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Morning 9: Kuchar wins Sony, says caddie pay scandal “not a story” | Remembering the missile scare of 2018



By Ben Alberstadt (

January 14, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans. Hope you’re greeting the week with a smile wider than Matt Kuchar’s.
1. Kuch captures the Sony
A beautiful back nine secured Matt Kuchar’s second win in three starts.’s Ben Everill...”Having started Sunday two shots in front of Andrew Putnam, Kuchar made the turn one back of last season’s Barracuda Championship winner following some early stumbles.”
  • “But a 5-under 30 back nine blitz pushed the veteran to 22 under for the week, ultimately four clear of his nearest challenger.”
  • “And he’s ready for more success….While not making any outlandish promises Kuchar was happy to be reminded of Vijay Singh’s early 40s….Singh won 22 times on TOUR after entering his fourth decade of life including the FedExCup in 2008.”
  • “I would certainly like to (do what Singh did),” Kuchar said. “He set a great example. Certainly showed that is possible. A number of guys showed that it is possible. It’s nice to know that.
  • “It’s not like you hit 40 and you have to go away. There are guys that have done great. Certainly I’m off to a way better start than I would’ve expected. Feels good. I hope to continue.”
2. Caddie paygate
In a situation that is either developing or dead, depending on who you believe, an unsavory accusation (in tour pro land, at least) was leveled against one Matt Kuchar.
  • Geoff Shackelford summarizes…”Former PGA Tour player Tom Gillis took to Twitter suggesting Matt Kuchar, 2019 Sony Open leader, former Players Champion and winner of $45 million in his PGA Tour career, might want to pay his caddie this week more than the $3000 he claims Kuchar paid “David” upon winning last fall’s Mayakoba Classic.”
  • “The win garnered Kuchar a $1.3 million winner’s check plus presumed bonuses. You may recall that David was a local caddie Kuchar used when he entered last minute and his normal looper, John Wood, had a previous engagement.”
  • Tom Gillis tweeted…”If Kuchar wins this weekend let’s hope he pays his man more than 3k like the last win. 45 mil in earnings. Could’ve changed the mans life. ??”
  • Kuchar, for his part denied the $3K number has any validity…”Following his third round at the Sony, Kuchar denied the amount quoted and said it was not a story. From Rex Hoggard’s story…”That’s not a story,” Kuchar said. “It’s wasn’t 10 percent. It wasn’t $3,000. It’s not a story.”
Golfweek’s Kevin Casey writes…”Kuchar did note in his comment that he didn’t pay “El Tucan” 10 percent of the winnings, but that is justifiable. A local caddie generally doesn’t have the ability to do as much for a player as his longtime professional looper. A local caddie also doesn’t have to deal with the large travel costs that a full-time pro looper must on a week-to-week basis.”
  • “Thus, the 10 percent benchmark more applies to professional caddies rather than all loopers. A local caddie may then expect a smaller percentage.”
  • “Whatever Kuchar paid the man, he disputes it was $3,000 and clearly feels the amount he did dole out was appropriate.”
3. Meanwhile, in the Bahamas…
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”Through 15 holes, Oda is 8 under and two shots clear of the field at the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.”
  • “The former UNLV product eagled his opening hole and added seven more birdies before darkness suspended Sunday’s opening round. The first two events of the Tour season, both played in the Bahamas, will be played Sunday-Wednesday.”
  • “Lee McCoy, Willy Wilcox and Austin Smotherman are tied for second at 6 under. McCoy and Wilcox finished off 66s while Smotherman, like Oda, has three holes to play.”
4. Buddies again
Eamon Lynch with some perspective on the presumed selection of Steve Stricker as the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain.
  • “I reached out to a former European Ryder Cupper, who requested anonymity to speak about a U.S. selection process that seems increasingly reliant on a close-knit buddy system….”We base our decisions on what the players who will be playing want, not on a circle of friendship,” he said dryly…But the European veteran insisted that captains aren’t the issue.”
  • “…The captain doesn’t hit a shot, but he decides who does and who gets on the plane. Furyk reserved a seat to Paris for Mickelson, his task force buddy who was out of form and played poorly. Like his two immediate predecessors, Stricker will be crowdsourced into the captaincy from a select group of pals and invariably will face the same questions about whether his decisions are based on merit or loyalty, on sense or sentiment.”
  • “Regardless of the result in Wisconsin 20 months hence, Stricker’s appointment will be a positive for the U.S. team. It’s a tacit acknowledgement that a playing record is immaterial to efficacy as a captain, that character and all-around decency are just as relevant to leadership, perhaps more so. And that’s as good a standard as any to establish for the time, years from now, when the task force finally exhausts its bench.”
