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Morning 9: Does Mell speak for all on slow play? | DeChambeau pledges to pick up pace | Solheim surprise?

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

August 13, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans. A few pennies richer, I’m back from a few days in Atlantic City and some serious low-stakes gambling. 
 
I’m considering using this section to bloviate a bit more, because, well, it’s my newsletter. 
1. Mell: Golf must act now to end slow play
Certainly, the Golf Channel staffer speaks for many, so forgive me, Mr. Mell, for quoting at length…
“Slow play isn’t good for DeChambeau’s image, but more importantly, it isn’t good for the game’s. It’s not just media and social critics saying so. It’s the game’s best players. Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott are among the stars fed up with slow play…”
  • “…Yes, it was encouraging to see the PGA Tour respond more than superficially last weekend, with a pledge to “take a deeper look” at the problem and how ShotLink technology may assist. But, like DeChambeau, PGA Tour officials are asking us to have faith in them. The Tour has slow played its slow-play problem for so damn long, faith among players and fans is in short supply.”
  • “…The best way to break the game’s slow-play habit is to teach everyone to play by the same pace-of-play rules with the same penalties.”
  • “…you can’t fine amateurs, but that’s the beauty of this collaboration. It doesn’t matter where you’re playing, the best penalty is to a player’s scorecard. Whether it’s a one-shot or two-shot penalty, there is strong message sent up and down the game’s ranks, for whatever slow-play policy the governing bodies agree upon.”

Full piece.

2. DeChambeau pledges to pick up the pace
Roxanna Scott at Golfweek...”Nearly 72 hours after he was ridiculed and ripped apart on Twitter for his pace of play at the Northern Trust, and about 24 hours after the PGA Tour said it will review its policies on the issue, Bryson DeChambeau vowed that he will play faster.”
“Slow play affects the quality of the game for both players and our fans and I’ve always had the utmost respect for my playing partners, including JT and Tommy,” he wrote on Instagram. “I’m constantly trying to improve and I will do my very best to improve my pace. Golf is my passion and livelihood. It’s my responsibility to help improve the game to be more enjoyable for all. Pace of play has been an issue for golf at all levels for a long time, and I’m committed to being a part of the solution, not the problem. I want to be a good representative of the game and the @PGATour and I looking forward to working with the TOUR and fellow players to find a solution to slow play.”

Full piece.

3. No WD from TW yet
The Striped One is still slated to tee it up Thursday at Medinah…
Details on who’s he’s paired with and what he’s facing via Golfweek’s Bill Speros..
  • “Woods slipped to 38th in the FedEx Cup Standings after missing his WD at the Northern Trust. Only the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup Standings will advance to the Tour Championship next week. Woods won that event last year, ending a 5-year winless drought on the PGA Tour.”
  • “Only 69 players will be competing this week. There is no 36-hole cut. The minimum payout is $18,500. The top 70 players in the FedEx Cup Standings qualify for the BMW, but Kevin Na WD’d on Monday so that he could be with his wife, who is pregnant with their second child.”
  • “Woods begins play Thursday paired with C.T. Pan and Billy Horschel in a featured afternoon pairing that begins play at 12:54 p.m. ET on Thursday and 10:37 a.m. ET on Friday.”

Full piece.

4. Euro Solheim squad set; Pettersen gets picked
Golf Digest’s Keely Levins…”Eight members of the European Solheim Cup team qualified through points, which left four captain’s picks for Catriona Matthew to make on Monday for the event that begins Sept. 13 at Gleneagles in Scotland. The eight players who qualified were Carlota Ciganda, Anne Van Dam (the only rookie on the team), Caroline Hedwall, Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Azahara Munoz, Caroline Masson and Anna Nordqvist. As expected, two of the captain’s picks were Bronte Law of England and Celine Boutier of France, the only European women to have won LPGA events in 2019. Matthew also selected Jodi Ewart Shadoff, who has played in two Solheim Cups, with a career record of 3-4-0. She is ranked No. 77 in the world and has had four top-10 finishes in 2019.”
  • “Matthew’s final pick was Suzann Pettersen, ranked No. 620 in the world, who has just returned to competitive golf. The last LPGA Tour event Pettersen played before starting her maternity leave was the 2017 CME Group Tour Championship. Pettersen and her husband, Christian Ringvold, announced the birth of their son in August 2018.”
5. Jason Day, Steve Williams split
Evan Priest at the Australian Associated Press…”Jason Day has parted ways with Steve Williams, widely regarded as the world’s most successful caddie, citing a disconnect of “old school and new school”.
  • “Former world No.1 Day and Williams agreed to end their partnership after the Australian missed the cut at the opening PGA Tour play-offs event, The Northern Trust last week.”
  • “Williams, 55, had caddied for Day in six events since June’s US Open and Day missed the cut in two of them, including the British Open, while he secured just one top-10 result.”

