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GolfWRX Morning 9: What Tiger hopes to accomplish with Jackson Park redesign | Another take on equipment stories of the year

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

December 28, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Tiger on Jackson Park: “Time to do something significant”
Woods’ has high hopes for his Chicago redesign.
Dylan Dethier at Golf.com…”Woods is lead architect on the proposed renovation of 18-hole Jackson Park and nine-hole South Shore, two historic, beloved munis that sit at the western edge of Lake Michigan. Under the plans laid out by TGR Design (Woods’s design firm) the two courses would combine into a 7,341-yard 18-hole championship track.”
  • “On Dec. 12, the Chicago Park District met to approve a resolution to fund services for an engineering firm, the Smith Group, for the next three and a half years. The decision represented a commitment from the city and a huge hurdle cleared in the process of breaking ground on the renovation. What began four years ago as a pie-in-the-sky reevaluation of Chicago’s city-owned courses is nearing fruition as something altogether different: a likely PGA Tour host with striking views of the city and a brand-new concept of what it means to be an urban public golf course.”
  • “I first learned the game on public courses playing with my Pop,” Woods told GOLF in a statement. “I hope this course will be more than just golf and also make a positive impact in the community. We are eager to proceed toward groundbreaking at Jackson Park and South Shore.”
More on the layout TW favors…”Woods emphasized the course’s adaptability in a statement to GOLF. “We have developed a plan for a public golf course that will be fun and playable for golfers of all abilities, but still challenge the best players in the world,” he said.”
  • “Welling laid out the feel of the place in greater detail: It’ll be relatively wide and not overly bunkered off the tee, but the greens will have some stronger defenses. It’s intended to be a course of angles. If you’re really trying to score, it’ll require a very accurate approach shot, set up by a well-placed tee ball.”
  • “Around the greens, Welling expects to use plenty of short grass. That can make things easier for less experienced chippers, who can pull putter and do just fine, while putter from well off the green can be hard for a better player. There’s a lot to that idea at Bluejack National, Woods’s Texas course, and Payne’s Valley, his brand-new Missouri track.”
2. 2018’s top equipment stories
Another day, another curation of the top equipment stories of 2018. This time, it’s Andrew Tursky at PGATour.com doing the assembly.
“Tiger Woods…Here’s a recap of the notable Tiger equipment stories from the year.”
  • “His backup Scotty Cameron Newport 2 sold at auction for $44 grand. His backup!”
  • “He switched from TGR blades — confirmed to have been made at Nike’s “The Oven” before shutting down its operation – into TaylorMade TW Phase 1 irons that remain shrouded in mystery. Hopefully we get more answers about these irons in 2019. And is there a “Phase 2″ on the way?”
  • “His putter saga saw a happy ending at the TOUR Championship. Woods has won 13-of-14 major championships using the same Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter, but his relationship with it hit a rocky road in 2018. He switched into a TaylorMade Ardmore 3 putter and then a TP Black Copper Juno putter in the second half of the year. He finished second in the PGA Championship using the Ardmore 3 mallet. But at the TOUR Championship, it was the familiar Scotty he had in the bag to capture his 80th PGA TOUR victory at the TOUR Championship. A fairytale ending for the duo.
  • “Cody Blick overcomes club robbery to qualify…Before the final round of the Web.com Tour qualifying event, with guaranteed Web.com Tour 2019 starts on the line and needing to mount a comeback, Cody Blick’s golf clubs were stolen. Q-School is enough pressure as it is; then add in the headache of being robbed, coupled with playing the final round without your own clubs! The odds were stacked against him, and his Instagram post offering a $5k reward for information on the whereabouts of his clubs was fruitless.”
  • “Amazingly, Blick pieced together a set with the help of Titleist, and he actually played well enough in the final round, shooting a 9-under 63, to move up 49 spots and capture eight guaranteed starts.”
3. No Tiger in paradise
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”Tiger Woods will not begin the new year in Hawaii after all.”
  • “After considerable speculation that he might play the Sentry Tournament of Champions for the first time since 2005, Woods has elected to forgo the tournament he qualified for by winning the Tour Championship in September.”
  • “Alex Urban, the tournament’s general manager, said they had heard from Woods’ representatives and that he is “spending more time with family and friends over the holiday and will start his season at a later event.”
4. How much are caddies pocketing?
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge explored the world of caddie earnings.
  • “Nowadays, a select few caddies can make seven figures in a single season on the PGA Tour thanks to bonuses and a cut of the massive prize purses. They also can go weeks on end struggling to break even after expenses.”
