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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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The DailyWRX: What’s buzzing on social media 6/5/2020

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With everything going on, I wanted to find some humor out there…hope you all can find some time to have a chuckle, it helps.

I relate to this on so many levels…

My game therefore I am trash.

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Send this to a trash golfer ????

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It’s funny…

But the guy might do it cuz he’s so damn savage.

I’m in…

Once again…

I love the shots and tips that come out of these vids…..but these backyard setups continue to solidify that I have failed at life…SMH. My jealousy rages.

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Rainy Wednesday…we going skippin!

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He is a literal walking ray of golden sunshine…

He’s inching up my list of favorite player…just sayin’.

DM @johnny_wunder for anything good

 

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Morning 9: U.S. Open could feature fans after all | LPGA skins match? | Singh WD’s from Korn Ferry event

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1. Singh bows out of Korn Ferry opener
Adam Woodard reports we will unfortunately not be getting the Singh/Schnell pairing we were hoping for…“Vijay Singh caused quite a stir a few weeks back when the three-time major champion’s name appeared on the field list for the Korn Ferry Tour’s first post-pandemic event at TPC Sawgrass’ Dye’s Valley Course June 11-14.”
  • “On Sunday, the PGA Tour confirmed Singh has withdrawn from the Korn Ferry Challenge. Golf Channel was first to report.”
  • “Singh riled up golf Twitter – Korn Ferry Tour pro Brady Schnell, in particular – with his initial decision to enter the KFT event. Being a lifetime PGA Tour member, The Big Fijian was eligible to enter the event because he wasn’t playing in the Tour’s return to play that same week at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.”
2. Still no fans at Colonial
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Despite a revised state order that would allow fans to attend next month’s Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas, the PGA Tour plans to proceed without fans for at least the first four events when play resumes.”
  • “The PGA Tour’s primary focus continues to be the health and well-being of all involved with our tournaments and the communities in which we play,” a statement from the Tour read. “We plan to resume play at the Charles Schwab Challenge with the event – and the three to immediately follow – closed to the general public.”
3. Lynch on player mics
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch has a few thoughts on one of the most-discussed matters coming out of The Match 2…“The most compelling possibility raised by “The Match II” is having players wear microphones during tournament play, and this week the European Tour said it will encourage players to be mic’d when it resumes action in July. The ET’s chief executive, Keith Pelley, exhibits more confidence in golfers agreeing to this than any of the people I know who produce live tournament golf for a living. Those producers will unanimously tell you it’s near impossible to get a simple walk and talk from a PGA Tour player, much less an intimate audio feed for 18 holes of competition.”
“The absence of mic’d competitors in tournaments isn’t because producers don’t want greater access. For all their garrulousness on social media, even younger Tour players maintain an old school mentality passed down from generations of Curtis Stranges and Raymond Floyds, who were as about as approachable as a piranha with toothache when they were working between the ropes. There is also a cost attached. “The Match II” was carefully stage-managed, with players held up along the way to ensure they were live at the right times. That won’t happen in tournaments with 156 guys in the field. Sure, you can stream a single group wired for sound, but for network broadcasts you’ll add the expense of a production staffer to monitor all the chatter for gems and a tape operator to cue it up (and armchair critics will still bemoan that it’s tape-delayed).”
4. Stymied LPGA skins match
Wherefore art the women in these charity matches? Apparently, we’d have already seen an LPGA skins match featuring top players, but for a lack of financial backing…
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols has the full story…
“It’s all in place:
  • “Two courses are interested in hosting
  • Twelve players have agreed to compete
  • If they can pay for TV production, Franzen says they have the full support of the LPGA to work with their broadcast partners
“The idea is to deliver two days of skins matches to outlets around the globe. Players will have the ability to choose which COVID-19 relief fund they want their winnings to go toward.”
“But here’s the deal: Franzen needs funding. Lots of it.”
5. USGA: USO could feature fans
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”But the United States Golf Association is now optimistic about keeping the championship at Winged Foot Golf Club in suburban New York City and remains hopeful that spectators in some limited form will be able to attend.”
  • “The organization had been working on contingency plans to move the tournament to another venue, if necessary.”
  • “We are focused singularly on Winged Foot,” John Bodenhamer, senior managing director of championships for the USGA, said in a phone interview Friday. “Once we got the September dates, that was our thinking. Time is on our side. We did look at multiple scenarios, but given the recent news we felt we could focus there.”
  • “Winged Foot is a special place for us. And the golf course will be amazing. And to be able to do this in New York, where things have been so challenging, will put an explanation point on it. We see Winged Foot as our sole focus.”
6. Fill-in Tour event?
Rob Oller, Columbus Dispatch, syndicated in Golfweek…“Columbus could be in the mix to host a second PGA Tour event the week before the Memorial Tournament scheduled for July 16-19, two sources confirmed to the USA Today Network on Friday.”
  • “The Columbus-based tournament would serve as a temporary fill-in for the John Deere Classic, which was scheduled to be held July 9-12 in Silvis, Illinois, but canceled on Thursday because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. It was to be the first tour event to include spectators.”
  • “…Other leading alternative site is Detroit with Lexington, Kentucky, and Carmel, Indiana, also possibilities. (This story was updated on Saturday, May 30, to include new information from the Akron Beacon-Journal, a member of the USA Today Network.)”
7. Mackenzie Tour cancels season
Carson Williams at Golf Channel…“Border restrictions, mandatory quarantines for those who enter Canada and gathering restrictions in all provinces because of the coronavirus pandemic were just a few reasons that led the tour to cancel its season.”
  • “With growing uncertainty surrounding the border and the 14-day quarantine regulations, among other factors, we’ve weighed all of our options and concluded that it is not feasible to play this summer,” Mackenzie Tour Executive Director Scott Pritchard said in a press release. “With the safety of the communities we play in mind, as well as the well-being of our players, sponsors, tournament-organizing committees, volunteers and golf course staff, we came to the realization that this is the best decision for everyone involved.”
  • “Mackenzie Tour members have been sent information detailing eligibility for the 2021 season. Those who have earned status at three 2020 Qualifying Tournaments will keep their status for next season. For the Qualifying Tournament entrants who have not yet competed, they will be guaranteed a spot for the 2021 event.”
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Morning 9: Latest memo from Tour to players | Phil’s post-Match perspective | Greg Norman’s regrettable take

