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Morning 9: Rose on playing in Saudi Arabia: “I’m not a politician” | Pelley bites back at Li ruling

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

January 29, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. “I’m not a politician”
Justin Rose offered the definitive quotation for players teeing it up in Saudi Arabia this week.
  • “Rose, who said he would arrive in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday morning, said the event fit perfectly into his schedule with three weeks off looming after the first-year event to recover from the travel.”
  • “Rose – who will be joined in the field in Saudi Arabia by Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, assuring the event the world’s top three players – was also asked about the potential political fallout of playing the Saudi International.”
  • “I’m not a politician, I’m a pro golfer,” Rose said. “There’s other reasons to go play it. It’s a good field, there’s going to be a lot of world ranking points to play for, by all accounts it’s a good golf course and it will be an experience to experience Saudi Arabia.”
2. Pelley bites back at ruling
Golfweek’s Alistair Tait…”European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley has called on R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers to allow referees more discretion following Haotong Li’s controversial two-shot penalty in the final round of the $3.25 million Omega Dubai Desert Classic.”
  • “Li’s caddie Mike Burrow was adjudged to have breached Rule 10.2b (4) on the 18th green, which prohibits caddies from lining players up. Li’s birdie on the 18th Sunday became a bogey six, and his score was changed to 73 instead of 71. It cost the Chinese player $98,000 when he dropped from a share of third place into a tie for 12th.”
  • “Let me state initially that, under the new Rules of Golf issued on January 1, 2019, the decision made by our referees was correct, under the strict wording of the rules,” Pelley said in the statement Monday. “It is my strong belief, however, that the fact there is no discretion available to our referees when implementing rulings such as this is wrong and should be addressed immediately.”
  • “Everyone I have spoken to about this believes, as I do, that there was no malice or intent from Li Haotong, nor did he gain any advantage from his, or his caddie’s split-second actions. Therefore the subsequent two shot penalty, which moved him from T3 in the tournament to T12, was grossly unfair in my opinion.”
3. ANWA field complete
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”The Augusta National Women’s Amateur field is complete. Six additional players have been confirmed to the 72-player field: Zoe Campos (U.S.), Sophie Hausmann (Germany), Yu-Sang Hou (Chinese Taipei), Clarisse Louis (Belgium), Alexa Melton (U.S.) and Lei Ye (China).”
  • “Hou was part of the Arizona team that won the 2018 NCAA Championship in dramatic fashion in Stillwater, Okla. Her sister Yu-Chiang is also in the ANWA field. Yu-Chiang is ranked 47th in the World Golf Amateur Ranking and Yu-Sang is 55th.”
  • “The last two Americans in the field are Melton and Campos, two California teens committed to Pepperdine and UCLA, respectively.”

Full piece.

4. Here’s Johnny
On occasion of Johnny Miller stepping away from the broadcast booth, GolfDigest.com has some excerpts from Mr. 62.
  • “MY THEORY IN GOLF was that when you’re on, keep it on, because you never know what tomorrow will bring.”
  • “I WASN’T CONSISTENT. I want to point that out. I was not a guy you could bank on every week. But when I was on and playing my best, I might have played as good golf as most anybody. I don’t want to be the one to say it, but some of my golf at the time was pretty unusual. Let’s leave it at that.”
  • “IN MANY WAYS, I’M A SOFTY. I’m pretty street smart, growing up in San Francisco. I’m not a nerd, but I am sort of an easy-going guy. But I’m also sort of a semi-confrontational person. I don’t like getting in arguments with people-I like to peace-make-but I can get in there and mix it up if I need to. I just prefer not to.”
  • “I WAS NEVER a phenomenal putter. I was a very good putter from about 12 feet in, but I was always mediocre from outside 15 feet. My 61s and 62s, if you analyze them, were not rounds where I was chipping in and making 60-footers. It was a very methodical kind of 61. It was like, “That’s what he should have shot.”
5. BigShots

 

Erik Matuszewski, writing for Forbes about ClubCorp’s foray into golf entertainment…”BigShots is the next major mover in the golf-entertainment space, joining a growing field led first and foremost by Topgolf and its more recent competitor, Drive Shack.”

