The slow play issue in golf is reaching an inevitable crescendo, and this week Brooks Koepka aired how he feels about players who possess lengthy pre-shot routines, calling their actions “embarrassing.”
The three-time major champ was speaking to Michael Weston on Golf Monthly’s podcast, and when the subject of Bryson DeChambeau’s pre-shot process came about, Koepka didn’t hold back.
“I just don’t understand how it takes a minute and 20 seconds, a minute and 15 to hit a golf ball; it’s not that hard. It’s always between two clubs; there’s a miss short, there’s a miss long. It really drives me nuts especially when it’s a long hitter because you know you’ve got two other guys or at least one guy that’s hitting before you so you can do all your calculations; you should have your numbers.
“Obviously if you’re the first guy you might take ten extra seconds, but it doesn’t take that long to hit the ball, especially if it’s not blowing 30. If it’s blowing 30 I understand taking a minute and taking some extra time with some gusts, you know changing just slightly, I get that but if it’s a calm day there’s no excuse. Guys are already so slow it’s kind of embarrassing. I just don’t get why you enforce some things and don’t enforce others.”
DeChambeau, who romped home at last week’s Dubai Desert Classic for his fifth win worldwide in the space of eight months, responded separately after the event, giving his perspective on his suggested slow play to the media. For DeChambeau, the ends justify the means, as, after all, golf is his livelihood.
“It’s actually quite impressive that we’re able to get all that stuff done in 45 seconds. People don’t realise that it’s very difficult to do everything we do in 45 seconds. I think that anybody that has an issue with it, I understand, but we’re playing for our livelihoods out here, and this is what we want to do. If we want to provide the best entertainment for you, it’s part of our process. It’s part of my process, at least.”
The Californian’s view that people should be impressed by the length of his pre-shot routine is sure to raise some eyebrows. This video posted on Twitter by the European Tour, showcased DeChambeau’s 75-second pre-shot process at last week’s Dubai Desert Classic, and it’s fair to say, golf fans were not impressed.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 27, 2019
Undoubtedly authorities need to be more transparent on their stance concerning slow-play in the game. It’s an issue which frustrates the majority of golf fans, but despite the countless examples of slow play in the professional game, there has only been a handful of penalties handed out for the transgression throughout history.
The European Tour has introduced The Shot Clock Masters, which debuted in 2018 and proved to be very popular amongst both players and fans. The experimental event could prove to be the catalyst in combatting slow play in the sport which as of now is one of the few remaining which doesn’t possess a shot clock week in and week out.
As for DeChambeau, according to the man himself, any issues over the length of time it takes him to prepare before a shot will vanish with more course experience, while the five-time winner on the PGA Tour also confirmed that the looseness of the slow play rule, for better or worse, allows players to take advantage.
“Some people don’t do what we do and they are successful. But they have got loads of experience that I haven’t really necessarily had, so I have to find another way to be just as consistent as them without the experience. So I have to kind of do that stuff initially, and down the road, it will keep getting quicker and quicker and quicker, because I’m certainly not a slow walker, I know that.”
“It’s just a part of the process and unfortunately the Rules of Golf allow for a certain amount of time, and we’re using it to our fullest potential.”
Detroit Golf City
Woodward Avenue is a major thoroughfare in downtown Detroit. From it, you can see two very unique golf courses, close in proximity but miles apart in every other way.
The first course, the Detroit Golf Club, is a lush 36-hole Donald Ross design. Privately owned and operated, DGC is set to host the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic this week. This will be the PGA Tour’s first regular event in Michigan since the Buick Open ended in 2009 and the first regular tour event ever for the city of Detroit.
The second course, Palmer Park, is city owned and currently closed. The grass is overgrown, but you can see the bones of a once proud 18-hole municipal track, winding through the 296 acres of the larger public park space of the same name. Originally opened in 1927, the Palmer Park golf course has always been a piece of inner-city Detroit’s fabric. But now it sits empty.
Niall Hay, the Chairman of the First Tee of Greater Detroit, is working hard for these two courses to help each other, and at the same time, help thousands of underprivileged kids in Detroit learn the great game of golf and all the positive things it can bring to their lives.
The First Tee of Greater Detroit was one of the program’s very first chapters. It began in 1997 as a partnership with the LPGA, the Masters Tournament, the PGA of America, PGA Tour and the USGA with a simple goal to get more kids playing golf. It started as a way to bring affordable golf to communities that needed it. Detroit was an obvious choice, but eventually, like so many other things in Detroit, the economic recession caught up to it.
“During the economic meltdown, the chapter just went away for a variety of reasons. Mostly funding,” said Hay.
