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Morning 9: How many majors will Koepka win? | Getting to know BK’s caddie | eSports comes to the European Tour

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

May 21, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Koepka’s coach speaks
Coming fresh off the celebration of Brooks Koepka’s fourth major win, Koepka’s long-time coach, Claude Harmon III chatted with Johnny Wunder as he was just about to hop on a plane back to The Floridian.
A bit of their conversation…
  • JW: Brooks is walking off the 18th green after another major triumph. What is the first thing you guys said to each other?
  • CH3: Well, obviously there was a lot of emotion in that moment, but he told me it was the happiest he has ever been on the golf course, and after everything he’s done, that’s a big statement.
  • For him to put in all the hard work and to fight as hard as he did on a golf course that completely changed on the last day and come out on top makes me extremely grateful to be a part of the team that supports that. I believe he will find out more about himself from getting through the final nine holes than he would if he would have had a parade coming in and won by seven.
  • JW: That’s a great point. It seems like he is more apt to win even more majors based on that back nine than he would have otherwise.
  • CH3: I don’t think if you were watching it on TV you could have any appreciation for just how difficult it was. What DJ did yesterday was impossible and having that up ahead applies even more pressure to a leader. Ricky Elliott and BK are looking at the scoreboard and seeing DJ and 3 under and having no idea how that’s even possible. It was that tough.
  • JW: I think Brooks stubbornness is part of his true greatness. Would you agree?
  • CH3: His perspective constantly was “I’m still in the lead and someone is going to have to catch me and this golf course is extremely difficult.” Even after all the bogeys on the back side, he still controlled the lead and kept that mantra. The crowd yelling “DJ! DJ!” actually didn’t piss him off, it woke him up and made him want to hit a good drive and show the crowd he was still leading.