5. Charley!
BBC Report…”England’s Charley Hull earned a wire-to-wire win in the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open in Abu Dhabi to claim her second Ladies European Tour title.”
  • “Hull, 22, took a one-shot lead into the final round and a three-under 69 saw her finish a shot ahead of Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord on eight under.”
  • ‘”I’ve practised really hard over winter and it feels great to win,” said Hull. “Hopefully I can get a few more wins. I’m very happy with my round so it shows that my hard work is paying off.”‘
  • Hull clinched the victory when she splashed out of a bunker on the 18th and saved par with a solid putt.”
6. It’s a young man’s game
AP Column (presumably Doug Ferguson) quantifying the youth movement on the PGA Tour…
  • A taste…”How many players on the tour now are 25 and under?” Cink asked. “Forty?”
  • “He was close. There are 29 players with full status on tour who are 25 or younger. That includes Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, who already have won majors and reached No. 1 in the world. It includes Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau and Xander Schauffele, all of whom are among the top 10 in the world ranking.”
  • “They play a lot more, against better competition when they’re younger now,” Cink said. “And they’re just more seasoned when they come out here. There is no break-in period anymore like there used to be because you don’t need to learn.”
  • “When he started two decades ago, Cink said most players – Woods is an exception in almost every way – had to reinvent the wheel and learn to play the style of golf required on the PGA Tour.”
  • “Now you just come out here, guns blazing,” he said.
7. The Loves go to Singapore
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard...”Although he plans to play almost exclusively on the PGA Tour in 2019, he will make one exception next week when he will travel to the SMBC Singapore Open. Although his wife, Robin, has always wanted to see Singapore and his son, Dru, will also be in the field, Love’s primary motivation for playing the event, that is co-sanctioned by the Japan Golf Tour and Asian Tour, is to qualify for The Open Championship.”
  • “The Singapore Open is an Open qualifying event, and the top-4 finishers not otherwise exempt earn a spot in the field at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland in July.”
  • “I just want to play in it. I just love playing in it I don’t care where it is,” said Love, who last played The Open in 2012. “It’s just like the U.S. Open or the Masters, I would just like to play them one more time. Especially The Open.”
8. The great missile scare
Excellent stuff from Rex Hoggard, who interviewed some of the Tour pros who reserved the “you’re about to be hit with a missile attack” text message in Hawaii last year.
  • “Because Hawaii is a vacation destination, many players bring friends and family for the week. Charles Howell III, who has played the event 17 times in his career, had his wife and two children with him.”
  • “We were in the back of the hotel having breakfast and I just told the kids let’s just go to the beach and watch it,” Howell recalled. “There’s not much you can do at that point so you might as well get a front-row seat to this thing. We can’t get far enough away from one those big old things (missiles).”
  • “Tourists flooded the streets of Waikiki searching for bomb shelters and answers, but the vast majority of players took a more philosophical approach. Justin Thomas, for example, turned on some music and went to his balcony.”
  • “I just watched,” Thomas said. “If a missile comes in I’m really not going to be able to do anything. At least I can watch it come in. I was going to die if I was in my room or on my balcony. If this is the real thing, I’m going to enjoy my last couple of minutes looking at the ocean.”
9. Fleetwood with prototype Tiger Woods irons?
What’s that you have in your hands there, Tommy Fleetwood? That iron looks strikingly familiar to the “P-7TW” iron we featured in a Forum Thread of the Day last week on GolfWRX
  • What’s going on here? Well, as most WRX Members believe, the TaylorMade P-7TW irons will be Tiger Woods’ gamers in 2019. Woods had been playing a prototype TW-Phase 1 most of last year. TaylorMade hasn’t released any details or given an indication the irons will come to retail.
  • But what does this have to do with England’s finest head of hair? Well, Fleetwood, a former Nike staffer, has been clinging to his final set of Oven-produced Nike VR Pro Blades for dear life since the company exited the hard goods business in August of 2016.
  • Knowing the clubs can’t last forever, and apparently unable to compel Paul Casey to part with his similar weapons, Fleetwood looks to be looking to alternatives ahead of next week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, judging from the pictures below. It’s not surprising, then, given the apparent similarity between the P-7TW iron and Nike VR Pro Blade, that Fleetwood would opt to put the irons to the test early in the year.
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  1. Ryan

