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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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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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