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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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Tour News

GolfWRX visits with Ryan Palmer

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The 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial is upon us. I got the chance to sit down with three-time PGA Tour winner and Colonial Country Club member Ryan Palmer ahead of his opening round at the PGA Tour’s stop in Fort Worth, Texas. We discussed why he loves Colonial, how it felt to win on tour again, his friendship with Jon Rahm, the Ryan Palmer Foundation, and why he chooses not to have a club equipment sponsorship.

(GolfWRX spoke with the actual, not the cardboard, Ryan Palmer)

JN: Do you have a home field advantage here at Colonial?

RP: To a point, I guess. Obviously, I have played this golf course in every type of wind. I mean, I know certain holes play shorter than they are. So, a little bit of an advantage because I don’t put much stress into the golf course itself. I just know it. And of course, James, my caddie, knows it. And that is nice. But I do put more pressure on myself because I want to play well here

JN: Why did you decide to join Colonial as a full golfing member?

RP: The history of it. To me, it’s one of the most prestigious clubs…if not the most prestigious club…in Dallas/Fort Worth. History of the golf course, history of the tournament. The more and more I played it…playing in the tournament for 16 years now…the guys that play in the ‘big game’ took me in and they’ve thrown a few parties for James and me after we won a few times. I thought the best way to give back then is to join and become a full member.

JN: How often do you play out here?

RP: If I am home for a week, I play at least twice a week. Just to play in the big game. If I am home and playing golf, I am playing here.

JN: Tell me about the Ryan Palmer Foundation

RP: I started it in ’03 in Amarillo with my dad and my good friend Billy Slaughter. We do a lot of different things but our biggest thing now is our brighter smiles initiative through dentistry. My wife Jennifer is a dentist. And our good friend Chris Swayden with Smile Workshop here in DFW does a lot of our work here and then Kyle Sparkman in Amarillo, Texas does all our dental work out there. The biggest thing was just bringing in kids to boost their self-esteem, give them a better way of life. A lot of their families don’t have the means and the funds to provide dental care. It’s an easy decision to help these kids and give these kids a sense of confidence. I have read stories about kids wearing hoodies to school because of their teeth. That’s pretty sad. I have always been about giving back and having an immediate impact. So what better way than to provide dental care.

JN: How big was that win at the Zurich in New Orleans for you?

RP: It was unbelievable. Nine years since our last win. But to have Jennifer, my wife, there and our son Mason, 12 years old, was there. He was there in ’08 when I won. But he was a year and half so he had no clue. In 2010, they weren’t there. But to have them there and have him finally see it. Mason always asks “Dad, are you going to get a trophy?” So to have him there to finally witness it…that was special.

JN: How did the partnership with Jon Rahm come about?

RP: We met in ’15 at the Phoenix Open. I knew Jordan wasn’t playing this year at Zurich. Jon and I had played some rounds together. He played in my charity event last year. So, I knew Jon a little bit and I know his caddie, Adam Hayes real well. We’ve known him since we have been on tour, James and I. And so, I talked to James about players we should want to play with and Jon was one of the top ones. So, I texted Adam and mentioned the idea to Jon and he loved it. Jon and my games are pretty similar as far as ball striking. So I shot Jon a text and he accepted.

AVONDALE, LA – APRIL 28: Ryan Palmer and Jon Rahm fist bump on the fourth hole during the final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on April 28, 2019 in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

JN: Are you going to play together again next year?

RP: It would be hard not to play together again next year. I will have to run it by Jordan….no I’m kidding. Jordan was happy for me and excited. He gets it. As long as Jon wants to play, we will go try to defend.

JN: What are your thoughts on not having a full bag club sponsorship?

RP: It is just a matter of playing with what I like. When I first got on tour, you would sign a full deal and it was pretty good. Now you are signing for balls and all 14 clubs. I love the Taylor Made driver but they cut out the driver only deals. They went just full line. Fortunately, with the help of Mike Chisholm and Chisholm Sports, I have some great corporate partners. United Rentals, a great deal with Unisys, RBC. I am able to have these corporate sponsors allow me to play what I want. I made some comments like ‘two hundred grand is not worth an equipment contract on tour because of what you can make that week.’

So, I got ribbed a little bit for making that comment but honestly it is not worth it in today’s game. We play for so much money now each and every week that by the time you get a $200,000 deal, you’re paying taxes and management, at the end of the day its worth a top 20-finish. And then you have to play those clubs all year long, whether you like them or not. So now I can play whatever putter or iron or driver I want. I am only under contract with ball, shoes and gloves. Footjoy and Titleist. I test and I tinker now and then but I always go back to what I have performed with in the past. I stand over a tee shot and I think, I know I hit this driver this way at this tournament at this particular moment. Why would I change?

