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Morning 9: Are Augusta’s greens really that tough? | The house ANGC couldn’t buy

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

April 9, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Are Augusta’s greens really that tough?

The strokes gained guru, Mark Broadie, wrote a piece on that subject for Golf.com…
  • “Let’s start with the greens. With Augusta’s fast, undulating putting complexes, you might suspect that players miss more six-footers here than on a typical PGA Tour course, but you’ll be surprised to learn that they actually sink two percent more at Augusta. (Yes, that’s a lot!) Why? ANGC’s greens are so expertly manicured that putts simply roll truer-so true, in fact, that players sink more putts inside of 10 feet at Augusta than anywhere else!”
  • “The main difficulty is keeping missed putts close enough to the hole to avoid three-putting. Over the past four years, Augusta has the highest three-putt rate of any Tour stop. Players three-putt 5.4 percent of Augusta National’s greens, compared to the Tour average rate of 3 percent. From any distance, you’ll see about 80 percent more three-putts at Augusta.”
Full piece, including a discussion of ANGC as a “second-shot golf course”
2. The ignition switch
Golf Digest’s Mike Stachura writes that not only does the Masters mark the beginning of the most significant portion of the golf calendar, but the first major of the year also represents the pressing of the pedal in retail as well.
  • “While the Masters brings an estimated $120 million to the Augusta metro area, its numbers for the golf business as a whole are less well-defined. But on an individual golf product basis the tournament can be transformational. Jack Nicklaus’ win in 1986 with an oversized MacGregor Response putter led to a remarkable sales run that continued for years. Fred Couples literally changed the shoe business when he debuted the spikeless Ecco Hybrid at the Masters in 2010. And just a couple of years ago when both Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose battled into a playoff, each sporting versions of TaylorMade’s Spider Tour, it helped cement that putter as the No. 1-selling model in the industry.”
  • “David Abeles, TaylorMade president and CEO, calls the first major “the most connected emotionally in our game and possibly the world of sports, maybe up with the Olympics.” Incoming call rates for his company “accelerate literally by 50 percent the day after the Masters.”
3. Freddie doesn’t plan to stop teeing it up any time soon
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Following a practice round on Monday with Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas, Couples was asked his thoughts on his Masters longevity.”
  • “I plan on playing a few more, but if it keeps playing this long we’ll see,” Couples, 59, said.
  • “Despite the relative length of Augusta National, it seems unlikely Couples would be close to the end of his playing career at Augusta National. He’s missed the cut just once (2015) in his last eight starts and has finished inside the top 20 six times during that span, including his tie for 18th in 2017.”
4. Requisite Tiger update
ESPN’s Bob Harig begins his report on Tiger Woods’ preparations for the pursuit of major number 15 as follows..
  • “Tiger Woods’ preparation for the Masters has already included two nine-hole tours of the course as well as a full practice round last week in which he shot 65 at Augusta National.”
  • “Woods, 43, a four-time tournament winner, was off the course Monday prior to 11 a.m. before going to the practice area. He played the back nine at with Fred Couples and Justin Thomas. He had arrived late Sunday afternoon and went straight to the course with just a putter and a wedge, spending some three hours on the front nine, hitting shots from 75 yards and in and working on his short game.”
5. Reactions to modifications to No. 5
David Westin for the Augusta Chronicle…”With the changes, the fifth hole, a par-4 that played as the sixth-toughest hole in the 2018 Masters with a 4.165 stroke average, has been lengthened by 40 yards. Now a robust 495 yards, it is the longest par-4 on the first nine and is tied for the second-longest on the course (No. 11 is 505 yards and No. 10 is also 495).”
  • “I can’t believe No. 5,” said two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw, who is retired from the tournament but played the course Sunday. “Wow. That tee is so far back there. But it looks like it’s been there forever. That is a monster hole.”
  • Jordan Spieth said this…”It’s different. It makes it a little bit tougher,” he said. “You make four pars there, you beat the field by two strokes.”
6. Golf remains a story of Tiger and his supporting cast
A bold take from Vincent Hogan at the Irish Independent…
  • In his discussion of Woods, Hogan writes…”Tiger is still golf’s meal ticket. The guy who drew TV millions to the sport, making everybody around him rich, the one who stopped people seeing the game as middle-aged, stuffy.”
  • “The qualities that cloud him are irrelevant to those who stand outside the ropes, shouting hopeful banalities to a man who, at best, might meet such adoration with a barely perceptible touch of his cap.”
  • “Hard to believe it’s 22 years since Woods won his first Green Jacket here with 12 shots to spare while sharing a house with several college friends, logging hours together playing the video game ‘Mortal Kombat’.”
7. First Masters since 1950 without Jenkins
From Bill Fields: A meditation on the absence of His Ownself and Jenkins history at Augusta National…
  • A morsel…”Chronicling Hogan’s 1951 victory would be the first of 231 major-championship assignments for Jenkins – he also spectated at the 1941 U.S. Open as a 12-year-old – as he covered 62 U.S. Opens, 56 PGA Championships and 45 Open Championships in addition to his extensive Masters reportage.”
  • “Jenkins, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012, died March 7 at the age of 90. Mentally sharp but physically frail – in recent years the Club gave him a preferred parking spot to spare him a long walk into the Press Building – he had confided to friends last spring that it would be his last visit to one of his favorite spots.
  • “He loved everything about the place,” said Golf Digest executive editor Mike O’Malley, a colleague and friend of Jenkins’ since 1996. “He was always genuinely excited about what would happen every year. He couldn’t wait to get to Augusta.”
8. The house Augusta National can’t buy
The club’s penchant for annexation (more accurately, buyouts) is well known. Elizabeth and Herman Thacker won’t sell.
  • Sam Farmer at the LA Times…”They keep their modest home tidy and appealing, but they have the world’s most famous neighbor. Theirs is the lone house next to Augusta National, seeing as the golf club spent a reported $40 million in recent years buying up their old neighborhood for more Masters parking. Their house, at 1112 Stanley Drive and just around the corner from Gate 6-A, is the sole survivor.”
  • “The place is close to the course but isn’t in danger of being pelted by golf balls. If John Daly were to use the No. 1 green as a tee box and continue hitting in the direction of that hole, he might be able to reach the Thackers’ backyard.”
  • “The elderly Thackers, who built their three-bedroom brick home in 1959, turned down offers from the club to sell it, instead choosing to stay where they put down roots six decades ago and raised a son and daughter. Married 63 years, the Thackers tend to finish each other’s sentences.”
9. The 22 players who can win the Masters
GolfWRX’s resident statistician did his annual work of whittling down the Masters field to the players who he believes (rightfully, history would suggest) can actually win the tournament.
A taste of his method...”A part of the game that is just as critical as distance is the trajectory height a player can create. Last year, I filtered out four players for hitting the ball too low. Out of those four players, the best finish was Russell Henley at T15th. I use a combination of Max Height, Carry Distance and Launch Angle to determine if the following players hit the ball too low to win at Augusta.”
 