2. Welcome to Brough Creek National!

Our Peter Schmitt spoke with the founders of the (in-progress) backyard golf course that has taken Instagram by storm…
  • “Raise your hand if you’ve ever wanted a golf course in your backyard.”
  • “Of course you have.”
  • “Now leave your hand raised if you actually rolled up your sleeves and made it happen.”
  • “Among the very few people left with their hands in the air are Ben Hotaling, Zach Brough, Evan Bissell, and Mark Robinson, the driving force behind Brough Creek National. That’s right. These guys are building a golf course in their backyard. From scratch.”
  • “The true beginnings of golf aren’t well-documented, but one thing’s for sure: people were playing golf at least 400 years before the first working internal combustion engine. Long before golf course architecture was a multi-million dollar investment before the first dime of revenue trickled in, courses were laid down largely by hand using the natural movement of the land. In that same spirit, Ben happened to notice that there was one particular shot in their backyard that reminded him of the Road Hole at St. Andrews, as it plays over their barn and to a green situated right in front of the road to the property.”
3. How many majors does BK win?
ESPN’s panel of golf experts (and Michael Collins–just kidding…love you, Michael) discusses this subject (and others)
  • “Bob Harig: Seven. He is making it look easy right now, but we all know that it is not. Rory McIlroy seemed destined for double-digit majors five years ago and is stuck on four. Jordan Spieth, same thing. It’s hard to win them, and while he’s got a great formula, stuff happens. And let’s say he does get seven. That is still phenomenal.”
  • “Michael Collins: Twelve … if he stays healthy. I think his philosophy on how to approach tournaments is working pretty damn well so far. Why would he change anything? Let’s say he has 10 more “solid” years — that’s 40 major chances. What has he shown that would make you believe he can’t go 8-for-40?”
  • “Ian O’Connor: I love the fact that Koepka is gunning for 10 or more and, according to his former college coach, gunning for Tiger’s 15 and Jack’s 18. But since his great uncle Dick Groat was buddies with another slugger with blacksmith arms, Arnold Palmer, I’ll give Brooks Arnie’s seven.”
4. Get used to it
….as though you weren’t already.
Tod Leonard of the San Diego Union Tribune…
  • “If there was something we learned from Brooks Koepka’s dominating and then nerve-jangling victory in the PGA Championship on Sunday, it is to step back, put away our biases, and appreciate the history we are seeing.”
  • “Koepka is never going to be as eloquent in sharing his thoughts at Rory McIlroy. He doesn’t possess Jason Day’s all-out candor, or Jordan Spieth’s entertaining nervous chatter.”
  • “Koepka is never going to smile just because we want him to. It seems that only looking into his reflection in a trophy can do that.”
  • “Yet, the man, still a golfing pup who only turned 29 this month, is evolving in the public eye while becoming one of the game’s most intriguing characters.”
  • “We could all do a better job of recognizing that.”
5. Ricky!
An excellent portrait of Brooks Koepka’s caddie, Northern Irishman Ricky Elliott, in this BBC report…
  • “Elliott was a good golfer in his own right, winning titles such as the Ulster Boys Championship and the Ulster Youth Championship as well as representing Ireland at the 1990 European Youths Championship.”
  • “After attending the University of Toledo on a golf scholarship, Elliott tried to make it as a professional before accepting an assistant professional’s post at Lake Nona in Orlando.”
  • “The 42-year-old eventually moved into caddying and worked for the likes of 2003 Open champion Ben Curtis before the job opportunity which would change his life at the 2013 US PGA.”
  • “Claude Harmon was coaching Brooks and he said he needed a caddie for Oak Hill,” Elliott added.
6. European ETour Championship
Interesting stuff…
“The European Tour has teamed up with Dreamhack to launch its first esports competition – the European eTour Championship – at this week’s Made in Denmark presented by FREJA.”
  • “Eight of the best players from around the world in the most popular online golf game “World Golf Tour” by Topgolf will go head-to-head in knockout match play format for a prize fund of $5,000 – the biggest prize pool in an esports golf tournament.”
  • “These eight players represent the more than 15 million players around the world that play World Golf Tour (WGT) for the most realistic golf game experience online or on their mobile devices.”
7. Don’t compare
JT, for one, is having none of the “2000-2001 Tiger vs Brooks” talk…
Per Golfweek’s Roxanna Scott…”You can’t compare any of us to Tiger because the stuff that Tiger did – nobody has come close to. Now if Brooks continues this run and does this for 15 years, yeah you can compare the two somewhat. The guy’s won four majors; Tiger’s won 15,” Thomas said Monday morning at a media event at Ralph Lauren’s headquarters in Manhattan to launch his new PoloGolfxJT collection for the brand.
“They’re just so different. It’s not fair to Brooks either; everyone should be bowing down to him and giving him the utmost respect because what he’s done is nothing short of miraculous and unbelievable. I know I’m jealous of him. I’m just hoping somehow to do some of the same.”
8. Equipment streaks
Golf Digest’s E. Michael Johnson with an interesting note about some equipment-related major championship streaks…
  • “Brooks Koepka has now won three of the past five major championships played and four of eight. How historically dominant is Koepka’s stretch? Only Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan are the only male golfers to have won four majors in a eight-major stretch in the modern era. Koepka’s PGA Championship win has elevated him into elite territory.”
  • “There were a few other impressive streaks in majors solidified on Sunday as it relates to the equipment front. Koepka’s winner’s bag from the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black extended four significant equipment runs in drivers, driver shafts, irons shafts and the golf ball. TaylorMade, Mitsubishi and True Temper have all won the past five majors while Titleist golf balls have found the winner’s circle in eight of the last nine, with Tiger Woods’ win at this year’s Masters using a Bridgestone ball stopping a seven-major winning streak for Titleist.”
9. Another side of BK
Golfweek’s Forecaddie…
“Every so often Brooks Koepka will send Florida State coach Trey Jones a text message that reads – Do you guys need a ride?”
“That translates to a lift in a private jet for the FSU men’s golf team.”
“Jones told the Forecaddie that the now four-time major winner is largely misunderstood. Koepka isn’t going to offer up much information – about his generosity or otherwise -­ unless directly asked. “
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  1. Speedy

    May 21, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    We’re used to BK winning majors, and what a breath of fresh air it is.

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Morning 9: Red lights for slow play? | Thorbjorn still suspended | Rory on Solheim slow play

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

September 19, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. Red lights for slow play at Wentworth this week
Golf Digest’s John Huggan…”A lot of the time players are unaware that they are out of position,” said John Paramor, the European Tour’s chief referee. “So we felt that we would like to find a method that would tell them when they are. So we are trialing this week a system where they will have that information on five tees [Nos. 4, 7, 10, 13 and 16]. The previous group’s time will be recorded when they walk off the green. Then that time will be deducted from that of the next group, who will then be able to tell if they are within time.”
  • “Specifically, each monitor will operate a color-coded system, similar to a traffic light. If the number shown is red, then that group can expect to be monitored by the rules team very soon thereafter. If it is green, the players are in good shape and in position with the group ahead. Amber means the group is only slightly out position, but the players should be aware that they are going to have to move a little quicker.”

