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Morning 9: RIP Mark Parsinen | Haskins, Annika Award winners | Haney sounds off again

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

June 5, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. RIP Mark Parsinen
Geoff Shackelford on the passing of the Kingsbarns and Castle Stuart developer.
“A successful businessman turned developer and architect, Mark Parsinen created two of Scotland’s most important new courses of the last century. Both Kingsbarns and Castle Stuart have become centerpieces of Scottish golf travel, beloved European Tour venues and important efforts in showing that a “links” could be crafted out of an undesirable site.”
  • “His death June 3 of a stroke at age 70 was met with tributes from the golf world.”
  • “We have never worked with anyone so active and engaged in the design of a golf course as Mark was at Castle Stuart,” said architects Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner in a statement upon learning the news of their co-architect’s passing. “Thoughtful, passionate, articulate, and constantly probing to solve the riddles that the land provided us with, Mark was so excited to develop ‘the code’ that became our philosophy as we designed and built in the field in Inverness.”
2. New PGA Tour event in Bermuda next year
AP report…”The PGA Tour is going to Bermuda for the first time with a new tournament that adds to the fall schedule.”
  • “The Bermuda Championship will be played Oct. 31 through Nov. 3 at Port Royal. It will be held the same week as the HSBC Champions, a World Golf Championship event in Shanghai.”
  • “Previously, the Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi was held the same week as the HSBC Champions. That tournament now has its own date with full FedEx Cup points.”
3. Haney sounds off again
Our Gianni Magliocco…“Last week, Hank Haney was suspended from his radio show on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio for comments made when asked to pick a winner of the US Women’s Open, and he has today snapped back at Tiger Woods after the 15-time major champion declared that Haney had “got what he deserved.”
“On his social media account, Haney took aim at Woods, where he stated”
  • “Amazing how @TigerWoods has become the moral authority on issues pertaining to women. I spent 6 great years coaching Tiger, and not one time did he ever hear me utter one sexist or racist word. Now in addition to being a 15 time major champion, I guess he thinks he’s also a mind reader? #glasshouses”
4. College golf’s best
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols on Maria Fassi capturing the Annika Award (for the second time)…”Winning the ANNIKA Award a second time is more personal for Fassi, who has developed a close relationship with Sorenstam’s entire family. Sorenstam’s daughter, Ava, taught her how to floss (as in the dance, not dental hygiene).”
  • “Obviously, I travel with my kids and I see how people treat them,” said Sorenstam, “and that to me says more about the person.”
  • “Fassi’s second ANNIKA Award didn’t come as easily as the first given that she accumulated six victories in her junior season. But in her senior year, Fassi did it with plenty of flare, winning the SEC title and NCAA Championship at her home course in Arkansas.”
…and Adam Woodard on Matthew Wolff’s Haskins Award win…
  • “Last week the Cowboy sophomore won the individual national title at the men’s 2019 NCAA Championship, and on Tuesday night he was honored with the 2019 Haskins Award as Player of the Year in men’s college golf.”
  • “Wolff, who set a program record with five wins during the 2018-19 regular season, beat out finalists Steven Fisk of Georgia Southern and Oklahoma State teammate Viktor Hovland. The award also comes with a sponsor exemption for September’s Military Tribute Greenbrier Classic on the PGA Tour.”
5. The eternal (Canadian) question
Dave Hilson at the Vancouver Sun…“For the 26 Canadians entered in the field at Hamilton Golf and Country Club that is the mission. Win the tournament and become the first Canadian to accomplish the feat since Pat Fletcher did so in 1954.”
  • “If you thought that storyline was going to disappear just because the tournament has moved on from Glen Abbey, the course most associated with the national championship, it hasn’t.”
  • “It’s still in the minds of every Canadian player and fan out here this week. Who will be the player to finally break the drought, and will it happen in Hamilton?”
  • “Corey Conners’ name might spring to mind as a candidate to get the job done. He certainly has the game. The Listowel, Ont., native has been enjoying a pretty good year out on the PGA Tour. He won the Valero Texas Open in April to join the growing ranks of Canadians to have hoisted trophies on golf’s top circuit and also has two other top-10 finishes. He is currently the second-ranked Canadian in the world at No. 83 behind Adam Hadwin, who sits at No. 79 and is also competing this week.”
6. New greens = more majors?
AP report…”The brown, lumpy patches that dotted nearly every putting surface at Chambers Bay and became the story of the 2015 U.S. Open are now lush, smooth and a Northwest-appropriate shade of green.”
  • “Four years removed from a championship that was largely derided because of its putting green problems, Chambers Bay may have salvaged its future hopes of being part of golf’s championship rotation with a massive effort to replace every green on the course.”
  • “I wouldn’t overstate this but it did kind of exceed my expectations,” said USGA senior managing director John Bodenhamer, who got a tour of the changes in late March. “I expected to see a few more seams and things but I think it grew in beautifully. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised but I kind of was.”

