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Morning 9: Reed’s Masters menu | An impressive Tour record could be broken soon

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

January 3, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. TaylorMade M5, M6 launch
In a market where distance seems to dominate the conversation, TaylorMade has always been at or very near the top year in and year out. It’s no secret that some of the most popular offerings from the past 10-15 years have come straight out of the Top Secret “Kingdom.”
  • 2019 will be another year that TaylorMade Golf sits right near the top of that mountain, with its most aggressive push in regards to tech advancement since the SLDR in 2013.
  • Marketed as “taking speed to the limit,” TaylorMade’s next generation of the M family of drivers, the M5 and M6, feature a Speed Injected Twist Face, building on the Twist Face technology the company debuted with the M3 and M4 drivers last year. The M5 and M6 club faces are designed to initially exceed the USGA’s COR limit.
  • In simple terms, speed injected face technology is where they take all of the heads they produce, push them all past the USGA limit in regards to COR and work backwards to ensure they fall within the parameters – the algorithm-driven process of resin injection into the clubs via the two ports on the face brings the figure just inside the acceptable range.
2. Patrick Reed’s Champions Dinner menu
The 2018 champ revealed what he’ll serve.
  • Dan Kilbridge at Golfweek...”The highlights: Bone-in ribeye, mac and cheese, creamed corn, creamed spinach.”
  • “Reed also said he’ll have some grilled chicken and healthier options just in case.”
  • “I’ll go caesar salad, but then I was going to make multiple options, because some guys might not like steak,” Reed said. “So there will be grilled chicken, there will probably be some kind of seafood as well. I want to please everyone there. It’s not just for me, it’s for all the past champions and everybody and I want everyone to have a great time.”
3. An impressive record you likely don’t know about
Ryan Armour: fairway-finding machine.
  • Alex Myers at Golf Digest…”Armour is coming off a solid fall in which he made the cut in all five of his starts and finished T-15 at the RSM Classic in his final tournament of 2018. But in addition to carrying over into 2019 the $269,911 he’s earned, the one-time PGA Tour winner will also start the new year on a crazy streak. The 42-year-old has hit 52 fairways in a row.”
  • “Yep, that’s 52 fairways in a row. Or, essentially four straight tournament rounds of not hitting a tee shot on a par 4 or par 5 in the rough. And nope, that’s NOT the PGA Tour record. That distinction belongs to Brian Claar, who hit 59 in a row in 1992, which happens to be the first year the tour began keeping consecutive fairways as an official stat. Yeah, we’re guessing you didn’t know that one.”
4. Still no regrets for CH3
Echoing his tone after ending his victory drought at the RSM Classic, Charles Howell III still wouldn’t change a thing.
  • Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard… “There were times when I wondered if I might not ever win again. Maybe I’ll have a really nice career and try to be super consistent and maybe winning just isn’t in the cards,” he said. “I don’t know that you’re ever OK with that, but it was tending to be a reality.”
  • Although Howell has just three PGA Tour victories, he has finished runner-up 16 times and ranks 20th on the career earnings list ($37 million).”
  • “By comparison, John Daly won five times on Tour, including two major championships, yet ranks 177th in career earnings. When asked if he would trade careers with Daly, Howell’s answer was a testament to what has been an impressively consistent career.”
  • “I wouldn’t [trade careers with Daly]. As painful as that is to say, because he’s won majors. I am proud of the consistency I’ve had and the finishes I’ve had,” Howell said. “When I went to Oklahoma State I wanted to see how good I could be. But if you’d have said, ‘Charles you’re going to have a 20-year career on the PGA Tour,’ I would have signed up in a heartbeat for that.”
5. No flagstick for JT?
…not so fast.
Gotta love Thomas’ take on putting with the flag in.
“I mean personally I don’t think I can – I mean obviously whenever I’m like this and (caddie) Jimmy (Johnson) is, that’s one thing. But I mean if I have an 8-footer to win a golf tournament, I can’t – I mean no offense, I can’t really take myself seriously if I kept the pin in. I mean it just would be such a weird picture and like on TV me celebrating and like the pin is in and my ball’s like up against it. And so I don’t know, to me that’s one thing. But, yeah, I guess there’s some instances in tournaments where the pin is really the only thing that can stop it, that’s one thing. But if I have a putt, I’m trying to make that thing’s coming out.” (via Golfweek)
6. Welcome to the working world, Kyle Thompson!
Alex Myers at Golf Digest.…”In his third crack at the big leagues this past season, Thompson missed the cut in 20 of 22 starts while earning only $24,878. He decided the Wyndham Championship in August would be his final tournament if he didn’t qualify for the FedEx Playoffs, and he stuck to his word.”
  • “For some reason I haven’t had nearly the monetary success of some other guys,” the five-time Web.com Tour winner told the Greenville News the week of the Wyndham. “If you get one or two good years on the PGA Tour, it can set you up for years.
  • “Instead, after 17 years as a tour pro, the 39-year-old Thompson finally settled on his first “real job” to support his family for the foreseeable future. And he was excited about embarking on his new insurance career to begin the new year”
7. It’s 2019, so…
…time for an updated look at 2019 Masters odds!
Golf Channel’s Will Gray...”The Westgate opened Masters betting as soon as Brooks Koepka captured the PGA Championship last August, meaning that bettors have had more than four months to stake some early claims. While Spieth started out alone as the 10/1 favorite, he’s now joined by Woods, who started at 12/1, and Rose, who opened at 16/1 but has since received some support.”
12/1: Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Justin Rose
14/1: Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas
16/1: Rickie Fowler
18/1: Jon Rahm
25/1: Jason Day, Bubba Watson, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau
30/1: Patrick Reed, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama
40/1: Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson
50/1: Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Cameron Champ, Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay
60/1: Louis Oosthuizen, Thomas Pieters, Webb Simpson
80/1: Danny Willett, Alex Noren, Cameron Smith, Brandt Snedeker
100/1: Zach Johnson, Ian Poulter, Joaquin Niemann, Kevin Kisner, Tyrrell Hatton, Charley Hoffman, Branden Grace, Billy Horschel, Matt Fitzpatrick, Gary Woodland, Aaron Wise
8. Casey to Honma?
Via GolfMagic/most likely a tweet from Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall that they spotted…”Casey, who has been a free agent in the iron market ever since Nike Golf’s departure from clubs and balls several years ago, was photographed with a Honma TW-U Forged utility iron in his hands during his practice round at Kapalua on Tuesday. “
“The Englishman signed a metalwoods-only deal with TaylorMade in 2017, but is a free agent when it comes to the rest of his bag.”
9. Koepka’s goals
Apparently, Brooks Koepka only accomplished a portion of what he set out to do in his two-major season.

Rex Hoggard writes…”Despite that success Koepka said he checked off about “half” his goals last season, pointing out that he missed a good portion of the spring with a wrist injury and he didn’t make every cut.”

  • “I like playing the weekends,” said Koepka, who missed his only cut at a non-team event at the RBC Canadian Open in July. “I wasn’t happy on that plane ride home. I can tell you that much.”
  • But hey... “In bed by 10 o’clock every night. I did good on that one. Every night,” he laughed before adding, “On the road. On the road.”

 

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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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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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