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Morning 9: Rahm rallies | New President at Honma NA | Creamer ahead in France | Bubba’s mental coach

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

July 26, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans. 
1. 62 strokes for a jetlagged Spaniard
AP Report…”Travelling from Northern Ireland to Tennessee has left everyone who played four rounds at the Open Championship fighting jet lag.”
  • “Rahm matched the lowest round of his PGA TOUR career with an 8-under 62 on Thursday at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, taking advantage of nearly perfect greens to open a three-stroke lead.”
  • “I was pretty exhausted Monday and Tuesday, and that’s why I decided not to do much on the golf course and just make sure mentally I was going to be ready to compete,” Rahm said.
  • “He spent about an hour on the putting green Wednesday. He didn’t step foot on the front nine, his back nine, until he made the turn, and he had five birdies on that side.”
Round 1 at the alternate Barracuda Championship was suspended due to lightning….Sweden’s David Lingmerth leads the Stableford event by 5
2. Creamer in front in France
Winner at the Evian Resort Golf Club as a teenager, Paula Creamer, who hasn’t finished inside the top 10 in a major since 2014 is at the head of the pack.
  • BBC Report…”Former world number two Paula Creamer carded a seven-under-par 64 to hold a one-shot lead after the first round of the Evian Championship.”
  • “American Creamer, who won the US Women’s Open in 2010, hit seven birdies without dropping a shot at the Evian Resort Golf Club in France.”
  • “Australian Minjee Lee was set to share the lead with Creamer, but hit a bogey on the last.”

Full piece.

3. Bubba turns to a mental coach
Plenty of jokes are being made, doubtless, but good on Bubba for recognizing an area for improvement and hiring someone to help…and who among us couldn’t benefit from a “mental coach to get our off-course life in order?”
  • Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker…”The 40-year-old 12-time tour winner said the decision was based on trying to help him deal with issues off the course in order to keep them from becoming a distraction on it.”
  • “I’ve got more junk going on in my life,” Watson said. “Car dealership, baseball team, apartment complex, candy shop, driving range, office buildings. I’ve got to make sure my RV gets to tournaments. I’ve got to make sure my kids are doing the right things at school. Got a beautiful wife that I’ve got to make happy. Just a lot more stuff going on.”
  • “I’d get rid of my wins in a heartbeat,” Watson said. “I’d work at a golf shop in a heartbeat if I had to take care of my family and everything. It’s good junk, but it’s a lot more junk than I had 20 years ago.”
4. Not putting well? Try changing your grip mid-round like Dustin Johnson…
Not really. Probably shouldn’t do that. Worked for DJ, though!
  • “In Thursday’s opening round of the World Golf Championship-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, Johnson was bumbling along on TPC Southwind’s back nine (his opening nine), playing the stretch in a disastrous three over that included three bogeys, a double and two birdies.”
  • “So he decided then seemed as good a time as any to go from a conventional putting grip to a cross-handed one (left-hand low).”
  • “It couldn’t get any worse, so I figured I had to try something,” said Johnson. “It was, yeah, not very good and so going to the back, I don’t know, I didn’t decide to do it until I was literally about to hit the putt on [the first], which was my 10th hole. But sometimes you just need a little bit of change.”

Full piece.

