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Morning 9: Tiger Masters victory edition: Perspectives, context, and most importantly, why TW was chewing gum

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

April 15, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. Tiger!
Who better than two of the best beat writers in golf to turn to for the game stories of Tiger Woods’, at one time at least, unthinkable 15th major championship win.
A bit from Harig
  • “Woods had a shot to spare on the final hole, tapping in for a bogey that wrapped a final-round 70 and a one-stroke victory over Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele and produced a 15th major title — 11 years after the previous one — and a fifth green jacket.”
  • “Just unreal, to be honest with you,” Woods said. “Just the whole tournament has meant so much to me over the years. Coming here in ’95 for the first time, and being able to play as an amateur. Winning in ’97 and then come full circle 22 years later, to be able to do it again. And just the way it all transpired today.”
  • “There were so many different scenarios that could have transpired on that back nine. There were so many guys who had a chance to win. Leaderboard was absolutely packed and everyone was playing well. You couldn’t have had more drama than we all had out there, and now I know why I’m balding. This stuff is hard…”
  • …It would be difficult for anyone to forget a tournament littered with big names and conquered by a player who had endured so much.
And from Ferguson
“…He won his fifth green jacket, his 15th major, but never with this much raw emotion. The most ferocious fist pump was when he walked off the 18th green, scooped up 10-year-old son Charlie, and embraced his mother and his 11-year-old daughter Sam.”
  • “For them to see what it’s like to have their dad win a major championship, I hope that’s something they will never forget,” Woods said…
  • “The comeback goes beyond the two-shot deficit he erased before a delirious audience that watched memories turn into reality.”
  • “It had been 14 years since he last won the Masters – no one had ever gone that long between green jackets. He had gone nearly 11 years since his last major, the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines on a shattered left leg.”
  • “This was bigger.”
2. The audience of 2
PGATour.com’s Cameron Morfit on Tiger’s 2 most significant fans…
  • “His kids had already come to grips with the fact that he was more than a YouTube golfer; they’d seen him win the 2013 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, and he won the season-ending TOUR Championship at East Lake last fall, his long-awaited 80th PGA TOUR win. But the 83rd Masters Tournament marked his first major title since the 2008 U.S. Open, a span of almost 11 years. And he’s done it all with a fused back after once fearing a future in which he wouldn’t be well enough to play with Sam and Charlie.”
  • “I think the kids are starting to understand how much this game means to me, and some of the things I’ve done in the game,” Woods said. “Prior to comeback, they only knew that golf caused me a lot of pain. If I tried to swing a club I would be on the ground and I struggled for years, and that’s basically all they remember.”
3. Speaketh the Tiger
A few of Tiger Woods’ most notable utterances in a 40-plus minute post-win press conference, as rounded up by Golf.com’s Jessica Marksbury…
  • On how he stayed calm while others charged on Sunday…”Just kept telling myself, I have, along with Francesco, we have the most holes to play, so whatever they do, I’ll just birdie the same holes, then it’s a moot point.”
  • On being committed to his game plan…”I kept telling myself to miss the ball in the correct spots, and I did, time and time again. I was very disciplined in what I was doing out there. Even when yesterday guys were shooting 64 left and right, I was just kind of going around, just handle your business, work your way up the board. We’ve still got a lot of golf, a lot of holes to play, and just make sure that I’m there in the end.”
  • On his strategy on No. 12:…”I saw Brooksy ended up short. Poults ended up short, as well. And so I – when I was up there on the tee box and it was about my turn to go, I could feel that wind puff up a little bit, and it had been something – Brooksy is stronger than I am, and he flights it better than I do, so I’m sure he hit 9-iron and didn’t make it. So I knew my 9-iron couldn’t cover the flag, so I had to play left, and I said, just be committed, hit it over that tongue in that bunker. Let’s get out of here and let’s go handle the par 5s, and I did.”
4. The 12th-hole stare
Bill Pennington for the NYT on a critical turning point in the Masters final round…
  • “Koepka and Poulter, who had been challenging for the lead, each double bogeyed and never recovered completely. Then Francesco Molinari, who had a two-stroke lead over Woods and was playing in his group, misjudged and mis-hit his tee shot at the 12th hole into the water. So did Tony Finau, also playing with Woods, and only one stroke behind him at the time.”