  • “BigShots received a significant shot in the arm last month when ClubCorp, which owns and operates the most private golf clubs in the world, purchased a controlling interest in the venture. The two companies were side-by-side on the floor at the PGA Merchandise Show last week in Orlando, excited about the opportunity to share BigShots technology with consumers through standalone entertainment venues (like Topgolf or Drive Shack) or indoor simulators.”
  • “In addition to owning and operating free-standing, outdoor BigShots facilities, ClubCorp is introducing franchise opportunities with an indoor product that can be installed in locations such as bars, malls and other retail venues. Through this franchise offering, ClubCorp is seeking to support entrepreneurs around the country who are interested in getting into the golf-entertainment space – whether it’s a facility with one bay or one that has 50.”

Full piece.

6. How power helps your golf game (not how you think)

GolfWRX’s resident statistician, Richie Hunt crunched the number for a heckuva piece on the real ways power can benefit your golf game.
  • Here’s a bit where he talks about the application for 10-handicap golfers...”The projected club speed of a 10-handicap golfer using my regression analysis is 92.6 mph. If a golfer is a legitimate 10-handicap golfer and generates 85 mph they are likely more accurate off the tee and a better putter than the other 10-handicap golfer that generates 93 mph of speed.”
  • “With any golfer, an increase in club speed is likely to improve their handicap. However, if the golfer just wants to compete with other 10-handicaps without working on their golf swing, it is very important that he hit the ball more accurately than his competitors and that he will need to be more skilled with the putter.”
  • “If the golfer is a 10-handicap and generates 100 mph of club speed with the driver, they most likely are less accurate off the tee and worse putters than their fellow 10-handicap golfers. However, the key here is that the 100-mph golfer has more options than the 85-mph golfer. The 100-mph golfer can beat out his fellow 10-handicappers by hitting the ball more accurately or by improving their short game around the green to make up for having more difficult scramble opportunities or they can improve their putting.”
  • “In a previous example, I showed why Brian Gay has to be more skilled of a putter to sink more putts than Bubba Watson. Gay hits it shorter and has longer (and thus more difficult) putts to make than Watson. But, what if Bubba was equally as skilled or more skilled than Gay with the putter?”
  • “You would have an equally skilled or more skilled putter that is putting from more makeable distances. This is why long hitters are so dangerous. If they can keep the ball out of trouble and get four good days with the putter, they are going to contend. And the same applies with amateurs.”

Full piece.

7. The email that got him a gig

Sam Weinman read Joel Dahmen’s caddie’s piece for the Caddie Network about landing his gig via email and he filed an interesting breakdown.

“For starters, it always helps to be unambiguous with your intentions, as Bonnalie does here: “I would like to officially apply for the position of ‘Joel Dahmen’s Caddie’ for the Web.com & PGA TOUR. I have been thinking about this for a long time, and I don’t want to put any pressure on you to hire me, I just want to explain why I would be a good fit for the job and let you decide.”

“Then you need to detail explicity why you deserve the job: “I don’t think you realize how much I love golf, everything about it. It literally consumes my thoughts. I promise you that no one would work harder than I would. I will be at the course earlier than everyone, I will be a charting/documenting machine.”

“A caddie would also be wise to explain how he won’t put undue financial pressure on the player (extra credit for offering to live out of a Honda Civic) by living frugally: “I already have a plan to get rid of my truck and buy a Honda Civic and modify it to be my house. I have also looked at the schedule and know that there are some weeks where it is over 1,000 miles to the next location. That’s okay. That’s only 16 hours & $125 in gas… easy. I know there would be a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my future, but I have a way of surviving on nothing. I made it through college, J.”

Full piece.

8. Wie lets the big dog eat

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”At long last, Michelle Wie can give her driver a rip. Wie underwent hand surgery after the UL International Crown last October and has been laying low since.”

