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Morning 9: Some of the PGA Tour’s best were ready to boycott U.S. Open? | Wolff ravages the competition | Studying with DeChambeau

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

May 28, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Wolff ravages the competition
Golf Digest’s Ryan Herrington on your 2019 NCAA individual champion…
  • “…there was never much doubt that an Oklahoma State golfer would be crowned the NCAA individual champion for the ninth time in school history. Where the suspense would arise was which Oklahoma State golfer it might be. Sophomore Matthew Wolff started the final stroke-play round with a two-shot lead at seven under, while sophomore Austin Eckroat was the man just behind him. And senior Zach Bauchou sat five shots off the pace in a tie for fifth.”
  • “Yet after making the turn in even par, Wolff sucked the drama out of individual race in much the same way OSU had done to the team competition (more on that in a moment). Birdies on the 10th, 15th and 17th holes let the 20-year-old from Agoura Hills, Calif., stretch his lead to as much as six strokes as he cruised to a five-shot victory over Georgia Southern’s Stephen Fisk with a closing three-under 69 and a 10-under 278 total.”
2. Beyond his unique swing
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine profiles Wolff, focusing on his new-found faith…
  • “But last year around Thanksgiving, he messaged one of his close friends, former high-school teammate and current Texas junior Spencer Soosman. Something was missing.”
  • “He said that he didn’t really feel whole,” Soosman said.
  • “Soosman and Wolff grew up in Jewish families. They’d celebrate holidays but weren’t necessarily devout in their practice of the faith…”
  • “I gave my faith to God,” Wolff said, “and it’s been pretty incredible.”
  • “Added Soosman: “He’s still the same kid, but the difference is he sees himself for what he is, and he sees what he can do.””
  • …”My identity I thought was in golf, and that’s all it was, that’s all anyone knew me by,” Wolff said. “That might be all people still know me by, but to myself, I wanted to be known by more than that.”
3. SMU!
Brentley Romine again on SMU’s toppling of Clemson to advance to the NCAA match play…
  • “The Mustangs had already overcome so much this season – the death of Enloe’s wife, Katie, last summer; a disqualification at The Goodwin that nearly kept the team out of the postseason; a gutsy regional performance – but they persevered yet again. SMU’s counting scorers played their final hole, the par-4 ninth at Blessings in a combined 4 over to fall into a tie with Clemson for the eighth and final spot in match play. With both teams at 44 over, they headed back out for a 5-count-5 sudden-death playoff, which SMU won by two shots to earn a quarterfinals date with top seed Oklahoma State.”
  • “It was so hard out here,” Enloe said. “I felt bad for them actually because this course is so brutal. They just amazed me again today, and to bounce back in this crazy playoff is awesome. It has been a crazy year. These guys are just so awesome. Great group of kids. I’m so proud of them and so proud to be their coach. I think we had a little destiny on our side this year.”
4. Big name PGA Tour players were ready to boycott U.S. Open?
Golf Digest’s John Huggan and Brian Wacker with the shocking details from their larger piece about the fractured relationship between the USGA and PGA Tour pros…
  • “But instead of the image of Brooks Koepka clutching his second consecutive Open trophy, the lingering memory for many is of Phil Mickelson, a six-time runner-up in the event he needs to win to complete the career Grand Slam, running after his ball and stopping it before it could roll off the 13th green. Facing a possible disqualification, Mickelson was instead penalized two strokes and made a 10 on his way to an 81. Was it 27 years of U.S. Open frustration for Mickelson, or was he sending a message for many of the players, speaking to far-greater issues with the ruling body?”
  • “Golf Digest interviewed 57 people intimately involved in the game, including 35 current players and 16 major champions, along with caddies, coaches and analysts, and uncovered details on rapidly eroding relationships with the governing body. The resentment ran so deep that at one point in 2016, leading players say, they even contemplated the unthinkable: a boycott of the U.S. Open.”
A taste of how the story unfolds…
  • “MULTIPLE MAJOR WINNER, INCLUDING THE U.S. OPEN: They’ve had a bad run of golf setups, of decisions, and in some cases, golf courses. They know this is a bad time. Controversy is killing the major championship.”
  • “TEACHER OF MULTIPLE MAJOR CHAMPIONS: They think they’re qualified to do what they do, but, like Bill Parcells says, “You are what your record says you are.” Their record is awful.”
5. Jack’s place
Dave Shedloski, writing for PGATour.com, looks at the evolution of Muirfield Village…
  • “And, yet, until a few years ago, when he redesigned the par-3 16th hole and built a new tournament tee for the par-4 18th in preparation for the 2013 Presidents Cup, Nicklaus continually had tinkered with his prized layout, transforming that imperfect masterpiece into one of the most revered designs in the world.”
  • “Not only is Muirfield Village the site this week of the 44th playing of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, it also has been the venue for some of golf’s most popular and prestigious events. It is the only golf course in the world to host the Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup and Presidents Cup. It also was the site of the 1992 U.S. Amateur.”
  • “Long before Muirfield Village hosted any of those prestigious events, or even the first Memorial Tournament, Nicklaus made clear his intentions and aspirations for Muirfield Village as “a showplace of what the game of golf should be.”

