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Winners roundup: Ko, Langher, BK, Morikawa | Tom Watson bids adieu | Yardage book DQ

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1. Kim falters, Ko wins Evian 
Many a bottle of glacial spring water crafted by nature was consumed in celebration! All joking aside, Evian’s support of women’s golf has been fantastic, and from what I’ve seen on Instagram, the tournament at Evian-les-Bans is a first-rate affair. So, kudos to them, and to Jin Young Ko as well, who locked up her second major of 2019 (and regained the No. 1 spot in the Rolex rankings).
  • AP report…”Jin Young Ko took advantage of a friend’s bad luck to win her second major title of the season on Sunday, and reclaimed No. 1 spot in the women’s world golf rankings.”
  • “Ko fired a 4-under 67 in the rain-swept final round to win the Evian Championship by two shots with a 15-under total of 269.”
  • “Winner of the season’s first major, the ANA Inspiration in April, Ko closed out the victory after playing partner, longtime leader and good friend Hyo Joo Kim lost control of the tournament with a triple bogey at the par-3 14th.”
2. Sick, show up 45 minutes before your tee time, win by 3
AP report on an under-the-weather BK getting the job done…”Brooks Koepka turned his final-round duel with Rory McIlroy into a runaway for his first World Golf Championships title.”
“Koepka had three birdies in a four-hole stretch on the front nine and cruised to a three-stroke victory Sunday in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational.”
3. Bernhard at the Senior British
Golf Digest’s John Strege…”…a month shy of his 62nd birthday, that he again quelled any notion that his better days are numbered by winning the Senior British Open for a record fourth time.”
  • “On a cold, rainy day at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Langer erased a three-stroke deficit with a front-nine of four-under-par 30, shot a four-under-par 66 and won by two over Paul Broadhurst.”
  • “I love holding this trophy,” Langer said. “It’s a beautiful one. I never got to hold the Open Championship trophy, but this is the next best thing and I’m very blessed to have won four of these now.”
4. Barracuda breakthrough
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard….”Three weeks after he was beaten at the buzzer by a former college rival, Collin Morikawa broke through for his maiden PGA Tour victory at the Barracuda Championship.”
  • “Morikawa enjoyed a stellar amateur career at Cal, and the 22-year-old has quickly found his footing since turning professional in June. He entered the week with a pair of top-5 finishes, highlighted by a runner-up result at the 3M Open earlier this month when fellow Class of 2019 member Matthew Wolff birdied the 72nd hole to edge him by a shot.”
  • “But Sunday, Morikawa was the man of the moment, shooting a bogey-free 65 that equated to a 14-point effort under the modified Stableford format. That included birdies on four of his last five holes, including each of the last three holes, and Morikawa’s 47-point total left him three clear of runner-up Troy Merritt.”
5. Farewell, Tom
John Feinstein on Tom Watson’s goodbye to links golf in general and the Senior Open Championship in particular…
  • “Tom Watson made his final walk to an 18th green in an Open Championship-this one the Senior British Open-with nine holes to play. That’s because the last round of this Open was played in threesomes, with those near the back of the pack teeing off on the 10th hole. Watson, tied for 55th, was one of those, meaning he finished the championship on the ninth hole.”
  • “But that didn’t really matter. As he walked up the 18th at Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s, his face was filled with the emotion he clearly was feeling. His playing companions both understood what was happening, and they fell back to allow Watson to walk onto the green alone. Watson paused, cap off, turned and bowed to the cheering fans on both sides of the green. Then he blew kisses and clapped for them all, saying a final thank you for 44 years of extraordinary memories, even as they said thank you to him.”

Full piece.

6. A case for Creamer
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols...”Could Paula Creamer get the nod once more? With seven Solheim Cup appearances, Creamer has made the team every way possible, even getting in as an alternate last time in Des Moines.”
  • “And each time she has risen to the occasion, earning three points in 2017 and two points in 2015 as a captain’s pick, going out in the anchor spot in Germany to bring it home for the Americans in the greatest comeback in Solheim Cup history.”
  • “But it’s not just her ability to put up points. Four years ago it was Creamer who pulled Angela Stanford aside and bolstered her with the confidence needed to take down Suzann Pettersen.”

Full piece.