    Jan 15, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    He offered to pay the caddie 3K or a lifetime supply of Sketchers golf shoes. The caddie made the right choice.

  2. JuannyBravo

    Jan 14, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Kuch might be a cheapskate but I wonder if the local caddy didn’t want the real number getting out because of his own safety. So somewhere, “$3K” was thrown out.

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Tour Rundown: Long, Li, Lehman and more



The first full week of tournament golf of 2019 brought a few surprises and some familiar faces. Phil Mickelson began the week in the California desert with a 12-birdie 60, at an event known for producing low scores. Golfers also gathered in Abu Dhabi, central Florida and Hawaii as the European, LPGA and Champions tours sent their first shots of the new year flying. Could Mickelson hold on for victory? Who might join him? Did the Web.Com tour event really begin on Sunday?In a few minutes, you’ll have all the answers.

PGA Tour: first first-time winner of 2019 arrives at Desert Classic

If someone were to have suggested to Adam Long that he would birdie neither par five on the final 9 holes of the Desert Classic, yet still have a chance to win, Long might have scratched his head and chuckled. He was chasing a 3rd-round leader named Mickelson, after all, and pars on the birdie holes would not be good enough to haul Lefty in. Six scores of 3 on the other inward holes were what the golf gods had in mind for the 31-year old. A final-round 65 brought Long his first PGA Tour victory.

For a while, Talor Gooch seemed likely to overtake everyone, but a bogey on the 15th dropped him to 4th at 24-under par. After a tumultuous front nine, Mickelson settled down to a 2-under 34 on the back. A narrow miss on a final-hole birdie putt held the southpaw at 25-under, tied with Adam Hadwin and one stroke behind Long. And the winner? Watch the video below. After his unbelievable approach, Long converted the birdie to finish atop the podium at 26-under par.

European Tour: Lowry opens 2019 with victory in Abu Dhabi

Shane Lowry opened his week with a 10-birdie 62. Unlike Mickelson, he was able to push through to the finish line and capture his rth European Tour title this week. The outward nine saw a massive lead change, as Richard Sterne erased Lowry’s 3-shot, 54-hole lead, adding another 3 strokes on top. Over the final six holes, however, the tournament was decided. Sterne played the stretch in +2, while was 2 shot below par. In the blink of an eye, almost, Sterne’s then-2 stroke advantage evaporated into a final deficit of one, searing stroke. Certainly great viewing, but not the best medicine for either player’s psyche. Early in the season, we see these types of lead changes, as players regain their winning ways. Although Joost Luiten and Louis Oosthuizen each shot mid-60s on Sunday to reach -15, they were never playing for anything but the 3rd-place tie they achieved.

LPGA Tour: Ji wins Diamond Resorts TOC with 2 strokes in hand

Eun-hee Ji began round 4 in Lake Buena Vista, FL, with a pair to spare over Nelly Korda. She ended the day in the same position, but the runner-up was Mirim Lee, and the result might have been less palatable for Ji. After opening with bogeys on the first 2 holes, Ji, recovered with birdies at 3 and 4. Korda didn’t make a birdie until hole 16 and 2 bogeys at 8 and 9 essentially took her out of the running. Ji turned for home in +1 on the day, while Lee played the front half even. Not much happened to the 2-shot margin throughout most of the afternoon. Each time Ji would make a birdie, Lee would counter, and vice-versa. At the 15th, however, Ji’s bogey and Lee’s 16th-hole birdie reduced the lead to 1. As champions do, Ji rebounded once more with birdie at 16, and both players parred to the clubhouse. After winning major titles in her first two seasons on tour (2008 and 9), Ji has now won each of the last 3 seasons. Sunday’s victory was her fifth career LPGA title. Lee sought her 4th tour win, and first since 2017, but will have to wait at least one more event.

