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Morning 9: USGA mum on anonymous player complaints | Jack speaks | Steve Stricker’s time machine

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

May 29, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. USGA mum (on specific complaints, at least)
Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”Many of the opinions in the lengthy oral survey are legitimate in the face of recent U.S. Open problems, including last year’s repeat at Shinnecock Hills of conditions getting away from the setup team.”
  • “The Forecaddie also read a surprising number of extreme opinions – a majority back Phil Mickelson’s display of unsportsmanlike behavior Saturday at Shinnecock Hills – and was perplexed that players opted to keep their names out of the survey given the USGA’s inability to discipline them.”
  • As for the USGA’s view of the story?...”Player and stakeholder feedback is important to us,” the organization’s spokesperson said in a statement. “We are committed to listen, to engage in a productive dialogue, and to continue to address the themes of the feedback in an effort to improve how we serve the game and those who love it.”
2. $1 million to the USWO winner
…also on the governing body front…
Our Gianni Magliocco…“On Tuesday, the USGA announced that both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open prize purses had been raised by $500,000. For the first time in history, the winner of a women’s major championship will receive a check for $1 million.”
  • “The purse for this year’s U.S. Open is now  $12.5 million, while the U.S. Women’s Open is $5.5 million – both of which are now the largest prize pots in major championship golf.”
3. Nicklaus: TW sealed Masters on 12
Via ESPN’s Bob Harig…
  • “Tiger was smart enough to play the shot that he played. And could play it,” Nicklaus said. “I just knew Tiger was rejuvenated by watching those balls go in the water. Knowing that he was smart enough to do that (hit his tee shot to the middle of the green). He says, ‘I can do this.’ You could just see it on his face.
  • “Tournament over. He was back doing what he used to do.”
  • Jack also stated…“It looked as though Brooks (Koepka) or (Francesco) Molinari might win the golf tournament,” Nicklaus said. “And then when the guys starting filling up Rae’s Creek on the 12th hole, I’m watching them one after another hit the ball right of the bunker, and I said, ‘Really?’ You just can’t hit the ball right of the bunker.”
The Golden Bear also said he believes again Tiger could win 18 majors, and he also thinks Jordan Spieth’s slump is over.
4. Fooch takes leave again
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard on Rose’s tweet announcing the news…
  • “World No. 3 Justin Rose has split with his longtime caddie Mark Fulcher who continues his recovery from heart surgery, but the Englishman left the door open for the two to reunite.”
  • “After an amazing 11 years with [Fulcher], our successful run together has finished for now, as [Fulcher] is required to take an indefinite leave of absence from caddying to focus on his health and well-being,” Rose wrote in a statement released on Twitter. “I also have no doubts that we will stride up a 72nd hole late on a Sunday afternoon together in the future.”
Get well, Fooch! 
5. Stricker sets the time machine to 2006
…to grab a set of irons…
  • PGATour.com’s Andrew Tursky...”Stricker recently won the 2019 Regions Tradition – his first senior major championship victory – using new Titleist 718 AP2 irons. That’s especially noteworthy because Stricker said he had been using Titleist 710 AP2 irons (released in 2009) for “forever” before switching. He was still using the 710 AP2 irons as of the 2019 Valspar Championship”
  • “Despite the success with the new 718 AP2 irons, Stricker wasn’t satisfied with the new head-shaft combination, so he went to use his older KBS Prototype shafts that he had in the Titleist AP2 710s, and simply put those shafts into the new 718 AP2 heads. Except there was a problem; the tips of the shafts were bent. The KBS iron shafts, however, are not easily replaceable; they were one-off prototypes from “6-7 years ago,” according to Stricker.”
  • …and, long story short, Stricker grabbed the 755s from his home office and tossed ’em in the bag.
6. JT returneth for first start since Masters
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…
  • “…A nagging right-wrist injury led to Thomas missing the PGA Championship as well as the Wells Fargo Championship, and last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge.”
  • “It was really hard [not playing],” Thomas said. “Missing Quail Hollow was a no-brainer, I could have played the PGA but I probably would have injured it more and the same with last week. I knew if I gave it another week it was never going to be an issue again so I just let it heal.”
7. Former NFL Pro Bowler into round of 16 at Four Ball
Golf Digest’s Ryan Herrington…
  • “…what former NFL defensive tackle Kyle Williams is attempting to do this week at Oregon’s Bandon Dunes Resort is no less impressive if it’s not entirely rare. Williams, along with partner Gregory Berthelot, are competing at the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, and after advancing out of stroke-play qualifying over the weekend as the eight seeds, the duo won their opening-round match on Monday to move to the Round of 16.”
  • “A six-time Pro Bowler with the Buffalo Bills who had 48½ sacks before retiring in December after 13 NFL seasons, Williams helped contribute early in the 4-and-2 victory over collegians Andrew Grayson and Liam Purslowe in the Round of 32. Williams birdied the first and second holes from five and 30 feet on the Old Macdonald course, as the team played the equivalent of five under for the round.”
8. Lexi talks social media break
Via Golf Channel digital…”Honestly, I mean, I love social media in a way that I get to reach out to my fans, give them an inside look of what my training’s like, what my practicing is like, or even my life off the golf course – that I’m a normal 24-year-old girl. I love giving an insight of my life to fans that look up to me or just are interested. So that way, I love social media,” she said.
  • “But the break was definitely needed. I think now I’m just posting and not really looking at the comments and everything. Just trying to look at the positive of everything.
  • “It wasn’t really one thing [that led to the hiatus]. It was just a matter of people not looking so much at the positive that was going on or how hard I was working. I think that’s what people don’t really realize, how much we sacrifice, how much we put into the game as athletes in general. We’re not perfect. We’re human beings, and we’re going to have bad weeks, bad seasons. We’re not robots. They can’t expect that much from us.”
9. Nicklaus’ Rolex to be auctioned
Golf Digest’s Stephen Hennessey…
  • “The original 18-karat gold Rolex Day-Date that Nicklaus owned and worn is being auctioned for charity, with all the proceeds to be given to his Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, according to Nicklaus. According to reports, a similar watch owned by Paul Newman sold for $17.7 million in 2017. Jack’s gold Rolex, which can be seen in most photographs of Jack after 1967, including 12 of his 18 major titles, might fetch a similar amount when it goes up for auction on Dec. 10.”

