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Morning 9: Casey was right | U.S. nabs Walker Cup | Should golf be fun?

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

September 9, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. The man to beat, indeed (One of Casey’s wedges shot earlier this year pictured in the featured image)
Golfweek’s Bill Speros on Paul Casey’s pre-round proclamation…”Paul Casey warned anyone who would listen entering the final round of the European Open that he was the player to beat on Sunday.”
  • “Casey delivered on his warning with a 6-under 66 to scratch out a one-shot victory at 14-under over Matthias Schwab, Robert MacIntyre and Bernd Ritthammer on Hamburg, Germany’s par-72 Green Eagle Golf Course.”
  • “Casey, 42, earned his 14th European Tour victory and his first since winning the KLM Open in 2014.”
  • “The Englishman Casey – ranked No. 17 in the world before the long-awaited victory – called himself “dangerous” after finishing the third round just one shot back of MacIntyre and Ritthammer.”

Full piece.

2. U.S takes first Walker Cup since ’07
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine with the details of the Stars & Stripes’ impressive triumph…”For the first time in 12 years, the Americans are Walker Cup champions on foreign soil.”
  • “Vanderbilt senior John Augenstein earned the clinching point Sunday afternoon at Royal Liverpool with a 4-and-3 victory over Tom Plumb as the U.S. took eight of the 10 matches in the final singles session, erasing a one-point deficit after three sessions and turning it into a decisive 15.5-10.5 victory.”
  • “Great Britain and Ireland, which had won two straight home Walker Cups after the Americans captured the Cup in 2007 at Royal County Down, earned just 3 ½ points on the final day.”

Full piece.

3. The cost of televising the cup
Geoff Shackelford commenting and quoting Ryan Herrington…”As most have figured out by now, the 2019 Walker Cup can only be seen on social media or via late night highlight shows after getting extensive Fox Sports coverage in 2017.”
  • “Ryan Herrington reached out to the R&A to find out how their deal with Sky and Golf Channel eluded the Walker Cup and also provides background on prior event coverage. He got this statement regarding the creation of a world feed ala other R&A championships:”
  • Delivering high quality, live coverage from an event such as the Walker Cup is a complex and increasingly costly exercise. We decided for this year’s match to concentrate our resources on producing compelling highlights packages for our broadcast partners and high-quality content, including highlights, player interviews and behind the scenes footage, from our social and digital media channels. We have a responsibility to spread our investment across nearly 20 amateur events throughout the year and we believe we have achieved the right balance for this match.”

Full piece.

4. Can we agree? 
An interesting angle from Eamon Lynch…”Courses are the currency of golf, yet the reality is that most of them are of no value.”
  • “To be fair, every course is loved by someone. They anchor communities, commerce, childhood memories, friendships. But from the standpoint of architectural merit, most are products of the Xerox school of golf course design, exhibiting only a faded sameness that you’ve seen previously, and in sharper focus.”
  • “Great golf courses are living works of art, so it’s fitting that notions of what constitutes greatness are as subjective as in any other art-form. What is loved by me, may be loathed by thee. Courses – and opinions thereof – are the one thing all golfers share, and the best of them are reminders that the real charm of this game has nothing to do with the PGA Tour or its stars. It lies in the land we walk (or, more often these days, drive).”
  • “Every golfer I know maintains a wish list of courses they hope one day to play. For most of us, it exists only in the mind, fetched out for grill room fantasies. For at least one friend of mine, it is a spreadsheet tended with the wistful care of a Victorian love letter. Checking off the contents of this list is a lifetime’s quest.”
5. Gotta read the fine print…
A golfer made a hole-in-one he thought won him 5 grand. Woo hoo? More like boohoo.
  •  Golfweek’s Bill Speros…“A discounted round and the lack of a $5 fee prevented Minnesota golfer Matt Dorgan from cashing in a $10,000 prize after making a hole-in-one.”
  • “Dorgan fired the ace using an 8-iron on the par-3, 16th hole at Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo in August.”
  • “…Dorgan then learned that the course’s $10,000 hole-in-one prize offered through Swing King was on the same hole that he aced – and that the special moment was video taped.”
  • “Swing King manages hole-in-one contests at golf courses nationwide and shoots video of each attempt.”
  • “…It turns out Dorgan played with an employee of the course and got a discounted green fee. Only full-fee players are eligible for the contest. The contest also requires a $5 entry fee, which Dorgan did not pay.”

