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Morning 9: Rickie in the spotlight | Further arguments against Daly riding | Devoted to Detroit’s munis

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

June 27, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. Fowler in the spotlight
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge on the primacy of Rickie Fowler, Quicken Loans sponsoree, this week…
  • “He’s one of the most recognizable players at any tournament and is so deeply engrained with this week’s title sponsor that Fowler was asked about his level of excitement for this tournament more than two months ago. In the Augusta National press center. During Masters week. Usually players are asked about the Masters at other tournaments in the week’s leading up, but it hardly ever works the other way around.”
  • “Now the week has finally arrived and Fowler is throwing himself fully into the mix at Detroit Golf Club, where he participated in a three-hole celebrity challenge Tuesday afternoon and played a Pro-Am practice round with Kid Rock Wednesday morning.”
2. What the employees want 
Beyond “will they strike,” it’s worth pointing out “why they’re striking” with respect to Detroit Golf Club employees…
  • AP report “…A union leader says seven employees at the Detroit Golf Club are willing to strike at the start of the Rocket Mortgage Classic if they don’t get a new contract.”
  • “Teamsters Local 299 President Kevin Moore says the groundskeepers and mechanics represented by the union want a 45-cent per hour raise as part of a new, four-year deal. Moore was among dozens of protesters, holding signs and handing out flyers, near an entrance to the private golf club on Wednesday.”

Full piece. 

3. Tait: Daly should walk
Golfweek’s Alistair Tait offers this take on John Daly taking a buggy at Portrush…
  • “Similar to PGA Championship, Daly hasn’t been a factor in the Open Championship since his 1995 win at St Andrews. Of his 19 appearances since then, his best finish is 15th in 2005. He’s missed 13 cuts, including his last four. There’s no reason to suggest four wheels in Northern Ireland will suddenly make him competitive.”
  • “Like Lynch, I’d be more sympathetic if Daly had the sort of extreme medical condition Casey Martin had when he petitioned the USGA to play in the 1998 U.S. Open. Martin rightly got his way and finished T-23. (He also qualified for the 2012 U.S. Open, rode a cart but missed the cut.) No way Daly comes close to top 25 at Portrush, even if the R&A caves and lets him ride.”
  • “There’s a more fundamental reason I don’t want to see Daly ride in the 148th Open Championship. It has to do with golf culture in Great Britain and Ireland. It’s a culture that emphasizes walking as an integral part of the game. The vast majority of British and Irish golfers walk.”

Full piece.  

4. Same ball for 72 holes…and a win
Wow. Via Golf Channel’s Will Gray…
  • “Dropped off from a nearby equipment trailer, they’re rarely noticed when they splash into a pond or get tossed to a fan during the walk from green to tee. Even the faintest scratch is usually reason enough for a player to swap in a fresh ball, leading to caddies reaching into the bag with regularity.”
  • “But that was not the case for 25-year-old Alex Chiarella, who over the weekend captured the Mackenzie Tour’s Lethbridge Paradise Canyon Open with a score of 20 under par. What’s more, he took home the trophy after playing all 72 holes using a single ball:”

Full piece.

5. Saving Detroit’s munis

Stellar stuff from Golf.com intern (!!!) Max Marcovitch profiling Karen Peek…

“Minutes later Peek was out on the course, tending to her duties as director of golf operations for the three munis: Rackham, Rouge Park and Chandler Park. She greeted a regular as he headed for the 1st tee, sent off members of a local Elks chapter as they commenced their weekly round, and checked in with groundskeeper Doug Melton and his affable dog, Baxter.”

“It hadn’t rained in three days, a welcome change amid the unseasonably wet weather. In Peek’s race against time, rain impedes progress. On an inclement day, Rackham might be lucky to have 20 players on its tee sheet.”

“Rackham is six miles north of Detroit Golf Club, site of this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic. It doesn’t get the attention that DGC does but it has rich history of its own, extending back to its opening in 1923. Ben Davis, the first black head pro at a municipal course in the U.S., taught there for 50 years. Among his students was famed boxer Joe Louis, a Rackham regular. The two would play money matches. In the 1940s, Louis hosted an annual golf tournament at Rackham, aimed at showcasing talented black players.”

Full piece.