Charl Schwartzel
Charles Howell III
Jimmy Walker
Martin Kaymer
Paul Casey
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Si-Woo Kim

 

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  1. Underachiever

    Apr 9, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    Lettttsss Go! #MastersWeek

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Morning 9: Match 3 details announced | The New York Yankee who nearly won the Masters | Good news for golf card collectors

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By Ben Alberstadt
October 20, 2020 
 
Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.

 

1. The Match 3 details announced

PGATour.com staff report…“Turner Sports will present Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Change, a premier golf event with the World Golf Hall of Famer and crossover legends competing – Phil Mickelson, Charles Barkley, Stephen Curry and Peyton Manning. TNT will exclusively televise the event, to be held Friday, Nov. 27, at 3 p.m. ET at Stone Canyon Golf Club in Oro Valley, Ariz. Bleacher Report will also provide exclusive live content leading up to and during the event on the B/R app.”
  • “Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Change will uniquely contribute toward and highlight diversity, equality and inclusion through donations to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), while raising awareness and spotlighting opportunities for diversity and equality in sports. All four players have previously supported diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout their careers, which has led to them teaming up for this event. Additional information on these elements, among others, will be announced at a later date.”

2. DJ out of ZOZO
ESPN’s Bob Harig…“Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from this week’s Zozo Championship at Sherwood after missing last week’s CJ Cup due to a positive COVID-19 test.”
  • “Johnson, the No. 1-ranked player in the world, was eligible to return Thursday because he would have been 10 days past the onset of symptoms.”
  • “Unfortunately, Dustin just made the decision to withdraw from Zozo,” said David Winkle, Johnson’s agent, in a text “While he is feeling much better, he is still a bit low on energy and feels it would be best to wait and resume his schedule in Houston. “
3. Hero World Challenge canceled
PGATour.com staff report…“Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and associated travel restrictions, Tiger Woods’ TGR Foundation announced on social channels today the cancellation of this season’s Hero World Challenge at Albany, Bahamas.”
  • “The unofficial 18-player event was to have taken place Dec. 3-6.”
  • …”Here is the statement…Given the current global restrictions and ongoing developments resulting from COVID-19, the 2020 Hero World Challenge will not be played this year. This decision was made with the health and well-being of all tournament constituents and the Albany community in mind. We look forward to hosting 18 of the top players in the world and welcoming tournament guests to Albany, Bahamas next year.”
4. Solheim Cup: 2023 event to take place in mid-September in Spain
BBC Sport report…“The 2023 Solheim Cup in Spain will take place from 18-24 September.”
  • “Andalucia’s Finca Cortesin was already confirmed as host of the event – the first time Spain has staged the match between Europe and the United States.”
  • “Spain will be the sixth European nation to host the biggest team event in women’s golf.”