Full piece.

7. Cantlay’s journey
Excellent AP story on Patrick Cantlay’s road back (sorry) from a career-derailing back injury…
  • A morsel…”Cantlay, who had won the week before in Colombia on the Web.com Tour, was two months away from one swing that nearly ended his career, a pain he described as a knife in his back. That was the start of back trouble so severe there was no guarantee he would ever return.”
  • “He was 20 when he turned pro. He was 25 for his official rookie season in 2017 on the PGA Tour. Trying to manage his schedule after not having competed for two straight years, Cantlay played 11 times and still made it to the Tour Championship.”
  • “If he had the full year this year, I would imagine he’d have been on the Presidents Cup team, no question,” Spieth said at the TPC Boston that year. “He’s extremely talented, and he’s going to work his way up into the top 10 in the world, in my opinion.”
  • “And here he is.”
8. Loopers!
Helen Ross spoke with the director of the upcoming film “Loopers: A caddie’s long walk,” Jason Baffa.
PGATOUR.COM: So how did you narrow the focus to the caddies that you spotlighted? How did you uncover these people?
BAFFA: It was a team effort. One of the producers, Clark Cunningham, his role was very much finding the off-beat stories, like the Special Olympics story, and getting in touch with Greg Puga. And then Ward Clayton, who wrote ‘Men on the Bag: The Caddies of Augusta’ — he was so connected with history, and then also the modern pro players. And Ward really helped a lot in connecting us with people. … It was a long journey, four-plus years, maybe, by the time we got everything we needed, but it truly started with just casting a wide net. We went to the Masters, I think it was the 2015, and that’s where we found Jerry Beard (the local caddy on Fuzzy Zoeller’s bag when he won the Masters) and a few other people. And we just started interviewing anyone who would talk to us. And then that would open a door, ‘Oh, you got to talk to this person or that.’ And we took all that and then started looking at it and piecing together what we thought made sense, and then building on that. So, it was a very broad, interesting approach. I don’t know if I’d recommend it to other filmmakers. You have to be very patient, but in the end, I’m happy with what we came away with.
9. Fifty for father
From a press release…”Pete Crozier, an Ohio-based golfer, is embarking on a 50-day journey where he will play 50 golf courses across all 50 states to raise $50,000 for type 1 diabetes research, benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In honor of his late father, Crozier is taking his fond memories of golfing with his father and putting them into action. His journey will begin May 27 at The Founder’s Club at St. James Plantation in Southport, NC.”
  • “…A cause close to his family, Crozier’s 15-year-old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age four, while his father succumbed to a stroke resulting from complications of the disease 20 years ago. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), type 1 diabetes inflicts approximately 1.25 million Americans, with an estimated 40,000 new diagnoses each year and no known cure.”
  • “…Fifty for Father concludes July 15 at Green Hill Golf Course in Worcester, MA, on the same course where Crozier’s father learned to play golf. “

 

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News

Morning 9: Danny Comeback | Nelly | Munoz (and the rise of Latin American golf)

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

September 23, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. Danny Comeback 
James Corrigan at The Telegraph…”The great Danny Willett comeback is finally complete. The Englishman, who fell so far and so dramatically in the wake of his Masters glory, proved that all the talent and competitive resilience of 2016 remains with a 20-under destruction of Jon Rahm and a world-class field.”
  • “…To think, after this event last year, Willett was still struggling with injury, still suffering with a breakdown in confidence and down at 462nd in the world. Now at 31st, he has re-entered the all-important world’s top 50 for the first time in more than two years and on the evidence of this barnstormer, the Yorkshireman’s progress will carry on going in one direction only.”
  • “…The 31-year-old went toe-to-toe with world No6 Rahm on the West Course and put a Spaniard in the works of all those who expected the ruthless 24-year-old to ease to his fourth Rolex Series victory.  Willett’s 67, composed in difficult conditions as the wind and rain eventually remembered where Surrey is, awarded him a three-shot triumph and a £900,000 cheque.”

Full piece.