Full piece.

6. Turning pro
Golfweek’s Alistair Tait…”Five members of the 2019 U.S. Walker Cup team are turning professional following their victory at Royal Liverpool.”
  • “Akshay Bhatia, Brandon Wu, Steven Fisk, Alex Smalley and Isaiah Salinda head to the paid ranks to try to follow in the footsteps of former U.S. Walker Cup stars like Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and scores of others who become PGA Tour stars.”
  • “Just two Great Britain & Ireland players are turning pro: Scotland’s Euan Walker and Englishman Tom Sloman. Harry Hall will try his hand at stage one of the European Tour Qualifying School as an amateur. The Englishman can maintain that status if he fails to advance.”

Full piece. 

7. Should we stop expecting golf to be fun?
That’s the contention from legendary club designer and industry figure Barney Adams.
  • Here’s what he thinks. “Industry ads aimed at promoting participation have the same theme, “Play Golf Because It’s Fun.” I disagree with the presentation, but admittedly it takes explanation. Fun is considered, light, enjoyable among other adjectives. Golf hasn’t been around for centuries evoking a unique passion because it’s “fun.” It’s hard and frustrating yet we come back sometimes-even ignoring weather we wouldn’t otherwise be outside in.”
  • “Why?…Because it’s rewarding! Not on the whole, that’s reserved for the very few who are excellent players. “Rewarding” for the masses will be a well-played hole, even a singular shot. We are rewarded in small victories, not mastery.”

Full piece.

8. What to do with Arnie’s armory? 
Golfweek’s Roxanna Scott...With 19,000 pieces of memorabilia from Arnold Palmer’s career in addition to thousands of his clubs sitting in storage, it’s only natural to wonder what will become of Arnie’s prized possessions on what would have been his 90th birthday.
  • That’s a lingering question as his family, friends and those who run his businesses and foundation gather at Bay Hill in Orlando and in Palmer’s hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, to celebrate his life Tuesday. Palmer died Sept. 25, 2016, at the age of 87.
  • “It’s definitely part of our strategy to find the best ways to showcase his memorabilia and to tell his story and continue to inspire people and to keep the legacy strong,” said Jon Podany, CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises and president of the Arnold and Winnie Palmer Foundation.

Full piece. 

9. Major winners’ WITBs
With no PGA Tour action this week, we rounded up the major winners’ bags.
Check out the gear Tiger won the Masters with, Brooks Koepka used at Bethpage, Gary Woodland bested the field at Pebble, and Shane Lowry secured the Claret jug with.
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Morning 9: First first-round leader of 2019-20 PGA Tour | Real star of the KLM Open | $30K golf cart theft

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

September 13, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. First first-round leader of the 2019-2020 PGA Tour season
AP report…”Shelton made eight starts on tour as a non-member in 2016-17. He has his TOUR card for the first time after winning two Korn Ferry events in May.”
  • “I’m fired up,” Shelton said. “Last night it was tough to sleep. I’ve been waiting for this moment all season.”
  • “Starting on the back nine on the Old White TPC, the 24-year-old Shelton made the turn at 3 under and birdied Nos. 1-3. The 8-under 62 is his lowest score on TOUR.”
  • “Defending champion Kevin Na, Lanto Griffin, Mark Hubbard and Zack Sucher matched Harrington at 64.”

Full piece.

