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Morning 9: Most hyped PGA Champ since…? | Golf Digest sale | LaCava on Woods’ readiness

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

May 14, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.  
1. Elevated status
The Telegraph’s James Corrigan hits all the notes here…
  • “The temperature at this week’s USPGA is far cooler than it would be in Augusta and certainly it is much wetter on Long Island as well. But there can be no questioning that in terms of the hype, the mercury is rising to levels that could just prove unprecedented for the major that for so long was regarded as not only fourth on the calendar but also in importance.”
  • “Of course, the PGA of America has Tiger Woods to thank for that. His remarkable comeback win at The Masters five weeks ago has ensured that golf is going into Bethpage on the crest of a new wave of Tigermania. The New York crowd could never be classed as “reserved” in the most beige of times, but with the red-shirted one back prowling on the major hunt, the buzz is sure to be more vocal than ever by Thursday’s first round.”
2. Woods named in wrongful death suit
Via ESPN’s Bob Harig…
  • “Tiger Woods, restaurant manager Erica Herman, who is Woods’ girlfriend, and The Woods restaurant in Jupiter, Florida, are being sued for the wrongful death of an employee, who after working a shift in December drank alcohol at the restaurant before being killed in a driving accident.”
  • “Nicholas Immesberger, 24, had a blood-alcohol reading of .256, more than three times the legal limit in Florida, according to the suit filed in West Palm Beach, Florida. The lawsuit says Immesberger lost control of his car on Federal Highway in Martin County and suffered fatal injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene on Dec. 10, 2018.”
3. Golf Digest finds a buyer
AdAge’s Simon Dumenco on Discovery’s acquisition…
“The purchase is a logical strategic investment for Discovery, as the company notes in a release, saying that,”
  • “The acquisition creates a powerful programming engine by adding Golf Digest to GOLFTV’s offerings that already include exclusive carriage of the PGA TOUR, the European Tour and the Ladies European Tour, as well as the Masters Tournament, in select territories outside the U.S. and Discovery’s exclusive global content partnerships with Tiger Woods, winner of 82 PGA TOUR events and 15 major championships, and Francesco Molinari, winner of three PGA TOUR events and the reigning Open champion.”
  • “Discovery also seems quite happy to be bringing Jerry Tarde, the long-running editor-in-chief of the monthly, on board. He’s keeping his EIC role and adding “global head of strategy and content, Discovery Golf” to his title, which means he’ll also manage GOLFTV and report in to Alex Kaplan, president and general manager of Discovery Golf. Ad sales at Golf Digest fell under the purview of Eric Gillen, chief business officer of Condé Nast’s Lifestyle Division, which also includes Bon Appétit, Epicurious, Architectural Digest, Self and Condé Nast Traveler. Discovery’s existing golf-media sales apparatus is expected to take over.”
4. Perspective
Two points of note on the transaction, courtesy of Geoff Shackelford…
  • “Keith Kelley reported on Page Six (link not live) that Discovery paid $30 million for Golf Digest, Golf World and assorted elements after a “bidding war” with NBC/Comcast. Multiple sources tell me, however, that no bid was even made by Comcast.”
  • “The $30 million figure noted by Kelley, if his reporting is accurate, marks a steep plunge from the $430 million Conde Nast paid for Golf Digest in 2001. But they were also buying a robust monthly then with millions in lucrative monthly ad sales and a staff full of must-read writers.”
  • “…It seems hard to imagine any other scenario where the PGA Tour driving and selling the content by Golf Digest is a plus. Some fans may like that this keeps the operation viable, but I’m guessing most golfers wanting coverage of the game will be disappointed in where this leads.”

More of his take.

See the full press release, here.

5. JT out
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Justin Thomas has withdrawn from the PGA Championship with a lingering injury to his right wrist.”
  • “My wrist is not yet fully healed,” Thomas wrote in a statement he posted on Twitter. “Obviously as a past champion this tournament is extra special to me. It consistently has the strongest field in golf and I’m disappointed to not be among those competing this year but I’m optimistic about a return in the near future.”
6. Weather check
Golfweek’s David Dusek on the conditions at Bethpage…
  • “When it was announced that the PGA Championship was moving from August to May, some pundits and fans balked at the idea of holding a major championship in the Northeast or upper Midwest because of days like Monday at Bethpage State Park.”
  • “After about an inch of rain fell on the Black Course on Sunday, scattered showers and chilly temperatures persisted as a Nor’easter developed off the coast of southern New England, bringing showers and a chilly eastern wind that kept temperatures in the high 40s.”
7. Are New York golf fans really that rowdy?
That’s the question Joel Beall and Christopher Powers discuss…
Beall: “What was sui generis at Bethpage is now a common sight at every Ryder Cup, and though the behavior at the Waste Management Phoenix Open isn’t seen on a widespread basis, it’s sprinkled in on a weekly basis”
  • “There will be catcalls and jeers and a handful of “Boston sucks!” cries, but this ain’t Carolina traveling to Cameron Indoor Stadium. If anything, New Yorkers are some of the more knowledgeable fans out there. They view 2002 not as a badge of honor but scarlet letter.”
  • “The two things, or should I say players, that could change that: Tiger and Phil Mickelson. As we saw at Augusta, there’s collateral damage to those going up against Big Cat, and Phil’s rapport with New York is consummate. Anyone trying to impede these Hall of Famers from the Wanamaker may be on the receiving end of the gallery’s wrath.”
  • Powers: “He’s right about WMPO behavior being more prevalent than ever week in and week out, but you can double that type of behavior for a Met Area event. The strange desire to make it on Barstool’s Instagram page or Total Frat Move’s Twitter account brings out the absolute worst in folks, admittedly bros around my age that can’t handle their alcohol. Add in the Tiger factor and every move he makes near a camera will be an opportunity for some hardo to scream something dumb. God help whoever he’s playing with on Sunday if he’s even within shouting distance of the lead.”
8. LaCava’s take
Steve DiMeglio caught up with Woods’ looper at Bethpage…
  • “Being well rested is more important than anything,” LaCava said. “And winning the Masters took a lot out of him. Playing another tournament, wherever it might have been, I don’t think it would have been a setback, but it would have taken a lot out of him. Probably wouldn’t have done him any good because he would have been too tired. When you’re tired there’s no need to play.
  • “He’s happy, he’s in a good mood, he’s in good spirits. And I think he misses playing. How can’t you be in good spirits when you just came off a major win? He’s relaxed and fresh. I love it.”
9. Fake Media Day
If you haven’t seen it, you have to.
EuropeanTour.com staff…”so Eddie masterminded an epic prank that would test the very limits of Matt’s patience.”
  • “The BMW International Open defending champion thought he was being asked to take part in a Media Day, but he was secretly being filmed from start to finish on a day where everything that could go wrong, would go wrong.”
  • “Starting with an unbearably annoying courtesy car driver, followed by an impossible voiceover session led by a pushy director and ending with an unfortunate accident in a BMW showroom, Pepperell watched everything that happened from a secret location.”
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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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