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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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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the Albertsons Boise Open

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GolfWRX bypassed the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship in the early part of the week (we made it there Thursday!) for the road less traveled this week: The Korn Ferry Tour. Specifically, we have a full buffet of photos from the range at the Albertsons Boise Open, including a full plate of WITB looks.

Here are 10 interesting photos from the Albertsons Boise Open.

This spread of Scotty Cameron Circle T putter covers will have enthusiasts drooling

Is this tee marker edible?

Name a better-dressed pro than Morgan Hoffmann…

Brandon Crick’s Pingman-stamped Glide wedge

The TaylorMade Boise Open headcover features a Boise St. blue turf background

D.J. Trahan’s Grateful Dead dancing bear headcovers are money

J-Gore! Cheers to the 2002 champ!

Sweet orange paintfill on Kevin Doughtery’s PXG 0311T 4-iron

Idaho (potato) fries aplenty on Scotty Cameron’s superb Boise Open headcover

I was unaware Will Zalatoris nickname was Beavis. But a look at this wedge and a look at this photo have me pretty convinced it is

All our galleries from the Boise Open

General galleries

WITB, special galleries

 

 

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Morning 9: Rory offers simple slow play fix, isn’t sure about TC format | Brooks favors the Euro plan | Sunjae Im!

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

August 22, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. Rory’s simple slow play fix
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard reporting...”The Northern Irishman has always been one of the most outspoken players when it comes to pace of play on the PGA Tour but enough is enough.”
  • “I saw [the European Tour] released a four-point plan, but I only read the headline. I didn’t go deeper into it. I’ve had enough of the slow play stuff,” McIlroy said. “I had two hours of it last week at the [player advisory council] meeting, and that came to nothing.”
  • “Although he didn’t know the details of the new European pace of play policy, McIlroy did offer a solution for slow play when he pointed out that pace of play won’t be an issue at this week’s 30-man Tour Championship.”
  • “Seriously, it’s like traffic, right? You get 156 in the field, and it’s hard to get those guys around quickly. Even last week, 70, there was no mention of pace of play,” McIlroy said. “I’m in a privileged position that I can say that because I’m going to get into a field of 30 or 70. Obviously, guys that are not quite in my position would disagree with that. [But] if you want to speed up play, cut the field sizes.”

Full piece.

2. Rory unsure regarding new Tour Championship format 
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”While saying Wednesday that he understands many of the reasons for the new format, he also said “come back to me Monday and I’ll tell you whether it’s worked or not.”
  • …”If we’re at the PGA Tour trying to do the season of championships, where it starts at the Players in March and goes through the four majors and culminates with the FedEx Cup in the end, if the FedEx Cup really wants to have this legacy in the game, like some of these other championships do, is people starting the tournament on different numbers the best way to do it?” McIlroy said Wednesday at East Lake Golf Club.”
  • “That’s my only thing. I get it from a fan experience point of view. I get it from giving guys that have played better throughout the year an advantage. But at the same time, it will make it sweeter for a guy that starts at even or 1-under par and goes all the way through the field and wins. Or if Justin Thomas shoots the tied low score of the week and doesn’t end up winning. … I don’t know.”

Full piece.

3. JT wants the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup
Good to hear he didn’t endorse finishing third if it’ll secure the cup…JT isn’t keen for a repeat of 2017
  • AP report…”Justin Thomas lived it two years ago when he capped off his best year by capturing the FedEx Cup with a runner-up finish in the Tour Championship. Thomas was thrilled to win the cup and its $10 million prize, but felt like a loser in the immediate aftermath because he was second in the Tour Championship to Xander Schauffele.”
  • “As the No. 1 seed, he starts Thursday at 10-under par with a two-shot lead under the staggered start. It’s possible that Thomas could finish the most under par and win the FedEx Cup, even though he doesn’t have the lowest 72-hole score.”
  • “And yes, he will be paying attention…“You guys probably won’t believe me, but, yeah, it will irk me,” Thomas said of such a scenario. “I want to beat everybody every week I play.”

Full piece.

