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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: Improving golf coverage | Oral history of TW’s “best shot” | Nichols: Charity matches were great…but why no women?

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1. Match-inspired innovations for improving golf coverage
Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan with a few thoughts…Mid-round interviews…There’s no really good reason beyond mild annoyance to the players that this couldn’t work, even in the current COVID-19 environment, provided that safe social distancing is practiced. In the major team sports, coaches are obliged to give interviews, and players will occasionally speak at halftime or between periods. There are no “coaches” in that same sense in golf, but the game happens at a slower pace, and a 60-second walking interview between holes is not too much to ask. I don’t think there’s a reasonable argument that it’s overly disruptive, especially if planned in advance.”
  • …”Mic’d up players and caddies…In exhibitions past, we’ve witnessed players with live microphones, but the purpose behind it is dreaded “banter,” which typically comes across as hollow, forced and not very funny. But if players and caddies wore mics during a round, producers could find riveting audio that captures natural conversation or impromptu strategy sessions. Phil serving as a mentor for Tom Brady was riveting and hopefully stokes our appetite for similar mid-round insight…”
2. An oral history of Tiger’s “best shot” 
Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…(This is just the introduction to a fantastic piece that talks to Bob Weeks of TSN and Steve Williams, among others!)…”Had it slipped between Tiger Woods’ 6-iron and golf ball, one rogue grain could have sunk his hopes of winning the RBC Canadian Open in 2000, becoming the first since Lee Trevino in 1971 to win golf’s Triple Crown – the U.S., British, and Canadian Opens in the same year.”
  • “So was it the ultra-fine margin? The stakes? The absurdly improbable physics of the shot itself?”
  • “Yes. Yes. And yes. All of these things compelled Scott Verplank, among others, to call it “the greatest shot I’ve ever seen in my life,” Woods’ 218-yard masterstroke from the wet sand at the par-5 18th at Glen Abbey. Woods’ caddie Steve Williams would return to the bunker once the commotion had died down, still struggling to get his head around what he’d seen. Others have made the same pilgrimage and tried to visualize what Woods had, tried to feel what Woods felt, for this was magic.”
3. Thrive? Struggle? Survive? 
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak contemplates what’s ahead for the golf industry…”These are strange times living through a global pandemic. Suddenly, golf courses are packed in a way the industry hasn’t experienced since Tiger Woods was revolutionizing the game in the late 1990s and former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem was predicting 50 million golfers by 2020.”
  • “Well, that didn’t happen, but golf has been given this new-found seal of approval highlighting its healthy aspects and its ability to provide safe recreation. As courses across the country re-open there is pent up demand among golfers to get out and play. Tee sheets are mostly filled and former golfers and those trying out the sport for the first time are emerging out of the woodwork desperate to be in the sunshine and doing something, anything that has been deemed “COVID OK.” There is renewed belief that golf can grab a bigger piece of the pie among recreational and entertainment options.”
4. Where were the women?
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols wonders…How can there be downside to two Sundays of golf taking center stage and raising mega-money for COVID-19 relief?”
  • “Well, there is no a downside, but it could’ve been more. As LPGA player Mel Reid tweeted during the TaylorMade Driving Relief Challenge, the broadcasts could’ve represented all of golf.”
  • “They could’ve included women.”
  • “…It would’ve been great to see an LPGA player and her sponsorship partners get in on the action in a similar fashion.”
  • “The TaylorMade event could’ve been a mixed-team format. Maria Fassi and Paula Creamer are both in Florida. Some of TaylorMade’s female stars could’ve also called in during the broadcast as Jon Rahm did. Staffers who could’ve called in include Natalie Gulbis, Muni He and Charley Hull. Sung Hyun Park, who speaks limited English, was involved in a charity exhibition in South Korea with current No. 1 Jin Young Ko. Women’s golf frequently takes center stage in that part of the world.”
5. 80% of golf retail open
From the NGF Q…”The number of physical golf retail outlets that are back in business continues to increase – from off-course stores and specialty club-fitters to green grass pro shops.”
  • “Approximately 66% of golf course pro shops are open at facilities that are open to play, the equivalent of almost 9 million square feet, although some states and counties have limitations on the number of customers permitted at one time. That percentage is up from 36% at the start of the month, but is unchanged over the past week as pro shops in at least 10 states (including Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois and New York) have government mandates that say they must remain closed inside to customers.”
  • “Meanwhile, approximately 79% of off-course golf retail stores were open (in terms of total square footage) through May 25. This is up from 73% last week and 59% two weeks ago. In early April, only about 4% of the 6.5 million square feet of total off-course golf specialty space was open to in-store traffic. Roughly 81% of all off-course retail stores are now open to customers.”
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GolfWRX Classifieds Spotlight (05/27/20): Adams, Mizuno, Ping

