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Morning 9: British Open qualifiers | Backstory to Lashley’s spot in Rocket field | Tiger Woods’ special delivery

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

July 3, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans, and happy Independency Day eve.
1. Open qualifying
Keith Jackson at Sky Sports
Three amateurs were among 12 players to book their places at The 148th Open after Final Qualifying on Tuesday.
The day began with 288 players bidding for just 12 places in the field at Royal Portrush later this month, with three places up for grabs over 36 holes at the four venues in England and Scotland.
Golf Channel’s Will Gray put together a rundown that includes, well, more than just the names of who punched a ticket to Portrush, but here are just the names…
  • Notts Hollinwell...Who’s in: Andrew Wilson (-7), Thomas Thurloway (a) (-6), Ashton Turner (-5)
  • Prince’s…Who’s in: Curtis Knipes (a) (-9), Callum Shinkwin (-9), Austin Connelly (-8)
  • St. Anne’s Old Links…Who’s in: Garrick Porteous (-10), Jack Senior (-10), Matthew Baldwin (-9)
  • Fairmont St. Andrews…Who’s in: Brandon Wu (a) (-9), Connor Syme  (-6), Sam Locke (-4)

Full piece.

2. Brandon Wu 
Golf Digest’s Ryan Herrington on Wu’s impressive feat…“The 22-year-old, who qualified for last month’s U.S. Open and made the cut at Pebble Beach-only to have to miss his college graduation at Stanford because it was also being held on Father’s Day Sunday-went overseas to take a shot at Final Qualifying for the Open Championship. On Tuesday, 72 golfers finished up 36 holes at four different U.K. sites, all hoping to grab one of three spots available at each course. Wu, competing at Fairmont St. Andrews, shot 64-67 to finish at nine under, taking medalist honors by three strokes over Scotland’s Connor Syme and earning a trip to the British Open at Royal Portrush.”
3. From NFL linebacker to PGA Tour rules official 
Stellar piece from Sean Martin at PGATour.com profiling rules official Mark Dusabek…
  • “…He blew out his left knee in the first game of the 1991 season, tearing his ACL and meniscus. Surgery and rehab were unsuccessful.”
  • “After the fourth operation, I just realized that I couldn’t pass a physical and my knee wouldn’t come around,” he recalls. “I had to retire.”
  • “He worked in finance for a few years, but golf kept pulling him back. He made a move after reading a book entitled, “Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow.” To gain industry experience, he moved to Southern California and spent a year as a volunteer with the Southern California Golf Association. One of his early mentors told him that a knowledge of the Rules of Golf would be useful in a variety of positions.”
  • “His unpaid tenure with the SCGA led to a job with the PGA of America’s Metropolitan Section. He returned to Southern California in 2001, spending four years with the SCGA before being hired by the PGA TOUR.”

Full piece. 

4. Tough decisions ahead for captain Inkster
No Wie, Lincicome, Lewis, Piller, Creamer, Stanford, and more…
  • Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”With an influx of young players who have little international team experience, Inkster is looking at a major overhaul of the American roster fans have grown accustomed to seeing in the event.”
  • “The turnover’s a bigger deal with the United States traveling to Scotland for a road game with the Europeans.”
  • “Inkster likes the young talent she sees emerging, but . . .”I also have to think about who will be able to handle the pressure of playing a road game,” she wrote Tuesday in her Solheim Cup captain’s blog. “It’s going to be really hard playing overseas. The fans are going to be loud and loyal behind Europe, and I need to find players who can handle that situation. It takes a special player who can take the cheers for her opponent and turn them to something that motivates her and not distract her.”
5. Unselfish act, unlikely victory
Nate Lashley was an alternate, not a qualifier, for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and as it turns out, David Berganio, Jr. was the player between Lashley and a start, and, well… this weird bit of providence
  • AP report…”Berganio has been on a medical extension since 2004 because of a bulging disk in his back that took 11 years to be diagnosed as a problem in his hip. He has played only 28 times in the last 15 years on the PGA Tour.”
  • But…”His golf clubs never made the connection in Dallas and Berganio didn’t get them until Tuesday night. The course is occupied all day Wednesday with the pro-am.”
  • “I wasn’t able to play a practice round,” Berganio said. “A friend of mine always says, ‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.’ I’m 50. I know some kid behind me was waiting to get in, and I didn’t want to take up a spot. And then this happened. He’s a former Wildcat, as well. The situation couldn’t have been better.”
 
