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Morning 9: Good news for golf participation | Players still want an off-season? | McGinley on Lanich

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

July 2, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Big news for golf? 
Janet Freund at Bloomberg…”The number of people in the U.S. who played at least one round of golf increased slightly in 2018 from the year earlier, the first year-over-year increase in 14 years, according to a new report from the National Golf Foundation. Off-course participation, like that of the popular Topgolf format, also saw a boost.”
  • “The latest data from the Foundation are “encouraging,” Compass Point’s Casey Alexander told clients in a note. The statistic may bode well for golf stocks, including Callaway Golf Co. and Acushnet Holdings Corp., both of which have outperformed the broader market since Tiger Woods’ historic Masters win back in April…”
2. Open qualifying
Golf Channel report…“Final Qualifying for the 148th Open will take place Tuesday at four sites….Twelve spots in the July 18-21 Open at Royal Portrush will be up for grabs, with three qualifiers from each of the four 36-hole qualifiers. The host courses are Fairmont St. Andrews in St. Andrews, Scotland, which will use 11 holes from the Kittocks Course and seven from the Torrance Course; Prince’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England; Notts Golf Club Hollinwell in Nottinghamshire, England; and St. Annes Old Links in Lancashire, England.”
3. Preparing for an “out of nowhere win” his whole life
John Feinstein with a dose of perspective…“This is what they do, what they’ve trained to do, and what they’ve dreamed about. They all know what’s at stake, which is why it is so critical to-as the cliché goes-stay in the present.”
  • “If Lashley had started picturing himself with the trophy or hugging his sister or with the check for $1.314 million or teeing it up at the Masters next April, he surely would have started spraying shots all over the place. It happens to everyone at some point.”
  • “…Lashley was in the very unusual position of actually being able to let down a little on the 18th hole with that massive lead. As Jim Nantz pointed out during the CBS broadcast, “he needs a 9 here to win.” That was with Lashley’s tee shot already in the fairway. One swing and two putts later, he had joined the club of players who go from nonexempt to “having a job for the next two years,” as the players like to call the exemption that comes with a victory.”
4. New schedule, same pining for an offseason? 
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…”The early leg of the new schedule seemed like a success, with big events every month as the Players Championship moved to March and PGA Championship to May. That’s the biggest upside for now, while figuring out how to deal with the second half seems like the biggest challenge.”
  • “…If there’s a consistent complaint regarding the new schedule – or the old one, really – it’s the lack of a structured offseason. Some were led to believe there might be a longer break with the FedEx Cup Playoffs ending earlier, but the Tour has instead added more fall events and will begin the 2019-20 season Sept. 12-15 with the Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, two weeks after the 2018-19 Tour Championship.”
5. Rory = I don’t need a star caddie (I’ve got a Diamond)
RTE Sport report…”Day’s decision to hire Williams raised the question of whether other top players might follow suit, perhaps trying to lure someone such as Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay, who worked for Phil Mickelson for 25 years.”
“McIlroy has been using his lifelong friend Harry Diamond for nearly two years now, with the former world number one saying that he no longer needed an old hand on the bag.”
‘”Maybe back in the day when I wasn’t as experienced, but I’ve been on tour for 12 years,” McIlroy said.”
‘”Caddies don’t hit the shots. I want someone out there I’m comfortable with. That’s the big thing for me and that’s why I have Harry on the bag.”‘
6. Following in Billy Hurley III’s footsteps?
Yes, BH3 is Navy and Kyle Westmoreland is Air Force, but the point stands…
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”A native of Katy, Texas, Westmoreland is one of the most decorated golfers in Air Force Academy history. In college, he earned all-region honors as a senior and competed in the NCAA Regionals twice. As a senior, Westmoreland placed fourth at the 2014 Mountain West Conference Championship, the highest finish for an Air Force golfer since 1985, and was named the Academy’s most valuable male athlete.”
  • “That success conferred Westmoreland options. Instead of a 12-year service commitment, he had the chance to take a five-year term, allowing him the opportunity to make a run at professional golf while he was still in his athletic prime. It was a path already taken by fellow servicemen Billy Hurley III (an economics teacher and electronic division officer for the Navy) and Tom Whitney (a nuclear missile operator from Air Force) in their pursuit of the PGA Tour.”
  • “To see what those guys did and how they did it was inspirational,” Westmoreland says. “It gave me the confidence that, as tough as this would be, I could ultimately achieve my goal.”

