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Morning 9: USWO update | Mickelson drags USGA | Bryson defends slow play | Haney suspended

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

May 31, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Kordas!

Golf Channel’s Samantha Marks…”Jessica and Nelly Korda opened the U.S. Women’s Open with matching scores of 2-under 69, and they sit five shots back of leader Mamiko Higa. But their rounds were wildly different in terms of entertainment.”

  • “This trip to Country Club of Charleston marks the 12th U.S. Women’s Open that Jessica has played in, today was her 37th round in the event, and her score of 69 ties her lowest round at the USGA championship.”
  • “For Jessica, it was a rather uneventful day with just three birdies and two bogies.”
  • “I think we can all appreciate any round at 1 over, even, or under par is fantastic out there, especially this afternoon,” Jessica said, “and try and go back out there tomorrow and do the same thing.”
2. Heckuva round, Gina!
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”Gina Kim saved a video on her phone of the sensational fairway bunker shot she hit last week that propelled Duke into the finals of the NCAA Championship. She watched it moments before teeing off in the opening round of the 74th U.S. Women’s Open, just to remind herself that she was ready for anything.”
“Still riding the adrenaline of Duke’s seventh NCAA title, the 19-year-old Kim had enough highlights in her 5-under 66 to fill up her own top 10. Her round was inches away from being outrageously good, though it did tie the record for lowest round by an amateur in Women’s Open history.”
3. Must be the milkshakes
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard on Ryan Moore’s surprising start…”There was nothing missing from his game on Day 1 at Muirfield Village. Moore birdied five of his first seven holes and played his closing nine in increasingly difficult conditions in 2 under par for the early lead.”
  • “His 7-under 65 was his best opening round of the season and was an encouraging start on a course that Moore admits can be a challenge for him being a mid-length player.”
  • “For me, I hit it pretty short and it’s not rolling. It’s playing 5-, 6-irons into holes I’m used to hitting 7-, 8-(irons) into,” Moore said. “The greens are receptive. You’re hitting that 6-iron, it’s not one hopping 3 or 4 yards, it’s hitting and stopping within 10 feet, which is nice for me.”
4. Haney suspended
Official word from PGATour.com…”Golf instructor Hank Haney has been suspended from the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio channel after making unacceptable remarks on his program Wednesday.”
“The full joint statement from the PGA TOUR and SiriusXM:”
  • “Mr. Haney’s comments on women’s professional golf were insensitive and do not represent the views of the PGA TOUR or SiriusXM.
  • “The PGA TOUR is committed to and proud of the increasingly diverse makeup of our fan base, not to mention the power and accomplishments of the game’s world-class, global players — both on the PGA TOUR and LPGA, whom we are working with more closely than ever before.
  • “SiriusXM proudly covers and supports both women’s and men’s golf and the athletes that make them great. At the PGA TOUR’s instruction Mr. Haney has been suspended from the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio channel. SiriusXM is reviewing his status on SiriusXM going forward.”
5. Phil blasts USGA
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers…
  • “Following Mickelson’s opening 70 at the Memorial, the six-time U.S. Open runner-up was asked about how the USGA sets up the golf courses for its biggest annual event. He did not hold back.”
  • “I’ve played, what, 29 U.S. Opens,” Mickelson told reporters at Muirfield Village. “One hundred percent of the time they have messed it up if it doesn’t rain. Rain is the governor. That’s the only governor they have. If they don’t have a governor, they don’t know how to control themselves.”
  • “So I think we’re all pulling for a little rain,” Mickelson added moments later.
6. Kuchar denied
ESPN’s Bob Harig on Kuchar’s unanswered prayer for relief…
  • “Kuchar’s tee shot on the par-17th hole at Muirfield Village ended up on the edge of a pitch mark that was determined to not be his own. A player is entitled to relief if a ball comes to rest in its own pitch mark, and Kuchar tried to argue that his ball had possibly created a second pitch mark where it came to rest.”
  • “Two rules officials were called, and television replays were used before it was determined that Kuchar would have to play the ball as it was.”
  • “PGA Tour official Robbie Ware first ruled against Kuchar, who then asked for another official, Stephen Cox, to take a look.”
7. Bryson on the clock
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”The defending Memorial champ, playing alongside Tiger Woods and Justin Rose in Round 1, was put on the clock when making the turn (the group began its round on the back). Then on the fifth hole, DeChambeau was given an individual bad time for taking too long to hit his second shot into the par 5. Though that did not earn a punishment, one more infraction would have led to a one-stroke penalty.”
  • “He came up to me and told me I had a bad time. And I was like, do you realize I was deciding between laying up and going for it?” DeChambeau told the Golf Channel’s Will Gray. “And we’ve had struggles the past three holes in a row, hazards and making bogeys and all that. Was that not factored in? ‘Well, it’s just 40 seconds, it is what it is.’ Well, I don’t agree with that.”
  • …”It’s a bit unfair when you’ve got someone that’s behind you, let’s say, and they’re slower, but they’re quicker through their process,” DeChambeau said to Golf Channel. “I get up there in the middle of the fairway and I have to wait for them to go, and then I have only my 40 seconds, which is what I’m trying to do everything under. People call me slow. I call myself quick with the stuff I do. … A lot of guys out here, they just see it and they hit it. And for me I don’t want to do that because I feel like there’s other variables I get hurt on.”
8. TW’s first round
Omnisport with a recap of Woods’ 2-under opening round
  • “Woods – who started at the 10th with Justin Rose and Bryson DeChambeau – recorded his first birdie of the day at the 11th hole with a manageable up-and-down.”
  • “He could not get into his stride, though, and he gave that stroke back two holes later when he sent his second shot into a bunker and failed to convert another chipped putt.”
  • “Woods hit a string of pars to turn onto the front nine, but in the final four-hole stretch, he came up with the goods.”
9. Spieth’s battle
Good stuff from the NY Post’s Mark Cannizzaro…
  • “Even though he’s missing only a PGA Championship victory to become the sixth player in the history of golf to complete a career Grand Slam …”
  • “Even though he’s married to his high school sweetheart and is wealthy beyond his imagination …”
  • “Even though he’s just 25 years old and remains one of the bright stars in the game, everywhere Spieth goes these days he hears the same question: What’s wrong?’
  • “And when he shoots a great round like he did in Thursday’s opening 18 of the Memorial – a heart-racing 6-under 66 with enough volatility (two chip-ins and only 22 putts) to make Phil Mickelson proud – the question surrounding Spieth is this: Can he can keep it going?”

 

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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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