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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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Mizuno MP-20 SEL: Leftys rejoice!

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Hey you southpaws, I promise I didn’t just flip an image of an MP-20 to wind you up… This is a real deal!

Say hello to the Mizuno MP-20 SEL (Special Edition Lefty) made just for you.

So what makes these SEL’s special? You may remember from the MP-20 piece I referenced the “MP-20 family” and how Mizuno spent a lot of time analyzing set makeup data to fine-tune each club in each model to maximize performance from both an individual set perspective, and to combo. They took all of that data and flipped it on its head, or at least hand, to create a set combining the most requested clubs just for left-handed players.

The MP20 SEL is a combination of 5-PW MP20 (blades) with HMB 3, and 4-irons. All the flow, copper and tech from the right-handed models combined into one. Without getting too far into the logistic of this, it has to be said that unless you’re a maple-syrup drinking, hockey-playing Canuck (don’t worry its not an offensive term) where around 25 percent of golfers play left-handed the global golf population that plays left-handed is still below 10 percent.  Mizuno wants to do everything they can to offer an MP design for lefties, and as the data demonstrated, this was the best option to fit the most players.

For more information on the entire MP20 line up check out the full piece here: ( INSERT MP20 LINK ) 

 

 

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Morning 9: Nothing runs like a Frittelli | Royal Portrush takes center stage

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

July 15, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1 Scottish Open: Wiesberger nabs second W of 2019
(Image above via Wiesberger on Instagram) EuropeanTour.com report…”Bernd Wiesberger…beat Benjamin Hebert in a twilight play-off at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.”
  • “The Austrian entered the final day at The Renaissance Club with a two shot lead but found himself trailing after Hebert carded a stunning closing 62 to set the target at 22 under.”
  • “Wiesberger had edged back ahead with two to play but bogeyed the 17th in a 69 before a par on the third play-off hole handed him a sixth European Tour title.”
2. Nothing runs like a Frittelli 
AP report…”While the rest of the leaders faltered, Dylan Frittelli surged to his first PGA Tour title.”
  • “Frittelli won the John Deere Classic on Sunday, closing with a 7-under 64 for a two-stroke victory over Russell Henley. The South African earned a spot next week in the British Open, finishing at 21-under 263 after the bogey-free final round at TPC Deere Run.”
  • “One of eight players within two strokes of the lead entering the lead, Frittelli was looking forward to the tournament’s charter flight to Royal Portrush.”
  • “I’m sure it’s going to be a fun flight,” Frittelli said.

Indeed. Full piece.