Full piece.

Queue that line up for your next letter of resignation! 
6. “America’s St. Andrews”
A bold (if self-serving) claim from one Gil Hanse… 
Here’s his thinking (per Golfweek’s Adam Woodard)
  • “If anywhere is capable of making USGA host-course history, it’s Pinehurst. The scale of the facility makes Pinehurst a perfect host, especially after its 2014 achievement of hosting both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open in back-to-back weeks.”
  • “It’s a town that’s completely committed to golf,” said Hanse. “I think it’s our St. Andrews.”
  • “Hanse will tell you that the most challenging aspect of his latest redesign was “the reverse mindset” of trying to put the landforms of the Carolina sandhills back in place that had become disconnected from the original layout.”
  • “We were oddly qualified to try to recreate nature, even though we prefer to work with nature,” said Hanse. “Changing those gears in our mindset was the most difficult aspect of it. Once we got that moving forward, then it became a little bit easier.”

Full piece. 

7. First Mexican on a Presidents Cup team
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Abraham Ancer’s finish at The Northern Trust locked up a spot on the International Presidents Cup team, meaning he’ll be the first-ever player from Mexico to participate in the biennial matches.”
  • “Ancer holed a 7-foot par putt on the final green to finish the week at 15 under, alone in second place and one shot behind Patrick Reed. After starting the week 10th in the International team standings, he moved all the way up to fifth and is now assured of staying inside the top-8 cutoff after this week’s BMW Championship.”
  • “I didn’t want to leave it to a decision. I wanted to lock it in,” Ancer told reporters. “That was one of my main, main goals for this year. That is something that is going to be an experience that I will never, never forget.”

Full piece.

8. “Part of the game”
That’s how looper Dave McNeilly described his split with Matt Wallace.
  • Per John Haughey at the BBC: “…but the county Antrim man refused to criticise the Englishman on Monday.”
  • “I’m not saying, ‘poor old me. I’ve been scapegoated’,” McNeilly told BBC Sport Northern Ireland.
  • “You have got to take responsibility for your part in it.
  • “The reason why I enjoyed working for Matt Wallace was because of that fire. It’s a caddie’s dream to have a player who is going to give you his all.”

Full piece.

9. Feinstein’s “friendly advice” for Tiger
Tongue-in-cheek headline from Feinstein, of course, because the eminent sportswriter and Woods are anything but amigos…
  • Among the many words he wrote…”I’m here to say I hope you play well this week in Chicago and get to defend your title next week at the Tour Championship in Atlanta. And then I hope you shut it down until next year. If you have to play in your 18-man exhibition in the Bahamas because of contractual obligations, OK, fine.”
  • “But that should be it. Just be captain of the U.S. Presidents Cup team, give someone who might make his Ryder Cup debut a year from now at Whistling Straits your possible playing spot, and practice being a fully involved leader because you’ll need to be that when you are overseeing the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 2022 or 2026. (We all know your BFF Phil Mickelson will captain at Bethpage in 2024).”
  • “Take the time you would be competing to rest. Hang out with your kids. Did I mention rest? You’ve looked creaky and exhausted ever since the win at the Masters-not surprising for someone who is 43 with a surgical back.”
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  1. Greg V

    Aug 13, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    Randall Mell also said this:

    “Every second Spieth took to recover from his wayward shot into the practice range on his way to winning in the final round at The Open at Royal Birkdale two years ago was terrific theater.”

    It wasn’t terrific theater for me; it was inconsiderate to his opponent, Matt Kuchar. It also took way too long, as Spieth deliberated his options, taking at least 20 minutes. I would have docked him two strokes for the time it took – excessive.

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Morning 9: Improving golf coverage | Oral history of TW’s “best shot” | Nichols: Charity matches were great…but why no women?