Full piece.

6. Way to go, coach!
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols with the story…
  • “Two days after Amy Ruengmateekhun led Ursuline Academy of Dallas to its second consecutive state high school title, she qualified for her first U.S. Women’s Open. Ruengmateekhun, 27, had been trying to make her way into the biggest championship in women’s golf since 2007. It took quitting the game competitively to get there.”
  • “My girls are a huge inspiration for me,” Ruengmateekhun said of the high school team that carded its lowest round – 307 – on the final day of the championship. It marked the first time four players on her team broke 80 in the same round.
7. Studying with the scientist
Dave Shedloski sat in on the singular Bryson DeChambeau discussing his methods…
“FACTORS WHEN HITTING A 150-YARD SHOT”
1 Air Density
2 Elevation Change
3 Wind Vector X
4 Local Slope Adjustment
5 Roll Out Number
6 Secret
7 Choose Shot
“He of the single-length shafts in his irons and a vocabulary that makes him even more dangerous in Scrabble than on a golf course, DeChambeau went into painstaking detail on how he hit upon this checklist to hit upon a golf ball. With five PGA Tour wins before turning 25, and a victory earlier this year on the European Tour at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic (where he won by a record seven shots), The Professor has proven that his method is effective.”
8. Feinstein wants to hear from Rory again
…Sabbatini, that is…
  • “Almost 10 years later, with slow play still an issue, I was writing a column about it for Golf Digest. Naturally, the first person I thought to talk to was Sabbatini. I’d always gotten along with him and thought getting him to talk about it would be a slam dunk.”
  • “I was wrong. I approached him early in the week at the Players Championship. We shook hands and he said pleasantly, “What can I do for you?””
  • “I never got the next sentence completely out of my mouth. “I’m doing a column on slow play and . . . “
  • “NO!” Sabbatini roared, starting to walk away. “I’m not talking about it anymore. I’ve told the tour how I feel and what needs to be done and no one pays any attention. When they decide to do something, come back and talk to me. Until then, I’m finished!”
9. A very expensive flight
Our Gianni Magliocco writes…“Tom Gillis was one of many players who struggled in the tough conditions at Oak Hill East Course at last week’s Senior PGA Championship, and after finishing his second round on a total of nine-over par, the 50-year-old made the ill-fated decision to pack up his things and fly home to Michigan.”
  • “Gillis had been three shots outside of the cut line when he decided to head back to Detroit, but on landing, the veteran golfer learned that the cut line had moved to nine-over par meaning Gillis had made the weekend.”
  • “Faced with the option to either fly back to Rochester for round three or take a WD, Gillis chose the latter.”

 

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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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