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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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Tour Photo Galleries

Interesting photos from the 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship

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GolfWRX was on site at the 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson in Jackson, Mississippi.

In addition to the usual spread of range photos from Monday and Tuesday, we also got a look at a new flatstick from Bettinardi, a few of Matt Jones’ Scotty Cameron putters, new wands from PXG, and some new shafts from Mitsubishi.

Check out a few highlights below and find the links to all our galleries after that.

2018 Scotty Cameron Hula Girl cover sighting!

A look at the unique tee markers

New Callaway staffer Akshay Bhatia’s awesome Callaway Apex MB irons

“Furby Boy” Joaquin Niemann’s 56-degree wedge

New Mitsubishi Tensei AV shafts spotted

One of the several new PXG Gen2 putters we got an in-hand look at

Sam Ryder with a little weight taken out of his Cleveland RTX-3 wedges

One of Matt Jones’ prototype Scotty Cameron putters

An in-hand look at the limited Bettinardi QB8 that launched in The Hive this week

All our photos from the Sanderson Farms Championship

WITB

General galleries

 

 

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Morning 9: Hoage! | Another Romo sponsor’s exemption | First foreign-born U.S. Mid-Am winner | Skins game details

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

September 20, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Another bite at the Hoge 
Sean Martin at PGATour.com…“Tom Hoge couldn’t keep pace with Joaquin Niemann over the final holes of last week’s A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, but now Hoge finds himself atop the leaderboard in the second event of the PGA TOUR season.”
  • “Hoge, who finished second to Niemann on Sunday, shot a bogey-free 64 on Thursday to lead the Sanderson Farms Championship before first-round play was suspended due to weather.”
  • “Hoge temporarily tied Niemann at The Greenbrier’s Old White TPC after making birdie on the 12th hole. Hoge bogeyed on two of his next three holes, though, and Niemann made six back-nine birdies to win by six strokes.”

Full piece.

2. Meanwhile, in Europe…
Round one at the BMW PGA…“Rory McIlroy made six bogeys and a double bogey in his last 11 holes to shoot 4-over 76 at the BMW PGA Championship, leaving the world No. 2 already 11 strokes off the first-round lead held by Matt Wallace on Thursday.”
  • “McIlroy’s round fell apart after his birdie at No. 5 that followed an eagle at No. 4, as he shot 42 in his back nine in glorious conditions at Wentworth.”
  • “One over for his round arriving at the 17th tee, he pulled his drive and wound up making a double-bogey 7. Another wayward drive led to a bogey at the 18th and he didn’t talk to reporters after his round.”

Full piece.

At the time of this writing, Danny Willett has an -8 second round going and is ahead by three at -12.

3. Romo planning to make the cut?
“The Forecaddie perused the Safeway Classic field next week and saw former quarterback Tony Romo will be playing on a sponsor invite. This was hardly earth-shattering given the former Cowboy’s appearance in three PGA Tour events and his passion for competitive golf.”
  • “But The Man Out Front also remembered Romo’s job with CBS where his uncanny ability to predict play calls has rapidly made him America’s most beloved football analyst. So what happens if Romo makes the cut in Napa when he and Jim Nantz are penciled in to work that Sunday’s Vikings-Bears game?”
  • “The Forecaddie hears CBS is just fine with Romo’s appearance and a backup plan is in place should he have the rounds of his life.”

Full piece.

4. First foreign-born U.S. Mid-Am winner
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…“Australian Lukas Michel rallied to win the U.S. Mid-Amateur final, 2 and 1, to punch his ticket to next year’s Masters and U.S. Open.”
  • “The 25-year-old from Melbourne trailed Joe Deraney for much of the 36-hole final at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo., and Deraney held a 1-up advantage with just nine holes to play. But from there Michel turned the table, closing with birdies on four of his final eight holes. That included a birdie on No. 15, which gave him his first lead in 29 holes, and another on No. 16 to push his opponent to the brink.”
5. Stadium’s a goin’ up!
Golfweek’s Todd Kelly…”The Waste Management Phoenix Open is more than four months away but construction at TPC Scottsdale has already started.”
  • “The Thunderbirds House and Grounds Crew got things going on Monday, Sept. 16, the earliest the construction has ever started, but workers need to get going now because of the time and material it takes to build the luxury suites, grandstands, bleachers and all the other infrastructure for the tournament that draws the largest crowds in golf.”
  • “In 2018, tournament organizers announced a weekly attendance mark of more than 719,000. Close to 217,000 fans were tallied on Saturday that year, always the most highly attended day of the year for the Phoenix Open.”

Full piece.

6. ZJ takes advantage
PGATour.com’s Sean Martin…”‘Opportunity’ is a word used often at the Sanderson Farms Championship. The second event of the PGA TOUR season provides new players fresh off the Korn Ferry Tour the chance to gain experience, get a head-start in the FedExCup race and even earn that maiden victory and all the trappings that accompany it.”
  • “The PGA TOUR’s newest members aren’t the only ones who can change the trajectory of their career during this time of year, though. Veteran players, the ones with majors and FedExCups on their resume, also appear on the tee sheets of these early events. Many are trying to recapture that winning feeling or at least gain some confidence before the calendar changes to a new year.”

Full piece.

7. Hovland’s “home” debut
Golf Digest’s John Huggan…”Viktor Hovland has never failed to shoot in the 60s on the European Tour. Not even once.”
  • “Of course, the three-under-par 69 with which the 22-year-old Norwegian began the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Thursday is also his first round as a professional in a European Tour event. Which did not go unnoticed.”
  • “Interviewed by Sky Sports and the BBC after his seven-birdie, four-bogey trip around the famous old Burma Road, which left him four off the lead of England’s Matt Wallace, Hovland was then surrounded by a posse of the U.K.’s print media. And still then he wasn’t done. Three journalists from his home country-one from VG, the biggest-selling newspaper and another from NRK, the most-watched television station-are here to cover his debut on the Old World circuit.”

Full piece.

8. Molinari speaketh
An interesting question for Francesco Molinari in a New York Times interview…”On a personal note, does it bother you that soccer players get more adoration than golfers in Italy?”
  • After last year, I get stopped a lot more often and get asked for autographs and pictures. It’s the recognition of the results I’ve had and things I’ve accomplished in the last two years. And it feels nice. I love it when it’s young kids. Part of what I do is because I was that young kid looking up to Costantino Rocca and all the Italian players that were on tour. It’s great to know that I’m doing the same now with the younger generations.”
  • “But I’m not the kind of guy who looks for too much public attention. Footballers get a lot of love, but they also get a lot of hate as well when they don’t play well. Italians are very passionate about sports. Football is a tough sport to be in. I’d rather golf.”

Full piece.

9. ICYMI: Skins game details
News from yesterday, in case you missed it. Our Gianni Magliocco…”The upcoming skins match in Japan involving Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama is set, with a prize purse of $350,00 up for grabs.”
  • “The opening six holes of the event billed as ‘The Challenge: Japan Skins’, will be worth $10,000 each, with the value of holes increasing as the match continues – with the potential of there being a total of $100,000 on the line on the 18th hole.”
  • “The event is scheduled to finish under the lights, and according to the release, will feature “special in-match challenges and surprises.”
  • “Viewers in the U.S. can watch the skins match live on Golf Channel, while those outside the U.S. will be able to tune into the event on Discovery’s GOLFTV. Viewers in the UK and Ireland will need to pay a subscription fee for the service.”
  • “Coverage of ‘The Challenge: Japan Skins’, which takes place on the week of the Zozo Championship, begins on Oct. 20 at 11 PM ET.”
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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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