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The Ben Hogan Award selects 10 semifinalists

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The Ben Hogan Award is arguably the biggest individual award in collegiate golf. Given annually to the most outstanding amateur college golfer, the award is unique in that it considers the players collegiate, amateur and professional competitions during the previous 12-month period. And today, the Award Foundation listed its 10 semifinalist for the 2019 trophy.

They are : senior Will Gordon of Vanderbilt, Texas freshman Cole Hammer, junior Viktor Hovland of Oklahoma State, California senior Collin Morikawa, senior Bryson Nimmer of Clemson, Duke senior Alex Smalley, senior Justin Suh of Southern California, Oklahoma State sophomore Matthew Wolff, senior Brandon Wu of Stanford and Arizona State junior Chun An Yu.

All 10 players are currently ranked among the top 25 in each of the four major ranking systems—Golfstat NCAA Player Ranking, Golfweek/Sagarin Collegiate Individual Ranking, Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking and World Amateur Golf Ranking.

First given in 1990 at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles, the award was created by former Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon. “Harmon had won the Heisman Trophy at the University of Michigan and it was his dream to have a Heisman Trophy type award given to the top collegiate golfer in the nation,” said Dr. Bill Barnes, a chairman with the Ben Hogan Award Foundation. “So, he talked it over with Eddie Merrins, who is now the Pro Emeritus out at Bel- Air, and Eddie knew Ben Hogan. Mr. Hogan gave them his blessing to use his name.”

The award stayed at Bel-Air Country Club for the better part of a decade but never reached the heights that Tom Harmon had envisioned. Dr. Barnes, a member at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, decided to do something about that.

“I made some calls and then found myself out at Bel-Air Country Club with Eddie Merrins talking about this Ben Hogan Award of theirs that they had been giving out for maybe 10 years,” Barnes said. “They would identify the top amateur golfer in the nation and usually, their top golfer wouldn’t even show up for the award ceremonies. They were a little discouraged out there. So, we told them about the history of Colonial and how this was Ben Hogan’s backyard. They were very interested.”

And with that, a partnership between the Ben Hogan Award and Colonial Country Club was born. The award banquet ceremony is hosted by Colonial each year in May during the PGA Invitational event in Fort Worth. That certainly adds some excitement for the award’s finalists and gives them more reason to attend. The black tie banquet resembles the Heisman presentation, with three award finalists receiving invitations before one winner is ultimately selected.

Along with the award itself, the winner also receives the first invitation to play in the Colonial Tournament the following year. Additionally, a substantial amount of scholarship money is given out to the schools of the finalists. Last year, winner Doug Ghim earned $30,000 in golf scholarship funds for the University of Texas. Finalists Collin Morikawa of Cal and Braden Thornberry of Ole Miss earned their schools $17,500 apiece. In total, over $90,000 of collegiate golf scholarship money was raised by the Ben Hogan Award Foundation last year alone.

Doug Ghim, 2018 Ben Hogan Award Winner

Initially, the award included academic achievement in its original list of standards. Now, the selection committee works closely with the Golf Coaches of America Association (GCAA) and Friends of Golf (FOG) to select its award recipient. The GCAA watch-list usually begins with 20 to 30 total golfers and then that list is cut down to 10 semifinalists. Finally, on May 2nd, that list is whittled down to three finalists, who all receive an invitation to the award ceremony banquet in May.

“The GCAA contributes by identifying the years initial watch-list and then our selection committee is made up of representatives from the PGA, USGA, PGA Tour, Lance Barrow with CBS Sports, Golf Magazine writers…it’s a pretty good who’s who,” said Foundation Chairman Harold Muckelroy. “And one new change this year is that when we narrow it to the final three, all the past winners will have a vote on who is declared the award winner.” The GCAA provides statistics and tournament results to each member of the selection committee to use in casting their final vote.

“It is ultimately each voter’s responsibility to do as much homework as to satisfy their own personal criteria for selecting a winner,” said Hogan Award Foundation Chairman Clif Overcash. Past winners include 2018 Champion Doug Ghim, Maverick McNealy (2017), John Rahm (2015 & 2016), Patrick Cantlay (2012), and Rickie Fowler (2008).

Jon Rahm, 2015 & 2016 Hogan Award Winner and 2019 Banquet Keynote Speaker

The banquet at Colonial has also had a history of providing phenomenal special guest speakers. In the past, the event has had the privilege of hearing from Dan Jenkins, Lance Barrow, Peter Kostis, Bruce Lietzke, Corey Pavin, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Lehman, Jim Nantz, Lanny Wadkins, and Pat Summerall. This year’s guest speaker is Jon Rahm, the only two-time award winner and currently the number eight ranked player in the world.

For more information on the award or to see how you can give to the Ben Hogan Foundation, visit their website here.

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Johnny Newbern writes for GolfWRX from Fort Worth, Texas. His loving wife lets him play more golf than is reasonable and his son is almost old enough to ride in the cart with dad. He is a Scotty Cameron loyalist and a lover of links style courses. He believes Coore/Crenshaw can do no wrong, TMB irons are almost too hot and hole-in-ones are earned, not given. Johnny holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the Albertsons Boise Open

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GolfWRX bypassed the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship in the early part of the week (we made it there Thursday!) for the road less traveled this week: The Korn Ferry Tour. Specifically, we have a full buffet of photos from the range at the Albertsons Boise Open, including a full plate of WITB looks.

Here are 10 interesting photos from the Albertsons Boise Open.

This spread of Scotty Cameron Circle T putter covers will have enthusiasts drooling

Is this tee marker edible?

Name a better-dressed pro than Morgan Hoffmann…

Brandon Crick’s Pingman-stamped Glide wedge

The TaylorMade Boise Open headcover features a Boise St. blue turf background

D.J. Trahan’s Grateful Dead dancing bear headcovers are money

J-Gore! Cheers to the 2002 champ!

Sweet orange paintfill on Kevin Doughtery’s PXG 0311T 4-iron

Idaho (potato) fries aplenty on Scotty Cameron’s superb Boise Open headcover

I was unaware Will Zalatoris nickname was Beavis. But a look at this wedge and a look at this photo have me pretty convinced it is

All our galleries from the Boise Open

General galleries

WITB, special galleries

 

 

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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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