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Morning 9: Earl Woods’ most significant bit of advice? | Happy (slightly belated) Birthday, Tiger

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

December 31, 2018

Good Monday morning, golf fans, and a very happy New Year’s Eve to you all.
1. Return of the Roar
The Tiger Woods comeback season doc (szn, as the kids say) aired on ESPN last night, and there’s a little related content at this early hour.
A few morsels…
  • Golfweek’s Kevin Casey writes…”Later in the documentary, Woods related that tale of the pressure mounting as his father’s death neared. But the 43-year-old also revealed some sage advice at that time from Earl that stuck with him, even having an impact on the attitude he took during his 2018 comeback”
  • ‘”I’ll never forget the lesson that (dad) told me. That year at the Masters, I tried to win it for him. I knew it was the last tournament he was ever going to watch me play. I need to win one for dad, so he can actually see this before he passes and I tried and I put too much pressure on myself and I went back to California after that to be with Pops and he (was like), ‘What the hell is wrong with you?’ And I said, ‘Well dad, I tried to win it for you.’ He said, ‘Haven’t I taught you anything in the game of golf? You do it for the inner joy that it brings, you don’t do it for anyone else.’ And (I was like), ‘Yeah, I took myself out of what you taught me.’ Looking back on this year, at the core of it all is that I wanted to do it again. I wanted to do it for myself that I could climb the mountain one more time.”‘
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine with this bit on the loyalty of Joe LaCava
  • “Joe LaCava didn’t caddie much while his boss, Tiger Woods, was recovering from four different back surgeries. He logged fewer than 20 tournaments with Woods in 2014-17. At one point, Woods even told LaCava that he was OK if LaCava found another golfer to loop for.”
  • “But LaCava, speaking during the ESPN documentary “Return of the Roar,” which aired Sunday night, said that he was prepared to wait a long time for Woods’ return.”
  • “If I could live another hundred years, I’d wait another hundred years,” LaCava said. “I was never not going to work for Tiger as long as he was going to have me. I just wanted to work for him and no one else. And I think that helped a little bit, knowing that he had a friend that thought that much of him as a person and with his game.”
2. Tiger’s birthday wishlist
With TW turning 43 yesterday, the crew at Omnisport assembled what ought to be on his birthday wishlist.
  • “An injury-free year…With his well-documented back problems seemingly behind him, Woods steadily improved in 2018 but will be wary of taking anything for granted having endured years in the wilderness with his physical struggles. Staying fit must be top of Woods’ wishlist for his 44th year.”
  • “A 15th major…Woods was twice in contention to end his long wait for a 15th major in 2018 but failed to get over the line at The Open and the US PGA Championship. Time is running out for Woods to break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors but, after a 2018 that delivered plenty of promise, he can afford to have hope of cutting the gap in 2019.”
  • “A number one ranking….Woods last topped the world rankings in May 2014. Now ranked 13th, a return to the summit appears an ambitious target given the queue of younger and more consistent golfers ahead of him. Yet if Woods does stay healthy and starts stringing performances together, it is not out of the question he could find himself at the top of the game once more.”
3. Tiger turns 43…but can he make history and return to No. 1 at that age?
Erik Matuszewski writing for Forbes…”As Tiger Woods celebrates his 43rd birthday today, it seems like a good time to ponder what the upcoming year will bring and whether it’s possible he might ever regain the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking.”
  • “It seemed a preposterous notion a little over a year ago, when Woods had slipped to 1,199th in the world and himself questioned whether he’d play again competitively as he recovered from a fourth surgery on his back. But Woods has climbed 1,186 spots in the past year and now enters 2019 ranked 13th in the world, ahead of players such as Jason Day, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth following his successful 2017-18 PGA TOUR season.”
  • “That said, no player has ever held golf’s No. 1 ranking at the age of 43, at least not since the advent of the Official World Golf Ranking in 1986.”
  • “Greg Norman was the game’s oldest No. 1 at 42 years of age back in 1998. Norman, who held the top spot in the rankings 11 different times, was actually one month shy of his 43rd birthday when he was unseated in January of 1998, by a then 22-year-old Woods. Woods had first ascended to the world’s No. 1 ranking in 1997 at the age of 21.”
  • “Vijay Singh was also 42 when he was No. 1 back in 2005. Singh was supplanted by Woods, who then went more than five years atop the rankings.”
Erik Matuszewski weighs Tiger’s odds. Full piece.
4. Tiger’s top 10 performances
We’ve done this already this year, but no harm in a second opinion. Golfweek’s Kevin Casey assembled his top-10 Tiger Woods performances.
His top 3…
  • “2008 U.S. Open…Woods needed 19 playoff holes to finish this one off, but we all know why this win is so high on this list. Woods made it to extra holes and outlasted Rocco Mediate in that playoff despite playing the tournament with a torn left ACL and a double stress fracture in his left leg. This one was unbelievably dramatic and the greatest example of how seemingly nothing could stop Woods in his prime.”
  • “1997 Masters…Obviously Woods’ first major win – a seminal 12-shot beatdown of the field at the 1997 Masters – is going to be near the top. We don’t need to explain much else here, it’s all been told many times by now.”
  • “2000 U.S. Open…This top spot should surprise nobody. Woods’ 15-shot demolishing of the field at the 2000 U.S. Open is the gold standard of golf performances. It’s widely considered the greatest showing in the history of the game. So yeah, No. 1 is fitting here.”
5. The Open effect
Dermot Gillece at the Irish Independent examined the impact felt around Royal Portrush with The Open coming to town this year through some interesting lenses.
A morsel…”Though the big event is still seven months away, Royal Portrush is already experiencing The Open effect. The year just ending has delivered record green-fee revenues of £3m, which is twice what they might have expected before landing their coveted prize.”
  • “My marketing budget has now been reduced to zero,” the club’s secretary/manager Wilma Erskine memorably remarked three years ago when news of 2019 was confirmed. As a bonus, the modified Dunluce links is drawing rich praise not only from tourists, but from television crews who arrived recently from both sides of the Atlantic and who are expected back in the New Year.
  • “The only downside for those enriched by Ms Erskine’s expertise is her scheduled departure. “Yes, I’m stepping down after it’s over,” she said last week. “I think it’s the right time to embark on something else. After 35 years, I think I’ve done my bit.”
  • “Then typically, she couldn’t resist adding: “I’ve managed to survive a lot longer than a lot of people. Now it’s time for someone new, with fresh ideas. Having had The Open, what more could I ask for?” What indeed.”
  • “She will be greatly missed. At the risk of drawing down the wrath of the sisterhood, for a woman to have charge of the financial fortunes of such an historically conservative establishment can have been achieved only by brilliant stewardship.”
6. Fun at non-traditional courses
Jason Lusk reflects on good times he had in ’18 away from the standard 18-hole track.
  • “Too many courses were built in recent decades to challenge, not invite. There are too many long par 4s meant to knock recreational golfers to their knees, to repel shots instead of receive them. Too many five-hour rounds across the traditional 18 holes. The game is often too much quest, not enough quip.”
  • “Thankfully, a handful of folks are working coast-to-coast to put the giggle back in hit-and-giggle. Their efforts include reversible 18-hole courses, nine-hole courses that beg for another loop, par-3 courses that take less than an hour and offer some of the most fun greens in the game, even a 7-hole hilltop course that redefines rustic and offers goats as caddies. Different can be good … very good.”
  • “The best part of my year in golf was getting to visit a few of these spots. From Florida to Oregon with stops along the way, there were several new layouts, or even recently redesigned and repurposed spots, that eschew the traditional 18-hole, par-72 layout to offer breezy, engaging and different opportunities to swing a club and prove that the game can be more than the same old same old.”
7. The evolution of golf recruiting
Kevin Casey, undisputed MVP of today’s Morning 9, wrote about the changes in the junior golf and college golf recruiting landscape.
  • “Even as national attention has jumped at the junior level, names such as Bryson DeChambeau, Aaron Wise and Maverick McNealy thrived despite playing a more localized junior schedule. Suh himself played sparingly outside his native California as a junior, yet he has been college golf’s top-ranked player at times.”
  • “Ricky Castillo has had to play a limited national schedule, but that didn’t stop the Florida signee from ranking No. 1 in the Class of 2019.”
  • “Forces for a big national schedule are strong, but expect local junior golfers to continue to find success.”
  • “One reason is financial. Playing an extensive national schedule quickly gets expensive. One payoff for all the travel would seem to be much higher odds at a big college scholarship, but those aren’t as plentiful as one might assume.”
8. Why golf coaching works

