sharp. I’ll practice hard, work on my game, and we’ll have some matches. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also always fun.”
  • “At the end of the day, the decision of who rounds out this team will ultimately be my call, but I’m going to lean heavily on the opinions of my captain’s assistants and the eight guys who have already earned a spot. My plan is to keep an open line of communication to ensure we find the four guys who best fit this team. We will be watching the fall events closely. There are so many guys who are world-class players who aren’t yet on the team like Rickie Fowler, Tony Finau, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Gary Woodland, Jordan Spieth and many more. The Fall events will also allow me to get extended looks at two young rookies, Matthew Wolff and Colin Morikawa, who both played well after turning pro late in the season.”

Full piece.

9. Niemann on Presidents Cup squad? 
From a piece by PGATour.com’s Helen Ross…

Els, who will announce his picks in early November along with U.S. Captain Tiger Woods, was well aware of what Niemann had done. The Chilean finished the automatic qualification period ranked 28th.

  • …”What a fantastic win for Joaquin at The Greenbrier,” Els told PGA TOUR officials via text message. “I’m really proud of him, and it’s a wonderful start to his season. I’m looking forward to more of his great play.”
  • Niemann may be a relative newbie as far as The Presidents Cup is concerned. But he’s clearly focused on playing for Els at Royal Melbourne in December, calling it a “dream” – not unlike his wide-ranging thoughts on Sunday morning.
  • “I know that there is a lot of good players fighting for the first spots,” Niemann said. “I know it’s going to be tough, and this win definitely helps to get a little — probably a little help to get in the first spots. But I don’t know yet.
  • “Just got to be patient and get a couple more tournaments to have good golf and hopefully get in that team.”

Full piece.

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Tour Rundown: Incredible Solheim Cup | Niemann, Garcia, Kelly

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In the northeast USA, where I live, the leaves are poised to change colors. There was a generational change in this week’s Solheim Cup where a young European team showed it could win at singles. There was a generational change in West Virginia, site of the first event of the 2019-20 PGA Tour. It wasn’t quite the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, but the second weekend of September gave us a glimpse of the exciting, young talent that inhabits all the world’s tours. And so, we are more than happy to offer a Tour Rundown for Monday, September 16th, 2019.

Solheim Cup won on home soil by Europe

Last weekend, a young USA team of amateurs left British soil with the Walker Cup, thanks to a singles-day rally. Team Europe made certain that the history did not repeat itself so promptly, albeit with a similar comeback of its own. The young European team was championed by Suzanne Pettersen but made a name for itself, Young promise in the guise of Georgia Hall, Bronte Law, Carlota Ciganda and Celine Boutier earned Sunday wins for the Blue team. Their efforts were supported by stalwarts like Pettersen and Nordqvist. The latter smoked Morgan Pressel in the day’s final match, ending it early at 4 & 3, giving Team Europe a boost in the day’s closing moments.

It was left to Pettersen, on the cusp of retirement, to knock down a 10-feet birdie putt on the final hole, outlasting the USA’s Marina Alex by 1-up and securing a Solheim Cup in her farewell appearance. Team golf isn’t always brilliant, but the Presidents Cup in December, and the Ryders and Curtises of 2020 would do well to emulate the spirit of Solheim Cup Gleneagles.

Niemann fulfills promise with first Tour title

The thing with prodigies is, they feel like they’ve been here forever. The trouble with golf prodigies is, if they don’t win enough, they never win enough as professionals. Joaquin Niemann won the 2018 Latin America Championship. That’s a big event, as it earned him invitations to the Masters, U.S. and Open championships of that year. He was the No. 1-ranked golfer as an amateur, but that was the only big win he ever had. Let’s be honest, it wasn’t an NCAA title, nor a USGA Junior, nor an Amateur championship from the isles nor the USA. Niemann looked good and played well, but he never threatened to win anything else, until Sunday.

Niemann turned pro after that 2018 Masters, giving up the chance to play in the twin Open championships. This week, he worked his way around the Greenbrier Resort’s Old White course like the conductor of a train, or a symphony. The young Chilean held a towo-shot advantage with 18 holes to play, but ceded the top spot to Tom Hoge after front-nine struggles. On the inward half, he was the Niemann of old (or should that be, of young?), posting six birdies for 31 and 64 on the day.

Hoge could not keep pace, and settled for second spot at 15 under, six shots behind the winner. Early in the week, the news belonged to Kevin Chappell, who posted 59 in round two. Curiously, the Californian never visited the 60s all week, with three rounds in the 70s, and a place in the middle of the pack. From on high, looking down, stood a young golfer, beginning to fulfill his promise.

Kelly locks up midwest for locals in Michigan

There have been a few events of note in the upper midwest of the USA on this season’s PGA Tour Champions. Jerry Kelly won the AFI in Wisconsin in June, and was followed by friendly rival Steve Stricker at the Senior Open in Indiana. In sort of a rubber match resolution, Kelly came back this week to claim the Ally Challenge in Michigan, posting a two-stroke victory over Woody Austin. Even if Stricker had entered this week, he would have been pressed to keep up with his fellow cheesehead.