Full piece.

7. What happens when a terrible golfer plays TPC Southwind?
…not surprisingly, not good golf…  Mark Giannotto of Mempis’ Commercial Appeal, syndicated in Golfweek, writes of his participation in the 3M Open’s pro-am…
  • No. 12…”Monday’s shotgun start meant our group of four began the morning at the par-4 12th, where – surprise, surprise – water runs along the entire right side of the fairway. It’s a scramble format in which the best shot amongst the group is used. A few years back, when I played in one of these events as part of ACC Football media day, not one of my shots was used by the group. Not even a putt.”
  • “So I was nervous stepping into the tee box. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
  • “My first tee shot couldn’t have gone more than 200 yards, but stayed dry. I chunked the ensuing approach shot, though, creating a divot the size of my shoe.”
  • No. 13…”My tee shot veers way right into a mass of long, brown fescue. This will become a theme. I briefly wade into the mud to try to find my ball, but quickly realize this is actually a graveyard for golf balls.”

Full piece.

8. McGinley on Lahinch
Geoff Shackelford chatted with Irish Open host Paul McGinley about the selection of a singular venue
“GS: How did Lahinch’s selection happen?”
  • “Paul McGinley: In the South of Ireland, we’ve always played Lahinch historically. So we’re all very familiar with it and we’ve all won around there. The irony is, the only guy of all the Irish guys on tour, other than [Shane] Lowry, that hasn’t won there is Rory. All the rest of us have won around Lahinch. So we’re all very familiar with it growing up. And the second thing is, everybody seems to love Lahinch.  The fact that the 18th and the golf course goes right up to town with the town nestling around it and you’ve got the ocean framing the other side. So when I was asked to host by Rory you know when I take over the hosting role, I went away and I thought okay, now where are we going to go what venue are we going to? Knowing that The Open was going to be at Portrush and knowing that the commercial market as well as the spectator market was going to be very much gravitated towards golf and anyone from Dublin, the top half of the country was going to gravitate towards the Open Championship.”
  • “So we started looking around at potential venues and I thought, “you know what, the one outstanding one here is Lahinch.” It haven’t been held before and I think that’s a golf course certainly worthy of hosting. We could make it a par 70, instead of 72, and then the other box that we ticked is of course the people of Lahinch. And there’s three people there that I’ve known very well for a long period of time, Padraig Slattery former captain who was very successful in the PR world, John Gleeson who is a retired oil trader and very successful, and Paddy Keane who is the director of golf there.”
  • “I’ve known these guys personnel for a number of years and I thought wow, the personnel combined with the golf course, combined with the opening of the new commercial market is a package that I believe would work best. Then it was a question of presenting that to the European Tour and the sponsors, Dubai Duty Free, and I became convinced that this is the right place.”

Full piece.

9. Latest in The Woods Jupiter bartender’s death
Bill Speros at Golfweek…”Nicholas F. Immesberger, the bartender who worked at Tiger Woods’ restaurant in Jupiter, Fla., was “excessively intoxicated” by marijuana in addition to alcohol before his fatal crash last December, according to papers filed by Woods’ attorneys.”
  • “The parents of Immesberger sued Woods, his girlfriend Erica Herman, and the restaurant in May but dropped Woods from the suit in June.”
  • “…According to a series of answers provided by Herman and The Woods through their attorneys to Immesberger’s team on Monday in Palm Beach County, Fla., Nicholas Immesberger had a Delta-9-THC level of 13.3 ng/mL at the time of his death, which was more than five times the reporting limit.”

 

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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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