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Morning 9: Wire to wire | Another senior major for Stricker | Hovland’s bid for a tour card

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

July 1, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. Wire-to-wire
Golf Channel report…”For the second straight week, the 54-hole leader converted a six-shot lead into victory. Following Chez Reavie at last week’s Travelers Championship, Lashley took full advantage of his big cushion, shooting 2-under 70 to finish at 25 under, six shots clear of the field. But unlike Reavie, who nearly squandered his lead last week, Lashley never let his advantage sink below six. He birdied the first hole and never looked back. His six-shot victory is the second largest margin of victory on Tour this season, just behind Rory McIlroy’s seven-shot rout in Canada.”
  • “The story of the 36-year-old Lashley is remarkable. Lashley, a Tour rookie last season at 34 years old, once quit golf to work in real estate as he struggled with the deaths of his parents and girlfriend, who died in a place crash while flying home from watching Lashley, then a junior at Arizona, compete in the 2004 NCAA West Regional in Oregon.”

Full piece.

2. Strick!
AP report on the Ryder Cup captain’s romp…”Stricker birdied the opening hole Sunday and never was threatened on his way to a 1-under 69 for a six-shot victory. He finished at 19-under 261 on the Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame, breaking by three shots the U.S. Senior Open record set two years ago by Kenny Perry at Salem Country Club.”
  • “The 52-year-old Stricker, who still spends half of his time on the PGA Tour, won a PGA Tour Champions major for the second time this year. He also won by six shots at the Regions Tradition in May in Alabama.”
3. Lashley’s road 
While there has been no shortage of discussion of the death of Nate Lashley’s parents (and girlfriend) in a 2004 plane crash, if you’re unfamiliar, it’s essential filigree for Rod Lashley’s son’s triumph in Detroit.
  • Tom VanHaaren at ESPN.com: “…His parents, Rod and Char, and girlfriend, Leslie Hofmeister, flew to Oregon to watch Lashley play. On the flight back to their home state of Nebraska, Lashley’s parents and Hofmeister were killed in a plane crash. Lashley had to play through the devastation, and while he says golf was a release for him while dealing with the loss, he also concedes he wasn’t initially ready to be a professional golfer in such a short time after the crash.”
  • “To this day, Lashley says the tragic event stays close and never really leaves his thoughts, even while on the course and trying to win his first PGA tournament.”
4. Meanwhile, in Spain…
EuropeanTour.com report…”Christiaan Bezuidenhout won his first European Tour title in emphatic style with a six shot victory at the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation.”
“The South African came into the final day at Real Club Valderrama with a five shot lead and while he saw that trimmed to three at one point, a closing 71 saw him finish at ten under and lift the trophy.”
5. 72nd-hole birdie to win
AP report…”Sung Hyun Park two-putted for birdie on the par-5 18th to win the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her second LPGA Tour victory of the season and seventh overall.”
“The 25-year-old Park is projected to move from second to first in the world ranking Monday. She will take the top spot from friend Jin Young Ko, the fellow South Korean player who poured water over Park’s head on the 18th green.”
6. Korn Ferry
The Jonathan Davis-fronted nu metal band enthralled passengers aboard the merchant vessel…
But really in action on the tour formerly known as the Web.com…
Sean Wildhack at PGATour.com…”Kristoffer Ventura defeated Joshua Creel on the third playoff hole to win the Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank. Ventura carded a final-round, bogey-free 65 before eventually winning with a par on the third extra hole at Oakridge Country Club.”
“This is unreal and I’m really happy to be in this position,” Ventura said. “I did everything I could before (the playoff) and I just figured if someone is going to win, I’ll try my best. As long as I do that, I’ll be happy afterwards. Obviously, it turned out to be pretty good.”
“Ventura began the final round three shots off the lead. The 24-year-old carded birdies on Nos. 1 and 5 to get to 10-under for the week. Despite windy conditions in the afternoon, Ventura kept his momentum going on the back nine. He rallied with birdies on Nos. 12, 13, 15 and 17 to get to 14-under for the championship, earning him a spot in the playoff with Creel.”
7. Nearly invisible, but not non-existent 
“The LPGA Tour has long been a welcoming ward for lesbians, but gay men are entirely invisible on the PGA Tour and only slightly less so in the broader golf universe. Invisible, but not non-existent. There are some who, for whatever personal reasons, choose not to be open about their sexuality. That’s entirely their business, but it’s not an approach I mirror. The only thing I care to hide in golf is my wretched swing, not the fact that I am gay.”
  • “Nor am I marooned in some hostile environment like Patrick Reed in a Ryder Cup locker room. There are numerous prominent figures in golf with gay children or siblings. In an interview with David Feherty a few years ago, Brandt Snedeker said he believed there were gay players on Tour. “I don’t think a gay golfer is going to be that big of a deal. It’s not going to affect my life in any way, shape or form,” he said. Golf could use more Snedekers willing to speak up for tolerance.”
8. Hovland’s quest for status
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge explains what the newly minted pro is facing following his T15 finish in Detroit…”College players who turn pro early are allowed seven sponsor exemptions to start their careers. Hovland now has five remaining and is in the field for the inaugural 3M Championship in Minnesota.”
“In order to continue to receive unlimited exemptions, a player needs to amass 266 FedEx Cup points in that seven-start stretch. Hovland picked up six of them with a T-54 finish in his pro debut at the Travelers Championship and will have about 200 points left to go after a solid finish at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.”
“With five starts left, Hovland could play every remaining tournament other than the British Open and WGC-Fed Ex St. Jude Invitational. He will need to win one of them or rip off several top-5 finishes to reach 266 FedEx Cup points and get straight into the Korn Ferry Tour finals (formerly the Web.com Tour).”
9. The Disruptors, Episode 2
Our Johnny Wunder went through the paces of a putter fitting at PXG. While his specific results are interesting, if you’ve ever wondered what fitting for a flatstick looks like, this is a great example of that process.
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  1. Johnny Penso

