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Morning 9: Always pull the flagstick?! | Ridley’s decisions | Tiger Boom 2.0? | More USGA events for Erin Hills

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

April 17, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Always pull the flagstick?!?!
…the Golfing Scientist couldn’t have bad data, could he?…
Mike Stachura reports on a GD study the outlet and parties involved consider to be definitive…
  • “There’s loads of science behind that number. But then this is what you should expect when you put a Ph.D. on the case, which is what Golf Digest did in its May issue in an effort to answer the debate over the flagstick and whether in or out is the best way to putt.”
  • “Tom Mase, professor of mechanical engineering and former associate chair of the department of mechanical engineering at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), is no amateur golf scientist. He’s been on the vanguard of golf equipment research for much of his 30-plus years in academia, as well as stints at both Callaway and Titleist and as an original and long-time member of the Golf Digest Hot List Technical Advisory Panel.”
  • “His research on the value of leaving the flagstick in was precise, painstaking and perfectly clear. His findings upend the conventional wisdom that the flagstick is some kind of backstop, gathering wayward putts back into the hole. The facts of his study suggest the opposite, that the flagstick does much, much more to hurt your chances of a putt going in than help turn a bad putt into a made one.”
2. Tiger Boom 2.0?
….let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but let’s totally get ahead of ourselves…
Kevin Draper of the New York Times examines the possibility, looking back on the previous peak…
  • “By most metrics, golf peaked in the early 2000s, at the height of the first Tigermania. According to Gallup, in 2000, 5 percent of Americans surveyed said golf was their favorite sport to watch. By 2017, that number was 1 percent. Golf was tied with volleyball, boxing, gymnastics, motocross, figure skating and rodeo.”
  • “According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, 29.5 million Americans played a round of golf in 2007. In 2017, that number was 23.8 million, a decline of 19.3 percent.”
  • “Unlike most other sports, which believe fans respond most to parity, Woods’s dominance was electrifying for golf. From June 1997 – when he first became the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer – to October 2010, only four golfers besides Woods were ranked No. 1, for a total of less than a year and a half. Woods was ranked first for two different five-year streaks in that time.”
3. A tale of roaring and whimpering
…the deus ex machina of mental malfunctions on the back 9 Sunday at Augusta arrived on queue…
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch…
  • “On the second Sunday in April every year, Augusta National feels less like a golf course than an operating table, upon which men are laid bare and probed for frailties not readily apparent to the naked eye. And no facility in the world does a more thorough job of diagnosing a faint heart, a deficit of intestinal fortitude, an absence of daring.”
  • “Of course, the recent vulnerabilities of Tiger Woods have been more obvious: physical injury, swing woes, personal turmoil – each a test more daunting than anything Amen Corner can pose. By comparison, the crucible of the back nine on Sunday afternoon at the Masters must have seemed a welcome relief.”
  • “Woods wasn’t alone in entering the final round with self-belief, but confidence is a perishable asset that can spoil during a long walk in the Georgia heat. Francesco Molinari faced down Woods at Carnoustie last year to win the British Open. In Augusta, the Italian carried himself with a papal serenity until he reached the National’s Sistine Chapel – the short 12th hole – where his lead was lost in Rae’s Creek.”
4. A decade in the dark
…shorthand for the abyss in which Tiger Woods was lost and the certainty of all that his career was over ultimately fail…
Our Gianni Magliocco…
  • “For Woods to come through all of that, and to win his fifteenth major at Augusta National, is an extraordinary achievement. His self-belief over a decade where he almost entirely lurked in the dark is difficult to fathom. What Woods has now earned through his victory at the 2019 Masters, is almost complete immunity from the doubters and naysayers. He has re-written his storyline in the tale that is life.”
  • “Books that were published and documentaries aired covering the rise and fall of the 15-time major champion are now out of date. Woods has assured that his legacy will forever remain and be viewed in a positive light following his victory at the Masters.”
  • “The hunt for Jack’s record has intensified and considering Woods continued to believe through a decade of hard knocks that he could reach 18 major victories before he retires, then his confidence of doing so now must be at staggeringly high levels.”
  • “If there’s a lesson to be learned over the last 10 years of his career, it’s that you should never rule out Tiger Woods in any way. Woods has never doubted himself, or at least, he never doubted what he could do if he got healthy, and that’s why, after possibly the most tumultuous decade any sportsman has ever experienced, he rose once again on golf’s grandest stage to don the green jacket.”
5. Erin Hills returneth
…as pro Todd Bailey tweeted, “I just heard “Breaking News” and “Erin Hills will be hosting” and my gag reflex almost took over my life”…
Golf Digest’s Keeley Levins with the news…
