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Rory does it | Further Rules clarification needed? | Brooks “out of sorts”

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

March 18, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans. Rory McIlroy’s win at yesterday’s Players Championship accomplished on the most satisfying feats in sports: (At least for now) shutting up critics who contend a player can’t (based on their armchair psychological assessment) close a tournament.
1. Rory does it
While he wobbled early, Rory McIlroy successfully walked the tightrope at TPC Sawgrass. With Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood faltering, McIlroy only needed a 2-under final-round effort to secure pro golf’s biggest payday.
  • AP Report…”McIlroy, one of eight players to have at least a share of the lead in the final round, was coming off a bogey on the 14th to fall behind and was in trouble with a tee shot that found a bunker right of the fairway. He responded with his best shot of the day to 15 feet for birdie.”
  • “Then, McIlroy hit the longest drive of the round on the par-5 16th, leaving him a 9-iron from a good lie in the rough to set up a two-shot birdie and the lead.”
  • “Most important, he found dry land on the par-3 17th, the Island Green that never looks smaller than on Sunday at THE PLAYERS.”
  • “He was solid to the end on a chilly, cloudy day and finished at 16-under 272 to win THE PLAYERS on his 10th try.”

Full piece.

2. Eddie! (and Jim)
Not only is he the game’s best blogger and Tweeter (no disrespect to Tiger Woods’ blog…does he still blog?), but it’s hard to be unhappy about Eddie Pepperell’s T3 finish.
  • The 28-year-old Englishman, who was paired with Justin Rose, played the first six holes in one over par, but then made seven birdies in 12 holes from the seventh to storm through the field and card a six-under 66.
  • The highlight was a 50-foot putt for birdie at the par-three 17th and he then did well to salvage a par at the last to give himself an outside chance of victory until McIlroy and Jim Furyk nosed ahead of him.
  • “To be honest I just had a few ups out there, I didn’t even have the downs to deal with because I holed a couple,” he said.
  • “The pitch, the bunker shot I hit on 14 and the pitch I holed on 15 were, no matter who hits them at any stage of a golf tournament, they’re great short game shots. They just gave me kind of a sense of huge confidence, actually. I kind of felt invincible, really, that last bit. Only around the greens, obviously.”

Full piece.

None of this is to sell Jim Furyk, 20 years Pepperell’s senior, short. The Businessman was a mere millimeter of a golf ball (his narrowly missed putt at the 17th) away from a playoff with Rory McIlroy. His walk-after-it approach to the 72nd hole as he stuffed his approach was the enduring image of the final round–certainly more so than McIlory’s massive sigh of relief (literally) after holing the tournament winner!
3. Magical Migliozzi
Nosing ahead of the field with a birdie at the 12th hole, all untested tour rookie Guido Migliozzi did was par his way in to take the Magical Kenya Open. A bit of sorcery indeed.
  • EuropeanTour.com report…”Guido Migliozzi showed nerves of steel down the back nine to claim his maiden European Tour title at the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa.”
  • “The Qualifying School graduate was in uncharted territory at Karen Country Club, playing just his 14th European Tour event with no previous top tens to his name.”
  • “He has three wins on the Alps Tour, however, and the Italian drew on those experiences to card a 69 and get to 16 under, one shot clear of playing partner Adri Arnaus and South Africans Louis de Jager and Justin Harding.”

Full piece.

4. Tiger…
PGATour.com’s Ben Everill…”Tiger Woods never recovered from a quadruple bogey on the iconic Island Green on Friday at TPC Sawgrass, but the 80-time PGA TOUR winner left THE PLAYERS Championship full of optimism.”
  • Woods came into the week following a neck injury that kept him out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, but the 43-year-old closed with his best round of the championship on Sunday.
  • His 3-under 69 left him at 6 under for the week, well off the pace, but still looking ahead with a positive mindset as he gears up to play the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play for the first time since 2013.

Full piece.

