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Morning 9: Origin story of the famed Bethpage “warning” sign | Sea change in player prep for majors?

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

May 15, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Tuesday tedium
Geoff Shackelford on the vibe at Bethpage and a possible sea change in player preparation
“…Sadly, this Tuesday tedium may be the new normal.”
  • “Players are increasingly focusing on saving energy by skipping or minimizing practice rounds. They’re choosing their press conference words carefully to avoid unwanted drama – though Woods and Koepka did their part. So we’re mostly left to wonder if a 53-year-old former winner will be able to navigate muddy puddles in his topless buggy.”
  • “It’s hard to say who started this accelerating trend of players doing all of their “prep” and “reps” before tournament week. With green books, smarter caddies, wiser instructors and more information than ever to scope out a course, practice rounds just aren’t as necessary. Even their equipment is so dialed in that we don’t get too many stories of players struggling to make a high-profile adjustment. That’s because plenty of rest is required to cope with five-and-a-half hour rounds in an era with the new condensed schedule making players pace themselves.  Led by, you know who, the Masters champion.”
2. “Just perfect”
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Despite the cold, gloomy conditions, Kerry Haigh smiled brightly when the PGA of America’s chief championships officer was asked about this week’s conditions at Bethpage Black.”
  • “As you can see or I’m sure some of the players have seen, the greens are just perfect. The fairways are beautiful. The rough is growing,” Haigh beamed.”
  • “If you asked me 3 ½ weeks ago, you always think, is spring ever going to come and are the trees going to bud and is the grass going to grow?” Haigh admitted. “Thankfully for all of our lives, that’s happened, and hopefully will continue to do so.”
3. Fox commentator makes it to U.S. Open sectionals
ICYMI, the Forecaddie on Shane Bacon’s impressive feat…
  • “The Forecaddie knows there are fantastic stories behind every U.S. Open local qualifier. So with an apology to the many other fine tales out there that Golfweek will be tracking down as we build to full Sectional Qualifying coverage, The Man Out Front couldn’t help but notice Shane Bacon’s successful effort at Phoenix Country Club.”
  • “You know him as Fox’s second lead announcer after Joe Buck, but social media followers know Bacon’s got a sweet move even if he is a lefty, something The Forecaddie won’t hold against him after posting 68 on his home course to advance to the Sectionals.”
  • “I’ve probably done local 8 or 9 times, sniffed the line a couple of times, fired awful numbers more,” Bacon wrote after being one of seven to advance from Phoenix on May 13. “It’s a small accomplishment in the landscape of golf, sure, but teeing it at 9:40 this morning and finding out at 2 pm you’re through is why we play, it’s why we care and it’s why we love the competition of the sport.”
4. Rory doesn’t think people fully appreciate the magnitude of Tiger Woods’ Masters win
Interesting take from the Ulsterman…
AP report…”Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy was still in awe Tuesday, two days before the start of the year’s second major, the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.”
  • “I still don’t think people understand what he did in April and coming back, and with everything that he’s been through,” McIlroy said. “It’s unbelievable. Whether it’s the greatest comeback in sports, that’s probably up for debate, but from what I’ve experienced and the things that he said when I’ve been around him, to be 2½ years ago from looking like maybe not playing golf again to winning the first major of the year and being the favorite going into the second major of the year, I mean, that’s unbelievable.”

 