    Jul 2, 2019 at 12:28 am

    “There are some who, for whatever personal reasons, choose not to be open about their sexuality.” Dude, we’re golf fans, not porn fans. What someone chooses to do with their willy in their private life is their own business. I’m more concerned whether someone can flop a 60 over a bunker to a tight pin from the greenside rough myself.

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Morning 9: Latest memo from Tour to players | Phil’s post-Match perspective | Greg Norman’s regrettable take

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1. Latest “bubble” memo
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard details the most recent communique from Tour to its players…“In a memo sent to players on Wednesday, tournament director Michael Tothe outlined many of the protocols that will be required when play resumes on June 11 at Colonial including the four Fort Worth, Texas, hotels that will create the foundation of the circuit’s “bubble” for the week.”
  • “The core of the PGA Tour’s plan to return was always about testing, but it’s a fine line to walk. In two weeks, at the Charles Schwab Challenge, we’ll find out if it will be enough.”
  • “Players are allowed to stay in individual RVs or rental homes but they are being encouraged to assure the health and safety of their accommodations if they choose to stay outside the bubble.”
  • “Players were also informed where COVID-19 testing will occur when they arrive in Fort Worth as well as meal options at Colonial, which will be limited to grab-and-go lunches in order to follow safety protocols.”
2. Little John finishes second at Crooked Stick 
Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star…Daly II made that same walk on Wednesday, up the 18th fairway for the final round of the inaugural Dye Junior Golf Invitational at Crooked Stick.”
  • “I think a lot of guys have re-watched the 1991 PGA tournament,” Daly II said. “I watched it every night before the tournament. (Watching him) walk down the 18th with all of the fans everywhere was pretty cool. He started as the ninth alternate and didn’t expect to play. For him to win, it was a ridiculous story. He loves it.”
  • “Daly II put together a remarkable tournament in his own right, finishing a three-way tie for second place behind winner John Marshall Butler of Louisville, Kentucky. Daly II was 4 over for the two-day, 54-hole event, which featured 33 of the top high school boys players in the country and 33 of the same on the girls’ side.”
3. Phil open to wearing mic
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Speaking on the Dan Patrick Show, Mickelson admitted that he didn’t expect the same level of banter during a typical Tour event with a seven-figure prize on the line, but he’d nonetheless be willing to broadcast his inside-the-ropes dialogue.”
  • “I would be open to the idea because of how it’s being received, and some of the insight and so forth,” Mickelson said. “But you don’t have the play between individuals. I had a partner, and Tom and I could talk back and forth. And maybe you could get some of that with the caddie, but having a partner is much more intimate and you have much better conversation.”
4. …wants annual Match
AP report…”Phil Mickelson, fresh off the success of Sunday’s charity golf exhibition with Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, says he would like to see “The Match” become an annual event.”
  • “I think you could showcase guys like Steph Curry and Michael Jordan or Tony Romo and Patrick Mahomes, who are all good golfers, elite talents and have great personalities,” Mickelson told the Los Angeles Times in a column published Wednesday. “Those personalities are going to come out with this event. Or you could have someone who loves the game and is competitive but is really entertaining like Larry David and Bill Murray. I think that could shine.”
5. More audience info
Interesting stuff from Geoff Shackelford…“According to Showbuzzdaily.com, almost 1/3 of The Match 2’s audience was in the coveted 18-49 demo and the number was even better on on TruTV, also meaning there are people of any age group who know how to find TruTV”
  • “About 30% of The Match’s audience landed in the 18-49 demo despite the 44.5 average age of the participants…The numbers for TaylorMade Driving Relief with a foursome averaging 29.5 years”
  • “That’s 25% of the almighty buyers for a younger, supposedly more millennial-friendly group of golfers. And a grand total of (at least) 860,000 fewer viewers 18-49.  While not a huge difference in the percentage department, The Match did rout Driving Relief in overall audience and even took chipped away at NASCAR’s ratings.”