PGA Tour Champions: Lehman overtakes Toms for Mitsubishi Electric title

Scorecard summaries offer interesting patterns to the lazy viewer. David Toms entered round 3 at Hualalai with a 4-shot cushion over Tom Lehman. Toms bogeyed his first and last holes on Sunday. Those two strokes could have turned a 1-stroke defeat into the slimmest of victory margins, but there they were, attested and signed. Toms opened with matching 65s, and looked to all the golfing world like the first Champions Tour winner of the new year. Lehman opened with a see-saw 69, lowlighted by a pair of bogeys. On Saturday and Sunday, he became Toms, closing with 14 birdies against 0 bogeys, and his own pair of 65s. Lehman’s final birdie came at the 16th, and he must have envisioned a playoff against the former LSU golfer, until Toms got greedy at the last. Faced with a long birdie putt, Toms bombed his effort 7 feet past and missed the return train as well. Lehman had a tap-in for the win, his 12th on the senior circuit. Bernhard Langer served notice that he will challenge again in 2019, finishing 3rd at -14, 2 behind Toms and 3 from the trophy.

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GolfWRX takes a behind-the-scenes look at the Callaway ball plant



In Chicopee, Massachusetts, there is an unassuming red brick building that predates the existence of every modern golf OEM. From the outside, it could be confused for any other American manufacturing facility if not for the proudly displayed Callaway sign. Inside, there are over 400 hard-working people producing the highest quality golf balls using state-of-the art manufacturing techniques and tools — this red brick building is the Callaway golf ball plant.

To understand what you see when you first enter the ball plant, it’s best to first understand why it is here in the first place. When I initially asked this question to one of my tour guides, Vincent Simonds, the Senior Director of Global Golf Ball Operations, his answer started with a story that predated cars…it was at this point I knew that these guys mean business.

The modern history, however, starts in 2003 when Callaway purchased Top-Flite brand and subsidiaries, and with it purchased the entire Top-Flite manufacturing facility. In its it heyday, Top-Flite/Spaulding was producing its full line of clubs and balls out of this building, and that included equipment made for Bobby Jones. Chicopee, Massachusetts, was essentially the center of the golf club technology universe.

Part of the original Spaulding golf club factory

Letter from Bobby Jones discussing the advantage of the newly designed ball

Page 2 of the Letter from Bobby Jones

When its comes to balls, most modern golfers don’t equate Top-Flite with premium equipment or breakthroughs, but during this time period the ball plant in Chicopee was responsible for just as many technology and scientific breakthroughs as its modern Callaway self.

One Example is Bob Molitor. In 1972, Molitor developed the first two-piece golf ball with a Surlyn cover by combining the right amounts of various ionomers. This allowed golf balls to have much greater durability and along with it improved distance. This development is part of the reason the USGA had to establish the “One Ball Rule” because players would switch out depending on the hole since there was a huge distance advantage to this Solid Core Surlyn Cover design. Imagine that – the USGA having to change rules to accommodate a new technology, seems to me our current daily discussions about bifurcation aren’t something so new after all.

There were a lot of other great innovations over the years that lead to new technology making its way into the bags of players all over the world, one of which caused a revolution that we still benefit from today. In the 90s Top-Flite, under the Strata brand, cracked the code of merging the soft, high-spin “tour ball” performance with the lower-spinning, longer-flying, and more durable “distance ball”, this three-piece ball was like two balls in one. Strata’s design team accomplished this feat by placing a soft polyurethane cover on a Top-Flite distance ball, and then added a thin layer between the cover and the core that encased the ball’s already large and solid rubber core. In short, the modern golf ball was born. 

This brings us back to the modern day Callaway ball plant, a facility where the average employee tenure exceeds 20 years, and where every single premium Callaway Ball on the planet is made. The thing I quickly realized upon entering the plant for the first time is the pride every person has for their role in making world class golf balls. This sense of pride, and a friendly, yet hard-working environment is something I witnessed before at Callaway’s Carlsbad facility too — a testament to the company’s corporate leadership and the culture that they promote everyday. The “Victory Flag,” as they call it, was flying high thanks to Xander Schauffele’s win just a few days before my visit. 

