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Morning 9: Apologies abound | Long live the King! | Tiger just being cautious?

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

March 6, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans
1. TW just being cautious?
Golfweek’s Steve Dimeglio…”Still, no player is holding his breath until they see a healthy Woods again. Not even defending champion and four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, who saw Woods receive treatment before and after each round two weeks ago at the WGC-Mexico Championship.”
  • Quoting Zach Johnson…”I know that guy well enough to know this is something he’s being overly cautious of, and he should be, because of what is on the table and what’s ahead of him,” Johnson said. “Rest will help, with the proper attention to go with that rest.”

Full piece.

2. Long live the King (and the umbrella)
This longread from Cameron Morfit on the strength (and meaning) of the Arnold Palmer brand is so stellar, excerpting it does little justice.
  • Here’s a morsel, though…”But that’s just the tip of the umbrella. If recent activity is any indication, the Palmer brand is like that old Wilford Brimley movie, Cocoon-not only undying but forever young.”
  • “Druh belts, out of Europe, and Orlando-based Corkcicle, maker of coolers, water bottles and tumblers, recently began selling Palmer-branded merchandise. Oregon-based Seamus Golf, which makes high-end ball marks, divot-repair tools and bottle openers, also recently became a formal licensee of Arnold Palmer Enterprises. PRG, whose customized golf accessories run the gamut from bags to ball-marks, is also new, as is Smathers & Branson, which makes high-end needlepoint belts and accessories.”
  • “Britt and the rest of the small APE staff at Bay Hill Club & Lodge have been busy….”A lot of interest from companies that I don’t think would have looked at us five years ago,” he says. Asked why he thinks that is, he’s careful to give credit where credit is due.”
3. Rory says…
While this doesn’t really contradict anything Woods said in his tweets announcing his withdrawal from the Arnold Palmer Invitational (if anything, it confirms it), Rory McIlroy’s remarks are getting a measure of attention.
  • This per Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”I hope he’s OK,” Rory McIlroy said on Tuesday at Bay Hill. “I saw him in Mexico [two weeks ago] getting treatment before and after he played and he did have some tape on sort of his upper back, so he was dealing with it back then as well.”
4. What a couple of days
Can you imagine what it must be like to win your first PGA Tour event? Especially as a relatively unheralded player (no disrespect)?
  • Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge on Keith Mitchell’s victory celebration and reflection…The full replay from Sunday’s final-round broadcast was playing in the background while they partied and listened to music. Then, once the replay showed Mitchell arrive to the 15th hole, everyone gathered around the TV and turned the music down. All of them watched the final four holes, which included a pair of birdies and a clutch 15-footer to avoid a playoff with Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler.
“It was really cool to see my reaction on TV,” Mitchell said Tuesday. “I never thought I would be there, but it looks like it happened.”
5. USGA backpedals
Golf Digest’s Christopher Powers on the latest episode of the Justin Thomas, USGA saga.
“The USGA took notice, and in a somewhat out-of-left-field move replied to Thomas’ tweet. “Justin, we need to talk,” read the USGA statement. “You’ve cancelled every meeting we’ve planned with you, but we are reaching out again. We were at the first 5 events, and tournaments last year, and your tour has had a seat at the table for 7 years. We’d love nothing more than to give you a seat. Call us.”
  • “Thomas was confused by the statement, later calling it “a little shocking,” and “inaccurate.” His claims were solidified on Tuesday morning, when the USGA PR Twitter handle tweeted out, “After further and more direct conversations with Justin Thomas, we realize he did not avoid a discussion with the USGA nor cancel any meetings. We value his and all players’ opinions and are committed to a productive dialogue as the golf world adjusts to the modernized rules.”
  • @USGA_PR tweeted…“After further and more direct conversations with @JustinThomas34, we realize he did not avoid a discussion with the USGA nor cancel any meetings. We value his and all players’ opinions and are  committed to a productive dialogue as the golf world adjusts to the modernized rules.”
 
6. Asking for a mulligan
Not surprisingly, the Palm Beach Post has issued a mea culpa for its Keith Mitchell victory headline.
  • The bizarre decision makes a bit more sense with context, sure, but assuming the readership understands the requisite nuance and background….not the best editorial choice!
  • Anyway, the editor in question is expectedly penitent…but maybe don’t put that apology/explanation behind a paywall?
7. Snedeker reunites with former swing coach, Todd Anderson
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard on the pair getting back together
  • “In 2014, Brandt Snedeker made what he called one of the hardest choices of his career when he left long-time swing coach Todd Anderson to work with Butch Harmon.”
  • “At the time, Snedeker, who won the 2012 FedExCup while working with Anderson, said he needed to hear something different. But after four and a half years apart, Snedeker and Anderson have reunited.”
  • ‘”I just felt like this was a good move for me. We’ve always been friends and Todd knows me so well. It was an easy decision for us to start working together again,” Snedeker said.”
8. Rory returns to Bay Hill
Site of his most recent PGA Tour victory, McIlroy isn’t frustrated, he says, that he hasn’t won since slipping into the red cardigan at last year’s tournament.
  • Philip Reid of the Irish Times writes…”In fact, McIlroy’s last outing in the WGC-Mexico Championship saw him finish runner-up to Dustin Johnson – who has since returned to number one in the latest world rankings – and profess to having “good vibes” about returning to Bay Hill for the defence of his title.”
  • “My game’s been good, really solid,” observed McIlroy, backed up by a run of 4th-5th-4th-2nd in his four tournament outings so far this season.
  • “McIlroy – one of three Irish players in the field at Bay Hill this week, where Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell are also competing – has to believe that sooner or later, and more likely sooner, he will again be back in the winner’s enclosure.”
  • I’m not frustrated, because it seems like I can only do what I can do and I can only control me . . . . it’s just about staying patient, and hopefully one of these weeks it will fall my way.”
9. You’re a cheat!
A wild scene at a South African golf tournament led to a viral video clip…and really, reading anything pertaining to the context is never going to paint the full picture of the comic brutality…
  • But here’s this, via Justin Terranova of the New York Post…”A South African golf tournament turned ugly when one competitor accused the presumed winner, named Mike, of cheating at the bar afterwards.”
  • “You’re a thief, man. You’re a cheat!” was yelled across the clubhouse at Lake Club Benoni when the man charged at his accuser, headbutted him through a window and then punched him repeatedly.
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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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