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Morning 9: Should we blame Jillian Bourdage? | Major trophy theft? | Woods rode the intramural basketball bench?

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

July 31, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans. 
1. Should we blame Jillian? 
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols says Jillian Bourdage, the junior golfer in the now-viral clip, shouldn’t be flogged for slow play or held up as an example given the video’s context…
  • “The video highlights a comeback par putt Bourdage deliberated over on the 30th hole of a match that stretched to 36.”
  • “Slow play is a problem in golf. Can’t imagine anyone disputing that. But Bourdage is a 17-year-old Ohio State commit in the early stages of her career. She doesn’t deserve the same level of scrutiny as a professional athlete. She’s ranked 838th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings for goodness sake.”
  • “A few things to consider about the Girls’ Junior finale that make this the perfect storm for slow-play critics…“It was a commercial-free broadcast”…“This was the only match on the course”
Nichols’ point: there was no opportunity to cut away from the watching-paint-dry spectacle and Bourdage and her playing were never out of position and, again, at the time, they were playing on an open course (and thus felt afforded as much time as they wanted over each shot).
2. Monday qualifying is really hard!
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers…”If you don’t follow Monday Q Info on Twitter by now, hopefully, this will provide the impetus to do so. No one tracks the Monday qualifying circuit like this guy, and with the PGA Tour regular season coming to an end, he produced this stunning compilation of results”
  • “Monday Q Info (@acaseofthegolf1) 67-67-67-67-65-68-69-66-69-67-67-68-67-69-69-68-72-68-67-65-66-65-67-68″
  • “If you went to every PGA Mon Q, shot these scores in order…you got into exactly ZERO events.”
  • “To reiterate, the average last-spot score at a Monday qualifier this year was 66.42. And three times, a 64 was needed to grab the last spot. If you shot 65 any of those three days, you were out of luck. Incredible.”

Full piece.

3. Nelly’s major bid
Randall Mell on Nelly Korda’s effort to take the next step in her already impressive career…
  • “She’s looking to win a major, but she understands it’s like a graduate program. There are still lessons to be learned.”
  • “I started playing golf because I wanted to win major championships,” Korda said Tuesday at the AIG Women’s British Open. “I feel like the more experience I get, and the more I’m in contention, and the more I am under pressure in these situations, the more I learn, the more I grow as a player.”
  • “Korda, who just turned 21 on Sunday, broke through to win her first LPGA title at the Swinging Skirts Taiwan Championship last October and won again at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in February.”
4. Trophy theft
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”If Georgia Hall appeared especially enamored with the silver AIG Women’s Open trophy positioned next to her in a news conference Tuesday at Woburn Golf Club, there was good reason.”
  • “Somebody stole her trophy.”
  • “…The trophy the Englishwoman was presented as winner of last year’s championship was stolen out of her car in London two months ago. It was a replica of the original.”
  • “Smashed my back window, like 12 o’clock in the middle of the afternoon,” Hall said. “I don’t know if they knew it was me or not, because it was in the box and everything. And I had golf clubs as well, and they didn’t take that. A bit strange.”
5. Barron’s big week
AP report on the Senior Open fifth-place finisher’s impressive showing.
  • …”He flew to Manchester, drove to the Lancashire coast and played with Wes Short Jr. The last time they had played together was nearly seven years ago in the Jacksonville Open, the final event of the year on what is now the Korn Ferry Tour.”
  • “Two days later, Barron finished with three clutch putts at Fairhaven to qualify for the Senior British Open”
  • “The day he turned 50 was the final practice round at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, where Barron and Dicky Pride took 20 pounds off Joe Durant and Scott Parel. The week ended with Barron closing with a 67 in the rain while playing with Colin Montgomerie to tie for fifth.”

Full piece.