  • “On Tuesday, the USGA announced that it has named the public facility the site of the 2025 U.S. Women’s Open. The event will be held from May 29-June 1. In addition to the U.S. Women’s Open, the governing body announced the 2022 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship will be held there as well.”
  • “We are thrilled to return to Erin Hills, and to bring the U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Mid-Amateur to such a memorable and deserving course,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA, in the USGA’s press release. “To bring these championships to a public facility all golfers can enjoy is especially exciting for us. The USGA has a great relationship with the facility, and Erin Hills has proven to be one of the premier golf venues in the nation as well as an excellent test.”
6. A dream realized
…for golf media folk, it’s the equivalent of a Masters invite…well, it is an invitation to play Augusta National…
Joel Beall of Golf Digest was among the media lottery winners this year, and he reflected on the experience of the Monday-after-the-Masters round at the Masters…
  • “A lucky few media members are chosen each year to play the course the day after the tournament. It’s called the lottery, a name that could not be more on point, for its winners have hit the jackpot.”
  • “That’s how I felt Monday morning, driving down Magnolia Lane to receive the golden ticket. I was assigned a spot in the Champions Locker Room, which was regally spartan and wafted in nostalgia. The practice facility was dotted with fellow gold-ticket holders brandishing the same “Can you believe this?” grin. My warm-up was J.B. Holmes-like slow, partially trying to manage a back issue, but mostly because I wanted to savor every second of the experience.”
  • “Ten minutes before my tee time, we walked through a clubhouse corridor out to the first tee. Standing by the big oak, I marveled at the duality of the panorama: where tens of thousands of patrons had once been shouting Tiger’s name was now just a golf course. For a second you wondered if Sunday really happened; luckily the 18th scoreboard nodded back, still littered with names and numbers.”
7. Better than Jack in ’86?
…I’ll take “inevitable sports discussions for $1,000,” Alex…
Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer, syndicated in Golfweek, does a pro/con analysis…
  • “Pros: Tiger beat a better field. Nicklaus dueled Greg Norman and Tom Kite. The former was a choker at Augusta. The latter was a blue-collar plugger who wouldn’t win a major until the U.S. Open six years later. Woods held back much of the world top 20.”
  • “Tiger had eight surgeries, four on his back. Two years ago, he could barely walk.”
  • “Tiger had to rebuild his life and his career, in that order.”
  • “Cons: Nicklaus was 46, three years older than Tiger. Medicine wasn’t as advanced back then. Forty-six is still old to win a major, but not as old as it was in ’86.”
8. How big can off-course golf get?
…it ain’t the way Old Tom played, but it’s hard to argue against Top Golf, etc, but what’s the ceiling?…
Adam Stanley examines the question in the National Golf Foundation’s “Q”…
  • The participation base for off-course forms of golf increased almost 10% in 2018 to an estimated 23 million people. The year before, the off-course participation number increased 7% to 21.2 million. With its upward trajectory, almost as many people now participate off-course as play traditional, green-grass golf (24.2 million).”
  • “Topgolf is the next-generation driving range, combining golf with food, drink, music and games to create a sports bar-like atmosphere.”
  • “So, how much runway is there for these off-course facilities?”
  • “That remains to be seen, says ClubCorp CEO David Pillsbury, who announced a joint venture with BigShots Golf in December. BigShots is another entrant in the golf-entertainment space, offering free-standing outdoor franchises along with an indoor franchise product that can be installed as a single “tee box” or as multiple units in bars, malls and other retail venues. Like Topgolf, it provides new-age technology (Doppler radar shot-tracking) along with full-service food and beverage options, sports bars, music and televisions, and private event space.”
  • “I don’t think that anybody really knows yet what the demographic formula is that correlates to a saturation point,” says Pillsbury. “We’re going to find out here over the next few years what that looks like. Having said that, I think there’s plenty of room. As long as it’s fun, it’s entertainment, it’s fast, casual dining and an entertainment environment… it’s good for the game.”
9. What next, Fred?
…what will the ANGC chairman do with the course now that the 2019 Masters has wrapped?…
Geoff Shackelford examines the question…
  • “The numbers from the two back-nine par 5s most likely will not sit as well in Augusta. While both holes created moments of drama, the former icons of risk and reward now rely on the golf architectural equivalents of smoke and mirrors to retain traces of danger. At the 13th, the field recorded 17 eagles and averaged an all-time low of 4.474 in scoring since the hole was lengthened in 2002 or any year before that. Players had created a muddy, worn area on the tee by Sunday, all teeing up in the same right-side post due to a conspicuous overhanging limb. Tied at the time, Woods and Francesco Molinari had 161 and 180 yards left, respectively, for their approaches.”
  • “The momentous decision Ridley longs to restore was not part of the equation.”
  • “The par-5 15th, which appeared wider this year due to lost limbs on a once meddlesome left-hand pine, was lengthened in 2006 and yet has never played easier than it did in 2019, with its 4.532 average and 15 eagles.”
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Morning 9: Will Captain Woods pick Tiger? | Would new Tour Champ format have altered past outcomes? | Pelley on slow play

