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Morning 9: Rose doubles down | On course in Saudi Arabia: Pieters leads | Gary Player’s son arrested

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

January 31, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. Rose doubles down
Further remarks/lack thereof from Justin Rose on teeing it up in Saudi Arabia
  • “I know people obviously have their opinions,” Rose said. “It’s never straightforward. But I think that obviously we’re here to support the European Tour.
  • “For me, I think I can only commend their vision in terms of growing the game of golf. That’s the industry in which I live. I’m not qualified to speak on any other subjects, to be honest with you, on great detail or authority.”
  • “Hopefully golf is a conduit to bridging the gap between this region and how we perceive golf in the western world,” Rose said. “Who knows? Twenty, 30 years ago, Abu Dhabi looked somewhat similar to here and Dubai. We’ve all seen the growth and what’s possible in these regions, and can only support the vision.”

Via the AP.

2. Meanwhile, on course…
EuropeanTour.com report…”Thomas Pieters leads the way in a world-class field at the inaugural Saudi International powered by SBIA after carding an opening round of seven-under-par.
  • “The three-time European Tour winner recorded seven birdies in a blemish-free first round at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club to hold a two-shot advantage over English duo Ross Fisher and Alfie Plant and South African Justin Harding and Australia’s Jake McLeod.”
  • “Plant was on course for a 59 when he registered seven birdies in his opening nine holes to reach the turn in a magnificent 28, but two bogeys on the front nine derailed his chances of the monumental feat.”

Full piece.

3. Welcome, Alex Baldwin
Press release…PGA TOUR announces Alexandra “Alex” Baldwin as new President of Web.com Tour….Baldwin becomes first female Tour President in PGA TOUR history
  • PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida – The PGA TOUR announced today that current Vice President of Marketing Partnerships, Alexandra “Alex” Baldwin, has been named President of the Web.com Tour. With the announcement, Baldwin becomes the first female in history to lead one of the PGA TOUR’s six global Tours as President.
  • Dan Glod, who has served as President of the Web.com Tour since January of 2017, has been elevated to Senior Vice President, Global Sponsorship Strategy and Development in a corresponding announcement.
  • “We are excited to announce Alex as the new President of the Web.com Tour in what is a watershed moment for our organization,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “In her role as Vice President of Marketing Partnerships, Alex has spearheaded our efforts to provide increased value to our PGA TOUR partners and I know she will have that same level of success on the Web.com Tour. We thank Dan Glod for his tremendous leadership with our partners, tournaments and membership over these last two years and know the Web.com Tour has a great foundation which Alex can continue to build upon.”
  • Baldwin joined the PGA TOUR in 2017 as Vice President of Corporate Partnerships, where she was responsible for co-leading the Marketing Partnership team and overseeing key partner account teams including Morgan Stanley, Dell, Omni Hotel and Resorts and United Airlines, among others. In addition to spearheading partner oversight, she negotiated extensions and new programs with partners including Avis, MD Anderson, Rolex and Citi.

Full piece.