Ultimately, all good things as we march toward the Masters, it has to be said. 
5. “An epidemic the PGA Tour has no desire to cure”
A grim prognosis from Dr. Eamon Lynch!
  • Consider the particulars. Players are permitted 40-50 seconds to play their shots depending on the order of play in a group, but exceeding that limit doesn’t incur a bad time. For a group to be officially considered out of position they not only have to exceed the allotted time to play a shot but also reach a hole that is open and free of play. Only then does a group go on the clock. The punishment for that bad time is, well, nothing. A second bad time earns a one-stroke penalty, the third gets two. A DQ only comes at four. The fines levied are so meager as to be meaningless.
  • The most imbecilic mind on Tour would struggle to parse the policy but not to manipulate it.
  • Like a persistent rash, pace of play was again an irritant at the Players Championship. When the first round was called for darkness – despite daylight saving time – Anirban Lahiri still faced a short putt on the final hole. He had to return Friday morning to finish up. The Tour’s invariable stance is to insist there’s nothing to see and that everyone should just move along (at their own pace, of course).

Full piece.

6. Webb asks for further rules clarity
Closing in on his best round of the week at The Players, Webb Simpson was eyeing his 47-footer for birdie from the fringe of the 14th green when a rules infraction shattered the relative calm.
  • Simpson explained that his putter accidentally became tangled in his shirt and hit his golf ball, moving it “a quarter of an inch.” An official ruled that Simpson had violated Rule 9.4b (Ball Lifted or Moved by Player) and was assessed a one-stroke penalty which led to a bogey on the hole.
  • “I’m going to be loud and clear, we have to get intent into the rules. We have to. Because it’s killing our game when it comes to these kind of things,” said Simpson, who finished with a 4-under 68.

Full piece.

7. “Out of sorts”
Not sure what to make of this cryptic Ryan Lavner piece for GolfChannel.com, but here’s the relevant portion.
  • (Regarding Brooks Koepka)...”He has lost 24 pounds since November….It’s intentional, of course, though Koepka isn’t yet saying why.”
  • “You’ll see,” he said after the final round of The Players. “After Wednesday I’ll be fine.”
  • Over the past few months Koepka has been training twice a day, running and eating healthier.
  • “More of everything,” he said.
8. Tarde on Jenkins
Plenty has been penned on the passing of Dan Jenkins, but his friend/Golf Digest Editor-in-Chief, Jerry Tarde’s reflection is excellent.
  • A bit of his remembrance…”Dan lived in a penthouse in New York on “Park Street,” as he called it; then in a mansion on Ponte Vedra Beach, and finally moved back to the ancestral home near his beloved TCU in Fort Worth, where he passed away at 90 on March 7.”
  • “I tend to go to major championships the way Dorothy Kilgallen used to go to murder trials,” Jenkins wrote in Golf Digest in 1986. “I don’t cover tournaments anymore. I preside over them.” He ended up presiding over 232 majors in all-68 Masters, 56 PGAs, 63 U.S. Opens and 45 British Opens-a record that will never be matched. He was the most influential sports writer since Homer. And when it comes to lovers of the game, that rattling you hear is all of us moving up a notch in the world ranking.
  • “Who else but Jenkins would be sitting in the press dining lounge at a Ryder Cup when the door flings open and the president and first lady, George H.W. and Barbara Bush, rush over to give him a hug. “I bet the King of England never stopped by to see Bernard Darwin,” said his wingman Bev Norwood.”
9. WRX PSA: forum upgrades
We are excited to announce that we are going to be upgrading the forums! To facilitate this, the forums will be offline starting Monday 3/18/2019 9:00am Eastern. We are expecting the migration process to take 24 hours.
  • Please excuse the inconvenience and we appreciate your patience.
  • Once the initial upgrade is complete, we will be rolling out several enhancements in the coming weeks. There will be a dedicated thread once we’re back online to report any issues and we will work as fast as possible to address any bugs.
  • You will have to login again after the upgrade. If you have any issues getting logged in you will be able to reset your password using the email you used when you registered.
THANK YOU for being a part of GolfWRX!