6. Breaking 70
Dave Shedloski on Tom Watson, pushing 70, preparing to tee it up at the U.S. Senior Open…

“Winner of the 1982 U.S. Open, Watson is competing this week in his 52nd USGA championship and his 17th U.S. Senior Open, which he has never won, though he has had six top-five finishes.”

“He turns 70 on Sept. 4. He has no special plans to celebrate it. “What’s September 4?” he said, feigning ignorance and grinning. “You blab to the whole world I’m 70 years old on September 4? Thanks a lot.”

“Having cut back on his schedule, Watson has competed just five times this year and skipped the first two senior majors. He has no idea how many more times he’ll play in this championship, but it’s clear he has a special affinity for USGA events. The influence of his dad, Ray, is woven tightly into his golfing DNA.”

Full piece.

7. Playing golf alone and the descent into lunacy

Funny stuff from Mark Townsend at National Club Golfer…

“I give myself a pep talk walking down the hill to the 1st that these stolen moments will be the making of my season. Come bedtime I will have a clearer viewpoint on three possible new clubs while simultaneously putting into practice a new magic move which would be a variation of Gary Woodland’s chipping technique.”

“There is a hint of jazz spin on my wedge over the brook that a) reinforces my need to keep cleaning out the grooves and b) thrusts one of the wedges straight into the starting line-up.”

“On the short walk to the 2nd tee I both congratulate myself on making the effort to getting out of the house while also giving myself a ticking off for having not brought these wedges out sooner.”

Full piece.

8. Not a bad loop

Mike Berardino of the Indianapolis Star, syndicated in Golfweek…

“Greg Helmkamp, the 35-year-old assistant teaching professional at Warren Golf Course, was wolfing down a quick lunch last Friday when his boss called him into his office.”

“Hey, I got a new job for you next week,” said John Foster, general manager at the Notre Dame-owned course since 2002. “You’re going to be caddying for Tom Watson.”

Full piece.

9. Things are coming together

Francis Donnelly for the Detroit News…

“We’re very pleased with how things have gone so far,” said Jason Langwell, the tournament executive director.”

“Like any first-time event, the tournament has run into a few challenges, he said. Workers are re-calibrating the amount of concessions and fine-tuning signs that direct traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian.”

“Because of the rainy spring, tournament sponsors and VIPs have to park with the hoi polloi at Michigan State Fairgrounds, said officials. The bigwigs were originally slated to use Palmer Park but the ground is too wet.”

Full piece.

 

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. larrybud

    Jun 27, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Re Rackham.

    If you want to save Rackham, which is a great layout (used to be far better before 696 construction changed it), stop jamming people in with 6 min tee times which results in no rounds < 5 hours. It's a joke. I'll never play there, along with Troy city courses which do the same thing.

  2. Jordan

    Jun 27, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Having a groundskeeper labor union strike during their first ever PGA tour event is the most Detroit thing that could happen.

  3. micheal

    Jun 27, 2019 at 11:15 am

    the piece on daly walking is so clearly written perspective of a young person with no real physical issues. “scores of people older than 53″…. im 30 with multiple hip surgeries. Get off your high-horse. Pretty useless article/repost. Super glad discrimination is strongly part of golf still and forever

    • JD

      Jun 27, 2019 at 11:22 am

      Yeah sorry, young guy here… zero sympathy for someone who has literally eaten himself into dilapidation

      • Johnny Penso

        Jun 27, 2019 at 12:40 pm

        I have the same issue as Daly and I didn’t eat myself into dilapidation. I couldn’t walk 72 holes of a tournament if I tried. Arthritis isn’t caused by diet.

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Morning 9: Tour updates | One-week offseason | Forgotten father of Skins Game?

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram and golfwrxEIC on Twitter.

October 18, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans. Get out there and enjoy some fall golf this weekend!
1. CJ Cup
AP report on the action on Jeju Island, where tournament favorite Justin Thomas has surged to the top…”Justin Thomas shot a 9-under 63 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead at the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges, putting himself in position to win his second PGA Tour event in South Korea in three years.”
  • “Thomas, who won the inaugural CJ Cup in 2017, has a two-round total of 13-under 131.”
  • “South Korean-born New Zealander Danny Lee (66) is in a tie for second place with first-round leader and former U.S. Amateur champion Byeong-Hun An, who shot 69 before his home fans.”