4. Woodland and the Special Olympian
ESPN report...”After hitting his tee shot Wednesday, Woodland asked Amy, a Special Olympics athlete, if she wanted to take a crack at it. Absolutely, she said.”
  • “Amy made a good swing, but the ball caromed into the greenside bunker. Woodland asked Amy if she wanted to hit the bunker shot.”
  • “I do. I’ve got this,” she told the tournament’s defending champion.
  • “She sure did. With fans lining the triple-decker stadium that surrounds the hole, Amy thumped the ball onto the green with perfect form, got a read from her new PGA Tour friend and drained the putt. Woodland raised his arms in triumph as the already rowdy practice-round crowd roared.”
5. Player’s son arrested
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Wayne Player, son of golf legend Gary Player, was arrested in Columbia County on fraud charges involving a house he rented during the week of the 2018 Masters.”
  • “The 56-year-old Player, Gary’s third oldest out of six children, was charged with deposit account fraud/bad check last Wednesday. According to the Augusta Chronicle, Player had rented a residence in Evans, Georgia-about two miles from Augusta National-for two nights, April 3 and 4, during last year’s tournament. Player gave the Evans homeowner a check for $1,000 on April 4, but the homeowner told police the bank returned the check due to insufficient funds.”
  • “The homeowner’s lawyer made multiple attempts to contact Player, and at one point Player contacted the lawyer to say he’d settle the debt. However, the homeowner never received the $1,000.”
  • “Player and his company Wayne Player Enterprises LLC are additionally facing a civil suit claiming Player failed to deliver on a promotional package for the 2018 Masters. Todd Feltz says that he and his wife purchased a trip for $6,850 per person that included badges to the Masters and Par-3 Contest, dinner and drinks with Wayne, breakfast or lunch at the Founders Club on April 4 and 5, and a meet-and-greet with Gary Player and other Masters champions.”
6. 30 years at the Phoenix Open
Phil Mickelson reflected on his three decades at the Phoenix Open…
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”Thirty years, gosh, I remember when I was in college, it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was playing in my first Phoenix Open,” Mickelson said. “Just amazing how many great memories I have when I come back and play here.”
  • “Mickelson still considers his first Phoenix Open win, in 1996, one of his career highlights. The tournament was played Wednesday-Saturday that year because of Phoenix hosting the Super Bowl, and Mickelson delivered in near-darkness by defeating Justin Leonard in a three-hole playoff.”
  • “During that final round, Mickelson recalls stiffing his tee shot on the famous par-3 16th hole, which was just a shell of its current self, infrastructure-wise, but already with a rowdy reputation.”
  • “I hit this 7-iron, it was kind of dark, it was hard to see, and I hit the ball, launched it pretty high so nobody could really see it, and the ball came down and stuck 3 feet from the hole and didn’t really release much,” Mickelson said. “But nobody could see the ball, and then all of a sudden it’s 3 feet. So it was a very awkward, there wasn’t any buildup to the applause. It was more of like a shock and delay, kind of like 12 at Augusta … I just remember that, that stood out to me as being something pretty cool, different, unique.”
7. Bryan on the DL
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”After struggling through a difficult season, Wesley Bryan has gone under the knife.”
“The former PGA Tour winner didn’t return to action once the calendar flipped to 2019, and Wednesday he posted to Twitter to explain why. After being diagnosed with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, the 28-year-old underwent surgery this month and will be out of action for the foreseeable future.”

Full piece.

8. Wagering at the 16th
ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss filed a look at gambling inside the coliseum at the WMPO’s 16th hole.
  • “Betting in golf is as much a part of the game as walking in a putt or twirling a driver. It’s as common on a local muni as it is during practice rounds at major championships. But on the famed par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale during the Phoenix Open, the wagering isn’t just more prevalent — it’s louder, too.”
  • “You hear them,” Gary Woodland said. “You hear what they’re gambling. And they’re yelling.”
  • “And the fans are betting on everything: hitting the green, hitting a bunker, making birdie, which caddie will get to the green first. Yes, even caddies get bet on.”
  • “Xander Schauffele’s caddie, Austin Kaiser, hears the bets from the crowd surrounding the 16th every year in Scottsdale. Among all the wagers he hears throughout the season, he called the caddie bets the most “ridiculous.”
  • “It’s not uncommon for Kaiser to hear someone shout “Hurry up, green,” referring to the bib color he’s wearing. What does Kaiser do? He’ll slow down or pause for a second.”
9. Iceman Jerry
Golf Channel’s Samantha Marks…”With a polar vortex moving across the midwest, causing temperatures to drop well below zero, many people are being told to stay indoors to avoid frostbite or hypothermia.”
  • “But Jerry Kelly said no thanks. Kelly, who lives in Wisconsin, posted this video on Twitter, saying he “had to swing in -45 [degree] chill,” and get some practice in outdoors … in shorts and a t-shirt, nonetheless. “

 

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  1. bbob

    Jan 31, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Wayne Player. He was a hoot as a junior golfer. Hit it all over the place and didn’t care who was around.