But in 2012, Hay, a former member of the Ohio State golf team, decided to look into exactly what went wrong with the First Tee program in Detroit. First, he met with past chairmen and former board members. They all gave the same story. The program just died a slow death as the funding dried up. Members of the board moved on to different things. But they all said it was a great organization and one of them suggested that Hay start it back up. “I was looking to potentially join a board, not found one,” Hay said with a chuckle. But it was him or no one. So he did it.
A small group in the city of Ann Arbor was already working with the First Tee on getting a chapter started for Washtenaw County, but funding was proving, yet again, to be an issue. So Hay and others had to wait for that to be resolved before they could obtain a letter of intent for a chapter in Detroit from The First Tee. But he was certain that his community needed the program in place.
“If we were going to do this,” Hay said, “we need to do it in the city of Detroit, in the inner city and impacting underprivileged kids in the city and not in suburbs or other areas. We wanted to stay in downtown Detroit where there is the most need.”
The first steps were to form a foundation, gain 401(c)(3) non-profit tax status from the IRS and then form a diverse and talented board. This took some time. Then, they needed to find the money to fund it. This took more time. But Detroit is a strong community and several local businesses were willing to partner to get things back up and running. And in June of 2015, the First Tee of Greater Detroit began with its first green grass program.
Today, the program is as strong as ever, with over 500 students in the spring, summer and fall programs, which all act like a sort of camp for youth development and some golf. Additionally, the First Tee of Greater Detroit partners with local public schools to train its PE teachers to teach First Tee curriculum, the nine core values and related golf activities. Over 13,000 additional kids are reached in the National School Program.
For the first three years of The First Tee Detroit’s rebirth, the green grass program took place at Palmer Park.
“Back then, Palmer Park was a really rundown course. We focused our programming on the front nine, and some of the drier areas on the back,” Hay said. The course had issues with flooding and wasn’t in the best condition, but it was home. A place to play and practice regularly. But after a few years, the city put out a request for proposal, seeking additional management help for its public golf courses. “The First Tee was hoping to pull Palmer Park from the RFP and have the First Tee chapter raise money to make it a high quality 9 hole golf course,” Hay said. “It got pulled from the RFP, they signed with Signet, who put their money into the other three city courses and the Palmer Park course never reopened.”
“So now, the children of First Tee Greater Detroit are spread around a bit. They practice and play some at Rackham, one of the other public courses in Detroit. Some at Maple Lane. There are classes and clinics all around the city. “We do not have a home course or facility now but we have more traction with people. The more the First Tee gets bigger and bigger, the more we would love a home base.”
And with the PGA Tour’s new four-year deal with sponsor Quicken Loans and the Detroit Golf Club, golf interest in Detroit is getting a shot in the arm. More and more kids are signing up with the First Tee Program. And this is just the beginning. PGA Tour events across the tournament schedule are associated with their local First Tee Chapter. Most sites have youth experience areas where the First Tee Experience is promoted and encourages. The core values of the program are on display at tour events and children and their parents alike are exposed to a way to get involved with youth golf. The First Tee of Greater Detroit will have a tent at the Rocket Mortgage Classic adjacent to the Kids Zone.
And just as important, the PGA Tour events donate a percentage of their revenue with the First Tee Chapters. Detroit will be no different in that regard. And some chapters make hundreds of thousands of dollars from these tournaments. “We are one of the primary beneficiaries of the tournament,” Hay said. “The tournament itself will share some of the revenue with local charities. The First Tee of Detroit is one of the charities that will thankfully receive funding from the Rocket Mortgage Giving Fund.”
“It’s a game changer for us,” Hay said about the PGA Tour’s newest stop in Detroit. “It could take us to the next level. Our Board has never been more engaged. We have already seen a huge spike in interest. We have seen 40 to 50 percent more inquiries and kids signing up. Kids want to play and more volunteers are signing up to teach.” In fact, Summer and Fall registration is going on right now and the excitement continues to build.
The First Tee of Greater Detroit has experienced a rebirth. The City of Detroit has experienced a rebirth. And now, as thousands of golf fans drive down Woodward Avenue to watch the best players on the planet compete in the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club, they might also look towards Palmer Park and see the spirit of golf sitting idly by, waiting for someone to give it a chance.
Funding, of course, is yet again the issue. But with the right investor(s), Palmer Park could experience a rebirth of its own. And that would not only help reinvigorate the heart of the city, but also the hundreds and soon to be thousands of kids who are discovering the game of golf with the First Tee Greater Detroit. The Rocket Mortgage event is a great start. Hopefully, this is just the beginning for Detroit golf.
“We’ve got hundreds of acres in the middle of the city where you could put in a really cool nine-hole course and short game area. It would be a great story for Detroit. And it would be great for our community and for these kids.”
If you are interested in helping by giving a donation, you can participate by doing so here.
