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Morning 9: R&A Chief admits rules rollout “hasn’t gone as smoothly as I would have liked” | Dustin Johnson: a master of sports psychology in practice?

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By Ben Alberstadt

February 27, 2019

Good Wednesday 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 “Hasn’t gone as smoothly…”
Geoff Shackelford writes…”While USGA CEO Mike Davis sees the revamped rules rollout as a “huge success”, his counterpart at the R&A offered a different view Tuesday.”
  • “From Alistair Tait’s report at the chief’s St. Andrews sitdown with writers…”There’s been some unfortunate situations, no doubt about that,” Slumbers said. “It hasn’t gone as smoothly as I would have liked.”
  • “That’s a rather stark difference from Davis’ position, but also a more credible one that will resonate with most golfers.”

Full piece + Tait’s piece.

Indeed it is! It’s reassuring, however, that Mr. Slumbers seems attuned to the goings on of this galaxy!
2. Golf savant?
While Golf Digest’s Joel Beall’s use of the term “savant” in regards to Dustin Johnson may conjour up less than flattering images (Rainman and the like), there is plenty of good stuff in Beall’s chat with sports and performance psychologist Dr. Bhrett McCabe…and her offers a sort of theory of DJ’s lack of verbosity.
“Johnson’s answers, paired with his game, paint the picture of a beautiful house with no one home. McCabe says the opposite is often true.”
“We confuse a large and deep vocabulary with intelligence,” McCabe says. “Sometimes those big words are really an obfuscation, to make us think the talker knows more than they do, or to bring an elevated sense of self-worth.” McCabe says it’s elementary, really: intelligence is getting the message across to the recipient, and being comfortable that the right answer doesn’t need bells or whistles. For some, that takes 40 words. Others, a mere four.
“Although, there are exceptions. McCabe notes that geniuses often struggle in explaining their ways. It’s not that Johnson is inarticulate; how do you translate what you have, what you know, to those that will never have either?
3. Wie’s gratitude
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”Michelle Wie makes lists every day of what she’s grateful for. This week in Singapore, simply being there counts…At a press conference Tuesday at the HSBC Women’s World Championship, 29-year-old Wie talked more about this latest hurdle.”
  • “I got into a car accident two years ago with my right hand on the wheel and got rear-ended,” said Wie. “That’s what happened with the neck at (the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open at) Bedminster and I had an avulsion fracture in my right hand. So a piece of the bone had chipped off.”
  • “So they just went in there and cleaned it up, cleaned up a little bit of scar tissue since I was with it for almost two years now. So the surgery went good. It was a pretty easy, normal procedure, and yeah, it’s taken quite a bit, but I think I’m back on track.”
Not only is she grateful to be “back on track,” but the Hawaiian expressed gratitude that the accident wasn’t worse. Can’t argue with that outlook.
4. Trend or nah?
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell reflects, as others have, on the relative lack of star power at this week’s Honda Classic and talks with the tournament’s director, Ken Kennerly. e
  • “Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler are the only players from the top 10 in the field this week.”
  • ‘”What’s going on?”‘
  • ‘”The schedule change hurt us,”‘ Kennerly said.
  • “This more muscle-bound schedule is squeezing Honda’s place in the order of things.”
  • ‘”The sad thing in all of this is that somebody’s got to get hurt,” Kennerly said. “Unfortunately, if you look at the one most affected, it’s the Honda Classic. It’s just a fact.”
5. Executive optimism!
Stephen Hennessey of Golf Digest caught of with Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation.
One of the Qs and As….”How do you assess our efforts thus far in attracting women golfers and minorities, and how important is that going forward?”
“It’s critically important in golf. One of our stated objectives is for golf to look like America does. And the two areas where we do not align with how America looks, generally, are in respect to women and minorities. With respect to women, as you know, they are 50+ percent of the U.S. population, but 24 percent of the golf population. But encouragingly, more than 35 percent of beginners are women. That’s really encouraging. Similarly, as it relates to junior golfers, it’s actually the same number-35 percent of junior golfers are women. So if you subscribe to the notion that today’s juniors are tomorrow’s golfers, then the face of golf will change. On the women’s side, 41 percent of off-course-only participants are women. (Off-course being Topgolf, simulators, ranges.) Not to get too lost in the stats, but if you study them like we do, it really bodes well for the future of the game-if these pathways end up bringing women into the game on what I would call a permanent basis, so they become committed golfers. Introducing them to the game, getting them involved off-course is good, getting them involved is a junior is a tremendous pathway, that’s how a lot of us got started. And as a general beginner, that’s a pathway, too. But as any golfer knows, there’s a pathway from going through trial to commitment, and that’s really where we have to do our best work as an industry. So I’m very encouraged by the numbers that show us women are coming into the game. “

Full piece.

