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Morning 9: Compton qualifies for Honda | McIlroy preaches patience | Korda’s boyfriend arrested

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By Ben Alberstadt

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans

Consider this your hopefully less obnoxious “Your Ad Here” banner. If you’re interesting in advertising in the Morning 9, I’d be happy to talk.  Just drop me a line at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com.
1. Olson speaks (tweets) on backstopping fiasco
Our Gianni Magliocco…”Following the backstopping controversy which overshadowed the LPGA’s Honda Thailand event, Amy Olson one of the two players involved, took to social media to present her side of the story.”
  • “Within the post, Olson denied any intent and dismissed claims of collusion, while stressing both herself and Ariya Jutanugarn’s innocence from any wrongdoing.”
The LPGA, of course, agreed, absolving her of any breach of the rules.
2. Compton qualifies for the Honda
Impressive stuff from one of the most inspirational players in the game.
  • Brian Wacker of Golf Digest writes…”Compton proved he was up to the golf challenge on Monday, shooting a seven-under 65 to share medalist honors with Drew Nesbitt at Banyan Cay Resort & Golf in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Monday, and earning the right to play in his first PGA Tour event since 2016.”
  • “Having competed on the Web.com Tour each of the past two years, Compton last played in a PGA Tour event at the Sanderson Farms Championship three years ago, where he missed the cut.”

Full piece.

3. McIlroy preaches patience
Brian Keogh, writing for the Irish Independent…”Rory McIlroy insists that he’s not frustrated with his eighth successive final-group disappointment in the space of 13 months and believes his patience will pay off soon.”
  • ….”No, I’m not frustrated,” McIlroy said after adding Sunday’s final-group disappointment to six similar episodes last season and this year’s season-opening Sentry Tournament of Champions, where Xander Schauffele shot 61 to snatch victory.”

“I’ve played well. I’ve done what I’ve wanted to do and needed to do. I think I’m 56-under par for my first four events of the year (stroke average 68.25). So the game’s good. It’s just about staying patient and hopefully one of these weeks it will fall my way.”