7. Spieth closing in on answers
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Spieth’s 2-under 68 was his lowest final round this season and just his third under-par round on a Sunday on the PGA Tour. More importantly it was a sign that he continues to work his way back to winning form.”
  • “I felt like I made more strides this week in my game than I have in any week this year,” he said…“Specifically, Spieth said it was a post-round practice session Friday that helped with a swing that has been off all year…”
  • “My swing started to look on video the same that it has, or at least getting close to where it has been when I’ve been striking the ball extremely well,” Spieth said. “But on course it was still 50 percent of it and on the range it’s still 75 percent of it. If I can get to 120 [percent] on the range and 100 on the golf course, then I’m right back to where the game becomes a bit easier.”
8. Yardage book DQ 
“Congratulating a guy for not robbing a bank” and all, but credit to the journeyman for coming clean regarding arguably the most trivial of rules violations.
  • Golf Digest’s Joel Beall on Mark Wilson’s unfortunate situation…”Wilson self-reported a violation of USGA Rule 4.3 (use of equipment) regarding a green-reading book. Under the latest iteration to the Rules of Golf, these materials are limited in scale for green diagrams to where a grid can be no more precise than 3/8-inch equaling 5 yards of the green. It also restricts the size of the book that contains any green information to the current pocket-sized form of most yardage books (approximately 4 1/4 inches by 7 inches). Earlier this year at the Honda Classic, Alex Cejka became the first victim of the directive, as an old green-reading book violates the new parameters. According to Wilson, a former notepad did him in as well.”
  • “Sad to report but had to disqualify myself this morning for using a non conforming greens book during [Barracuda Championship],” wrote Wilson on Twitter. “Why I didn’t think of it before the tournament started, I have no idea…”
9. Bamberger on Watson’s sendoff
Leave it to one of the best to contextualize one of the best…
  • “…Watson told the Golf Channel reporter Todd Lewis on Saturday that this would be his final Senior Open. He also said that he won’t be playing in any more Senior U.S. Opens, an event he never won. He won one U.S. Open, in 1982, at the Pebble Beach Golf Links. You wouldn’t call Pebble Beach a links golf course in the British sense, but by American standards it’s pretty darn close. Interestingly, the club the USGA Museum curators covet more than any other is the Wilson wedge with which Watson chipped-in on the 71st hole of that Open, in a shot that could have been played at St. Andrews among dozens of other linksland courses.”
  • “Just to keep the theme going for a second, Watson won the Masters twice, long before it had anything like rough, when it was still much closer to the Old Course in spirit. That is, much closer to what Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie envisioned the course to be when they were designing it.”
  • “This is all a round-about way of saying that this farewell from Watson is significant, because here you have a golfer who played a sort of primal golf in ways nobody else ever did, including everybody.”
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  1. L

    Jul 31, 2019 at 2:07 am

    Who the heck is Lang-her

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Morning 9: Rory offers simple slow play fix, isn’t sure about TC format | Brooks favors the Euro plan | Sunjae Im!

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

August 22, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. Rory’s simple slow play fix
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard reporting...”The Northern Irishman has always been one of the most outspoken players when it comes to pace of play on the PGA Tour but enough is enough.”
  • “I saw [the European Tour] released a four-point plan, but I only read the headline. I didn’t go deeper into it. I’ve had enough of the slow play stuff,” McIlroy said. “I had two hours of it last week at the [player advisory council] meeting, and that came to nothing.”
  • “Although he didn’t know the details of the new European pace of play policy, McIlroy did offer a solution for slow play when he pointed out that pace of play won’t be an issue at this week’s 30-man Tour Championship.”
  • “Seriously, it’s like traffic, right? You get 156 in the field, and it’s hard to get those guys around quickly. Even last week, 70, there was no mention of pace of play,” McIlroy said. “I’m in a privileged position that I can say that because I’m going to get into a field of 30 or 70. Obviously, guys that are not quite in my position would disagree with that. [But] if you want to speed up play, cut the field sizes.”

Full piece.

2. Rory unsure regarding new Tour Championship format 
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”While saying Wednesday that he understands many of the reasons for the new format, he also said “come back to me Monday and I’ll tell you whether it’s worked or not.”
  • …”If we’re at the PGA Tour trying to do the season of championships, where it starts at the Players in March and goes through the four majors and culminates with the FedEx Cup in the end, if the FedEx Cup really wants to have this legacy in the game, like some of these other championships do, is people starting the tournament on different numbers the best way to do it?” McIlroy said Wednesday at East Lake Golf Club.”
  • “That’s my only thing. I get it from a fan experience point of view. I get it from giving guys that have played better throughout the year an advantage. But at the same time, it will make it sweeter for a guy that starts at even or 1-under par and goes all the way through the field and wins. Or if Justin Thomas shoots the tied low score of the week and doesn’t end up winning. … I don’t know.”

