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Morning 9: More takes on Kuchar | Bob Hope saved | Cullan Brown | Lost bag debacle

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

September 10, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans. From one expert in not being able to stay out of his own way to another: Matt Kuchar, what are you thinking?
1. Against the spirit of the rules?
Scathing stuff from Geoff Shackelford in Golfweek…
First, he puts Matt Kuchar’s waste area management at the European Open in its right context-Kuchar’s recent questionable behavior…
  • “El Tucan technically was not entitled to a normal caddie payday after a big win in Mexico…The pitch mark at the Memorial was his because someone said so, yet a replay said otherwise and a third opinion was asked for to get a better lie…And now coarse waste bunker sand is a loose impediment.”

More from Shackelford…“The newly revised rules opened the door for the latest questionable act of sportsmanship by Matt Kuchar. Players can now move a loose impediment in a bunker. As Kuchar demonstrated, if sand is coarse enough to be a pebble in the eyes of any official, then all of the tiny particles are loose impediments.”

  • “While using the rules of golf to your advantage is wise, it’s confounding to watch someone with a once solid reputation and plenty of cash in the bank to snub his upturned nose at the spirit of the rules. Again. In the same year. On television.”
  • “Kuchar takes well over the time allotted to play a shot while we are watching- television cut away after 40 seconds of Kuchar’s trench dig – and seems to improve his lie in the “waste area.”

Full piece (and arguably the definitive take on Kuch’s pebble picking. 

2. Bob Hope saved
Larry Bohannon at the Palm Springs Desert Sun…”An international blue-chip financial giant will bring its name and its services to the Coachella Valley’s PGA Tour event in January.”
  • “American Express, one of the largest companies in the world and one of the 30 companies listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, will be the new title sponsor for the 61-year-old desert tour event, The Desert Sun has learned.”
  • “The multi-year sponsorship deal will re-brand the desert event as The American Express. An official announcement is expected Monday morning.”
  • “This is absolutely the best sponsor we could ask for,” said Jeff Sanders of Lagardere Sports, the company that operates the tournament for Desert Classic Charities. “This is the best news we have received since we took over the opportunity to run this event. American Express is an iconic global brand that transcends quality. We could not be more excited.”

Full piece.

3. 2 players, 1 premier team competition in women’s golf, zero clubs
Golf Channel’s Jason Crook...”Both Europe’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff and the United States’ Angel Yin flew to Edinburgh through Dublin over the weekend, but their clubs didn’t make the connection.”
“As Shadoff and Yin began to miss valuable practice time on Monday, players, caddies and even the European social media team turned to Twitter for help.”
“On the bright side, Shadoff did text GolfWeek with renewed hope later in the day, “Apparently there are over 200 bags in Dublin that are meant for Edinburgh. They have sent a plane with just bags on that just landed, so hopefully they are on that.””
4. Grim statistics
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”For starters, you’re more likely to lose your card than keep it”
“As a refresher, the top 125 players in the FedEx Cup point standings at the end of the regular season don’t just make the playoffs, they keep their cards for next season. Out of those 300 players, only 42 percent reached the tour’s postseason, and more important, avoided demotion. That means, on average, 21 players from the 50 get full status. (To clarify, the 50 Korn Ferry graduates don’t technically enjoy full status, as they are subject to a priority rank, which comes in play when trying to enter a tournament. Only one player-this year, Scottie Scheffler-is exempt for finishing atop the full-season and the Finals points list.)”
  • “This past season, 19 players were able to make the playoffs, although 20 kept their cards thanks to Martin Trainer’s win at the Puerto Rico Open. Of this 19, only two-Lucas Glover and Sungjae Im-reached East Lake, which comes with its own rewards. Speaking of which …
5. Cullan Brown: More than just the “Kentucky golfer with bone cancer”
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols with a profile of Brown as he battles osteosarcoma…
  • “The game has never been the be-all-end-all for a man who breathes joy into the world.”
  • “He’s the most beloved kid I’ve ever had,” said Craig, “times 20 probably.”
  • Brown doesn’t need golf to make him happy. Redshirt freshman Jay Kirchdorfer spent the past year trying to be the same.
  • “I really think that’s his secret weapon,” said Kirchdorfer. “We’re all out there getting mad and frustrated. He’s just over there hitting shots, talking about food, looking in the trees for ducks, a deer if he can find one.”
  • “Emma Talley knows that all too well. Brown was looking toward the sky for birds when he caddied for her recently at the LPGA’s stop in Arkansas. He can usually name every plant and animal on property at a golf course, a talent that comes in part from his love of the outdoors coupled with a strong appetite for reading.”