6. Revisions to the rules of…sponsorship
Prohibitions on association with gambling companies no more!
  • “The PGA TOUR has revised its regulations toward sponsorships with gambling entities, a move that reflects the changing landscape of public acceptance between sports leagues and legalized gambling.”
  • “Gambling companies can now be considered for Official Marketing Partners (OMPs) for all six tours overseen by the PGA TOUR, and tournaments and players also can seek sponsored deals with such entities. Players were informed of the policy change during a meeting Tuesday afternoon prior to this week’s The Honda Classic. The change is effective immediately.”
7. Lefty returning to Bay Hill
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Phil Mickelson has committed to next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational and will make his first appearance in Orlando since missing the cut in 2013.”
  • Mickelson won at Bay Hill back in 1997 and was a runner-up to Tiger Woods in 2001, but he has been absent the last five years. His commitment further bolsters a field that now includes six of the top 10 and 13 of the top 20 players in the latest world rankings.”
  • “Among those joining Mickelson next week at Bay Hill will be Woods, world No. 1 Justin Rose, defending champion Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.”
8. Strange sequence in Mexico
Tony Finau found himself in the midst of an interesting bit of rules confusion at the WGC-Mexico.
Here’s a portion of the drama, via an AP report.
  • “It started with his first shot of the tournament on the par-4 first hole, high and left and into the trees. Finau was lucky to find the ball some 10 feet up in a tree, which was in the middle of a fenced area that had been established as a temporary immovable obstruction.”
  • He called for an official, and when Gary Young of the PGA Tour showed up, Finau said he was going to declare it unplayable. Young said he first had to identify it to make sure it was his, and Finau – helped by being 6-foot-4 with alignment shafts in his bag – was able to swat it down. Young proceeded to give him a free drop outside the fenced area, without making clear to Finau that it was a TIO and he was allowed relief no matter the lie of his ball.”
  • “I told the scorer he was hitting his second shot,” Young said.
  • “Finau still had in his head that he was taking a penalty drop, and after making par, signed for a 5″ 

Full piece.

9. Brexit concerns hover over Open
A BBC Report centers on further remarks from the R&A chief surrounding the specter of Brexit…
  • “The decision to bring the event to Portrush was announced in October 2015, eight months before the referendum to leave the European Union.”
  • “Since then, there has been uncertainty surrounding the backstop to retain an open border on the island of Ireland, which is causing concern for golf’s governing body.”
  • ‘”We are concerned that we start building in April,” Slumbers told BBC Sport. “What will be the situation? Will there be any border or not? We need some certainty. we need to know what rules we need to comply with.”‘
  • “We have developed multiple contingency plans. We’ve advanced some, deferred others, but like every business we’re trying to work contingency plans into an uncertain environment…We’ll make it happen though.”‘
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Morning 9: Latest memo from Tour to players | Phil’s post-Match perspective | Greg Norman’s regrettable take

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1. Latest “bubble” memo
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard details the most recent communique from Tour to its players…“In a memo sent to players on Wednesday, tournament director Michael Tothe outlined many of the protocols that will be required when play resumes on June 11 at Colonial including the four Fort Worth, Texas, hotels that will create the foundation of the circuit’s “bubble” for the week.”
  • “The core of the PGA Tour’s plan to return was always about testing, but it’s a fine line to walk. In two weeks, at the Charles Schwab Challenge, we’ll find out if it will be enough.”
  • “Players are allowed to stay in individual RVs or rental homes but they are being encouraged to assure the health and safety of their accommodations if they choose to stay outside the bubble.”
  • “Players were also informed where COVID-19 testing will occur when they arrive in Fort Worth as well as meal options at Colonial, which will be limited to grab-and-go lunches in order to follow safety protocols.”
2. Little John finishes second at Crooked Stick 
Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star…Daly II made that same walk on Wednesday, up the 18th fairway for the final round of the inaugural Dye Junior Golf Invitational at Crooked Stick.”
  • “I think a lot of guys have re-watched the 1991 PGA tournament,” Daly II said. “I watched it every night before the tournament. (Watching him) walk down the 18th with all of the fans everywhere was pretty cool. He started as the ninth alternate and didn’t expect to play. For him to win, it was a ridiculous story. He loves it.”
  • “Daly II put together a remarkable tournament in his own right, finishing a three-way tie for second place behind winner John Marshall Butler of Louisville, Kentucky. Daly II was 4 over for the two-day, 54-hole event, which featured 33 of the top high school boys players in the country and 33 of the same on the girls’ side.”
3. Phil open to wearing mic
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Speaking on the Dan Patrick Show, Mickelson admitted that he didn’t expect the same level of banter during a typical Tour event with a seven-figure prize on the line, but he’d nonetheless be willing to broadcast his inside-the-ropes dialogue.”
  • “I would be open to the idea because of how it’s being received, and some of the insight and so forth,” Mickelson said. “But you don’t have the play between individuals. I had a partner, and Tom and I could talk back and forth. And maybe you could get some of that with the caddie, but having a partner is much more intimate and you have much better conversation.”
4. …wants annual Match
AP report…”Phil Mickelson, fresh off the success of Sunday’s charity golf exhibition with Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, says he would like to see “The Match” become an annual event.”
  • “I think you could showcase guys like Steph Curry and Michael Jordan or Tony Romo and Patrick Mahomes, who are all good golfers, elite talents and have great personalities,” Mickelson told the Los Angeles Times in a column published Wednesday. “Those personalities are going to come out with this event. Or you could have someone who loves the game and is competitive but is really entertaining like Larry David and Bill Murray. I think that could shine.”
5. More audience info
Interesting stuff from Geoff Shackelford…“According to Showbuzzdaily.com, almost 1/3 of The Match 2’s audience was in the coveted 18-49 demo and the number was even better on on TruTV, also meaning there are people of any age group who know how to find TruTV”
  • “About 30% of The Match’s audience landed in the 18-49 demo despite the 44.5 average age of the participants…The numbers for TaylorMade Driving Relief with a foursome averaging 29.5 years”
  • “That’s 25% of the almighty buyers for a younger, supposedly more millennial-friendly group of golfers. And a grand total of (at least) 860,000 fewer viewers 18-49.  While not a huge difference in the percentage department, The Match did rout Driving Relief in overall audience and even took chipped away at NASCAR’s ratings.”

