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Morning 9: Masters tee times | RIP Marilynn Smith | Tales of Tiger’s equipment

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

April 10, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Masters tee times announced
Masters round 1 and 2 tee times are out.
Here are a pair of back-to-back notables (via the WaPo)
11:04 a.m.: Tiger Woods, Haotong Li, Jon Rahm
  • “Woods eked into the weekend last year after shooting 4 over par on Thursday and Friday and was able to salvage a tie for 32nd. His last top 10 Masters finish was a tie for fourth in 2013. Ranked ninth in the world, Rahm has six top 10s in eight stroke-play events this calendar year and finished fourth at Augusta last year.”
11:15 a.m.: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Cameron Smith
  • “McIlroy, the betting favorite after his win at the Players Championship, looks to complete the career Grand Slam at the age of 29. He’s finished no worse than a tie for 10th at the Masters the last five years. Fowler came up one stroke short at Augusta last year after a 5-under Sunday charge and is hoping to shake the whole “best player never to win a major” thing.”

Full piece.

2. Juggling, meditating McIlroy
Phil Casey at the Irish News…
  • “And the four-time major winner has revealed how meditation, juggling and a wide variety of reading material helped him end a number of final-day failures and triumph at Sawgrass.”
  • “I’m not going to go and live with the monks for a couple months in Nepal, it’s 10 minutes a day,” McIlroy said in a fascinating pre-tournament interview. “It’s not as if I’m being consumed by it.
  • “But it’s definitely something that has helped from time to time. Especially in situations where you need your mind to be right. I meditated for 20 minutes on the Sunday morning of the Players.”
  • “My routine now consists of meditation, juggling, mind training, you know, doing all the stuff to get yourself in the right place. It was actually cool. I was watching the [Augusta National] Women’s Amateur over the weekend and I saw a few women on the range juggling, so it’s catching on.”
3. Augusta Spieth’s slump-ending elixir?
George Willis at the NY Post suggests Spieth, whose game is showing signs of life, could come fully alive at Augusta this week…
  • “More alarming, his putting, which once was compared with Jack Nicklaus’ and Tiger Woods’, has become unreliable. Before the recent WGC Match Play, he ranked 116th in strokes gained in putting at (-0.15), which is not good. But Augusta National has brought out the best in Spieth, and it should again this week.”
  • “My expectations are high this week,” Spieth said Tuesday. “I feel great about the state of my game right now. I feel like my recent results aren’t a tell of where my game actually is. I feel like I’ve made a lot of strides in the last couple of days. It’s just a matter of trust in the stuff that I’m working on.”
4. Tiger and the believers
Doug Ferguson at the AP examines the question of whether Woods can win major no. 14 at age 43…
  • “His believers – and there are legions of them – are hopeful that might change this week, if only because optimism is always at its peak before the first tee shot is hit. The old Tiger may not be fully back, but the prevailing thought is there’s enough of his greatness left to fit comfortably inside a green jacket come late Sunday afternoon.”
  • “Count Woods among the believers.”…”I know I can play this golf course,” he said. “I’ve had some success here.”
  • “Indeed he has, with four green jackets stitched with his name. That’s a haul that by itself qualifies him as one of the greatest players ever, though it is two short of the collection won by Jack Nicklaus.”
  • “But it isn’t what Woods or anyone else expected after he won his first four in just nine years. Nicklaus himself predicted that Woods would win 10 green jackets on his way to obliterating Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships.”
5. Reed family matters
Karen Crouse at the New York Times examined Patrick Reed and his estranged family…and the possibility that members of said family will make an unwelcome appearance at Augusta this week.
  • “Yet easily the worst distraction that Reed faces any week, but especially this one, when he will defend the Masters title he won last year, is the possibility that at any moment he will look up and come face-to-face with the most painful chapter of his life.”
  • “Reed’s parents live six miles from Augusta National Golf Club, in a two-story, Southern-style Colonial replete with a bedroom shrine to their first child and only son, who hasn’t stepped foot in the house since 2012. This week should be a joyous homecoming for Reed, who led Augusta State (now Augusta University) to back-to-back national championships and will preside over Tuesday’s legends-laden Champions dinner. But instead it has all the makings of a nightmare, with his acrimonious relationship with his family threatening to become as much a part of this year’s Masters narrative as his attempt to become the first golfer since Tiger Woods in 2002 to successfully defend his title.”
