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Morning 9: ANWA Round 1 report | Spieth: I didn’t choke at 2016 Masters | Alex Trevino

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

April 4, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.

1. ANWA round 1

Kyle Porter at CBS Sports did a nice job rounding up the action…
  • “The first ever round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur took place on Wednesday at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, and a big name co-leads after 18 holes (more on that in a minute). Only 14 of the 72 golfers cracked par, and the cutoff right now for the 30 that will make it to the final round at Augusta National on Saturday is right around 2 over (which is something to keep an eye on come Thursday’s cut)…”
  • “First place — Jennifer Kupcho and Zoe Campos (-4): Kupcho is the reigning NCAA champion, and it’s no surprise that she’s off to a hot start here. She’s the No. 1 amateur in the world and probably the biggest talent in the field. On Wednesday, she hit every green, made no bogeys and birdied three of her final five holes — quite similar to how she won last year’s NCAAs, by the way — to take the co-lead with Campos.”
2. Lynch on the Sergio catastrophe-apology cycle
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch…”Sergio Garcia has been spending more time lately making more videos than an Instagram-addicted teenager. It’s a public relations offensive that was launched in the aftermath of his DQ in Saudi Arabia where he defaced five greens during a temper tantrum.”
  • “The latest video, featuring Garcia and Matt Kuchar, exhibited all the spontaneity of a hostage tape….But the bottom line is this: Sergio Garcia continues to find himself mired in controversy, simply because he cannot control his temper on the golf course.”
3. Downside of the ANWA
A bold take from Karen Crouse at the NYT…
  • A morsel…”Augusta National didn’t admit its first female members until 2012. And while it has since opened its course to boys and girls through the Drive, Chip and Putt contest and to amateur women, these inclusive gestures have ignored – and however unintentionally, undermined – the L.P.G.A., one of the longest-running women’s professional sports organizations.”
  • “The Drive, Chip and Putt contest, held the Sunday before the Masters, has siphoned television and other media coverage from the final round of the ANA Inspiration. And with the advent of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, the spotlight on the best women’s players in the world has become more diffuse.”
4. Near disaster for Fassi
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine on a fiasco that nearly kept Maria Fassi from teeing it up at the ANWA…
  • She went to “pick up her golf clubs and hitch a ride to the airport from University of Arkansas assistant coach Mike Adams. But by the time she got to the bag check at Fayetteville (Ark.) Regional Airport and set the travel bag on the scale, Fassi noticed something that quickly opened her eyes.”
  • “The bag tag read: Kaylee.”
  • “I was like, ‘Oh my…,'” Fassi said. She had accidentally grabbed the wrong golf clubs, instead taking those of teammate Kaylee Benton.
  • “[The bags] looked the same at 4 in the morning,” Fassi added.
5. Whan on ANWA
The LPGA commish had this to say, per John Strege at Golf Digest…
  • ‘”I would anticipate us being here in the same week next year,” he said. “Today, if we move back two weeks, there’s only three windows for us to have this kind of TV coverage. There’s Founders [Cup] week. That’s really difficult on the club and for all kinds of reasons that seems too difficult for us to pull that off. Or two weeks later, which is a week after the Masters, 10 days from Coachella.”‘
  • “He was referring to the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, a highly popular event held nearby, putting a strain on getting hotel rooms. “And a lot of these volunteers get out of their houses and rent them during Coachella,” Whan said. “We’re concerned about volunteers. We’re concerned about heat and just course conditions.”
…”Maybe this can be the celebration of women’s golf it really could be.”
6. Alex Trevino
The PGA Tour’s Doug Milne composed an excellent piece on Alex Trevino, a teenager battling cancer who spent some time with Jordan Spieth ahead of the Valero Texas Open.
  • This portion on Trevino’s diagnosis…”We went to his pediatrician, we went to emergency rooms, and we got all kinds of tests done,” said Alex’s father, Alex. “The last thing we imagined is that it was cancer.”
  • “Barely a teenager, Alex was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma. The hardest thing to imagine had become a stark, glaring reality.”
  • ‘”At the beginning, they thought it was a fracture or something,” said Alex’s mother, Madai. “But, it was one of the rarest forms of cancer, especially in kids. And, because it was in the C-2 vertebrae, the doctors didn’t think it was going to be a tumor.”‘
  • Doctors, sadly, were wrong. But, in May, after starting treatment shortly after the diagnosis, Alex’s cancer went into remission. He and his family clung to hope.
  • As fate would have it, in November of 2018, Alex was again diagnosed wih Ewing sarcoma. This time, though, it had metastasized into his lungs.”
7. Spieth: I didn’t choke at Augusta in 2016
Golf Channel’s Will Gray pulled this anecdote from the No Laying Up podcast…
  • “It wasn’t like I got here and the moment got the best of me. It was like, no, I just legitimately had this thing wrong with my swing,” Spieth said. “When the pressure was on that day, I was hitting the ball horribly. … But it wasn’t because it was Sunday at Augusta. No, it was like I was just hitting it that bad. And unfortunately, that’s not the way it can be or would be looked at, no matter what I say or who I say it to.”
  • “Spieth bounced back to win at Colonial the next month, and in 2017 he won his third major at The Open. But he hasn’t slipped into another green jacket since putting one on Willett three years ago, and he realizes the drama of his closing stretch that year remains a frequent talking point with fans and media alike.”
  • “Some guys, they get under pressure and they play worse and it’s because of the pressure. And that’s actually everybody to start out, until you learn to cope with it,” Spieth said. “For me, it wasn’t that at all. It really wasn’t. I remember the way I felt. I just simply ran into a few holes where you can’t miss it right in a row, after nine holes in a row where you can, and it just got the best of me.”
8. Tiger Woods, Gil Hanse to design courses at same resort in Hawaii
Will Gray again…”Woods’ TGR Design company has been named lead architect for the North Course at the new Makaha Valley Resort, while Hanse will be in charge of the South Course. Both announcements were made by Pacific Links International, which has commissioned the project for the 644-acre property.”
  • “According to a media release, Woods’ North Course will be nestled “in the shadows of the Waianae mountain range” and will include views of both the Pacific Ocean and Mt. Ka’ala, an ancient volcano and the highest peak on Oahu. No timetable has been set for the completion of either course.”
9. Masters prep with Frogger
Golf Digest’s Coleman Bentley…”When it comes to the Masters, players are willing do to just about anything to get a leg up on the competition (and the course itself, of course). But in the pursuit of his first green jacket, Justin Thomas isn’t hitting the gym, or the range, or making Patrick Reed voodoo dolls. Instead he’s turned to the ultimate test of hand-eye coordination, one that has foiled 80s college students and George Costanza alike down the decades. That hallowed crucible of reflexes we speak of? A little game called Frogger.”
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2 Comments

