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Morning 9: Stanford redeemed? | Mike Davis on player complaints | Haney in hot water

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

May 30, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. Stanford redeemed?
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine on the Cardinal’s (never the Cardinals’!) impressive NCAA Championship win. (Although, to use No Laying Up’s analogy the stellar “regular season” play of Oklahoma State cannot be forgotten)
  • “With three matches in a 27-hour period on a 7,550-yard golf course, the final match of the NCAA Championship was always going to be a test of endurance.”
  • “No team was more prepared to handle the rigorous finish than Stanford.”
  • “All season, the 10th-ranked Cardinal trained their games, minds and bodies to peak at the right time. They won each of their final four tournaments and grabbed momentum by the horns entering this week’s demanding test at Blessings Golf Club, where Wednesday they were the last team standing after a 3-2 victory over Texas in the final.”
  • “We pushed these guys harder than any team I’ve ever coached,” said Stanford head coach Conrad Ray, “and they responded.”
  • “Stanford’s victory marked the program’s ninth NCAA title and first since 2007. In recent years, though, the Cardinal had developed a reputation for being soft when it mattered most. After advancing to the NCAA semifinals in 2014, Stanford failed to make it past the 54-hole cut in four straight championships.”
2. Bortis’ story
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard on a compelling element of the Stanford victory saga…
  • “An assistant coach in his first year with a new school wins the national title at the course he used to play on against the team, and coach, he once played for.”
  • “About 1,500 miles east of Hollywood at Blessings Golf Club, that’s exactly what happened to Stanford assistant coach Matt Bortis when the Cardinal defeated Texas 3-2 to win the men’s NCAA Championship.”
  • “Honestly I couldn’t believe it,” said a shocked Bortis after the final match on Wednesday morning. “To be able to do this on my old home course and then to do it against the team I used to play for was incredibly special.”
3. Mike Davis’ take
Rex Hoggard with what the USGA’s ED had to say about a Golf Digest article he is surely thrilled went to press weeks ahead of the U.S. Open…
(Over/under 2 times for “dialogue”?)
  • “On Wednesday at the Memorial Tournament, USGA executive director Mike Davis addressed the criticism and what the association is doing to bridge a widening gap with some PGA Tour players.”
  • “We’re listening a lot and having a dialogue with them,” Davis said. “Some of it was about new rules. Some of it is concerns about the distance initiative, some of it is U.S. Open. It’s a combination of things. But we’re looking forward and we obviously want to work with the Tour. There are so many great players and we want to get it right.”
  • “Just getting more dialogue with the Tour was important,” Davis said. “It was evident with the new rules that a lot of the complaints happen because I don’t think they actually understood the rationale. Why would you drop from your knee? Why would you have the flagstick in? Why are we changing some rules on the putting green? If it’s down to more ‘why’ than it’s because you aren’t communicating enough.”
(Push)
4. …and Rory’s
Hoggard also reported on these remarks from Rory McIlroy…
  • “Following a string of high-profile miscues at recent U.S. Opens, many are anxiously awaiting next month’s championship at Pebble Beach, which is widely considered the event’s most storied venue.”
  • “I think we should give [the USGA] the chance to redeem themselves. If they can’t redeem themselves at Pebble Beach, then there could be a problem,” Rory McIlroy said on Wednesday at the Memorial.
5. Say what, Hank?
Golfweek’s Christine Brennan recounts Haney’s remarks on his radio show yesterday and offers her perspective in a scathing editorial. Forgive the length of the excerpt, but the transcript portion is a necessary inclusions.
  • “Golf instructor and commentator Hank Haney was having a great old time on his SiriusXM radio show Wednesday morning, ripping women’s golf, the game’s magnificent South Korean standouts and this week’s U.S. Women’s Open, the crown jewel of the women’s game.”
  • “His racist, sexist, xenophobic behavior was on display for anyone who listens to him on PGA Tour Radio.”
  • Co-host Steve Johnson: “This week is the 74th U.S. Women’s Open, Hank.”
  • Haney: “Oh it is? I’m gonna predict a Korean.”
  • Johnson, laughing: “OK, that’s a pretty safe bet.”
  • Haney: “I couldn’t name you six players on the LPGA Tour. Maybe I could. Well … I’d go with Lee. If I didn’t have to name a first name, I’d get a bunch of them right.”
  • Johnson: “We’ve got six Lees.”
  • “If Haney is not fired from that job (and Johnson with him) and every other role he plays in golf and the news media by dinnertime Wednesday, then the leadership of the game, the PGA Tour and SiriusXM is condoning racism, sexism and xenophobia while basically telling everyone who isn’t a white male that golf is not the sport for them.”
  • “If there’s any golf club in the country (let’s make it the world) that allows Haney to set foot on its property after that despicable exchange, that club is telling every girl and woman and person of color to go play any one of the dozens of other sports they can play for life, not golf.”
6. State of the Tiger
Golfweek/USA Today’s Steve Dimeglio on where things stand for TW as he gears up for the third major of the year…
