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WRX Morning 9: Monahan: PGA Tour will always play by USGA rules | Respect Molinari | Alice Dye’s big contribution to No. 17

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

March 14, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. We’re not going to make our own rules
PGATour.com’s Cameron Morfit…”Commissioner Jay Monahan said Wednesday the PGA TOUR will not split from the game’s governing bodies to operate under its own set of rules.”
  • “The Rules of Golf have been a hot topic of conversation, with some players questioning a few of the newly simplified rules that went into effect at the start of 2019 and wondering if the TOUR should make its own rules for the game’s best players to follow, leaving the USGA and the R&A to make and implement rules for others.”
  • “Monahan was adamant that would not happen….”We have two fantastic professional governing bodies of the game,” he said during his annual press conference prior to the start of THE PLAYERS Championship. “We have always played by their rules and we will continue to play by their rules – and we are not going to be playing by our own rules.
  • “We think that the game is best served with everybody playing by the same rules and the same standards. We think it’s a source of inspiration for the game.”
2. You’d better recognize!
That’s the tone (rightly) of a Doug Ferguson column regarding Francesco Molinari.
A few morsels…
  • “Francesco Molinari might not look like the modern version of an Arnold Palmer, a player who makes people watch because of his ability to charge from behind with clutch shots, big putts and low scores….He just plays one on TV.”
  • “Four of his eight career victories have come in the last nine months, three of them counting as PGA Tour titles.”
  • “Four players have shot 64 or better in the final round four times on the PGA Tour since 2017. Molinari is on that short list with Koepka, Justin Thomas and Gary Woodland. He doesn’t have their power. He doesn’t have their flash. He just gets results, which is what matters in this game.”
3. Alice Dye’s made Sawgrass’ 17th great
Awesome tidbit from the Forecaddie…”In Pete Dye’s book “Bury Me in A Pot Bunker”, written with Mark Shaw, Pete recalls the Ponte Vedra Club’s inspiration for moving toward the island green and subsequent digging out of the sandy area that became TPC Sawgrass’ 17th lake.”
  • “…At the time I didn’t really think the 17th would be all that difficult, so I sloped the back portion of the green toward the water,” he wrote. “Alice told me that if I left the green that way, she could envision the television announcers notifying the viewing audience that play in the championship was being held up because 25 foursomes were still waiting on the 17th tee for the lead player to keep his ball on the green!”
4. On the move to March…
Another one from Cameron Morfit on player remarks from Sawgrass.
  • “Greener. Cooler. Windier. And tougher.”…Those are a few of the adjectives players have used to describe the return of THE PLAYERS Championship to March for the first time since 2006.”
  • “The best players in the world are preparing to take on a different sort of TPC Sawgrass now that the tournament has been moved back to March. The Stadium Course has new grass (ryegrass as opposed to Bermuda) and new, rye-overseeded greens. And that’s not all that’s different.”
  • “The weather will be cooler (70s dipping to 60s on the weekend, as opposed to 90s). The wind could well be different (coming out of the north and into players’ faces on 17 and 18). And to a man, players this week have said the 7,189-yard, par-72 Pete Dye gem feels much longer.”
5. Tiger’s…swing watcher?
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers on an overlooked member of Team Tiger.