Full piece. 

GolfWRX Recommends 
 
We think a quarterly journal is the best complement to a website that publishes dozens of articles daily. And while that might not make sense to you now, it certainly will once you subscribe to The Golfer’s Journal and dive into some of the best golf writing and photography around. If you haven’t subscribed, do.
 
GolfWRX may earn a commission on sales of “GolfWRX Recommends” products.
5. Good news for golf card collectors
Adam Woodard for Golfweek…”Come next spring, a new set of trading cards will be available for golf fans thanks to Upper Deck. The sports and entertainment collectibles company announced a new set of cards that will feature golf’s current stars like Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Matthew Wolff, Danielle Kang and Lexi Thompson alongside legends like Arnold Palmer and Annika Sorenstam.”
  • “Collectors have been begging us to bring golf cards back for years,” said Upper Deck’s Sports Brand Manager, Paul Zickler”
  • ….”The release will be Upper Deck’s first golf cards since 2014 and feature a 50-card base set, a 30-card rookie set, a multi-major winners subset and rare signed memorabilia cards.”
6. Barkley guarantees victory in “Match”
We’ll see, Chuck…
Adam Schupak for Golfweek…“The competition format will be modified alternate-shot match play with five-time major winner Mickelson teaming with Barkley, a Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer, in facing Curry, a three-time NBA Champion and near scratch golfer, and two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning, who played a pivotal role in his team winning the last edition of Capital One’s The Match.”
  • “I’m excited to return for the third edition of Capital One’s The Match and get out on the course with these three legendary athletes,” Mickelson said. “While we may need a handicap for Chuck, I’m looking forward to playing with Peyton and Stephen and to help raise money for another important cause. It’s also going to give fans and viewers an up-close look at Stone Canyon Golf Club, a place that I’m extremely proud of and excited to show how special it is.”
  • …”Barkley added: “Capital One’s The Match has been a lot of fun to be a part of over the past few years and I’m excited to finally show off my skills on the course. Phil and I got this, I GUARR-AAAN-TEEEE!!!”
7. The New York Yankee who nearly won the Masters 
Ashamed to say this is first I’ve heard of Sammy Byrd. Excellent stuff from John Fischer for the Morning Read…”it earned him much more than that: an invitation to play in the 1940 Masters. The Masters, which debuted in 1934, originally was known as the Augusta National Invitation Tournament, and the name change, beginning in 1939 and over club co-founder Jones’ initial objection, didn’t alter the “invitation” aspect. All players were invited by Jones to participate. There were no automatic entries based on prize money or other measurements of standing in the golf world.”
  • “It didn’t hurt that Byrd had played golf with Jones in 1933 and impressed him with his ball-striking ability, nor did it hurt that Byrd’s boss, Dudley, was the head professional at Augusta National Golf Club during the winter. In his first Masters, Byrd finished a respectable 14th, but the best was yet to come.”
  • “The next year, Byrd finished third at the Masters with a score of 3-under 285, behind Craig Wood’s winning 280 and runner-up Byron Nelson’s 283. Byrd finished one stroke ahead of Ben Hogan and four ahead of Sam Snead. Byrd was right in the mix of a major golf tournament.”
  • “In 1942, Byrd started the Masters with back-to-back rounds of 68, putting him one stroke behind the leader, Nelson. Byrd’s last two rounds of 75 and 74 put him at 285 and in fourth place, behind Nelson, the winner in a playoff with Hogan, and third-place Paul Runyan.”
8. How Kokrak got it done
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski…“For the first time in his career, Kokrak led the field in stroke gained/putting, gaining 2.573 strokes on the field. He made a little more than 401 feet of putts. A putter switch, to a club with a longer, stiffer shaft, that he made late last season has made a huge difference for a guy who ranked 151st in strokes gained/putting in the just completed campaign.”
  • “Experience on the tricky greens didn’t hurt. And reliance on his caddie, former tour player David Robinson, to help read those greens was another ace in the hole, so to speak.”
  • “Jason Kokrak praised his caddie, former tour pro David Robinson, for his assistance throughout Sunday’s closing 64.”
  • “I would characterize it more D-Rob’s work,” Kokrak said, magnanimously. “I mean, he reads them pretty dang good. I did a good job of hitting the spots where we were trying to putt it to. Very happy with how I’ve been putting and kind of paying off with all the work I’ve been putting in.”