Full piece.

3. JT wants the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup
Good to hear he didn’t endorse finishing third if it’ll secure the cup…JT isn’t keen for a repeat of 2017
  • AP report…”Justin Thomas lived it two years ago when he capped off his best year by capturing the FedEx Cup with a runner-up finish in the Tour Championship. Thomas was thrilled to win the cup and its $10 million prize, but felt like a loser in the immediate aftermath because he was second in the Tour Championship to Xander Schauffele.”
  • “As the No. 1 seed, he starts Thursday at 10-under par with a two-shot lead under the staggered start. It’s possible that Thomas could finish the most under par and win the FedEx Cup, even though he doesn’t have the lowest 72-hole score.”
  • “And yes, he will be paying attention…“You guys probably won’t believe me, but, yeah, it will irk me,” Thomas said of such a scenario. “I want to beat everybody every week I play.”

Full piece.

4. Can anyone really win the FedEx Cup? 
Shane Ryan investigates…
  • “…a player starting at even par has to overcome a 10-shot deficit against the top player, but he also has to overcome a variety of smaller deficits against 25 other players. That compounds the problem, but one way we can try to answer the question is by examining other big comebacks in PGA Tour history. A look at final-round comebacks shows us that one player, Paul Lawrie, managed to take back 10 strokes in a single round, though it did require Jean Van de Velde’s infamous collapse at the 1999 Open Championship”
  • “…But Stewart Cink also roared back from nine shots down, and eight players have managed the feat on Sunday from eight shots back. In some respects, the task facing the “start-at-even” crew in the Tour Championship this weekend is much easier. First, they have 72 holes, not 18, to overcome a 10-stroke deficit. Second, the competition is 29 players, not the 70-or-so who typically make the cut at a “normal” event. They have a longer time to beat a smaller number of players, and by that reckoning, chipping off 2.5 shots per round seems far from impossible.”

 

5. In case you missed it: U.S. Prez Cup team top 8 set
Brooks Koepka
Justin Thomas
Dustin Johnson
Patrick Cantlay
Xander Schauffele
Webb Simpson
Matt Kuchar
Bryson DeChambeau
6. Olesen pleads not guilty
BBC report…”Danish golfer Thorbjorn Olesen has appeared in court charged with sexual assault and being drunk on an aircraft.”
  • “The 29-year-old Ryder Cup winner has also been charged with assault by beating…He indicated he would plead not guilty when he appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.”

Full piece.

7. Brooks favors the European plan? 
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch…“Koepka has been an outspoken critic of slow play, calling for stiff penalties against lallygagging PGA Tour players. He was asked about a policy announced this week by the European Tour that cracks down on idlers by imposing stroke penalties, not the meaningless fines used this side of the Atlantic.”
  • “Perfect. We should adopt it,” Koepka replied. Then came the surgical insertion of the needle.
  • “I think you’ll see some urgency to play. It doesn’t matter how quick you walk. It doesn’t matter how quick you do anything.”
  • “The “quick walk” argument – that hoofing it to one’s ball faster excuses taking more time than permitted to execute the next shot – is the flaccid defense of Bryson DeChambeau, a notorious laggard and someone with whom Koepka has sparred on the issue.”

Full piece.

8. Cole Hammer time…for you to win the McCormack medal
Golf Digest’s Ryan Herrington…“On Wednesday, the USGA and R&A announced that Hammer remained the No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, and thus had secured the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading men’s player at the end of the summer.”
  • “With the honor comes exemptions into the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot and the 2020 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, so long as Hammer remains an amateur when playing in the majors.”

Full piece.

9. Alone in anonymity?
Sungjae Im has hardly gotten the recognition he deserves this season…
  • Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…“One of the tour’s premier talents walked East Lake in anonymity Wednesday afternoon. Hard to do, given there are just 30 players at this shindig. When he passed a group of fans, necks strained to see the name on the bag, followed by a common chorus of whispers. Who’s that? … that’s not Hideki, right … wow, pretty nice shot. The man would nod as he made his way through, paying no heed to their ignorance. He doesn’t even blame them.”
  • “Hey, I’m surprised I’m here too,” Sungjae Im says with a laugh.
  • “In the Year of Young Guns, from Cameron Champ’s auspicious start to the torrid summers of Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland, only one-Im-is standing at the Tour Championship.”
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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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