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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: 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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