6. Garrigus: PGA Tour marijuna policy is too strict 
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall...”In March, the tour announced that the 41-year-old had violated its Anti-Doping Program. Although the tour used the term “drug of abuse,” Garrigus-who overcame substance issues to become a PGA Tour winner in 2010 and finish T-3 at the 2011 U.S. Open-confirmed he had tested positive for marijuana in a statement of his own. Speaking to the Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis, Garrigus said that marijuana should not be considered in the same category as other performance-enhancing items.”
  • “I wasn’t trying to degrade the PGA Tour in any way, my fellow professionals in any way. I don’t cheat the game,” Garrigus told the Golf Channel. “I understand HGH [Human Growth Hormone], anything you are trying to do to cheat the game you should be suspended for 100 percent. Everything else should be a discussion.”
7. A check on the field in Tahoe…
Golfweek’s Adam Woodward…”For the 30th year, some of the biggest names in the sports and entertainment worlds will flock to Lake Tahoe’s Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course for the 2019 American Century Championship.”
  • “The field of 93 players in headlined by Golden State Warriors star and two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry (seventh appearance), former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and CBS NFL analyst Tony Romo (sixth appearance) and Grammy Award-winning musician and actor Justin Timberlake (fourth appearance).” 

Full field for the July 12-14 event, here.

8. How to improve at golf
Matt Strube at True Motion Sports advances his “it takes a village to really improve at golf” theory…
…”Each part of your Village can be thought of as a cog in a machine, and if you remove a cog, or it gets rusty or doesn’t fit right…you get the picture, your Village won’t help you hit the ball straight or score well. While adding additional villagers is important, to improve, you need to have exposure to every one of the following
factors.”
“1. Find a Coach – My Golf Coach, Tim Overman, is my friend and has a diversified set of golf knowledge from various sources, aka a high #Golf-IQ. He’s also someone with good communication skills and has a ‘Village Philosophy’ as opposed to a “My Way” of doing things. He is a voracious researcher of the golf swing, is agnostic to one “swing theory”, and isn’t afraid of the process of creative destruction, which means he’s constantly searching for ways to get better and utilize input from a multitude of sources. [Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t wavering and doesn’t change my move each week, he is simply a knowledge sponge.] He listens more than he speaks, has a training plan that is focused on making students “do the reps”, and participates in playing lessons and situational practice routines with each of his students. Tim also explains the “why?” of what he’s teaching, and arms me with the knowledge to be my own coach when he isn’t around. Be selective because unfortunately, Tim is part of a small subset of quality instructors, so do your homework! Tim is also a huge contributor to this, and future, articles by the way.”
9. Special delivery!
Clad in his green jacket, Tiger Woods hoisted the Masters trophy on that now-famous Sunday in April. He did not, however, take home the Masters trophy… winners receive a replica, and apparently it takes a while to arrive!

 

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the Honda Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2020 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,125 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Louis Oosthuizen and more.

Last year, Keith Mitchell canned a 15-footer on the 72nd hole, outlasting Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka.

Check out all our galleries below, along with highlights from PGA National.

General galleries

Special galleries

Vijay Singh using custom Mizuno MP-20 irons with lofts modified enough they had to stamp new numbers. Link to his full WITB

Camilo Villegas with old-school Air Jordans

Close up of Tommy Fleetwood’s putting grip

Luke Donald with a new putting training aid

LA Golf has a couple of new shafts

Brooks Kopeka with his pink and white Nike Air Zoom Infinity Tour shoes

Odyssey Stroke Lab Ten with new sightlines.  Link to galleries and discussion

Kevin Streelman is a huge Chicago Cubs fan, so he went to a spring training game and had the players sign his staff bag (to be fair, he probably took just the panel and not the whole bag)

Jim Furyk has gone back to his standard length putter and cross-handed after trying the arm-lock style for a while.

Kyle Stanley’s coach is taking a worm’s-eye view of Kyle’s alignment and stroke.

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Morning 9: Koepka talks golf | Tiger’s Champions Dinner menu | Tour caddies and hot seats

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1. Koepka talks golf
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…The former World No. 1 – who now sits third behind Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm – opened up in great detail in a profile in GQ about what he would change about the game of golf, a sport that he truly loves despite some outside perception.
  • “One thing I’d change is maybe the stuffiness,” said Koepka, who’s never viewed himself as just a golfer. “Golf has always had this persona of the triple-pleated khaki pants, the button-up shirt, very country club atmosphere, where it doesn’t always have to be that way. That’s part of the problem.”
  • ...”Everybody always says, ‘You need to grow the game.’ Well, why do you need to be so buttoned-up? ‘You have to take your hat off when you get in here.’ ‘You’re not allowed in here unless you’re a member – or unless the member’s here.’…
  • …”I just think people confuse all this for me not loving the game. I love the game. I absolutely love the game,” said Koepka. “I don’t love the stuffy atmosphere that comes along with it. That, to me, isn’t enjoyable.”