6. Tiger the bench jockey? 
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…
  • “During an appearance on the Golf.com Podcast, Woods’ friend and former teammate Notah Begay talked about Woods’ abilities ­- or lack thereof – on the hardwood.”
  • “The golf team had an intramural team at Stanford,” said Begay, who won two state basketball titles while at Albuquerque Academy. “Tiger was on our team. But let me just tell you – let the cat out of the bag – he wasn’t in the starting five. I’m not going to disparage his athletic ability because he’s a great athlete. But I mean, with the likes of Casey Martin, who had a birth defect in his right leg who started ahead of [Tiger], will give you an indication of Tiger’s skills on the court. I’ll just leave it at that.”
7. Morikawa on his sticks 
Collin Morikawa spoke with Andrew Tursky of PGATour.com about his equipment, while the whole of the conversation is interesting, here’s what Morikawa said about his breakfast-inspired wedge adornments.
  • “Your wedge stampings have gone a bit crazy on social media. I guess you’re a big breakfast guy? How did those stampings come about?”
  • “Yeah (laughs), so my girlfriend, we love breakfast and we’ve got a little nicknames for each other. I won’t tell you which one [is mine]… but I’ll tell you her [nickname]; hers is “bacon.” But yeah, we love breakfast. We’re huge foodies. We love going out – and I think that’s what’s great about the PGA TOUR is you get to travel to so many great places and find some really good food. It just happened to be that we wanted to put some breakfast [items on the wedges] and we got some good combinations on there. We forgot some cereal names; I think that might be on a new wedge. But yeah, we do love our food and we definitely can’t get enough.”

Full piece.

8. “An honest mistake”
A day after passportgate, here are a couple of perspectives on Lexi Thompson’s misplaced passport fiasco
  • From an ESPN report “…Her agent, Bobby Kreusler, told Golf Channel it was an “honest mistake” and that Thompson had no idea it would cause such a delay and affect players the way it did.”
  • “She would never have wanted that,” the agent said.
  • “Ryann O’Toole, whose clubs didn’t arrive until Tuesday evening ahead of the Evian, wasn’t happy to lose another day of preparation for a major.”
  • “I don’t know why the driver would agree to accommodate one person knowing it would punish about a third of the field,” O’Toole told Golf Channel. “The driver should have said: ‘Hey, I’ve got to get these clubs to Woburn. If you want the passport, somebody’s going to have to fly there to get it and bring it back.”’

Full piece.

9. Can you use the shadow of the flagstick for alignment?
Handy bit of info from Golf.com’s Rules Guy…
  • “I had a four-foot putt exactly on the line of the flagstick’s shadow, so I left the pin in and made the putt. My playing partner called foul. I know the USGA changed the rule so that it’s the player’s choice whether to leave the stick in or out, but does that still hold when using its shadow as a beacon? -GUY SYKES, VIA E-MAIL”
  • “…the Rules are there to guide us, not hinder us. They are, indeed, a beacon themselves. The sun is out, and a shadow leads the way? To mix a metaphor, the stars have aligned! It’s perfectly legal!..”
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  1. JThunder

    Aug 1, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    If this clip is “viral” for slow play, then the entire PGA Tour season should be “viral” for slow play. Typical that the wealthy men aren’t called to task but the young girl is. A young girl who played a match in just over 4 hours (about the time it takes JB Holmes to get ready to hit a shot).

    Well done again, “wonderful” world of golf.

  2. Ryan

    Aug 1, 2019 at 10:43 am

    Slow play sucks. Watching someone take forever over a three footer sucks. However, if the player is still within their pace of play on the course, nothing, IMO, can really be said. If this event hadn’t been televised, then this story wouldn’t have made headlines. If the pace is set at 4 hours and 10 minutes for 18 holes and the match took 4 hours and 9 minutes, then what is the gripe? The game is about shooting low scores, not how fast can you play. This is the equivalent of giving your wife $100 to spend shopping and when she comes home, she hands you back $1. Can you really be mad at her for spending $99 when you told her $100 was the limit? Does it matter if she bought 15 items or 1 item? As long as she didn’t come home and say, I spent $300 today, can you be mad? I think the same applies here.

  3. Jon

    Jul 31, 2019 at 10:29 am

    Mr. Alberstadt, in my opinion it is rather unfortunate you left out a key piece of information from Beth Ann Nichols’ piece on Jillian and slow play. The original article states their first 18 holes took 4 hours and 4 minutes to complete and were under the 4 hours and 12 minutes time limit for the second 18 holes. Again in my opinion, withholding this information in the above article makes it look like Ms. Nichols was making an excuse for the slow play, when in all actuality, the time limits were never exceeded. It is rather unfortunate the amateurs are bearing the brunt of outcries on slow play.

    • James

      Jul 31, 2019 at 11:57 am

      Good point about the overall time limit. Just thought I should clarify also that Jillian is not just any amateur. She’s an elite amateur and knows better. On a side note, I am so sick of broadcast commentators talking about these boys and girls as if they are new to the game. They have conquered the physical and mental aspects of the game beyond what 99.9% of all golfers will ever know yet they are talked down to and apologized for? They know what they are doing.

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13-time major champion Mickey Wright passes away at the age of 85

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@wilsongolf

LPGA Tour legend and Hall of Famer Mickey Wright passed away on Monday after suffering a heart attack, according to the AP.

