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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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Morning 9: Beyond “nice guy Stricker” | McIlroy to skip Irish Open | Opinion: Romo shouldn’t accept sponsor’s exemption

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

February 21, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. More than just a nice guy
Steve Stricker is a fiery competitor and tactician who has the allegiance and respect of his players. So says Steve Dimeglio regarding the now-official 2020 U.S. Ryder Cup captain.
  • “On the surface, Stricker could be mistaken as being a softy, a man without a temper and one who is reluctant to put up a fight. That would be a mistake.”
  • “Well, everyone knows he’s such a nice guy, but beneath all of that exterior is this fieriness and this competitiveness,” Tiger Woods said Wednesday at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.
  • “In other words, Stricker is as tough as he is nice, a nice combo that U.S. players can lean on in the 2020 Ryder Cup. On Wednesday Stricker, 51, was officially named the U.S. captain for Ryder Cup matches to be played in his home state of Wisconsin at Whistling Straits.”
2. He has their backs
Interesting tidbit from Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard on one Patrick Reed.
  • “Stricker, who was named the 2020 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, said he’s already spoken with Patrick Reed about last year’s matches and that he doesn’t expect the American’s inflammatory comments following last year’s matches to be an issue in 2020.”
  • “As far as he’s concerned, and I am, too, it’s been handled,” Stricker said. “He’s apologized and spoke to the players. He spoke to me and I kind of asked him what to expect from him. He’s like, ‘You know what, I’ve got your guys’ back. I’m there for the team.'”
3. The inside scoop
An interesting story in particular, yes, but the general takeaway–PGA Tour pros sometimes settle on gamers in extremely atypical ways–is just as cool.
  • Our Ryan Barath talked with Mizuno’s Senior Club Engineer, Chris Voshall, about the MP-32 irons Danny Lee was spotted with at the Genesis Open.
  • “We recently spotted Danny Lee at the Genesis Open and it started a LOT of discussion about classic designs, as well as whether these are new old stock (NOS) or new forgings, using the original tooling.”
  • “I reached out to Mizuno’s Senior Club Engineer Chris Voshall to get to the bottom of this interesting iron development. (Plus the idea that Mizuno has sets of 10-plus year-old irons kicking around ready for custom builds – I have a huge smile thinking about what that storage room might look like – is a pretty fun thought).”
  • “Heres the inside scoop on Danny’s irons from Chris Voshall…”The MP-32s being played by Danny Lee are a new old stock set that came from Luke Donald’s personal stash inside the tour van. The ones Danny is playing are the very last set of custom grind 32s that were made for Luke.”
4. Tiger moves Mexico
AP report on the Tiger Woods Effect at the WGC-Mexico Championship
  • “Golf is still in its relative infancy in Mexico, though the appeal changes when one of the most recognizable athletes in the world is in town. Security has increased this year, most of that because of Woods.”
  • “Grupo Salinas took over sponsorship of this WGC in the summer of 2016, when Woods was recovering from two back surgeries. There was no guarantee if his game would get back, so news of his decision to play last week was massive for small sector of golf fans in Mexico.”
  • “Tiger definitely moves the needle,” said Benjamin Salinas, the CEO of TV Azteca and lead voice for Grupo Salinas at the Mexico Championship. “When he announced he was coming, ticket sales leaped tenfold. He moves Mexico.”
5. Hot take: Romo is wrong
I’ll just let Carlos Monarrez take it from here regarding Tony Romo’s sponsor’s exemption into the Byron Nelson.
  • “Romo couldn’t get in the honest way, through a Monday qualifier like the hoi polloi who have to scratch and claw their way in.”
  • “Maybe some fans think it’s cute and harmless and will be curious to see how Romo will fare. But I’ve covered pro golfers for years, and I have too much respect for their struggle to watch an amateur with an inflated sense of himself pretend to be a pro for two days on his way to missing the cut badly.”
  • “And make no mistake, Romo will miss the cut. At last year’s Nelson, the cut came at 4-under-par. Amazing players like Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Brandt Snedeker missed the cut. Romo also got a sponsor’s exemption last March to the PGA Tour’s event in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and he finished dead last among 132 players at 15-over.”
6. Pat Perez loves his Js
Helen Ross of PGATour.com talked to the singular Pat Perez about his affection for Jordans.
Here’s a morsel regarding Double P’s meeting with his Airness
  • “The relationship developed into a business pact, as well, and Perez now wears Jordan Brand shoes on the golf course. The two text often, and his Airness even sent Perez and his wife Ashley gifts when their daughter was born last year. Oh, and Perez loves getting shipments of Air Jordans for his collection.”
  • “Perez’s only regret? One day when the two had hit the links, Jordan was wearing a pair of VI golf shoes – which were “the only pair in the world,” Perez says.”
  • “After the round, Perez says, “I can’t, believe you made those into golf shoes.” To which Jordan replies, “Well, take them if they fit.”
7. Tiger Hood doc
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers...”What began as an activity to pass the time while trying to sell his photographs has “become a lifestyle” for Patrick Barr. Better known around the streets of New York City as “Tiger Hood,” Barr now spends much of his days and nights hitting empty milk cartons with a golf club. And he’s about to have even bigger galleries watching him in action.”
  • “A new documentary titled Neighborhood Golf Association by Nicolas Heller explores Barr’s life, career, and mostly his unusual hobby. Heller, the man behind the popular New York Nico Instagram account, does a nice job of showing the charismatic local legend in his element while also getting across Barr’s beautiful message of inclusivity.”
8. McIlroy to skip Irish Open
Gareth Hanna at the Belfast Telegraph on the news that Rory will be passing on his island’s Open.
  • “The world number eight was the tournament host from 2015 to 2018 and strived to place the Irish Open among the European Tour’s top events.”
  • “However, he says missing out on this year’s edition at Lahinch will give him a better chance of lifting the Claret Jug at the Open Championship in Portrush.”
  • “The Irish Open will be played, as is the norm, two weeks before the major in July…McIlroy has previously said that he will look to play the week before the four major tournaments this season and has now confirmed his intention to tee it up at the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club rather than the week before in County Clare.”
9. Wiezy’s back
Michelle Wie fired an opening-round 68 at the Honda LPGA Thailand in her first
competitive action since hand surgery in October.
Eun-Hee Ji leads at 9 under after one round. Scores.
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Abraham Ancer becomes Miura’s first PGA Tour ambassador