 

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  1. Bob

    Mar 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    this is horrible…what i am supposed to do today with no forums?????? I might actually have to do my job, a complete travesty. You will be hearing from my solicitor.

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Morning 9: U.S. Prez Cup team off to a rocky start? | Capt. Woods isn’t worried | Tour action

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1. Hojgaard!
AP report on what is, really, an incredible achievement: an 18-year-old winning just a handful of starts into his European Tour career. Hope he enjoyed a Hoegaarden or 2!
  • …”Danish rookie Rasmus Hojgaard won a three-way playoff at the Mauritius Open with an eagle to become the third youngest winner on the European Tour on Sunday.”
  • “The 18-year-old Hojgaard overcame two bogeys in his opening nine and birdied the last hole in a round of 4-under 68 to get to 19-under overall, tied for first with Antoine Rozner of France and Renato Paratore of Italy.”
  • “In the playoff, Hojgaard and Rozner both birdied the par-5 last hole as Paratore made par.”

Full piece. 

2. The law firm of Langer & Langer
While Bernhard didn’t win everything on the senior circuit this year, he (and son) did manage to capture the Father Son challenge.
  • AP report…”Jason Langer made a 16-foot eagle putt on the first hole of a playoff Sunday to give father Bernard his fourth victory in the PNC Father Son Challenge.”
  • “The Langers closed with a second straight 12-under 60 to match Retief and Leo Goosen and Tom and Thomas Lehman atop the leaderboard in the scramble event for major champions at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando.”
  • “After the 62-year-old Bernhard hit the fairway on the par-5 18th, the 19-year-old Jason hit a 3-wood approach from 270 yards to set up the winning putt.”

Full piece.

3. Aussie wins Australian Open
Congratulations, Matt Jones! 
  • AP report…”Cruising for most of the final round and a leader after the second and third, Matt Jones suddenly needed to make a big putt on his final hole for a second Australian Open title.
  • “He came through, making a testing four-foot par putt on the 18th to hold off Louis Oosthuizen by one stroke after a 2-under 69.”
  • “Jones, who is a member at the host Australian Golf Club and won his first national title there in 2015, had a 72-hole total of 15-under 269.”

Full piece.

4. Off to a rocky start…
Shane Ryan rounds up a few of the-let’s not say “issues” but rather, flies in the ointment of victory-for the U.S. Presidents Cup squad.
“Addressing the most obvious first, Ryan writes…”Let’s start with the biggest and most provocative story of the weekend-Patrick Reed. If you had to pick one American golfer who could find a way heap stress on his captain’s shoulders before the Presidents Cup, you’d probably have picked Reed. Sure enough, he delivered at the Hero World Challenge by incurring a two-stroke penalty when he swept sand away from his ball with the back of his club-twice-in a way that appeared to improve his line of play in the bunker. His post-round explanation was that he didn’t realize it had happened, it didn’t improve the lie, and the camera angle made the sand look closer to the ball than it really was. Either way, the story will dominate the start of Presidents Cup week-Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith of the International team have already talked about how they think fans will react to Reed-and force Tiger to address it. Meanwhile, Reed’s teammates probably won’t appreciate the distraction. It’s not great in normal circumstances before a big tournament, but it’s especially unfortunate just before a team event where it could create tension at a time when tension kills camaraderie. It’s the kind of unexpected pre-Cup distraction that sucks the energy from a team.”
5. No reputation worries for Reed
Patrick Reed’s perspective, per Sky Sports…”Asked about whether he was worried the incident would harm people’s perception of him, Reed replied: “No, because at the end of the day I wasn’t intending to improve a lie or anything like that.”
  • “Like I said, I didn’t feel like I was doing anything that was improving a lie, but then when you saw it on camera, because of that camera angle, they said that the sand was moving, and when the sand moves like that, it’s a penalty.”
  • “You know, for me, it was just something that I’m going out there to play the best golf I can. After seeing it on camera and seeing sand move, obviously it’s a penalty. So at that point I had to accept it and move on.