  • “I wouldn’t at all be surprised if they show up,” Reed said.
  • “Reed, 28, has steadfastly declined to speak publicly about the reasons for the family schism. In a Sports Illustrated story in 2015, Reed’s mother insinuated that the rift resulted from Reed’s marriage, at age 22, to the former Justine Karain, against the advice of his parents who worried that he was too young.”
6. RIP Marilynn Smith
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell on the passing of a legend…
“Though she earned induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame with her 21 LPGA victories and two majors, her legacy goes beyond the trophies she won.”
  • “As one of the 13 women who founded the LPGA in 1950, Smith filled so many roles vital to the organization’s growth. She spent time as tour president, secretary, business manager and public relations specialist. She fulfilled sales and marketing duties and tournament operation responsibilities.”
  • “Smith, like the 12 other women who built the organization, served all of those roles in either official or unofficial capacity to give the fledgling women’s tour a foundation that would last.”
  • “Different players who were in that era, including myself, all thought Marilynn did an extraordinary job as president, and more than anyone contributed greatly to the success of this tour,” Hall of Famer Kathy Whitworth said when introducing Smith as a World Golf Hall of Fame inductee in the 2006 ceremony. “Mickey Wright said she always remembers the hours and hours Marilynn would spend on the phone talking to these sponsors, potential sponsors, the press and anyone else she thought might help the Association.”
7. Tales of Tiger’s equipment
Superb work by Andrew Tursky at PGATour.com. AT talked to Tiger’s former Titleist club builder, Larry Bobka, and his equipment concierge at Nike to get the backstory on some of Woods weapons over the years.
  • “In 1997, Tiger used a Titleist 975D with 7.5 degrees loft. Bobka kept about six driver heads in his office, either 6.5 or 7.5 degrees loft, and occasionally Tiger would mess around with the 6.5. The swing weights were D4, which Tiger preferred on every club from driver through pitching wedge, with his other wedges a little heavier, around D6.”
  • “Tiger used a 43.5-inch steel-shafted driver during his time at Titleist. He tried various graphite shafts to see if he could pick up yardage, but then the question became: Could he control it? “He just never felt like at that time that he could find something that was consistent,” Bobka said. “Now, you’re talking about graphite shafts from late-’90s compared to how well graphite shafts are made now, in the year 2019 it’s a totally different story.”
8. Science returns to Augusta
Interesting nuggets in this AP report regarding BAD’s continued search for the holy grail…
  • “…he discovered something last week – just what he won’t say – that might make him just as effective with his short wedges as he has been with the rest of his game.”
  • “I’ve had some disadvantages with a couple of the irons I’ve had for a little bit,” DeChambeau said. “And just being able to practice and getting comfortable and seeing the ball flights come out the proper way for the first time ever in my life is pretty cool.”
  • “I’ve been fortunate to win a lot of tournaments using the equipment that I’ve had so far and it’s been great,” DeChambeau said. “But there’s always that little bit of room for improvement. So we’ve been working quite heavily this past week in trying to figure out some things that could give me an advantage this week.”
9. Clarification on rule related to replacing damaged club
Golfweek’s David Dusek on the introduction of a new local rule….
  • “…less than 48 hours before the start of the 2019 Masters, the USGA and R&A have released a clarification that introduces a new local rule related to damaged clubs.”
  • “Under the local rule, any club that is broken or significantly damaged can be replaced unless the damage occurs as a result of abuse. To make things easier to understand, the USGA and R&A have supplied examples of what broken or significantly damaged means.”
  • “However, a player is still not allowed to replace a club because there is a crack in the clubface or clubhead.”
  • “Under the new Rules of Golf that went into effect in January, the rule stated that any damaged club could not be replaced by another club except when it is damaged during the round by an outside influence, a natural force or by someone other than the player, partner or his caddie.”

 

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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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