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Morning 9: Na, Na, Na, Na | A gift for Kenny | Unexpected Senior PGA champ | Happiest tour pros?

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

May 27, 2019

Good Memorial Day morning, golf fans.
1. Na, Na, Na, Na
AP report on K-Na’s triumph…“Kevin Na birdied four of the first eight holes and shot a 4-under 66 to cruise to a four-shot victory over Tony Finau at Colonial on Sunday.”
  • “The South Korean-born American opened with a two-shot lead and was in front by at least that many for the final 16 holes after putting his second shot inside 5 feet for birdie at the par-4 second. Na finished 13 under.”
  • “Na’s third career PGA TOUR victory, and second in 10 months, came after putting himself in contention with a second-round 62, one off the Colonial record. It was his third score at least that good in a span of six on the cozy course made famous by Ben Hogan.”
2. “Improbable run continues”
Golf Digest’s John Strege…“Ken Tanigawa only a short time ago seemed happily resigned to showcasing his golf game only in Arizona state amateur events, yet for the second time in eight months he improbably turned up hoisting a trophy on another of golf’s greatest stages.”
  • “On the treacherous East Course at the venerated Oak Hill Country Club outside Rochester, N.Y., Tanigawa nervously holed a 10-foot par-saving putt on the 18th hole to win the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship by one stroke over his old UCLA teammate Scott McCarron.”
  • “I don’t know if I can put it into words,” Tanigawa said. “To hold this trophy and win it at this venue is a dream come true. It’s unbelievable. It really is.”
3. Wiesberger’s fifth
AP report…”The Austrian came into the final round at the Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort with a one-shot lead over Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre, and he maintained his slim margin after shooting a 5-under 66 for 270 overall.”
  • “The Scot matched his playing partner through 15 holes of the final round before conceding a two-shot lead heading into the last. Wiesberger bogeyed the 18th but MacIntyre could only manage a birdie to finish 1 back.”
4. Law’s first
AP report again…”Bronte Law shot a 3-under 67 and held off a series of challengers Sunday to win the Pure Silk Championship by two shots for her first career victory on the LPGA Tour.”
  • “The 24-year-old Englishwoman, a former star at UCLA, held a share of the lead after all four rounds and finished with a 17-under 267 total on the River Course at the Kingsmill Resort.”
  • “Madelene Sagstrom, Brooke Henderson and third-round co-leader Nasa Hataoka tied for second. Sagstrom shot 66, Henderson 68 and Hataoka 69.”
5. A gift for Kenny
ESPN report…”Few were happier to see Kevin Na’s name added to the wall of champions at Colonial on Sunday than his caddie, Kenny Harms, who got to take home a blue 1973 Dodge Challenger.”
  • The caddie asked during a practice round if he could have the car if Na won, and Na said yes.
  • “He knows I was thinking about it,” Na said. “I mean, looks like a beautiful car, but little did I know how much that car was worth.”
  • On Sunday, after finishing his round with a birdie at 18, Na pointed at the Challenger and yelled at Harms: “That’s your car.”

Full piece.

6. Back-to-back for Mac
…second-place finishes, that is…
  • EuropeanTour.com report…”Robert MacIntyre was full of pride in his performance as he made it back to back second place finishes on the European Tour at the Made in Denmark presented by FREJA.”
  • “The Scot – one of four to graduate off the European Challenge Tour in 2018 – has enjoyed an excellent start to life on the European Tour, missing just two cuts in 15 events and finishing runner up at the Betfred British Masters.”

Full piece.

7. The happiest pros

The Undercover Tour Pro says don’t look to the top of the OWGR…

“That said, it ain’t anybody in the top 10 in the World Ranking, or probably even the top 20. Those guys live under a microscope. Seems like Rory McIlroy has to do media every time he shows up to the course. Rickie Fowler makes nice bank from all those sponsors, but it’s a rare day when he doesn’t have a photo shoot or some other type of obligation. And, of course, Tiger Woods can’t walk 50 feet to a port-a-john without getting hounded.

“Me? I’m the kind of player who only gets interviewed when I shoot 65, which suits me fine. It’s fun talking to the writers a handful of times a year. I’m sponsored by the same clothing company as one of the prominent young guns, but I have one-tenth the appointments. One time I saw him getting dragged off on a hot day to do who knows what. I just winked at him as I headed into the clubhouse to watch basketball with the boys.”

Full piece.