4. Praise be the Florida Swing
ESPN’s Bob Harig pens a piece on the reassembly of the Florida Swing
  • A bit…”The Florida Swing is a thing again. After two years of being interrupted by a trip to Mexico, the Sunshine State has retaken its place as a four-tournament run of events as the Masters draws closer. And now, the Players Championship is again part of the lineup.”
  • “There is no longer a World Ranking qualification that ends in Florida for a trip to the Masters, but of course any player who is not otherwise qualified can get in by winning. It is also a chance to qualify for the WGC-Match Play, where a good week can move a player into the top 50 and get in the first major of the year.”
5. Johnny Del Prete
Jessica Korda’s boyfriend joins the rogues gallery that includes Robert Kraft.
  • ESPN report…”Former Web.com golfer Johnny DelPrete was arrested Friday and charged with soliciting prostitution in the same widespread crackdown on sex trafficking in Florida…”
  • “…DelPrete, 29, who was booked by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office and released Friday on $2,500 bond, made just one cut in eight events on the Web.com Tour over the 2012 and 2014 seasons.”
6. Copy this, not that
Great stuff from Digest’s E. Michael Johnson reminding you there are some things tour pros do that you should copy…and some that you should not.
A few morsels…
  • Copy…”Arrive at the course well ahead of your tee time…How many times have you raced to the golf course and headed straight to the first tee? It probably takes you five or six holes just to settle in, right? That’s no way to play golf. The pros like to get to the course incredibly early, not just to get their work in, but to do so at a leisurely pace that sets them up well for a controlled round of golf. For an everyday player 45 minutes before tee time should be the minimum. An hour and 15 minutes would be better.”
  • Don’t copy…Putting your name on your bag...Our position on this one is pretty clear: If you’re not playing for prize money, then it’s better to remain anonymous. If you have your name on your bag there’s an expectation you’re a pretty good player and on some kind of tour. Save yourself the embarrassment when someone says, “Oh, what tour do you play on?” Added bonus advice: If you have your name on a big ol’ staff bag, then every caddie worldwide just thinks you’re a clown.
  • Don’t copy…Wearing Sunday red…”This reminds me of the commercial currently running where the tattoo artist says, “Stay in your lane, bro.” Even Patrick Reed looks bad wearing red on Sundays-and he has a Masters title to his credit. Feel free to go with the black pants or shorts. After all, black goes with any color. Just steer clear of the red shirt when doing so. There’s only one person that works for. And unless you have 14 majors, it isn’t you.”
7. Hot & cold
Gianni Magliocco looked at where the big names lost and gained strokes at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
  • A couple from the “hot” column…”Dustin Johnson dominated at the WGC-Mexico, and it was his red hot TaylorMade Spider Tour Black putter that separated himself primarily from his closest challenger, Rory McIlroy. Johnson led the field in strokes gained putting in Mexico, gaining a whopping 8.5 strokes over the field for the four days of action with his flat-stick. The second highest strokes gained putting total of his career.”
  • “Tiger Woods’ ultra-conservative strategy off the tee looked to hinder the 14-time major champion’s challenge at Club de Golf Chapultepec. Woods’ decision to continually lay back off the tee cost him 4.6 strokes to the field off the tee, so why is he in this category you ask? His iron play. Woods led the field for strokes gained approaching the green at the WGC-Mexico, gaining an impressive 8.3 strokes for his approach play with his TaylorMade P7TW Prototypes. Only three times since 2013 has Woods gained more strokes with his irons than he did last week in Mexico.”
  • And “not”…”Jordan Spieth’s long game is causing the three-time major champ all sorts of trouble right now. On his way to a disappointing T54 finish at the WGC-Mexico, Spieth lost 3.6 strokes off the tee to land himself in the bottom ten in this category for the week. What’s most concerning is that Spieth has performed worse than he did last week off the tee twice already this season, and the Texan has now lost strokes to the field for his play tee to green in six out of his last seven events.”
8. Bhatia lands an invite
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”Akshay Bhatia, the 17-year-old reigning AJGA Rolex Junior Player of the Year, has received a sponsor exemption into the 2019 Valspar Championship.”
  • “Bhatia is ranked eighth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He recently won the Jones Cup and is coming off a year in which he won the Boys Junior PGA, AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic and Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. He also received an invite to last December’s Walker Cup practice session at Seminole.”
9. Bamberger’s best
Michael Bamberger assembled his weekly rundown of the best things in golf right now, which is always worth a read.
  • Here’s what he had to say about TW’s bunker ballet in Mexico…“The slicing, spinning 9-iron shot Tiger Woods played to 12 feet from a bunker on Friday in Mexico City brought to mind Jim Thorpe, for the club-down hold finish, and Tiger Woods his own self, for the audacious talent and forethought it took. It needed only one more thing to elevate it: for the ensuing birdie putt to drop. As another touring pro with a finger in Buddhist teachings, Peter Teravainen, used to say, “Good shots must come in groups of two.”
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  1. Johnny Penso

    Feb 27, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    “It’s just about staying patient and hopefully one of these weeks it will fall my way.” I’m not the biggest TW fan but that’s what separated TW, Jack, Ben and a small cadre of elite golfers from the rest of the field throughout history. They literally burned for victory. They didn’t “stay patient” and wait for luck to land in their lap, they went out and sought victory at every opportunity, they played to win, not to place or show.

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Morning 9: Rory offers simple slow play fix, isn’t sure about TC format | Brooks favors the Euro plan | Sunjae Im!

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

August 22, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. Rory’s simple slow play fix
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard reporting...”The Northern Irishman has always been one of the most outspoken players when it comes to pace of play on the PGA Tour but enough is enough.”
  • “I saw [the European Tour] released a four-point plan, but I only read the headline. I didn’t go deeper into it. I’ve had enough of the slow play stuff,” McIlroy said. “I had two hours of it last week at the [player advisory council] meeting, and that came to nothing.”
  • “Although he didn’t know the details of the new European pace of play policy, McIlroy did offer a solution for slow play when he pointed out that pace of play won’t be an issue at this week’s 30-man Tour Championship.”
  • “Seriously, it’s like traffic, right? You get 156 in the field, and it’s hard to get those guys around quickly. Even last week, 70, there was no mention of pace of play,” McIlroy said. “I’m in a privileged position that I can say that because I’m going to get into a field of 30 or 70. Obviously, guys that are not quite in my position would disagree with that. [But] if you want to speed up play, cut the field sizes.”