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  1. P P

    Apr 4, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    Spieth said. “When the pressure was on that day, I was hitting the ball horribly.”
    Not sure what his understanding of choke is but where i come from that is the exact definition of the word.

  2. Jon

    Apr 4, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Spieth says he didn’t choke? Okay, we’ll just call it a gag reflex.

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Q2Q: Johnny gets a hand from Claude Harmon III

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In this episode of the Q2Q brought to you bu GolfWRX and Cobra Golf, Johnny and performance coach Nick Starchuk travel to West Palm Beach to see Claude Harmon III at his performance center. It’s a Golf IQ reality smackdown with CHIII breaking down the truth that the Arccos system has shown Johnny.
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Morning 9: Lowry leads | MJ on TW | The Tour’s secret cut-making machines

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

April 19, 2019

Good Friday morning on this Good Friday, golf fans.
1. Lowry leads
AP report…”The Irishman admittedly had started the year off on a strong note with a win in Abu Dhabi in the season-opener on the European Tour. But he simply hadn’t been able to build on that momentum – on either side of the Atlantic — in the weeks following his third career win”.
  • “In fact, Lowry hadn’t broken 70 in four stroke-play events on the PGA TOUR since he missed the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am back in February. He was a combined 24 over par in those tournaments and had only made the weekend once.”
  • “On a blustery morning at Harbour Town Golf Links, though, Lowry was back in control — firing a bogey-free 65 that earned him a one-stroke advantage.”
  • “Pretty much my whole game felt good,” Lowry said. “… I haven’t had that feeling in a while. So, it’s kind of nice.”
2. Augusta’d!
The Golf Channel Digital Team…”Beginning on the 10th hole Thursday, Spieth played his opening nine holes in 2 over par, with one double – after hitting his tee shot short, into the water at No. 14 – and eight pars. He recovered on the front side with three birdies compared to one bogey.”
  • “For the day, he hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation but needed 33 putts.”
  • “”I really got Augusta’d out here. What I mean is, I was still putting to the speed of Augusta. I haven’t fully made the transition away from that,” Spieth said after his even-par 71. “And as we are expecting high winds I’m sure the greens will slow down even more to make it fair. I’m really going to need to dial in my speed on the greens. Just tough out there coming off last week to this week, to get yourself to pop it harder than you really want to.””
3. Berger resurgent
Golfweek’s Roxanna Scott…
  • “After taking significant time off late in the year, Daniel Berger has to like what he sees in his game after an opening-round 5-under-par 66 in the RBC Heritage.”
  • “A finger injury forced Berger to take more than four months off after withdrawing from the BMW Championship in September. The 26-year-old Floridian was among a group of five tied for second Thursday, one shot behind leader Shane Lowry. Dustin Johnson, No. 1 in the world rankings, shot 3-under 68 in the afternoon.”
  • “”It’s just been kind of touch and go here,” Berger told reporters after the round at Harbour Town Golf Links. “And finally got a full week of practice where I actually got to play golf every day. That’s just the biggest difference. When you’re going to a golf tournament and you’ve played one round of golf in two weeks, you don’t feel very good. To be able to put the work in and be rewarded it makes me feel like I’m ready to go when I get out here.”
4. Meanwhile, in Hawaii…
AP Report…”Eun-Hee Ji rebounded from a bogey on the par-4 18th with a pitch-in eagle on the par-5 first and shot a 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead over Nelly Korda on Thursday in the Lotte Championship.”
“Ji had a 15-under 129 total to break the tournament 36-hole record by five strokes.”
5. MJ on TW
Golf Channel’s Will Gray rounds up a few MJ quotes from The Athletic and expands…
