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Morning 9: Xander the underdog | Incredibly, Cody Blick got his clubs back | New No. 1

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

January 7, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. Meanwhile, in Hawaii…
PGATour.com’s Ben Everill on the underdog mentality that’s fueling Xander Schauffele, who fired a blistering final-round 62 to pip Gary Woodland by a stroke at Kapalua.
  • “Four PGA TOUR wins. One of them a World Golf Championship. Another the TOUR Championship. This latest one – against a stacked field of winners at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.”
  • “He’s a former PGA TOUR Rookie Of The Year. He currently leads the FedExCup. He’s moved to sixth in the world rankings.”
  • “But don’t tell Xander Schauffele he’s one of the big guns in world golf.”
  • “Kind of weird sound to it, honestly. I don’t know. I just still feel like an underdog,” he says.
  • “I feel like until you’re No. 1, you’re chasing. So guys like Bryson (DeChambeau) and Justin (Thomas), JT’s put together a ton of good years, Brooks (Koepka) has been crushing it.
2. Another new driver arriveth
Following PXG, TaylorMade, and Callaway’s releases last week, Mizuno leads off the second week of January with a driver release of its own.
  • In announcing its lowest spinning, most technology-packed driver in company history, Mizuno seeks to position itself as a company that has quietly innovated in the driver space for years, highlighting innovations such as the Ti100, T-Zoid, MP-001, and MP-600 in discussions around the launch of its latest drivers.
  • With respect to the specifics of the Japanese company’s most recent weaponry, the ST190 and 190G feature a forged Sp700Ti face (10 percent stronger than 6-4 titanium) with the company’s ultra-light Cortech structure, as well as a carbon composite crown. As with the ST180 series, Mizuno applies its Amplified Wave soleplate, which deforms on impact for better energy transfer between club and ball.
  • The weight of the carbon composite crown, 12 grams, allowed engineers to redistribute some seven grams of weight throughout the body of the club.
  • The Amplified Wave Sole effectively expands the ST190’s COR area for improved balls speeds across the clubface, according to the company, and better ball speed on off-center strikes in particular.
  • Mizuno fine-tuned the driver’s sound via Harmonic Impact Technology, adding internal rids for a more solid sound at impact.
3. A triumph of common sense
The AP’s Doug Ferguson…”Webb Simpson was searching for his ball in the weeds short of the fifth green Saturday at Kapalua when he stepped on a clump of grass and out popped the ball. Five days ago, he would have had to add one shot to his score.”
  • Under the new Rules of Golf, he put it back where it was without penalty.”
  • “There has been plenty of talk about players putting on the green with the flagstick in the hole, and having to drop the ball at knee-high length instead of shoulder-length. This was the first example of the intent behind the five-year project to modernize the rules.”
  • “It’s all about common sense.”
  • “Under the previous code where a player is searching for the ball, who is the most interested to find the ball? The player,” said Stephen Cox, a PGA Tour rules official “Who do we penalize? They player, who then becomes the least interested in finding the ball.”

Full piece.

4. What an end to the saga
Andrew Tursky caught up with Cody Blick (you remember the saga of his stolen clubs, piecing a set together, and earning his card in Web.com qualifying).
Q: So this is an absolutely crazy story. Can you go through exactly how you ended up getting your clubs back?
Blick: Yeah, you know, it was probably three days ago now. And honestly, Titleist replaced every club in the bag except the putter, I’m still kind of having trouble with that one. It was from 2012, and I had been using that one ever since. They sent me a couple putters to try out, they tried to match the weight because I had the swing weight and the overall weight in my records. They were close, it just wasn’t the same. Everything was fine. So, at this point I had pretty much just accepted that I wasn’t going to see the putter or my old clubs again.
  • “I got a text, I actually got two missed calls from my mom and my dad. And then I saw a text from my mom and it was just pictures of the golf bag. The stitching was ripped out of my first name on the bag. And her comment was just ‘Is this your bag? We might have found it.’ And instantly I just got super excited and called her back. So this woman apparently, in Arizona, was I guess just walking down the street and she ran into this homeless man. I guess his sign said he was looking for money for a hotel room. Her story is that she didn’t want to just give him money, she asked if he had anything to sell. And so she claims that she then was taken back into his tent under the overpass. And there she saw the clubs and she said ‘OK, I’ll give you $75 for the set of golf clubs.’ Not knowing the story or that they were my clubs, just thinking she could resell the golf clubs.”
  • She gets home, and my last name ‘Blick’ was stamped into the wedges, and I guess she thought that was the model number. She googled ‘Blick golf clubs’ and up came the story. And so at that point she said she went onto Whitepages to try and get in contact with us. She found my mom’s phone number and gave her a call. So we got in contact with her. Then my college roommate, Taylor, his parents just moved to Arizona in December. So he was out there for New Years. I called him and I was like ‘Hey man, we found the clubs. Can I Venmo you 300 bucks and you meet up with this random woman and get my clubs back for me?’ And so he said ‘Yea.'”
  • “So they met in front of some SuperMarket and he checked out the clubs, and they’re pretty beat up, but I’m just happy to get them back. Gave her the $300 and flew home the next day. Then I met him in the parking lot of an In-N-Out burger and got my clubs back.”