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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 Gator5 – Adams CMB Irons

Forged – check, Multi-Material construction – check, cool as all heck because these clubs are sweet and Adams made some really cool gear – check!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Adams CMB Irons

Member Ksears – Brand New Mizuno MP20 Irons

Did someone say brand new Mizunos??? What else could you really want from a forged blade beside being meticulously crafted and forged in Japan – as well as being priced lower than retail.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link hereMP 20 Irons

Member 1hellaofashot – Ping G410 7 Wood

Speaking from experience let me just say this “stop denying the inevitable and embrace the 7 Wood” It’s endlessly versatile, more forgiving than a hybrid, and because this one for sale is a Ping G410 it is adjustable. Here’s your chance to dial in your own par 5 killer.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Ping 7 Wood

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

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Morning 9: Match 2: The most-watched golf telecast ever | Rory: Players don’t want fan-less Ryder Cup | Justin Thomas aces broadcast debut

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@attsportsnetpit
1. 5.8 million average viewers for The Match
AP report…”Two of the biggest names from the PGA Tour and the NFL proved to be must-see TV.”
  • “Turner Sports said the Sunday telecast of “The Match: Champions for Charity” attracted an average of 5.8 million viewers across four of its networks. Turner says it was the most-watched golf telecast in cable TV history.”
  • “It said the previous record was 4.9 million viewers on ESPN at the 2010 Masters, the year Tiger Woods returned to golf for the first time since the scandal in his personal life.”
  • “Woods and Peyton Manning scored a 1-up victory over Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady at Medalist Golf Club, a match that featured high entertainment with shots and with words, along with raising $20 million for COVID-19 relief funds.”
2. Shackelford’s take
A few observations from the scribe…“While still an overnight, it easily bests the previous week’s relief fund match that drew a 1.5 and total of 2.3 million viewers across three channels, including a 1.5 rating on NBC and a .24 on Golf Channel).”
“More incredibly, this means The Match 2 out-rated any major championship round on cable.”
“Given a so-so promotional run-up, a slow start to the show (caused in part by a slight weather delay) a dreary day to watch, and a long telecast, the rating is a stunning statement about the remaining star power of the contestants.”
3. JT’s TV debut
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…”That said, whenever he decides to put down the clubs, he should immediately pick up a mic.
The former Alabama star made his broadcast debut as an on-course reporter on TNT/TBS alongside CBS Sports’ Amanda Balionis on Sunday during The Match: Champions for Charity, which saw Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning defeat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. Thomas received rave reviews from golf Twitter during and after the event. He was brilliant. His rapport with Woods and Mickelson allowed them to open up on a different level compared to the original The Match in 2018.”
“Most importantly, Thomas didn’t overdo anything. Unlike some broadcasters, he knew fans weren’t watching for him and he never once tried to steal the spotlight. He didn’t speak just to talk. When he had something to say, it was insightful or funny. Like a golfer picking out which holes he can attack and score on, Thomas picked his spots on where to interject throughout the broadcast like someone who’s been doing it for years, let alone a day.”
4. Tiger looked terrific 
Bob Harig writes…”For the first time in 98 days, we got to see Woods in action. And the last time we saw him, he didn’t look good. Woods shot 77 at Riviera Country Club on Feb. 16 and finished last among those who made the cut at the Genesis Invitational. And he complained that his back was stiff”
  • …”Woods hasn’t played since but neither has anyone else. And the time off has done him some good.”
  • “Woods didn’t miss a fairway. His swing looked smooth and in rhythm. He hit some deft pitch shots and a really nice long bunker shot. And all of this in difficult, rainy conditions.”
  • “It was just a charity match, but he looked pretty good. Who knows when Woods will resume his schedule when the PGA Tour returns next month, but his game looks good to go.”
5. Rory McIlroy: ‘Majority of players’ want 2020 Ryder Cup postponed until 2021 
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…”Rory McIlroy has a hunch about the Ryder Cup, and it’s one that golf fans around the world aren’t going to like.”
  • “In an interview with BBC Sport, the world No. 1 said: “My personal hunch is that I don’t see how it is going to happen, so I do not think that it will happen.”
  • “Wisconsin’s Whistling Straits is scheduled to host the 2020 Ryder Cup Sept. 25-27, but amid the coronavirus pandemic the event would most-likely take place without fans (if held at all).”
  • “I think the majority of players would like to see it pushed back until 2021 so that they can play in front of crowds and have the atmosphere that makes the Ryder Cup so special,” explained McIlroy. “The players are the ones that make the Ryder Cup. If they are not on board with it and don’t want to play then there is no Ryder Cup.”
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