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Tour Rundown: Reed, Hur, Hoag, and more

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Playoffs? Let’s talk about the playoffs. They began on the PGA Tour in New Jersey, and will commence next week on the Korn-Ferry Tour. We bade farewell to the British Isles at the Ladies Scottish Open, then saw timely, tremendous performances on the European Challenge and Mackenzie tours, and also at the US Women’s Amateur. Tour Rundown sources golf a bit differently this week, but trust us: every shot counted and every winner smiled.

Patrick Reed jumps in front of FedEx Cup playoffs at Northern Trust

I have this need to see Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau pair up at the Presidents Cup in December. Before we had a winner on Sunday, we had a combusted internet divided between bile for Reed and rancor for DeChambeau. Who knew golf could elicit such vitriol? Reed opened Sunday with a 2-stroke edge on Mexico’s Abraham Ancer. Neither golfer distinguished himself on the outward nine, combining for 5 bogies by the turn. Jon Rahm jumped up to -16, the number that would win for Reed, midway through the homeward half, but faded away quickly, with back-to-back bogies at 14 and 15. Rahm tied for 3rd with Harold Varner III. Behind them, Reed and Ancer found their games, each playing the back nine in 2-under par. Ancer needed birdie at the last to tie Reed, but could not convert from 43 feet away.

In the newfangled FedEx Cup playoff structure, Brooks Koepka preserved his regular-season margin, but just barely. Reed vaulted Jenn Suhr-style over 48 golfers, moving from 50th to 2nd. Just behind him are Rory McIlroy, Matt Kuchar and Jon Rahm, who moved from 10th to 5th. The playoffs move to Chicago this week, to storied Medinah Number 3.

Mi Jung Hur wins Scottish Open by 4 from 6

Mi Jung Hur (once known as MJ) spaces out her LPGA Tour wins. Every 5 years or so, to be precise. She first won in 2009, then paused until 2014 to secure another victory. Her 3rd title came this weekend, at the Renaissance Club in Gullane, at the Ladies Scottish Open. Hur was the class of the field on Sunday, her 66 tied only by Scotland’s Kylie Henry, who improved 15 shots from her Saturday 81. The Jutanugarn sisters (Moriya and Ariya) were in the mix, but could not close the gap. Moriya had the overnight lead on Saturday, but followed a 1st-hole birdie with double bogey-bogey on her subsequent two. Her 71 was not nearly enough to catch Hur. Moriya tied for 2nd spot, 4 back of the winner.

Tied for runner-up was Six. That’s right, 6. Jeongeun Lee6, winner of the 2019 US Open, was considered the player to beat at the dawn of the day. Weather and a cold putter kept her from challenging the champion. Lee6 was unable to secure her 2nd victory of the season, but she did move from 6th (ha ha) to 2nd in the Race to CME Globe points standing, albeit a good way behind Jin Young Ko.

Bo Hoag and 24 others earn PGA Tour cards for 2019-2020 in Portland

I’m a ’70s kid, so I can’t help thinking about Sorrell Booke’s Boss Hog character on Dukes of Hazzard whenever I see Bo Hoag’s name. Probably has little to do with a cantankerous southern kingmaker, a fictitious one at that, so let’s move on. Bo Hoag is 31 years old, and has been chasing the dream since leaving The Ohio State University in 2011. On Sunday, the dream came true. Hoag won the Portland Open over local favorite Scott Harrington, a Portland native. With the victory, Hoag jumped from 31st to 7th on The 25 money list, securing playing privileges on the game’s biggest stage next season.

Hoag played a stellar round, posting 6 birdies against 0 bogies for 65. A gutsy putt for 4 at the par-5 closer gave him a critical, 3-shot lead over Harrington, who stood in the fairway behind him. The Portlander also capped his round with birdie, but hopes of a tie with eagle had vanished. 3rd place went to Norway’s Kristoffer Ventura, already a Korn Ferry Tour winner this season. In 4th and 5th spots, Chris Naegel and Vince India made valiant runs to get inside the top 75 for the playoffs, but came up shy of their goal. Over the next three weeks, golfers will vye for 25 more PGA Tour cards at the playoffs. Two seasons ago, Keith Mitchell missed out on a regular-season card on the-then Web.Com Tour, earned one in the playoffs, and was a PGA Tour winner in 2019. Yep, dreams are there for the dreamers.