2. Meanwhile…
BBC report…”England’s Callum Shinkwin, 446th in the world rankings, is the surprise leader after the first round of the KLM Open.”
  • “Shinkwin produced an eagle on the 544-yard par five third in his six-under 66 to hold a one-shot lead in Amsterdam.”
  • “The 26-year-old has only made the cut at eight of 17 events on the European Tour this season.”
  • “Seven players are on five under, including England’s Chris Paisley, Matthew Southgate and Sam Horsfield, and Scotland’s Marc Warren.”

Full piece. 

3. Ready for battle
A look at the morning Solheim Cup matches (where soul-taking Danielle Kang will sit)…
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…
Match 1, 3:10AM ET: Morgan Pressel and Marina Alex (USA) vs. Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law (EUR)
Match 2, 3:22AM ET: Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare (USA) vs. Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier (EUR)
Match 3, 3:34AM ET: Jessica Korda and Nelly Korda (USA) vs. Caroline Masson and Jodi Ewart Shadoff (EUR)
Match 4, 3:46AM ET: Megan Khang and Annie Park (USA) vs. Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz (EUR)
4. Stealing the show at the KLM Open 
Todd Kelly at Golfweek…”one golfer in particular stole the show on Thursday.”
  • “Her name? Susan Hosang.”
  • “Her age? 100.”
  • “That’s right, the centenarian, who took up the sport 30 years ago, was a special guest at the tournament and played the 13th hole alongside Reed as well as Matt Wallace and Thomas Pieters in a Beat the Pro challenge, which pits a lucky amateur with the pros.”
  • “According to the Tour, the KLM Open is celebrating its 100th edition of the tournament. KLM, the Dutch airline, has been in business 100 years.”
5. Myrtle Beach rebounds 
The Forecaddie…
  • “While the world continues to focus on Hurricane Dorian’s damage to the Bahamas, Myrtle Beach and other South Carolina destinations already are back to business. Despite up to a foot of rain and several tornadoes that made news on national broadcasts, The Forecaddie hears the region came out of the storm incredibly well.”
  • “We were extremely fortunate to have avoided the worst of hurricane Dorian,” said Golf Tourism Solutions head Bill Golden. The agency overseas marketing for Myrtle Beach and has created a page updating golf course conditions.
  • “Myrtle Beach golf courses were able to escape with no long-term damage, and players can expect to find our courses in typically outstanding condition.”

Full piece.

6. An all-out assault on Leishman’s back
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski reports on the rough stuff in the dorsal region of Marc Leishman this week…
  • “With four bulging discs in his back, Marc Leishman didn’t need any further injuries to make it uncomfortable to play golf. He got one anyway. The timing couldn’t have been worse.”
  • “Leishman felt his cranky back seizing up on him Wednesday morning before playing in the pro-am for the PGA Tour season opener, A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier. That was bad enough. Then, on the fifth hole of the pro-am, one of his playing partners inadvertently nailed him in the right side of his lower back with an errant approach shot.”
  • “Apparently, the accident was a result of a miscommunication. Leishman thought the player had picked up after several strokes on the short par-4 hole. But he hadn’t. Leishman still wasn’t quite in the line of play when a ball came whizzing at him from about 100 yards away.”

Full piece.

7. JT’s melanoma square 
Golfweek staff…”Justin Thomas revealed Thursday he had a recent scare with melanoma that was discovered when he had a mole on his left leg checked out.”
  • “Thomas, who won the BMW Championship last month, shared a photo on Instagram that showed an incision on his leg with stitches. When a dermatologist checked out a very small mole on his leg, it was caught in the early stages of melanoma, Thomas wrote.”
  • “”Luckily, we found it at a time where there should be no problems going forward,” he wrote. “That being said, EVERYBODY GO GET CHECKED!! No harm can come from it and it’s the best way to catch anything before it becomes a serious issue. Especially for all the junior golfers (and other athletes) spending so much time in the sun.”
  • “It is so important to make sure you’re monitoring your body – no matter how old you are or how much sunscreen you use. It really got my attention, and hoping it does the same to y’all!”