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Equipment

Tiger Woods’ personally used 1997 Masters prototype Scotty Cameron putter fetches big fee at auction

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How much would you be willing to pay for a Scotty Cameron putter personally used by Tiger Woods? Well, for someone out there the answer was just short of $23k.

As Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall first reported this week, the putter in question is the Scotty Cameron Newport Teryllium TeI3, and although it didn’t play a role in 13 of Woods’ 14 major victories, it is a putter associated with his very first Masters triumph back in 1997.

The putter sold via Green Jacket Auctions, and according to their description, the flat-stick was not just used by Woods, but it was the prototype version of the Newport TeI3 which he used on his way to dominating Augusta National for his first major victory.

Per the report, this particular putter has a teryllium insert which features 32 vibration-dampening dots that sought to soften the feel of the putter and offset the five screws that were used in the back cavity during the milling process.

As the description on Green Jacket Auctions states, Callaway’s director of fitting and instruction, Randy Peterson was the recipient of the putter before the 1997 golf season, and the flat-stick has “Tiger” stamped in dancing letters on the toe, while “Proto” and “XXX” are stamped on the back bumpers. The last five digits of the Certificate of Authenticity from Cameron (84437) also spells out “Tiger” on the phone keypad.

While $22,784.40 may seem like an inordinate amount to pay for a putter, there is reason to believe that the new owner of the Scotty Cameron Newport Teryllium TeI3 may have got themselves an excellent deal. Two previous Tiger Woods Newport 2 GSS backups (the same model he used on his way to winning 13 of his 14 majors) have been sold via Green Jacket Auctions in the past three years, for totals of $53,146 and $44,401, and comparing this Scotty Cameron putter to those previous models, the auction company states

“With all due respect to those fine putters, perhaps no privately owned Tiger Woods putter holds a candle to the collecting appeal of this specimen.”

 

 

 

 

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Morning 9: Roaring Rory | Opinion: McIlroy shouldn’t be expected to play Irish Open | US Am sites announced

