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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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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the Albertsons Boise Open

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GolfWRX bypassed the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship in the early part of the week (we made it there Thursday!) for the road less traveled this week: The Korn Ferry Tour. Specifically, we have a full buffet of photos from the range at the Albertsons Boise Open, including a full plate of WITB looks.

Here are 10 interesting photos from the Albertsons Boise Open.

This spread of Scotty Cameron Circle T putter covers will have enthusiasts drooling

Is this tee marker edible?

Name a better-dressed pro than Morgan Hoffmann…

Brandon Crick’s Pingman-stamped Glide wedge

The TaylorMade Boise Open headcover features a Boise St. blue turf background

D.J. Trahan’s Grateful Dead dancing bear headcovers are money

J-Gore! Cheers to the 2002 champ!

Sweet orange paintfill on Kevin Doughtery’s PXG 0311T 4-iron

Idaho (potato) fries aplenty on Scotty Cameron’s superb Boise Open headcover

I was unaware Will Zalatoris nickname was Beavis. But a look at this wedge and a look at this photo have me pretty convinced it is

All our galleries from the Boise Open

General galleries

WITB, special galleries

 

 

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Morning 9: Rory offers simple slow play fix, isn’t sure about TC format | Brooks favors the Euro plan | Sunjae Im!

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

August 22, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. Rory’s simple slow play fix
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard reporting...”The Northern Irishman has always been one of the most outspoken players when it comes to pace of play on the PGA Tour but enough is enough.”
  • “I saw [the European Tour] released a four-point plan, but I only read the headline. I didn’t go deeper into it. I’ve had enough of the slow play stuff,” McIlroy said. “I had two hours of it last week at the [player advisory council] meeting, and that came to nothing.”
  • “Although he didn’t know the details of the new European pace of play policy, McIlroy did offer a solution for slow play when he pointed out that pace of play won’t be an issue at this week’s 30-man Tour Championship.”
  • “Seriously, it’s like traffic, right? You get 156 in the field, and it’s hard to get those guys around quickly. Even last week, 70, there was no mention of pace of play,” McIlroy said. “I’m in a privileged position that I can say that because I’m going to get into a field of 30 or 70. Obviously, guys that are not quite in my position would disagree with that. [But] if you want to speed up play, cut the field sizes.”

Full piece.

2. Rory unsure regarding new Tour Championship format 
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”While saying Wednesday that he understands many of the reasons for the new format, he also said “come back to me Monday and I’ll tell you whether it’s worked or not.”
  • …”If we’re at the PGA Tour trying to do the season of championships, where it starts at the Players in March and goes through the four majors and culminates with the FedEx Cup in the end, if the FedEx Cup really wants to have this legacy in the game, like some of these other championships do, is people starting the tournament on different numbers the best way to do it?” McIlroy said Wednesday at East Lake Golf Club.”
  • “That’s my only thing. I get it from a fan experience point of view. I get it from giving guys that have played better throughout the year an advantage. But at the same time, it will make it sweeter for a guy that starts at even or 1-under par and goes all the way through the field and wins. Or if Justin Thomas shoots the tied low score of the week and doesn’t end up winning. … I don’t know.”

Full piece.

3. JT wants the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup
Good to hear he didn’t endorse finishing third if it’ll secure the cup…JT isn’t keen for a repeat of 2017
  • AP report…”Justin Thomas lived it two years ago when he capped off his best year by capturing the FedEx Cup with a runner-up finish in the Tour Championship. Thomas was thrilled to win the cup and its $10 million prize, but felt like a loser in the immediate aftermath because he was second in the Tour Championship to Xander Schauffele.”
  • “As the No. 1 seed, he starts Thursday at 10-under par with a two-shot lead under the staggered start. It’s possible that Thomas could finish the most under par and win the FedEx Cup, even though he doesn’t have the lowest 72-hole score.”
  • “And yes, he will be paying attention…“You guys probably won’t believe me, but, yeah, it will irk me,” Thomas said of such a scenario. “I want to beat everybody every week I play.”

Full piece.