3. Goose is loose at Senior Players 
AP report on Goosen’s win at one of the low-key best venues for watching professional golf…”Retief Goosen birdied the final two holes to win the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship on Sunday at Firestone Country Club for his first PGA Tour Champions title.”
  • “The 50-year-old Hall of Famer from South Africa broke a tie for the lead with a 15-foot putt on the par-4 17th and made a 10-footer on the par-4 18th for a 2-under 68 and a two-stroke victory over 65-year-old Jay Haas and Tim Petrovic.”
4. Kim outduels Thompson 
AP report…”I’m very happy to win, especially this tournament, because Marathon has a lot of history,” Kim said.
  • “With five birdies in the middle of her round, Kim pulled away from Lexi Thompson in their head-to-head duel at Highland Meadows Golf Club outside Toledo, Ohio.”
  • “She played some amazing golf,” Thompson said. “There was a stretch there, mid-round, where she stuck every shot.
  • “Had under 5 feet [for birdie] about four times in a row. So, it was a very well-deserved win by her.”
5. If only Tony Romo played playoff football as well as he does the American Century Championship…
(Kidding, Cowboys fans)
Golf Channel’s Adam Woodard…”Tony Romo is the man to beat in Lake Tahoe.”
  • “The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst has staked his claim as best celebrity golfer by defending his title at the 2019 American Century Championship, winning with a score of 71 points. Former MLB All-Star Mark Mulder (61) finished second, followed by tennis Olympic medalist Mardy Fish and another former MLB All-Star Derek Lowe (57). Actor Jack Wagner rounds out the top five with 55 points.”
6. *Points to Collin Morikawa* You get a tour card!
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”A week after Matthew Wolff earned his PGA Tour card by winning the 3M Open, Collin Morikawa locked up membership for next season.”
“The 22-year-old Cal product, in just his fifth pro start, tied for fourth Sunday at the John Deere Classic to collect 122.5 non-member FedExCup points and run his season total to 456.5. With just three weeks left in the regular season, that number, which currently would slot Morikawa at 88th, will assuredly be more than No. 125 in the final standings, meaning Morikawa can count on earning his card for the 2019-20 season.”
7. Portrush to center stage
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Much has changed since The Open last visited the coastal links of Royal Portrush. It’s been 68 years, in fact, since Max Faulkner scooped 300 pounds for winning the tournament despite never breaking 70. But that remains the only time the oldest major in golf was held somewhere other than England or Scotland.”
  • “That is, until this week. Long viewed as one of the best courses in the world, Royal Portrush now has a chance to shine in front of a global audience like never before.”
  • “And chances are, she’s going to put on quite a show.”
8. In a similar vein… 
James Corrigan at The Telegraph files his look ahead…
  • “Yet things change, as do politics, finance, perception and even dusty old men in blazers, and here we are in Open week. Everywhere you walked in Portrush on Saturday, with a big wheel spinning and looking down on families eating ice creams, and the brave dipping their toes in the grey ocean, it was clear that this was not a normal weekend. For, as the doors swing open, Tiger Woods is turning up on the Sunday morning and, no, that is not an everyday occurrence.”
  • “Perhaps Graeme McDowell summed it up best in a spectacular blog post on the European Tour website. “It’s been amazing to see the Open Championship evolve in the sleepy little town where I was born,” he said. “For anyone who has never been there, Portrush is on the very northern tip of the island of Ireland and is a very raw, beautiful, rugged landscape which feels very remote. To see an Open being staged there is mind-blowing for many of the local people.”
9. Fun yields win for Frittelli  
Good bit from Cameron Morfit going a level beyond the game story for PGATour.com…”It was mentality clarity,” Frittelli said, when asked to explain the difference at the Deere.
  • “With his attention divided and his career flagging, the 29-year-old with the prescription glasses found himself feeling stressed as this season wore on. His European Tour membership was running out, and he found himself in danger of losing his PGA TOUR card, too. That would mean going back to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, where nothing is guaranteed except for the fact that it would preclude his playing in some big overseas events.”
  • “The clock was ticking, and Frittelli had to find a way to tune it out. Enter sports psychologist Jay Brunza, who helped Frittelli finally accept that he couldn’t affect outcomes, at least not positively, by obsessing over them. When he three-putted the 14th hole after driving the green Sunday, he not only forced himself to slow down and not overreact, he smiled.”
  • “I think I was the only one on the course who smiled after a three-putt,” he said.
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Tour Rundown runs toward Open with Frittelli, Kim, Goosen victories

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Something quite brilliant was in the air this week on the world’s golf tours. A new course debuted in Scotland, South Africa stood tall with two champions, and the world anticipated a return to a legendary, northern course that has not seen an Open Championship since 1951. The American tours are drawing to a close, and plans for 2019-2020 are firming up. Five events caught our attention this week, from Gullane to Toledo, from Iowa to Colorado. Plug in your charger and settle in for a nice read of this week’s Tour Rundown.

Scottish Open chalice rests in Wiesberger’s hands

Interesting stories envelope the Austrian golfer, Bernd Wiesberger. After a many-month layoff to rehab a wrist injury this season, 2 victories have come his way, including last week’s Scottish Open. The first 3 playoffs of his European Tour career all ended in defeat. In 2011, 2014 and 2015, he lost in extra holes at the Johnnie Walker, the Lyoness, and the Irish Open. Since then, he’s 2-0 in extra time. During the days leading into the 2016 and 2018 Ryder Cups, the 6-time Euro champ always seemed on the edge of breaking through to the European squad, but tailed off in the stretch run. On Sunday, under great pressure, he broke through for his finest triumph to date.

Soft ground and zero wind made The Renaissance Club an easy target during its championship debut. Wiesberger took advantage in round two, posting a course-record 61 to seize the lead. He held the top spot after 54 holes, placing all pressure squarely on his shoulders as round 4 began. It didn’t help that England’s Andrew Johnston had signed for a 62 before the Austrian pegged his opening tee shot. It also didn’t help that Benjamin Hebert of France was in the midst of his own 62, climbing the leaderboard. Ultimately, the duo of Wiesberger and Hebert would trade counters through the closing holes. After the Austrian holed a gutty, 7-feet effort at the last for a spot in the playoff, Hebert’s sound game betrayed him. He bogeyed the 2nd playoff hole, when par would have won, then 3-putted the 3rd go-round to finish 2nd.