4. Can anyone really win the FedEx Cup? 
Shane Ryan investigates…
  • “…a player starting at even par has to overcome a 10-shot deficit against the top player, but he also has to overcome a variety of smaller deficits against 25 other players. That compounds the problem, but one way we can try to answer the question is by examining other big comebacks in PGA Tour history. A look at final-round comebacks shows us that one player, Paul Lawrie, managed to take back 10 strokes in a single round, though it did require Jean Van de Velde’s infamous collapse at the 1999 Open Championship”
  • “…But Stewart Cink also roared back from nine shots down, and eight players have managed the feat on Sunday from eight shots back. In some respects, the task facing the “start-at-even” crew in the Tour Championship this weekend is much easier. First, they have 72 holes, not 18, to overcome a 10-stroke deficit. Second, the competition is 29 players, not the 70-or-so who typically make the cut at a “normal” event. They have a longer time to beat a smaller number of players, and by that reckoning, chipping off 2.5 shots per round seems far from impossible.”

 

5. In case you missed it: U.S. Prez Cup team top 8 set
Brooks Koepka
Justin Thomas
Dustin Johnson
Patrick Cantlay
Xander Schauffele
Webb Simpson
Matt Kuchar
Bryson DeChambeau
6. Olesen pleads not guilty
BBC report…”Danish golfer Thorbjorn Olesen has appeared in court charged with sexual assault and being drunk on an aircraft.”
  • “The 29-year-old Ryder Cup winner has also been charged with assault by beating…He indicated he would plead not guilty when he appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.”

Full piece.

7. Brooks favors the European plan? 
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch…“Koepka has been an outspoken critic of slow play, calling for stiff penalties against lallygagging PGA Tour players. He was asked about a policy announced this week by the European Tour that cracks down on idlers by imposing stroke penalties, not the meaningless fines used this side of the Atlantic.”
  • “Perfect. We should adopt it,” Koepka replied. Then came the surgical insertion of the needle.
  • “I think you’ll see some urgency to play. It doesn’t matter how quick you walk. It doesn’t matter how quick you do anything.”
  • “The “quick walk” argument – that hoofing it to one’s ball faster excuses taking more time than permitted to execute the next shot – is the flaccid defense of Bryson DeChambeau, a notorious laggard and someone with whom Koepka has sparred on the issue.”

Full piece.

8. Cole Hammer time…for you to win the McCormack medal
Golf Digest’s Ryan Herrington…“On Wednesday, the USGA and R&A announced that Hammer remained the No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, and thus had secured the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading men’s player at the end of the summer.”
  • “With the honor comes exemptions into the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot and the 2020 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, so long as Hammer remains an amateur when playing in the majors.”

Full piece.

9. Alone in anonymity?
Sungjae Im has hardly gotten the recognition he deserves this season…
  • Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…“One of the tour’s premier talents walked East Lake in anonymity Wednesday afternoon. Hard to do, given there are just 30 players at this shindig. When he passed a group of fans, necks strained to see the name on the bag, followed by a common chorus of whispers. Who’s that? … that’s not Hideki, right … wow, pretty nice shot. The man would nod as he made his way through, paying no heed to their ignorance. He doesn’t even blame them.”
  • “Hey, I’m surprised I’m here too,” Sungjae Im says with a laugh.
  • “In the Year of Young Guns, from Cameron Champ’s auspicious start to the torrid summers of Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland, only one-Im-is standing at the Tour Championship.”
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Thorbjorn Olesen pleads not guilty to sexual assault; will face trial next month

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On Wednesday, Thorbjorn Olesen indicated that he would plead not guilty to the charges of sexual assault, being drunk on an aircraft, and assault by beating, and he will now face trial in September.

Sky Sports broke the news that the Dane appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday where he confirmed his name, address, date of birth and nationality as well as his not guilty plea, and he has since been released on unconditional bail.

Olesen will now face trial at Isleworth Crown Court on 18th September which is the day before the European Tour’s Flagship event – the BMW Championship at Wentworth.

The 29-year-old was arrested on 29th July at Heathrow Airport and released upon investigation after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman and urinating in the aisle of a first-class cabin.

Olesen is currently suspended from the European Tour while the case is ongoing.

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