Thank goodness for the Women’s PGA! Instead of post-Men’s US Open doldrums, we had a return to wondrous Hazeltine (sorry, Dave Hill) for yet another major event, the Women’s PGA championship. This one came down to the finish tape; more on it later. Two shortish hitters in a long-ball world captured other events, while a home-town hero grabbed a third. And, as I finish typing this, they’re finishing up in Wichita, thanks to a rain delay. It’s on to another episode of Tour Rundown. Grab your snacks and a comfy chair, and enjoy the show
Women’s PGA to not-so-green Green at Hazeltine (yes, they rhyme!)
Am I the only one who noticed that each of Hannah Green’s final 3 drives just missed a divot hole, despite finding the nuclear center of each fairway? Golf, she is not fair. Fortunately for the young Aussie, the ball spun her way this day. Green led this PGA Championship from beginning to end. She endured the questions of everyone from fans to media, to possibly herself. As playing partners Ariya Jutanugarn and Lizette Salas failed to mount a viable challenge, Green’s attention turned to others on the move. Sung Hyun Park made a late run at holding onto the title she won last year, at Kemper Lakes. Park played a marvelous tune of 68, marred by a solitary off-key note, a bogey at the 12th. The defender ultimately finished one agonizing stroke behind the winner. Mel Reid also played marvelously. With 66 on the day, thanks to 8 birdies and 2 bogeys, she moved all the way to a tie for 3rd spot. It was Green who stood the tallest, who made the putts, especially that nervy 5-feet job on the final green. She was not perfect on day four, with birdies matching bogeys at the count of three. When things looked like they might go south, after consecutive bogeys at 11 and 12, Green corrected her path. Her first LPGA tour win, her first major title, a fine way to say Hello to the world.
HIGHLIGHTS ?? pic.twitter.com/OxRjXiHLxX
— LPGA (@LPGA) June 24, 2019
Travelers Championship is Reavie’s 2nd tour triumph in a decade
Chez Reavie put on a Saturday show, blowing past the leader and everyone else, with a back-nine 28. He then had a front-row seat as hometown hero Keegan Bradley tried to put the same move on him. Although Reavie wasn’t making mistakes, Bradley was making every putt in site. With six birdies on the day, the gap had narrowed to one shot as the two stood on the 17th tee. An unpredictable dance partner, with rough and sand left, and massive water right, it’s not for the faint of heart. Bradley blinked, with a drive into the sand. If there’s one thing Reavie does, it’s hit fairways with maniacal accuracy and consistency. He did not disappoint, and followed up the tee ball with a dagger to the frontish hole location. His birdie, combined with Bradley’s double bogey, turned the tide in nearly an instant, making the walk up 18 a tranquil affair. Reavie tapped in for -17 and a 4-shot win over Bradley and 36-hole leader Zack Sucher. 11 years after winning the Canadian Open, Reavie hoisted victor’s silver for a 2nd, satisfying time.
No. 17, the hardest hole of the week @TravelersChamp.
It’s also the hole that sealed the victory for Chez Reavie. pic.twitter.com/N0NhVtTt1M
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 24, 2019
BMW International Open~Forza Italia! Pavan secures 2nd Euro Title
If there was a tournament ever, whose purpose was to encourage caution over calamity, this was it. Long-hitting golfers like Matthew Fitzpatrick, Matt Wallace, and Mathias Schwab chose daring lines, fired, and fell back toward calamity. In stark contrast, Italy’s Andrea Pavan eschewed the risky play, time and again. Electing to lay short of hazards, Pavan holed a putt of abbreviated length on the 2nd playoff hole. This birdie allowed him to edge past Fitzpatrick, with whom he tied in regulation play at -15, and collect his 2nd European Tour title.
The day began brightly for England. Jordan Smith held the 3rd-round lead, but he would lose momentum early. Then came Fitzpatrick, who found 15-under with a 72nd-hole birdie. Next to try for glory was Wallace, who hit the worst drive ever under the siren’s pressure, going farther left than Marx, ending in watery demise. Pavan had finished 40 minutes prior to the final grouping, and he went about his business, warming up, then executing to near-perfection in the playoff. Indeed, the long hitters take fans to places they will never know, but the crafty archers show all of us the proper manner and method.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) June 23, 2019
Wichita Open continues into 5th day
We weren’t kidding in the opening paragraph. First came the rains, then came the 5-way tie for top spot. Erik Compton, the overnight leader, birdied the 18th to join Kevin Dougherty, Henrik Norlander, Bryan Bigley and Sebastian Cappelen at 15-under par. The quintet arrived there on different trains, but there they were, joined together for an evening playoff. Cappelen went lowest, with 65 on Sunday. Compton signed for a 3rd-consecutive 67, while the other 3 golfers tacked 66s on the leaderboard. With time for a single playoff hole, organizers were certainly hoping for a walk-off ace, to settle the matter. They didn’t get that result, but birdies from Norlander and Bigley sent 60% of the fivesome home. As the ink dries on this web report, Norlander and Bigley prepare to play the 4th hole for all the cookies. Fortunately for all, the waters have receded.
