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Mike Davis will no longer be in charge of U.S. Open course setups

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After 13 years in the role, CEO of the USGA Mike Davis is stepping down from his position as head of course set up at the U.S. Open.

Speaking to Jaime Diaz at Golf Channel, Davis was quick to stress that the voluntary decision had been made before last year’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, which saw a baked-out course in windy conditions during the third round of the event wreak havoc on a day where several players vehemently complained about the unfairness of the test.

“This decision has been in the works for more than two U.S. Opens. Whether people want to believe that or not, that’s for them to decide.”

Shinnecock Hills is not the only U.S. Open where Davis has come under fire in recent years. At the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, the shocking conditions of the greens were brutally criticized by players who compared the putting surfaces to “broccoli” and “cauliflower.” While at Erin Hills in 2017, Davis’ late decision to shave the rough down caused controversy, leading (in part) to the joint lowest winning U.S. Open score in history.

For Davis, it was that U.S. Open at Erin Hills which proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“I was frankly stretched too thin, and especially stretched too thin U.S. Open week for other things I needed to be doing in my position.”

Despite stepping down from his role as head of course setups at the U.S. Open, Davis plans to move further into his CEO role of the USGA, and he will still be involved in the course set up team, though just in an advisory role.

Davis’ successor in the role will be John Bodenhamer, who will run all 14 of the organization’s national championships, including taking charge of the course set up for next year’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

While talking to Golf Channel, Bodenhamer stressed how in his new role, he would be aiming for better communication with the players, while attempting to break the recent tradition of the golf course being the main story of the U.S. Open.

“We aren’t going to make all of them happy, but they should understand that we aren’t trying to trick up the course or make it ridiculously hard. As set-up people, the last thing we want to be is the story. The last thing. We want it to be about the players and the golf course.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Gianni is a freelance writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Diploma in Sports Journalism. He can be contacted at gmagliocco@outlook.com. Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. IMO

    Jan 8, 2019 at 12:44 am

    ABOUT TIME!!!

  2. Sedge

    Jan 7, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    [disclaimer: this rant is a bit of a tangent to the original article, I understand]

    It begs the question as to why these courses need to be [in the words of Zach Johnson] “manipulated” in such a way that the benchmark for winning a golf tournament is EVEN par. I think that the USGA ought to break down their previous model for setting up a golf course with the uniform idea of level par winning the Open and starting rather with the players in mind and putting together a setup that is married to the course through the use of data in this era of abundantly useful “strokes-gained” metrics. From there, let the winning score be what it is, so long as the winner is clearly the best that week.

    It’s such an unenviable task to say the least and to be in an executive role, no-less the CEO of the USGA AND have to set up the golf course is bizarre. Well, I say “have to” when in fact this is clearly something that should have been delegated by Davis a long time ago.

    That said, playing devil’s advocate to my aforementioned rant is this. If the goal of the US Open is to have the greatest of champions, let’s look at the last 8 winners: Brooks Koepka x 2, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose, Webb Simpson, Rory McIlroy. Not a bad group.

  3. Dill Pickelson

    Jan 6, 2019 at 7:41 am

    The clown show at the USGA will still figure out a way to mess up the course setup.

  4. 2putttom

    Jan 5, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    John Bodenhamer, he’s a good guy

  5. Peter

    Jan 5, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    I didn’t watch the US open last year for the first time in 15 years. It is by far my least favourite major. Instead of doing their job they let the equipment manufactures run the game and now that the ball flies crazy long distances, the USGA now tries to combat it by making their set-up unplayable. They should have done their job and not let the equipment manufactures ruin our great game.

  6. scooter

    Jan 5, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    “Stupid is as stupid does” … Forrest Gump

  7. Speedy

    Jan 4, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    What took them so long?

  8. A. Commoner

    Jan 4, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    Hey boss, the kitchen gets awfully warm, doesn’t it? True; especially for those ‘who stay too long.’

  9. Patricknorm

    Jan 4, 2019 at 11:46 am

    Good news if you’re a fan of golf , especially the U.S. Open and most certainly for those competing as an amateur or pro. A major golf tournament shouldn’t be a test to see who hand handle unplayable conditions which were brought upon by a committee. And why does the USGA think that par is the benchmark of good golf? Shine o i is one of the best courses in the world, yet I’ve never seen how good it can be because the course was baked out by the committee. Ideally, the USGA should let the PGA Tour assist in the U.S. Open set up. I am allowed to dream.