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1. Match-inspired innovations for improving golf coverage
Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan with a few thoughts…Mid-round interviews…There’s no really good reason beyond mild annoyance to the players that this couldn’t work, even in the current COVID-19 environment, provided that safe social distancing is practiced. In the major team sports, coaches are obliged to give interviews, and players will occasionally speak at halftime or between periods. There are no “coaches” in that same sense in golf, but the game happens at a slower pace, and a 60-second walking interview between holes is not too much to ask. I don’t think there’s a reasonable argument that it’s overly disruptive, especially if planned in advance.”
  • …”Mic’d up players and caddies…In exhibitions past, we’ve witnessed players with live microphones, but the purpose behind it is dreaded “banter,” which typically comes across as hollow, forced and not very funny. But if players and caddies wore mics during a round, producers could find riveting audio that captures natural conversation or impromptu strategy sessions. Phil serving as a mentor for Tom Brady was riveting and hopefully stokes our appetite for similar mid-round insight…”
2. An oral history of Tiger’s “best shot” 
Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…(This is just the introduction to a fantastic piece that talks to Bob Weeks of TSN and Steve Williams, among others!)…”Had it slipped between Tiger Woods’ 6-iron and golf ball, one rogue grain could have sunk his hopes of winning the RBC Canadian Open in 2000, becoming the first since Lee Trevino in 1971 to win golf’s Triple Crown – the U.S., British, and Canadian Opens in the same year.”
  • “So was it the ultra-fine margin? The stakes? The absurdly improbable physics of the shot itself?”
  • “Yes. Yes. And yes. All of these things compelled Scott Verplank, among others, to call it “the greatest shot I’ve ever seen in my life,” Woods’ 218-yard masterstroke from the wet sand at the par-5 18th at Glen Abbey. Woods’ caddie Steve Williams would return to the bunker once the commotion had died down, still struggling to get his head around what he’d seen. Others have made the same pilgrimage and tried to visualize what Woods had, tried to feel what Woods felt, for this was magic.”
3. Thrive? Struggle? Survive? 
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak contemplates what’s ahead for the golf industry…”These are strange times living through a global pandemic. Suddenly, golf courses are packed in a way the industry hasn’t experienced since Tiger Woods was revolutionizing the game in the late 1990s and former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem was predicting 50 million golfers by 2020.”
  • “Well, that didn’t happen, but golf has been given this new-found seal of approval highlighting its healthy aspects and its ability to provide safe recreation. As courses across the country re-open there is pent up demand among golfers to get out and play. Tee sheets are mostly filled and former golfers and those trying out the sport for the first time are emerging out of the woodwork desperate to be in the sunshine and doing something, anything that has been deemed “COVID OK.” There is renewed belief that golf can grab a bigger piece of the pie among recreational and entertainment options.”
4. Where were the women?
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols wonders…How can there be downside to two Sundays of golf taking center stage and raising mega-money for COVID-19 relief?”
  • “Well, there is no a downside, but it could’ve been more. As LPGA player Mel Reid tweeted during the TaylorMade Driving Relief Challenge, the broadcasts could’ve represented all of golf.”
  • “They could’ve included women.”
  • “…It would’ve been great to see an LPGA player and her sponsorship partners get in on the action in a similar fashion.”
  • “The TaylorMade event could’ve been a mixed-team format. Maria Fassi and Paula Creamer are both in Florida. Some of TaylorMade’s female stars could’ve also called in during the broadcast as Jon Rahm did. Staffers who could’ve called in include Natalie Gulbis, Muni He and Charley Hull. Sung Hyun Park, who speaks limited English, was involved in a charity exhibition in South Korea with current No. 1 Jin Young Ko. Women’s golf frequently takes center stage in that part of the world.”
5. 80% of golf retail open
From the NGF Q…”The number of physical golf retail outlets that are back in business continues to increase – from off-course stores and specialty club-fitters to green grass pro shops.”
  • “Approximately 66% of golf course pro shops are open at facilities that are open to play, the equivalent of almost 9 million square feet, although some states and counties have limitations on the number of customers permitted at one time. That percentage is up from 36% at the start of the month, but is unchanged over the past week as pro shops in at least 10 states (including Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois and New York) have government mandates that say they must remain closed inside to customers.”
  • “Meanwhile, approximately 79% of off-course golf retail stores were open (in terms of total square footage) through May 25. This is up from 73% last week and 59% two weeks ago. In early April, only about 4% of the 6.5 million square feet of total off-course golf specialty space was open to in-store traffic. Roughly 81% of all off-course retail stores are now open to customers.”
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GolfWRX Classifieds Spotlight (05/27/20): Adams, Mizuno, Ping

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member Gator5 – Adams CMB Irons

Forged – check, Multi-Material construction – check, cool as all heck because these clubs are sweet and Adams made some really cool gear – check!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Adams CMB Irons

