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Morning 9: Kang breaks though | End of the “muni major” era | Rain ahead at Bethpage?

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

May 13, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. Kang breaks through
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge with some succinct commentary on Sung Kang’s Byron Nelson win…
  • “With soft fairways and calm conditions, Trinity Forest didn’t offer much of a test in its second year hosting the AT&T Byron Nelson.”
  • “Nor did anyone in the field test Sung Kang down the stretch en route to his first career PGA Tour victory Sunday.”
  • “The 31-year-old from South Korea ran away from Matt Every, Brooks Koepka and the rest of the contenders with a 4-under 67 in the final round, securing victory in his 159th Tour start. Kang shot 23-under 261 for the week, the lowest winning score in relation to par since Adam Long took home the Desert Classic in January at 26 under.”
2. European Tour
EuropeanTour.com report on Marcus Kinhult’s surprising emergence from the pack at the British Masters…
  • “Marcus Kinhult secured his maiden European Tour title at the 52nd time of asking after producing a birdie-birdie finish to win the Betfred British Masters by a single shot.”
  • “There was late drama at Hillside Golf Club on Sunday as Kinhult, Matt Wallace, defending champion Eddie Pepperell and young Scot Robert MacIntyre were locked together at 15 under par when the final group containing overnight leaders Kinhult and Wallace stood on the 18th tee.”
  • “With Pepperell and MacIntyre watching on following the conclusion of their rounds, Kinhult coolly rolled in his eight foot birdie putt at the last to sign for a final-round 70 and make his European Tour breakthrough.”

Full piece. 

3. Meanwhile, on the Web.com Tour…
Golfweek’s JuliaKate E. Culpepper…“Michael Gellerman scored a final-round 69 Sunday at the KC Golf Classic to earn his first Web.com Tour win.”
  • “Gellerman, who had three birdies on Sunday at Blue Hills Country Club in Kansas City, Mo., finished the tournament 11-under 277, one stroke ahead of Harry Higgs and Nelson Ledesma.”

Full piece.

4. Regions Tradition final round postponed, Stricker leads
AP Report…”Four and a half hours of steady rain later, PGA Tour Champions officials postponed the round until Monday. Play resumes with an early two-tee start.”
  • “A handful of players got in one hole Sunday before having to leave the course. The leaders haven’t started the final round of the first of five senior major championships.”
  • “Steve Stricker holds a two-stroke lead at 14-under 202. Two-time Tradition winner Bernhard Langer, David Toms and Billy Andrade are all two strokes back.”
5. A new kitchen for mum
While Robert MacIntyre didn’t win the British Masters, his mother did win a new cooking space…
  • Brian McLauchlin at the BBC…”The Scot’s final round of 66 put him on 15-under in Southport, leaving him tied for second, just one stroke behind Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult.”
  • “MacIntyre’s showing will see him take home over £200,000 – the biggest prize of his career.”
  • “She’s getting her kitchen now. She’s got it, it’s a done deal,” he said.
6. Rain ahead at Bethpage?
Doug Ferguson with the early report from Farmingdale…
  • “Major championship golf returned to Bethpage State Park and found the Black course just how it left it 10 years ago: wet.”
  • “More than one-half inch of rain fell Sunday as some players began to arrive for the PGA Championship, which was moved up three months on the calendar to May for the first time in 70 years. Only two players made it so far as the practice range – former champion Rich Beem and Li Haotong of China.”
  • “Without having played either of the U.S. Opens at Bethpage Black, he knows enough that 7,459 yards for a par 70 will play a lot longer on wet grass. More rain and cool weather – temperatures in the lower 50s – were forecast for the next two days.”
7. End of an era
Geoff Shackelford reports on the brief time of “municipal courses hosting major championships” coming to an end…
  • “After a state of New York publicly owned course hosts this year’s PGA Championship followed in five years by the Ryder Cup, a distinct era in American golf will come to a close. Following the biennial team matches on Long Island in the fall of 2024, there are no traditional American municipal courses on the major championship or Ryder Cup schedule.”
  • “…The end of munis on the major schedule is hardly an indictment on the experiment that brought golf’s biggest events to such places as Bethpage, Torrey Pines and next year’s PGA Championship to TPC Harding Park after significant renovation work. Past tournaments were financial successes and enjoyed way more energetic celebrations of the sport when played at the people’s courses. The tournaments generally have left facilities in a much better place than the USGA or PGA of America found them. But gouging golf course contractors, excessive bureaucratic demands and irrational expectations for one week of tournament golf drove up costs at times.”
8. Spieth ready?
Golf Channel’s Will Gray on Jordan Spieth’s finish at the Bryon Nelson and where it leaves him heading to Bethpage…
  • “Spieth shot an even-par 71 in the final round of the AT&T Byron Nelson, a score that was three shots higher than any of his previous three efforts and one that dropped him into a tie for 29th in his hometown event. After missing the Tour Championship for the first time last season, he’s now gone 14 starts this season without a single top-20 finish and sits at 150th in the season-long points race.”
  • “I was very disappointed with even par, just with how score-able the conditions are. But, you know, I feel like I made some progress,” Spieth told reporters. “Like the way I putted this week, continuing to putt better and better each week which is nice, frees the long game up. Better this week than it has been any week this year, so feels like good stuff coming. Just stay the course.”
9. ICYMI: Tour pro hits wife with errant shot
Rough stuff for pro Tyler Duncan’s wife Friday at the Byron Nelson…
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall tells the tale…
  • “Duncan’s approach at the par-4 13th at Trinity Forest sailed to the right of the green on Friday and hit a spectator. A spectator that Duncan holds close to his heart.”
  • “Today I hit my wife in the head on that hole,” he told reporters after Round 2. “Took a big bounce and hit her, I guess.”
  • “Duncan said he was not aware that it was his wife until after the round, meaning he can’t use the incident as an excuse for failing to get up-and-down on the hole. “I had a little mud on the ball, little unfortunate timing there and shot out to the right,” he explained.”

 

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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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