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Miura Golf has announced that Abraham Ancer will be the company’s first-ever PGA Tour ambassador ahead of this week’s WGC-Mexico Championship.

As a PGA Tour ambassador for the club manufacturer, Ancer, who has played Miura clubs since 2017, will work directly with the Miura family in Himeji, Japan to craft his custom-designed forged irons and will don a Miura hat at tour events.

Speaking on the announcement, Ancer said

“I switched to Miura irons well before any partnership; I just wanted to play the best forged irons available. I am honored to represent Miura and look forward to introducing Miura to the Mexican market.”

Ancer as well as club fitter Genaro Davila (who initially fit Ancer for Miura clubs two years ago) have also teamed up with entrepreneur Gerardo Benavides to form Dead Solid Perfect (DSP) Golf Mexico, which will become the official distributor of Miura Golf in Mexico.

Hoyt McGarity, President of Miura Golf, shared his thoughts on the partnership, stating

“This is a first for Miura, and it was important to us that this partnership transcend the traditional sponsorship model. Abraham is the perfect partner to grow Miura’s presence on and off the course. As one of the most successful Mexican golfers ever, his personal investment in Miura is the strongest endorsement as we increase our operations in Mexico and other parts of the world.”

Ancer will tee it up for the first time since becoming Miura’s first PGA Tour Ambassador today at the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec. The 27-year-old will play alongside Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau in the opening round at 2.03 pm ET.

 

 

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Equipment

Danny Lee’s Mizuno MP-32 irons: The real inside scoop!

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Hipsters are known for loving “old” stuff — you know the classics, the vintage, the retro. From vinyl, to thrift store sweaters, what’s old is new again. In the case of Danny Lee, he’s leading the charge as the PGA Tour’s iron hipster.

It should also be noted that “old” is a relative term, especially with golf equipment. Now when it comes to “classics,” Mizuno has produced some of the most recognizable irons of all time, including the Cut Muscle MP-32 released in 2004.

We recently spotted Danny Lee at the Genesis Open and it started a LOT of discussion about classic designs, as well as whether these are new old stock (NOS) or new forgings, using the original tooling.

I reached out to Mizuno’s Senior Club Engineer Chris Voshall to get to the bottom of this interesting iron development. (Plus the idea that Mizuno has sets of 10-plus year-old irons kicking around ready for custom builds — I have a huge smile thinking about what that storage room might look like — is a pretty fun thought).

Heres the inside scoop on Danny’s irons from Chris Voshall

“The MP-32s being played by Danny Lee are a new old stock set that came from Luke Donald’s personal stash inside the tour van. The ones Danny is playing are the very last set of custom grind 32s that were made for Luke.”

(HERES WHERE THE STORY GETS VERY INTERESTING)

“Here’s the part that makes the Danny’s set unique – During final development of the 32s, Luke was feeling that the soles for him were not getting through the turf the same as his previous MP-33s, but he loved the profile and extra forgiveness offered by the cut muscle design.

“By working with the Craftsman on the Mizuno team they created a unique sole profile for Luke that modernized that of the MP-33 for his new MP-32s. They rounded off and beveled the trailing edge of the 32s and had multiple sets made that he used during their entire run in the line.

“The tell tale of the Luke soled irons vs. the retail and standard version is how close the trailing edge of the sole is to the “Mizuno” on the back. What’s even more interesting about the development of that sole and grind is that every MP iron moving forward in the line starting with the MP-62 in 2008 utilized the exact sole profile of the one developed with Luke for the 32s and then 62s he used to become Number 1 player in the world.”

Below are comparison pics of Danny’s irons vs retail MP-32s and MP-62s

Danny Lee’s LD Grind 32s

Standard MP-32 7-iron – notice the amount of space above the “Mizuno” text

Right – MP-62 vs Standard MP-32

Danny Lees LD Grind 9-iron

Retail MP-32 9-iron

MP-62 9-iron vs retail MP-32

WOW! How cool is that insider information? True 14-year-old prototypes back in play on Tour! Now we know 100 percent the real story behind this very cool set and how it lead to historical Mizuno design changes that we still see in the MP line today!

 

NOTE: All Mizuno forged irons pre-2010 meet the 2010 USGA Conforming Groove rule; they were conforming before and are still conforming now. This is also part of the reason you don’t see many other classic irons on tour, except for maybe some from Ping which did do a few older models with new grooves –most notably D.A Points’ i5s irons. 

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