Member Ksears – Brand New Mizuno MP20 Irons

Did someone say brand new Mizunos??? What else could you really want from a forged blade beside being meticulously crafted and forged in Japan – as well as being priced lower than retail.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link hereMP 20 Irons

Member 1hellaofashot – Ping G410 7 Wood

Speaking from experience let me just say this “stop denying the inevitable and embrace the 7 Wood” It’s endlessly versatile, more forgiving than a hybrid, and because this one for sale is a Ping G410 it is adjustable. Here’s your chance to dial in your own par 5 killer.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Ping 7 Wood

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds 

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Morning 9: Match 2: The most-watched golf telecast ever | Rory: Players don’t want fan-less Ryder Cup | Justin Thomas aces broadcast debut

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@attsportsnetpit
1. 5.8 million average viewers for The Match
AP report…”Two of the biggest names from the PGA Tour and the NFL proved to be must-see TV.”
  • “Turner Sports said the Sunday telecast of “The Match: Champions for Charity” attracted an average of 5.8 million viewers across four of its networks. Turner says it was the most-watched golf telecast in cable TV history.”
  • “It said the previous record was 4.9 million viewers on ESPN at the 2010 Masters, the year Tiger Woods returned to golf for the first time since the scandal in his personal life.”
  • “Woods and Peyton Manning scored a 1-up victory over Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady at Medalist Golf Club, a match that featured high entertainment with shots and with words, along with raising $20 million for COVID-19 relief funds.”
2. Shackelford’s take
A few observations from the scribe…“While still an overnight, it easily bests the previous week’s relief fund match that drew a 1.5 and total of 2.3 million viewers across three channels, including a 1.5 rating on NBC and a .24 on Golf Channel).”
“More incredibly, this means The Match 2 out-rated any major championship round on cable.”
“Given a so-so promotional run-up, a slow start to the show (caused in part by a slight weather delay) a dreary day to watch, and a long telecast, the rating is a stunning statement about the remaining star power of the contestants.”
3. JT’s TV debut
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…”That said, whenever he decides to put down the clubs, he should immediately pick up a mic.
The former Alabama star made his broadcast debut as an on-course reporter on TNT/TBS alongside CBS Sports’ Amanda Balionis on Sunday during The Match: Champions for Charity, which saw Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning defeat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. Thomas received rave reviews from golf Twitter during and after the event. He was brilliant. His rapport with Woods and Mickelson allowed them to open up on a different level compared to the original The Match in 2018.”
“Most importantly, Thomas didn’t overdo anything. Unlike some broadcasters, he knew fans weren’t watching for him and he never once tried to steal the spotlight. He didn’t speak just to talk. When he had something to say, it was insightful or funny. Like a golfer picking out which holes he can attack and score on, Thomas picked his spots on where to interject throughout the broadcast like someone who’s been doing it for years, let alone a day.”
4. Tiger looked terrific 
Bob Harig writes…”For the first time in 98 days, we got to see Woods in action. And the last time we saw him, he didn’t look good. Woods shot 77 at Riviera Country Club on Feb. 16 and finished last among those who made the cut at the Genesis Invitational. And he complained that his back was stiff”
  • …”Woods hasn’t played since but neither has anyone else. And the time off has done him some good.”
  • “Woods didn’t miss a fairway. His swing looked smooth and in rhythm. He hit some deft pitch shots and a really nice long bunker shot. And all of this in difficult, rainy conditions.”
  • “It was just a charity match, but he looked pretty good. Who knows when Woods will resume his schedule when the PGA Tour returns next month, but his game looks good to go.”
5. Rory McIlroy: ‘Majority of players’ want 2020 Ryder Cup postponed until 2021 
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…”Rory McIlroy has a hunch about the Ryder Cup, and it’s one that golf fans around the world aren’t going to like.”
  • “In an interview with BBC Sport, the world No. 1 said: “My personal hunch is that I don’t see how it is going to happen, so I do not think that it will happen.”
  • “Wisconsin’s Whistling Straits is scheduled to host the 2020 Ryder Cup Sept. 25-27, but amid the coronavirus pandemic the event would most-likely take place without fans (if held at all).”
  • “I think the majority of players would like to see it pushed back until 2021 so that they can play in front of crowds and have the atmosphere that makes the Ryder Cup so special,” explained McIlroy. “The players are the ones that make the Ryder Cup. If they are not on board with it and don’t want to play then there is no Ryder Cup.”
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