Full piece.

2. French Open
With round 2 underway, here’s the post-round one report from Reuters…”George Coetzee and Ryan Fox carded six-under-par 65s to share the lead in the French Open first round on Thursday as the European Tour returned to Le Golf National in Paris a year after the course hosted the Ryder Cup.”
3. Hole-in-one and a second-round lead 
AP report…”Brooke Henderson made a hole-in-one and shot an 8-under 64 to take the lead in the second round of the Buick LPGA Shanghai on Friday.”
  • “The Canadian aced the 175-yard second hole. She followed that with a bogey, but then birdied four more holes on the front nine, finishing her round at 11-under 133 total.”
  • “Jessica Korda (67) was two strokes behind in second, followed by defending champion Danielle Kang (67) in third.”
4. One-week offseason
The Forecaddie with an interesting scheduling observation…”The Man Out Front could not get past the dates for the Korn Ferry Tour playoffs.”
  • “The season-ending stretch will compete head-to-head with the PGA Tour playoffs, right down to the final Sunday of Aug. 30.”
  • Which means while the FedEx Cup comes to a conclusion at East Lake, the Korn Ferry Tour’s always valiant battles to gain Tour cards will be playing out at Victoria National and once again presented by United Leasing but without the spotlight those finals enjoyed this year when finishing on Labor Day, a week clear of the 2019 Tour Championship.”
5. Molinari splits with caddie
Our Gianni Magliocco writes…”Francesco Molinari has parted ways with his caddie Pello Iguaran, who has been on the Italian’s bag for the last four years.”
  • “The 2018 Open Champion will now employ Jason Hempleman until the beginning of 2020 where Mark Fulcher will then take the reigns. Fulcher caddied for Justin Rose for 11 years, in which period Rose won the U.S. Open and Olympic Gold.”
  • “The 36-year-old announced the decision via his social media accounts, where he stated…”It’s been nearly 4 seasons of incredible emotions and really productive work, but unfortunately relationships sometimes come to an end, even if it’s not what we wish for.Pello will always be a member of my team and more importantly my family. He’s one of the most hardworking, loyal, positive, reflective people I’ve come across during my career.”

Full piece.

6. Tiger’s back, but is he ready?
ESPN’s Bob Harig, always a voice of reason, breaks down Tiger Woods’ activities since last playing professional golf, along with what he has on the docket, before concluding..”All of this assumes a level of health and fitness that went missing for the latter part of 2019. Woods turns 44 on Dec. 30 and performing at a high level — competing and winning tournaments — depends so much on his ability to properly prepare, let alone be fit enough to compete with the best in the world.”
  • “But first things first: a long trip to Japan, a skins competition followed by a PGA Tour event, and some answers to where Woods is headed with his game.”
7. How the Skins Game started
Speaking of skins, great stuff from Adam Schupak for Golfweek on the forgotten man from the genesis of the beloved event…”When Steve Sesnick read about the upcoming reboot of the Skins Game in Japan headlined by Tiger Woods, he couldn’t help but feel a moment of pride like that of a proud parent. And why not? It was further confirmation that his concept – even if he believes it has outlasted its expiration date – still works.”
“More than 35 years ago, Sesnick claims that he conceived the concept that became one of the most successful made-for-TV franchises in all of sports: four of golf’s biggest names, competing in a go-for-broke format over two days during Thanksgiving weekend when golf traditionally was dark, college football was limited, and even the NFL had two fewer games to compete against.”
8. Record rounds in the 60s
Viktor Hovland’s incredible play continues…Golf Channel’s Carson Williams…”A day after setting a PGA Tour record with his 18th consecutive round in the 60s, Hovland was at it again Friday during the second round of the CJ Cup in South Korea where he carded his 19th straight round in the 60s. The newly-minted Tour member drained a testy par putt at the par-4 ninth to keep his streak alive.”
  • “No, it’s cool,” Hovland said Friday following a second straight 3-under 69. “Obviously I would have liked to have maybe higher finishes in the tournaments that I’ve played, but it really goes to show the consistency that I’ve had over the summer.”

Full piece.