As consolation, Hebert, Johnston and Italy’s Nino Bertasio earned the final 3 spots in this week’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

@ScottishOpen     @EuropeanTour     @Renaissancegc     @BWiesberger

John Deere Classic is Frittelli’s 1st PGA Tour victory

The 3rd weekend of July redefined the careers of its tournament winners. Dylan Frtitelli has long been a quality golfer, since before his days at the University of Texas. Frittelli found himself uncertain of his status for the 2019-2020 campaign. His major-tour memberships were at risk, and a return to the triple-A tours was not his number-one comfort blanket. Everything changed on Sunday, in the middle of the American continent, when Frittelli surged past 3rd-round leader Andrew Landry with 64. As Landry fell to 3rd spot, Frittelli reached 21-under par. His work wasn’t finished, however. After a 4-under opening nine in round 4, the kind that gets you into the top 10, Russell Henley continued to make birdies. He made 6 more coming home, including a marvelous one at the final hole. Henley reached 19-under, claiming 2nd spot for himself. Frittelli didn’t falter. He made 4 at the par-5 17th, one of the few holes Henley failed to birdie in his march to the green. Ultimately, the win was vindication, security, and an unexpected trip to Royal Portrush for this week’s Open Championship. Breathe easy, Dylan.

@JDCLASSIC     @PGATOUR     @TPCDeereRun     @Dylan_Frittelli

Sei Young Kim takes 2nd win of LPGA season at Marathon Classic

Sei Young Kim offered an LPGA marketing tutorial on how to pronounce her name (So Young!) a season or two ago. On Sunday, the 26-year old Korean golfer earned her 9th LPGA title by 2 strokes, over Lexi Thompson of the USA. Kim made 7 birdies over her first 15 holes, establishing a healthy lead as the tournament headed for home. Bogey at the 16th reduced her margin of victory to 2, but also served to secure trivia on the week: Kim’s scorecard’s were 64, 65, 66 and 67. A hand that would do some damage at the card table, also worked well at the Toledo LPGA stop. Thompson nor anyone else ever threatened the front-runner on day four. Thompson had too many bogies (2) and not enough birdies (also 2) on the outward nine, to mount an early challenge. 3 more birdies plus 1 additional bogey through the 16th, brought her even with Stacy Lewis for 2nd spot. Thompson closed fiercely, with birdie at 17 and eagle at the last. Her torrid finish made the final score appear closer than actuality. In truth, it was the Sei Young show all day long, a fitting tribute to a stellar performance.

@MarathonLPGA     @LPGA     @HMGCgrounds     @SY_KIM_lpga

Colorado Championship earns Ledesma a ticket to the show in 2019-2020

Argentina’s Nelson Ledesma had won on this level before. He triumphed at the LECOM in 2019, but that victory was not enough to propel him to the PGA Tour. In a campaign highlighted by higher, more consistent finishes, Ledesma’s victory on Sunday was enough to earn him a card on the golf world’s grandest dance stage. The walk home wasn’t easy on Sunday. Ledesma dueled with fellow southern-hemisphere golfer Brett Coletta the entire round. Ledesma went -1 on each of his 9s, but they could have differed more. On the outward half, the Platense was all over the place: 4 birdies, 1 bogey, 1 double. On the inward half, all pars until the last. Coletta might look back on Sunday and wonder, what went wrong on the par 5 holes. He doubled the first, bogeyed the 5th, and failed to birdie the 13th and 15th. A late birdie at 17 tied him with Ledesma, setting the stage for the 20-feet birdie putt that would settle the matter and send the champion to new heights.

@TPCColorado     @KornFerryTour     @TPCColoradoChampionship     @nelsonledesmaok

Senior Players Championship is Goosen’s 1st on senior circuit

There was a time, in the early 2000s, when a lead in Goosen’s hands was nearly as secure as a Tiger one. Then came the US Open of 2005, when his final-round lead simply went far, far away. Since those days, family, injuries and new challengers brought him back to the pack. Goosen won 4 more events on the European tour, never again on the US side of the water, until Sunday. Having followed Friday’s 62 with a Saturday 75, the South African found himself in 2nd spot, behind the 2019 story of the year, Scott Parel. This time, it was Goosen who hung on and the leader, that faltered.

Parel came out of the gate limping. He was plus-two through 14 holes in round four. Needing to make something happen to put pressure on his playing partner, Parel birdied the 14th and 17th holes. Unfortunately for him, sandwiched in between were another bogey and a double. He fell to a tie for 4th spot, 4 behind Goosen. In other groupings, Tim Petrovic and Jay Haas were making noise. Each closed to within 2 of Goosen, but neither had the firepower to gain any more ground. The pair tied for 2nd at 4-under par. As for Goosen, it was anything but steady or consistent. He had an eagle and 4 birdies on the day, including chirps at the final two holes, to seal the deal. He also had 2 bogies, along with a double at the 11th. It seems that excitement and thrills are part of the new normal for the formerly-unwavering champion. As long as the recipe results in victories, he’ll certainly cook something up.

@ChampionsTour     @SeniorPlayers     @BridgestoneGolf    

 

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