  • “Woods, playing the hole for the 86th time at the Masters, knew to aim more to the left and used enough club to fight through the tricky breeze to position his ball safely in the center of the green.”
  • “But what happened next is what truly altered the mood and kick-started Woods’s charge to victory.”
  • “Woods walked over the Hogan bridge and stood defiantly on the 12th green glaring back at Finau and Molinari as they dejectedly stood on the other side of the water, rummaging through their bags for another ball and club to once again try to traverse the creek.”
5. A most enjoyable win
John Feinstein offers this perspective…
  • “The joy on his face after he tapped in the final putt was evidence of how much Woods has changed since his last major win. The host of players who waited for him in the scoring area to congratulate him as he came off the 18th green was another sign of how much he has changed.”
  • “Woods’ relationship with his fellow players was always distant. That began to change when he was a vice-captain for the 2016 Ryder Cup team. A reticent Ryder Cup player in the past, Woods threw himself into the task of trying to help captain Davis Love III make captains picks and formulate lineups.”
  • “In his victory press conference Woods used words like, “blessed,” “fortunate,” “lucky,” and “amazing.” Those words were almost never a part of his vocabulary in the past.”
6. Perspective
Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”At the 2017 Masters, Woods’ back was so ravaged that he needed a nerve blocker just to attend the Champions Dinner. Slumped in his chair, searing pain shooting down his legs, he leaned forward and whispered to a fellow green jacket: “I’m done. I’m done. My back is done.”
  • “For so many years Woods made the superhuman seem routine, but Notah Begay III watched his longtime friend suffer in agony, unable to complete even the most basic tasks. Before a fourth back surgery, Woods required the use of a specialized reclining chair in his Jupiter, Fla., mansion. He couldn’t even hobble to the car without assistance, needing to drape an arm over Begay’s shoulder for support.”
  • “It was one of those moments in my life, after seeing up-close and personal how hard it was, that it was a realistic consideration that it all could have been over,” Begay said.
  • “What people see and understand is only a fraction of what he had to overcome,” Begay said. “To say that it’s been a phenomenal comeback doesn’t even come close to doing it justice.”
7. Comeback complete
Bill Fields’ game story for Masters.com with this bit of context…
  • “Woods’ children had been at Carnoustie in Scotland last summer when Woods contended on the final day, taking the lead on the 10th hole but eventually falling back and losing to Molinari.”
  • “To have both Sam and Charlie here, they were there at the British Open last year when I had the lead on that back nine, and I made a few mistakes, cost myself a chance to win the Open title,” Woods said. “I wasn’t going to let that happen to them twice. And so for them to see what it’s like to have their dad win a major championship, I hope that’s something they will never forget.”
  • “Woods had come back from spinal fusion surgery to win the Tour Championship last fall, but succeeding at a major was the ultimate measuring stick for his comeback. Contending at the Open and the PGA Championship was crucial in his belief that he could break through.”
8. A caddie’s-eye view
Golf Digest’s Keely Levins with several takes from Tiger Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava…
  • The advice he gave Tiger on the first tee played out throughout the round….”On the first tee I told him, ‘Intense but loose,'” said LaCava. “Don’t carry the weight of the world.” It’s a delicate balance, to make sure you’re fired up enough to hit the big shots, but you don’t want to be so overwhelmed by the moment that you tighten up and lose your ability to swing the golf club as you know how to.
  • “I think he did that,” said LaCava. “I thought he was pretty loose. But I didn’t want him to lose the intensity. At the same time, this isn’t the end all. Not ‘Let’s just have fun no matter what happens’-don’t get me wrong. But be loose.”
  • Coming down the stretch, Brooks Koepka was the biggest concern...The leader board was alarmingly stacked during the back nine on Sunday. Dustin Johnson, Molinari, Xander Schauffele, Jason Day, and others all had legitimate chances to win the Masters. But there was one name that was sticking out to LaCava: Brooks Kopeka.
  • “You’re watching Brooks, because he’s probably going to be the guy who’s going to do something if anyone’s going to do something,” said Lacava. “Brooks had made 5 at 12, but he was hitting everything to 10 feet, so I was thinking, this guy could come in at 14 (under).”
9. Why Tiger was chewing gum
Geoff Shackelford with this hunk of bubble gum…
  • “Well, I’m chomping on this gum because I usually get hungry, I keep eating so much,  and it curbs my appetite a little bit, which is nice,” Woods said. “Most of the time, most of the issues I have at tournaments, I lose so much weight, as you all know.”
  • “A quibbler might point out that chewing gum should help with him losing weight instead. So the appetite curbing mentioned only makes a little sense.”