Full piece.

2. Thorbjorn stays suspended
BBC Staff report…”Danish golfer Thorbjorn Olesen will remain suspended from the European Tour until his court case is finished.”
  • “The 29-year-old Ryder Cup winner made his second appearance in court on Wednesday, charged with sexual assault and being drunk on an aircraft.”
  • “Olesen, of Chelsea, south-west London, has also been charged with assault by beating.
  • “…Olesen, who has been granted unconditional bail, did not enter a plea at a short hearing on Wednesday at Isleworth Crown Court.”

Full piece. 

3. Why Rory re-joined the European Tour…
From a Press Association report…”Everyone has to look out for themselves and next year I’m looking out for me,” McIlroy said during the DP World Tour Championship in November, before describing the European Tour as “a stepping stone” ahead of the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January.”
  • “However, following a meeting with European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley, McIlroy took up his membership before the May 1 deadline and can begin earning points for the 2020 Ryder Cup when qualification begins with this week’s BMW PGA Championship.”
  • “Asked what led to the change of heart, McIlroy said: “My wife. She said to me, ‘what are you trying to do, or what sort of point are you trying to make?’.”

Full piece.

4. Rory on Solheim slow play
Martin Dempster at The Scotsman quoting McIlroy…”I think it’s a start,” said the world No 2 of a GPS tracking devices being used to monitor each group’s position on the course, with the data to be displayed on five tees to inform players where they stand in relation to the groups around them.”
  • “Get all the latest news, analysis and expert opinion with an online subscription Subscribe Today”
  • “Look, it’s not a great thing for our game. I don’t want to single out particular people, but I watched a lot of the Solheim Cup at the weekend, and it was really slow. As much as you want to sit there and watch and support the European girls, it’s just hard not to get frustrated with it. If I’m a fan – and I am a fan of golf – I want the best for the game. It’s hard because there’s different scenarios where you have to take your time. It was tough conditions up there. It was windy. It was tough.”
5. The PGA Tour is also using GPS slow play tracking…
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”The PGA Tour began using GPS tracking devices this year at “numerous” events, including The Players in March, as well as information provided by ShotLink.”
  • “We’ve used ShotLink data for some time to work with players over the years and maybe show them areas of their game where they might take a little more time,” said Tyler Dennis, the Tour’s chief of operations. “These [GPS] devices are the last missing piece. How long does it take to reach a tee, how fast do they walk. These are things that we can now see.”
  • “The Tour announced last month a plan to review its pace-of-play policy using data generated by ShotLink and Dennis explained that players have been asked at various events this season to test the tracking devices, which are simply placed in a player’s golf bag.”

Full piece.

6. Vice captain Karlsson 
Via RyderCup.com…”European Captain Padraig Harrington has named Robert Karlsson as his first vice captain for The 2020 Ryder Cup against the United States at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin next September.”
  • “The 50-year-old Swede twice represented Europe in The Ryder Cup – including partnering Harrington twice in foursomes at Valhalla in 2008 – and he will return to the backroom team in the biennial contest having been vice captain to Thomas Bjørn at Le Golf National in 2018″
7. Distinguished service
Via the PGA.com staff…”Barbara Nicklaus, one of the game’s most successful ambassadors and admired advocates for the healthcare of future generations in addition to being the wife of the greatest champion in golf history, has been named recipient of the 2019 PGA Distinguished Service Award.”
  • “Nicklaus, 79, will be honored Tuesday, Nov. 5, at the PGA of America’s 103rd Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida. Since 1988, the PGA Distinguished Service Award honors outstanding individuals who display leadership and humanitarian qualities, including integrity, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the game of golf.”

Full piece. 

8. Jack discusses the Concession 
And in news related to her husband…the Golden Bear recently discussed the most famous gimme in pro golf history…
  • USA Today, Golfweek’s Steve DiMeglio...”Jacklin left his putt two feet short, while Nicklaus ran his attempt five feet by the hole. But Nicklaus drained his comebacker and then extended his hand in a gesture that was criticized by a few at the time but heralded by many more ever since.
  • “I knew going down the 18th hole as long as I didn’t lose the hole, we would retain the cup. Jacklin had a 25-footer and I had a 17- or 18-footer. He ran it up close and I ran it five feet by the hole and thought ‘Oh what an idiot,'” Nicklaus said. “I had a downhill left-to-right slider that I made, and I knew the match was essentially over from the standpoint of losing. I didn’t think of all this at the same time, but Tony had been the first hero that England had had in a long time. If he would’ve missed that putt, the British press would’ve barbecued him.”
  • “Instead of Jacklin facing a knee-knocker to earn the first tie in Ryder Cup history, Nicklaus bent over and picked up his opponent’s marker and conceded the putt. The two finished equal and the matches ended up 16-16. “

Full piece. 