4. Can anyone really win the FedEx Cup? 
Shane Ryan investigates…
  • “…a player starting at even par has to overcome a 10-shot deficit against the top player, but he also has to overcome a variety of smaller deficits against 25 other players. That compounds the problem, but one way we can try to answer the question is by examining other big comebacks in PGA Tour history. A look at final-round comebacks shows us that one player, Paul Lawrie, managed to take back 10 strokes in a single round, though it did require Jean Van de Velde’s infamous collapse at the 1999 Open Championship”
  • “…But Stewart Cink also roared back from nine shots down, and eight players have managed the feat on Sunday from eight shots back. In some respects, the task facing the “start-at-even” crew in the Tour Championship this weekend is much easier. First, they have 72 holes, not 18, to overcome a 10-stroke deficit. Second, the competition is 29 players, not the 70-or-so who typically make the cut at a “normal” event. They have a longer time to beat a smaller number of players, and by that reckoning, chipping off 2.5 shots per round seems far from impossible.”

 

5. In case you missed it: U.S. Prez Cup team top 8 set
Brooks Koepka
Justin Thomas
Dustin Johnson
Patrick Cantlay
Xander Schauffele
Webb Simpson
Matt Kuchar
Bryson DeChambeau
6. Olesen pleads not guilty
BBC report…”Danish golfer Thorbjorn Olesen has appeared in court charged with sexual assault and being drunk on an aircraft.”
  • “The 29-year-old Ryder Cup winner has also been charged with assault by beating…He indicated he would plead not guilty when he appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.”

Full piece.

7. Brooks favors the European plan? 
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch…“Koepka has been an outspoken critic of slow play, calling for stiff penalties against lallygagging PGA Tour players. He was asked about a policy announced this week by the European Tour that cracks down on idlers by imposing stroke penalties, not the meaningless fines used this side of the Atlantic.”
  • “Perfect. We should adopt it,” Koepka replied. Then came the surgical insertion of the needle.
  • “I think you’ll see some urgency to play. It doesn’t matter how quick you walk. It doesn’t matter how quick you do anything.”
  • “The “quick walk” argument – that hoofing it to one’s ball faster excuses taking more time than permitted to execute the next shot – is the flaccid defense of Bryson DeChambeau, a notorious laggard and someone with whom Koepka has sparred on the issue.”

Full piece.

8. Cole Hammer time…for you to win the McCormack medal
Golf Digest’s Ryan Herrington…“On Wednesday, the USGA and R&A announced that Hammer remained the No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, and thus had secured the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading men’s player at the end of the summer.”
  • “With the honor comes exemptions into the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot and the 2020 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, so long as Hammer remains an amateur when playing in the majors.”

Full piece.

9. Alone in anonymity?
Sungjae Im has hardly gotten the recognition he deserves this season…
  • Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…“One of the tour’s premier talents walked East Lake in anonymity Wednesday afternoon. Hard to do, given there are just 30 players at this shindig. When he passed a group of fans, necks strained to see the name on the bag, followed by a common chorus of whispers. Who’s that? … that’s not Hideki, right … wow, pretty nice shot. The man would nod as he made his way through, paying no heed to their ignorance. He doesn’t even blame them.”
  • “Hey, I’m surprised I’m here too,” Sungjae Im says with a laugh.
  • “In the Year of Young Guns, from Cameron Champ’s auspicious start to the torrid summers of Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland, only one-Im-is standing at the Tour Championship.”
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Thorbjorn Olesen pleads not guilty to sexual assault; will face trial next month

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On Wednesday, Thorbjorn Olesen indicated that he would plead not guilty to the charges of sexual assault, being drunk on an aircraft, and assault by beating, and he will now face trial in September.

Sky Sports broke the news that the Dane appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday where he confirmed his name, address, date of birth and nationality as well as his not guilty plea, and he has since been released on unconditional bail.

Olesen will now face trial at Isleworth Crown Court on 18th September which is the day before the European Tour’s Flagship event – the BMW Championship at Wentworth.

The 29-year-old was arrested on 29th July at Heathrow Airport and released upon investigation after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman and urinating in the aisle of a first-class cabin.

Olesen is currently suspended from the European Tour while the case is ongoing.

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