 

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  1. 2putttom

    May 29, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    Williams should pair with Romo and try to qualify next year at Cricket Club.

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News

Morning 9: LPGA players to add to Hazeltine’s history | Web.com Tour no more | Mickelson’s U.S. Open dream dead?

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

June 20, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1 Adding to Hazeltine’s history
Doug Ferguson at the AP….”This is where Rich Beem, a former car stereo salesman, held off a charge by Tiger Woods in the 2002 PGA Championship. It’s where Y.E. Yang became the only player to come from behind and beat Woods in the final round of a major at the 2009 PGA Championship.”
  • “It’s where the Americans actually won a Ryder Cup in 2016.”
  • “Hazeltine also is an example of how much the second-oldest major in women’s golf has risen in stature since the LPGA Tour and PGA of America became partners to stage what is now the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.”
  • “The magnitude of this event has gone up so high, and it’s neck and neck with the USGA and U.S. Open,” said Danielle Kang, who won the Women’s PGA two years ago at Olympia Fields, the course south of Chicago where Walter Hagen and Jim Furyk won majors. “It’s just when you get here and people talk so much about the golf course. ‘Oh, you’re going to play Hazeltine.’ They talk it up so much.”

Full piece.

2. Caddie arrested on charges of human trafficking, exploitation of a child
Bizarre, awful stuff, here. As reported by Joel Beall at Golf Digest…
  • “Evan H. Vollerthum, a caddie on the Korn Ferry Tour, was arrested Monday for human trafficking and attempting to sexually exploit a child.”
  • “Vollerthum was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations in Topeka, Kansas, according to an ICE news release. Topeka is about two hours away from this week’s Wichita Open.”
  • “Shawnee County Jail (Kansas) records state Vollerthum is being held in connection with one count of aggravated human trafficking involving hiring a child 14 or older to engage in sexual acts, and attempted commercial exploitation of a child involving hiring a person under 18 for a sex act.”
3. Korn Ferry Tour
Via the Golf Channel Digital team…”As of Wednesday, the Web.com Tour will now be known as the Korn Ferry Tour, after inking a 10-year deal through 2028.”
“Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm, also becomes a PGA Tour’s official marketing partner and will assume sponsorship of the developmental circuit’s Tour Championship, the third and final event of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.”
4. Mickelson: I’m out of U.S. Open chances
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…
  • “….He made a run up the leaderboard Friday and made the cut for a ho-hum T-52 finish. He also had nothing but praise for the USGA’s setup after ripping the organization’s past failures in the days and weeks leading up.”
  • “It was nice to see cooler heads prevail on both sides throughout the week, but it doesn’t change the fact that the U.S. Open remains Mickelson’s white whale. And he’s starting to get more and more realistic about his Career Grand Slam chances at age 49.”
  • “I’m appreciative of the opportunity, even though I didn’t play my best and didn’t win,” Mickelson said. “I really don’t have many more chances. Probably have to come to the realization that I’m not going to win the U.S. Open, but I’m not going to stop trying. I’ll keep trying. You never know.”
5. Hovland on being a Ping man
Andrew Tursky at PGATour.com went deep with Viktor Hovland on his new Ping weaponry (photo above is Tursky’s)
A few of his specs and remarks
Driver: Ping G410 LST (draw setting, 9 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS 6.5-flex 62 grams
