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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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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the Albertsons Boise Open

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GolfWRX bypassed the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship (we have already seen those 30 guys’ blags plenty!) for the road less traveled this week: The Korn Ferry Tour. Specifically, we have a full buffet of photos from the range at the Albertsons Boise Open, including a full plate of WITB looks.

Here are 10 interesting photos from the Albertsons Boise Open.

This spread of Scotty Cameron Circle T putter covers will have enthusiasts drooling

Is this tee marker edible?

Name a better-dressed pro than Morgan Hoffmann…

Brandon Crick’s Pingman-stamped Glide wedge

The TaylorMade Boise Open headcover features a Boise St. blue turf background

D.J. Trahan’s Grateful Dead dancing bear headcovers are money

J-Gore! Cheers to the 2002 champ!

Sweet orange paintfill on Kevin Doughtery’s PXG 0311T 4-iron

Idaho (potato) fries aplenty on Scotty Cameron’s superb Boise Open headcover

I was unaware Will Zalatoris nickname was Beavis. But a look at this wedge and a look at this photo have me pretty convinced it is

All our galleries from the Boise Open

General galleries

WITB, special galleries

 

 

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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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