Full piece.

2. Rory unsure regarding new Tour Championship format 
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”While saying Wednesday that he understands many of the reasons for the new format, he also said “come back to me Monday and I’ll tell you whether it’s worked or not.”
  • …”If we’re at the PGA Tour trying to do the season of championships, where it starts at the Players in March and goes through the four majors and culminates with the FedEx Cup in the end, if the FedEx Cup really wants to have this legacy in the game, like some of these other championships do, is people starting the tournament on different numbers the best way to do it?” McIlroy said Wednesday at East Lake Golf Club.”
  • “That’s my only thing. I get it from a fan experience point of view. I get it from giving guys that have played better throughout the year an advantage. But at the same time, it will make it sweeter for a guy that starts at even or 1-under par and goes all the way through the field and wins. Or if Justin Thomas shoots the tied low score of the week and doesn’t end up winning. … I don’t know.”

Full piece.

3. JT wants the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup
Good to hear he didn’t endorse finishing third if it’ll secure the cup…JT isn’t keen for a repeat of 2017
  • AP report…”Justin Thomas lived it two years ago when he capped off his best year by capturing the FedEx Cup with a runner-up finish in the Tour Championship. Thomas was thrilled to win the cup and its $10 million prize, but felt like a loser in the immediate aftermath because he was second in the Tour Championship to Xander Schauffele.”
  • “As the No. 1 seed, he starts Thursday at 10-under par with a two-shot lead under the staggered start. It’s possible that Thomas could finish the most under par and win the FedEx Cup, even though he doesn’t have the lowest 72-hole score.”
  • “And yes, he will be paying attention…“You guys probably won’t believe me, but, yeah, it will irk me,” Thomas said of such a scenario. “I want to beat everybody every week I play.”

Full piece.

4. Can anyone really win the FedEx Cup? 
Shane Ryan investigates…
  • “…a player starting at even par has to overcome a 10-shot deficit against the top player, but he also has to overcome a variety of smaller deficits against 25 other players. That compounds the problem, but one way we can try to answer the question is by examining other big comebacks in PGA Tour history. A look at final-round comebacks shows us that one player, Paul Lawrie, managed to take back 10 strokes in a single round, though it did require Jean Van de Velde’s infamous collapse at the 1999 Open Championship”
  • “…But Stewart Cink also roared back from nine shots down, and eight players have managed the feat on Sunday from eight shots back. In some respects, the task facing the “start-at-even” crew in the Tour Championship this weekend is much easier. First, they have 72 holes, not 18, to overcome a 10-stroke deficit. Second, the competition is 29 players, not the 70-or-so who typically make the cut at a “normal” event. They have a longer time to beat a smaller number of players, and by that reckoning, chipping off 2.5 shots per round seems far from impossible.”

 

5. In case you missed it: U.S. Prez Cup team top 8 set
Brooks Koepka
Justin Thomas
Dustin Johnson
Patrick Cantlay
Xander Schauffele
Webb Simpson
Matt Kuchar
Bryson DeChambeau
6. Olesen pleads not guilty
BBC report…”Danish golfer Thorbjorn Olesen has appeared in court charged with sexual assault and being drunk on an aircraft.”
  • “The 29-year-old Ryder Cup winner has also been charged with assault by beating…He indicated he would plead not guilty when he appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.”

Full piece.