  • Hovland says: “I just put this in the bag on Thursday morning of the U.S. Open. I drove it really nice and it was a big part of my success last week… I’ve been messing around with the different kind of heads and I felt like this was a great fit for me. I was struggling with a bigger left-to-right curve. I put it on draw [setting] and it keeps it neutralized a bit. I was able to hit a lot of fairways with it at the U.S. Open.”
3-wood: Ping G410 LST (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.5TX 80 grams
  • Hovland says: “I really like [the way it] sits down because it looks like it has a lot of loft and it sits real tight to the ground, so for me it’s real easy to launch. I’m a guy who hits a lot of drivers off the tee, I don’t really like to hit a lot of 3 woods [off the tee]. So for me it’s key to have something I can launch up in the air and get it to stop on the greens, [such as going for] par 5’s in two. That’s been a great help for me.”

Full piece.

6. The role of restoration in Gary Woodland’s 17th-hole chip
An interesting note from Geoff Shackelford…
  • “The neck of the “hourglass” green created by Egan had been reduced to a sliver, the green unpinnable anywhere near the surrounds. The square footage restoration estimate was over 1000 square feet and while the green was still not as large as the original, the remodel made the 17th was made functional again.”
  • “But more important than the reclamation of architectural roots or reminding us of this wonderfully bizarre vision by Egan, the expansion gave Gary Woodland the opportunity to hit a shot for the ages, requiring him to clip the ball and land in a very small area and join Pebble Beach’s other 17th hole classic moments by Nicklaus and Watson.”
  • “The shot reminds how important golf course design is to giving us golf-watching thrills, and the vitality of caring for architectural gems.”
7. What it’s like without tour status
...rough…
Nick Menta focuses through the lens of Chip McDaniel…
  • “I saw [Roberto Diaz] in the locker room today,” McDaniel said Wednesday at the Travelers Championship. “He’s like, ‘What’s up, Mr. Monday?’
  • “I already have a nickname out here, which is pretty cool.”
  • On Thursday, McDaniel will make his sixth PGA Tour start this season and his second in as many weeks.
  • The 23-year-old out of the University of Kentucky went through local and sectional qualifying to make it to Pebble Beach, where he made the cut on the number and finished 78th in his U.S. Open debut.
  • “Then I had to hop on a red-eye and get back to the real world and play in a Monday qualifier,” he said.
8. Getting good at golf without a golf course
Golf Digest’s Keely Levins offers the example of Sung Hyun Park, who only visited an actual golf course about once per year early in her golfing development…
  • “…In her first few years playing golf, she barely set foot on the golf course.”
  • “I first started playing when I was nine years old, and I only practiced indoors,” Park said through a translator in her pre-tournament press conference at the KPMG. “It was like a three-meter distance, and I used to hit my shots over there. And playing like that for three years, I probably went on the golf course around four or five times only, which probably means like once a year. And so I always looked forward to going out on to the course and to play.”
  • “If you’re someone who loves golf, but don’t have easy access to a course, there’s hope for you. Park is proof that you can get good-sometimes really, really, good-even if you can’t get on-course as much as you’d like.”
 
9. Why does the USGA now care about player complaints?
Good point from Alan Shipnuck in his weekly mailbag.
  • Whining players > non-whining players during the U.S. Open? -@Nolanddad
  • “Oh, hell yes. Going back decades, the soundtrack to every U.S. Open was the plaintive wailing of the players. That’s how we knew it was our national championship. “Fair” is often codeword for too easy, so I knew we were in trouble when the players universally employed that word to praise the Pebble setup. I pray that future Opens will feature the appropriate amount of kvetching.”

 

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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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