Full piece.

6. LPGA moments of 2019
No surprise what (rightfully) takes the top spot in Beth Ann Nichols stellar end-of-year rundown of the LPGA Tour’s most memorable moments…
“It wasn’t just that Suzann Pettersen, a former villain at the Solheim Cup, knocked down a birdie putt on the 18th green to clinch the Cup for Europe. Or that the new mom had taken a 20-month break from competition before being named a captain’s pick by Catriona Matthew. The icing on this cake came in the fact that it was Pettersen’s final final putt. She scooped up son Herman in her arms after capping off the greatest Solheim Cup in history and walked straight into retirement.”
7. Opinion: Only women can save the Presidents Cup
Eamon Lynch for Golfweek with a, well, unique suggestion…”My two cents: make the Presidents Cup co-ed, adding the best women to the squads. It would give the event a unique flavor while elevating women’s golf. The LPGA Tour is a global circuit, but too many of its finest players are ineligible for the Solheim Cup, being neither American nor European. Let’s see an alternate shot format where Jin Young Ko plays off Adam Scott’s drives, and Tiger plays off Lexi Thompson’s.”
“A co-ed Presidents Cup would pair men and women in a genuine competitive setting, not a hit-and-giggle like the long defunct Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge. It would also make real the prospect of superstar golfers playing for a female captain. Golf could use some optics like that.”
“It’s been 40 years since the Ryder Cup was resuscitated when the old downtrodden Great Britain & Ireland team morphed into a triumphant European squad, but the Ryder Cup also had the advantage of its dull decades coming long before the dawn-to-dusk TV coverage of every swing. The Presidents Cup enjoys no such luxury and won’t survive many more years of mundanity.”
 
8. Captain Woods
Ben Everill of PGATour.com on the relative (to his early years) peculiarity of the Woods captaincy…
  • “….Those who bore the brunt of his dominance in golf know that when Woods was young and full of intensity, only one thing mattered: Winning. His intense competitive nature didn’t allow for traits that routinely work in a leadership role. He wasn’t concerned with others or their feelings. In fact he probably took delight in crushing any positivity they may have had on the golf course.”
  • “As such, thoughts of him as a good captain just didn’t wash.”
  • He was very young back then and his focus was on winning major championships and PGA TOUR tournaments,” says Mark O’Meara, who played on three U.S. teams with Woods and also won a World Cup with him in 1999.”

Full piece.

9. These are my players, in whom I am well pleased
…so said captain Woods, sort of…
(Quotes via Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine) “I told all the guys at Liberty when we had our meeting, back in ’98, we weren’t ready to play,” said Woods, referring to the Internationals’ lone victory in 12 editions, a nine-point rout of Jack Nicklaus’ American squad at Royal Melbourne.
  • “It was, again, late in the year in December. The season ended differently, players shut it down and then they geared right back up for Australia and we got beat pretty badly, so it was important for these guys to continue playing.”
  • “I’m very happy with most of the team,” Woods said after his solo-fourth finish at Albany. “The fact that 11 out of 12 guys played this week, some played well, some didn’t, but at least they were able to knock off some rust, get some feel.”

Full piece.

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Patrick Reed slapped with a 2-stroke penalty for moving sand in waste bunker

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Overnight leader Patrick Reed incurred a two-stroke penalty after twice moving sand from behind his ball on the 11th hole at the Hero Challenge during Friday’s round.

The contentious incident was caught on camera as Reed took practice swings before executing the shot on the par-5. You can make your mind up by watching the video below.