Our Matthew Lindberg...”In 2017, I heard a podcast featuring Will Robins who was talking about the same concept and making the distinction between coaching and instruction. I believed in what he was talking about, and what separated a coach from a traditional instructor. It is exactly what I thought all along. I joined Will’s consulting group in 2017, and started to better implement what it meant to be a coach. With Will’s guidance the results I was able to achieve by fully committing to the Coaching Model speak for themselves. Coaching clearly works at all levels, let me tell you why.”

  • Among his reasons: “It gives the student what they need, not what they want…Traditional golf instruction became so heavily focused on “customer service” and giving the student what they wanted, that it lost sight of the overall result. In order to achieve those great results, I believe in giving my students what they need. A perfect example of this is a personal trainer. Let’s say you have a wedding to go to in 2 months and you need to lose 10 lbs. That trainer is going to get you up early, make you stick to eating healthy, and make you sore after every workout to achieve the desired result. Then at the wedding, you love your personal trainer because you look and feel great. However, if that same trainer lets you dictate what you will eat, what you’ll work on during workouts, and when you’ll come back next, the trainer will fail miserably. In other words he is paid to give you what you NEED, to get you the result you want.”
9. Digest’s best illustrations of ’18
Fun stuff from the folks at GD as they round up some of the best artwork from the magazine this past year.
  • The image below is from their ranking of the best athlete golfers.
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  1. CaoNiMa

    Jan 1, 2019 at 12:40 am

    Earl:
    “Now boy, to be successful and to be a man, ya gotta get laid as much as possible. Ya hear? Do as I do and learn from it boy.”
    Eldrick:
    “Yes dad.”

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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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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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