Full piece.

6. 3 from GBR?
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta with welcome news for fans of Great Britain…”Casey is now up 14th in the latest Official World Golf Ranking, making him the third Brit in the top 15 behind No. 4 Justin Rose and No. 13 Tommy Fleetwood.”
  • “Each country can have up to two representatives in the 60-player field, except for those with three or more players inside the world’s top 15, who can send a maximum of four.”
  • “The American men (4), British men (3), and Korean women (4) are the contingents currently projected to send more than two to next summer’s Games in Japan.”

Full piece.

7. Apathy AKA “What gives, BBC?”
Derek Lawrenson at the Daily Mail is none to pleased with the BBC’s lack of coverage of the preeminent women’s team competition…
  • “…For I looked at the schedule that Radio 5 Live have put out on the BBC website for their sports programmes from Friday to Sunday and couldn’t find a mention anywhere.”
  • “Sure, there’s a half-hour preview programme slated for Thursday evening, and fair play to them for that, but when the event actually begins? Zip.”
  • “You know 5 Live, the station that made such a song and dance of the fact they were going to broadcast more live women’s sport this summer than ever before?”
  • “Change the Game, they called it. Yet no live coverage of the Solheim, unarguably one of the biggest women’s events of all.”

Full piece.

8. Letters from the King
The winner of 13 titles worldwide, including the 2006 U.S. Open and three World Golf Championships events, had not won in more than four years. While there were trying times, the Aussie kept at it week after week. His perseverance paid off when he found his form by Lake Tahoe and pulled away for a 5-point win in the Modified Stableford tournament.
  • “Four days later, the victory became even more special….Ogilvy got a letter from Arnold Palmer.”
  • “That was the one that moved me,” Ogilvy said. “All the letters mean so much, but that one, that letter blew me away.”
  • “Well done, Geoff, I know you’ve been struggling. This is a great win. Welcome back. Great to see. Sincerely, Arnold Palmer”

Full piece.

9.. Let’s put an end to this term
A piece at once contentious and eminently sensible from our Ryan Barath suggests defining “women’s golf clubs” (and by extension “senior golf clubs”) is ultimately not helpful and reductive.
  • “Women’s golf clubs” have been around for as long golf clubs have been marketed, and for a period of time, like so many things I’m sure, they had a significant purpose: helping female players find what they needed to hopefully improve their golf games. But in this modern era of club fitting and customization, I think we need to put an end to identifying clubs by sex.
  • “I remember my experience at the Titleist Performance Institute, and one of the first things I was told by my fitter Glenn Mahler was”
  • “I don’t fit clubs based on gender, age, handicap, or physical abilities. I fit clubs for golfers, period-to allow them to achieve their absolute best results”
  • “I believe this is the best way for people to start thinking more about the segments of clubs made for players across the board. Male golfers don’t walk into a big box store and say “I’m looking for men’s clubs,” they say “I’m looking for clubs,” and then they get fit. If a female long drive golfer (yes, I realize it’s a small market segment) walked into most big box stores and asks to try a driver, I’m willing to guess that 90 percent of the time someone is going to give them a very poor fitting club based solely on sex-and that’s wrong.”

 

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Tom T

    Sep 11, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    Kduoooooooooooche, kduoooooooooche, kduoooooooooooche, kduoooooooooooche, kduoooooooooche….

  2. VinnyT

    Sep 11, 2019 at 10:15 am

    Kuch is a douche.

  3. Ryan

    Sep 10, 2019 at 9:45 am

    I think Kuch was out of line with the removal of sand particles from the waste area, but the rules and officials allowed him to do it. I can’t really fully blame the guy for doing it. The official should have said something to him. The rules should be written a little more clear. Kuch shouldn’t have thought it ok to removal sand particles from the waste area. All of these are arguable points.

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13-time major champion Mickey Wright passes away at the age of 85

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@wilsongolf

LPGA Tour legend and Hall of Famer Mickey Wright passed away on Monday after suffering a heart attack, according to the AP.

Wright won 82 titles on the LPGA Tour including 13-major titles in a career which began in 1955 and ended with her retirement at the age of just 34.

Per the 13-time major champion’s lawyer, Sonia Pawluc who was speaking to AP, Wright had been hospitalised for the last few weeks after suffering a fall.