The start of production begins with materials formulation

I was able to observe a pre-shift meeting, and you would think that based on the discussion of machine tolerances, quality control, & equipment inspections this plant is making parts for a yet-to-be-seen shuttle being sent into space, but they’re talking golf balls. Speaking to the tolerances the plant works within, the in-house machine shop had some amazing equipment, including some things I unfortunately could not share through pictures. This equipment works with the tolerances of less than the 1/30th the thickness of a Post-It Note. For example, each single side to a cover mold for the Chrome Soft line takes more than 30 hours of machine time to complete — an amount of time which might seem excessive, but when you think of the speed and forces impacting a golf ball from first driver strike and along its parabolic trajectory, we really are talking space shuttle physics.

Some of the most impressive equipment has nothing to do with the performance of the balls but rather how they look. I’m talking here about the Truvis patterned balls. What was perceived by many golfers at first as a gimmick (and something than even some Callaway management believed would be a fad) has proven to be an absolute slam dunk. The pentagon pattern provides a tangible benefit by creating an optical illusion that makes the ball look bigger (and easier to hit) especially out of the rough, and also gives visual feedback for short game shots and putting.

Let’s just say that what started as a toe dip with one machine has turned into an area of the plant with more than a dozen machines,  and Callaway is also producing Truvis balls with custom colors and logos — they’re not just printing pentagons anymore.

GolfWRX Truvis

For actual production, every ball starts as raw materials, and compounds are precisely mixed in house, allowing Callaway to control the entire production process. The amount of materials engineering and chemistry I witnessed was way beyond what I was expecting, and to be frank, I went in with already high expectations. After initial mixing each batch is tested and sent to the next step.

Mixing Station

Pre cut core “slugs” ready for baking

Ever wonder why the cores of various golf balls from a single OEM are so bright and differently colored? It’s actually done to make each material identifiable in the process and give production staff another way to make sure materials get to the right manufacturing line. Of all the questions I asked, this one had the most simple answer.

Callaway ERC ( Left ) vs. Chrome Soft ( Right )

The next step is the “cooking” process of the inner core. Each oven press is precisely controlled for pressure and temperature along multiple areas of each unit, this ensures a core that comes from the outer part of the press is formed and “cooked” to the exact same spec as one from the middle. The same process is used for both parts of the dual core.  

Hydraulic press “oven” for producing cores


Cores post-pressing and still hot

Callaway utilized a proprietary manufacturing and molding technique to ensure exact specifications are met for centering the core and achieving correct cover thickness. Once the covers are in place, we officially have a golf ball, but we’re not done yet. There are still more quality control checks done by machine as well and humans to once again ensure each ball that leaves the plant is built to the highest quality standards and will perform just like the one before it.

Chrome Softs just after the cover process – Still very warm to the touch as the urethane cools

Even the final paint and clear coat are highly engineered to resist staining, sheering, and stay on during deformation. To quote of one my tour guides, “The force applied to the cover and paint on the ball by a wedge would be like taking a hatchet to the paint on the side of your house.” It might seem like a simple process, but to ensure full coverage of sphere requires some pretty unique tools to get the job done.

This brings us to the new Triple Track Alignment system and how it was developed to help golfers play better. The new system helps improve alignment on putts from all lengths and it also happens to be on Callaway’s longest ball to date: the ERC Soft.

The alignment aid wraps 160 degrees around the ball and offers three parallel lines with high contrast (no more need to try and draw that long Sharpie line around your ball).  For those who choose to putt without the Triple Track alignment, Callaway considered you too, since the other 200 degrees around the ball unsure that you won’t see those lines from address.

Triple Track Alignment visible vs hidden

Every shot taken means something to someone, whether it be a golfer trying to break 100 for the first time, or a tour professional lining up a putt on Sunday afternoon of a major championship. The golf ball is the one piece of equipment a golfer will use on every shot, and each person at the Callaway ball plant in Chicopee, Massachusetts, is proud to put their name behind it, even if you don’t see those names on the box.


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Phil phires a 60 | Lowry leads in Abu Dhabi | Bernhard the bricklayer’s son



By Ben Alberstadt (

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 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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19th Hole