Full piece.

2. Fajitas and sushi
“Being born and raised in SoCal, having fajitas and sushi was a part of my entire childhood, and I’m going back to what I had in 2006,” Woods said. “So, we’ll have steak and chicken fajitas, and we’ll have sushi and sashimi out on the deck, and I hope the guys will enjoy it.”
  • “Woods also said he’s considering serving milkshakes for desert like he did during the 1998 dinner.”
  • “That was one of the most great memories to see Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead having milkshakes that night in ’98,” he said.”

Full piece.

3. Why a tour caddie is always on the hot seat 
The Undercover Tour Caddie writeth again…“I’ve been lucky to partner with 18 players on the PGA and developmental tours, four of which were longtime appointments. I’ve also been fired 17 times-and among my friends, that’s on the low end of the spectrum…”
  • “The majority of the time, the breakups are amicable and done in person. I consider myself friends with almost all the players I’ve worked for, and though there were some strong emotions from both sides when it came time to disband, I get it. This is a business, and they’re making a business decision. Plus, you don’t want to burn any bridges. I’ve had two guys toss me aside after a month’s work, only for them to circle back within the year, one of which ended up sticking for five seasons.”
  • “There have been callous splits. In the early 2000s, I was trying to get my guy to hit an 8-iron on an approach at the 71st hole. He was adamant that 9 was the play. I strongly, but respectfully, said he needed to club up. He went with the 9; his ball came up short of the green, and he couldn’t get up and down. That bogey dropped us out of the top 10. He fired me after signing his card, claiming he needed someone “who has faith in me.” Hey, I had faith-faith that his 9 was the wrong club.”

Full piece.

4. The best part of Tiger’s Masters win…
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski…”Last April at Augusta National Golf Club, behind the 18th green, after tapping in for a one-stroke victory and fifth Masters triumph, there were hugs all around, none sweeter than those from his daughter and son.”
  • “I think what made it so special is that they saw me fail the year before at the British Open. I had gotten the lead there and made bogey, double, and ended up losing to Francesco,” Woods said. “To have them experience what it feels like to be part of a major championship and watch their dad fail and not get it done, and now to be a part of it when I did get it done, I think it’s two memories that they will never forget. And the embraces and the hugs and the excitement, because they know how I felt and what it felt like when I lost at Carnoustie … to have the complete flip with them in less than a year, it was very fresh in their minds.”
  • “It’s a long and rambling thought, and totally justified in the context of all the emotion woven into the two experiences. Some things are just difficult to express cogently, and the struggle with doing so only underscores their impact.”
5. Dream of Coul is dead
Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”Coul Links was supposed to be Scotland’s next great links golf course. Envisioned to be built by Coore-Crenshaw on a protected wildlife site in Embo on dunes near Dornoch, those hopes took a serious blow on Feb. 21, when the Scottish government denied planning permission for a project spearheaded by golf course developer Mike Keiser.”
  • “I’m moving on. I have so many other projects,” Keiser tells The Forecaddie. “God bless Dornoch.”
  • “In its decision notice, Scottish Ministers determined that the proposed development would adversely affect the local environment, stating in their findings that the “likely detriment to natural heritage is not outweighed by the socio-economic benefits of the proposal.”
6. Koepka: Great round of golf with Trump
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard…“In a profile in GQ, Koepka…talked about a recent round with President Trump…Koepka, his father, younger brother Chase and President Trump “had a blast” at Trump’s course in West Palm Beach.”
  • “It was nice to have my family there, my dad, my brother. Anytime it’s with a president, it’s pretty cool,” said Koepka. “I don’t care what your political beliefs are, it’s the President of the United States. It’s an honor that he even wanted to play with me.”
  • “I respect the office, I don’t care who it is,” added Koepka. “Still probably the most powerful man in the entire world. It’s a respect thing.”

Full piece.

7. Tiger on lengthening Augusta National 
Golf Digest’s Daniel Rapaport…”Augusta National has been at the forefront of trying to keep it competitive, keep it fair, keep it fun, and they’ve been at the forefront of lengthening the golf course,” Woods said. “Granted, they have the property and they can do virtually whatever they want. They have complete autonomy. It’s kind of nice.
  • “But also they’ve been at the forefront of trying to keep it exciting as the game has evolved. We have gotten longer, equipment changed, but they’ve been trying to keep it so the winning score is right around the 12- to 18-under-par mark, and they have.”
8. Inside the Bear Trap
Golf Channel Digital team…“Here’s a look at some of the notable Bear Trap stats according to the PGA Tour (all figures since 2007, when the tournament moved to PGA National):”
  • “Among non-majors, the Bear Trap ranks as the third-toughest three-hole stretch on Tour at 0.644 over par on average. It’s behind only Nos. 16-18 at Quail Hollow (+0.873) and Nos. 8-10 at Pebble Beach (+0.673).”
  • “The Honda Classic field is a combined 3,629 over par across the Bear Trap and 4,934 over par across the other 15 holes at PGA National.”
  • “543 different players have played at least one competitive round at the Honda since 2007, with 76 percent (415) of them hitting at least one ball in the water on the Bear Trap.”