Buckley wins in playoff on Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada in Alberta

The Mackenzie Tour doesn’t have playoffs, but it does give super-sweet hockey sweaters to the 5 golfers that graduate to the Korn Ferry Tour. Hayden Buckley made his case for a jersey with a 1st-hole, playoff win over Sam Fidone. Entering the final day in 1st place, Buckley played his worst golf of the week. He had a 5-shot lead on the 4th tee, but that margin dissipated over time. 70 strokes gave Fidone a chance at the win, and he almost stole the cup. Birdie at 15, paired with Buckley’s 3rd bogey of the day, gave the lead to Fidone. His subsequent bogey at 16 tied them once more, and on to extra holes they went. Buckley made par in overtime at the 18th, and Fidone’s bogey made him the runner-up.

Buckley sits in the 5th spot on the tour’s Order of Merit, with 3 tournaments remaining on the schedule. The leading 3 golfers (Paul Barjoh, Jake Knapp and Lorens Chan) sit comfortably atop the OOM, and can anticipate promotions to the penultimate stage for next season. Taylor Pendrith and Buckley have a bit more work to do during the final 3 events, to secure their elevation to the KFT. Stay tuned this week in Manitoba.

Australia has its 1st US Women’s amateur champion in Gabriela Ruffels

Oh, that we might all be as fortunate as driven as Gabriela Ruffels. 3 years ago, she gave up a love of tennis for a passion for golf. Her dedication, guts and natural ability translated to an electric finish for the 2019 US Women’s Am. Ruffels and Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland did battle through 36 holes of the final match at Old Waverly golf club in Mississippi. The first 18 holes was a story of spurts. Ruffels won the 8th through 11th holes to take a 3-hole advantage. Valenzuela came right back, winning 4 holes from 12-16 to retake the lead. A birdie for Ruffels at the 18th sent them all square to lunch.

The day’s 2nd 18 holes saw less fireworks, albeit the same number of lead changes. Valenzuela held an advantage for 3 holes, until Ruffels tied her at the 25th. Back and forth again, until Ruffels made birdies at the 33rd and 35th holes to jump ahead. With everything on the line, both competitors stuffed their approach shots close at the 36th hole. Ruffels putted first, drained her birdie, and lifted the winner’s tower. For Valenzuela, 2019 was her 2nd runner-up finish in the tournament.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

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WRX Retrospective: Interesting photos from the 2019 Masters

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As of now, we know the 2020 Masters is going to have to wait until November. The tournament will be as exciting as it will be interesting since it will be the first modern glimpse into Augusta National beyond April.

It has also given us the great opportunity to look back with hindsight 20/20 (that was very much an unintended pun) at our pictures from 2019 to showcase some of the most noteworthy and interesting, including some potential foreshadowing of the week that was to come.

2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson isn’t one to change putters too often, but he must have been searching for something last year when testing out this TaylorMade Spider.

This was Viktor Hovland’s last Masters as an amateur. He won low amateur honors and went on to capture the same distinction at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

TaylorMade always does a wonderful job with major-themed accessories and bags. 2019 was no exception.

Little did we know at the time this was taken, this man would be leading heading into Sunday’s final round. How the tables turned so quickly.

Callaway’s collab with Seamus Golf lead to these flower-themed headcovers.

We can’t forget that Tuesday practice day was rained out and the course was closed at 10 a.m. to both players and spectators. It wasn’t the warm spring kickoff many had hoped for!

Although it was short-lived, it was a rainy Tuesday for all, including caddies.

The weather broke on Wednesday and the view up the 10th hole never gets old.

Did you realize two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson’s Flightscope has a custom pink paint job?

Inexpensive snacks and beverages are always a highlight of any Master’s visit.

The 2019 Masters featured pre-bulked Bryson, who also happened to have a custom FlightScope X3. He looks like a veritable stick!

They say a picture says 1,000 words, but in the case of Tiger Woods, we had no idea how many words would be written come Sunday.

A peek into the bag of Gary Woodland, who would go on to become the U.S. Open Champion only a few months later.

Special shoutout to Gary Woodland’s caddy Brennan Little, who hails from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, and is obviously a big Toronto Blue Jays fan. He was also on the bag for Mike Wier’s win in 2003.

Although the relationship was short-lived, Sergio used some very cool custom Toulon putters while on staff with Callaway Golf.