2. Munoz gets it done
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Munoz started the day with a one-shot lead, and for much of the afternoon it appeared to be his tournament to lose. But Im rallied with three straight birdies on the back nine to overtake him, leaving Munoz in the unenviable position of needing a birdie on the hardest hole to force the Tour’s first playoff since the RSM Classic in November. But his 15-footer on the 72nd hole found the bottom of the cup, and when Im missed a short par putt on the first playoff hole Munoz was left with a 4-footer for the win. The Colombian was battling to save his card at last month’s Wyndham Championship, but with the win he’s now exempt through the 2022 season and will make his Masters debut in April.”
3. Meet Munoz 
So, who is this guy? 
PGATour.com’s Sean Martin“Like his former teammate, he didn’t take long to enter the winner’s circle. Munoz won his second start on the Korn Ferry Tour, after receiving a sponsor exemption into the event in his native Colombia. It translated into his first PGA TOUR card.”
  • “He made his first start as a PGA TOUR member at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Three years later, it was the site of his first PGA TOUR win after he beat the reigning Rookie of the Year, Sungjae Im, on the first hole of a playoff.”
  • …”I never thought I was going to be a PGA TOUR player,” Munoz said. “It wasn’t even an option.”

Full piece.

4. Nelly!
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”Nelly Korda didn’t leave Europe without a trophy after all.”
  • “A week after Korda and the Americans were defeated by the Europeans at the Solheim Cup in Scotland, Korda romped to her first Ladies European Tour title.”
  • “With a 4-under-par 67 in blustery conditions Sunday, Korda won the Lacoste Ladies French Open by eight shots.”
5. Unleash the calves!
Steve DiMeglio for Golfweek on what’s ahead in Napa…
  • “Come for the calves, stay for the golf.”
  • “OK, that pithy pitch more than likely wouldn’t pass muster on Madison Avenue, but it’s not completely out of touch for this week’s Safeway Open in California wine country.”
  • “It directly plays to tournament headliner Phil Mickelson and his ongoing braggadocio on social media about his bodacious calves, the envy, it seems, not only of any 49-year-old, which Mickelson’s birth certificate reveals to be his age, but anyone period.”
  • “And that includes Tom Brady and Steph Curry, who recently exchanged light-hearted tweets with Mickelson about beefing up each other’s legs below the knee.”

Full piece. 

6. Rising, falling in strokes gained putting
Some research from David Dusek and the Golfweek team shows who’s improving (and who isn’t) in SG:P…”Unlike Spieth, who went from being a below-average putter to elite, Denny McCarthy went from being solid to the best on tour by lifting his average from 0.449 to 0.926, the 14th biggest rise last season.”
  • “Other notable golfers who made big strides last year with their putter include Sam Ryder (0.776), Aaron Baddeley (0.711), Adam Scott (0.633) and Ryan Palmer (0.569).”
  • “On the other side of the spectrum, Emiliano Grillo fell a massive -1.179, dropping from 10th in strokes gained putting to 185th.”
  • “It was also a rough year for Phil Mickelson, who dropped from an average of 0.51 to -0.16, the fifth-largest decline on tour. Justin Thomas also dipped significantly, -0.458, from 0.272 to -0.186. His wrist injury in late spring may have been responsible for some of the decline, but it was still the 10th largest on tour.” 

Full piece.

7. On spending $400 on a putter…
A question for Bomb & Gouge…Do I need to spend $400 on a putter or nah? –@Sam_Beishuizen
“Do you “need’ to spend $400 on a putter? No one truly needs to spend $400 on a putter. Of course, if you’re willing to spend $500-plus on a new driver, you could investigate the value of a higher end putter because you might be better fit at that price point than one from the bargain barrel. But fact is, most putters on the Golf Digest Hot List are well below that, and we’ve even had putters that go for as little as a hundred bucks make the list. And tour players have won with putters they picked up on sale or even used at the local golf shop or Golf Galaxy. If you’re the type of golfer that appreciates the quality of materials and the craftsmanship that comes with a $400 putter then you might not need to, but you might want to. It’s no different than the person who drives a Tesla or a Mercedes. They don’t need it to get where they’re going. A Honda CR-V will do just fine. But there’s a certain chest-puffing attitude that comes with knowing you have something special. Same applies to putters.”
8. Slow start to slow play monitoring
Geoff Shackelford writes…”The four-point plan debuted this week at the BMW PGA and despite some nice additions to the list of slow play remedies, we know the players aren’t always to blame. Even with the overrated field size reduction to 132, there is the pesky matter of modern distances on any course under 8,000 yards. That means waits, more waits and almost no chance of getting around in the time par of 4:30 or so.”

Full piece, including tweets from an unimpressed Matthew Fitzpatrick.

9. The rise of Latin American golfers?
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker writes…”A week ago, 20-year-old Joaquin Niemann of Chile became the youngest non-American winner on the PGA Tour since 1923. Sunday, 26-year-old Sebastian Munoz became the first Colombian-born player to win on tour since Camilo Villegas.”
  • “Quite the fortnight for Latin American golf.”
  • “[Joaquin] winning last week was kind of like the last piece of the puzzle that I needed to know that we’re good enough, we’re able to compete,” Munoz said after his playoff victory over Sungjae Im at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss. “That we’re here, we’re PGA Tour members, and we play to win.”
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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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News

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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