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19th Hole

Brooks Koepka expresses his frustration over J.B. Holmes’ slow play at The Open

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Brooks Koepka began 2019 by calling out golf’s authorities for their lack of action over the slow play issue surrounding the game, and on Sunday at the Open Championship, the 29-year-old appeared visibly agitated over the speed of playing partner J.B. Holmes.

The two men teed off at 1.37 PM local time in the final round, and from their opening tee shots of the day, which Holmes would take significantly longer to play than his compatriot, it appeared the two could be in for an uncomfortable day with each other.

For the most part during Sunday’s final round, on the course, Koepka was to keep whatever frustrations which were bubbling under the surface to himself.

However, coming off the 12th green, the four-time major champ was seen staring at a rules official while motioning to his imaginary wristwatch, and on another occasion, the American looked less than impressed as his playing partner went through his deliberate putting routine.

Following their round, the 29-year-old was quick to point out that Holmes is far from being the only slow player on Tour, but explained what his biggest gripe was with the Kentuckian on Sunday at Royal Portrush – his inability to prepare when it wasn’t his turn.

“There are a lot of slow guys out here, that’s not the first time I’ve done it, especially when you’ve got a walking official with you. I’m ready to go most of the time.

That’s what I don’t understand when it’s your turn to hit, your glove is not on, then you start thinking about it, that’s where the problem lies. It’s not that he takes that long. He doesn’t do anything until his turn. That’s the frustrating part. But he’s not the only one that does it out here.”

Holmes’ nightmare performance didn’t help his pace of play as he struggled mightily in the harsh conditions during Sunday’s final round. The 37-year-old shot an 87 – 16 over par to move from third place at the start of the day to fourth last on six over.

Koepka had some sympathy for Holmes’ struggles in the wind and rain in Northern Ireland, but despite this, the Florida native made it clear that he still found the pace at times too slow.

“He had a rough day, but JB is a slow player. We were on pace for 13 holes, but if I’m in the group we’re going to be on pace no matter what. But there were some times where I thought it was slow.”

Koepka’s final round of 74 secured a T4 finish for the four-time major champ to complete an exceptional year at the major tournaments which included a win at the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in May.

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at gianni@golfwrx.com. Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. john

    Aug 12, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    How about outlawing lines on golfballs, either by manufacturer or by sharpie? The niggling with the ball to get it lined up just so for putts is ridiculous and was never part of the game until maybe 10 years ago.

  2. Bruce Helbig

    Jul 23, 2019 at 9:26 am

    Koepka is spot on with this issue. The tour won’t penalize anyone other than the 14 yoa amateur at Augusta. Hit it, find it, hit it again. It’s not complicated.

    • Bruce Helbig

      Jul 23, 2019 at 9:30 am

      Addendum to this is: Where is ones place on the course? It is not in front of the group behind you. It is immediately behind the group in FRONT of you. If the green is empty when you reach the tee, move it! You should be within one shot of the group in front of you. Again, move it.

  3. Jack Nash

    Jul 22, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Hey, remember Holmes used to be sllllllooooooowwwwer. He’s actually quicker than he used to be. I agree with Koepka 100%. The Tour don’t have the ballz to start penalizing players, unless of course they’re #450 .

  4. Roo

    Jul 22, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    JB Holmes is a joke. He is selfish like all slow players. I did not shed a tear when he ended up shooting 87. Bring on the shot clock!!

  5. Tom54

    Jul 22, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    Sergio overcame his regripping phase,Kevin Na also fixed his figitty problem too. JB looks like he needs to figure out something cause he is absolutely painful to watch. I hate to say it but I was not too bothered that he checked in with an 87 yesterday.

  6. jamho3

    Jul 22, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    Tactfully said by BK

  7. Dan

    Jul 22, 2019 at 11:48 am

    Spot on “That’s what I don’t understand when it’s your turn to hit, your glove is not on, then you start thinking about it, that’s where the problem lies. It’s not that he takes that long. He doesn’t do anything until his turn.”

    It’s okay to be slower but be ready

  8. Alex

    Jul 22, 2019 at 11:05 am

    You are calling Koepka mentally weak? Ha good one, playing slow is the most annoying thing in golf and there’s no reason for it.

  9. ht

    Jul 22, 2019 at 10:03 am

    mentally weak

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19th Hole

The DailyWRX (9/22/2020): Tiger, JT lifting the left heel?

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Rory’s distance is even more fascinating looking at this picture….

I love this! Bummed he’s leaving the USGA but stoked to play “hell day” at a Mike Davis track. 

At least 5…15….no more than 1,000.

I’ve been lifting my left heel all day. It’s off the ground as we speak. Typing speed went way up. Who knew?

Hi, Binny!

DM @johnny_wunder

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19th Hole

Rory McIlroy reveals his love for….Domino’s Pizza!?

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The Payne’s Valley Cup on Tuesday provided plenty of entertaining moments, but one thing golf fans perhaps weren’t bargaining on hearing was a Rory McIlroy deep dive into his current favorite pizza joint.

While his partner Rose was preparing to putt, McIlroy revealed that he was on a ‘big Domino’s kick’ at the moment, and it elicited a pretty hilarious reaction from Justin Thomas.

The Ulsterman justified his choice by claiming that when you don’t know the good local spots, then Domino’s Pizza is ‘solid’. When asked by JT what toppings he goes for, McIlroy responded that his go-to order is the ‘Deluxe’, which according to google consists of ‘green peppers, black olives, and meats like pepperoni, ham, and Italian sausage.’

So there you have it, Rory McIlroy is a self-confessed lover of Domino’s Pizza!

