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Morning 9: A Rocket to the top | DeChambeau’s slow play take | Full membership for women at Muirfield

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

June 28, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Rocketing to the top
AP report…”Nate Lashley birdied the final three holes and five of the last six for a 9-under 63 and the first-round lead Thursday in the Rocket Mortgage Classic, the PGA TOUR’s first event in Detroit.”
  • “The 36-year-old Lashley had the lowest score in his PGA TOUR career, a day after getting a spot at Detroit Golf Club as an alternate. Ranked 353rd in the world and No. 132 in the FedExCup standings, Lashley’s only top-10 finish in his two-year PGA TOUR career is a tie for eighth in the Puerto Rico Open in February.”
  • “Ryan Armour and Nick Watney were a stroke back at 64. Chez Reavie, the Travelers Championship winner last week in Connecticut, Charles Howell III and Stewart Cink topped the group at 65.”
2. Stricker, Toms
AP again…”Defending champion David Toms was looking for a good start in the U.S. Senior Open. Steve Stricker was looking for a fresh start.”
  • “Both got what they wanted Thursday with rounds of 8-under 62 to share the lead in an opening round that yielded a record number of scores under par on rain-softened Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame.”
  • “I saw some good scores from this morning before I teed off, and it looked like there were birdies to be made out there,” said the 52-year-old Stricker, who made his Senior Open debut with seven birdies and a 30-foot eagle putt on the 17th hole to catch Toms.”
3. An in-gracious host
EuropeanTour.com report…”Sergio Garcia continued his remarkable love affair with Real Club Valderrama to sit just one shot off the lead after day one of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation.”
  • “The Spaniard has won the last three stagings of this event in 2011, 2017 and 2018 and has ten other top tens from 14 appearances at a course he admits is his favourite in the world.”
  • “An opening 66 in Sotogrande left him at five under, one shot behind Frenchman Victor Perez.”
  • “I love this place, there is no doubt about that,” he said. “It kind of has something with me that helps me.
4. Reed’s putter tuneup
Unpaid Club Champion spokesman Patrick Reed had this to say… but really, interesting tidbit (via Golf Channel).
  • “Monday he made a quick detour with hopes of solving his putting woes. But rather than visit a private club or instructor, he walked into a local Club Champion store, which offers club-fitting options to the public.”
  • “According to Reed, the draw to that specific store was their Science and Motion (SAM) putting lab, and it’s something he’s done before when on the road for long stretches of time.”
  • “I went just to check to make sure that my specs were right,” Reed said. “For me personally, the best way to do it is if I can find a SAM lab. Club Champions have those, and those have high enough cameras and stuff that you can actually see what’s going on. So you can tell by that rather than machines, since every machine has a different variance. But cameras don’t really lie.”
5. A check on the U.S. Open champion
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Woodland nearly holed his final approach shot Thursday at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, tapping in and smiling at greenside fans as he scooped his fourth birdie over his final six holes. But that rally still left him with a 1-over 73 on a day when most of the field bettered par, as the U.S. Open champ at one point found himself in last place among the 156-man field before bouncing back.”
  • “I was off from the start,” Woodland said. “Probably had the best warm-up session of the year, was great on the range. My timing was off. I was probably really excited to play today, I was excited to be out there. … I was just quick.”

Full piece.

6. Women as full members at Muirfield at last
Golfweek’s Alistair Tait…”The club announced Thursday that it has extended invitations to women to join its ranks.”
  • “It is my great pleasure to announce that 12 women have been formally invited to join the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers this month,” said Alistair Campbell, captain of the Honourable Company. “This marks a milestone in the club’s illustrious history, and we look forward to welcoming all of our new members to share in the great values and traditions of our club.
  • “This year marks the 275th anniversary of the club’s first recorded golf competition. We are proud of our club’s rich history but equally excited for its future and the part all of our new members will play in the club’s cherished traditions.”
  • “Campbell did not name the 12 women invited to join the club, but they’ve gone through the same membership process as men. That means they have been “proposed and seconded by existing members and five referees. The club’s membership is then invited to write in support, or otherwise, of those put forward, who are personally known to them or have golfed with them.”
7. When do player/caddie spats go too far?
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…”Some players use their caddie as an outlet for frustration, and the caddies understand that ,” Stewart Cink said. “It’s hard for me sometimes to hear the players that treat their caddies like that.”
  • “Caddies have always had to wear a lot of hats out there. Amateur psychologist, part-time motivator, full-time numbers guru, etc. They need to know when to speak up and when to stay quiet in exactly the right moments. Giving yardages and reading putts is the easy part.”
  • “Fans don’t often see the other side of that dynamic unless cameras are rolling and microphones pick up the on-course discussions in the heat of competition.”
8. 50-year-old Walker Cupper?
Mark Townesnd at National Club Golfer….”The amateur golfing world is generally a sea of teens and 20-somethings, logoed and often identical clothing, gelled hair, bouncy gaits, rapid and beautiful swings and dreams of the European Tour and, most likely, beyond.”
  • “It’s the week of the Brabazon at Alwoodley and, come the end of it, a 16-year-old from Rotherham, Ben Schmidt, will breeze to the title by five shots after an incredible four days.”
  • “But the person I’m on the look out for is far removed from most of his peers and is comfortably old enough to be everyone’s dad.”
  • “For Euan McIntosh, who turned 50 in February, this is his second coming. Just this past weekend he landed the Tennant Cup, the oldest open amateur strokeplay competition in the world, with a closing round of 62 at Killermont.”

Full piece. 

9. DeChambeau’s slow play story
Our Gianni Magliocco…“Speaking to the New York Post, DeChambeau disclosed that walking faster between shots should allow for extra time over the ball and criticized authorities for penalizing him for taking an additional “10 seconds longer over the ball”.
  • “I can take 10 seconds longer to hit a shot, but if I walk 10 seconds faster the total aggregate time is the same, yet they’re penalizing me because I took 10 seconds longer over the ball. It doesn’t make sense”
  • “For some people to say, ‘I just go up there and hit it,’ well that’s good for you. If it works for you, it works for you. But I want to be as precise as possible heading into that shot. I want to be right on point and that just requires me to be a little faster walker.”

Full piece.

 

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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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