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Morning 9: Women’s PGA | Fox: best golf coverage in the biz? | Michelle Wieturns

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

June 19, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Henderson, Thompson sizzling heading into Women’s PGA
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”Brooke Henderson and Lexi Thompson couldn’t get hotter at a better time.”
  • “With three major championships over the next seven weeks, they’ll be looking to make the most of their winning form. They each have a chance this week to reach No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings for the first time.”
  • “Henderson won the Meijer Classic last week, Thompson the ShopRite Classic two weeks ago.”
  • “Ladbrokes makes Henderson the co-favorite to win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship with Jeongeun Lee6 at 11/1 odds, with Thompson at 12/1 odds.”
2. Wieturning again
Ron Sirak for LPGA.com…
“But perhaps the most difficult digits to digest are those detailing the impact of the injuries that have disrupted Wie’s career. Without the constant interruptions, her five career wins with one major championship would almost certainly be more. Now, she tries once again to get back into action.”
  • “I’m feeling hopeful,” Wie said Tuesday at Hazeltine National where, on Thursday, she will tee it up for just her ninth tournament round of the year. “It’s still a process. It’s been hard sitting out during the middle of the season. There’s really nothing worse. But I had to take the time to get myself back to where I want to be.”
  • “There is almost no a part of Wie that has not been damaged, beginning with an injury to her left wrist when she fell while jogging in 2007. Since then, she’s had issues with a finger, knee, hip and the other wrist. At times, it almost appears as if her body is held together by multi-colored physiotape.”

Full piece.

3. Arrival of the Wolff
Sean Martin at PGATour.com…”This week’s Travelers Championship is Matthew Wolff’s first tournament as a professional. It may be the most anticipated pro debut in a decade. The consensus collegiate player of the year combines charisma with a swing that is identifiable from a few fairways over.
  • “He wins. He’s unique. His swing is different, so it catches everybody’s eye,” said Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee. “And then there’s the incredible speed.
  • “When you see somebody with speed … it gets your attention.”
4. Fox the best?
An interesting take from Sean Zak at Golf.com…
  • “In its five years as the USGA rights-holder, Fox has added something new every year, which, for a sport whose visuals seem to never change, is refreshing and important. One year it was the mic’d up holes, even shadows on the greens to display slopes. Some of it sticks from year to year, some of it doesn’t, but Fox is trying new things and adding new context.”
  • “This year the novelty was epic, highlighted by delicious drone shots along the coast. Blimp shots are great and were more relevant this week than most, but the drones that floated up over Carmel Bay, gliding along with the players, providing the perfect scale of the property – those were new and beautiful. A good broadcast shows viewers everything they must see to better understand a course, but also makes them a bit jealous of everyone there on the grounds.”
5. JT pain free
A few quotes from Thomas…”I have zero pain. I can do everything normally.”
“I could have played Colonial – easily – but it would have been stupid and [my wrist] could have been lingering the entire year,” he said. “This injury should never be an issue again in my life, as long as I do the proper things and don’t do anything stupid. That’s why I waited as long as I did.”
6. Not a fan
The Herald’s (Scotland) Nick Rodger…
  • “As everyday life hurtles along at a furious rate of knots, the golf season too is hammering on. Three men’s majors have already been played and in just four weeks’ time the curtain will come down on the quartet of grand slam events at the Open Championship. It’s rather like uploading a Youtube video onto your laptop and quickly spooling through to the best bits.”
  • “It’s all happening a bit too quickly for my liking,” gasped Colin Montgomerie as the dust settled on last weekend’s US Open even though there’s still probably dust lingering from the previous majors of the US PGA Championship and the Masters.”
7. Jin Young Ko dreaming of Brooks?
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“On a day when LPGA stars filed in and out of the press room at the KPMG Women’s PGA, Ko delivered the line of the day. When asked what it is that she likes about Koepka and how he inspires her play, Ko said: “I met him in my dream, and then we had really great time.”
  • “…He always (has) like a poker face and then like stone.”
  • Ko, 23, put her arms out wide and said, “I like big guy.”
8. What Gary was aiming for
Our Gianni Magliocco…“U.S. Open Champion Gary Woodland made an appearance at SiriusXM’s Manhattan studios on Tuesday, where he sat down to discuss a multitude of topics with Adam Schein on his Mad Dog Sports Radio program – Schein on Sports.”
  • “Woodland also discussed beating Tiger Woods’ total of 12-under-par from the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. The 35-year-old first mentioned how he recognized that Woods won that tournament by 15 strokes, before adding how he was aware of beating his 72-hole total, saying…”
  • “I knew it, but I was trying to two-putt. I wasn’t trying to make that putt. Once it got halfway there and it went in I obviously let the emotion out. My caddie came over to tell me congrats and I said, ‘You know that clipped Tiger by one?’ And he said, ‘No I didn’t.’ He was focused on the wrong stuff, he was focused on winning, I was focused on beating that record.”
9. A Phireside chat
How to introduce Phil Mickelson’s first Phireside with Phil video…? Mickelson tells a story of an early morning restart at the Memorial some years back and a, um, crappy situation.
My question: This is a clear violation of the rules of tournament play. Is there a provision for situations that make the hole/toilet unusable after restart and necessitate cutting a new cup?