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

August 20, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Captain Tiger’s expectations 
AP report…”Tiger Woods wants the eight players who made his Presidents Cup team and four more under consideration as captain’s picks to play tournaments and stay sharp over the next three months leading to the December matches Down Under.”
  • “…Woods said he told prospective Presidents Cup players at a meeting two weeks ago how important it was to be committed to the team and to the event.”
  • “And that means playing and being prepared,” he said during a conference call Monday evening. “The only time we have ever lost the Cup was in Australia, and quite frankly, some of the guys didn’t play or practice that much. It was our offseason, and we got beat pretty badly.”
2. …but will TW pick himself? 
ESPN’s Bob Harig with Woods‘ remarks on the matter…
“Woods said Monday that although the final decision remains his, he won’t participate as a player unless that is what all involved want. And even then, he might not.”
  • “My job as the captain is to put together the best team possible,” Woods said during a conference call Monday to discuss the eight players who automatically qualified for the team following the BMW Championship. “Trying to put together the best 12 guys. We’ll be going through the whole process of having communication with the top eight guys and vice captains.
  • “That is something that we’ll certainly talk about. Ultimately it’ll be my call. But I want to have all of their opinions before that decision is made.”

Full piece.

3. How Tiger will remember 2019…
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…
“The rest of the tournaments I didn’t really play as well as I wanted to,” Woods said. “But at the end of the day, I’m the one with the green jacket.”
  • “It was a perfect encapsulation of the dichotomy that ruled Woods’ 2019 campaign. For most of the year, he was mediocre and sometimes worse – this, despite coming off a season that saw him capture the Tour Championship and come within a whisker of winning the FedExCup. The good rounds were sporadic, the bad ones were more plentiful, and the few decent results usually stemmed from a palatable final round that began with Woods well out of contention.”
  • “In fact, there was only one tournament all year where Woods even finished within eight shots of the winner. But that’s also the only one most people will remember.”

Full piece.