Wright won 82 titles on the LPGA Tour including 13-major titles in a career which began in 1955 and ended with her retirement at the age of just 34.

Per the 13-time major champion’s lawyer, Sonia Pawluc who was speaking to AP, Wright had been hospitalised for the last few weeks after suffering a fall.

The sporting legend is the only LPGA Tour professional to hold all majors at the same time, and Ben Hogan once described her swing as the finest in the game.

Speaking on the news of her passing, LPGA Tour commissioner, Michael Whan said

“We are deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Mickey Wright. We lost a legend, but we may also have lost the best swing in golf history today. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.”

Wright’s long list of accomplishments in the game includes the most victories in a single LPGA season (13), four consecutive LPGA money titles (1961-64), 14 successive years with an LPGA victory (1956-69) and a stunning 44 wins from 1961 through 1964.

She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1976.

 

 

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Morning 9: Tiger: Bad week inside ropes, good week outside | Scott, Park end droughts | CBS’ coverage panned (again)

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram and golfwrxEIC on Twitter.
February 17, 2020
Good Monday morning, golf fans.

 

1. Scott gets first Tour win since 2016
Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner with a succinct breakdown…“Scott started the day in part of a three-way share of the lead, and he suffered an early stumble with a double bogey on the fifth hole. But the notoriously wobbly putter steadied his nerve down the stretch, burying birdie putts on Nos. 13 and 17 that proved to be the difference. Scott earned an unofficial victory at Riviera in 2005 when he won a 36-hole, rain-slogged event, but now he has an official title as part of his Riv credentials. It’s back-to-back worldwide wins for Scott across two calendar years, as the veteran closed out 2019 with a victory at the Australian PGA Championship. But after a number of recent near-misses, the Aussie now has his first PGA Tour win since March 2016, when he went back-to-back at Honda and Doral.”
2. …and Down Under, another title drought endeth
AP report…”Seven-time major champion Inbee Park saw a seven shot lead shrink to two shots Sunday before winning the Women’s Australian Open by three strokes to clinch her first LPGA title in almost two years.”
  • “Park started her final round three shots in front of 19-year old South Korean compatriot Ayeon Cho. She bogeyed the ninth hole but still turned five shots ahead of the field and went out to a seven shot lead early on the back nine at the Royal Adelaide Golf Club.”
3. …and on the Korn Ferry Tour
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Andrew Novak birdied each of his final two holes to earn his first career Korn Ferry Tour victory at the LECOM Suncoast Classic.”
  • “Novak, 24, started the final round in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., one shot off the lead, and he was part of a crowded leaderboard as the tournament entered the closing stretch. But thanks in large part to birdies on Nos. 17 and 18, two of the seven hardest holes at Lakewood National GC, he closed with a 6-under 66. That left him at 23 under, one shot ahead of John Chin and two shots clear of Taylor Montgomery, both of whom closed with rounds of 64.”
4. Not the weekend he wanted
PGATour.com’s Ben Everill…”It was another week to lament at the famed course where Woods started his PGA TOUR career as a 16-year-old. He faded on the back nine of his rounds on Thursday and Friday and then shot 76-77 on the weekend to be 11 over par, some 22 shots behind winner Adam Scott.”
  • “Woods was full of praise for the event he and his foundation put on in its new elevated status, but could only try some self-deprecating humor when asked of his personal on course efforts.”
  • “I did not do much well today. Good news, I hit every ball forward, not backwards, a couple sideways. But overall, I’m done,” he said. “I’ve been in this position many times unfortunately. Just keep fighting hole by hole, shot by shot and try to make some birdies, which I did not do.
ESPN’s Bob Harig on what he saw…“Woods was still not moving great. While he looked good at times, his overall game was a shell of what he produced three weeks ago at Torrey Pines, let alone in December at the Presidents Cup or October at the Zozo Championship.”
  • “This was simply a day to endure, not make matters worse — and then hand the tournament trophy to winner Adam Scott, who finished 22 strokes ahead of the tournament host.”
  • “And it was yet another reminder: Woods is 44 years old, has a fused spine, had three previous back surgeries prior to that, and counts himself lucky to be playing the game at all, let alone a high level.”
Full piece. 
5. Chubb champ: Scott Parel
Greg Hardwig of the Naples Daily News…”Scott Parel lost two opportunities at victories last year in playoffs. He wasn’t going to take that chance Sunday in the Chubb Classic.”