Full piece.

6. After a long layoff, how do the pros play?
Dylan Beirne, 15th Club for PGATour.com, examines the question…“As we might expect, there’s a clear relationship between performance and the number of weeks a player has been off. We can analyze how well players perform by comparing our estimate of their ability (how we would expect them to perform) to how they actually performed.”
  • “Generally, players taking small breaks of two weeks or less are marginally better than expected, while longer breaks result in an average drop in performance of between 0.1 and 0.2 strokes per round. For context, a drop of 0.2 strokes per round is about the gap between 100th- and 135th-ranked players in the world. It’s a significant change, but not enormous.”
  • “Additionally, the drop in performance after a 10-20 week gap is quite consistent across different levels of players. Top-50 players in the world are affected by a similar amount to those outside the top 50.”
7. A really bad take from Greg Norman
I mean, what else can you call it? A man who has a history of obtuseness and putting his fin in his mouth outdid himself with unfounded speculation about the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash in an interview with Michael Bamberger…“I asked Norman about the January helicopter crash in Los Angeles that killed all nine people aboard, Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, among them. I asked Norman if he had any insight, from his own experience as a helicopter pilot, and as an elite athlete who has flown often in helicopters as a passenger, into the tragedy.”
  • “Yes – yes,” he said. His voice was sober. “Probably pilot error and pressure from the back,” Norman said. Norman could imagine the legendary basketball player saying, “‘Get me through this; get me there. I’ve got to get my daughter to this game.’
  • …”My instructor and I had a saying, ‘If you can’t see through it don’t fly through it.’ If I was flying to Doral or Orlando or Naples and there was fog, we just put it down and waited it out.”
8. Sprint to the Cup
Ben Everill at PGATour.com…“The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting cancellations and postponements of tournaments leaves just 11 eligible tournaments over a 10-week stretch for players to qualify for the Playoffs and a chance at the $15 million bonus that comes with the season-long FedExCup crown.”
  • “While the top 125 will not double as the cutoff for TOUR cards next season in this reduced schedule, it will remain the mark to get into THE NORTHERN TRUST, the first of three Playoffs events in the chase for the FedExCup.”
  • “Gone is the luxury of extended rest between starts for those sitting way back on the list, such as Koepka, who was just starting to find his feet again on a return from injury when the pandemic halted play in March.”

 

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Morning 9: Improving golf coverage | Oral history of TW’s “best shot” | Nichols: Charity matches were great…but why no women?