5. The new Woods narrative
TW himself on his changing tale…
  • Mark Cannizarro at the NY Post…It’s great to be part of the narrative,” Woods said Tuesday in his first public remarks since his fifth career Masters victory in April, which also happened to be his 15th career major championship. “My narrative spans 20 years now, just over 20 years. If you look at most of the players or the players that have had the most success on Tour, you’re not measured by, like an NFL football player when you get in the Hall of Fame after nine years. If you played out here nine years, you haven’t really done that well. You’re measured in decades. Because the nature of the sport, we’re able to hang around a lot longer and still be relevant.”
  • …”Whether I’m dominant or not going forward, that remains to be seen,” Woods said. “What I know is I need to give myself the best chance to win the events that I play in, and sometimes that can be taking a little bit more breaks here and there and making sure that I am ready to go and being able to give it my best at those events.”
6. Brooks’ major math
A Jack Nicklaus-esque breakdown…
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…Koepka has won just twice outside the majors, in 2015 at the Waste Management in Phoenix and last fall at the CJ Cup in South Korea. While many contenders head into weeks like this with lofty aspirations, Koepka arrives at Bethpage State Park with a confidence level befitting a man who’s running out of room on his mantle.
  • “I think you keep doing what you’re supposed to do, you play good, you peak at the right times,” Koepka said. “I think sometimes the majors are the easiest ones to win.”
  • …”There’s 156 [players] in the field, so you figure at least 80 of them I’m just going to beat,” Koepka said. “You figure about half of them won’t play well from there, so you’re down to about maybe 35. And then from 35, some of them just – pressure is going to get to them. It only leaves you with a few more, and you’ve just got to beat those guys.”
7. The story of Bethpage Black’s famed “warning” sign
George Willis of the NY Post talked with Mike Asheroff, former deputy regional director for the Long Island State Parks…
  • He said the sign originated on Memorial Day, either in 1981 or ’82, maybe even 1980. Asheroff said he was sitting having coffee with Eric Siebert, who was the parks superintendent at the time, when Siebert’s two-way radio alerted them of an altercation on the golf course.
  • “We went out there and some guy had decided he was going to teach his wife to play golf on Memorial Day on the Black Course,” Asheroff told The Post in a telephone interview. “There were four or five empty holes in front of them and a foursome of very angry Asian golfers behind them. They were getting upset with the man and the woman and their English wasn’t good. To hurry them up, they hit several balls into him and his wife. He turned around and hit the balls back at them. They all became extremely angry.
  • “The park police showed up. We managed to get this guy off the golf course. His wife was mortified. We refunded his green fee and told him to go away.”
  • Here’s where the legend of the Black Warning Sign is born.
  • “I turned to Eric at that point and said, ‘Give me a piece of paper,’ and I scribbled out the wording of the sign and said, ‘Get the sign shop to make this up and put it by the park register and if anybody wants to play golf on the Black, point it out to them.’ That’s how the sign got out there,” Asheroff recalled.
8. Woods on Daly’s cart use
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…
  • “Speaking to the media at Bethpage Black, Woods was asked his thoughts on Daly using a cart at the PGA Championship. Last week the PGA of America granted the 53-year-old, who is in the field thanks to the lifetime exemption earned from his 1991 PGA Championship victory, access to wheels under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Daly suffers from osteoarthritis in his right knee.”
  • “Yet Woods, realizing the opportunity before him, was stoic in his response: “Well, I walked with a broken leg, so…” Woods replied, letting out a brief smile after a beat.”
9. What Brooks is cooking
Golf Channel’s Jason Crook…”It may not get the same hype as the Masters Champions Dinner, but the PGA Champions Dinner delivered the goods on Tuesday night at Bethpage.”
  • “Defending champion Brooks Koepka’s menu included a choice of Miyazaki beef imported from Japan, roasted Long Island duck or branzino filet for the main course, sandwiched between an appetizer of spinach and goat cheese salad topped with fried pork belly and carrot cake for dessert.”

 

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Morning 9: Latest memo from Tour to players | Phil’s post-Match perspective | Greg Norman’s regrettable take