“And here’s the proof: A video Wie posted on Instagram with the caption”

LFG, indeed.

See the video here.

9. A very WMPO head cover…

All credit to other Waste Management Phoenix Open headcovers, but Odyssey golf has truly outdone itself with this mallet cover.

Yes, folks, that’s a tap.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. BD

    Jan 30, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    Pelley is talking nonsense. So much so one wonders has he a grasp of either the spirit or rules of the game of golf. In any event calling on officials to fudge the application of the rules is disgraceful.
    Whether or not there was ‘intent’ or ‘advantage’ is immaterial. If the rule is infringed the penalty is, rightly, applied.
    In this instance if the caddie was competent the rule wouldn’t have been infringed and the player wouldn’t have been penalised.
    Message to Pelley: golf is a game of honour and, as such, to encourage fudging of Rules is repellent.

  2. Tom

    Jan 29, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    China has worse human rights record than Saudi Arabia….and most all the club components come from there…the Tour plays in China too! Let’s study our facts folks!

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News

Morning 9: LPGA players to add to Hazeltine’s history | Web.com Tour no more | Mickelson’s U.S. Open dream dead?

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

June 20, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1 Adding to Hazeltine’s history
Doug Ferguson at the AP….”This is where Rich Beem, a former car stereo salesman, held off a charge by Tiger Woods in the 2002 PGA Championship. It’s where Y.E. Yang became the only player to come from behind and beat Woods in the final round of a major at the 2009 PGA Championship.”
  • “It’s where the Americans actually won a Ryder Cup in 2016.”
  • “Hazeltine also is an example of how much the second-oldest major in women’s golf has risen in stature since the LPGA Tour and PGA of America became partners to stage what is now the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.”
  • “The magnitude of this event has gone up so high, and it’s neck and neck with the USGA and U.S. Open,” said Danielle Kang, who won the Women’s PGA two years ago at Olympia Fields, the course south of Chicago where Walter Hagen and Jim Furyk won majors. “It’s just when you get here and people talk so much about the golf course. ‘Oh, you’re going to play Hazeltine.’ They talk it up so much.”

Full piece.

2. Caddie arrested on charges of human trafficking, exploitation of a child
Bizarre, awful stuff, here. As reported by Joel Beall at Golf Digest…
  • “Evan H. Vollerthum, a caddie on the Korn Ferry Tour, was arrested Monday for human trafficking and attempting to sexually exploit a child.”
  • “Vollerthum was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations in Topeka, Kansas, according to an ICE news release. Topeka is about two hours away from this week’s Wichita Open.”
  • “Shawnee County Jail (Kansas) records state Vollerthum is being held in connection with one count of aggravated human trafficking involving hiring a child 14 or older to engage in sexual acts, and attempted commercial exploitation of a child involving hiring a person under 18 for a sex act.”
3. Korn Ferry Tour
Via the Golf Channel Digital team…”As of Wednesday, the Web.com Tour will now be known as the Korn Ferry Tour, after inking a 10-year deal through 2028.”
“Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm, also becomes a PGA Tour’s official marketing partner and will assume sponsorship of the developmental circuit’s Tour Championship, the third and final event of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.”
4. Mickelson: I’m out of U.S. Open chances
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…
  • “….He made a run up the leaderboard Friday and made the cut for a ho-hum T-52 finish. He also had nothing but praise for the USGA’s setup after ripping the organization’s past failures in the days and weeks leading up.”
  • “It was nice to see cooler heads prevail on both sides throughout the week, but it doesn’t change the fact that the U.S. Open remains Mickelson’s white whale. And he’s starting to get more and more realistic about his Career Grand Slam chances at age 49.”
  • “I’m appreciative of the opportunity, even though I didn’t play my best and didn’t win,” Mickelson said. “I really don’t have many more chances. Probably have to come to the realization that I’m not going to win the U.S. Open, but I’m not going to stop trying. I’ll keep trying. You never know.”
5. Hovland on being a Ping man
Andrew Tursky at PGATour.com went deep with Viktor Hovland on his new Ping weaponry (photo above is Tursky’s)
A few of his specs and remarks
Driver: Ping G410 LST (draw setting, 9 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS 6.5-flex 62 grams
  • Hovland says: “I just put this in the bag on Thursday morning of the U.S. Open. I drove it really nice and it was a big part of my success last week… I’ve been messing around with the different kind of heads and I felt like this was a great fit for me. I was struggling with a bigger left-to-right curve. I put it on draw [setting] and it keeps it neutralized a bit. I was able to hit a lot of fairways with it at the U.S. Open.”
3-wood: Ping G410 LST (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.5TX 80 grams
  • Hovland says: “I really like [the way it] sits down because it looks like it has a lot of loft and it sits real tight to the ground, so for me it’s real easy to launch. I’m a guy who hits a lot of drivers off the tee, I don’t really like to hit a lot of 3 woods [off the tee]. So for me it’s key to have something I can launch up in the air and get it to stop on the greens, [such as going for] par 5’s in two. That’s been a great help for me.”