Full piece.

8. $30K golf cart theft
Dennis Hoey at the Portland Press Herald…“York police arrested the director of golf at the Cape Neddick Country Club and charged him with stealing a golf cart designed for golfers with disabilities.”
  • “Dustin Michael Hunter, 35, of West Street in Biddeford was arrested Tuesday morning at the country club and charged with felony theft by unauthorized taking or transfer, Detective Sgt. Thomas Cryan in a news release.”
  • “Hunter was taken to the York County Jail, then released on bail….Hunter allegedly stole a paramobile golf cart valued at $30,000 and a trailer used to haul the cart on April 21. The golf cart and trailer had been stored at the country club, according to York police.”
  • “Cryan said the cart was designed for use by disabled golfers, but can be customized for use in other leisure sports such as fishing or archery.”

Full piece.

9. A perspective on Abaco 
Our Michael Williams reflects on his experience at the resort last year…and the recent devastation.
  • “Abaco exceeded my expectations. The location was as beautiful as any in the world, with white warm tropic breezes and sandy beaches on a secluded bay. The water is a surreal kind of blue; actually, it’s a series of blues that range from turquoise to a deep royal blue.”
  • “The only thing more sparkling that the water and the sunshine were the smiles of the people. From the time that you arrive the warmth and hospitality of the staff at Abaco surrounds you. It’s not the kind of hospitality that you learn from a class or an employee manual. It’s a more honest and genuine variety that comes from a culture of courtesy and welcoming others into your world.”
  • “I made some great friends on and on the golf course in Abaco. David Southworth, who along with business partner Joe Deitch form the ownership group of the Abaco Club, is one of those people who has a kind of easy charm and grace. When he talks about Abaco, he deflects credit from himself and shives the spotlight on his staff and support team. “These are the people that make it possible,” I remember Southworth saying again and again.”
  • “And this on the current effort to rise again…”Both Joe Deitch and David Southworth have pledged that the Abaco Club will host its Korn Ferry Tour event in January 2020 as planned. Aid is beginning to flow and people all over the world are pledging their support in the short term and the long term. More is needed now and will be for.a very long time. Eventually, the spirit of the Bahamian people will prevail, and Abaco will rise again. For now, I will give what I can in time and money as I pray nightly for the living and the dead of Abaco.”

 

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Tour Photo Galleries

Interesting photos from A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier

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GolfWRX was watching the range, circling the putting green, and generally keeping an eye on the notable equipment on display for the first PGA Tour event of the 2019-2020 season, A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.

While we encourage you to check out all of our photos from White Sulphur Springs, here are a few hand-picked shots to whet your appetite.

New Mitsubishi MMT 125-gram iron shaft

Kevin Chappell with a Golf Pride SNSR putter grip..on his driver?

Maverick McNealy’s Top Gun-inspired putter cover

Face on shot of one of the many new SeeMore putter models spotted at The Greenbrier

Odyssey’s New Stroke Lab Ten putters

Face-on look at Cam Smith’s Scotty Cameron Teryllium TFB 1.5

Jason Dufner’s prototype LA Golf Shafts iron shaft (more info)

TaylorMade Original One Mini Driver spotted on Tour! (in Grayson Murray’s bag)

2019 BV Proto wedge belonging to Rafa Campos

…and another Vokey, this time it’s Kris Ventura’s 60-degree SM7

Check out all our photos from The Greenbrier below!

General

Special

WITB

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Morning 9: Knee surgery for JD? | Kang wants to “crush” Europe | Wie joining Golf Channel?