  • “Meet Rob McNamara, officially a vice president for TGR Ventures, but unofficially, a second set of eyes for Woods’ golf swing. That second role has become especially important with Woods no longer employing a swing coach, although, he has been spotted working on his putting with Matt Killen at this week’s Players Championship. And in GOLFTV’s latest video installment with Woods, McNamara and the 14-time major champ talked about their unique working relationship that dates back to their junior golf days in southern California.”
  • “I mean he knows my game,” said Woods, who estimates the two have played 500 rounds of golf together. “One, he’s a good player. Two, he’s got a good eye and he has seen me go through changes and iterations in the game of golf, but at the end of the day I try and use Rob for what I’m trying to work on now, because right now it’s different, because I’m limited what I can do, and not only am I limited in what I can do, I’m limited in how much I can practice.”
6. Can’t handle the heat!
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”During last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, Joel Dahmen and his caddie, Geon Bonnalie, had a contest at a local putt-putt course. The match came down to the last hole, which Bonnalie three-putted to lose.”
  • “The payoff came on Wednesday at The Players when Bonnalie had to eat a Paqui Carolina Reaper Madness chip before hitting his shot in the annual Caddie Competition on the 17th hole. According to advertising on the company’s website, the chip is made from the hottest chile pepper in the world.”
  • Bonnalie didn’t seem too bothered by the chip at first and found the island green with his tee shot. But he struggled to reach the hole and had to kneel for several minutes to recover.”
And while the article doesn’t say so explicitly, I assume this is the chip.
7. HVIII on teeing it up with TIger
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge on Varner’s practice round with Woods.
  • “Varner had been asking a lot of questions about success, and he was telling Woods that he really wanted to win on the PGA Tour.”
  • “The best thing he told me … he said, ‘Run your own journey. It’s your path. No one else’s. Run it,'” Varner recalled. “So then I quit worrying about everything else… He’s just like, ‘Run your course. If you work hard, you’ll win. It’s pretty simple.’ That’s why it’s easy to be around him, because he’s not judging you.”
8. Ho-sung writes
It’s the Player Blog to end all Player Blogs. The phenomenon that is Ho-sung Choi will be teeing it up in the Kenya Open this week on the European Tour, and he filed reflective item for the tour’s website.
A taste of the fisherman’s cooking…
  • “They call me the Fisherman. It was a photographer from the Japanese version of Golf Digest who came up with my nickname, as when he took photos of me, he thought my swing reminded him of a fisherman trying to hook his catch – so he called me the Fisherman in his captions.”
  • “When I was in my last year of high school, I lost half of my thumb in an accident. I was working a part-time job cutting tuna when I caught my finger in a machine. They had to take skin from my stomach to graft a new end to my thumb. It is something that affects my daily life – I really feel it in the winter and it swells a lot in the cold. I never see it as a disadvantage to my golf game though – I always try and think positively about it and use it to my advantage.”
  • “I learnt to play golf through seeing pictures of swings in magazines. When I started to learn the game there was no YouTube or any videos on the internet, so I just used to look at photos of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Annika Sorenstam and try and be like them. Of course, they were all just snapshots, but I was able to apply their technique by looking at them. My swing is very unique now though, and I don’t think I look like any of them when I’m playing!”