9. Tiger’s Olympic goal 
Reuters report…”Tiger Woods says next year’s Tokyo Olympics are a “big goal” as he looks to add to his decorated career.”
  • “Woods, 43, won his 15th major at the Masters earlier this year but injury ruled him out of golf’s return to the Olympics after a 112-year absence in 2016.”
  • “I don’t see myself having too many opportunities other than next year,” the American said.
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Francesco Molinari splits with caddie Pello Iguaran

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Francesco Molinari has parted ways with his caddie Pello Iguaran, who has been on the Italian’s bag for the last four years.

The 2018 Open Champion will now employ Jason Hempleman until the beginning of 2020 where Mark Fulcher will then take the reigns. Fulcher caddied for Justin Rose for 11 years, in which period Rose won the U.S. Open and Olympic Gold.

The 36-year-old announced the decision via his social media accounts, where he stated

“It’s been nearly 4 seasons of incredible emotions and really productive work, but unfortunately relationships sometimes come to an end, even if it’s not what we wish for.Pello will always be a member of my team and more importantly my family. He’s one of the most hardworking, loyal, positive, reflective people I’ve come across during my career.

We’ve had both good and tough times on the course, but most importantly we both grew together and as individuals during our time together. Best of luck for the future and thanks for an amazing run together Jason Hempleman will be on the bag until the end of the season. Mark Fulcher will be on the bag at the start of 2020.”

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It’s been nearly 4 seasons of incredible emotions and really productive work, but unfortunately relationships sometimes come to an end, even if it’s not what we wish for. Pello will always be a member of my team and more importantly my family. He’s one of the most hardworking, loyal, positive, reflective people I’ve come across during my career. We’ve had both good and tough times on the course, but most importantly we both grew together and as individuals during our time together. Best of luck for the future and thanks for an amazing run together Jason Hempleman will be on the bag until the end of the season. Mark Fulcher will be on the bag at the start of 2020. Sono state quasi 4 stagioni di emozioni incredibili e lavoro davvero produttivo, ma sfortunatamente le relazioni a volte non finiscono come tutti vorremmo. Pello sarà sempre un membro del mio team e, soprattutto, della mia famiglia. È una delle persone più laboriose, leali, positive e riflessive che ho incontrato durante la mia carriera. Abbiamo avuto momenti belli e momenti difficili sul campo, ma soprattutto siamo cresciuti insieme e come individui durante il tempo insieme. Buona fortuna per il futuro e grazie per una fantastica esperienza insieme Jason Hempleman sarà il mio caddie fino alla fine dell’anno. Mark Fulcher sarà il caddie dall'inizio del 2020 •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

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In the period Molinari and Iguaran were together, some of the highlights include Molinari’s win at The Open Championship in 2018, the BMW PGA Championship, and the 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational. However, since April, Molinari has failed to record a top-10 finish.

 

 

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Morning 9: LPGA, LET partnership? | Ryder Cup ticket fiasco | Alfredsson: Senior women’s golf dynamo

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram and golfwrxEIC on Twitter.

October 17, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. “True partnership”
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell on an exciting development for women’s golf…
  • “The LPGA and Ladies European Tour have renewed talks that could lead to “a true partnership” between the two organizations.”
  • “LET Board Chair Marta Figueras-Dotti sent a letter to LET players this week informing them of the discussions. She told players that a dialogue was “in full swing” to create a “50-50 joint venture” between the tours.”
  • “LPGA and LET officials said in a joint statement Wednesday that while it’s too early to publicly discuss specifics, they are working to complete terms of a new agreement in time to present it to LET players at their annual meeting on Nov. 26 in Spain.”

Full piece.

2. Alfredsson!
AP report on the emerging dynamo in women’s senior golf with the 2019 double…
  • “Helen Alfredsson added the Senior LPGA Championship to her U.S. Senior Women’s Open title, rallying Wednesday at cold and windy French Lick Resort to sweep the two major championships of the season.”
  • “Three strokes behind Juli Inkster entering the day, Alfredsson closed with a 2-under 70 for a three-stroke victory. The 54-year-old Swede was the only player to break par on the final day at the Pete Dye Course and, at 2-under 214, the only one under par for the week.”

Full piece.

3. And on Jeju Island…
AP report…An was on!
  • “In the first event of a three-tournament PGA TOUR swing through Asia, Byeong Hun An was the first-round leader in his home country at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES with an 8-under 64. Joaquin Niemann sits a stroke behind in second.”
  • “Jason Day’s attempt to impress International team captain Ernie Els for a spot at the Presidents Cup took a positive turn when the Australian shot a 6-under 66 to sit two strokes off the lead and in solo third after the opening round.”