5. McIlroy excited for 2026 Ryder Cup at Adare Manor in Ireland
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard with the Ulsterman’s remarks on Adare Manor, the just-confirmed 2026 RC host…
  • “The good times continued Monday when the European Tour announced the 2026 Ryder Cup would be played at Adare Manor in Ireland. It was particularly good news for Rory McIlroy, who helped lead the charge to bring The Open to Royal Portrush.”
  • “It’s going to be a great venue,” McIlroy said following his round at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. “It’s really cool and I’m so happy for [Adare Manor owner J.P. McManus] and his family and everyone involved with Adare that it’s there.”
  • “McIlroy was particularly excited about the prospect of playing a Ryder Cup in Ireland. The 2006 Ryder Cup was played at The K Club in Kildare, Ireland, a year before the Northern Irishman turned professional.”
6. Why Rory will never win the Masters
…in the mind of one columnist, at least, who sees much in McIlroy’s Portrush jitters…
  • Neil Squires of the Daily Express…”What he revealed raises serious questions about his capacity to close the deal at Augusta, join the five giants who have won the Grand Slam and make the leap into golf’s historic hall of fame.”
  • “McIlroy is one of the sport’s great talents. He has won 25 tournaments around the globe including four Majors, ranks No 3 in the world and has a record this year on the PGA Tour superior to anyone’s.”
  • “Send him out on a golf course with an empty head and he has the capacity to destroy it. But Portrush represented a heightened example of his inability to deal with his own emotional state when a tournament really matters to him.”
7. King to Taco Bell, Kawaja to top of Honma 
Per a press release from Honma…”Honma Golf is pleased to announce the promotion of Executive Vice President John Kawaja to President, North America. Kawaja will lead the North American team in addition to his roles leading global product and sports marketing.”
  • “Per an announcement from Yum Brands, Strategic Advisor Mark King has accepted a new role as Chief Executive Officer of Taco Bell.”
  • “King was instrumental in several major North American Honma projects, including the relocation of headquarters from Cypress, California to Carlsbad, and in the assembly of a world-class leadership team. Honma extends its warmest congratulations to King and wishes him the very best in his new role. King will remain an ambassador and friend of Honma.”
  • “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to lead such a fantastic team here in North America. Mark established a wonderful foundation of talent and culture and was instrumental in getting us to where we are today. I’m humbled to help lead this iconic brand into a bright future in North America,” said Kawaja.
  • “We accomplished a great deal in my time at Honma and I’m proud of all the strides we’ve made in a short time. The team we were able to assemble in North America has some incredible things planned and I’m excited to watch them grow. With John at the helm I have no doubt the best of Honma is ahead,” said King.
8. The man who has played all 119 major venues
Golf.com’s Josh Sens begins a feature you’ll want to eat every bite of this way…”In the 159 years between the 1860 British Open at Prestwick Golf, in Scotland, and the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush, in Northern Ireland, 119 different courses have played host to what we now consider to be golf’s four major championships: the Masters, the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open and the Open Championship. You could fact-check this on Google. Or you could confirm it with Joey Hines.”
  • “It took him nearly half his life, but Hines, who is 60 and the director of golf at Cape Fear Country Club, in Wilmington, N.C., has pulled off a feat that no other golfer is known to have equaled: He has played every major championship course in the world.”
  • “The quest began for Hines in 1990, when he landed a job at Northwood Club in Dallas. Knowing that Northwood had hosted the 1952 U.S. Open (winner: Julius Boros), Hines got to thinking, which gave way to an inkling that he was onto something, which evolved into a goal. As a junior, he had played Pinehurst No. 2, unaware that it had held the 1936 PGA Championship. Still, Pinehurst counted, so Hines had that going for him. Two major championship venues down. Only 117 to go.” 

Full piece. 

9. Caddyshack reigns
Golfweek Staff assembled much-needed awards for the finest in golf cinema…
“…on the 39th anniversary of its release, “Caddyshack” continues to resonate on and off golf courses everywhere.”
“In honor of Danny Noonan’s winning putt at Bushwood and the subsequent bacchanalia and debauchery announced by Al Czervik, we are presenting again our We-Cannot-Call-Them-The-Oscars Awards for the best in golf filmmaking.”
Caddyshack
Happy Gilmore
Tin Cup
The Legend of Bagger Vance
The Greatest Game Ever Played
Winner: Caddyshack

For the rest of the awards…  

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Thorbjorn Olesen pleads not guilty to sexual assault; will face trial next month

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On Wednesday, Thorbjorn Olesen indicated that he would plead not guilty to the charges of sexual assault, being drunk on an aircraft, and assault by beating, and he will now face trial in September.

Sky Sports broke the news that the Dane appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday where he confirmed his name, address, date of birth and nationality as well as his not guilty plea, and he has since been released on unconditional bail.

Olesen will now face trial at Isleworth Crown Court on 18th September which is the day before the European Tour’s Flagship event – the BMW Championship at Wentworth.

The 29-year-old was arrested on 29th July at Heathrow Airport and released upon investigation after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman and urinating in the aisle of a first-class cabin.

Olesen is currently suspended from the European Tour while the case is ongoing.

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PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan stresses that the Tour won’t be “overly reactionary” in attempts to solve slow play issue

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Days after the European Tour announced their 4-point plan to tackle slow play in the game, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has stated that the Tour will not be reactionary to their counterparts across the Atlantic Ocean.