Due to the weather, tee times have been delayed for the final round. Players will tee off beginning at noon off of the first and 10th tee.
— The Wichita Open (@WichitaOpen) June 23, 2019
American Family title goes to Madison’s finest
Madison folks would have been happy with a winner from Edgerton, but they absolutely adore a winner from Madison. In the most glorious example of how home-state and home-town golf people make an event happen, the
Wisconsin Love Fest American Family went overtime on Sunday. 2 of the 3 participants were Badger state representatives. Steve Stricker had a wee putt to win in regulation, but missed. He bowed out with bogey on the first extra hole. Retief Goosen (not from Wisconsin) had a wee putt to win on the event’s final hole, too, but missed. He went two holes longer than Stricker, but ultimately succumbed to the intimidation of the goateed warrior, Jerry Kelly. With a barbaric yawp the likes of which we won’t hear soon, if ever, Kelly drained a birdie putt on the driveable 15th hole, and collected his 4th Champions Tour title. Kelly’s yawp was guttural, unexpected, jolting. It was such an event that television played it over and over, from different angles. The win propelled Kelly to 2nd spot on the season-long points list, but more importantly, it earned him a hug from mom when the dust had settled.
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) June 23, 2019
Tearful Michelle Wie suggests career may be coming to an end after opening round of 84 at Women’s PGA Championship
Various ailments to Michelle Wie’s right hand and wrist has forced the 29-year-old out of action for most of 2019, and after posting a round of 12-over-par in the opening round of this week’s Women’s KPMG PGA Championship, Wie suggested that her days on Tour may be coming to an end.
Wie, who has arthritis in both wrists and underwent surgery on her right wrist back in November, made six bogeys, two double-bogeys and a quadruple-bogey on her way to an opening 84. After her round, an emotional Wie broke down in tears after stating
“I’m not entirely sure how much more I have left in me. So even on the bad days, I’m just like trying to take time to enjoy it. But it’s tough, I just love being out here.”
The 29-year-old began her tournament on the back nine, and according to GolfWeek’s Beth Ann Nichols, began applying an ice pack to her wrist as early as the 11th hole.
Michelle Wie just got some ice out of the chest on the 11th for an ice pack. Currently on her wrist.
— Beth Ann Nichols (@GolfweekNichols) June 20, 2019
Wie is set to tee off for her second round on Friday 2.44 PM CT.
The Wedge Guy: The highest loft you should carry
Brooks Koepka’s winning WITB: 2019 PGA Championship
The top-5 longest drivers on the PGA Tour and their driver/shaft combos
Gary Woodland’s winning WITB: 2019 U.S. Open
Jason Dufner WITB: 2019 PGA Championship
Tuesday’s photos from the 2019 PGA Championship
Tiger Woods WITB: 2019 U.S. Open
New Titleist TS hybrids, U-Series utilities landing on Tour (updated with in-hand photos)
Kevin Na’s winning WITB: 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge
Patrick Cantlay’s winning WITB: 2019 Memorial Tournament
The 6 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (6.24.19)
In this segment, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best #GolfWRX tagged photos on Instagram. In case...
Tweets of the Week: Phireside with Phil, Spieth’s early walk fail, and Koepka’s casual warmup
Chez Reavie, Andrea Pavan and Hannah Green all recorded significant victories in their respective events over the weekend, but in...
How much each player won at the 2019 Travelers Championship
Over ten years on from winning his first title on the PGA Tour, Chez Reavie made it career-win number two...
Seniors disqualified after playing the wrong ball at Farmfoods European Legends Links Championship
On Friday, both Paul Lawrie and Carl Mason were disqualified from the Farmfoods European Legends Links Championship after mistakenly playing each other’s...
Whats in the Bag1 week ago
Gary Woodland’s winning WITB: 2019 U.S. Open
Whats in the Bag1 week ago
Tiger Woods WITB: 2019 U.S. Open
Equipment2 weeks ago
Forum Thread of the Day: “If you are a 10 handicap with declining length, what clubs do you buy?”
Whats in the Bag2 weeks ago
Rory McIlroy’s winning WITB: 2019 RBC Canadian Open
Tour Photo Galleries2 weeks ago
Tuesday’s photos from the 2019 U.S. Open
Equipment2 weeks ago
WRX Spotted: Titleist 620 CB, MB and T100 irons
Opinion & Analysis3 weeks ago
The Wedge Guy: Top 7 short game mistakes
Equipment5 days ago
TaylorMade signs Matthew Wolff to a multi-year deal; Wolff WITB