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19th Hole

A hacker plays the big ones: Pt. 4

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“A Hacker Plays The Big Ones” is a short story authored by Steven R. Roberts. The short story, written two months following the trip, tells the tale of Roberts and his friend, Bob Blackman’s, golf odyssey around Scotland in the 1970s where the two played four of most historic courses in the game: St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Muirfield and Gleneagles.

We have broken the short story into a four-parter and here is the final part.

Read Part 1 here.

Read Part 2 here.

Read Part 3 here.

The final day of competition was at Muirfield Golf Club near Scotland’s southern border. It’s officially known as the “Company of Honorable Gentlemen from Edinburg”, and it was the only private club we attempted to play. We arrived to find only one car in the parking lot.

“Could you direct us to the Pro Shop?” I asked the club secretary.

“Muirfield da noot hoov a pru ship,” (or a pro for that matter), he said. “Ya kin buy bells un tees if ya moost.” There you have the Scottish disdain for things commercial. There were no souvenir shirts, hats, gloves or bag tags for sale at Muirfield. One imagines any money prize awarded at the Open Championship to be held in 1980 will be slipped under the winner’s door in a plain white envelope.

Standing in front of the clubhouse, you can see across the rugged links course to the sea. Some 40 miles north across the Firth of Forth lies yesterday’s winner, St. Andrews, and another 40 miles north across the Tay River is the rugged Carnoustie.
Just a word about the course. Bob and I decided it would be tough on a calm day, but the gales blow off the sea without relief. Muirfield members say if there was a day without wind, they wouldn’t know what to lean against.

The rough is knee-high everywhere you look except for the thin strips of the fairways. Some players think there may be whole families living in the tall grass. Nicklaus used his driver only four times per round in winning in 1966. But as tough as the course was tee to green, the greens were tougher. On the third hole, my caddie, another of the weathered veteran survivors of the sea breezes, spent some time telling me exactly how my uphill 30-footer broke. I steadied myself over the ball and took a stroke which traveled to the crest of the break and stopped. As I took a step forward, the ball turned, slowly rolling back down the hill coming to rest at my feet. My caddie turned to look out at the sea. He didn’t bother to read my putts again for the rest of the round.
Moving on, the 17th hole, a 530-yard par 5, was going to provide an appropriate climactic stage for the finishing moments of the scheduled 1980 Open. Bob’s caddie advised that in some wind conditions the par five is reachable in two. On my second shot, I swung a three wood with both feet off the ground and was able to reach the front of the green. Bob got lucky and put his second shot within 100 feet from the pin. He two-putted for a birdie. I won’t bore you with the details, but I managed to sink a two-footer for my six.

Finishing off the round with two pars, we took some comfort in the fact that Gary Player took a double bogie six on the final hole to win the Open Championship in 1958.

We packed up our wet gear and said goodbye to four days of soaking in the adventure of Scottish golf. On the drive home that afternoon and evening, Bob and I played the “if only” game, a favorite of all golfers. This technique allowed us to imagine away five or six shots a round. Looking back over the four rounds, each course had the devil buried inside its character. Carnoustie was a weathered Scottish seaman’s face; Gleneagles was a soft, classy lassie with curves in the right places; St. Andrews was the ceremonial lord of the manor with understated British strength and style; and Muirfield was a wicked woman with her fringed skirt flapping in the breeze – aggravating because you suspect she’s easy for some but not for you.

We also distributed the prizes on the drive home. Bob beat me two rounds, and we tied for two, so he won ten pounds and six golf balls. He had six birdies during the week compared to my four, so Bandit Bob won another 40 pence. Luckily, he didn’t have any eagles or holes in one.

I was driving when we passed the Nottingham Forest exit about halfway home. I slowed down to let a sheriff’s car pass me in hot pursuit. I supposed he was looking for Robin Hood. The sheriff would be well advised, I thought, to check out the sandy-haired hood sitting in the dark, chuckling quietly in the passenger seat of my car.

I was also smiling. If Bob doesn’t play again for a week, he is going to have a real surprise. Before we loaded up at Muirfield, I found a city of termites under the woodwork in the hotel. I’d spent half the night collecting the squiggly little termite biters, and I was able to poke the putter shaft through the bag and slide it down the shaft, finally securing the bag to the shaft midway with tape. In a week Bob will find only a clubhead, grip and a pile of sawdust after the little beasties have a go at that tasty shaft.

But alas, Bob and I have had a week of living out a dream. We have walked the same fairways and greens that have been walked for centuries of golfers, from the founding fathers of the game to the stars of recent years. No other sport provides its fans such an opportunity to so closely assimilate the physical challenges of its major championships. The average amateur baseball player is not permitted to walk to the pitcher’s mound in Yankee Stadium and pitch three innings, and the weekend football nut cannot play running back at Heinz Field stadium facing the Pittsburgh Steelers. But we stood on the same spot on the 17th fairway at St. Andrews and faced the same wind off the Forth of Firth that has humbled the greats of the game for centuries. All the more is the hacker’s thrill if he somehow carries his ball over the trap and keeps it from bouncing over the green onto the road.

So, that’s my story from a week in the middle of October 1979. Having read this only slightly-exaggerated report on our trip, you are exempt from listening to my telling of the story in the event we run into each other at a cocktail party somewhere down the road. But if after a few drinks the conversation turns again to lifelong dreams, my answer will be the same. There are many more courses out there to be concurred. But, do me a favor. Bob is still raw over the mysterious pulverizing of his wooden shaft. If he’s around, just don’t say anything about another trip.

Author’s note: This story was originally written two months after the trip. I sent a copy to my former teammate at college and attached is a reproduction of his response. He finished second to Tom Watson at Muirfield in 1980. I should have been on the bag and helped him read those tricky greens

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