Reed incurred a general penalty (two strokes) under Rule 12-3 for improving his lie which was assessed following his round – changing his score of bogey six on the hole to a triple-bogey eight.

Following his round, Reed spoke to the media where he claimed that it was the camera angle which made it look as if he had improved his lie.

“It’s unfortunate because even though they weren’t, I wish they were actually directly on the side of me, because it was in a pretty good footprint but the footprint was a full footprint, and I felt like my club was that far behind the ball when I was actually taking the practice strokes which I felt like I was taking it up and it was obviously hitting a little sand.

I didn’t feel it drag, but then when they brought it up to me it definitely did drag some of the sand and because of that it’s considered a two-stroke penalty. I didn’t feel like it really would have affected my lie, I mean every time I get in the bunker I’m scared to even get my club close to it, it was that far away, but whenever you do that if it does hit the sand, just like if you’re in a hazard area and you take a practice swing and it brushes grass and the grass breaks, it’s a penalty.

So because of that and after seeing the video, I accept that, and it wasn’t because of any intent, I thought I was far enough away. I think with a different camera angle they would have realized that if it was from the side you would have seen that with the backswing it was not improving the lie because it was far enough away from the golf ball. But after seeing that camera angle, because it brushed the sand it was a penalty.”

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True Sports acquiring Aerotech shafts

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True Sports, the umbrella company for True Temper, Project X, Accra Golf and other sport divisions, has just announced a total purchase of Aerotech Golf Shafts for an undisclosed amount. This purchase comes on the heels of another recent purchase earlier this year when True Sports purchased Canadian-based shaft company Accra Golf.

From a total package perspective this deal makes a lot of sense for everyone involved, True Temper/Project X is already the industry leader in steel shafts, along with offering a full array of graphite products from driver to iron shafts under a number of brands. While on the other hand Aerotech and the SteelFiber shafts are the number 1 graphite iron shaft on all professional tours with many notable players using various models. AeroTech is also the leader by a large margin on the LPGA Tour with a number of the world’s top women’s players using the shafts on route to multiple wins including majors championships in 2019.

How This All Fits

From a portfolio perspective, Aerotech further rounds out the True Sports graphite shaft options available to both the custom aftermarket segment, and to OEMs as part of their custom matrix options. The purchase of Aerotech strengthens True Sports’ position in the OEM world since the SteelFiber line is one of the most requested custom options from OEMs and customers.

“We are thrilled to add Aerotech to our stable of products. Their innovative SteelFiber line of shafts is extremely popular in the aftermarket and has won more professional golf events than any other graphite iron shaft.” – Don Brown, senior director of marketing and innovation for TRUE Sports’ golf division.

This works well as a contrast to the recent Accra Golf purchase since Accra Golf caters exclusively to the aftermarket custom club market and doesn’t offer any shaft models to the OEM world.

From a technology standpoint, Aerotech SteelFiber shafts stand out because of the way they are constructed – from AeroTech,

“The filament winding process yields a seamless and incredibly uniform bending golf shaft. The steel fiber material is produced using a bundle drawing process that utilizes multiple reductions in the diameter of stainless steel wire. Once the wire becomes thin enough, 1,000 individual wires are bundled together and placed inside an iron tube that is further reduced until each individual steel wire is 8 microns in diameter. Each 8 micron steel filament is approximately 1/10th the diameter of a human hair. Finally, 3,000 individual filaments are combined and spun onto spools.”

This is a contrast to the method utilized by essentially every other graphite shaft manufacturer which uses sheets of various pre-preg graphite materials wrapped around a mandrel to produce a shaft.

The other interesting part of this is how Aerotech and its technology and processes could be used outside of the golf world in other sports under the True umbrella, including hockey and lacrosse, since it was the original Aerotech company that produced some of the earliest composite hockey sticks, which are now the norm in the industry.

It’s going to be very interesting to watch how this plays out in 2020 and beyond for both True and Aerotech, and we will continue to follow any developments or changes to both organizations.

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