Full piece.

9. San Diego muni renovations (including Torrey)
Jason Lusk of Golfweek…“San Diego’s city council has allotted $15 million for upgrades and renovations to the city’s three municipally operated golf facilities including Torrey Pines’ South Course, site of the 2021 U.S. Open, according to a report Tuesday by the San Diego Union-Tribune.”
  • “…The $15 million approved Monday by the city council also will include contract work at San Diego’s other municipally operated golf facilities at Balboa Park and Mission Bay, the Union-Tribune reported. The courses will remain open during the jobs that include installing new irrigation systems and drainage, replacing and repairing cart paths, renovating bunkers and tree work.”

 

*featured image via Augusta National/the Masters

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Tour Rundown

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@asiapacgolfgrp

Only two of the world’s featured tours were in action this week, but the golf that they provided was memorable and historic. Not the type of historic that you find in school books, but certainly the type that golf aficionados point to, down the road. On the one hand, a prodigious yet poliarizing talent demonstrated complete control down the stretch, during his march to a 2nd World Golf Championship victory. On the other, a precocious competitor joined into a talented triumvirate with a marvelous birdie at the last, to secure an inaugural PGA Tour championship.Tuesday Tour Rundown is back, for this week only!

WGC-Mexico flies away in the hands of Patrick Reed 

Golf Twitter, depending on your perspective, is either entertaining or inflamatory. As happens in the world today, people take sides. In the case of Patrick Reed, that’s not difficult. One either forgives (or denies) Reed’s free interpretation (on multiple occasions) of the rules and their enforcement, or one preserves a disregard for a leading player who simply doesn’t act like one. What isn’t up for debate, is Reed’s seizure of this week’s World Golf Championship in Mexico. What looked for so long like a Bryson-DeChambaeau win, ultimately stowed away in Patrick Reed’s check-on pouch.

The tournament came down to the aforementioned duo. Both Jon Rahm and Erik Van Rooyen swam along the margin, but neither made enough of a Sunday move to figure in the outcome. Both, in fact, tied for 3rd place, 2 back of DeChambeau and 3 behind the champion. Bryson and his on-display muscles barged out of the 10th-hole gate like a man (and muscles) on a mission. Birdies at 4 of the first 5 holes on the inward half, staked him to a 2-shot advantage. Over the closing four, however, the magic went away, and a bogey at the penultimate hole brought him back to 17-under par.

Reed looked like a man playing for second. His long game was nothing exceptional, but his putter kept him afloat, time and again. And then, whatever DeChambeau had in his water bottle, came over to Reed. Birdies at 15, 16 and 17 suddenly brought the 2-shot advantage to the 2018 Masters champion. Even the cough of an expectorant fan, mid-backswing on the 18th, was not enough to convulse the champion. A closing bogey made the margin closer than it was, and Reed jumped from 33rd to 5th in the FedEx Cup standings.

PGA Tour Puerto Rico is Viktor Hovland’s debut decision

It wasn’t as mauling as Tyson Fury’s technical decision over Deontay Wilder, but Viktor Hovland and Josh Teater came down the stretch in Puerto Rico, like a pair of pugilists. The young Norwegian, Hovland, was pitted against the career grinder, Teater. First it was the veteran, with 3 birdies on the opening nine, to reach minus-19. Hovland chipped away, with a birdie at 5, and a 2nd at 10. And then, Teater hit Hovland with a right-cross (or Hovland hit himself with a sucker punch; you make the call.) Triple bogey! A startling six at the 11th, dropped Hovland into a tie with Teater (bogeys of his own on 10 and 11) who now had new life … and new pressure.

To his credit, Teater didn’t back down. He made birdies at 15 and 17, to recoup the lost shots at the turn. Unfortunately for him, tour victory the first would have to wait. Hovland, the Oklahoma State alumnus, made a sensational eagle at the 15th, to counter Teater’s birdie, and reclaim the advantage. The pair reached the 18th tee, a par five, all square, and it was there that Hovland dealt the final thrust. He took every bit of break out of a 25-feet birdie putt, and banged it into the hole. With the win, Hovland joined Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa as anticipated winners who actually won. Now comes the hard part: winning again and reaching a new echelon of champion.

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