The eighth green is one of the most interesting and mounded on the course, there’s not a bunker to be found but danger lurks everywhere.

Undulations at No. 1 are a sight to be seen at ground level.

The iconic, understated clubhouse of ANGC.

The tucked-away first tee spike cleaner is something every course should have.

And of course, the iconic 12th, where so much would be decided come Sunday.

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2020 Open Championship canceled; PGA scheduled for August, U.S. Open for September, Masters for November

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The R&A has officially scratched the 2020 Open Championship due to the current Coronavirus pandemic in a statement today.

While this seemed poised to be the professional golf schedule news of the day, shortly thereafter, the Augusta National Golf Club, European Tour, LPGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour, The R&A, and USGA released a joint statement regarding the fate of the other three major championships as well as play on the LPGA and European Tour. 

First, the canceled major: The 149th Open Championship will now take place in 2021 from 11-18 July, and the R&A will transfer over tickets and hospitality packages purchased for the Championship to next year’s event.

St. Andrews, which was due to host the 150th Open Championship next year, will instead host the event in 2022.

In a statement published on the R&A’s website, Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said

“Our absolute priority is to protect the health and safety of the fans, players, officials, volunteers and staff involved in The Open. We care deeply about this historic Championship and have made this decision with a heavy heart. We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people around the world but this pandemic is severely affecting the UK and we have to act responsibly. It is the right thing to do.

“I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible.

“There are many different considerations that go into organising a major sporting event of this scale. We rely on the support of the emergency services, local authorities and a range of other organisations to stage the Championship and it would be unreasonable to place any additional demands on them when they have far more urgent priorities to deal with. In recent weeks we have been working closely with those organisations as well as Royal St George’s, St Andrews Links Trust and the other golf bodies to resolve the remaining external factors and have done so as soon as we possibly could. We are grateful to all of them for their assistance and co-operation throughout this process.

“Most of all I would like to thank our fans around the world and all of our partners for their support and understanding. At a difficult time like this we have to recognise that sport must stand aside to let people focus on keeping themselves and their families healthy and safe. We are committed to supporting our wider community in the weeks and months ahead and will do everything in our power to help golf come through this crisis.”

Shortly therafter a joint press release from the Augusta National Golf Club, European Tour, LPGA, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, The R&A and USGA was circulated by email, which revealed the PGA Championship is now slated for August, the U.S. Open for September, and the Masters for November.

From the press release.

USGA: The U.S. Open, previously scheduled for June 15-21 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, has been officially rescheduled for September 14-20 and is confirmed to remain at Winged Foot. 

The R&A: The R&A has decided to cancel The Open in 2020 due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, and the Championship will next be played at Royal St. George’s in 2021. The Open was due to be played in Kent, England, from July 12-19, but it has been necessary to cancel the Championship based on guidance from the UK Government, the health authorities, public services and The R&A’s advisers. 

PGA of America: The PGA of America is announcing today that the PGA Championship is now scheduled to take place August 3-9 and will remain at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, California.  The PGA Championship was originally slated for May 11-17 but was postponed on March 17.

Augusta National Golf Club: Augusta National has identified November 9-15 as the intended dates to host the 2020 Masters Tournament, which was previously scheduled for April 6-12 and postponed on March 13.

Additionally, the release noted the Ryder Cup will still be contested September 22-27, at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin.

For those updating their schedules at home, the release also included this handy summary.

  • TO BE CONFIRMED: June 15-21 (formerly U.S. Open week) – potential PGA TOUR event
  • CANCELED: July 13-19, The Open Championship, Royal St. George’s GC, Sandwich, Kent, England
  • TO BE CONFIRMED: July 13-19 (formerly The Open Championship week) – potential PGA TOUR event
  • TO BE CONFIRMED: July 27-August 2 (formerly Men’s Olympic Competition week) – potential PGA TOUR event
  • CONFIRMED: August 3-9 – PGA Championship, TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, California
  • CONFIRMED: PGA TOUR’s season-ending event/FedExCup Playoffs
    • August 10-16 – Wyndham Championship, Sedgefield Country Club, Greensboro, North Carolina
    • August 17-23 – THE NORTHERN TRUST, TPC Boston, Norton, Massachusetts
    • August 24-30 – BMW Championship, Olympia Fields CC, Olympia Fields, Illinois
    • August 31-September 7 (Labor Day) – TOUR Championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia
  • CONFIRMED: September 14-20 – U.S. Open, Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, New York
  • RECONFIRMED: September 22-27: Ryder Cup, Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin
  • CONFIRMED: November 9-15: the Masters Tournament, Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia
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GolfWRX Spotlight: Golf Drawn’s custom golf art