The sporting legend is the only LPGA Tour professional to hold all majors at the same time, and Ben Hogan once described her swing as the finest in the game.

Speaking on the news of her passing, LPGA Tour commissioner, Michael Whan said

“We are deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Mickey Wright. We lost a legend, but we may also have lost the best swing in golf history today. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.”

Wright’s long list of accomplishments in the game includes the most victories in a single LPGA season (13), four consecutive LPGA money titles (1961-64), 14 successive years with an LPGA victory (1956-69) and a stunning 44 wins from 1961 through 1964.

She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1976.

 

 

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Morning 9: Tiger: Bad week inside ropes, good week outside | Scott, Park end droughts | CBS’ coverage panned (again)

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram and golfwrxEIC on Twitter.
February 17, 2020
Good Monday morning, golf fans.

 

1. Scott gets first Tour win since 2016
Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner with a succinct breakdown…“Scott started the day in part of a three-way share of the lead, and he suffered an early stumble with a double bogey on the fifth hole. But the notoriously wobbly putter steadied his nerve down the stretch, burying birdie putts on Nos. 13 and 17 that proved to be the difference. Scott earned an unofficial victory at Riviera in 2005 when he won a 36-hole, rain-slogged event, but now he has an official title as part of his Riv credentials. It’s back-to-back worldwide wins for Scott across two calendar years, as the veteran closed out 2019 with a victory at the Australian PGA Championship. But after a number of recent near-misses, the Aussie now has his first PGA Tour win since March 2016, when he went back-to-back at Honda and Doral.”
2. …and Down Under, another title drought endeth
AP report…”Seven-time major champion Inbee Park saw a seven shot lead shrink to two shots Sunday before winning the Women’s Australian Open by three strokes to clinch her first LPGA title in almost two years.”
  • “Park started her final round three shots in front of 19-year old South Korean compatriot Ayeon Cho. She bogeyed the ninth hole but still turned five shots ahead of the field and went out to a seven shot lead early on the back nine at the Royal Adelaide Golf Club.”
3. …and on the Korn Ferry Tour
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Andrew Novak birdied each of his final two holes to earn his first career Korn Ferry Tour victory at the LECOM Suncoast Classic.”
  • “Novak, 24, started the final round in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., one shot off the lead, and he was part of a crowded leaderboard as the tournament entered the closing stretch. But thanks in large part to birdies on Nos. 17 and 18, two of the seven hardest holes at Lakewood National GC, he closed with a 6-under 66. That left him at 23 under, one shot ahead of John Chin and two shots clear of Taylor Montgomery, both of whom closed with rounds of 64.”
4. Not the weekend he wanted
PGATour.com’s Ben Everill…”It was another week to lament at the famed course where Woods started his PGA TOUR career as a 16-year-old. He faded on the back nine of his rounds on Thursday and Friday and then shot 76-77 on the weekend to be 11 over par, some 22 shots behind winner Adam Scott.”
  • “Woods was full of praise for the event he and his foundation put on in its new elevated status, but could only try some self-deprecating humor when asked of his personal on course efforts.”
  • “I did not do much well today. Good news, I hit every ball forward, not backwards, a couple sideways. But overall, I’m done,” he said. “I’ve been in this position many times unfortunately. Just keep fighting hole by hole, shot by shot and try to make some birdies, which I did not do.
ESPN’s Bob Harig on what he saw…“Woods was still not moving great. While he looked good at times, his overall game was a shell of what he produced three weeks ago at Torrey Pines, let alone in December at the Presidents Cup or October at the Zozo Championship.”
  • “This was simply a day to endure, not make matters worse — and then hand the tournament trophy to winner Adam Scott, who finished 22 strokes ahead of the tournament host.”
  • “And it was yet another reminder: Woods is 44 years old, has a fused spine, had three previous back surgeries prior to that, and counts himself lucky to be playing the game at all, let alone a high level.”