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Morning 9: U.S. Open qualifiers | USGA x Marvel? | Tiger miniseries?

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Owing to technical difficulties, please enjoy this very low-tech (let’s call it “minimalist”) version of the M9

1. Weir, and other U.S. Open qualifiers

AP Report…”Former Masters champion Mike Weir is headed back to the U.S. Open for the first time in six years as one of 10 players who advanced Monday from the first of 12 sectional qualifiers.”

  • “Brendon Todd continued his resurgence with rounds of 65-66 at Northwood Club and Bent Tree to share medalist honors with Nick Taylor of Canada.”
  • “Weir opened with a 69 at Northwood and secured his spot with a 67 at Bent Tree to avoid extra holes.”

Full piece

More on yesterday’s qualifying in Dallas from the USGA’s David Shefter…

  • “Todd, a former University of Georgia All-America honoree, shot 10-under-par 131 at The Northwood Club and Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas, Texas, on Monday to share medalist honors with Nick Taylor in the first of 12 U.S. Open sectional qualifiers. Ten players advanced from a strong field of 102 players that included several PGA Tour and Web.com Tour competitors.”
  • “The 36-hole sectional qualifier in Japan is scheduled for May 27, while the remaining 10 qualifiers are set for June 3 – eight in the United States, one in England and another in Canada.”
  • “I’m pumped,” said Todd, who owns one PGA Tour and three Web.com Tour victories since turning professional in 2007. “This was on my list for about a year to try and qualify for Pebble. It’s one of my favorite courses in the world. I just can’t wait to get out there and play Pebble in a U.S. Open setup. I think it will set up good for me. I think it will be firm [and] I drive it straight. It’s a course-management golf course. You’ve got to put it in the fairway, keep it under the hole and score well.”

Full piece.

Full results here.

2. Fassi!

The AP’s Doug Ferguson on Maria Fassi (ANWA runner up) capturing the NCAA individual title handily…

  • “Fassi, with her high energy and a powerful swing, delivered a bogey-free round of 68 to win the NCAA individual title by four shots. She is the first woman from Arkansas to win the NCAA title since Stacy Lewis in 2007.”
  • And from Fassi…”After a pretty perfect year that my junior year was … and then heading to nationals and playing pretty bad golf was not fun,” Fassi told Golf Channel. “It was a feeling that I never wanted to feel again. I think I just grew from that. I don’t like feeling that way, I don’t like finishing second. I think those are things that fuel me. They make me wake up early, go work out and stay here to dark practicing. I think those are the things that have helped me this year.”
  • “I think not winning at Augusta was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I can say that now that I have reflected. I know that not winning was probably what needed to happen because I knew I was going to learn a lot more from coming in second versus pulling that one off. Of course I hate losing, but coming here I knew what I was going to be put up against.”

Full piece.

3. Who’s missing?

Begging the question… was it worth it?

Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”The list of players who turned pro midseason this year was particularly long thanks in large part to changes the LPGA made to its qualifying process…The Man Out Front got to wondering – where are they now?”

A few of the departed…

  • “Robyn Choi, Colorado – Missed three cuts so far on the LPGA this season and one on the Ladies European Tour. Ranks 66th on the Symetra Tour money list with $4,381 after making four of five cuts.”
  • “Kristen Gillman, Alabama – Ranks 33rd on the LPGA money list at $156,459, getting a huge boost from a T-6 at the ANA Inspiration. (That’s the week she likely would’ve been playing at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.) Not only has her card locked up for 2020, the Solheim Cup is not out of the question.”
  • “Lauren Stephenson, Alabama – Started 2019 rookie year with a T-8 at the Vic Open. Ranks 75th on the money list with $55,673 in seven starts.”

Full piece.

4. Back to the Black

Geoff Shackelford’s thoughts on adjustments to Bethpage ahead of the Ryder Cup’s turn at the venue (plenty of time!)

  • “…Not much needs to be done at Bethpage Black for the 2024 Ryder Cup…Take down the rough cut for the bomb-and-gouge loving American team, more concession stands and way more grandstand seating…”
  • “The most complicated of all involves the oft-discussed, widely loathed par-4 18th hole…Tweaks were made this time around, more bunkers added to the already excessively-trapped, straightaway mess and a dreadful finishing hole remained so. The last time a major was played at Bethpage, the USGA tried to improve 18 by moving up tees and that just led to the regrettable sight of 6-iron lay ups and a sense that the hole was no better.”
  • “In the past, consideration was given to creating a hybrid hole utilizing the righthand bunker complex, the first fairway on the Red, and the current 18th green. Many others have advocated that players be asked to take a walk from the par-3 17th to the Red Course’s 18th tee.”

