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Morning 9: USO qualifying galore | WGHOF inductees

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

June 4, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. U.S. Open qualifiers
First, just the facts of who made it (ma’am), pulling from an excellent piece by Joel Beall at Golf Digest…
Walton Heath Golf Club (England)
Qualifiers: 1: Dean Burmester, Sam Horsfield, Marcus Fraser, Clement Sordet, Matthieu Pavon, Lee Slattery, Marcus Kinhult, Rhys Enoch, Adri Arnaus, Justin Walters, Daniel Hillier (a), Thomas Pieters, Merrick Bremner, Renato Paratore
Century Country Club & Old Oaks Country Club, Purchase, N.Y.
Qualifiers: Cameron Young (a), Matt Parziale (a), Andy Pope, Rob Oppenheim.
Streamsong Resort, Streamsong, Fla.
Qualifiers: Callum Tarren, Luis Gagne (a), Guillermo Pereira
Hawks Ridge Golf Club, Ball Ground, Ga.
Qualifiers: Ollie Schniederjans, Noah Norton, Chandler Eaton, Roberto Castro
Woodmont Country Club, Rockville, Md.
Qualifiers: Billy Hurley III, Joseph Bramlett, Ryan Sullivan
Brookside Golf & Country Club and Scioto Country Club, Columbus, Ohio
Qualifiers: Luke Guthrie, Anirban Lahiri, Sam Saunders, Jhonattan Vegas, Rory Sabbatini, Jason Dufner, Chesson Hadley, Erik Van Rooyen, Luke Donald, Aaron Baddeley, Brandon Wu (a), Ryan Fox, Collin Morikawa, Kyoung-Hoon Lee
Big Canyon Country Club/Newport Beach Country Club, Newport Beach, Calif.
Qualifiers: Chun An Yu (a), Haydn Shieh, Richard Lee, Stewart Hagestad (a), Andreas Halvorsen
Springfield Country Club, Springfield, Ohio.
Qualifiers: Zac Blair, Chip McDaniel, Brian Stuard, Nick Hardy, Brett Drewitt
Wine Valley Golf Club, Walla Walla, Wash.
Qualifiers: Eric Dietrich, Matthew Naumec, Spencer Tibbits (a)
2. Dufner leads qualifiers…
The AP report on those punching their tickets to Pebble Beach begins with the Duf…
  • “Jason Dufner is going back to the U.S. Open for the 10th straight year, and this time, he had to play his way in through one of 10 qualifiers across three countries Monday in the longest day in golf.”
  • “Luke Guthrie took a detour from the Web.com Tour and led the 14 qualifiers out of Columbus, the strongest of all sectionals with so many PGA Tour players who stayed around after the Memorial. He returns to the U.S. Open for the first time in five years.”
  • “He arrived from the Web event in North Carolina at a little past midnight. He was headed to South Carolina on Tuesday morning to resume his Web schedule. And then he had to find a place to stay for the U.S. Open.”
  • “I told my wife, ‘It might cost us $1,000 a night.’ But it’s Pebble Beach. Who cares?” Guthrie said.
3. Shackelford’s report from Newport Beach
Shack conveyed plenty in his bit for Golfweek, here’s a morsel on medalist Chun An (Kevin) Yu…
  • “Medalist Chun An (Kevin) Yu may be the most conventional and even his story is spectacular. The son of a driving range pro in Taiwan, he’s been playing since five and just finished third in the NCAA’s.”
  • “A junior, Yu has one more year to go at Arizona State but has now been medalist at the U.S. Open’s California qualifying site two years in a row. After rounds 64-67 he heads to a Pebble Beach, a course he enjoyed playing en route to a round of 32 loss in last summer’s U.S. Amateur.”
4. Give Graeme a golden ticket
Speaking of qualifying…
  • Here’s a take on someone who will be notably absent from The Open Championship, via the Daily Mail’s Derek Lawrenson…
  • “No invitations. No golden tickets. All the four majors have their different entry criteria and that’s the one that singles out the Open. No special exemptions are handed out to high-profile names who have fallen through the cracks, and I have to admit it is something I’ve always admired.”
  • “You want to play in the greatest event? You earn your place. Now, I’m beginning to have doubts, and all because of what could unfold at this year’s magical edition at Royal Portrush. Right now, the event will take place without one of the town’s most famous sons, Graeme McDowell.”
  • “The R&A have confirmed that unless G-Mac meets one of the entry requirements still available, then he will not be standing on the first tee come the first round.”
5. Ratings recap
Geoff Shackelford conveys the details from Sports Business Journal report…
  • Tiger Woods in contention helped bump up the Memorial ratings 33% over last year, with a 1.7 overnight according to Sports Business Daily.
  • The U.S. Women’s Open’s overnight from CC of Charleston was a .6, up just a tiny bit over a similar .6 last year and continuing a trend of hovering around record lows since the move to Fox. This, despite being commercial free broadcasts.