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

September 12, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans. Best wishes to my father, who is recovering from surgery!
1. PGA Tour POY: McIlroy
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall with the report and the response most are having to the news…”To the shock of many, including himself, Rory McIlroy was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. Not as surprising is the debate that has subsequently ensued.”
  • “This was supposed to be Brooks Koepka’s honor. He already grabbed the PGA of America’s Player of the Year award, and it had been 28 years since the winner of one wasn’t the winner of both. Even McIlroy acknowledged Koepka’s eventual crowning after beating him at Tour Championship last month…”
  • ….As a refresher, the PGA of America’s honor is determined based on a points system. The PGA Tour, though, relies on player voting, with members who played in at least 15 FedEx Cup events during the 2018-’19 season casting the ballots. That process is handled internally; the tour does not publicly release the results.”
  • “Or, apparently, privately release them either. Given the election’s concealment, the Associated Press’ Doug Ferguson asked McIlroy during Wednesday’s media conference call if he knew how close the race had finished. “I inquired,” McIlroy said, “and they are keeping tight-lipped on that.” The call, just seven questions deep, was ended.”

Full piece.

2. Reshuffled schedule has players reshuffling
A window into the calculations players are making when plotting their schedules…
  • Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski…”After competing in the Tour Championship for the third year in a row, Marc Leishman figured two weeks off was plenty, so he is entered in this week’s A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, the opening event of the new PGA Tour season that begins Thursday on the Old White TPC Course at The Greenbrier Resort.”
  • “His thinking is simple: You can’t start too early accumulating FedEx Cup points for another berth in the season-ending extravaganza that just paid winner Rory McIlroy a $15 million bonus. He isn’t alone. He is joined this week by Bryson DeChambeau, Sungjae Im, who just was named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, and Jason Kokrak, all who played at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.”
  • “It’s so important now to get off to a good start early in the season,” said Leishman, who plans to make four official starts before competing in the Australian Open in his native country followed by the Presidents Cup. “I was lucky enough to do that last year at the CIMB in Malaysia, and that’s the plan again this year, is to try and get off to a good start.

Full piece.

3. Daly to have knee surgery
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski…”Daly said Tuesday at The Greenbrier that he likely will undergo surgery on his arthritic right knee before the end of the year. He said after seeing his doctor last week that it was recommended he have a partial knee replacement.
  • “It’s not scheduled yet, but the doctor says it’s got to be done,” said Daly, who is playing in this event for the second time in as many years on a sponsor exemption.

Full piece.

4. Bold predictions 
PGATour.com’s Ben Everill makes a number of prognostications about the upcoming season…
“A career grand slam will be attainable with nine holes to go at one of the majors….Will it be veteran Phil Mickelson at Winged Foot, where he famously let a U.S. Open slip from his fingers with a disastrous 72nd hole in 2006? Or will Jordan Spieth be back in form by the time the PGA Championship hits TPC Harding Park? Both are distinctly possible. But the most likely is Rory McIlroy making the turn at Augusta on Sunday with a shot at the green jacket and the career slam.”
“Phil Mickelson will break golf social media at some point with epic content….This might be the least bold prediction of the lot considering how awesome Mickelson’s foray into social media has been over the last year or so. From his Phireside chats to his great stories from yesteryear to his fitness recommendations, Mickleson is fast becoming a Hall of Fame poster as well as player. But we predict somewhere along the line he will do something so epic it will cross into the mainstream and go viral outside of just our sport.”
“We will get a sub-60 round somewhere on TOUR...Last season there were two 60s on TOUR coming from Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker and 11 players shot rounds of 61. As players get better and better and more aggressive with their play, we are certain to see the sub-60 barrier cracked again. Can someone threaten Jim Furyk’s record 58? Well one of the Korn Ferry Tour graduates – Rhein Gibson – once shot a record 55 at his local club. Of course the TOUR set-ups and courses are a little tougher than what Gibson faced but that’s not to say it can’t be done.”
5. Na’s sabbatical
Helen Ross on the birth of Kevin Na’s son, Leo LeeWoo Na, and dad’s time off.
  • “I tried to push the name Kevin for the middle name, but it didn’t work,” Na said, laughing. “My wife, she shut me down. … I thought I had more pull in the house, but no.”
  • “Na said the decision not to play wasn’t an easy one but in the long run, family is the most important thing. And as it turned out, he enters his title defense at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier more rested than he might otherwise have been.”
  • “It was weird having that much time off,” Na said. “… It’s rare you get four weeks off in August. Like I said, I feel fresh. I’m ready to go and excited about this new season. Not only am I excited, the first tournament of the year I’m defending so there is more excitement.”