  • “The amount and manner in which caddies are compensated is one of the most frequently asked questions in golf. The answer is complicated, but there are some general guidelines most player-caddie relationships follow in some form.”
  • “By most accounts, the average weekly base pay for caddies on the PGA Tour runs in the neighborhood of $1,800-$2,000 per week. On the LPGA, it’s closer to $1,200. The majority of those funds go toward travel expenses, which are almost never covered outside of the weekly wage. Some of the top players will foot the bill for costly trips outside the United States, say for the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, but that’s not always the case. If a particularly stingy player misses the cut overseas, chances are his caddie is losing money.”
5. Death of the yardage book?
Golf.com’s Josh Sens suggests apps will soon replace yardage books (not at the professional level, obviously)
  • “Just as you once said goodbye to balata, you’ll soon by bidding farewell to the yardage book. In tomorrow’s brave new world, every drive you strike and every pin you seek will depend on data gleaned from Jetson-like devices that will offer not just distances but also club suggestions, based on wind and weather and elevation changes. Ask them nicely and they’ll read your putts.”
  • “Already, apps like Golf Logix and 18Birdies and AI platforms such as Arccos Caddie contain detailed renderings of some 40,000 courses, an ever-growing archive for a fast-expanding audience. In a recent National Golf Foundation survey, more than half of respondents said they’d downloaded a golf-related app (up from 37 percent in 2011), and 41 percent said they used those apps for yardages. So take that booklet you picked up in the pro shop and reserve it for posterity – a dog-eared relic from a distant past.”
6. “Non-traditional lifestyle amenities”
Martin Kaufmann talks to the CEO of ClubCorp and others about the future of private golf clubs.
A morsel…
  • “They’re not going to join a club that’s a golf club,” Pillsbury said. “There’s not enough breadth of experience for growing young families.”
  • “Start with the clubhouse. DeMore said that more than 50 Troon properties are “reimagining” their clubhouses. “I see an expansion of fitness almost every single time we do a private-club renovation,” he said.”
  • “Pillsbury estimated that more than 40 percent of ClubCorp members have separate fitness memberships. He doesn’t want them leaving the country club to work out.”
  • “Even some of the most hardcore golf clubs are embracing the new reality…PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., has been billed as the western home of golf in America, but in recent years the staff saw members switching from full golf memberships, which are $1,400 per month, to $450 sport memberships that still allowed them playing privileges.”
  • “Adding the sports membership was to attract multigenerational (families),” said Jennifer Jenkins, PGA West’s director of marketing and membership sales. “The main reason we were losing our golf members wasn’t because of health or finances, it was because of the grandkids.”
7. Golf cart accident leaves 2 dead
Wild, unfortunate stuff in Thailand.
CNN Report...”Two men have died after one of their golf carts rammed the other into a river on a course in northern Thailand.”
  • “The men, who were visiting from South Korea, were golfing with their wives Tuesday in northern Thailand’s Phitsanulok province. While mounting a raft in order to cross the river that runs through the course, a cart carrying one of the couples crashed into the other, propelling the first cart into the river, police said.”
  • “The man driving the second cart dived into the river in an attempt to rescue the first pair, Police Major Chucheev Phumchiaw told CNN. Earlier reports suggested that the women were driving the second cart.”
  • “A local fisherman rescued the woman who ended up in the water, but the bodies of the two men — Sung Jun-yong, 68, and Ha Jae-oong, 76 — were found in the Nan River, downstream from where the incident occurred.”
8. Brooke Henderson again
Golf Channel report...”Henderson was named the Canadian Press female athlete of the year. It’s the second year in a row she has won the award, the third time in the past four years.”
  • “Henderson won two times on the LPGA in 2018, including the Lotte Championship, which she dedicated to the people involved in the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team bus crash in Saskatchewan. She also became the first Canadian to win her national open since 1973, when she prevailed at the CP Women’s Open.”
  • “Henderson earned 30 of 54 votes in a poll of Canadian broadcasters and editors, according to a TSN report. Figure skater Kaetlyn Osmond and short-track speedskater Kim Boutin tied for second place with 10 votes each.”
9. For your listening pleasure
We assembled the brain trust, or at the very least, a bunch of guys who like to talk golf and golf equipment. Johnny Wunder, Brian Westphal, Brian Knudson, Rob Miller, Michael Williams, and Ben Alberstadt talk through everything from Tiger, to the Ryder Cup, to the explosion in boutique equipment makers. The podcasters share what’s ahead for their various pods, we talk plans for the PGA Show, and what you can plan on reading, watching, and listening too on GolfWRX.com in 2019.
(That’s right, folks, you can listen to my inglorious podcast debut in all it’s awful wonder)
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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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