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1. Match-inspired innovations for improving golf coverage
Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan with a few thoughts…Mid-round interviews…There’s no really good reason beyond mild annoyance to the players that this couldn’t work, even in the current COVID-19 environment, provided that safe social distancing is practiced. In the major team sports, coaches are obliged to give interviews, and players will occasionally speak at halftime or between periods. There are no “coaches” in that same sense in golf, but the game happens at a slower pace, and a 60-second walking interview between holes is not too much to ask. I don’t think there’s a reasonable argument that it’s overly disruptive, especially if planned in advance.”
  • …”Mic’d up players and caddies…In exhibitions past, we’ve witnessed players with live microphones, but the purpose behind it is dreaded “banter,” which typically comes across as hollow, forced and not very funny. But if players and caddies wore mics during a round, producers could find riveting audio that captures natural conversation or impromptu strategy sessions. Phil serving as a mentor for Tom Brady was riveting and hopefully stokes our appetite for similar mid-round insight…”
2. An oral history of Tiger’s “best shot” 
Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…(This is just the introduction to a fantastic piece that talks to Bob Weeks of TSN and Steve Williams, among others!)…”Had it slipped between Tiger Woods’ 6-iron and golf ball, one rogue grain could have sunk his hopes of winning the RBC Canadian Open in 2000, becoming the first since Lee Trevino in 1971 to win golf’s Triple Crown – the U.S., British, and Canadian Opens in the same year.”
  • “So was it the ultra-fine margin? The stakes? The absurdly improbable physics of the shot itself?”
  • “Yes. Yes. And yes. All of these things compelled Scott Verplank, among others, to call it “the greatest shot I’ve ever seen in my life,” Woods’ 218-yard masterstroke from the wet sand at the par-5 18th at Glen Abbey. Woods’ caddie Steve Williams would return to the bunker once the commotion had died down, still struggling to get his head around what he’d seen. Others have made the same pilgrimage and tried to visualize what Woods had, tried to feel what Woods felt, for this was magic.”
3. Thrive? Struggle? Survive? 
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak contemplates what’s ahead for the golf industry…”These are strange times living through a global pandemic. Suddenly, golf courses are packed in a way the industry hasn’t experienced since Tiger Woods was revolutionizing the game in the late 1990s and former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem was predicting 50 million golfers by 2020.”
  • “Well, that didn’t happen, but golf has been given this new-found seal of approval highlighting its healthy aspects and its ability to provide safe recreation. As courses across the country re-open there is pent up demand among golfers to get out and play. Tee sheets are mostly filled and former golfers and those trying out the sport for the first time are emerging out of the woodwork desperate to be in the sunshine and doing something, anything that has been deemed “COVID OK.” There is renewed belief that golf can grab a bigger piece of the pie among recreational and entertainment options.”
4. Where were the women?
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols wonders…How can there be downside to two Sundays of golf taking center stage and raising mega-money for COVID-19 relief?”
  • “Well, there is no a downside, but it could’ve been more. As LPGA player Mel Reid tweeted during the TaylorMade Driving Relief Challenge, the broadcasts could’ve represented all of golf.”
  • “They could’ve included women.”
  • “…It would’ve been great to see an LPGA player and her sponsorship partners get in on the action in a similar fashion.”
  • “The TaylorMade event could’ve been a mixed-team format. Maria Fassi and Paula Creamer are both in Florida. Some of TaylorMade’s female stars could’ve also called in during the broadcast as Jon Rahm did. Staffers who could’ve called in include Natalie Gulbis, Muni He and Charley Hull. Sung Hyun Park, who speaks limited English, was involved in a charity exhibition in South Korea with current No. 1 Jin Young Ko. Women’s golf frequently takes center stage in that part of the world.”
5. 80% of golf retail open
From the NGF Q…”The number of physical golf retail outlets that are back in business continues to increase – from off-course stores and specialty club-fitters to green grass pro shops.”
  • “Approximately 66% of golf course pro shops are open at facilities that are open to play, the equivalent of almost 9 million square feet, although some states and counties have limitations on the number of customers permitted at one time. That percentage is up from 36% at the start of the month, but is unchanged over the past week as pro shops in at least 10 states (including Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois and New York) have government mandates that say they must remain closed inside to customers.”
  • “Meanwhile, approximately 79% of off-course golf retail stores were open (in terms of total square footage) through May 25. This is up from 73% last week and 59% two weeks ago. In early April, only about 4% of the 6.5 million square feet of total off-course golf specialty space was open to in-store traffic. Roughly 81% of all off-course retail stores are now open to customers.”
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GolfWRX Classifieds Spotlight (05/27/20): Adams, Mizuno, Ping

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member Gator5 – Adams CMB Irons

Forged – check, Multi-Material construction – check, cool as all heck because these clubs are sweet and Adams made some really cool gear – check!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Adams CMB Irons

Member Ksears – Brand New Mizuno MP20 Irons

Did someone say brand new Mizunos??? What else could you really want from a forged blade beside being meticulously crafted and forged in Japan – as well as being priced lower than retail.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link hereMP 20 Irons

Member 1hellaofashot – Ping G410 7 Wood

Speaking from experience let me just say this “stop denying the inevitable and embrace the 7 Wood” It’s endlessly versatile, more forgiving than a hybrid, and because this one for sale is a Ping G410 it is adjustable. Here’s your chance to dial in your own par 5 killer.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Ping 7 Wood

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds 

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