4. What if…
Golf Digest’s Ryan Herrington on what the past FedEx Cup finales would have looked like with the current seeding…
  • “What if, however, the system that begins this week had been in place the previous 12 years of the FedEx Cup? How might history be different?”
  • “As it turns out, not all that much. And that’s the way the tour officials wanted it, having run thousands of computer simulations to try and approximate as best they could the point differential in play under the old system.”
  • “We went back all 12 years, took the top 30 in the FedEx Cup list entering East Lake and applied the adjusted strokes to the players scores at the Tour Championship to determine who would have won if the new format was used retroactively.”
  • “Nine times the actual FedEx Cup winner also would have won in the new strokes-based system, and a 10th time the winner (Jim Furyk in 2010) would have been in a sudden-death playoff for the title.”
5. Steph Curry bankrolls Howard golf
Our Gianni Magliocco…”NBA star and avid golfer Stephen Curry has donated a seven-figure sum to Howard University in a move that will see men’s and women’s golf teams at the school for at least the next six years.”
  • “As the Washington Post reported on Monday, this will be the first time the school will compete at the Division I level in the sport, and the university plans to have the teams ready to compete for the 2020/21 academic year.”
  • “Curry’s donation was partly inspired by Howard senior and golfer Otis Ferguson IV, and speaking on bringing golf back to Howard, the 31-year-old stated”
  • “Golf is a sport that has changed my life in ways that are less tangible, but just as impactful. It’s a discipline that challenges your mental wherewithal from patience to focus, and is impossible to truly master, so when you hear about these passionate student athletes who have the talent but don’t have a fair shot at the game, it’s tough. I feel really honored to play a small role in the rich history of Howard University.”
6. U.S. Am ratings…
Per Geoff Shackelford…”According to Sports Business Daily, the 2019 BMW Championship drew a 1.9 Saturday audience and a 2.4 for Sunday’s final round on NBC, well up over non-Tiger-contending Wyndham Championship’s previously played in this schedule spot.  The 2018 Wyndham drew a 1.9.”
“The slide in US Amateur interest and visibility continued with a .4 Saturday and a .3 for Sunday’s finale on Fox going head-to-head with most of the BMW final round. Talk about an event screaming out for a change in its Monday to Sunday format to avoid being an afterthought.”
7. Do away with the Tour Championship name? 
Randall Mell says it no longer applies…
  • “The Tour Championship isn’t really a “tournament” anymore.”
  • “They’re hosting something bigger and better at East Lake in Atlanta this week, something completely different.”
  • “They’re hosting the FedExCup Finale.”
  • “Really, the PGA Tour ought to rename this week’s event exactly that, because keeping “Tour Championship” shackles fans to conventions that offend traditional sensibilities. You don’t, after all, start a tournament with a lead of seven or more shots on two-thirds of the field, the way Justin Thomas will.”

Full piece.

8. Ogletree’s tough love short game lesson
Golf Digest’s Ryan Herrington on the discussion between Georgia Tech’s coach and the eventual U.S. Am winner…
  • “The tough-love conversation between Ogletree and Heppler had become the stuff of legend in the Georgia Tech camp. They were at Blaze Pizza in Atlanta last November, and Heppler let Ogletree know he had the game tee-to-green to be a successful tour pro, but the reason he had yet to win a college event was that he just wasn’t good enough around the greens.”
  • “Ogletree played the equivalent of six under par for 35 holes en route to the title. So Ogletree did something about it, working with Jeff Patton on technique in the sand. Meanwhile, teammate Noah Norton helped him with some putting drills. Ogletree put in time daily at the short-game area. And in the spring semester, he saw his stroke average drop 1½ shots without hitting his driver or irons any different.”
  • If perseverance in part characterizes Ogletree’s golf development, it certainly describes how he claimed the Havemeyer Trophy on Sunday. The day started with promise; Ogletree shot the equivalent of a 67 on Pinehurst No. 4 during the morning 18 (for the first time in U.S. Amateur history the 36-hole final was contested over two courses). The problem? Augenstein, a rising senior at Vanderbilt, shot a 65, and held a 2-up lead.”

Full piece.

9. Euro Tour chief on slow play
Keith Pelley penned an op-ed of sorts for EuropeanTour.com, that reads in part…
“Slow players, on the other hand, have become increasingly prevalent and problematic in our game in recent years, to the extent that we risk fans, both core and casual, switching off if we don’t do something about it.”
  • “The European Tour has been at the forefront of the assault on slow play for the last four years. We have the most aggressive monitoring policy in our sport, and we have issued shot penalties, but the past four months showed us finally that the time had arrived when players were willing to take a tough stance and we applauded that.”
  • “Slow play became a critical issue because our players wanted it to be.  That moment was the door opening and the mandate we were given at May’s tournament committee meeting empowered our operations and rules team to present stronger, more robust recommendations”
  • “We took a formal proposal back to the next Tournament Committee meeting at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open last month and following some fine tuning over the past six weeks, we yesterday publicly announced a four-point plan focusing on regulation, education, innovation and field size reduction where appropriate.”

 

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European Tour announces 4-point plan in a bid to tackle slow play

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On Monday, the European Tour announced a four-point plan aimed at tackling the issue of slow play in the game.

The plan, which will come into effect this November, will focus on four areas—regulation, education, innovation and field sizes.

Of those four areas, notable updates include that players will now only have to breach the time allowances twice in a round to incur a one-stroke penalty, and players who are put on the clock at least 15 times next season will now be fined £26,000 compared to the £9,000 fine they currently face.

