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Morning 9: Tiger “feeling better” | Slowww playyy | Reed’s golf ball tweak pays | Byrd’s plea

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

 

August 14, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. “Feeling better”
If you saw any of the video of Tiger arriving at Medinah, you saw USA Today’s Steve Dimeglio was basically there to greet him in the players’ parking lot. Who better than DiMeglio to turn to for the present State of the Tiger then? (image above via DiMeglio)
  • “Tiger Woods flew in from Florida on Tuesday and drove into a massive parking lot at 1:20 p.m. local time at Medinah Country Club, home to this week’s BMW Championship, the second of three events in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
  • Now he has to get to the first tee for Thursday’s first round.
  • At 43 and following four surgeries to his back – as well as four to his left knee – Woods has spoken often this summer that some days he feels stiff, other days he feels fine. It’s the day-to-day unknown that leaves his start in the BMW Championship in question, no matter his intent to play.
  • Woods said he decided to try and play in the tournament Tuesday morning.
  • “I feel good,” Woods said as he got out of the courtesy vehicle. “Feel a lot better than I felt last week. Felt good this morning so I thought I’d give it a go.”

Full piece.

2. Reed’s ball change pays dividends
Good stuff from PGATour.com’s Andrew Tursky on Patrick Reed’s projectile switch…”While Reed has switched golf balls multiple times throughout 2019, he had settled into a Titleist Pro V1 “left dot” prototype. Fordie Pitts, Titleist’s Golf Ball R&D rep, once explained to PGATOUR.COM that the TOUR-only, left-dot prototype golf ball spins “a little bit less and aerodynamically it flies a little lower.” For Reed, it was spinning too little and flying too low, thus causing control issues coming into the greens.”
  • “According to Reed, Simpson suggested that Reed switch into a higher-spinning and higher-launching 2017 Pro V1 golf ball, instead of the “left dot” prototype.”
  • “Reed said that Simpson gave him a dozen of the golf balls to use for the weekend at the Wyndham Championship. While Reed didn’t switch on Saturday, he said he put the 2017 Pro V1 golf ball in play on Sunday.”
  • “After sitting in 55th place heading into the final round, Reed shot 7-under using the golf ball on Sunday, vaulting him into a T22 finish.”

Full piece.

3. Shackelford’s slow play take
“Until last weekend’s social media fueled outrage over Bryson DeChambeau taking his sweet time, there have been few seminal moments to point to as evidence that we’ve lost the plot.  Now the sport has one, it’s just a shame that Bryson is the poster child as he’s a good-hearted soul who genuinely loves the game. While spectacularly immodest at times, he’s also incredibly sensitive to the health and perception of the sport more than most professional golfers.”
  • “…the bickering will continue, ShotLink will be leveraged and pro tours will stall on the most pressing issue in the sport, the real concern should be about fans both in person and watching at home.  I haven’t heard much concern for them, only what would happen to a golf professional’s bank account if we were to penalize them.”
  • “If the professional’s livelihood continues to be the focus, the insular world of professional golf will quickly lose fans for not adapting quickly to the times.”

Full piece.

4. Thanks to video?
The AP’s game story master flexes his editorial muscles in a column on slow play pointing out that if, indeed, we are at some sort of a slow play tipping point, the Tour’s expanded video coverage will have played a key role
  • “…Oddly enough, it was an older form of technology that brought searing attention to a sore subject: a television camera.”
  • “Fans get a Twitter vote on which of two groups they would rather see in streaming coverage, and the winner Friday at The Northern Trust was Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas and Tommy Fleetwood. Without them being seen, there would be no video of DeChambeau taking 2 minutes, 6 seconds on an 8-foot putt.”
5. Staggered scoring coming into focus
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…“The shift from points to starting strokes is beginning to hit home on the eve of the penultimate event, especially for those whose starting total at East Lake could shift by a stroke or two with each birdie or bogey this week at Medinah Country Club. One of the best statistical seasons of Rory McIlroy’s career has him in third place heading into the BMW, a position that would equate to a 7-under starting total next week. If the standings hold, he’d tee off three shots behind Brooks Koepka and one shot behind Patrick Reed, a winner last week at the first playoff event.”
  • “I want to be 10 under par standing on that first tee in Atlanta next week,” McIlroy said. “It’s hard enough to win golf tournaments when you’re all starting on a level playing field. But whenever it’s staggered like that, it’s a tough proposition if someone like Brooks Koepka or Patrick Reed or whatever is starting two or three shots ahead of you.
  • “Obviously 72 holes is a lot of golf to play, and things can happen. But I think it all evens out over the course of the week, and to spot guys of that caliber a few shots at the start of the week is pretty tough.”