Full piece.

6. After a long layoff, how do the pros play?
Dylan Beirne, 15th Club for PGATour.com, examines the question…“As we might expect, there’s a clear relationship between performance and the number of weeks a player has been off. We can analyze how well players perform by comparing our estimate of their ability (how we would expect them to perform) to how they actually performed.”
  • “Generally, players taking small breaks of two weeks or less are marginally better than expected, while longer breaks result in an average drop in performance of between 0.1 and 0.2 strokes per round. For context, a drop of 0.2 strokes per round is about the gap between 100th- and 135th-ranked players in the world. It’s a significant change, but not enormous.”
  • “Additionally, the drop in performance after a 10-20 week gap is quite consistent across different levels of players. Top-50 players in the world are affected by a similar amount to those outside the top 50.”
7. A really bad take from Greg Norman
I mean, what else can you call it? A man who has a history of obtuseness and putting his fin in his mouth outdid himself with unfounded speculation about the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash in an interview with Michael Bamberger…“I asked Norman about the January helicopter crash in Los Angeles that killed all nine people aboard, Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, among them. I asked Norman if he had any insight, from his own experience as a helicopter pilot, and as an elite athlete who has flown often in helicopters as a passenger, into the tragedy.”
  • “Yes – yes,” he said. His voice was sober. “Probably pilot error and pressure from the back,” Norman said. Norman could imagine the legendary basketball player saying, “‘Get me through this; get me there. I’ve got to get my daughter to this game.’
  • …”My instructor and I had a saying, ‘If you can’t see through it don’t fly through it.’ If I was flying to Doral or Orlando or Naples and there was fog, we just put it down and waited it out.”
8. Sprint to the Cup
Ben Everill at PGATour.com…“The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting cancellations and postponements of tournaments leaves just 11 eligible tournaments over a 10-week stretch for players to qualify for the Playoffs and a chance at the $15 million bonus that comes with the season-long FedExCup crown.”
  • “While the top 125 will not double as the cutoff for TOUR cards next season in this reduced schedule, it will remain the mark to get into THE NORTHERN TRUST, the first of three Playoffs events in the chase for the FedExCup.”
  • “Gone is the luxury of extended rest between starts for those sitting way back on the list, such as Koepka, who was just starting to find his feet again on a return from injury when the pandemic halted play in March.”

 

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Morning 9: Improving golf coverage | Oral history of TW’s “best shot” | Nichols: Charity matches were great…but why no women?