Piece.

9. Fortunately, not a blown Achilles after all…
Double P discussed the injury he suffered on Monday and his current recovery timeline during the most recent edition of his weekly SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio show, Out of Bounds with co-host Michael Collins, Tuesday.
  • After telling Collins he visited with one of the doctors for the Arizona Cardinals, Perez said he’s slated for an MRI.
  • Pat Perez: “So he says it’s a calf strain 2, which is basically a torn calf muscle. It’s much better than an Achilles.”
  • Michael Collins: “Yes, you thought you blew out your Achilles.”
  • Perez: “I thought I did. … It was just horrible flying home, leaving The Players, it’s just a horrible, horrible feeling. But, you know, at least the good news is it’s supposed to be like six weeks.”

 

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Morning 9: Women’s PGA | Fox: best golf coverage in the biz? | Michelle Wieturns

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

June 19, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Henderson, Thompson sizzling heading into Women’s PGA
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”Brooke Henderson and Lexi Thompson couldn’t get hotter at a better time.”
  • “With three major championships over the next seven weeks, they’ll be looking to make the most of their winning form. They each have a chance this week to reach No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings for the first time.”
  • “Henderson won the Meijer Classic last week, Thompson the ShopRite Classic two weeks ago.”
  • “Ladbrokes makes Henderson the co-favorite to win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship with Jeongeun Lee6 at 11/1 odds, with Thompson at 12/1 odds.”
2. Wieturning again
Ron Sirak for LPGA.com…
“But perhaps the most difficult digits to digest are those detailing the impact of the injuries that have disrupted Wie’s career. Without the constant interruptions, her five career wins with one major championship would almost certainly be more. Now, she tries once again to get back into action.”
  • “I’m feeling hopeful,” Wie said Tuesday at Hazeltine National where, on Thursday, she will tee it up for just her ninth tournament round of the year. “It’s still a process. It’s been hard sitting out during the middle of the season. There’s really nothing worse. But I had to take the time to get myself back to where I want to be.”
  • “There is almost no a part of Wie that has not been damaged, beginning with an injury to her left wrist when she fell while jogging in 2007. Since then, she’s had issues with a finger, knee, hip and the other wrist. At times, it almost appears as if her body is held together by multi-colored physiotape.”

Full piece.

3. Arrival of the Wolff
Sean Martin at PGATour.com…”This week’s Travelers Championship is Matthew Wolff’s first tournament as a professional. It may be the most anticipated pro debut in a decade. The consensus collegiate player of the year combines charisma with a swing that is identifiable from a few fairways over.
  • “He wins. He’s unique. His swing is different, so it catches everybody’s eye,” said Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee. “And then there’s the incredible speed.
  • “When you see somebody with speed … it gets your attention.”
4. Fox the best?
An interesting take from Sean Zak at Golf.com…
  • “In its five years as the USGA rights-holder, Fox has added something new every year, which, for a sport whose visuals seem to never change, is refreshing and important. One year it was the mic’d up holes, even shadows on the greens to display slopes. Some of it sticks from year to year, some of it doesn’t, but Fox is trying new things and adding new context.”
  • “This year the novelty was epic, highlighted by delicious drone shots along the coast. Blimp shots are great and were more relevant this week than most, but the drones that floated up over Carmel Bay, gliding along with the players, providing the perfect scale of the property – those were new and beautiful. A good broadcast shows viewers everything they must see to better understand a course, but also makes them a bit jealous of everyone there on the grounds.”
5. JT pain free
A few quotes from Thomas…”I have zero pain. I can do everything normally.”
“I could have played Colonial – easily – but it would have been stupid and [my wrist] could have been lingering the entire year,” he said. “This injury should never be an issue again in my life, as long as I do the proper things and don’t do anything stupid. That’s why I waited as long as I did.”
6. Not a fan
The Herald’s (Scotland) Nick Rodger…
  • “As everyday life hurtles along at a furious rate of knots, the golf season too is hammering on. Three men’s majors have already been played and in just four weeks’ time the curtain will come down on the quartet of grand slam events at the Open Championship. It’s rather like uploading a Youtube video onto your laptop and quickly spooling through to the best bits.”
  • “It’s all happening a bit too quickly for my liking,” gasped Colin Montgomerie as the dust settled on last weekend’s US Open even though there’s still probably dust lingering from the previous majors of the US PGA Championship and the Masters.”
7. Jin Young Ko dreaming of Brooks?
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“On a day when LPGA stars filed in and out of the press room at the KPMG Women’s PGA, Ko delivered the line of the day. When asked what it is that she likes about Koepka and how he inspires her play, Ko said: “I met him in my dream, and then we had really great time.”
  • “…He always (has) like a poker face and then like stone.”
  • Ko, 23, put her arms out wide and said, “I like big guy.”
8. What Gary was aiming for
Our Gianni Magliocco…“U.S. Open Champion Gary Woodland made an appearance at SiriusXM’s Manhattan studios on Tuesday, where he sat down to discuss a multitude of topics with Adam Schein on his Mad Dog Sports Radio program – Schein on Sports.”
  • “Woodland also discussed beating Tiger Woods’ total of 12-under-par from the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. The 35-year-old first mentioned how he recognized that Woods won that tournament by 15 strokes, before adding how he was aware of beating his 72-hole total, saying…”
  • “I knew it, but I was trying to two-putt. I wasn’t trying to make that putt. Once it got halfway there and it went in I obviously let the emotion out. My caddie came over to tell me congrats and I said, ‘You know that clipped Tiger by one?’ And he said, ‘No I didn’t.’ He was focused on the wrong stuff, he was focused on winning, I was focused on beating that record.”
9. A Phireside chat
How to introduce Phil Mickelson’s first Phireside with Phil video…? Mickelson tells a story of an early morning restart at the Memorial some years back and a, um, crappy situation.
My question: This is a clear violation of the rules of tournament play. Is there a provision for situations that make the hole/toilet unusable after restart and necessitate cutting a new cup?