8. Rethinking the mainstream golf vocabulary
Geoff Shackelford writes…”Michael Bamberger files a fun consideration of certain golf terms in light of rule book changes along with the desire to shed golf of stuff terms.”
  • “Penalty area has been a colossal mistake that needs to be replaced by hazard.  Does anyone disagree?”
  • “But as a repeated user of one, two and three-shotter, I have to defend those. They’ve been around for a long time, were used by all of the great architects in their writings, and even highlight the silliness of chasing distance (since there are about six legit three-shotters left).”
9. A pretty cool giveaway for your wall
Sam Schultz Art and GolfWRX are really excited to bring you this giveaway! Every golfer has or wants a room in their home that is dedicated to the game we love. Sam Schultz creates original paintings and prints that show his passion for golf and fit the style of any room. One lucky member will win a framed Sam Schultz “camelback” print to hang in their home!
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News

Morning 9: Women’s PGA | Fox: best golf coverage in the biz? | Michelle Wieturns

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

June 19, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Henderson, Thompson sizzling heading into Women’s PGA
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”Brooke Henderson and Lexi Thompson couldn’t get hotter at a better time.”
  • “With three major championships over the next seven weeks, they’ll be looking to make the most of their winning form. They each have a chance this week to reach No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings for the first time.”
  • “Henderson won the Meijer Classic last week, Thompson the ShopRite Classic two weeks ago.”
  • “Ladbrokes makes Henderson the co-favorite to win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship with Jeongeun Lee6 at 11/1 odds, with Thompson at 12/1 odds.”
2. Wieturning again
Ron Sirak for LPGA.com…
“But perhaps the most difficult digits to digest are those detailing the impact of the injuries that have disrupted Wie’s career. Without the constant interruptions, her five career wins with one major championship would almost certainly be more. Now, she tries once again to get back into action.”
  • “I’m feeling hopeful,” Wie said Tuesday at Hazeltine National where, on Thursday, she will tee it up for just her ninth tournament round of the year. “It’s still a process. It’s been hard sitting out during the middle of the season. There’s really nothing worse. But I had to take the time to get myself back to where I want to be.”
  • “There is almost no a part of Wie that has not been damaged, beginning with an injury to her left wrist when she fell while jogging in 2007. Since then, she’s had issues with a finger, knee, hip and the other wrist. At times, it almost appears as if her body is held together by multi-colored physiotape.”

Full piece.

3. Arrival of the Wolff
Sean Martin at PGATour.com…”This week’s Travelers Championship is Matthew Wolff’s first tournament as a professional. It may be the most anticipated pro debut in a decade. The consensus collegiate player of the year combines charisma with a swing that is identifiable from a few fairways over.
  • “He wins. He’s unique. His swing is different, so it catches everybody’s eye,” said Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee. “And then there’s the incredible speed.
  • “When you see somebody with speed … it gets your attention.”
4. Fox the best?
An interesting take from Sean Zak at Golf.com…
  • “In its five years as the USGA rights-holder, Fox has added something new every year, which, for a sport whose visuals seem to never change, is refreshing and important. One year it was the mic’d up holes, even shadows on the greens to display slopes. Some of it sticks from year to year, some of it doesn’t, but Fox is trying new things and adding new context.”
  • “This year the novelty was epic, highlighted by delicious drone shots along the coast. Blimp shots are great and were more relevant this week than most, but the drones that floated up over Carmel Bay, gliding along with the players, providing the perfect scale of the property – those were new and beautiful. A good broadcast shows viewers everything they must see to better understand a course, but also makes them a bit jealous of everyone there on the grounds.”
5. JT pain free
A few quotes from Thomas…”I have zero pain. I can do everything normally.”
“I could have played Colonial – easily – but it would have been stupid and [my wrist] could have been lingering the entire year,” he said. “This injury should never be an issue again in my life, as long as I do the proper things and don’t do anything stupid. That’s why I waited as long as I did.”
6. Not a fan
The Herald’s (Scotland) Nick Rodger…
  • “As everyday life hurtles along at a furious rate of knots, the golf season too is hammering on. Three men’s majors have already been played and in just four weeks’ time the curtain will come down on the quartet of grand slam events at the Open Championship. It’s rather like uploading a Youtube video onto your laptop and quickly spooling through to the best bits.”
  • “It’s all happening a bit too quickly for my liking,” gasped Colin Montgomerie as the dust settled on last weekend’s US Open even though there’s still probably dust lingering from the previous majors of the US PGA Championship and the Masters.”
7. Jin Young Ko dreaming of Brooks?
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“On a day when LPGA stars filed in and out of the press room at the KPMG Women’s PGA, Ko delivered the line of the day. When asked what it is that she likes about Koepka and how he inspires her play, Ko said: “I met him in my dream, and then we had really great time.”
  • “…He always (has) like a poker face and then like stone.”
  • Ko, 23, put her arms out wide and said, “I like big guy.”
8. What Gary was aiming for
Our Gianni Magliocco…“U.S. Open Champion Gary Woodland made an appearance at SiriusXM’s Manhattan studios on Tuesday, where he sat down to discuss a multitude of topics with Adam Schein on his Mad Dog Sports Radio program – Schein on Sports.”
  • “Woodland also discussed beating Tiger Woods’ total of 12-under-par from the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. The 35-year-old first mentioned how he recognized that Woods won that tournament by 15 strokes, before adding how he was aware of beating his 72-hole total, saying…”
  • “I knew it, but I was trying to two-putt. I wasn’t trying to make that putt. Once it got halfway there and it went in I obviously let the emotion out. My caddie came over to tell me congrats and I said, ‘You know that clipped Tiger by one?’ And he said, ‘No I didn’t.’ He was focused on the wrong stuff, he was focused on winning, I was focused on beating that record.”
9. A Phireside chat
How to introduce Phil Mickelson’s first Phireside with Phil video…? Mickelson tells a story of an early morning restart at the Memorial some years back and a, um, crappy situation.
My question: This is a clear violation of the rules of tournament play. Is there a provision for situations that make the hole/toilet unusable after restart and necessitate cutting a new cup?