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1. Latest “bubble” memo
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard details the most recent communique from Tour to its players…“In a memo sent to players on Wednesday, tournament director Michael Tothe outlined many of the protocols that will be required when play resumes on June 11 at Colonial including the four Fort Worth, Texas, hotels that will create the foundation of the circuit’s “bubble” for the week.”
  • “The core of the PGA Tour’s plan to return was always about testing, but it’s a fine line to walk. In two weeks, at the Charles Schwab Challenge, we’ll find out if it will be enough.”
  • “Players are allowed to stay in individual RVs or rental homes but they are being encouraged to assure the health and safety of their accommodations if they choose to stay outside the bubble.”
  • “Players were also informed where COVID-19 testing will occur when they arrive in Fort Worth as well as meal options at Colonial, which will be limited to grab-and-go lunches in order to follow safety protocols.”
2. Little John finishes second at Crooked Stick 
Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star…Daly II made that same walk on Wednesday, up the 18th fairway for the final round of the inaugural Dye Junior Golf Invitational at Crooked Stick.”
  • “I think a lot of guys have re-watched the 1991 PGA tournament,” Daly II said. “I watched it every night before the tournament. (Watching him) walk down the 18th with all of the fans everywhere was pretty cool. He started as the ninth alternate and didn’t expect to play. For him to win, it was a ridiculous story. He loves it.”
  • “Daly II put together a remarkable tournament in his own right, finishing a three-way tie for second place behind winner John Marshall Butler of Louisville, Kentucky. Daly II was 4 over for the two-day, 54-hole event, which featured 33 of the top high school boys players in the country and 33 of the same on the girls’ side.”
3. Phil open to wearing mic
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Speaking on the Dan Patrick Show, Mickelson admitted that he didn’t expect the same level of banter during a typical Tour event with a seven-figure prize on the line, but he’d nonetheless be willing to broadcast his inside-the-ropes dialogue.”
  • “I would be open to the idea because of how it’s being received, and some of the insight and so forth,” Mickelson said. “But you don’t have the play between individuals. I had a partner, and Tom and I could talk back and forth. And maybe you could get some of that with the caddie, but having a partner is much more intimate and you have much better conversation.”
4. …wants annual Match
AP report…”Phil Mickelson, fresh off the success of Sunday’s charity golf exhibition with Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, says he would like to see “The Match” become an annual event.”
  • “I think you could showcase guys like Steph Curry and Michael Jordan or Tony Romo and Patrick Mahomes, who are all good golfers, elite talents and have great personalities,” Mickelson told the Los Angeles Times in a column published Wednesday. “Those personalities are going to come out with this event. Or you could have someone who loves the game and is competitive but is really entertaining like Larry David and Bill Murray. I think that could shine.”
5. More audience info
Interesting stuff from Geoff Shackelford…“According to Showbuzzdaily.com, almost 1/3 of The Match 2’s audience was in the coveted 18-49 demo and the number was even better on on TruTV, also meaning there are people of any age group who know how to find TruTV”
  • “About 30% of The Match’s audience landed in the 18-49 demo despite the 44.5 average age of the participants…The numbers for TaylorMade Driving Relief with a foursome averaging 29.5 years”
  • “That’s 25% of the almighty buyers for a younger, supposedly more millennial-friendly group of golfers. And a grand total of (at least) 860,000 fewer viewers 18-49.  While not a huge difference in the percentage department, The Match did rout Driving Relief in overall audience and even took chipped away at NASCAR’s ratings.”

Full piece.

6. After a long layoff, how do the pros play?
Dylan Beirne, 15th Club for PGATour.com, examines the question…“As we might expect, there’s a clear relationship between performance and the number of weeks a player has been off. We can analyze how well players perform by comparing our estimate of their ability (how we would expect them to perform) to how they actually performed.”
  • “Generally, players taking small breaks of two weeks or less are marginally better than expected, while longer breaks result in an average drop in performance of between 0.1 and 0.2 strokes per round. For context, a drop of 0.2 strokes per round is about the gap between 100th- and 135th-ranked players in the world. It’s a significant change, but not enormous.”
  • “Additionally, the drop in performance after a 10-20 week gap is quite consistent across different levels of players. Top-50 players in the world are affected by a similar amount to those outside the top 50.”
7. A really bad take from Greg Norman
I mean, what else can you call it? A man who has a history of obtuseness and putting his fin in his mouth outdid himself with unfounded speculation about the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash in an interview with Michael Bamberger…“I asked Norman about the January helicopter crash in Los Angeles that killed all nine people aboard, Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, among them. I asked Norman if he had any insight, from his own experience as a helicopter pilot, and as an elite athlete who has flown often in helicopters as a passenger, into the tragedy.”
  • “Yes – yes,” he said. His voice was sober. “Probably pilot error and pressure from the back,” Norman said. Norman could imagine the legendary basketball player saying, “‘Get me through this; get me there. I’ve got to get my daughter to this game.’
  • …”My instructor and I had a saying, ‘If you can’t see through it don’t fly through it.’ If I was flying to Doral or Orlando or Naples and there was fog, we just put it down and waited it out.”
8. Sprint to the Cup
Ben Everill at PGATour.com…“The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting cancellations and postponements of tournaments leaves just 11 eligible tournaments over a 10-week stretch for players to qualify for the Playoffs and a chance at the $15 million bonus that comes with the season-long FedExCup crown.”
  • “While the top 125 will not double as the cutoff for TOUR cards next season in this reduced schedule, it will remain the mark to get into THE NORTHERN TRUST, the first of three Playoffs events in the chase for the FedExCup.”
  • “Gone is the luxury of extended rest between starts for those sitting way back on the list, such as Koepka, who was just starting to find his feet again on a return from injury when the pandemic halted play in March.”

 

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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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