Full piece. 

5. Speaketh the scientist
Kevin Casey at Golfweek...”DeChambeau was asked Friday about what rules change intrigues him the most. He offered the new drop rule, and his thoughts toward that change were none too flattering:”
  • ‘”I think the knee drop one (intrigues me most). That you have to drop it from knee height is a bit absurd, unfortunately. I think that you should be able to go from knee height to shoulder height. There should be no issue with that, whatever you want to do, honestly.”
  • “He’s certainly not the only one curious about this rule change. Rory McIlroy has already sounded off here as well.”
6. “Hard to argue”
A strong take from Geoff Shackelford on some remarks from the commish.
  • “It’s hard to get past the above quote from PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan made in a 2019 Sentry TOC media session and reported here by Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge.”
  • “The Commissioner’s views on distance are no secret: he wants to hype younger and longer players because he believes that’s why people watch the game despite all of the grandstands being at greens and not tee boxes.”
  • “You can take your pick of reasons for a short-sighted stance that even his youth-obsessed predecessor  never went so far overboard to make. But more alarming is the view that the sport is growing and thriving, so why change a thing?”
  • The quote….”We’re gonna be a party to all these discussions,” Monahan said. “We’re going to understand everybody’s perspectives as the USGA and R&A move forward with their Distance Insights project, but it’s hard to argue you should be changing anything right now because the sport is growing and thriving.”
7. But also…gambling!
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard, first quoting the commissioner…“Where we are from a gaming standpoint, I’ll break it down to two points. We have for the last couple of years put all the systems in place from an integrity program to monitoring program to our ShotLink technology in place so we can be in a position to participate,” Monahan said. “The reason we would do it is because we think gaming leads to more engagement.”
  • “Monahan said he expects sports betting in golf to be what he called a “second-, third- or fourth-screen experience,” meaning fans would follow any potential bets as well as the traditional tournament broadcast.”
  • The commissioner also said he had particular interest in The Match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in November, including the side bets the two stars made during and before the event.”
  • “The one thing that I thought was interesting was at their press conference when Phil challenged [Tiger] to a first-hole birdie wager,” Monahan said. “To me, I was really interested in that as much as I was anything else. Obviously, it was a match and it was between the two of them, but it was an interesting way to start out the day.”

Full piece.

8. Did Lucy Li violate Rules of Amateur Status?
Golf Digest’s Ryan Herrington on an interesting situation…
  • “But with her appearance in a newly released video from Apple on Twitter showcasing the company’s Apple Watch, might the 16-year-old, No. 9 in the most recent World Amateur Golf Ranking, have compromised her amateur status?”
  • “In the 15-second video, Li is shown swinging a golf club with “Lucy L.” superimposed over her body. The video shows her practicing golf and hanging out with friends while wearing the Apple Watch, and it ends with a close-up on her face and the words “Close Your Rings,” which is part of an Apple marketing slogan.”
  • “Details of Li’s involvement in the video are unclear. Contacted by Golf Digest, Li said she had signed a non-disclosure agreement with Apple that prohibited her from discussing the video. Li’s mother, Amy, said via text message that Lucy and the family did not receive any compensation for being in the video. Inquiries with media relations staff at Apple had not been returned at the time of this post.”
Here’s the language from the Rules of Amateur Status…. prohibit amateurs from using their golf skill or reputation “to obtain payment, compensation, personal benefit or any financial gain, directly or indirectly, for (i) promoting, advertising or selling anything, or (ii) allowing his name or likeness to be used by a third party for the promotion, advertisement or sale of anything.” Under Rule 6-2, it specifically states that “even if no payment or compensation is received, an amateur golfer is deemed to receive a personal benefit by promoting, advertising or selling anything, or allowing his name or likeness to be used by a third party for the promotion, advertisement or sale of anything.”
The USGA is looking into the matter.
9. New No. 1
Apologies for burying the big news!
SkySports report...”Koepka needed to finish tied-eighth of better on the Plantation Course to remain world No 1, but ended in 24th spot despite carding a four-under 69 in the final round.”
Ergo: Justin Rose is your No. 1 golfer in the world.