Full piece.

4. Ticket fiasco
Oh boy. JR Radcliffe at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, syndicated in Golfweek…”Tickets for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, next year sold out in less than 50 minutes on Wednesday, and fans on social media were furious with the process.”
  • “Tickets for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler next year sold out in less than 50 minutes on Wednesday, and fans on social media were furious with the process.”
  • “The Ryder Cup website did indicate: “Due to high demand, having an access code does not guarantee you a chance to buy tickets. Available inventory may vary depending on when you’re able to access the sale.”
5. “Better options”
ESPN’s Bob Harig suggests Lefty doesn’t think he’s getting picked for captain Woods’ squads…”Mickelson said Wednesday that he doesn’t expect an at-large pick from U.S. Presidents Cup team captain Tiger Woods and that he does not believe he is deserving.”
  • “There are much better options of players that have played consistently at a high level that deserve to be on the team,” Mickelson, 49, said in South Korea at the CJ Cup, a PGA Tour event he is playing for the first time. “Even if I were to win, I have not done enough to warrant a pick.
  • “I’m not asking for one. I don’t expect one. I think there are a lot of better options for the U.S. side.”
6. 58 penalty strokes!
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers on a wildly penal occurrence…”Lee Ann Walker was assessed 58 penalty strokes after it was discovered she had violated Rule 10.2b several times over the course of the first two rounds at the senior major being played at the Pete Dye Course in French Lick, Ind. Implemented earlier this year, the rule prohibits caddies from lining up golfers on putting greens, among other spots on the course. And as Walker found out, there is no limit to the amount of penalty strokes a player can incur for breaking it.”
  • “In a statement released by the Senior LPGA Championship Rules Committee, the harsh decision came after Walker notified a rules official during the second round on Tuesday that she had been violating the rule. Obviously, Walker didn’t realize this until it was pointed out to her by a fellow caddie on her fifth hole. Walker then went through her round so far as well as the first round on Monday to determine just how many times she broke the rule. Considering the total, she was obviously being lined up by her caddie on most putts.”

Full piece.

7. BK vs. Rory
Our Gianni Magliocco…”The 29-year-old, who was speaking to the AFP ahead of this week’s CJ Cup, has been on the PGA Tour since 2015 and has won four major’s in that period, while McIlroy’s last success at a major championship came back in 2014.”
  • “I’ve been out here for, what, five years. Rory hasn’t won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour. So I just don’t view it as a rivalry.”
  • “The world number one then further reiterated his lack of belief that there is currently a serious rivalry in golf and laid out his intentions to remain at the top of the sport for the foreseeable future.”
  • “I’m not looking at anybody behind me. I’m number one in the world. I’ve got open road in front of me I’m not looking in the rearview mirror, so I don’t see it as a rivalry. You know if the fans do (call it a rivalry), then that’s on them and it could be fun. Look I love Rory he’s a great player and he’s fun to watch, but it’s just hard to believe there’s a rivalry in golf. I just don’t see it.”

Full piece.

8. Meanwhile, at Q-School…
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell with the report on the action in Florida…”Germany’s going for a wire-to-wire victory at the LPGA’s second stage of Q-School.”
  • “Esther Henseleit grabbed a share of the second-round lead with a 5-under 67 Tuesday at Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice, Fla., a day after fellow countrywoman Olivia Cowan took the first-round lead.”
  • “At 9-under overall, Henseleit is tied at the top with China’s Yan Liu (67), one shot ahead of Cowan (72), Thailand’s Prima Thammaraks (68) and American amateur Sierra Brooks, whose 66 equaled the low round of the day.”

Full piece.

9. LPGA Shanghai update
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell...”Nasa Hataoka should be getting more worldwide attention.
With two Japan LPGA Tour major championship victories in her homeland over the last month, she arrived for the start of this week’s Buick LPGA Shanghai on fire.”
  • “And she didn’t cool off in Thursday’s first round.”
  • “A 5-under-par 67 at Qizhong Garden Golf Club gave Hataoka a share of the lead with South Korea’s Amy Yang.”

Full piece.

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