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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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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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