9. Bhatia ready for the big time
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”At just 17 years old, Bhatia bears the fresh face and thin frame you might expect of a typical high school senior. His golf game, however, is ready for the big time. At least that’s the assertion of Bhatia and his close-knit team, as the teen sensation gets ready to make his pro debut this week at the Sanderson Farms Championship without ever setting foot on a college campus.”
  • “Bhatia’s game is well-regarded in the amateur ranks. He won the prestigious Jones Cup, was ranked No. 5 in the world and just this month helped the U.S. to a Walker Cup victory at Royal Liverpool. Bhatia received social media well-wishes Wednesday from former world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, whose academy in South Carolina has been a frequent destination for the bespectacled southpaw as he honed his game.”
  • “Bhatia’s fast track to the pros has not been an overnight decision. When he made his PGA Tour debut in March, missing the cut with rounds of 74-72 at the Valspar Championship, he told reporters that he and his parents had talked about his option to skip college since he was in the eighth grade.”

 

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Morning 9: Secrets of wedge stamping | Woods’ GF dismissed from wrongful death suit | Golf art masterpiece

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

September 18, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
5 USC!
Adam Woodard at Golfweek hyping the Trojans! 
“There’s no denying the NCAA Championship-level talent on hand this week at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M.”
  • “Since its inception in 2014, the event has boasted the best field in women’s Div. I golf. But if you ask preseason No. 1 USC, this week’s competition at Royal Golf Club is no more difficult than one of its pre-tournament qualifiers.”
  • “If you ask (Gabriela Ruffels), probably the biggest driver in her improvement is having to compete at home every week in qualifiers,” head coach Justin Silverstein said of his 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion.
  • “Silverstein’s squad returns eight players – five of whom were Golfweek All-Americans – from last season’s team that won seven events. Just how good are the Trojans on paper…”

(Find out in the) full piece.

6. Knee injury for Rose
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Rose withdrew from Wednesday’s pro-am at the European Tour’s flagship event citing a knee injury.”
  • “Last Thursday I slipped and jarred my knee,” Rose said in a statement. “Since then I have been getting treatment on the injury and I have been working hard with Justin Buckthorp and my medical team away from the course in order to ensure I am able to play in this week’s BMW PGA Championship. I am doing everything I can to be fit to play on Thursday.”

Full piece.

7. Who needs an equipment makeover?
I don’t agree with the premise, but it’s a witty piece nevertheless! E. Michael Johnson at Golf Digest rounds up players in need of an “equipment makeover”
“Henrik Stenson…It’s hard to knock a former major winner who also sits at No. 31 in the world ranking, but it’s time for Henrik Stenson to retire some clubs in his bag, notably the Callaway Legacy irons and Callaway Diablo Octane 3-wood (above). We know he has the strongest level of comfort with that fairway wood. But it dates back more than a decade (it debuted in 2008), and the Grafalloy Blue shaft in it goes back another five years to 2003. It’s one thing to have a “trusty” club in the bag. It’s another to have something that leads people to believe you might have stolen it from the USGA Golf House Museum. As for the irons, Stenson used this model to win the FedEx Cup … in 2013. We applaud loyalty, just not this much.”
“Bubba Watson…”I hate changing equipment,” Bubba Watson told Golf Digest in 2013. When it comes to his irons, that’s a bit of an understatement. The two-time Masters champion has used his Ping S55 irons since the 2012 BMW Championship (save for a few weeks with a different set). This after using the company’s S59 irons since 2004. So change comes slowly for Bubba. There are reasons, however. For starters, Watson is the ultimate “feel player,” noticing the slightest of differences. His specs are also not typical. His S55s are a half-inch longer in length with an extreme heel grind on the 3- through 5-irons. They’re also one degree upright, and the grips are massively oversized with 10 wraps of tape on the top and 12 wraps on the bottom. Still, having the same irons for seven seasons would seem to indicate it’s time for a change-even if you don’t like it.”
8. The craziest thing you’ve ever done for golf? 
Ryan Barath frames his trip to Sweetens Cove for the Oil Hardened Classic…
  • “Let me start by saying that I’m not a “Bag Tag Barry” or really a bucket list course kinda guy. Yes, I have courses I want to play, but at the moment the highest on the list starts and ends with the Old Course at St. Andrews – because, simple – it’s St. Andrews. Beyond that, my “hoping to play” list pretty much the standard classics.”
  • “But it doesn’t mean that I haven’t gone WAY out of my way to play, especially when you think about the recent 1600-plus mile journey I just took to Sweetens Cove to play in the First Annual “Oil Hardened Classic” run by Eternal Summer Golf Society.
  • “Sweetens has been on my radar since I first heard about it, and if you are at all interested in course architecture I’m sure it has been on your radar for a while too…”