 

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Francesco Molinari splits with caddie Pello Iguaran

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Francesco Molinari has parted ways with his caddie Pello Iguaran, who has been on the Italian’s bag for the last four years.

The 2018 Open Champion will now employ Jason Hempleman until the beginning of 2020 where Mark Fulcher will then take the reigns. Fulcher caddied for Justin Rose for 11 years, in which period Rose won the U.S. Open and Olympic Gold.

The 36-year-old announced the decision via his social media accounts, where he stated

“It’s been nearly 4 seasons of incredible emotions and really productive work, but unfortunately relationships sometimes come to an end, even if it’s not what we wish for.Pello will always be a member of my team and more importantly my family. He’s one of the most hardworking, loyal, positive, reflective people I’ve come across during my career.

We’ve had both good and tough times on the course, but most importantly we both grew together and as individuals during our time together. Best of luck for the future and thanks for an amazing run together Jason Hempleman will be on the bag until the end of the season. Mark Fulcher will be on the bag at the start of 2020.”

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It’s been nearly 4 seasons of incredible emotions and really productive work, but unfortunately relationships sometimes come to an end, even if it’s not what we wish for. Pello will always be a member of my team and more importantly my family. He’s one of the most hardworking, loyal, positive, reflective people I’ve come across during my career. We’ve had both good and tough times on the course, but most importantly we both grew together and as individuals during our time together. Best of luck for the future and thanks for an amazing run together Jason Hempleman will be on the bag until the end of the season. Mark Fulcher will be on the bag at the start of 2020. Sono state quasi 4 stagioni di emozioni incredibili e lavoro davvero produttivo, ma sfortunatamente le relazioni a volte non finiscono come tutti vorremmo. Pello sarà sempre un membro del mio team e, soprattutto, della mia famiglia. È una delle persone più laboriose, leali, positive e riflessive che ho incontrato durante la mia carriera. Abbiamo avuto momenti belli e momenti difficili sul campo, ma soprattutto siamo cresciuti insieme e come individui durante il tempo insieme. Buona fortuna per il futuro e grazie per una fantastica esperienza insieme Jason Hempleman sarà il mio caddie fino alla fine dell’anno. Mark Fulcher sarà il caddie dall'inizio del 2020 •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

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In the period Molinari and Iguaran were together, some of the highlights include Molinari’s win at The Open Championship in 2018, the BMW PGA Championship, and the 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational. However, since April, Molinari has failed to record a top-10 finish.

 

 

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Morning 9: LPGA, LET partnership? | Ryder Cup ticket fiasco | Alfredsson: Senior women’s golf dynamo

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram and golfwrxEIC on Twitter.

October 17, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. “True partnership”
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell on an exciting development for women’s golf…
  • “The LPGA and Ladies European Tour have renewed talks that could lead to “a true partnership” between the two organizations.”
  • “LET Board Chair Marta Figueras-Dotti sent a letter to LET players this week informing them of the discussions. She told players that a dialogue was “in full swing” to create a “50-50 joint venture” between the tours.”
  • “LPGA and LET officials said in a joint statement Wednesday that while it’s too early to publicly discuss specifics, they are working to complete terms of a new agreement in time to present it to LET players at their annual meeting on Nov. 26 in Spain.”

Full piece.

2. Alfredsson!
AP report on the emerging dynamo in women’s senior golf with the 2019 double…
  • “Helen Alfredsson added the Senior LPGA Championship to her U.S. Senior Women’s Open title, rallying Wednesday at cold and windy French Lick Resort to sweep the two major championships of the season.”
  • “Three strokes behind Juli Inkster entering the day, Alfredsson closed with a 2-under 70 for a three-stroke victory. The 54-year-old Swede was the only player to break par on the final day at the Pete Dye Course and, at 2-under 214, the only one under par for the week.”

Full piece.

3. And on Jeju Island…
AP report…An was on!
  • “In the first event of a three-tournament PGA TOUR swing through Asia, Byeong Hun An was the first-round leader in his home country at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES with an 8-under 64. Joaquin Niemann sits a stroke behind in second.”
  • “Jason Day’s attempt to impress International team captain Ernie Els for a spot at the Presidents Cup took a positive turn when the Australian shot a 6-under 66 to sit two strokes off the lead and in solo third after the opening round.”

Full piece.

