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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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Tour Rundown

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Thank goodness for the Women’s PGA! Instead of post-Men’s US Open doldrums, we had a return to wondrous Hazeltine (sorry, Dave Hill) for yet another major event, the Women’s PGA championship. This one came down to the finish tape; more on it later. Two shortish hitters in a long-ball world captured other events, while a home-town hero grabbed a third. And, as I finish typing this, they’re finishing up in Wichita, thanks to a rain delay. It’s on to another episode of Tour Rundown. Grab your snacks and a comfy chair, and enjoy the show

Women’s PGA to not-so-green Green at Hazeltine (yes, they rhyme!)

Am I the only one who noticed that each of Hannah Green’s final 3 drives just missed a divot hole, despite finding the nuclear center of each fairway? Golf, she is not fair. Fortunately for the young Aussie, the ball spun her way this day. Green led this PGA Championship from beginning to end. She endured the questions of everyone from fans to media, to possibly herself. As playing partners Ariya Jutanugarn and Lizette Salas failed to mount a viable challenge, Green’s attention turned to others on the move. Sung Hyun Park made a late run at holding onto the title she won last year, at Kemper Lakes. Park played a marvelous tune of 68, marred by a solitary off-key note, a bogey at the 12th. The defender ultimately finished one agonizing stroke behind the winner. Mel Reid also played marvelously. With 66 on the day, thanks to 8 birdies and 2 bogeys, she moved all the way to a tie for 3rd spot. It was Green who stood the tallest, who made the putts, especially that nervy 5-feet job on the final green. She was not perfect on day four, with birdies matching bogeys at the count of three. When things looked like they might go south, after consecutive bogeys at 11 and 12, Green corrected her path. Her first LPGA tour win, her first major title, a fine way to say Hello to the world.

Travelers Championship is Reavie’s 2nd tour triumph in a decade

Chez Reavie put on a Saturday show, blowing past the leader and everyone else, with a back-nine 28. He then had a front-row seat as hometown hero Keegan Bradley tried to put the same move on him. Although Reavie wasn’t making mistakes, Bradley was making every putt in site. With six birdies on the day, the gap had narrowed to one shot as the two stood on the 17th tee. An unpredictable dance partner, with rough and sand left, and massive water right, it’s not for the faint of heart. Bradley blinked, with a drive into the sand. If there’s one thing Reavie does, it’s hit fairways with maniacal accuracy and consistency. He did not disappoint, and followed up the tee ball with a dagger to the frontish hole location. His birdie, combined with Bradley’s double bogey, turned the tide in nearly an instant, making the walk up 18 a tranquil affair. Reavie tapped in for -17 and a 4-shot win over Bradley and 36-hole leader Zack Sucher. 11 years after winning the Canadian Open, Reavie hoisted victor’s silver for a 2nd, satisfying time.

BMW International Open~Forza Italia! Pavan secures 2nd Euro Title

If there was a tournament ever, whose purpose was to encourage caution over calamity, this was it. Long-hitting golfers like Matthew Fitzpatrick, Matt Wallace, and Mathias Schwab chose daring lines, fired, and fell back toward calamity. In stark contrast, Italy’s Andrea Pavan eschewed the risky play, time and again. Electing to lay short of hazards, Pavan holed a putt of abbreviated length on the 2nd playoff hole. This birdie allowed him to edge past Fitzpatrick, with whom he tied in regulation play at -15, and collect his 2nd European Tour title.

The day began brightly for England. Jordan Smith held the 3rd-round lead, but he would lose momentum early. Then came Fitzpatrick, who found 15-under with a 72nd-hole birdie. Next to try for glory was Wallace, who hit the worst drive ever under the siren’s pressure, going farther left than Marx, ending in watery demise. Pavan had finished 40 minutes prior to the final grouping, and he went about his business, warming up, then executing to near-perfection in the playoff. Indeed, the long hitters take fans to places they will never know, but the crafty archers show all of us the proper manner and method.

Wichita Open continues into 5th day

We weren’t kidding in the opening paragraph. First came the rains, then came the 5-way tie for top spot. Erik Compton, the overnight leader, birdied the 18th to join Kevin Dougherty, Henrik Norlander, Bryan Bigley and Sebastian Cappelen at 15-under par. The quintet arrived there on different trains, but there they were, joined together for an evening playoff. Cappelen went lowest, with 65 on Sunday. Compton signed for a 3rd-consecutive 67, while the other 3 golfers tacked 66s on the leaderboard. With time for a single playoff hole, organizers were certainly hoping for a walk-off ace, to settle the matter. They didn’t get that result, but birdies from Norlander and Bigley sent 60% of the fivesome home. As the ink dries on this web report, Norlander and Bigley prepare to play the 4th hole for all the cookies. Fortunately for all, the waters have receded.