 

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Equipment

TaylorMade signs Matthew Wolff to a multi-year deal; Wolff WITB

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TaylorMade Golf has officially announced the signing of Matthew Wolff on a multi-year agreement that will see the 20-year-old play the company’s metal woods, irons, wedges, putter and ultimately, TaylorMade’s flagship golf ball, the TP5x.

Wolff had previously unveiled that he would be making his professional debut at this week’s Travelers Championship, and just as top prospect Collin Morikawa did earlier at this month’s Canadian Open, Wolff will do so as a TaylorMade staffer.

The NCAA All-American and 2019 NCAA Division I individual champion made his debut on the PGA Tour at the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year where he finished T50 after opening his week with a round of five-under par.

Matthew Wolff WITB

Driver: TaylorMade M6 (8 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design TP 7TX

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M6 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.5 TX

Utility Iron: TaylorMade P760 (2)
Shaft: Nippon Modus 130x

Irons: TaylorMade P750 Tour Proto (3-PW)
Shafts: Nippon Modus 130x

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind Raw (52, 56, 62 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Copper

 

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5 questions with Justin Kinney of Virtual Golf Caddy

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We chatted with Justin Kinney, founder and CEO of startup Virtual Golf Caddy about his product, which serves both courses and players, by offering drone arial photography of golf courses (with graphics overlayed).

While drone photography and videography of golf courses is an established phenomenon, using the photos and video for better course management and preparation is a relatively new approach.

We wanted to learn more about what VGC is doing, and Kinney was kind enough to answer a handful of questions and include an example of the company’s work.

1. Tell us a bit about your background

I am 38 years old, born and raised in Connecticut. Lifelong golfer. Just finishing up my career as a middle school math teacher to focus on VGC full-time. I also have five years of business experience managing people’s retirement accounts. I played as many sports as I could growing up, and love the thrill of competition.

2. What’s the opportunity you saw?

I agreed to caddie for one of my students two summers ago. When researching the courses he was going to play, there was NO info on the courses. I thought there was a huge opportunity to provide course management strategies for players and give players a view of the entire courses with drones. No one was really doing anything like that, so I spent the past two years working on and building my business plan. Two months ago I secured funding to work on this full-time.

3. What is Virtual Golf Caddy, exactly?

VGC is a golf preparation and mental conditioning program designed to help give golfers a game plan to attack courses with. We provide drone views of each hole as well as course management strategies on how to best play each hole. Shot suggestions are given based on how far and confident players hit their clubs. We include mental conditioning tips and exercises to help players “zone in” more often and consistently. We are considering getting into golf fitness and nutrition as well to help build the whole golfer. Players purchase access to each course’s videos and info for either $15 or $25 per course, depending on how much info they want. They get unlimited access to the videos and can watch them wherever (home, airport, hotel, course).

4. What stage is the business in, and can you show us an example of VCG in action? 

We are still in the start-up phase. We are making agreements with and filming at courses. The website is being redesigned and will be up in June. It appears like things may take off quickly so stay tuned!

For an example, check out the video below.

6. What else should GolfWRX members know?

We are looking for courses to partner with. We will give courses free publicity on our site, a promotional video from the footage to use on their site, and share 15 percent of their courses profits with them. A win-win for everyone involved! If readers know of any courses, please email us.

One other thing to add: the mental prep/conditioning program is being built by renowned sports psychologist Bill Cole, MS, MA. It is legit and comes from over 40 years of research and experience! We’re also pursuing options in fitness and nutrition.

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