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I recently converted an extra bedroom in my house into a home office (golf-themed, of course). In my search for stuff to put up on the walls, I came across a company that was doing something different. They had a booth at this year’s PGA Show showing off some of their unique work, and when I dug in a bit more, I realized it was a really innovative product for the golf community. So, I reached out to the people at Golf Drawn to see if they could help me create a piece for my office.

Golf Drawn is a custom design and illustration service that specializes in creating original, hand-drawn course routing designs of your favorite club. Any club. That’s the best part. They can draw any course in the world using the wonders of satellite imaging.

Goat Hill Park

Brooklawn on Wood Canvas

Streamsong

“We began just as we still do now, by drawing up folks’ home tracks,” said Anthony Malky, Owner and Creative Director at Golf Drawn. “Whether it was a par three, municipal course, top-100, or whatever. Our whole deal was that we would draw any course….and we still do. There’s yet to be one that we couldn’t execute.”

If you’ve spent any time looking around for golf art or memorabilia, you realize how big a deal that actually is. The top-100 courses get all the love. Golf Drawn is filling a void out there and providing custom art focused on your favorite local course.

“We receive the course request from you and get to work on creating the design,” said Malky, “Once the design is complete, we send you proofs, and then you choose background color, labeling, frame and any additions.”

Popular additions to the framed prints include images of the scorecard table, compass to show direction of the course routing, alternative club logos, etc…

And Golf Drawn can then put that routing design or logo on a tee-shirt, sticker or other items if you like as well. Every new design requires a one-time design fee to get the work completed. But once that design is done, it is free to put on any framed print or tee in the future for anyone. Tee-shirts are becoming a rather popular item on the website.

If a course has been renovated or simply no longer exists, Golf Drawn has worked directly from old photos or original course plans to recreate the old track you remember. And, of course, Golf Drawn can do the famous courses as well. It’s a great way to commemorate a favorite round, hole in one, or once in a lifetime score.

My local club is Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. They already had a design drawn of Colonial, so it wasn’t hard to customize what I wanted and finish the order. I added the columns logo to the top left corner and script location on the bottom right.

So how did this all begin? Anthony Malky grew up in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. He caddied at Oakmont Country Club for over a decade…and even got to play the course on some Mondays. He loves golf, just like we all do. And he started drawing courses as a hobby.

“I began drawing up the clubs that meant a lot to me,” Malky said. “After some time, at the urging of others I made an Instagram. I had a ton of course designs done and figured might as well post them for folks. From there, the Instagram took off, that turned into a website…then the custom orders started coming.”

Fast forward a couple of years, and Golf Drawn now has an entire wholesale catalog of unique products, over 250+ club accounts, and products stocked in shops around the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. That is pretty impressive for a business that does everything in-house with a fully customizable product. And keeping prices low has always been a goal for Malky, as he remembers a time when he wanted to buy golf art himself but found everything to be overpriced and low quality.

Sticker Variety Pack

“We’ve tried to keep our prices, minimums at wholesale, all low and cost effective,” Malky said.  “That was part of the initial start too, allowing people to get their course drawn up, framed, etc. for a price that anyone could pay. Not some outlandish design fee or commission type setup.”

Prices per print with framing included

The supply is working hard to keep up with the demand. Golf Drawn is still a small operation and Malky does all of the designs himself. There is a team that helps with operations and a few sales reps across the country, but the business definitely remains small. That is intentional. Malky believes that allows Golf Drawn to offer a personal, high-level service to each individual customer. And it allows the company to remain focused on the reason they got started in the first place.

“It’s always been about shedding light on and propping up courses and places that otherwise wouldn’t be,” Malky said.  Giving attention to and making that local municipal course look as good as a top-10 track. Getting the par-3 course by your house designed, framed and up on a wall, highlighted in a way that many people have only seen the big courses like Pebble, Pinehurst, Oakmont. It’s always been about highlighting the places and the memories that mean so much to people.”

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