In their statement, the European Tour said

“When players are out of position and either being monitored or timed, a one-shot penalty will be incurred after two bad times – currently a player would be ‘monitored’ and if he breaches the time allowance (50 seconds for first to play, 40 seconds for second or third to play) he will then be ‘officially timed’ and would then have to breach twice more before being given a one-shot penalty. Players will, however, have the option to request one time extension per round, giving an additional 40 seconds to hit a shot on this request.”

The Tour will also look to reduce the number of players in the field at events where possible, while rules officials are set to be proactive regarding targeting slow players on the course.

Speaking on the four-point plan, Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, stated

“We are already at the forefront of pace of play management in the professional game, but after being mandated by our Tournament Committee to be even firmer in dealing with this issue, the time was right to take these additional steps.

I believe the plan we are implementing for the 2020 season will bring about meaningful change that will make golf even more enjoyable for the players and our fans, whether they are at the course in person or watching on television.”

To retain their European Tour card, each member will have to pass an interactive online rules test, while a trial pace of play timing system will be implemented at the Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth next month where there will also be larger gaps between start times over the weekend’s rounds.

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Tour Rundown: How the pros (and amateur) got it done this weekend

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The Presidents Cup automatic-qualifying chase came to an end on Sunday. While students returned to schools across the country, and football teams played their 2nd preseason games. 8 USA golfers and 8 World professionals were named to their respective teams. Each captain has f our at-large selections to make. For team USA, the unfortunately-underperforming Rickie Fowler may have two weeks for more Farmer’s Insurance commercials, as he finds himself in the #11 slot. Only Tiger Woods’ beneficence will save him from an early vacation. Xander Schauffele left nothing to chance this time around. After being ignored for a Ryder Cup captain’s pick last year, he made the PCup team on merit this year. The World team still has a load of Aussies (3 at last count) but has the presence of golfers from Taipei, Mexico, China, South Africa and Japan. This year’s competition at Royal Melbourne has the potential to be quite memorable, assuming that the qualifiers don’t lose their edge over the next four months.

As for individual competition this week, we had lots of it. Playoff events on two tours, a male US Amateur champion to go with last week’s female winner, and a terrific story of rags to riches on the Champions tour. Seize the day and enjoy this week’s Tour Rundown.

BMW Classic

You had to chuckle a bit this week as another of the game’s vaunted hollows caved to the expansive skill of the modern golf professional. Medinah #3 has long been held as a bastion of defense, but this week, well, they ate it up. Hideki Matsuyama shot 63 on Friday for a course record, then did it again on Sunday. Not only did he not win (he had 73 on Saturday) but his course record lasted all of 24 hours. Matsuyama did finish 3rd at -20, 2 shots behind Patrick Cantlay. The fellow who broke Matsuyama’s fresh course record was someone for whom 2018-19 has been relatively quite: Justin Thomas. So quiet, that is had been 53 weeks since his last victory. Thomas blistered Medinah Tres with 8 birdies and 2 eagles on Saturday, moving oh-so-close to the hallowed, sacred 59. In the spirit of generosity, he made bogey at the 6th (after opening with 5 birdies) to not completely eviscerate Matsuyama’s record (and Medinah’s spirit.) Of course, JT would open Sunday with a bogey, to give just a bit of hope to the chasers. He had 2 birdies on the outward nine, steadying the ship but certainly not assuring himself of anything. After making 6 at the par-5 10th (twice as many strokes as he needed 24 hours earlier) Thomas was once again forced to dig deep. In the past, he has been unable to follow up super-low rounds with the needed performance, but he was up to it on this day. The Kentucky lad made 4 birdies over the closing 8 holes to hold off Cantlay by 3.

Nationwide Championship

Scottie Scheffler knew that he was headed to the PGA Tour after this year’s FedEx Cup playoffs. The Korn Ferry Tour playoffs would offer him an opportunity to better his standing, and he accomplished that task during week one of the finals. Scheffler, 3rd place during the regular season, vaulted into 1st on the strength of his 2-shot win over the Killer Bs (Brendan Todd, Beau Hossler and Ben Taylor.) Scheffler played like a seasoned vet, despite his 23 years of age. Scheffler made just 4 bogies during his final three rounds of 68-67-67 at the Ohio State University’s Scarlet course. That miser’s touch separated him from his chasers and gave him his 2nd win of the season. 25 PGA Tour cards were awarded during the regular season, and 25 more will be delivered at the Korn Ferry tour championship on September 2nd. If nerve-wracking putts are your flavor, stay tuned over the next fortnight.