Full piece. 

6. Rory remembers
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…“McIlroy admitted that he hopes a bit of the “good vibes” from that week will aid him at this week’s 69-man event, where he will tee off behind only Brooks Koepka and last week’s winner, Patrick Reed, in the points race.”
  • “McIlroy’s frantic commute to Medinah seven years ago ended up having ripple effects in his off-course life as well. The car was driven by his future wife, Erica Stoll, who was working the week as part of the transportation team. The two began dating shortly thereafter and got married in 2017.”
  • “”Erica that week was always the one that was checking us in and out. She was there at transportation, so she was always in the car park over there (by the clubhouse),” McIlroy said. “But yeah, it’s still cool to look around and think about that week, and obviously everything that’s happened since then. It’s pretty cool.”

Full piece.

7. Byrd appeals for a kidney for mother
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker…”Social media can be a powerful tool-see the recent firestorm over slow play and it leading to the PGA Tour saying it will review its pace-of-play policy. On a far more important note, PGA Tour veteran Jonathan Byrd is hoping the power of social media can help his ailing mother.”
  • “The 41-year-old five-time tour winner took to Twitter and Instagram on Monday night seeking an organ donor for his mother, Jo, who is fighting kidney disease.”
See Byrd’s full post here…and FYI the optimal donor would have “O positive or O negative blood”
8. First time in 32 years…
“…Padraig Harrington claims to have gone 32 years before losing his clubs on a flight … Until this week.”
  • “Harrington tweeted Monday was the “first time in 32 years of traveling that [his] clubs failed to arrive on the way to a tournament,” as he was headed to the Czech Masters at Albatross Golf Resort.”
  • “Harrington tweeted…”1st time in 32 years of traveling that my clubs have failed to arrive on the way to a tournament. Strange as it was a direct flight and I checked in 3 hours early. How lucky am I @EuropeanTour”

Full piece.

9. “Idiotic”
An element of all the pace-of-play/slow play talk: green-reading books. Phil Mickelson, for one, doesn’t think they dial back the pace of the game at all.
  • Golfweek’s Bill Spreos…But the green-reading books have a big-time supporter in five-time major champion Phil Mickelson. A 44-time winner on the PGA Tour, Mickelson carries a bit more course cred than some others when it comes to this issue. Slow play is rarely a concern when Lefty lines up a shot.”
  • The greens book allows me to do 80% of my read before I even get to the green. For anyone to say they slow up play is flat out idiotic,” Mickelson posted on Twitter in support of a tweet from Rickie Fowler’s caddie.”
  • “Lefty continued in an another post: “Let me add the countless hours and many days it saves me preparing for tournaments throughout the year. The book gives me info on where I can/can’t miss it and still get up and down as well as best approach shot into the green without having to play multiple practice rounds.”
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  1. liam

    Aug 15, 2019 at 9:13 am

    isn’t the simple solution to greens books is to just not allow them on competition days. the players could use them on any practice day and away from the course…as phil seems to love to study them. just don’t use them during a competitive round.

    how tiring is it to see a player stare at their book, then miss a 8 footer, and get the book back our for another look before hitting the 4 foot comeback putt.

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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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