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1. Match-inspired innovations for improving golf coverage
Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan with a few thoughts…Mid-round interviews…There’s no really good reason beyond mild annoyance to the players that this couldn’t work, even in the current COVID-19 environment, provided that safe social distancing is practiced. In the major team sports, coaches are obliged to give interviews, and players will occasionally speak at halftime or between periods. There are no “coaches” in that same sense in golf, but the game happens at a slower pace, and a 60-second walking interview between holes is not too much to ask. I don’t think there’s a reasonable argument that it’s overly disruptive, especially if planned in advance.”
  • …”Mic’d up players and caddies…In exhibitions past, we’ve witnessed players with live microphones, but the purpose behind it is dreaded “banter,” which typically comes across as hollow, forced and not very funny. But if players and caddies wore mics during a round, producers could find riveting audio that captures natural conversation or impromptu strategy sessions. Phil serving as a mentor for Tom Brady was riveting and hopefully stokes our appetite for similar mid-round insight…”
2. An oral history of Tiger’s “best shot” 
Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…(This is just the introduction to a fantastic piece that talks to Bob Weeks of TSN and Steve Williams, among others!)…”Had it slipped between Tiger Woods’ 6-iron and golf ball, one rogue grain could have sunk his hopes of winning the RBC Canadian Open in 2000, becoming the first since Lee Trevino in 1971 to win golf’s Triple Crown – the U.S., British, and Canadian Opens in the same year.”
  • “So was it the ultra-fine margin? The stakes? The absurdly improbable physics of the shot itself?”
  • “Yes. Yes. And yes. All of these things compelled Scott Verplank, among others, to call it “the greatest shot I’ve ever seen in my life,” Woods’ 218-yard masterstroke from the wet sand at the par-5 18th at Glen Abbey. Woods’ caddie Steve Williams would return to the bunker once the commotion had died down, still struggling to get his head around what he’d seen. Others have made the same pilgrimage and tried to visualize what Woods had, tried to feel what Woods felt, for this was magic.”
3. Thrive? Struggle? Survive? 
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak contemplates what’s ahead for the golf industry…”These are strange times living through a global pandemic. Suddenly, golf courses are packed in a way the industry hasn’t experienced since Tiger Woods was revolutionizing the game in the late 1990s and former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem was predicting 50 million golfers by 2020.”
  • “Well, that didn’t happen, but golf has been given this new-found seal of approval highlighting its healthy aspects and its ability to provide safe recreation. As courses across the country re-open there is pent up demand among golfers to get out and play. Tee sheets are mostly filled and former golfers and those trying out the sport for the first time are emerging out of the woodwork desperate to be in the sunshine and doing something, anything that has been deemed “COVID OK.” There is renewed belief that golf can grab a bigger piece of the pie among recreational and entertainment options.”
4. Where were the women?
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols wonders…How can there be downside to two Sundays of golf taking center stage and raising mega-money for COVID-19 relief?”
  • “Well, there is no a downside, but it could’ve been more. As LPGA player Mel Reid tweeted during the TaylorMade Driving Relief Challenge, the broadcasts could’ve represented all of golf.”
  • “They could’ve included women.”
  • “…It would’ve been great to see an LPGA player and her sponsorship partners get in on the action in a similar fashion.”
  • “The TaylorMade event could’ve been a mixed-team format. Maria Fassi and Paula Creamer are both in Florida. Some of TaylorMade’s female stars could’ve also called in during the broadcast as Jon Rahm did. Staffers who could’ve called in include Natalie Gulbis, Muni He and Charley Hull. Sung Hyun Park, who speaks limited English, was involved in a charity exhibition in South Korea with current No. 1 Jin Young Ko. Women’s golf frequently takes center stage in that part of the world.”
5. 80% of golf retail open
From the NGF Q…”The number of physical golf retail outlets that are back in business continues to increase – from off-course stores and specialty club-fitters to green grass pro shops.”
  • “Approximately 66% of golf course pro shops are open at facilities that are open to play, the equivalent of almost 9 million square feet, although some states and counties have limitations on the number of customers permitted at one time. That percentage is up from 36% at the start of the month, but is unchanged over the past week as pro shops in at least 10 states (including Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois and New York) have government mandates that say they must remain closed inside to customers.”
  • “Meanwhile, approximately 79% of off-course golf retail stores were open (in terms of total square footage) through May 25. This is up from 73% last week and 59% two weeks ago. In early April, only about 4% of the 6.5 million square feet of total off-course golf specialty space was open to in-store traffic. Roughly 81% of all off-course retail stores are now open to customers.”
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GolfWRX Classifieds Spotlight (05/27/20): Adams, Mizuno, Ping

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member Gator5 – Adams CMB Irons

Forged – check, Multi-Material construction – check, cool as all heck because these clubs are sweet and Adams made some really cool gear – check!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Adams CMB Irons

Member Ksears – Brand New Mizuno MP20 Irons

Did someone say brand new Mizunos??? What else could you really want from a forged blade beside being meticulously crafted and forged in Japan – as well as being priced lower than retail.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link hereMP 20 Irons

Member 1hellaofashot – Ping G410 7 Wood

Speaking from experience let me just say this “stop denying the inevitable and embrace the 7 Wood” It’s endlessly versatile, more forgiving than a hybrid, and because this one for sale is a Ping G410 it is adjustable. Here’s your chance to dial in your own par 5 killer.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Ping 7 Wood

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds 

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