7. Brooks favors the European plan? 
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch…“Koepka has been an outspoken critic of slow play, calling for stiff penalties against lallygagging PGA Tour players. He was asked about a policy announced this week by the European Tour that cracks down on idlers by imposing stroke penalties, not the meaningless fines used this side of the Atlantic.”
  • “Perfect. We should adopt it,” Koepka replied. Then came the surgical insertion of the needle.
  • “I think you’ll see some urgency to play. It doesn’t matter how quick you walk. It doesn’t matter how quick you do anything.”
  • “The “quick walk” argument – that hoofing it to one’s ball faster excuses taking more time than permitted to execute the next shot – is the flaccid defense of Bryson DeChambeau, a notorious laggard and someone with whom Koepka has sparred on the issue.”

Full piece.

8. Cole Hammer time…for you to win the McCormack medal
Golf Digest’s Ryan Herrington…“On Wednesday, the USGA and R&A announced that Hammer remained the No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, and thus had secured the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading men’s player at the end of the summer.”
  • “With the honor comes exemptions into the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot and the 2020 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, so long as Hammer remains an amateur when playing in the majors.”

Full piece.

9. Alone in anonymity?
Sungjae Im has hardly gotten the recognition he deserves this season…
  • Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…“One of the tour’s premier talents walked East Lake in anonymity Wednesday afternoon. Hard to do, given there are just 30 players at this shindig. When he passed a group of fans, necks strained to see the name on the bag, followed by a common chorus of whispers. Who’s that? … that’s not Hideki, right … wow, pretty nice shot. The man would nod as he made his way through, paying no heed to their ignorance. He doesn’t even blame them.”
  • “Hey, I’m surprised I’m here too,” Sungjae Im says with a laugh.
  • “In the Year of Young Guns, from Cameron Champ’s auspicious start to the torrid summers of Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland, only one-Im-is standing at the Tour Championship.”
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Thorbjorn Olesen pleads not guilty to sexual assault; will face trial next month

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On Wednesday, Thorbjorn Olesen indicated that he would plead not guilty to the charges of sexual assault, being drunk on an aircraft, and assault by beating, and he will now face trial in September.

Sky Sports broke the news that the Dane appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday where he confirmed his name, address, date of birth and nationality as well as his not guilty plea, and he has since been released on unconditional bail.

Olesen will now face trial at Isleworth Crown Court on 18th September which is the day before the European Tour’s Flagship event – the BMW Championship at Wentworth.

The 29-year-old was arrested on 29th July at Heathrow Airport and released upon investigation after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman and urinating in the aisle of a first-class cabin.

Olesen is currently suspended from the European Tour while the case is ongoing.

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PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan stresses that the Tour won’t be “overly reactionary” in attempts to solve slow play issue

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Days after the European Tour announced their 4-point plan to tackle slow play in the game, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has stated that the Tour will not be reactionary to their counterparts across the Atlantic Ocean.

According to USA Today, Monahan spoke to media at East Lake Golf Club on Tuesday and acknowledged the ire of golf fans around the world. But the commissioner stressed that while the Tour is currently in the process of combating the issue—there is no quick fix.

“We’ve been working on this, and we can be criticized for taking too long. But there’s been more than 1.2 million shots hit this year, and we’re talking about a few instances – and granted, they’re instances that are extreme – and we’re going to go down a path and we’re going to address that.

And I feel really good about where we’re going to get to, but it takes longer than you want, and you can’t be overly reactionary. I tend to have a fair amount of urgency around everything I do, and sometimes you can’t execute the urgency you want. You have to stay on the path you’re on.”

Per the report, PGA Tour officials have held numerous meetings with the Player Advisory Council and the Policy Board and one rule change which we know will be coming into effect for the 2020 season is that only the top-65 and ties instead of the top-70 and ties will play the weekend next season. While teams in Florida have also reportedly been analyzing ShotLink data going back to 2003 to identify trends and solutions to solve the issue plaguing the sport.

But while the European Tour have gone about things their own way, Monahan says that their new ideas will not influence the PGA Tour’s future decision making on the situation in any way.

“I wouldn’t say we’re going to be influenced in any way. I think everybody looking at this, talking about it is a good thing, and they’ve obviously decided that that’s the right thing for the European Tour. And when we’re ready to talk about what we’re going to do, I’ll be excited to talk to all of you about it.”

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