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Morning 9: 23 years ago this week: TW’s pro debut | Rory questions major calendar | Golf buddies make back-to-back aces

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

August 29, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. Remembering Tiger’s pro debut
23 years ago! Good grief.
Golf Digest’s John Strege with a couple of notable morsels from that week in Milwaukee…
  • “…In Milwaukee, Woods paid for dinner one night with a gift certificate he had received upon his arrival. A day later, when Woods and his instructor Butch Harmon were driving to Brown Deer Park Golf Course in the Milwaukee suburb of Glendale, Wis., Butch asked him whether he had his checkbook, so he could pay the $100 entry fee. “Butch, I don’t have $100,” he said, despite having already signed a $40 million contract with Nike. Harmon floated him a loan. Later, Woods said, “I haven’t seen a penny yet. I haven’t seen any check in the mail yet. I’m still broke.”
  • “…”A fatigued Woods was never in contention, yet on Sunday, he still found a way bring the focus back on him, as he was wont to do. On the 202-yard, par-3 14th hole in the final round, Woods made a hole-in-one using a 6-iron. Woods earned $2,544 for finishing tied for 60th, a sum of money he appreciated more than than the $43 million in contracts he had signed. “That’s my money,” he said. “I earned this.”
  • “En route via a commercial airline from home in Orange County, Calif., to Portland, Ore., for his final amateur event, Woods turned to his father and said, “I’m never flying coach again.” Indeed, the day after his U.S. Amateur victory, he had a corporate jet standing by to take him to Milwaukee. Suffice it to say, he was right.”

Full piece.

2. McIlroy questions major calendar 
Per Nick Menta at Golf Channel…”But I feel that if I keep doing the things I’m doing, sooner or later I’ll get another one and all this noise will then go away. However, if the narrative becomes that the majors are the only important thing in golf, then that’s dangerous because are fans not going to care for the other 48 weeks of the year?”
“McIlroy does recognise the majority of the interest will always focus on the big four and is concerned by the majors being condensed into four months. “If they are spaced so closely together will fans only care from the second week of April to the third week in July?” he added to the BBC. “I’d like to see them spaced out like tennis does. With the Australian Open in January and the US Open going on now, they’ve a nice nine-month window of relevancy.”
3. ROY race
The rise and fall of Cameron Champ opened the door for the likes of Matthew Wolff and Colin Morikawa.
  • After this look a Champmania…”He had a short-game prowess to match his prolific power, and his iron production was miles ahead of were it had been on the Web.com circuit. The results backed it up: Cam Champ, hailed as the “Future of Golf” by several publications-this one included-had a win, four top-11s and five top-25s in his first six starts of his rookie campaign. The then-23-year-old was so hot that he was listed as one of the Masters favorites, despite not receiving an invite to Augusta National. He was a lock for Rookie of the Year.”
  • …Golf Digest’s Joel Beall assesses the chances of Im, Morikawa, and Wolff.
4. JT’s failed bid to improve his putting
An interesting note, via the AP’s Doug Ferguson, who starts emptying his voluminous notebook this time of year.
  • “When I was hurt, putting was really the only thing I could do, and I putted so much that I was trying to be perfect,” Thomas said. “And striving to find that perfection, I got worse, which is – quite frankly – mind-blowing and a bit concerning. So I came out of that thinking I was going to putt better than I ever have, and I putted worse than I have in a couple of years. So that was pretty frustrating.”
  • He went back to the start – same putter, same golf ball, same drills, and eventually pulled his way out of it.
  • “We just were like, ‘Let’s go back to what got you here and stop trying to be somebody you’re not,’ because I did really well doing what I was doing,” he said.
5. Back-to-back holes-in-one 
Austin Danforth of the Burlington Free Press with the story…
  • “Rob Gaboriault knew he’d stuffed his shot pretty close. Bob Maritano couldn’t quite tell what happened to his – maybe pretty good, maybe a little left. His eyesight isn’t what it used to be.”
  • “At any rate, a small knob on the front of the green obscured their view of the hole from the tee box.”
  • “That’s why we couldn’t see them go in,” Gaboriault said. “I still can’t believe it happened.”
  • “The duo’s friendly afternoon round at the Links at Lang Farm had barely begun when it graduated to lore Tuesday afternoon. Gaboriault bagged his first hole-in-one from the white tee on the 156-yard par-3 10th hole and Maritano, playing from the red tee a few yards closer, followed suit moments later with the 18th of his career.”
6. Lyme disease sidelines Sandra Gal
Golf Digest’s Keely Levins…”Sandra Gal, a two-time member of the European Solheim Cup team, will not play the remainder of the 2019 LPGA season after being diagnosed with dormant Lyme disease, the LPGA.com reported on Wednesday. The native of Germany said that she’d been feeling run down since the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open. She would come into tournaments with energy, ambition and goals, only to crash during the competition and feel as if she had zero energy. This continued in the 2019 season, and got bad enough that Gal, 34, was forced to withdrew from the Mediheal Championship in May.”
“I felt like I wasn’t myself,” Gal told LPGA.com. “I would come to a tournament, practice, I would have intentions of what I would want to do on the golf course, but I wasn’t able to execute it.” 