4. Ticket fiasco
Oh boy. JR Radcliffe at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, syndicated in Golfweek…”Tickets for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, next year sold out in less than 50 minutes on Wednesday, and fans on social media were furious with the process.”
  • “Tickets for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler next year sold out in less than 50 minutes on Wednesday, and fans on social media were furious with the process.”
  • “The Ryder Cup website did indicate: “Due to high demand, having an access code does not guarantee you a chance to buy tickets. Available inventory may vary depending on when you’re able to access the sale.”
5. “Better options”
ESPN’s Bob Harig suggests Lefty doesn’t think he’s getting picked for captain Woods’ squads…”Mickelson said Wednesday that he doesn’t expect an at-large pick from U.S. Presidents Cup team captain Tiger Woods and that he does not believe he is deserving.”
  • “There are much better options of players that have played consistently at a high level that deserve to be on the team,” Mickelson, 49, said in South Korea at the CJ Cup, a PGA Tour event he is playing for the first time. “Even if I were to win, I have not done enough to warrant a pick.
  • “I’m not asking for one. I don’t expect one. I think there are a lot of better options for the U.S. side.”
6. 58 penalty strokes!
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers on a wildly penal occurrence…”Lee Ann Walker was assessed 58 penalty strokes after it was discovered she had violated Rule 10.2b several times over the course of the first two rounds at the senior major being played at the Pete Dye Course in French Lick, Ind. Implemented earlier this year, the rule prohibits caddies from lining up golfers on putting greens, among other spots on the course. And as Walker found out, there is no limit to the amount of penalty strokes a player can incur for breaking it.”
  • “In a statement released by the Senior LPGA Championship Rules Committee, the harsh decision came after Walker notified a rules official during the second round on Tuesday that she had been violating the rule. Obviously, Walker didn’t realize this until it was pointed out to her by a fellow caddie on her fifth hole. Walker then went through her round so far as well as the first round on Monday to determine just how many times she broke the rule. Considering the total, she was obviously being lined up by her caddie on most putts.”

Full piece.

7. BK vs. Rory
Our Gianni Magliocco…”The 29-year-old, who was speaking to the AFP ahead of this week’s CJ Cup, has been on the PGA Tour since 2015 and has won four major’s in that period, while McIlroy’s last success at a major championship came back in 2014.”
  • “I’ve been out here for, what, five years. Rory hasn’t won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour. So I just don’t view it as a rivalry.”
  • “The world number one then further reiterated his lack of belief that there is currently a serious rivalry in golf and laid out his intentions to remain at the top of the sport for the foreseeable future.”
  • “I’m not looking at anybody behind me. I’m number one in the world. I’ve got open road in front of me I’m not looking in the rearview mirror, so I don’t see it as a rivalry. You know if the fans do (call it a rivalry), then that’s on them and it could be fun. Look I love Rory he’s a great player and he’s fun to watch, but it’s just hard to believe there’s a rivalry in golf. I just don’t see it.”

Full piece.

8. Meanwhile, at Q-School…
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell with the report on the action in Florida…”Germany’s going for a wire-to-wire victory at the LPGA’s second stage of Q-School.”
  • “Esther Henseleit grabbed a share of the second-round lead with a 5-under 67 Tuesday at Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice, Fla., a day after fellow countrywoman Olivia Cowan took the first-round lead.”
  • “At 9-under overall, Henseleit is tied at the top with China’s Yan Liu (67), one shot ahead of Cowan (72), Thailand’s Prima Thammaraks (68) and American amateur Sierra Brooks, whose 66 equaled the low round of the day.”

Full piece.

9. LPGA Shanghai update
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell...”Nasa Hataoka should be getting more worldwide attention.
With two Japan LPGA Tour major championship victories in her homeland over the last month, she arrived for the start of this week’s Buick LPGA Shanghai on fire.”
  • “And she didn’t cool off in Thursday’s first round.”
  • “A 5-under-par 67 at Qizhong Garden Golf Club gave Hataoka a share of the lead with South Korea’s Amy Yang.”

Full piece.

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Marcel Siem disqualifies himself at the Open de France after believing preferred lies were in place

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Marcel Siem disqualified himself from the Open de France after racking up several penalty strokes during Thursday’s opening round.

The 2012 champion was under the impression that preferred lies were in place during the first round, which was not the case, and the German amassed a total of 10 penalty strokes after moving his ball in the fairway five times.

With his European Tour card in danger, Siem was in need of a good week in France, but as he explained on his Facebook page after exiting the event, his attention will now turn to Q-School in November.

Siem was nine holes into the event when he decided to disqualify himself.

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