  • “I took two years off to play baseball, but nothing like that,” Jordan told The Athletic. “I’m pretty sure he questioned himself, whether he could get it back, and he had to put a lot of work in. But he took it head-on. He had to change his game; he had to change his perspective a little bit. To me, it was the greatest comeback I’ve ever seen.”
  • “I never thought he’d get back physically,” Jordan said. “He didn’t think he’d get back physically. But he did it. No one expected him to be back the way he is now. He’s probably the only person who believed he could get back. To me, that’s a major accomplishment. To me, it’s unbelievable. Mentally, you always think you can. But you can’t answer to what your body has to deal with.”
6. USWO entries
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”Rolex world No. 1 Jin Young Ko and defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn topped the list of players qualified for this year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Wednesday’s close of entries.”
  • “Forty-seven of the top 50 players in this week’s world rankings are qualified for the event, scheduled May 30-June 2 at the Country Club of Charleston (S.C.). (Click here for the full exempt field)”
  • “Sectional qualifying begins later this month.”
7. Secret cut-making wizards
Shane Ryan, in the course of Tiger’s Masters triumph, got to thinking about the tour’s cut-making maestros, reaching out to Mark Broadie for data…
“Broadie disappeared into his secret temple of statistics (I imagine it looks like the House of the Undying in Game of Thrones), and came out bearing a bounty of figures. For the last two seasons, beginning in the fall of 2017, Thomas and Johnson were indeed the leaders, with Thomas in front by percentage points. But there were a couple surprises in the top ten”
Justin Thomas – 19/20 – 5.0% missed cut rate
Dustin Johnson – 17/18 – 5.6%
Tommy Fleetwood – 16/17 – 5.9%
Bryson DeChambeau – 24/26 – 7.7%
Hideki Matsuyama – 18/20 – 10.0%
Tiger Woods – 17/19 – 10.5%
Emiliano Grillo – 25/28 – 10.7%
T-8. Justin Rose 16/18 – 11.1%
T-8. Rafa Cabrera-Bello 16/18 – 11.1%
Rickie Fowler – 21/24 – 12.5%
“Grillo is the one of that group you might not expect, and there’s a couple more in the next 10, from An to Keegan Bradley to Charles Howell III. The inspiration for this post, Tony Finau, clocked in at 12th.”
8. Talking to a D, C & P finalist
Our Brendon Elliott spoke to Briel Royce, a finalist in the Drive, Chip and Putt.
So how cool was it driving Down Magnolia Lane?
  • Briel: “Driving down Magnolia Lane was awesome.  Usually, you do not get to experience the scenic ride unless you are a tour player or a member. Everyone got extremely quiet upon entry. There were tons of security along our slow ride. Seeing the beautiful trees and the Masters Flag at Founder’s Circle in the distance was surreal. Having earned the right and opportunity to drive down this prestigious lane was breathtaking. I would love to do it again someday.”
  • What was the coolest part of your time at Drive, Chip and Putt at Augusta National?
  • Briel: “Everything was cool about the DCP. Not too often do you see people taking walks in the morning with green jackets on. We were not treated like kids. We were treated like tour players, like we were members at Augusta. The icing on the cake was when they took us to the practice green and we were putting alongside Zach Johnson and Charl Schwartzel. Everyone was confused when we first got there because we weren’t certain we should be putting on the same green around the pros. Again, we were treated like we were tour players. Where else would I be able to do this? Nowhere other than DCP at Augusta. One of my favorite reflections is having Bubba Watson watch us chip and congratulating each of us for our efforts. He did not need to do that. He took time out of practicing for a very important week in his career to support the DCP players. I think his actions show what the game of golf is about: the sportsmanship, the camaraderie, and support.”
9. Trophy gallery
Here’s something interesting and easily digestible: a look at all the trophies handed out on the PGA Tour this season. Some are…interesting…
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Michael Jordan describes Tiger Woods’ comeback as the greatest he’s ever seen