Full piece. 

7. Senior Am
Todd Kelly at Golfweek with the update on what’s going on at the Senior Am…
“Roger Newsom of Virginia Beach, Va., will square off against Bob Royak of Alpharetta, Ga., in the final of the U.S. Senior Amateur on Thursday…Each golfer won a pair of matches on Wednesday at Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, N.C., with Newsom the first to advance to the final. He defeated Paul Jett of Southern Pines, N.C., in the quarterfinals and then Rich Cloninger of McDonough, Ga., in the semifinals to punch his ticket.”
And on the women’s side…”The 58th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur final on Thursday will be an historic one, as Lara Tennant and Sue Wooster, who met in last year’s final, will meet once again in the first-ever rematch in tournament final history.”
“In Wednesday’s semifinals, Tennant defeated Patricia Ehrhart, while Sue Wooster knocked out Caryn Wilson….Tennant defeated Wooster 3 and 2 to capture the 2018 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur title at Orchard Island Golf and Beach Club in Vero Beach, Fla.”

Full piece.

8. Jamie Sadlowski reflects
Golf Channel’s Michael Shamburger with the Canadian’s look back at his start in long drive…”A buddy of mine invited me to a local [qualifier] in Alberta near where I’m from,” Sadlowski recalls. “We were going to Edmonton to play golf and he had this qualifier later that afternoon, and the guy that was running [the qualifier] played hockey with my dad. He said there was a junior category and invited me to hit. I ended up hitting it like 367 [yards] and got through to the district qualifier. I think I had just turned 15, and I went to worlds that year and finished fourth [in the junior division], and the year after I think I finished second or third. And then after that I won back-to-back in 2005 and 2006.”
9. Self-driving golf ball! 
Our Gianni Magliocco...”Problems on the green? Well, Nissan’s self-driving golf ball will dispel all of those issues – a ball which is guaranteed to find the hole on your first putt. Every time.”
  • “Using Nissan’s Pro Pilot driver assistant technology, which the company plans to unveil with the new Nissan Skyline in September 2019, no matter how off the line or speed of your putt is, as long as you make contact the ball will find the hole.”
  • “How does it work?…Inside the Pro Pilot golf ball is a motor which is complemented by cameras which are placed above the ball’s trajectory. On each strike it allows the ball to find and execute a path to the hole.”
  • “Unlike Sphero’s self-navigating golf ball, Nissan’s motorized ball is the first to implement overhead cameras, and the same technology being used in the ball from Nissan will also help the new Skyline navigate roads and traffic by using map data, cameras, and a radar.”
  • “Alas, for those wondering if they might get the chance to test the ball out around their local course, Nissan has no intention of releasing the balls.”

See the video here.

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  1. Ryan

    Aug 29, 2019 at 11:19 am

    My dad and his buddy went back to back aces one time. Craziest thing ever.

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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.

View this post on Instagram

Send this to a trash golfer ????

A post shared by Joshua Kelley (@holein1trickshots) on

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!

A post shared by R I C K I E (@rickiefowler) on

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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