Full piece.

9. The golf art you didn’t know you needed
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Phil Mickelson’s foray into social media the past year has produced its share of art works. But the masterpiece-or should we say, Masters piece-that made the digital rounds on Monday takes that phenomenon to a new level.”
“Matt Landers is a painter specializing in oil canvasing. A fact we only know thanks to this thing of beauty…”

 

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Morning 9: Solheim Cup finish for the ages | Credit where it’s due | Will Tiger pick Tiger? continued

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

September 16, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. For the ages!
Ron Sirak for LPGA.com says this year’s Solheim Cup was one of the best ever (and he’s not wrong!)…”Rarely in sports does reality match expectation. More often than not, the happening falls short of the hype. But the 14½-13½ Solheim Cup victory by Europe over the United States on Sunday at Gleneagles was better than advertised – almost better than imaginable.”
  • “You’d have to search far and wide to find a more dramatic finish anywhere in the history of sports. With the last shot of the day, Suzann Pettersen – a controversial captain’s pick – rolled in a 7-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to secure the victory. A miss and the U.S. would have won for the third consecutive time.”
  • “Like the Ryder Cup, this has just grown so hugely,” said Catriona Matthew, the Scottish woman who captained Europe to victory in her homeland. “It came down to the last putt on the last hole. You can’t get more exciting than that.”
  • “The victory by Europe denied Juli Inkster a chance to become the only captain with three victories and it stopped the Americans from winning three in a row for the third time in the competition. The Solheim Cup now stand 10-6 in favor of the United States.”

Full piece.

2. Credit where it’s due
Golf Digest’s Keely Levins says that while Pettersen will rightfully get the headlines, don’t forget the work of Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall at Gleneagles.
  • “But while all of this is going on, let’s not forget two other players who deserve a lot of the credit for Europe’s win: Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall. Each posted 4-0-0 records for the week, and together they earned five of Europe’s 14½ points at Gleneagles.”
  • “Like Pettersen, Catriona Matthew took Boutier with one of her captain’s picks. The 25-year-old from France won her first LPGA event in February, the ISPS Handa Vic Open. She then went on to top-10 finish in two major championships, making her a sensible choice.”

Full piece.

3. Bright spots for the U.S. 
Golfweek’s Roxanna Scott on the shining stars for the Stars & Stripes…”Rookie Nelly Korda joined her older sister Jessica as the leading players for the U.S., with both earning 3½ of four points. Friday they played together in morning foursomes, making history as the first sisters to be paired in a Solheim Cup match. It was also the first time their parents, Petr and Regina, watched their daughters play together. The sisters won their opening match 6 and 4, and went on to dominate Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law 6 and 5 in Saturday’s foursomes.”
  • “Both Kordas were down early in their singles matches Sunday. Nelly Korda was down by three against Caroline Hedwall before the American made consecutive birdies on the 10 and 11th holes. Nelly Korda won the match 2 up.”
  • “Jessica Korda was down by two against Caroline Masson before she pulled it to all square on the 8th. Jessica Korda had three birdies in her last five holes to win 3 up.”

Full piece.