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1. Latest “bubble” memo
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard details the most recent communique from Tour to its players…“In a memo sent to players on Wednesday, tournament director Michael Tothe outlined many of the protocols that will be required when play resumes on June 11 at Colonial including the four Fort Worth, Texas, hotels that will create the foundation of the circuit’s “bubble” for the week.”
  • “The core of the PGA Tour’s plan to return was always about testing, but it’s a fine line to walk. In two weeks, at the Charles Schwab Challenge, we’ll find out if it will be enough.”
  • “Players are allowed to stay in individual RVs or rental homes but they are being encouraged to assure the health and safety of their accommodations if they choose to stay outside the bubble.”
  • “Players were also informed where COVID-19 testing will occur when they arrive in Fort Worth as well as meal options at Colonial, which will be limited to grab-and-go lunches in order to follow safety protocols.”
2. Little John finishes second at Crooked Stick 
Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star…Daly II made that same walk on Wednesday, up the 18th fairway for the final round of the inaugural Dye Junior Golf Invitational at Crooked Stick.”
  • “I think a lot of guys have re-watched the 1991 PGA tournament,” Daly II said. “I watched it every night before the tournament. (Watching him) walk down the 18th with all of the fans everywhere was pretty cool. He started as the ninth alternate and didn’t expect to play. For him to win, it was a ridiculous story. He loves it.”
  • “Daly II put together a remarkable tournament in his own right, finishing a three-way tie for second place behind winner John Marshall Butler of Louisville, Kentucky. Daly II was 4 over for the two-day, 54-hole event, which featured 33 of the top high school boys players in the country and 33 of the same on the girls’ side.”
3. Phil open to wearing mic
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Speaking on the Dan Patrick Show, Mickelson admitted that he didn’t expect the same level of banter during a typical Tour event with a seven-figure prize on the line, but he’d nonetheless be willing to broadcast his inside-the-ropes dialogue.”
  • “I would be open to the idea because of how it’s being received, and some of the insight and so forth,” Mickelson said. “But you don’t have the play between individuals. I had a partner, and Tom and I could talk back and forth. And maybe you could get some of that with the caddie, but having a partner is much more intimate and you have much better conversation.”
4. …wants annual Match
AP report…”Phil Mickelson, fresh off the success of Sunday’s charity golf exhibition with Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, says he would like to see “The Match” become an annual event.”
  • “I think you could showcase guys like Steph Curry and Michael Jordan or Tony Romo and Patrick Mahomes, who are all good golfers, elite talents and have great personalities,” Mickelson told the Los Angeles Times in a column published Wednesday. “Those personalities are going to come out with this event. Or you could have someone who loves the game and is competitive but is really entertaining like Larry David and Bill Murray. I think that could shine.”
5. More audience info
Interesting stuff from Geoff Shackelford…“According to Showbuzzdaily.com, almost 1/3 of The Match 2’s audience was in the coveted 18-49 demo and the number was even better on on TruTV, also meaning there are people of any age group who know how to find TruTV”
  • “About 30% of The Match’s audience landed in the 18-49 demo despite the 44.5 average age of the participants…The numbers for TaylorMade Driving Relief with a foursome averaging 29.5 years”
  • “That’s 25% of the almighty buyers for a younger, supposedly more millennial-friendly group of golfers. And a grand total of (at least) 860,000 fewer viewers 18-49.  While not a huge difference in the percentage department, The Match did rout Driving Relief in overall audience and even took chipped away at NASCAR’s ratings.”