Kelly was that little-bit better than everyone else during every round, this week. Beginning round three a shot off the pace, Scott McCarron inexplicably faded again, adding wood to the suggestion that he will never become the clutch player that his physical talents deserve. His 75 dropped him to a tie for 15th. Kelly never wavered, posting four birdies on the day for 68. His only bogey of the week came on Thursday’s ninth hole, and it was more than offset by a run of five consecutive birdies, mid-day Friday. With the victory, his second of the year, Kelly jumped into second spot on the season-long Schwab Cup list, just behind McCarron.

Garcia rehearses alphabet in march to KLM win

In the late 2000s, the Spanish Royal Academy eliminated the LL from its alphabet. That news was lost on golfers, until this week’s KLM Open in Holland. Sergio Garcia, clearly not worried about a KLLLM disparity, won by one slim stroke over Nicolai Hojgaard.

Absent this week from the Spaniard’s performance were the phlegm-filled, earthworm-seeking histrionics that have spotted an otherwise-memorable career. Garcia’s game was on, with birdies at 15 and 16 affording a cushion for a 17th-hole bogey. In fact, Garcia made seven birdies on the day, most of any, on the week, for the Iberian. The unheralded Hojgaar, hailing from Denmark, was in control most of the day. His late bogey, at the 16th, brought him to 4 over on the week for the antipenultimate hole. If he looks back with any regret on the week, it would certainly focus on the wee par 4.

Fishburn secures elevation at Canada Life Championship

At week’s opening, Patrick Fishburn held a tenuous grasp of the fifth and final hockey sweater, symbolic of a Korn Ferry Tour card for 2020. By Sunday evening, the young man from the USA had secured not only a promotion to the next level of tour success but all the confidence that comes with a clutch victory. On Fishburn’s heels in the Order of Merit, just $1,000 back, was Hayden Buckley. Just outside but with some hope, was David Pastore. Buckley faded this week, finishing mid-pack, but Pastore was electric. He posted constantly-improving scores of 68-66-65-63, concluding the week a solid 18 under par. He beat everyone in the field … everyone but Fishburn.

The young alum from BYU never strayed from the mid-60s, posting a pair of 64 over the weekend to outdistance the field with a 21-under par for a total. The title was Fishburn’s first of the year, and certainly must have provided the sort of assurance that beating the field brings. With the victory, Fishburn, Lorens Chan and Jake Knapp of the USA joined Canada’s Taylor Pendrith and France’s Paul Barjon in the elite group of five to receive life-altering tour sweaters and membership in the penultimate stage of tour success.

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Morning 9: First first-round leader of 2019-20 PGA Tour | Real star of the KLM Open | $30K golf cart theft

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

September 13, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. First first-round leader of the 2019-2020 PGA Tour season
AP report…”Shelton made eight starts on tour as a non-member in 2016-17. He has his TOUR card for the first time after winning two Korn Ferry events in May.”
  • “I’m fired up,” Shelton said. “Last night it was tough to sleep. I’ve been waiting for this moment all season.”
  • “Starting on the back nine on the Old White TPC, the 24-year-old Shelton made the turn at 3 under and birdied Nos. 1-3. The 8-under 62 is his lowest score on TOUR.”
  • “Defending champion Kevin Na, Lanto Griffin, Mark Hubbard and Zack Sucher matched Harrington at 64.”

Full piece.

2. Meanwhile…
BBC report…”England’s Callum Shinkwin, 446th in the world rankings, is the surprise leader after the first round of the KLM Open.”
  • “Shinkwin produced an eagle on the 544-yard par five third in his six-under 66 to hold a one-shot lead in Amsterdam.”
  • “The 26-year-old has only made the cut at eight of 17 events on the European Tour this season.”
  • “Seven players are on five under, including England’s Chris Paisley, Matthew Southgate and Sam Horsfield, and Scotland’s Marc Warren.”

Full piece. 