According to USA Today, Monahan spoke to media at East Lake Golf Club on Tuesday and acknowledged the ire of golf fans around the world. But the commissioner stressed that while the Tour is currently in the process of combating the issue—there is no quick fix.

“We’ve been working on this, and we can be criticized for taking too long. But there’s been more than 1.2 million shots hit this year, and we’re talking about a few instances – and granted, they’re instances that are extreme – and we’re going to go down a path and we’re going to address that.

And I feel really good about where we’re going to get to, but it takes longer than you want, and you can’t be overly reactionary. I tend to have a fair amount of urgency around everything I do, and sometimes you can’t execute the urgency you want. You have to stay on the path you’re on.”

Per the report, PGA Tour officials have held numerous meetings with the Player Advisory Council and the Policy Board and one rule change which we know will be coming into effect for the 2020 season is that only the top-65 and ties instead of the top-70 and ties will play the weekend next season. While teams in Florida have also reportedly been analyzing ShotLink data going back to 2003 to identify trends and solutions to solve the issue plaguing the sport.

But while the European Tour have gone about things their own way, Monahan says that their new ideas will not influence the PGA Tour’s future decision making on the situation in any way.

“I wouldn’t say we’re going to be influenced in any way. I think everybody looking at this, talking about it is a good thing, and they’ve obviously decided that that’s the right thing for the European Tour. And when we’re ready to talk about what we’re going to do, I’ll be excited to talk to all of you about it.”

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Morning 9: PGA Tour commish wants to slow down slow play discussion | Greg Norman: Roll back the ball | Langston

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

August 21, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Let’s slow down the slow play discussion
Golfweek’s Steve DiMeglio…”Monahan, in a gathering with members of the media Tuesday morning at East Lake Golf Club, said the Tour is on the right path toward resolving any issues regarding pace of play.”
  • “He feels everyone’s pain, he has seen the ire on social media and heard from the mouths of top players after recent episodes of excruciatingly dawdling play. He’s just not going to lead a sprint to any resolutions.”
  • “We’ve been working on this, and we can be criticized for taking too long,” Monahan said to a few chuckles from the listeners.
  • “But there’s been more than 1.2 million shots hit this year, and we’re talking about a few instances – and granted, they’re instances that are extreme – and we’re going to go down a path and we’re going to address that,” he added. “And I feel really good about where we’re going to get to, but it takes longer than you want, and you can’t be overly reactionary.”
  • “I tend to have a fair amount of urgency around everything I do, and sometimes you can’t execute the urgency you want. You have to stay on the path you’re on.”

Full piece.

2. Greg Norman: roll it back to pre 96!

 

(h/t to Geoff Shackelford for the spot & Golf.com)
3. No risk, plenty of reward
Will players going to approach East Lake differently owing to the staggered scoring?
PGATour.com’s Sean Martin…”There’s nothing to lose, and everything to gain. The only question is how to make up those strokes.”
  • “Don’t expect drastically different gameplans, especially in the early rounds, though. East Lake isn’t a course that offers a lot of risk-reward opportunities. Instead, it’s a straightforward layout that rewards repetitive execution.  Plodding along with pars and taking advantage of the occasional birdie opportunity is the best way to succeed here. Professional golfers are a conservative bunch by nature, and they aren’t convinced that slamming on the gas pedal for 72 holes is the best strategy at the season finale.”
  • “I don’t think I’m really going to change my game plan too much,” Conners said. “I’m going to try to make a lot of birdies. Starting in this position, there’s really nothing to lose. You can’t be silly, but if I can put four really good rounds of golf together, I have a chance. I think everyone feels like they have a chance.”
  • “Since 1983, there have been 19 victories by players who trailed by 10 or more strokes after any round. Nine players won when trailing by 10 or more strokes with 54 holes remaining, while seven players did so with two rounds left to play.”

Full piece.

4. Inkster losing sleep
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”Juli Inkster joked that making her two U.S. Solheim Cup captain’s picks are so difficult this year, she wished she didn’t have any picks at all, but the truth is that she would like more.”
  • “Inkster said Tuesday at the CP Women’s Open that she wished she had three picks.”
  • “Two picks don’t really do much for me,” Inkster said. “If I had four picks, it would be great, but I do think we need one more pick in there.”
  • “Inkster’s automatic qualifiers will be determined with Sunday’s finish to the CP Women’s Open. She’ll announce her two captain’s picks on Monday. European captain Catriona Matthew made her four captain’s picks last week. Inkster said another pick would help her with pairings.”

