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Morning 9: Smiling Cinderella | Bubble boys & card losers | The Postman delivers a bogey-free tournament

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

August 5, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans. 
1. “Smiling Cinderella”
Ron Sirak for LPGA.com on the appropriately nicknamed Hinako Shibuno, who captured the Women’s British Open in improbable fashion (250-1 odds!).
  • “The clock never struck midnight for Smiling Cinderella. Playing in her first LPGA event, 20-year-old Hinako Shibuno, exuding a passion that melted hearts and won over minds, birdied the final hole on Sunday to take the AIG Women’s British Open by one stroke over Lizette Salas in a dramatic ending to a sensational day of golf featuring brilliant performances by a slew of players.”
  • “Shibuno, a rookie on the Japan LPGA, was the only player in the field to shoot all four rounds at Woburn Golf Club in the 60s. She simply owned the back nine, shooting 30 there twice and then 31 on Sunday for a closing 68 that put her at 18-under-par 270. She now has the option to join the LPGA.”

Full piece.

2. Bogey-free!
Not to be outdone, a 100-1 longshot hoisted the trophy at the Wyndham…and didn’t card a bogey for 72 holes of golf.
  • AP report…”J.T. Poston kept racking up birdies and pars — but no bogeys — at the Wyndham Championship. They added up to his first PGA Tour victory — and a first-time-in-decades achievement.”
  • “Poston shot an 8-under 62 on Sunday for a one-stroke victory at the tour’s regular-season finale.”
  • “He tied Henrik Stenson’s 2-year-old tournament record at 22-under 258, and became the first player since Lee Trevino in 1974 to win a 72-hole stroke-play event on tour without any bogeys or worse.”

Full piece.

3. Losing their cards…
…alternatively: gaining a spot in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals…
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Among those who will remain exempt next season despite missing the top 125 are Austin Cook (130th), Jason Dufner (136th), Zach Johnson (154th), Jimmy Walker (158th) and Brendan Steele (171st).”
“But here’s a look at some of the marquee players who finished on the wrong side of the bubble and are not fully exempt for the 2019-20 season, with trips looming for many to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals later this month”
Martin Kaymer (150th)
Bill Haas (140th)
Hunter Mahan (184th)
Daniel Berger (131st)
Beau Hossler (145th)
Ollie Schniederjans (180th)
Sam Saunders (173rd
Curtis Luck (175th)
Harris English (149th)
Sangmoon Bae (205th
4. Salas reborn
Lizette Salas couldn’t convert a five-footer at the 72nd hole, and she watched Hinako Shibuno roll one in a group later for the win.
  • What she was thinking over the putt: “I told myself, ‘You’ve got this. You’re made for this,'” Salas said. “I’m not going to lie. I was nervous. I haven’t been in that position in a long time, but I gave it a good stroke. I controlled all my thoughts. It just didn’t drop.
  • And…”To pull off a 65 on a Sunday at a major like this, it’s pretty awesome,” she said. “Pretty proud of myself.”
  • “This is all great momentum going into Solheim,” she said. “This is great for my confidence. I just turned 30 a couple weeks ago, and I feel like I’m kind of reborn. I’m just happy to be in this position.”
5. Feinstein on Wyndham
The eminent sportswriter on the event that wouldn’t go away…”Eighty-one years after Sam Snead won the first tournament and first-place money of $1,200 from a $5,000 purse, what’s now known as the Wyndham Championship-but remains the GGO in the hearts and minds of most locals-handed out a check Sunday evening for $1.116 million to J.T. Poston.”
  • “Pretty good for a tournament that seemed to be a target for extinction 14 years ago. The tour was in the process of re-organizing its schedule in order to launch the FedEx Cup Playoffs starting in 2007, and the tournament’s title sponsor, Chrysler, had let it be known that it wouldn’t be renewing after its contract ran out following the 2006 tournament. Forest Oaks, the site of the event since 1977, was one of the least popular venues on tour with most players. The tour had made it clear for years that tradition and history had nothing to do with deciding a tournament’s future. Money and money did.”
  • “And so, the tournament that Snead had won eight times, seemed likely to go the way of the Kemper Open and the Westchester Classic under the new tour setup.”
6. The cautionary tale of Cameron Champ? 
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch…”Not even 10 months ago, Champ was Wolff or Morikawa, a spellbindingly talented rookie setting out on the yellow brick road to superstardom. He won the second tournament of the season at the Sanderson Farms Championship- only the ninth Tour event he had ever played – and even in this power era he was stupefyingly long off the tee (he ranks No. 1 in driving distance). Those were the pigeon days. In 18 starts since January, he has 10 missed cuts, one WD and only two top-30 finishes.”
7. Playoff missers
Shane Ryan files a boots-on-the-ground report on the bubble drama at the Wyndham Championship.
He begins…”You could hear the shouted expletive before you saw Roberto Diaz emerging from the brick scoring building where a PGA Tour official had just imparted the bad news. Despite shooting nine under on the weekend, and 14 under for the tournament, Diaz was going to finish outside the 150th position on the FedEx Cup points list, which meant he won’t enjoy even conditional status for the 2019-’20 PGA Tour season … unless he goes to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, a three-event series featuring 75 golfers from the PGA Tour and another 75 from the developmental tour, and finishes top 25. (If that sounds complicated, well, buckle up, because Sunday at the Wyndham Championship is the most complicated day on the PGA Tour.)”
8. Poston’s winning WITB
Driver: Titleist TS3 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana BF 60TX
 
3-wood: Titleist TS2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana BF 70TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (3-5), Titleist 718 AP2 (6-9)
Shafts: Project X PXi 6.5 (3-5), Project X 6.5 (6-9) 

Wedges: Vokey Design SM7 (46, 50, 55, 60 degrees)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo 5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Full piece, pics.

9. Tour Rundown
A PSA for all of you looking for a succinct recap of the week’s pro golf action: Our Ron Montesano does as well as anyone in his weekly Tour Rundown. 
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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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