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Morning 9: Tiger sets schedule | Olesen insanity | R.I.P. to a Euro Ryder Cupper

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

August 1, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans. 
1. Royal Porthcawl
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell...”The 2021 AIG Women’s British Open will be played at Royal Porthcawl in Wales, the R&A announced Wednesday.”
  • “It marks the first time the event will be staged there.”
  • “We have a very exciting couple of years ahead with the championship also making its debut at Royal Troon in 2020,” said Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, the R&A’s executive director of championships. “Both courses will present outstanding tests for the world’s best women’s golfers.”

Full piece.

2. TW returneth
“After missing the cut, Woods explained why he wasn’t heading to Memphis for the cash-grab WGC immediately after Portrush.
  • “I’m going to take a couple of weeks off and get ready for the playoffs,” Woods said. “We’ve got the playoffs coming up, and anything can happen. Last year I almost stole the whole FedExCup at the very end. If it wasn’t for (Justin Rose’s) little break there at the bunker, it could have been interesting. So get ready for those events. And after that then have a break.”
  • “Woods decided to skip the WGC-Fed Ex St. Jude Invitational in Memphis after missing the British Open cut at Royal Portrush, saying he wanted to go home and rest up before preparing for another postseason push.”
  • “Ready to begin the FedExCup playoffs starting with @TheNTGolf and then the @BMWChamps. Hope to see you there.- Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) July 31, 2019.”
3. Negreanu’s big (golf) bets
One of Negreanu’s bets required him to play 12 hours of golf a day just for a chance at a major payout. Negreanu said he bet $550,000 that he could shoot a score of 80 from the back tees at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, a PGA Tour-level course that hosts the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Negreanu only had one year to transform his game, and he won the bet with just a few days to spare.
Via the No Laying Up podcast:
  • “My golf game was not very good. The back tees at TPC Summerlin is about 7,000 yards. I can’t hit a driver more than 230, so I don’t hit any of the greens from back there. I bet them that if they gave me a year, I could shoot 80 from the back tees there.
  • “So I’m drunk and we’re all drinking and I bet 550 thousand dollars on this. But I get as many rounds as I need.”
  • “So with about a month to spare, I go out there and [score] 110… 108… 106. OK, that’s my first three rounds, and I have a month. So we woke up at 7 a.m. every day, we practiced for an hour, played 18, practiced for another hour, played 18, played 9 more and then practiced again. So I would go from 7 a.m. to about 8 p.m. every day.”
  • Check out the piece to see how it turned out or visit NLU for the pod.

Full piece.

4. Lowest Junior PGA score ever!
AP report…”Jake Beber-Frankel, the 17-year-old son of Academy Award-winning director David Frankel, shot a 10-under 60 on Wednesday for the lowest score in the history of the Boys Junior PGA Championship.”
“Beber-Frankel, from Miami, closed with a par on the ninth hole at Keney Park Golf Course, missing a chance to shoot 59.”
5. Thorbjorn Olesen: What the hell? 
Our Gianni Magliocco…”According to a report from The Sun, European Tour star Thorbjorn Olesen was arrested before being released this week on suspicion of sexual assault during a transatlantic flight.”
  • “Per the report, Olesen allegedly hurled abuse at passengers and crew on the flight before being calmed by fellow golfer Ian Poulter and then molested a woman while Poulter slept.”
  • “The Dane is also accused of urinating in the first-class aisle of the plane, and it is believed that police were waiting for Olesen when his BA flight from Nashville, Tennessee, landed at Heathrow on Monday.”

Full piece.

6. Downsides of golf gambling? 
Brian Wacker at Golf Digest…”During the opening round of last week’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, a fan yelled “Get in the bunker!” as Ian Poulter’s ball was in the air on approach to the 18th green at TPC Southwind. Poulter took exception, pointed out the fan to security and had the spectator removed from the course.”
  • “Two days earlier, PGA Tour officials announced a multi-year deal with fantasy-sports outlet DraftKings as the tour took the next step toward integrating itself with the rising gaming community.”
  • “Coincidental stories in the news? Likely, although who knows whether the lout who Poulter had kicked out had a vested interest in the outcome of his round.”
  • “That’s a good question,” Paul Casey said when asked if he thought such incidents could become more prevalent as the tour creates working relationships with public and private parties involved in the gaming and gambling industries. “It’s such a minuscule percentage [of the fans at a tournament], but with money on the line and people feeling like they can alter the outcome to their benefit, I don’t like the sound of that.”
7. Infomercials! 
Superb work by Jeff Ritter for Golf.com…
“Thanks to the miracle of YouTube many of those awkwardly awesome golf infomercials live quietly in the archives for posterity. Like panning for gold, all you have to do is go searching. Or, you can just read on and watch this round-up of the greatest 1990s golf infomercials. (Or at least, those that we could dig up.) Also included: each ad’s best line and whether I’d buy the item today if it were available. Operators are standing by!”
  • “Truflex Golf…Premise: The greatest golf irons ever made, all thanks to unique design and engineering.”
  • “Best line: “My name is Marshall Pengra, and right now I’m on a golf course. Chances are you aren’t.” Truer words have never been spoken on television.”
  • “Price: Only $595 for a set of graphite irons and $659 for steel!”
  • “Would I buy it today? Definitely not.”
8. R.I.P. Gordon Brand, Jr. 
Golf Channel staff…”Gordon Brand, Jr., a two-time European Ryder Cup player, has died at age 60.”
  • “The Scotsman was scheduled to compete in this week’s Staysure PGA Seniors Championship.”
  • “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Gordon Brand Jnr. Our deepest sympathies are with his family at this time.”
  • “Brand was a member of the 1987 European Ryder Cup team that won on American soil for the first time at Muirfield Village. He was also on the 1989 team that tied the Americans at The Belfry to retain the cup.”
9. All hockey numbers!
Golf Digest’s Christopher Powers…”Sometimes you’ve got to spice things up, which is just what Canadian tour pro Jared du Toit is doing this week at the 1932byBateman Open on the Mackenzie Tour (no, I didn’t make up that name).”
“du Toit, a former Arizona State standout, plans to not use any numbers for his yardages, instead coming up with a genius alternative with caddie Nolan Renwick. Rather than telling du Toit he’s got 99 yards left to the pin, Renwick will just say “Gretzky.” But The Great One isn’t the only name he’ll be dropping.”

 

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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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