Full piece.

6. Lexi to remain in claw’s grip
Thompson took 31 putts in the final round, after recording 32 each of the previous three days. She decided earlier this week, on the advice of her brother Curtis, to experiment with a claw grip on her putting stroke.
  • Thompson said she intends to stick with it, at least for now.
  • “Yeah, I think so. I mean, I’m in a five-week stretch right now. So it’s tough to actually grind and work on something, but I’ll work on it for the few practice rounds before New Jersey next week. Yeah, I’m going to stick [with it]. I do really like it. It’s a matter of getting a lot more comfortable with it.”
7. 2019 WGHOF class
…to be enshrined next week…
Our Gianni Magliocco…“Retief Goosen, Billy Payne, Jan Stephenson, Dennis Walters and the late Peggy Kirk Bell will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on June 10 to kick off the U.S Open championship week.”
  • “South African, Retief Goosen, who was selected from the male competitor category, twice won the U.S. Open amongst 36 worldwide victories, while Jan Stephenson, who emerged from the female competitor category, won the LPGA Championship, U.S. Women’s Open and du Maurier Classic amongst her 16 LPGA Tour victories.”
  • “Peggy Kirk Bell is amongst three that will be honored from the lifetime achievement category. Bell, who passed away in 2016, was a major champion, and a leading figurehead of the women’s game.”
  • “Billy Payne, who was chairman of Augusta National from 2006 to 2017 is also to be inducted from the lifetime achievement category. Alongside the USGA and PGA of America, Payne originated Drive, Chip and Putt in 2013, and the former chairman of Augusta National also established the Asia-Pacific Amateur and Latin America Amateur Championships, each offering guaranteed Masters’ invitations to the winners.”
  • “Dennis Walters completes the lineup, who despite becoming paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 24 after an accident on a golf cart, went on to inspire many throughout the golfing world for both his amazing trick shot skills and his ability to overcome his tragic accident.”
8. Top 200 modern courses
Golfweek’s Bill Speros…
“Welcome to Golfweek’s annual Best. Each spring, we publish the three lists that are the foundation of our course-ratings program: Golfweek’s Best Classic Courses, Golfweek’s Best Modern Courses (below) and Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play.”
“The members of our course-ratings panel continually evaluate courses and rate them based on our 10 criteria. They also file a single, overall rating on each course.”
Here’s a little morsel of No. 2-5
2. Bandon Dunes (2) (Pacific Dunes)/td>Bandon, Ore.Tom Doak20018.84
3. Friar’s Head (3)Baiting Hollow, N.YBill Coore, Ben Crenshaw20038.60
4. Ballyneal (4)Holyoke, ColoTom Doak20068.47
5. Bandon Dunes (Old Macdonald) (5)Bandon, Ore.Tom Doak and Jim Urbina2010
For No. 1 (and 6-200), check out the full piece.
9. PSA: One of my favorite features…
…is Gianni Magliocco’s quick daily roundup of the best photos hashtagged #GolfWRX on Instagram. If you’re not a ‘grammer, it’s a nice little snack of some of the coolest equipment and course shots out there.

 

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News

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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