“Parel, 54, birdied six of the first 12 holes to come back from five shots off the lead and went on to win at The Classics Country Club at Lely Resort for his third PGA Tour Champions victory. Parel tied the tournament record at 17-under 196 on the par-71 course, and won $240,000 out of the $1.6 million purse.”
6. Rave review for CBS’ golf coverage…
Joel Beall with a (incomplete) tally of some of the (many) errors…
  • “An incorrect score board from the LPGA’s Women’s Australian Open, caught by No Laying Up. The tournament ended Saturday night.”
  • “A singular Korn Ferry Tour highlight, featuring a putt from Peter Uihlein. Although Uihlein entered the day with the lead, he finished T-20 at the Suncoast Classic, which had already been decided when the event update was televised.”
  • “Delayed footage of Harold Varner III topping his tee shot at the iconic 10th hole. Varner was tied at the time of the miscue, which was noted by CBS Sports analyst Ian Baker-Finch. Varner’s top was eventually shown in a highlight package some 90 minutes after it occurred.”
  • “The relative broadcast absences of Max Homa, one of the more popular PGA Tour players on social media, and Joel Dahmen. As the Twitter handle Deep Fried Egg pointed out, at one juncture Homa, then a stroke back of the lead, had only a single shot televised while Rickie Fowler-who was not in the field-had two highlights during the program.”
7. Rory talks Brooks & more
Adam Woodard at Golfweek draws on more of Rory McIlroy’s conversation with journalist Paul Kimmage…a few morsels…
  • “So, I go out in the final round and my midset was . . . It’s another round of golf . . . a great opportunity . . . I’m going to try to play well. And I was beaten on the day,” McIlroy remembered. “Obviously, Brooks played great and shot 65 but I think, more than anything, I was beaten by his intensity and his desire. I was too relaxed.”
  • “Later on in the season, McIlroy learned of a text Koepka sent to his friends before the final round in Memphis: “I’m going to crush him.”
  • “Yeah, and f*** he sort of did,” said McIlroy. “Well, Brooks and I have always got on great – we do get on great – but he was obviously taking that mindset, ‘It’s me and him’. And I guess it was a good thing that he thinks highly of me, or not highly of me, if he was saying he was going to crush me.”
8. Unplanned break ahead
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”When Muni He triumphed at LPGA Q-Series last November, she seized control of something every professional golfer holds dear: her schedule…”
  • “He, 20, decided early on that she’d skip the first three LPGA tournaments that she was eligible for and start 2020 on a three-week stretch in Asia, playing off of sponsor exemptions in limited-field events in Thailand and Singapore and the Blue Bay LPGA in her native China.”
  • “No one could’ve predicted that her first three starts would be canceled due to threats from the coronavirus. That control He worked so hard for went up in a puff of smoke. She’ll now make her first start of 2020 in late March at the LPGA event in Phoenix.”
9. Genesis a big success for Tiger…outside the ropes
Golf Digest’s Daniel Rapaport rightly points out…”It was not his week on the course, obviously. But Woods’ time here was about more than how he fared inside the ropes. He has hosted this event for the last three years in conjunction with his TGR Live venture, but this was the first year the tournament formerly known as the L.A. Open was no longer an open. It’s an Invitational now, which means a reduced field size to 120, an increased purse and an elevated status.
  • “And the first year was, by any measure, a marked success-four cloudless days, a challenging Riviera that flashed its teeth all week and a bunched leader board that didn’t sort itself until late Sunday afternoon, when Adam Scott prevailed for a two-shot victory.”
  • “From a tournament perspective, it couldn’t have gone any better,” Woods said. “We’ve had perfect weather, people have come out and supported this event. Our elevation, being a part of the new invitational status, look at the players that come out and supported this event that have played this week, we couldn’t have asked for a more dream scenario. The golf course was fantastic. Everything couldn’t have been any better from that side.”

 

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Tour Rundown: Scott’s grit and guile, Queen Bee, Wofford’s pride

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The PGA Tour’s Cali Swing came to a close for 2020, while the Champions Tour returned to the continental USA after a stint in Morocco. The ladies of the LPGA stood tall in Australia, just as the Korn Ferry tour also docked in the lower 48, after time spent in South America. As the world of golf considers the pros and cons of a world tour, it’s easy to look around and see how such a grand plan might come to pass. As the globe continues to orbit, we take our turn in running down this week’s results.