Full piece. 
5. Chubb champ: Scott Parel
Greg Hardwig of the Naples Daily News…”Scott Parel lost two opportunities at victories last year in playoffs. He wasn’t going to take that chance Sunday in the Chubb Classic.”
“Parel, 54, birdied six of the first 12 holes to come back from five shots off the lead and went on to win at The Classics Country Club at Lely Resort for his third PGA Tour Champions victory. Parel tied the tournament record at 17-under 196 on the par-71 course, and won $240,000 out of the $1.6 million purse.”
6. Rave review for CBS’ golf coverage…
Joel Beall with a (incomplete) tally of some of the (many) errors…
  • “An incorrect score board from the LPGA’s Women’s Australian Open, caught by No Laying Up. The tournament ended Saturday night.”
  • “A singular Korn Ferry Tour highlight, featuring a putt from Peter Uihlein. Although Uihlein entered the day with the lead, he finished T-20 at the Suncoast Classic, which had already been decided when the event update was televised.”
  • “Delayed footage of Harold Varner III topping his tee shot at the iconic 10th hole. Varner was tied at the time of the miscue, which was noted by CBS Sports analyst Ian Baker-Finch. Varner’s top was eventually shown in a highlight package some 90 minutes after it occurred.”
  • “The relative broadcast absences of Max Homa, one of the more popular PGA Tour players on social media, and Joel Dahmen. As the Twitter handle Deep Fried Egg pointed out, at one juncture Homa, then a stroke back of the lead, had only a single shot televised while Rickie Fowler-who was not in the field-had two highlights during the program.”
7. Rory talks Brooks & more
Adam Woodard at Golfweek draws on more of Rory McIlroy’s conversation with journalist Paul Kimmage…a few morsels…
  • “So, I go out in the final round and my midset was . . . It’s another round of golf . . . a great opportunity . . . I’m going to try to play well. And I was beaten on the day,” McIlroy remembered. “Obviously, Brooks played great and shot 65 but I think, more than anything, I was beaten by his intensity and his desire. I was too relaxed.”
  • “Later on in the season, McIlroy learned of a text Koepka sent to his friends before the final round in Memphis: “I’m going to crush him.”
  • “Yeah, and f*** he sort of did,” said McIlroy. “Well, Brooks and I have always got on great – we do get on great – but he was obviously taking that mindset, ‘It’s me and him’. And I guess it was a good thing that he thinks highly of me, or not highly of me, if he was saying he was going to crush me.”
8. Unplanned break ahead
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”When Muni He triumphed at LPGA Q-Series last November, she seized control of something every professional golfer holds dear: her schedule…”
  • “He, 20, decided early on that she’d skip the first three LPGA tournaments that she was eligible for and start 2020 on a three-week stretch in Asia, playing off of sponsor exemptions in limited-field events in Thailand and Singapore and the Blue Bay LPGA in her native China.”
  • “No one could’ve predicted that her first three starts would be canceled due to threats from the coronavirus. That control He worked so hard for went up in a puff of smoke. She’ll now make her first start of 2020 in late March at the LPGA event in Phoenix.”
9. Genesis a big success for Tiger…outside the ropes
Golf Digest’s Daniel Rapaport rightly points out…”It was not his week on the course, obviously. But Woods’ time here was about more than how he fared inside the ropes. He has hosted this event for the last three years in conjunction with his TGR Live venture, but this was the first year the tournament formerly known as the L.A. Open was no longer an open. It’s an Invitational now, which means a reduced field size to 120, an increased purse and an elevated status.
  • “And the first year was, by any measure, a marked success-four cloudless days, a challenging Riviera that flashed its teeth all week and a bunched leader board that didn’t sort itself until late Sunday afternoon, when Adam Scott prevailed for a two-shot victory.”
  • “From a tournament perspective, it couldn’t have gone any better,” Woods said. “We’ve had perfect weather, people have come out and supported this event. Our elevation, being a part of the new invitational status, look at the players that come out and supported this event that have played this week, we couldn’t have asked for a more dream scenario. The golf course was fantastic. Everything couldn’t have been any better from that side.”