Full piece.

6. The role of restoration in Gary Woodland’s 17th-hole chip
An interesting note from Geoff Shackelford…
  • “The neck of the “hourglass” green created by Egan had been reduced to a sliver, the green unpinnable anywhere near the surrounds. The square footage restoration estimate was over 1000 square feet and while the green was still not as large as the original, the remodel made the 17th was made functional again.”
  • “But more important than the reclamation of architectural roots or reminding us of this wonderfully bizarre vision by Egan, the expansion gave Gary Woodland the opportunity to hit a shot for the ages, requiring him to clip the ball and land in a very small area and join Pebble Beach’s other 17th hole classic moments by Nicklaus and Watson.”
  • “The shot reminds how important golf course design is to giving us golf-watching thrills, and the vitality of caring for architectural gems.”
7. What it’s like without tour status
...rough…
Nick Menta focuses through the lens of Chip McDaniel…
  • “I saw [Roberto Diaz] in the locker room today,” McDaniel said Wednesday at the Travelers Championship. “He’s like, ‘What’s up, Mr. Monday?’
  • “I already have a nickname out here, which is pretty cool.”
  • On Thursday, McDaniel will make his sixth PGA Tour start this season and his second in as many weeks.
  • The 23-year-old out of the University of Kentucky went through local and sectional qualifying to make it to Pebble Beach, where he made the cut on the number and finished 78th in his U.S. Open debut.
  • “Then I had to hop on a red-eye and get back to the real world and play in a Monday qualifier,” he said.
8. Getting good at golf without a golf course
Golf Digest’s Keely Levins offers the example of Sung Hyun Park, who only visited an actual golf course about once per year early in her golfing development…
  • “…In her first few years playing golf, she barely set foot on the golf course.”
  • “I first started playing when I was nine years old, and I only practiced indoors,” Park said through a translator in her pre-tournament press conference at the KPMG. “It was like a three-meter distance, and I used to hit my shots over there. And playing like that for three years, I probably went on the golf course around four or five times only, which probably means like once a year. And so I always looked forward to going out on to the course and to play.”
  • “If you’re someone who loves golf, but don’t have easy access to a course, there’s hope for you. Park is proof that you can get good-sometimes really, really, good-even if you can’t get on-course as much as you’d like.”
 
9. Why does the USGA now care about player complaints?
Good point from Alan Shipnuck in his weekly mailbag.
  • Whining players > non-whining players during the U.S. Open? -@Nolanddad
  • “Oh, hell yes. Going back decades, the soundtrack to every U.S. Open was the plaintive wailing of the players. That’s how we knew it was our national championship. “Fair” is often codeword for too easy, so I knew we were in trouble when the players universally employed that word to praise the Pebble setup. I pray that future Opens will feature the appropriate amount of kvetching.”

 

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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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