American Family title goes to Madison’s finest

Madison folks would have been happy with a winner from Edgerton, but they absolutely adore a winner from Madison. In the most glorious example of how home-state and home-town golf people make an event happen, the Wisconsin Love Fest American Family went overtime on Sunday. 2 of the 3 participants were Badger state representatives. Steve Stricker had a wee putt to win in regulation, but missed. He bowed out with bogey on the first extra hole. Retief Goosen (not from Wisconsin) had a wee putt to win on the event’s final hole, too, but missed. He went two holes longer than Stricker, but ultimately succumbed to the intimidation of the goateed warrior, Jerry Kelly. With a barbaric yawp the likes of which we won’t hear soon, if ever, Kelly drained a birdie putt on the driveable 15th hole, and collected his 4th Champions Tour title. Kelly’s yawp was guttural, unexpected, jolting. It was such an event that television played it over and over, from different angles. The win propelled Kelly to 2nd spot on the season-long points list, but more importantly, it earned him a hug from mom when the dust had settled.

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Tearful Michelle Wie suggests career may be coming to an end after opening round of 84 at Women’s PGA Championship

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Various ailments to Michelle Wie’s right hand and wrist has forced the 29-year-old out of action for most of 2019, and after posting a round of 12-over-par in the opening round of this week’s Women’s KPMG PGA Championship, Wie suggested that her days on Tour may be coming to an end.

Wie, who has arthritis in both wrists and underwent surgery on her right wrist back in November, made six bogeys, two double-bogeys and a quadruple-bogey on her way to an opening 84. After her round, an emotional Wie broke down in tears after stating

“I’m not entirely sure how much more I have left in me. So even on the bad days, I’m just like trying to take time to enjoy it. But it’s tough, I just love being out here.”

The 29-year-old began her tournament on the back nine, and according to GolfWeek’s Beth Ann Nichols, began applying an ice pack to her wrist as early as the 11th hole.

Wie is set to tee off for her second round on Friday 2.44 PM CT.

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Morning 9: LPGA players to add to Hazeltine’s history | Web.com Tour no more | Mickelson’s U.S. Open dream dead?

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

June 20, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1 Adding to Hazeltine’s history
Doug Ferguson at the AP….”This is where Rich Beem, a former car stereo salesman, held off a charge by Tiger Woods in the 2002 PGA Championship. It’s where Y.E. Yang became the only player to come from behind and beat Woods in the final round of a major at the 2009 PGA Championship.”
  • “It’s where the Americans actually won a Ryder Cup in 2016.”
  • “Hazeltine also is an example of how much the second-oldest major in women’s golf has risen in stature since the LPGA Tour and PGA of America became partners to stage what is now the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.”
  • “The magnitude of this event has gone up so high, and it’s neck and neck with the USGA and U.S. Open,” said Danielle Kang, who won the Women’s PGA two years ago at Olympia Fields, the course south of Chicago where Walter Hagen and Jim Furyk won majors. “It’s just when you get here and people talk so much about the golf course. ‘Oh, you’re going to play Hazeltine.’ They talk it up so much.”

Full piece.