 

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Tour Rundown: Scott’s grit and guile, Queen Bee, Wofford’s pride

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The PGA Tour’s Cali Swing came to a close for 2020, while the Champions Tour returned to the continental USA after a stint in Morocco. The ladies of the LPGA stood tall in Australia, just as the Korn Ferry tour also docked in the lower 48, after time spent in South America. As the world of golf considers the pros and cons of a world tour, it’s easy to look around and see how such a grand plan might come to pass. As the globe continues to orbit, we take our turn in running down this week’s results.

PGA Tour: Scott claims 14th tour title with grit and guile

Say what you must about the back nine at the Augusta National, but I will stand the inward half at Riviera as the ultimate gut-check site in golf. For starters, we saw Tiger Woods go out in 4-under par on Thursday, stoking the embers of bonfires of hope everywhere. El tigre played the inward half in 36-38-41-39, so we know which high-school crush still makes him nervous! Wasn’t much different for the rest of the field; play the inward half well and you stand a chance. How about Adam Scott? After an inexplicable 37 on Thursday, he back-nined Riviera for 31-33-35. For those (like me) not counting, that’s the essential difference between what Tiger tallied, and what the tournament victor posted. Scott had his hands full, as players like Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy, and late to the party: Sung Kang and Scott Brown. Both Kang and Brown closed fast, reaching -9, joining Kuchar in a tie for 2nd. They call Riviera Hogan’s Alley, for the playing record of the wee ice mon over its 18 holes. It begs the question, which Riviera was Hogan playing, that he could get that good, that repeatedly, over these beguiling, 18 holes?

LPGA: Queen Bee secures 20th title in Royal fashion. Could gold be next?

Inbee Park has been many things over the years: Major champion (she won her first LPGA event at the 2008 US Open); Olympic Gold Medalist (yup, that was her in Rio, wearing the bling); and now, comeback kid. Park was injured in 2017, and despite a victory in 2018, has yet to capture the stature that thrust her to #1 in the world, and 18 tour victories. Watch out, world; she might be back. Park stood sooo tall after three rounds; 67-69-68 had her at  15-under par over the glorious, Royal Adelaide course in Seaton. Only Ayean Cho managed to find similar altitude, with 3 rounds of 69 for -12. Would Cho solve the mystery of the final round, the one that eluded her last week, when she gave back a lead over the final 9 holes? In a word, no. She closed with 77 and dropped to -8 and a tie for 6th place. All part of the learning curve, as they say. With her playing partner stalled, Park played things close to the safety vest. She finished with a +1 74 on Sunday, good for a 3-putts margin of victory over new runner-up Amy Olson of the USA. If Inbee is rounding into form now, she’ll be a certain threat to claim a second gold medal this summer, in Japan.

Korn Ferry: Wofford’s pride birdies final two holes for 1st victory

You know you’re small when … your small town isn’t the bigger of the two small towns in an arguably-metro region. Spartanburg ain’t no Greenville, says no one in those parts, but it’s true. And Wofford College is a charming, southern institution of higher learning, located in the middle of Spartanburg. And Andrew Novak found a golf and learning home at Wofford. And now, he has a title and Wofford again has a pro tour winner. Again? You mean another Boston Terrier has won on tour? Uh-huh, one William McGirt, at the 2016 Memorial Tournament. According to my researchers, that’s all. The dynamic duo of McGirt and Novak.

Right, back to Andrew Novak. He and 5 other golfers reached 20-below par at the Lakewood National (not to be confused with other, national golf clubs) near Sarasota. Greyson Sigg, Chandler Blanchott, and David Kocher ran out of gas there, and tied for 4th. Taylor Montgomery actually reached -22, before a bogey at the last dropped him to -21 and solo 3rd place. John Chin had 5 birdies throught 7 back-nine holes, but failed to summon a 6th, and ended his run at -22. And Novak? He birdied 17 and 18, to jump from 3rd to 1st in the blink of an eye. Novak moved all the way from 26th to 3rd on The 25 chase for PGA Tour cards. He’ll certainly earn his for 2020-2021, but might he manage 2 more victories, for a battlefield promotion? Keep closing and the answer will be uh-huh. #GoTerriers

Tour Champions: The ultimate grinder peppermills his third Senior victory

Bernhard Langer, Stephen Leaney, and Chris DiMarco went out on Sunday and shot wonderful rounds … for the conclusion of a US Open. Hovering near par, on any day, would not bring baubles at the Chubb Classic. Bob Estes went out and posted 64, his best round of the week by 3, to reach 15-under par. He blazed past the aforementioned trinity, but could not reach the brass ring. That plum went to Scott Parel, probably the only Georgia Bulldog who never was … a Georgia Bulldog. Parel posted 63 on Sunday, eclipsing Estes’ 198 by 2 shots. The victory was Parel’s 3rd on the late-stage circuit, and was his first since October of 2018. Parel graduated from the large, state school in Athens, but never competed for the varsity squad. He made his living as a computer programmer, but never gave up his dream of playing professional golf. As a size 50+, he is now living that dream. Langer salvaged a tie for 3rd (with Kevin Sutherland) at -13. Ironically, Parel has been in two Champions playoffs in his career, and has lost both of them … to Kevin Sutherland. Good thing for him that the California native could “only” close with 67

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