PGA Tour: Scott claims 14th tour title with grit and guile

Say what you must about the back nine at the Augusta National, but I will stand the inward half at Riviera as the ultimate gut-check site in golf. For starters, we saw Tiger Woods go out in 4-under par on Thursday, stoking the embers of bonfires of hope everywhere. El tigre played the inward half in 36-38-41-39, so we know which high-school crush still makes him nervous! Wasn’t much different for the rest of the field; play the inward half well and you stand a chance. How about Adam Scott? After an inexplicable 37 on Thursday, he back-nined Riviera for 31-33-35. For those (like me) not counting, that’s the essential difference between what Tiger tallied, and what the tournament victor posted. Scott had his hands full, as players like Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy, and late to the party: Sung Kang and Scott Brown. Both Kang and Brown closed fast, reaching -9, joining Kuchar in a tie for 2nd. They call Riviera Hogan’s Alley, for the playing record of the wee ice mon over its 18 holes. It begs the question, which Riviera was Hogan playing, that he could get that good, that repeatedly, over these beguiling, 18 holes?

LPGA: Queen Bee secures 20th title in Royal fashion. Could gold be next?

Inbee Park has been many things over the years: Major champion (she won her first LPGA event at the 2008 US Open); Olympic Gold Medalist (yup, that was her in Rio, wearing the bling); and now, comeback kid. Park was injured in 2017, and despite a victory in 2018, has yet to capture the stature that thrust her to #1 in the world, and 18 tour victories. Watch out, world; she might be back. Park stood sooo tall after three rounds; 67-69-68 had her at  15-under par over the glorious, Royal Adelaide course in Seaton. Only Ayean Cho managed to find similar altitude, with 3 rounds of 69 for -12. Would Cho solve the mystery of the final round, the one that eluded her last week, when she gave back a lead over the final 9 holes? In a word, no. She closed with 77 and dropped to -8 and a tie for 6th place. All part of the learning curve, as they say. With her playing partner stalled, Park played things close to the safety vest. She finished with a +1 74 on Sunday, good for a 3-putts margin of victory over new runner-up Amy Olson of the USA. If Inbee is rounding into form now, she’ll be a certain threat to claim a second gold medal this summer, in Japan.

Korn Ferry: Wofford’s pride birdies final two holes for 1st victory

You know you’re small when … your small town isn’t the bigger of the two small towns in an arguably-metro region. Spartanburg ain’t no Greenville, says no one in those parts, but it’s true. And Wofford College is a charming, southern institution of higher learning, located in the middle of Spartanburg. And Andrew Novak found a golf and learning home at Wofford. And now, he has a title and Wofford again has a pro tour winner. Again? You mean another Boston Terrier has won on tour? Uh-huh, one William McGirt, at the 2016 Memorial Tournament. According to my researchers, that’s all. The dynamic duo of McGirt and Novak.

Right, back to Andrew Novak. He and 5 other golfers reached 20-below par at the Lakewood National (not to be confused with other, national golf clubs) near Sarasota. Greyson Sigg, Chandler Blanchott, and David Kocher ran out of gas there, and tied for 4th. Taylor Montgomery actually reached -22, before a bogey at the last dropped him to -21 and solo 3rd place. John Chin had 5 birdies throught 7 back-nine holes, but failed to summon a 6th, and ended his run at -22. And Novak? He birdied 17 and 18, to jump from 3rd to 1st in the blink of an eye. Novak moved all the way from 26th to 3rd on The 25 chase for PGA Tour cards. He’ll certainly earn his for 2020-2021, but might he manage 2 more victories, for a battlefield promotion? Keep closing and the answer will be uh-huh. #GoTerriers

Tour Champions: The ultimate grinder peppermills his third Senior victory

Bernhard Langer, Stephen Leaney, and Chris DiMarco went out on Sunday and shot wonderful rounds … for the conclusion of a US Open. Hovering near par, on any day, would not bring baubles at the Chubb Classic. Bob Estes went out and posted 64, his best round of the week by 3, to reach 15-under par. He blazed past the aforementioned trinity, but could not reach the brass ring. That plum went to Scott Parel, probably the only Georgia Bulldog who never was … a Georgia Bulldog. Parel posted 63 on Sunday, eclipsing Estes’ 198 by 2 shots. The victory was Parel’s 3rd on the late-stage circuit, and was his first since October of 2018. Parel graduated from the large, state school in Athens, but never competed for the varsity squad. He made his living as a computer programmer, but never gave up his dream of playing professional golf. As a size 50+, he is now living that dream. Langer salvaged a tie for 3rd (with Kevin Sutherland) at -13. Ironically, Parel has been in two Champions playoffs in his career, and has lost both of them … to Kevin Sutherland. Good thing for him that the California native could “only” close with 67

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