  • “All in all, Woods said he’s in a much better place than where he was after missing the cut two weeks ago in the PGA Championship. He said he has put on nearly all the weight he lost two weeks ago when an undisclosed illness struck two days before the start of the second major of the season.”
  • “Woods took three days off, then practiced hard for two days in Florida. The following day, he played 18 holes at Pebble Beach, the site of his historical 2000 romp in the U.S. Open and next month’s U.S. Open.”
  • “…After Tiger Jam, Woods spent a good day practicing Monday before heading to the Memorial. He got in a late-evening practice session on Tuesday.”
  • “I feel a lot better,” Woods said. “I just need to play a little bit more now. And hopefully it will be four solid days this week heading into the U.S. Open.”
7. The DEFINITIVE ranking
At times, you imagine over at Digest they just dump a box of papers on Shane Ryan’s desk and say “make something great out of this.” In this case, it’s the results/game stories of every single tournament on the PGA Tour this season so far.
Here’s a taste of his singular rundown…
  • “5. Arnold Palmer Invitational (Francesco Molinari): Just the greatest winning final round of the year by a winner, culminating in this monster [Ryan includes a video of Molnari’s winning putt]”
  • “4. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (Phil Mickelson): Most years, this combination of venue and champion, both legendary, would be enough to make it the most compelling non-major of the season. Most years …”
  • “3. Sony Open (Matt Kuchar): Not only is Kuchar always an interesting champion, and not only was this the first full-tournament field of 2019, but the caddie-tipping controversy from his win at the Mayakoba came out that weekend thanks to a tweet from Tom Gillis, and it would dominate discussion in the golf world for the next month, until Kuchar issued his apology. He was asked about it for the first time at the Sony, and depending on how much you knew that Sunday, his win there was either the last win of his pre-TipGate career, or the first of his post-TipGate career. In any case, we were watching the perception of one of the game’s most popular figures change in real time, knowing it would never be the same, and it was fascinating.”
8. “Lowest lows” for DeChambeau
Golf Channel’s Will Gray on the tour’s resident Einstein’s recent equation of frustration.
  • “Everybody is susceptible to lows. Mine hopefully aren’t as low as some others. And this, to me, is my lowest of lows,” DeChambeau said. “I really don’t feel like I can play much worse.”
  • “DeChambeau hadn’t missed a cut prior to Harbour Town since last year’s PGA, a stretch of 16 starts that included four worldwide victories. He hadn’t missed more than two cuts in a row since the summer of 2017, when he missed seven in a row ending with the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.”
  • …”Personally for me I feel like this is as low as it’s going to go. I just have to keep running, I have to keep just scratching at the door, keep going with trying to understand why does this dispersion happen? Why do I have this range of possibility of shots?” DeChambeau said. “You have to go back through your checklist, things that you do understand and kind of branch off of that. When you go down a rabbit hole and it doesn’t work, you pull yourself out and find ways that work better.”
Worth noting: DeChambeau has (single-length, of course) Cobra King Forged MB irons (6-PW) in the bag this week. Our Ryan Barath on the rationale for the switch from his Cobra King One Length irons.
9. Pro debuts for ANWA heroes
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…
  • “They’re back. And this time, they’re playing together for at least two rounds of the 74th U.S. Women’s Open. Jennifer Kupcho and Maria Fassi, rock stars of the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur, make their highly-anticipated professional debuts on Thursday at 8:28 a.m. local time at the Country Club of Charleston.”
  • “…It’s not just that Fassi and Kupcho are playing for money now. Both LPGA rookies have a limited amount of time to earn enough money to keep their cards for 2019, and this week’s $5.5 million purse is the largest on tour. A strong week here can go a long way toward securing status.”

 

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4 Comments

  1. Bob

    May 31, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    And nevermind too that Korea is far more xenophobic than the US. There are probably 50 countries less racially diverse than we are.

  2. Bob

    May 31, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    What’s the problem? Koreans do dominate the LPGA. And Lee in Korea is 5 times more abundant as Smith is in the US.

    So again, what’s the problem?

  3. Kyle

    May 30, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    In regard to Haney, let’s not let this ridiculous “Outrage Culture” spread. It is not OK to push for people to lose their jobs because of something stupid that they said, whether that occurred today or 30 years ago. We’re going down a dark road if this is allowed to continue. We should be able to acknowledge that he said something dumb, accept his apology and move on. We do not always need retaliation. Keep speech. It’s not like he went out and physically hurt someone or committed a crime. BTW, I’m not a Haney fan.

    • Johnny Penso

      May 31, 2019 at 8:34 am

      Yes, I was going to make the same comment but you beat me to it. The challenge is already set, “fire him or you are a xenophobe/racist/misogynist” etc. Outrage culture is trying to sneak its way into golf. Let’s hope it doesn’t but I wouldn’t bet on it.

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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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