 

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Tour Rundown: Sunday charge times three

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65…64…63. Those are the scores that your winners posted on Sunday this week. That other Basque golfer, Adrian Otaegui, got things rolling at the Scottish Championship, at those other St. Andrews courses, besting Matt Wallace by 4 with his 63. Next came Phil Mickelson in Virginia, where his 65 overtook that other lefty, Mike Weir, by three. Finally, and perhaps most satisfying, Jason Kokrak claimed his first PGA Tour title with a resounding 64, to best Xander Schauffele by a pair.

CJ Cup to Kokrak

With no offense meant to the winner, we ALL tuned in to see Shadow Creek. The mythical Las Vegas club, designed by Tom Fazio in the 1990s, carries a top-shelf sticker price and is not accessible by all. SC lived up to its billing…is Pine Valley next? Now, on to Kokrak. The North Bay, Ontario native had established himself on tour as a reliable money winner, but had not ever lofted a trophy on Sunday. A resident now of balmy Cleveland, Kokrak rode a four-birdie stretch (holes 5-8) to the lead, then withstood a charge by the X-Man, Xander Schauffele. In a tie with Kokrak, Schauffele drove left on the 612-yard par 5, and could but chunk his next a mere 85 yards, still in the rough.

Avoiding the fairway at all costs, Schauffele bombed his third shot into the right-side thick stuff, then failed to get up and down for par. Buoyed by his newfound, one-stroke advantage, Kokrak played error-free golf the rest of the way, then birdied the last for the margin of two strokes and his first tour title.

Otaegui is week’s low Basque with Scottish Championship win

Most weeks, unless he takes a rest, Jon Rahm Rodriguez is a shoo-in for low euskalduna. Rahm tied for 17th at the CJ Cup, opening the door to Otaegui for the coveted designation. The native of San Sebastian (Donostia) did not disappoint. Five birdies on the outward nine gave Otaegui the advantage over 54 hole leader Matt Wallace, who struggled with two birdies and two bogies on the front. Bogey at the tenth slowed the Spaniard, albeit momentarily. He recaptured his mojo with another five birdies from 11 through 18, finishing on -23, four clear of the runner-up, Wallace. The title was Otaegui’s third on the European Tour, and first since 2018.

Phil is two-for-two on the Tour Champions

Some say you need to know when to fold’em. Others say, you need to know when to say farewell. Phil Mickelson seems to know that now is a good time to bid adieu to the regular tour, although who can really phigure out Phil? On Sunday, Mickelson went lefty-vs.-lefty with that other, portside Masters champion, Mike Weir. It was the California vs. the Canadian, and sadly, it was one-sided. Mickelson made five birdies in his first eight holes, then survived a bellyflop bogey at the reachable, par-five ninth. Unfazed, the five-time major winner posted four additional birdies over the stretch run, reaching -17 on the week.

Weir had started quickly on in rounds one and two, both of which were played on Saturday (after a Friday rain-out.) Sunday was a different story. A passel of pars, and just one birdie, brought him to the ninth even on the day, pharther behind Phil. Weir’s fortunes on the inward half were slightly improved, and he closed at one-under on the day, one clear of Paul Goydos for solo second.

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GolfWRX Classifieds (10/19/20): Olson Putter, TaylorMade M4 Fairway, Sweetens Cover

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member osubuckeyes690 – Olson Mfg putter

Clean as clean can be. Milled, weld neck beautiful Olson putter—quality doesn’t come cheap, but this is still a pretty nice deal.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Olson Putter 

Member HeathBar – Tour Issue M4 3-wood

In a world of adjustability, sometimes it’s nice to know you’ve got things locked. This is a great condition 3-wood just begging for a new home and the opportunity to hit some more par 5’s in two.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: M4 3-wood

Member Aprovenz – Sweetens Cove driver cover

The only thing cooler than Sweeten’s Cove is Sweeten’s Cove merch, and this cover will keep you looking fresh and your big stick protected.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Sweeten’s Cove cover

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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