Full piece.

5. Hovland wins Ben Hogan Award

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Viktor Hovland received the Ben Hogan Award at Colonial C.C. on Monday night.”

  • “The Oklahoma State junior beat Cowboys teammate Matthew Wolff and California’s Collin Morikawa for the prize, which is given to the nation’s best collegiate golfer. (The award used to be primarily academic based, but its criteria changed in 2002.) Though Wolff has received more media attention, the honor encapsulates all amateur competitions, which made Hovland the easy choice.”
  • “The 21-year-old out of Norway is currently No. 1 in the world amateur rankings, a standing spurred by winning the 2018 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach. That victory earned an invite to Augusta National this past spring, where Hovland finished as the Masters Low Am. He also captured three collegiate events this season, and finished second at last year’s European Am.”

Full piece.

6. USGA x Marvel

A real thing that is actually happening…

  • Via Golfweek staff…”The USGA announced Tuesday it has partnered with the Marvel Universe for a comic book using some of the Marvel Super Heroes teaching kids the basics of playing golf.”
  • “The books will be available prior to the U.S. Open online. Limited-edition Marvel-themed golf posters will be distributed at the Junior Experience on June 9 at Pebble Beach.”
  • “The story follows Tony Stark (Iron Man) and other Avengers as they teach the next generation of Marvel Super Heroes about golf.”

Full piece.

7. The big win that wasn’t

Golf Digest’s Stephen Hennessey…

  • “It turns out, there was another huge payday on the line at Bethpage Black on Friday of the PGA Championship, just not one that would’ve been on anyone’s radars.”
  • “The Vegas Sports Information Network reported on the very bold “make-the-cut” parlay for the PGA Championship placed by Icelandic gambler Spencer McIlmoyle. For the casual reader, a parlay is a wager with multiple bets included, and it only pays out if every bet wins. McIlmoyle’s bet was a $3,448 10-leg parlay on seven golfers to make the cut and three golfers to miss the cut. The potential payday? $155,000.”
  • “Amazingly, McIlmoyle nailed nine of the 10 golfers’ outcomes, correctly predicting Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Maytsuyama, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau and Webb Simpson all to make the cut, and Jason Dufner and Branden Grace to miss the cut. It all came down to Shane Lowry to miss the cut, and a birdie by Lowry on his second-to-last hole of his second round moved Lowry inside the cut line, costing the gambler the six-figure payday.”

Full piece.

8. JT to return from wrist injury at Memorial

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…

“It appears Justin Thomas’ injury sabbatical is coming to an end.”

  • “Thomas, who dropped out of the PGA Championship last Monday and the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks before that due to an ailing wrist, has committed to next week’s Memorial. The tournament announced Thomas’ participation on Tuesday morning.”
  • “The 26-year-old, who dealt with a similar issue at the end of last season, hurt his wrist at the Honda Classic after hitting a tree with his club in March. In 11 starts this season, Thomas boasts five top 10s, highlighted by a runner-up at the Genesis Open. His last event was at the 2019 Masters, where he finished T-12.”

Full piece.

9. Tiger miniseries?

Report via Tim Baysinger at The Wrap

  • “A scripted miniseries on Tiger Woods, based on Jeff Benedict’s book about pro golfer is in development at Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse Entertainment.”
  • “Benedict reached a deal with Montgomery to set up a joint venture at WHE, with “Tiger Woods” as the first project that Benedict and Wheelhouse will take to market. The book, which Benedict co-authored with “60 Minutes” correspondent Armen Keteyian, was published last year and became a New York Times bestseller.”

Full piece. 

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from Monday’s U.S. Open sectional qualifier at Northwood Club

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GolfWRX had feet on the ground at Northwood Club in Dallas, Texas for this Monday’s U.S. Open sectional qualifying. We have seven galleries in our forums filled to the brim with photos from Monday’s action, and here are ten interesting selections for you to enjoy.

“Talk to me Goose.” And presumably, “I feel the need for speed.” Top Gun all the way!

Jim Nous’ bag full of Ping clubs features three visible wedges all with different bounce.

Blaine Hale rocking this great looking TaylorMade Spider headcover.

Shorts on the course –  a rarity.

Conner Koberg showing off his colors with this Iowa State headcover.

Julius Boros won the 1952 U.S. Open at Northwood Club. One of his three major triumphs. How about that bag?

Stephen Jaeger played collegiate golf at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, but he’s quite clearly proud of his homeland too.

Noah Goodwin is another player who loves the raw finish on the Callaway Apex MB irons.

Up close with the Titleist 718 T-MB utility iron

.

A glance at Northwood Club itself.

Check out all of Monday’s photos on our forums.

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