3. Ready for battle
A look at the morning Solheim Cup matches (where soul-taking Danielle Kang will sit)…
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…
Match 1, 3:10AM ET: Morgan Pressel and Marina Alex (USA) vs. Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law (EUR)
Match 2, 3:22AM ET: Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare (USA) vs. Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier (EUR)
Match 3, 3:34AM ET: Jessica Korda and Nelly Korda (USA) vs. Caroline Masson and Jodi Ewart Shadoff (EUR)
Match 4, 3:46AM ET: Megan Khang and Annie Park (USA) vs. Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz (EUR)
4. Stealing the show at the KLM Open 
Todd Kelly at Golfweek…”one golfer in particular stole the show on Thursday.”
  • “Her name? Susan Hosang.”
  • “Her age? 100.”
  • “That’s right, the centenarian, who took up the sport 30 years ago, was a special guest at the tournament and played the 13th hole alongside Reed as well as Matt Wallace and Thomas Pieters in a Beat the Pro challenge, which pits a lucky amateur with the pros.”
  • “According to the Tour, the KLM Open is celebrating its 100th edition of the tournament. KLM, the Dutch airline, has been in business 100 years.”
5. Myrtle Beach rebounds 
The Forecaddie…
  • “While the world continues to focus on Hurricane Dorian’s damage to the Bahamas, Myrtle Beach and other South Carolina destinations already are back to business. Despite up to a foot of rain and several tornadoes that made news on national broadcasts, The Forecaddie hears the region came out of the storm incredibly well.”
  • “We were extremely fortunate to have avoided the worst of hurricane Dorian,” said Golf Tourism Solutions head Bill Golden. The agency overseas marketing for Myrtle Beach and has created a page updating golf course conditions.
  • “Myrtle Beach golf courses were able to escape with no long-term damage, and players can expect to find our courses in typically outstanding condition.”

Full piece.

6. An all-out assault on Leishman’s back
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski reports on the rough stuff in the dorsal region of Marc Leishman this week…
  • “With four bulging discs in his back, Marc Leishman didn’t need any further injuries to make it uncomfortable to play golf. He got one anyway. The timing couldn’t have been worse.”
  • “Leishman felt his cranky back seizing up on him Wednesday morning before playing in the pro-am for the PGA Tour season opener, A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier. That was bad enough. Then, on the fifth hole of the pro-am, one of his playing partners inadvertently nailed him in the right side of his lower back with an errant approach shot.”
  • “Apparently, the accident was a result of a miscommunication. Leishman thought the player had picked up after several strokes on the short par-4 hole. But he hadn’t. Leishman still wasn’t quite in the line of play when a ball came whizzing at him from about 100 yards away.”

Full piece.

7. JT’s melanoma square 
Golfweek staff…”Justin Thomas revealed Thursday he had a recent scare with melanoma that was discovered when he had a mole on his left leg checked out.”
  • “Thomas, who won the BMW Championship last month, shared a photo on Instagram that showed an incision on his leg with stitches. When a dermatologist checked out a very small mole on his leg, it was caught in the early stages of melanoma, Thomas wrote.”
  • “”Luckily, we found it at a time where there should be no problems going forward,” he wrote. “That being said, EVERYBODY GO GET CHECKED!! No harm can come from it and it’s the best way to catch anything before it becomes a serious issue. Especially for all the junior golfers (and other athletes) spending so much time in the sun.”
  • “It is so important to make sure you’re monitoring your body – no matter how old you are or how much sunscreen you use. It really got my attention, and hoping it does the same to y’all!”

Full piece.

8. $30K golf cart theft
Dennis Hoey at the Portland Press Herald…“York police arrested the director of golf at the Cape Neddick Country Club and charged him with stealing a golf cart designed for golfers with disabilities.”
  • “Dustin Michael Hunter, 35, of West Street in Biddeford was arrested Tuesday morning at the country club and charged with felony theft by unauthorized taking or transfer, Detective Sgt. Thomas Cryan in a news release.”
  • “Hunter was taken to the York County Jail, then released on bail….Hunter allegedly stole a paramobile golf cart valued at $30,000 and a trailer used to haul the cart on April 21. The golf cart and trailer had been stored at the country club, according to York police.”
  • “Cryan said the cart was designed for use by disabled golfers, but can be customized for use in other leisure sports such as fishing or archery.”

Full piece.

9. A perspective on Abaco 
Our Michael Williams reflects on his experience at the resort last year…and the recent devastation.
  • “Abaco exceeded my expectations. The location was as beautiful as any in the world, with white warm tropic breezes and sandy beaches on a secluded bay. The water is a surreal kind of blue; actually, it’s a series of blues that range from turquoise to a deep royal blue.”
  • “The only thing more sparkling that the water and the sunshine were the smiles of the people. From the time that you arrive the warmth and hospitality of the staff at Abaco surrounds you. It’s not the kind of hospitality that you learn from a class or an employee manual. It’s a more honest and genuine variety that comes from a culture of courtesy and welcoming others into your world.”
  • “I made some great friends on and on the golf course in Abaco. David Southworth, who along with business partner Joe Deitch form the ownership group of the Abaco Club, is one of those people who has a kind of easy charm and grace. When he talks about Abaco, he deflects credit from himself and shives the spotlight on his staff and support team. “These are the people that make it possible,” I remember Southworth saying again and again.”
  • “And this on the current effort to rise again…”Both Joe Deitch and David Southworth have pledged that the Abaco Club will host its Korn Ferry Tour event in January 2020 as planned. Aid is beginning to flow and people all over the world are pledging their support in the short term and the long term. More is needed now and will be for.a very long time. Eventually, the spirit of the Bahamian people will prevail, and Abaco will rise again. For now, I will give what I can in time and money as I pray nightly for the living and the dead of Abaco.”

 

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