Full piece.

6. Get ready to hear even more about Viktor Hovland
Steve DiMeglio with a few words on Viktor Hovland…
  • “Put it all together and yes, he could be the next big thing on the PGA Tour. Just consider this: Hovland, who turns 22 next week, is making his first start as a full member of the PGA Tour at this week’s Military Tribute at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and is one of the favorites. It’s the opening event of the 2019-20 season.”
  • “I would say I was a little anxious going into my professional career, even though I played really well in college,” Hovland said Wednesday. “I played well this summer, but I wasn’t really happy with the way I was hitting it.
  • “But where I got way better this year was with figuring out how to just shoot a score regardless of how I was hitting it. But I realized over time this summer when you just play every single week, your mind just switches off a little bit and you just get into golf mode. Suddenly, the more weeks I played in a row my shots kind of started coming back again, and then the confidence came.”

Full piece.

7. Michelle Wie joining Golf Channel…temporarily
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“Wie will join Golf Central on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 13-15) following live competition. She will debut at 1:30 p.m. ET following Friday’s action alongside former LPGA pro Paige Mackenzie in the Orlando, Florida, studio.”
  • “Wie will also contribute to Golf Channel’s digital and social media platforms, including Instagram story takeovers.”
  • “I’m excited to join the Golf Channel crew to give my views and inputs on a great event that means so much to me,” Wie said in a release.

Full piece.

8. Kang wants to “crush” Europe
Derek Lawrenson writes…”American Danielle Kang has stirred the pot nicely with some provocative remarks about wanting to ‘crush’ the Europeans and make the home supporters cry when the Solheim Cup begins at Gleneagles on Friday.”
  • “…Kang said: ‘You’re going out there to make people cry at this point, and crush the other team.”
  • ‘You’re trying to take souls, you know. That’s the fun of it. I loved my first Solheim in Des Moines, it was amazing hearing all the “USA, USA” chants.

Full piece.

9. Dufner’s custom shaft
One for the gear junkies! Our Ryan Barath…”This week, on the range at the Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, the inaugural event of the 2019 – 2020 PGA Tour season, we spotted Jason Dufner with a very custom LA Golf Shafts long iron shaft.”
“We reached out to LA Golf Shafts Chief Product Officer John Oldenburg to get the inside info, and John did not disappoint in the details and the story behind the switch by Jason.”
“Duff reached out to me shortly after he put our new OLYSS 65 Tour X prototype in play in his driver last season.  He was looking for something for his 4-iron that would get the ball up in the air a bit easier, but maintain (or increase) distance, and keep the spin close to where it was with his existing shaft which was a TT Dynamic Gold AMT S400.  What I worked on providing him was a shaft that had an overall stiffness/frequency and weight that were comparable to his current set up, but with a softer tip section. And to improve accuracy (decrease dispersion), I wanted to get him something with lower torque than the TT AMT shaft.  So, in a nutshell, that’s what I designed for him. It’s a 125 gram shaft with a frequency close to the AMT S400, but with a tip that is pretty significantly softer and has 0.3 degrees lower torque. The combo of a softer tip with lower torque will help him to launch the ball higher but maintain his accuracy.  The “Duff 4-iron”, also has a higher balance point than the AMT S440. That way Duff can use a heavier head, get the same swingweight he is comfortable with, and put a little more mass behind the ball at impact to get an increase in ball speed and thus distance.”

 

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