 

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GolfWRX Spotlight: Golf Drawn’s custom golf art

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I recently converted an extra bedroom in my house into a home office (golf-themed, of course). In my search for stuff to put up on the walls, I came across a company that was doing something different. They had a booth at this year’s PGA Show showing off some of their unique work, and when I dug in a bit more, I realized it was a really innovative product for the golf community. So, I reached out to the people at Golf Drawn to see if they could help me create a piece for my office.

Golf Drawn is a custom design and illustration service that specializes in creating original, hand-drawn course routing designs of your favorite club. Any club. That’s the best part. They can draw any course in the world using the wonders of satellite imaging.

Goat Hill Park

Brooklawn on Wood Canvas

Streamsong

“We began just as we still do now, by drawing up folks’ home tracks,” said Anthony Malky, Owner and Creative Director at Golf Drawn. “Whether it was a par three, municipal course, top-100, or whatever. Our whole deal was that we would draw any course….and we still do. There’s yet to be one that we couldn’t execute.”

If you’ve spent any time looking around for golf art or memorabilia, you realize how big a deal that actually is. The top-100 courses get all the love. Golf Drawn is filling a void out there and providing custom art focused on your favorite local course.

“We receive the course request from you and get to work on creating the design,” said Malky, “Once the design is complete, we send you proofs, and then you choose background color, labeling, frame and any additions.”

Popular additions to the framed prints include images of the scorecard table, compass to show direction of the course routing, alternative club logos, etc…

And Golf Drawn can then put that routing design or logo on a tee-shirt, sticker or other items if you like as well. Every new design requires a one-time design fee to get the work completed. But once that design is done, it is free to put on any framed print or tee in the future for anyone. Tee-shirts are becoming a rather popular item on the website.

If a course has been renovated or simply no longer exists, Golf Drawn has worked directly from old photos or original course plans to recreate the old track you remember. And, of course, Golf Drawn can do the famous courses as well. It’s a great way to commemorate a favorite round, hole in one, or once in a lifetime score.

My local club is Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. They already had a design drawn of Colonial, so it wasn’t hard to customize what I wanted and finish the order. I added the columns logo to the top left corner and script location on the bottom right.

So how did this all begin? Anthony Malky grew up in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. He caddied at Oakmont Country Club for over a decade…and even got to play the course on some Mondays. He loves golf, just like we all do. And he started drawing courses as a hobby.

“I began drawing up the clubs that meant a lot to me,” Malky said. “After some time, at the urging of others I made an Instagram. I had a ton of course designs done and figured might as well post them for folks. From there, the Instagram took off, that turned into a website…then the custom orders started coming.”

Fast forward a couple of years, and Golf Drawn now has an entire wholesale catalog of unique products, over 250+ club accounts, and products stocked in shops around the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. That is pretty impressive for a business that does everything in-house with a fully customizable product. And keeping prices low has always been a goal for Malky, as he remembers a time when he wanted to buy golf art himself but found everything to be overpriced and low quality.

Sticker Variety Pack

“We’ve tried to keep our prices, minimums at wholesale, all low and cost effective,” Malky said.  “That was part of the initial start too, allowing people to get their course drawn up, framed, etc. for a price that anyone could pay. Not some outlandish design fee or commission type setup.”

Prices per print with framing included

The supply is working hard to keep up with the demand. Golf Drawn is still a small operation and Malky does all of the designs himself. There is a team that helps with operations and a few sales reps across the country, but the business definitely remains small. That is intentional. Malky believes that allows Golf Drawn to offer a personal, high-level service to each individual customer. And it allows the company to remain focused on the reason they got started in the first place.

“It’s always been about shedding light on and propping up courses and places that otherwise wouldn’t be,” Malky said.  Giving attention to and making that local municipal course look as good as a top-10 track. Getting the par-3 course by your house designed, framed and up on a wall, highlighted in a way that many people have only seen the big courses like Pebble, Pinehurst, Oakmont. It’s always been about highlighting the places and the memories that mean so much to people.”

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Report: 2020 Open Championship set to be cancelled; R&A releases statement in response: “continuing to work through options”

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This year’s Open Championship will be cancelled outright by the R&A due to the Coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from Golf Digest.

Per the report, an unnamed source has divulged to the publication that the championship will next take place in 2021 with St. Andrews hosting the event. Royal St. Georges, due to host the 2020 Open Championship, would instead host the 2024 edition.

According to Golf Digest’s source, insurance has played a pivotal role in the decision making. As with Wimbledon, the Open Championship has an insurance policy that protects itself against a global pandemic if the event is cancelled by a specific date.

On Wednesday, the R&A officially announced that the 41st Curtis Cup would be played in 2021 while the organization also moved the British Amateur and British Women’s Amateur from June to August.

Though unconfirmed, this would mark the first major championship of 2020 to be cancelled outright, with the Masters and PGA Championship having been officially postponed.

*UPDATE*

On Thursday morning, in light of the speculation surrounding this year’s Open Championship, Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, released a statement where he said the R&A are “continuing to work through our options for The Open this year.”

“We are continuing to work through our options for The Open this year, including postponement. Due to a range of external factors, that process is taking some time to resolve. We are well aware of the importance of being able to give clear guidance to fans, players and everyone involved and are working to resolve this as soon as we can. We will give a further update as soon as we are in a position to do so and thank everyone for their support and understanding in this challenging situation.”

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Report: Woods-Mickelson Part 2 likely to happen in May and will feature two other sporting superstars

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Earlier this week, Phil Mickelson teased “The Match” Part 2 on his social media, and according to a report from CNBC the exhibition, though unconfirmed, is likely to take place in May and will include both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

On Monday evening, golf journalist Robert Lusetich stated that the potential “The Match” Part 2 would likely involve NFL legends, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in a two on two contest.

Now per CNBC’s report, who claim that “a person familiar with the negotiations” confirmed the story to them, the contest is organized by AT&T’s WarnerMedia and the PGA Tour, and would likely take place in May with the proceeds going towards coronavirus relief charities.

The report also claims the event would likely not be a pay-per-view contest, with plans also in place to feature big names throughout the PGA, NFL, and National Basketball Association.

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