2. Caddie arrested on charges of human trafficking, exploitation of a child
Bizarre, awful stuff, here. As reported by Joel Beall at Golf Digest…
  • “Evan H. Vollerthum, a caddie on the Korn Ferry Tour, was arrested Monday for human trafficking and attempting to sexually exploit a child.”
  • “Vollerthum was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations in Topeka, Kansas, according to an ICE news release. Topeka is about two hours away from this week’s Wichita Open.”
  • “Shawnee County Jail (Kansas) records state Vollerthum is being held in connection with one count of aggravated human trafficking involving hiring a child 14 or older to engage in sexual acts, and attempted commercial exploitation of a child involving hiring a person under 18 for a sex act.”
3. Korn Ferry Tour
Via the Golf Channel Digital team…”As of Wednesday, the Web.com Tour will now be known as the Korn Ferry Tour, after inking a 10-year deal through 2028.”
“Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm, also becomes a PGA Tour’s official marketing partner and will assume sponsorship of the developmental circuit’s Tour Championship, the third and final event of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.”
4. Mickelson: I’m out of U.S. Open chances
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…
  • “….He made a run up the leaderboard Friday and made the cut for a ho-hum T-52 finish. He also had nothing but praise for the USGA’s setup after ripping the organization’s past failures in the days and weeks leading up.”
  • “It was nice to see cooler heads prevail on both sides throughout the week, but it doesn’t change the fact that the U.S. Open remains Mickelson’s white whale. And he’s starting to get more and more realistic about his Career Grand Slam chances at age 49.”
  • “I’m appreciative of the opportunity, even though I didn’t play my best and didn’t win,” Mickelson said. “I really don’t have many more chances. Probably have to come to the realization that I’m not going to win the U.S. Open, but I’m not going to stop trying. I’ll keep trying. You never know.”
5. Hovland on being a Ping man
Andrew Tursky at PGATour.com went deep with Viktor Hovland on his new Ping weaponry (photo above is Tursky’s)
A few of his specs and remarks
Driver: Ping G410 LST (draw setting, 9 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS 6.5-flex 62 grams
  • Hovland says: “I just put this in the bag on Thursday morning of the U.S. Open. I drove it really nice and it was a big part of my success last week… I’ve been messing around with the different kind of heads and I felt like this was a great fit for me. I was struggling with a bigger left-to-right curve. I put it on draw [setting] and it keeps it neutralized a bit. I was able to hit a lot of fairways with it at the U.S. Open.”
3-wood: Ping G410 LST (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.5TX 80 grams
  • Hovland says: “I really like [the way it] sits down because it looks like it has a lot of loft and it sits real tight to the ground, so for me it’s real easy to launch. I’m a guy who hits a lot of drivers off the tee, I don’t really like to hit a lot of 3 woods [off the tee]. So for me it’s key to have something I can launch up in the air and get it to stop on the greens, [such as going for] par 5’s in two. That’s been a great help for me.”

Full piece.

6. The role of restoration in Gary Woodland’s 17th-hole chip
An interesting note from Geoff Shackelford…
  • “The neck of the “hourglass” green created by Egan had been reduced to a sliver, the green unpinnable anywhere near the surrounds. The square footage restoration estimate was over 1000 square feet and while the green was still not as large as the original, the remodel made the 17th was made functional again.”
  • “But more important than the reclamation of architectural roots or reminding us of this wonderfully bizarre vision by Egan, the expansion gave Gary Woodland the opportunity to hit a shot for the ages, requiring him to clip the ball and land in a very small area and join Pebble Beach’s other 17th hole classic moments by Nicklaus and Watson.”
  • “The shot reminds how important golf course design is to giving us golf-watching thrills, and the vitality of caring for architectural gems.”
7. What it’s like without tour status
...rough…
Nick Menta focuses through the lens of Chip McDaniel…
  • “I saw [Roberto Diaz] in the locker room today,” McDaniel said Wednesday at the Travelers Championship. “He’s like, ‘What’s up, Mr. Monday?’
  • “I already have a nickname out here, which is pretty cool.”
  • On Thursday, McDaniel will make his sixth PGA Tour start this season and his second in as many weeks.
  • The 23-year-old out of the University of Kentucky went through local and sectional qualifying to make it to Pebble Beach, where he made the cut on the number and finished 78th in his U.S. Open debut.
  • “Then I had to hop on a red-eye and get back to the real world and play in a Monday qualifier,” he said.
8. Getting good at golf without a golf course
Golf Digest’s Keely Levins offers the example of Sung Hyun Park, who only visited an actual golf course about once per year early in her golfing development…
  • “…In her first few years playing golf, she barely set foot on the golf course.”
  • “I first started playing when I was nine years old, and I only practiced indoors,” Park said through a translator in her pre-tournament press conference at the KPMG. “It was like a three-meter distance, and I used to hit my shots over there. And playing like that for three years, I probably went on the golf course around four or five times only, which probably means like once a year. And so I always looked forward to going out on to the course and to play.”
  • “If you’re someone who loves golf, but don’t have easy access to a course, there’s hope for you. Park is proof that you can get good-sometimes really, really, good-even if you can’t get on-course as much as you’d like.”
 
9. Why does the USGA now care about player complaints?
Good point from Alan Shipnuck in his weekly mailbag.
  • Whining players > non-whining players during the U.S. Open? -@Nolanddad
  • “Oh, hell yes. Going back decades, the soundtrack to every U.S. Open was the plaintive wailing of the players. That’s how we knew it was our national championship. “Fair” is often codeword for too easy, so I knew we were in trouble when the players universally employed that word to praise the Pebble setup. I pray that future Opens will feature the appropriate amount of kvetching.”

 

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