Real Czech Masters

Thomas Pieters reminds you of every great range superstar. His swing exudes control and power, and you can’t help wondering how he doesn’t contend every week. That’s the mystery of golf, but Pieters reminded us why he has played Ryder Cup golf for Europe with a win this week in the Czech Republic. The tall Belgian sat 2 back of Edoardo Molinari after 36 holes, then took charge with a 66 on Saturday. On his heels was the young Spaniard, Adrian Arnaus, who posted middle 65s to stand one back on Saturday evening. The final round was half-shootout, half-stumble. Defending champion Andrea Pavan came out of the woods with 8 birdies over the first 15 holes. On a day when he needed perfection and 10 birdies, Pavan closed with 1 bogey and 0 birdies to tie Sam Horsfield for 3rd spot. Arnaus had three bogies on the day, and 2 of them came on the heels of birdie and eagle. The opposite of bounce-back, Arnaus gave Pieters breathing room with those mistakes. Closing with birdies at 16 and 18, Arnaus reached 18 below par, to put pressure on the leader. Pieters was 4-under on the day through 12 holes, and needed only to avoid disaster over the closing stretch. He stumbled with a bogey of his own at the 16th, but finished with pars to claim his 4th Euro title, 2nd at the Czech Masters, and 1st since 2016.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Open

Sometimes, the right person wins. Doug Barron epitomizes journeyman; he had to Monday-qualify to get in this week, and even has an are-you-kidding suspension on his record … for testosterone supplements. He’s not a big guy, and has low testosterone. He’s not Fred Couples, nor Langer, nor McCarron. Today, however, he is the Dick’s Sporting Goods champion. Barron and Miguel Angel Jimenez began the week with 65s, and Barron never let up. He followed with 68 on Saturday, and came home in 66 on Sunday, for a 2-shot victory. Understand that he had one of the game’s great personalities, and top golfers, on his heels on Sunday. Fred Couples turned in a tremendous 63 to finish at 15-under par, 2 clear of 3rd-place Woody Austin. Couples had the luck of the sleepy on his side: he dunked his tee shot on the par-3 14th hole, took his penalty drop, then chipped in for 3. Staying at the birdie-par timeshare in round 3, Couples had 9 of each to put serious pressure on Barron. How did the unlikely winner respond? Nearly identical to Freddie. Barron had 0 bogies on the day, and only 1 the entire week. The title elevated him 50 spots on the Schwab Cup money list, giving him an opportunity to move into the season-ending, playoff chase over the next 8 events.

U.S. Amateur rests in Ogletree’s arms

Andy Ogletree and John Augenstein were a perfect match in the U.S. Amateur final at Pinehurst. Ogletree was the 18th-ranked golfer in on-site qualifying, while Augenstein was #20. Both have had distinguished careers in college (Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt, respectively) and both were named yesterday to the USA side for the upcoming Walker Cup at Royal Liverpool, in England. In a most unique final, the morning 18 was played on the #4 course, while the afternoon round took place on the #2 layout. During the AM, 10 holes were won by the golfers, while 8 were halved. Augenstein stood 2-up after 18, but Ogletree delivered a warning bell with a birdie at the last. Ogletree returned to the course in identical form, making birdie on the 2nd hole to close within one hole. Augenstein remained in command, as most holes were halved until the 29th. At that juncture, Ogletree seized command with 3 wins in the next 4 holes, moving from 2 down to 1 up. A par at the par-3 17th hole, the 35th of the day, gave the Georgia Tech golfer a 2 up lead with 1 to play, making him this year’s national amateur champion.

In other news, the USGA added 7 golfers to its Walker Cup side. The one surprising move was the naming of Ricky Castillo, #9 in WAGR rankings and winner of 2 matches at Pinehurst, as 2nd alternate. The USGA decided that Steven Fisk and Alex Smalley, both ranked lower than Castillo, were better bets for success. Fortunately for the California kid, he is 18 and should have an opportunity to make both the 2021 and 2023 squads.

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