 

5. Well done, Lucas!
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard on Lucas Glover’s return to the Tour Championship
  • “For the three-time Tour winner, rock bottom came in 2015 when he was forced to play the Korn Ferry Tour’s finals events to regain his status.”
  • “That was a pretty bad year,” Glover said on Tuesday at East Lake. “I didn’t do anything very well. That was about as low as it got, that first journey back to the Korn Ferry finals.”
  • “By comparison this season has been an unqualified success. He’s made 20 of 25 cuts, posted seven top-10 finishes and heated up at the perfect moment with a tie for seventh last week at the BMW Championship to qualify for East Lake for the first time since 2009.”

Full piece.

6. The forgotten history of Langston
Elliot Williams at The Washingtonian…”In 1927, golfers petitioned Uncle Sam to build a course for African Americans. While they eventually prevailed, the replacement wasn’t much of an upgrade. Located atop an abandoned city dump in Northeast DC, Langston-named after John Mercer Langston, Howard University’s first law school dean and the first black man from Virginia elected to Congress-opened in 1939 with grass missing and just nine holes. (The other nine were added in 1955.) There were no shelters for bad weather, and the course was surrounded by disused tires and a sewage ditch. Trash and all, though, Langston was still home.”
  • “Over the years, it also became a see-and-be-seen destination. Heavyweight champion Joe Louis played an amateur tournament at Langston in 1940, drawing 2,000 fans. Lifelong golfer David Ross met Muhammad Ali one day on a putting green: “His limousine pulls up, and . . . he said to me, ‘I’ve never picked up a golf club before,’ and he reached out and got my putter.”
  • “By the 1970s, black people could comfortably play at many courses. As the demographics of the city changed around it, Langston did, too. Today newcomers-often white and in their twenties-play just as often as the old-timers. The course, however, is again in shambles. The National Park Service says it will open up operations to bidders this year and will strike a new contract by October 2020. But a similar plan to renovate was under way two years ago and ended abruptly. Longtimers hope the limbo will soon be in the past-and that after 80-some years, the course conditions will finally befit its loyal players.”

Full piece. 

7. Bobby’s missing medal
A segment of a fascinating story from Helen Ross at PGATour.com
  • …”The medal, which is slightly larger than a silver dollar, is the one Jones received when he won the 1927 Southern Open. On the front is the crest of the Southern Golf Association while the back is engraved in 14-carat gold with the words: Open Championship, Atlanta, March 1927, Won by Robert T. Jones Jr., 281 strokes.”
  • “What the younger Jones didn’t know is that serious golf collectors had wondered where it was ever since his grandfather donated all his championship medals to the United States Golf Association. The medal was the only first-place award not in the collection.”
  • “One day, Jones and his wife, Mimi, who happened to be wearing the medal, walked into a reception. A good friend, Sidney Matthew, the Tallahassee, Florida lawyer who is one of the foremost experts on all things Bobby Jones, immediately took notice.”

Full piece. 

8. A Tiger-inspired generation
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…“The world that Woods took by storm two decades ago is far different from the one he looked to reconquer last year, and different still from the one that watched him slip into a green jacket this spring. Gone are the scores of journeymen who once cobbled out a decent living on Tour without much time for practice. Same for the single-skill specialists, the ones who shined so brightly in one area as to make up for glaring deficiencies elsewhere.”
  • “This is the Tiger Effect. The one he bore and the one he’s had to overcome.”
  • “Out on Tour in 2019, you need to have the entire package. Fairways are lined not with players who spend more time at the buffet table than the gym, but instead by physical specimen who have honed their craft by combining two workouts for every round played. The era of Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy is upon us, with athletes taking to golf rather than golfers gleaning athletic skills to boost their skill set.”

Full piece.

9. Youngest CWO competitor ever
BBC report on 12-year-old Michelle Liu…”As well as practicing alongside LPGA players, Liu met Henderson, 21, on the driving range on Monday and said she had a picture taken with the defending champion, who became the first home winner last year.”
  • “Liu qualified for the event, which started in 1973, via the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship in July.”
  • “I know there is a lot of great players in the field here so I definitely say it’s going to be pretty hard,” she added.

 

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