Full piece.

6. After a long layoff, how do the pros play?
Dylan Beirne, 15th Club for PGATour.com, examines the question…“As we might expect, there’s a clear relationship between performance and the number of weeks a player has been off. We can analyze how well players perform by comparing our estimate of their ability (how we would expect them to perform) to how they actually performed.”
  • “Generally, players taking small breaks of two weeks or less are marginally better than expected, while longer breaks result in an average drop in performance of between 0.1 and 0.2 strokes per round. For context, a drop of 0.2 strokes per round is about the gap between 100th- and 135th-ranked players in the world. It’s a significant change, but not enormous.”
  • “Additionally, the drop in performance after a 10-20 week gap is quite consistent across different levels of players. Top-50 players in the world are affected by a similar amount to those outside the top 50.”
7. A really bad take from Greg Norman
I mean, what else can you call it? A man who has a history of obtuseness and putting his fin in his mouth outdid himself with unfounded speculation about the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash in an interview with Michael Bamberger…“I asked Norman about the January helicopter crash in Los Angeles that killed all nine people aboard, Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, among them. I asked Norman if he had any insight, from his own experience as a helicopter pilot, and as an elite athlete who has flown often in helicopters as a passenger, into the tragedy.”
  • “Yes – yes,” he said. His voice was sober. “Probably pilot error and pressure from the back,” Norman said. Norman could imagine the legendary basketball player saying, “‘Get me through this; get me there. I’ve got to get my daughter to this game.’
  • …”My instructor and I had a saying, ‘If you can’t see through it don’t fly through it.’ If I was flying to Doral or Orlando or Naples and there was fog, we just put it down and waited it out.”
8. Sprint to the Cup
Ben Everill at PGATour.com…“The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting cancellations and postponements of tournaments leaves just 11 eligible tournaments over a 10-week stretch for players to qualify for the Playoffs and a chance at the $15 million bonus that comes with the season-long FedExCup crown.”
  • “While the top 125 will not double as the cutoff for TOUR cards next season in this reduced schedule, it will remain the mark to get into THE NORTHERN TRUST, the first of three Playoffs events in the chase for the FedExCup.”
  • “Gone is the luxury of extended rest between starts for those sitting way back on the list, such as Koepka, who was just starting to find his feet again on a return from injury when the pandemic halted play in March.”

 

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