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Former NBA star Michael Jordan is no stranger to legendary comebacks, but according to the six-time NBA champion, there has been no greater comeback in the history of sport than that of Tiger Woods.

Jordan, who was speaking to The Athletic, talked about the monumental journey which Woods, who Jordan is a close friend of, traveled to reach this point, of which perseverance and self-belief played a significant role.

“I took two years off to play baseball, but nothing like that. I’m pretty sure he questioned himself, whether he could get it back, and he had to put a lot of work in. But he took it head-on. He had to change his game; he had to change his perspective a little bit. To me, it was the greatest comeback I’ve ever seen.”

Three years ago, Jordan told ESPN that he thought Woods’ best days were behind him,  with the golfer’s ailing back contributing to much of that belief. Mentally, Jordan never doubted the 81-time PGA Tour winner, but the basketball legend admitted his surprise at his friend overcoming his chronic back issues.

“I never thought he’d get back physically. He didn’t think he’d get back physically. But he did it. No one expected him to be back the way he is now. He’s probably the only person who believed he could get back. To me, that’s a major accomplishment. To me, it’s unbelievable. Mentally, you always think you can. But you can’t answer to what your body has to deal with.”

As for what’s next for Woods, Jordan believes the sky is the limit, firing this warning to the 43-year-old’s rivals.

“They got problems. His confidence is only going to build from here. The unknown is the biggest thing. He’s won a Tour event, he’s won the Masters, he’s won a major.”

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