 

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Equipment

TaylorMade signs Matthew Wolff to a multi-year deal; Wolff WITB

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TaylorMade Golf has officially announced the signing of Matthew Wolff on a multi-year agreement that will see the 20-year-old play the company’s metal woods, irons, wedges, putter and ultimately, TaylorMade’s flagship golf ball, the TP5x.

Wolff had previously unveiled that he would be making his professional debut at this week’s Travelers Championship, and just as top prospect Collin Morikawa did earlier at this month’s Canadian Open, Wolff will do so as a TaylorMade staffer.

The NCAA All-American and 2019 NCAA Division I individual champion made his debut on the PGA Tour at the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year where he finished T50 after opening his week with a round of five-under par.

Matthew Wolff WITB

Driver: TaylorMade M6 (8 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design TP 7TX

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M6 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.5 TX

Utility Iron: TaylorMade P760 (2)
Shaft: Nippon Modus 130x

Irons: TaylorMade P750 Tour Proto (3-PW)
Shafts: Nippon Modus 130x

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind Raw (52, 56, 62 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Copper

 

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5 questions with Justin Kinney of Virtual Golf Caddy

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We chatted with Justin Kinney, founder and CEO of startup Virtual Golf Caddy about his product, which serves both courses and players, by offering drone arial photography of golf courses (with graphics overlayed).

While drone photography and videography of golf courses is an established phenomenon, using the photos and video for better course management and preparation is a relatively new approach.

We wanted to learn more about what VGC is doing, and Kinney was kind enough to answer a handful of questions and include an example of the company’s work.

1. Tell us a bit about your background

I am 38 years old, born and raised in Connecticut. Lifelong golfer. Just finishing up my career as a middle school math teacher to focus on VGC full-time. I also have five years of business experience managing people’s retirement accounts. I played as many sports as I could growing up, and love the thrill of competition.

2. What’s the opportunity you saw?

I agreed to caddie for one of my students two summers ago. When researching the courses he was going to play, there was NO info on the courses. I thought there was a huge opportunity to provide course management strategies for players and give players a view of the entire courses with drones. No one was really doing anything like that, so I spent the past two years working on and building my business plan. Two months ago I secured funding to work on this full-time.

3. What is Virtual Golf Caddy, exactly?

VGC is a golf preparation and mental conditioning program designed to help give golfers a game plan to attack courses with. We provide drone views of each hole as well as course management strategies on how to best play each hole. Shot suggestions are given based on how far and confident players hit their clubs. We include mental conditioning tips and exercises to help players “zone in” more often and consistently. We are considering getting into golf fitness and nutrition as well to help build the whole golfer. Players purchase access to each course’s videos and info for either $15 or $25 per course, depending on how much info they want. They get unlimited access to the videos and can watch them wherever (home, airport, hotel, course).

4. What stage is the business in, and can you show us an example of VCG in action? 

We are still in the start-up phase. We are making agreements with and filming at courses. The website is being redesigned and will be up in June. It appears like things may take off quickly so stay tuned!

For an example, check out the video below.

6. What else should GolfWRX members know?

We are looking for courses to partner with. We will give courses free publicity on our site, a promotional video from the footage to use on their site, and share 15 percent of their courses profits with them. A win-win for everyone involved! If readers know of any courses, please email us.

One other thing to add: the mental prep/conditioning program is being built by renowned sports psychologist Bill Cole, MS, MA. It is legit and comes from over 40 years of research and experience! We’re also pursuing options in fitness and nutrition.

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