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

February 22, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Roaring in round 1
For a while, Rory McIlroy looked like he could be en route to firing a first-round 59 at the WGC-Mexico Championship. He faltered later (relatively speaking), however, to “settle” for an opening round 8-under 63.
  • ESPN report…“McIlroy, already off to a solid start on the back nine, hit a 2-iron on the 305-yard opening hole at Chapultepec Golf Club that landed on the front of the green and was rolling just left of the pin when it settled 6 feet away, leading to an eagle that carried him to an 8-under 63 and a one-shot lead over Dustin Johnson.”
  • “McIlroy’s 2-iron was the signature shot in an exquisite start to this World Golf Championship. He was 6 under through an eight-hole stretch in the middle of the round, and a 20-foot birdie on No. 8 toward the end of his round is what gave him the lead over Johnson, who played in the group behind.”
2. Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico
AP report…“Andres Romero shot a 6-under 66 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Puerto Rico Open.”
  • “Romero birdied three of his last five holes in a bogey-free round at Coco Beach Golf and Country Club. The 37-year-old Argentine player won his lone PGA Tour title in New Orleans in 2008 and has two European Tour victories.”
3. …and in Thailand
AP report…”South Korean golfer Jenny Shin snatched the lead at the LPGA Thailand with a birdie on the last hole of the second round at Siam Country Club Pattaya on Friday.”
  • “Shin bogeyed the sixth hole but sunk five birdies in the rest of the round, including the par-5 18th. Her round of 4-under 68 put her at 11 under overall and one shot ahead of the field.”
  • “Three players were tied for second: Lizette Salas of the United States (68), Minjee Lee of Australia (69), and first-round leader Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea (71).”
4. Tiger starts at even par in Mexico
Steve DiMeglio on Tiger Woods’ opening round at Chapultepec, which was largely an effort to right the ship after an opening double bogey.
  • “An award-winning performance it was not, but at least Woods kept himself within shouting distance of the leading actors heading into Friday’s second act.”
  • “Yeah, got off to a bad start,” Woods said in a post-round interview that was as short as it was brusque. “Got it going after a little bit there, made three (birdies) in a row. Couldn’t make any birdies after that for some reason (he did make one more).
  • “It is what it is.”
  • “What it was was an even-par 71, a round that left Woods eight shots behind front-runner Rory McIlroy and still searching for answers to combat the thin air that resides 7,800 feet above sea level at Club de Golf Chapultepec.”
5. Slow start for Spieth
With Michael Greller sadly scratched from him duties at the last minute due to the death of his father, Jordan Spieth’s father was pressed into service
  • “Shawn Spieth stepped in as his son’s caddie, his first time on the bag since the 2011 U.S. Amateur, at a World Golf Championship played at an elevation of 7,800 feet.”
  • “It started well enough, with Spieth hitting a tough pitch to a tap-in range for birdie, followed by a casual fist-bump with his father.”
That was the high water mark, though, as Spieth struggled to an opening-round 75.
6. Can’t blame him
How about this on Ryan Fox from Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard?
  • “Fox had played five consecutive weeks in three different countries, from the United Arab Emirates to Australia, before the real scramble began Monday when he learned he’d earned a spot into this week’s WGC-Mexico Championship.”
  • “Fox flew from New Zealand to Mexico City and arrived at 8:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday having never seen Chapultepec Golf Club.”
  • And this…”I actually felt alright for most of the round, and it sort of really hit me on sort of 13, 14, and I kind of felt drunk almost the last five or six holes, limbs flying everywhere,” Fox said. “I hung on pretty well. Holed a couple of decent putts coming home, just to limit the damage a little bit.”
7. Rory shouldn’t be criticized
Golfweek’s Alistair Tait with a well-reasoned defense of Rory McIlroy’s decision to skip the Irish Open.
A couple of ‘graphs…“The problem for Rory is that the Irish Open is the first of a run of three tournaments that includes the Scottish Open and the Open Championship. It’s beyond unreasonable to expect McIlroy to play three in a row, especially when The Open is the most important of the trifecta. He could be burned out by the time he gets to Royal Portrush if he plays the Irish and the Scottish. Something had to give, and since he wants to play his way into The Open, the Irish Open loses out.”
  • “…McIlroy shouldn’t feel guilty about skipping Ireland’s national championship this year. He’s done his bit along with other major Irish stars like Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell to put the Irish Open back on the map after years as a second-rate event with B list casts. Rory has played in every Irish Open since he turned pro in 2008. He also played in the 2005 Irish Open as an amateur. He’s hosted the last four tournaments through his Rory Foundation. There’s a strong argument to say he’s the reason it is now a $7 million Rolex Series event with Dubai Duty Free acting as sponsor. He even managed to win the 2016 event at the K Club despite the added responsibilities of acting as host.”
8. U.S. Am sites announced
The official press release…”The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced sites for six U.S. Amateur Championships, from 2021 through 2026. Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club will host the U.S. Amateur in 2021 and will be followed by Ridgewood (N.J.) Country Club in 2022 and Cherry Hills Country Club, in Cherry Hills Village, Colo., in 2023. The 2024, 2025 and 2026 championships will be held at Hazeltine National Golf Club, in Chaska, Minn.; The Olympic Club, in San Francisco, Calif.; and Merion Golf Club, in Ardmore, Pa., respectively.”
  • “This distinguished group of future U.S. Amateur sites aligns the USGA’s oldest championship with courses of historical significance and proven competitive excellence which will be beneficial to both the player and fan experience,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director of Championships. “Amateur golf is primary to the USGA’s mission and the partnerships with these prominent clubs affirm our commitment to supporting and growing amateur competition.”
9. Brendan Steele: club designer
“Check out this sweet new toy! @wilsongolf was awesome enough to let me create a new prototype driving iron and it couldn’t have turned out better!” Steele posted to Instagram.
Our Ryan Barath with some perspective…”It has some similarities to the previous V4 Driving Iron from Wilson by the looks of both the screw and the knurling around the hosel…but the cosmetics and certainly more inline with the new Staff Blades pictured below along with also appearing to have a shorter heel to toe length and a higher overall toe profile”
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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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