4. A late bid to flip his 2019 script
A year notable more for destroying courses in a literal sense sees Garcia get the better of a track…
SkySports report…”Sergio Garcia has won the KLM Open by one shot from Nicolai Hojgaard after finishing 18 under in Amsterdam to claim his 16th European Tour title.”
  • “Garcia went into the final day as joint-leader with Callum Shinkwin and seemed on course for a routine victory as he led by two shots at the fifth.”
  • “His playing partner Shinkwin then edged ahead by one shot at the seventh following successive bogeys on a mixed front nine at The International from the Spaniard.”
  • “But a double bogey at the 10th by Englishman Shinkwin offered Garcia some hope and the 2017 Masters champion looked to have sealed victory with a stunning approach from the rough at the 16th, despite having his feet in the bunker for the awkward second shot to dial in to five feet.”
5. Niemann breaks through
The first victory by a Chilean on the PGA Tour will no doubt be the first of many for Mr. Niemann.
  • AP report…”The 20-year-old cruised to a dominant six-stroke win on Sunday at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, picking up his first career win in the inaugural event of the 2019-20 season.”
  • “My game was feeling great, and mentally (it) was awesome,” Niemann said. “I was just feeling like I was going to win this tournament since the first day. I was in a really good mindset.”
  • “Niemann entered the final round with a comfortable two-shot lead over the field, and started the day steady – firing a 1-under 33 on the front nine.”
  • “That’s when he took off…”

Full piece.

6. 2 months, 2 Champions Tour wins
AP report…”Jerry Kelly played bogey-free Sunday at Warwick Hills and closed with a 4-under 68 for a two-shot victory in the Ally Challenge, his second victory this year on the PGA Tour Champions.”
  • “Kelly also won two months ago in his native Wisconsin at the American Insurance Family Championship.”
  • “He started the final round with a one-shot lead over Charles Schwab Cup leader Scott McCarron and Woody Austin. McCarron fell apart with a 75. Austin remained within one shot until a bogey on the par-4 15th, and Kelly stretched his lead to three with a birdie on the par-3 17th.”

Full piece. 

7. Tour pulls back curtain on POY voting process, says integrity is “not up for debate”
Golf.com’s Josh Berhow got in touch with the PGA Tour to discuss the…much remarked upon…2019 PGA Tour Player of the Year award given to Rory McIlroy…
  • “In a phone interview with GOLF.com, Laura Neal, the Tour’s senior vice president of communications, did not say how many players voted in 2019 but she did say that in any given year 45 to 60 percent of players participate. The Tour also provided GOLF.com with a copy of the ballot” [see in the link to “full piece”]
  • “…Neal said the ballot is delivered electronically to eligible voters – players who have played in at least 15 events. The completed ballots go directly to the Tour’s accounting firm, Grant Thornton. Employees there tabulate the votes without Tour supervision and send the results to the Tour. The process is broadly similar to how Academy Award votes are tabulated.”
  • “Feel free to debate whether the PGA Tour membership should have voted Rory or Brooks as Player of the Year,” Neal wrote in an email Friday. “What’s not up for debate is the Tour’s integrity – in this process or otherwise.”

Full piece.

8. Will Tiger pick Tiger, continued
Woods filed a captain’s blog for PGATour.com as he ponders his captains picks…
  • “While I was disappointed to not earn one of the top 8 spots, I’m hopeful to perform well at my next start in Japan. In the meantime, I’m going to rely on playing with some of the guys in Florida to stay sharp. I’ll practice hard, work on my game, and we’ll have some matches. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also always fun.”
  • “At the end of the day, the decision of who rounds out this team will ultimately be my call, but I’m going to lean heavily on the opinions of my captain’s assistants and the eight guys who have already earned a spot. My plan is to keep an open line of communication to ensure we find the four guys who best fit this team. We will be watching the fall events closely. There are so many guys who are world-class players who aren’t yet on the team like Rickie Fowler, Tony Finau, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Gary Woodland, Jordan Spieth and many more. The Fall events will also allow me to get extended looks at two young rookies, Matthew Wolff and Colin Morikawa, who both played well after turning pro late in the season.”

Full piece.

9. Niemann on Presidents Cup squad? 
From a piece by PGATour.com’s Helen Ross…

Els, who will announce his picks in early November along with U.S. Captain Tiger Woods, was well aware of what Niemann had done. The Chilean finished the automatic qualification period ranked 28th.

  • …”What a fantastic win for Joaquin at The Greenbrier,” Els told PGA TOUR officials via text message. “I’m really proud of him, and it’s a wonderful start to his season. I’m looking forward to more of his great play.”
  • Niemann may be a relative newbie as far as The Presidents Cup is concerned. But he’s clearly focused on playing for Els at Royal Melbourne in December, calling it a “dream” – not unlike his wide-ranging thoughts on Sunday morning.
  • “I know that there is a lot of good players fighting for the first spots,” Niemann said. “I know it’s going to be tough, and this win definitely helps to get a little — probably a little help to get in the first spots. But I don’t know yet.
  • “Just got to be patient and get a couple more tournaments to have good golf and hopefully get in that team.”

Full piece.

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