 

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Equipment

TaylorMade signs Matthew Wolff to a multi-year deal; Wolff WITB

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TaylorMade Golf has officially announced the signing of Matthew Wolff on a multi-year agreement that will see the 20-year-old play the company’s metal woods, irons, wedges, putter and ultimately, TaylorMade’s flagship golf ball, the TP5x.

Wolff had previously unveiled that he would be making his professional debut at this week’s Travelers Championship, and just as top prospect Collin Morikawa did earlier at this month’s Canadian Open, Wolff will do so as a TaylorMade staffer.

The NCAA All-American and 2019 NCAA Division I individual champion made his debut on the PGA Tour at the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year where he finished T50 after opening his week with a round of five-under par.

Matthew Wolff WITB

Driver: TaylorMade M6 (8 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design TP 7TX

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M6 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.5 TX

Utility Iron: TaylorMade P760 (2)
Shaft: Nippon Modus 130x

Irons: TaylorMade P750 Tour Proto (3-PW)
Shafts: Nippon Modus 130x

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind Raw (52, 56, 62 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Copper

 

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5 questions with Justin Kinney of Virtual Golf Caddy

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We chatted with Justin Kinney, founder and CEO of startup Virtual Golf Caddy about his product, which serves both courses and players, by offering drone arial photography of golf courses (with graphics overlayed).

While drone photography and videography of golf courses is an established phenomenon, using the photos and video for better course management and preparation is a relatively new approach.

We wanted to learn more about what VGC is doing, and Kinney was kind enough to answer a handful of questions and include an example of the company’s work.

1. Tell us a bit about your background

I am 38 years old, born and raised in Connecticut. Lifelong golfer. Just finishing up my career as a middle school math teacher to focus on VGC full-time. I also have five years of business experience managing people’s retirement accounts. I played as many sports as I could growing up, and love the thrill of competition.

2. What’s the opportunity you saw?

I agreed to caddie for one of my students two summers ago. When researching the courses he was going to play, there was NO info on the courses. I thought there was a huge opportunity to provide course management strategies for players and give players a view of the entire courses with drones. No one was really doing anything like that, so I spent the past two years working on and building my business plan. Two months ago I secured funding to work on this full-time.

3. What is Virtual Golf Caddy, exactly?

VGC is a golf preparation and mental conditioning program designed to help give golfers a game plan to attack courses with. We provide drone views of each hole as well as course management strategies on how to best play each hole. Shot suggestions are given based on how far and confident players hit their clubs. We include mental conditioning tips and exercises to help players “zone in” more often and consistently. We are considering getting into golf fitness and nutrition as well to help build the whole golfer. Players purchase access to each course’s videos and info for either $15 or $25 per course, depending on how much info they want. They get unlimited access to the videos and can watch them wherever (home, airport, hotel, course).

4. What stage is the business in, and can you show us an example of VCG in action? 

We are still in the start-up phase. We are making agreements with and filming at courses. The website is being redesigned and will be up in June. It appears like things may take off quickly so stay tuned!

For an example, check out the video below.

6. What else should GolfWRX members know?

We are looking for courses to partner with. We will give courses free publicity on our site, a promotional video from the footage to use on their site, and share 15 percent of their courses profits with them. A win-win for everyone involved! If readers know of any courses, please email us.

One other thing to add: the mental prep/conditioning program is being built by renowned sports psychologist Bill Cole, MS, MA. It is legit and comes from over 40 years of research and experience! We’re also pursuing options in fitness and nutrition.

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