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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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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. I Hate Maverick McNealy

    Sep 13, 2019 at 11:12 am

    See what I mean? Pettersen/Van Dam are 6up over Kang/Salas…Danielle, I love you but you shouldn’t have said what you said.

  2. I Hate Maverick McNealy

    Sep 12, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Oh, DK…why you gotta do that? Don’t poke the bear.

    • A. Commoner

      Sep 12, 2019 at 3:02 pm

      Fulbright or Pulitzer candidates not what we is talkin about here.

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Morning 9: Match 2: The most-watched golf telecast ever | Rory: Players don’t want fan-less Ryder Cup | Justin Thomas aces broadcast debut

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@attsportsnetpit
1. 5.8 million average viewers for The Match
AP report…”Two of the biggest names from the PGA Tour and the NFL proved to be must-see TV.”
  • “Turner Sports said the Sunday telecast of “The Match: Champions for Charity” attracted an average of 5.8 million viewers across four of its networks. Turner says it was the most-watched golf telecast in cable TV history.”
  • “It said the previous record was 4.9 million viewers on ESPN at the 2010 Masters, the year Tiger Woods returned to golf for the first time since the scandal in his personal life.”
  • “Woods and Peyton Manning scored a 1-up victory over Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady at Medalist Golf Club, a match that featured high entertainment with shots and with words, along with raising $20 million for COVID-19 relief funds.”
2. Shackelford’s take
A few observations from the scribe…“While still an overnight, it easily bests the previous week’s relief fund match that drew a 1.5 and total of 2.3 million viewers across three channels, including a 1.5 rating on NBC and a .24 on Golf Channel).”
“More incredibly, this means The Match 2 out-rated any major championship round on cable.”
“Given a so-so promotional run-up, a slow start to the show (caused in part by a slight weather delay) a dreary day to watch, and a long telecast, the rating is a stunning statement about the remaining star power of the contestants.”
3. JT’s TV debut
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…”That said, whenever he decides to put down the clubs, he should immediately pick up a mic.
The former Alabama star made his broadcast debut as an on-course reporter on TNT/TBS alongside CBS Sports’ Amanda Balionis on Sunday during The Match: Champions for Charity, which saw Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning defeat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. Thomas received rave reviews from golf Twitter during and after the event. He was brilliant. His rapport with Woods and Mickelson allowed them to open up on a different level compared to the original The Match in 2018.”
“Most importantly, Thomas didn’t overdo anything. Unlike some broadcasters, he knew fans weren’t watching for him and he never once tried to steal the spotlight. He didn’t speak just to talk. When he had something to say, it was insightful or funny. Like a golfer picking out which holes he can attack and score on, Thomas picked his spots on where to interject throughout the broadcast like someone who’s been doing it for years, let alone a day.”
4. Tiger looked terrific 
Bob Harig writes…”For the first time in 98 days, we got to see Woods in action. And the last time we saw him, he didn’t look good. Woods shot 77 at Riviera Country Club on Feb. 16 and finished last among those who made the cut at the Genesis Invitational. And he complained that his back was stiff”
  • …”Woods hasn’t played since but neither has anyone else. And the time off has done him some good.”
  • “Woods didn’t miss a fairway. His swing looked smooth and in rhythm. He hit some deft pitch shots and a really nice long bunker shot. And all of this in difficult, rainy conditions.”
  • “It was just a charity match, but he looked pretty good. Who knows when Woods will resume his schedule when the PGA Tour returns next month, but his game looks good to go.”
5. Rory McIlroy: ‘Majority of players’ want 2020 Ryder Cup postponed until 2021 
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…”Rory McIlroy has a hunch about the Ryder Cup, and it’s one that golf fans around the world aren’t going to like.”
  • “In an interview with BBC Sport, the world No. 1 said: “My personal hunch is that I don’t see how it is going to happen, so I do not think that it will happen.”
  • “Wisconsin’s Whistling Straits is scheduled to host the 2020 Ryder Cup Sept. 25-27, but amid the coronavirus pandemic the event would most-likely take place without fans (if held at all).”
  • “I think the majority of players would like to see it pushed back until 2021 so that they can play in front of crowds and have the atmosphere that makes the Ryder Cup so special,” explained McIlroy. “The players are the ones that make the Ryder Cup. If they are not on board with it and don’t want to play then there is no Ryder Cup.”
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The DailyWRX: What’s buzzing on social media (5/25/2020)

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Gotta say, The Match: Champions for Charity, was a fun escape from reality and further fueled the “we need golf back” fire. I dedicate this DailyWRX to The Match, thanks for thrills boys.

No matter how hard you try to make this a meme…

It’s Tom Brady. He wins….always, no matter what. He’s a Mount Rushmore guy.

This gave me goosebumps…

Its an exhibition match for charity, and I’m over here jacked up like its Balboa vs. Drago. SMH. I love TW.

View this post on Instagram

Sunday red is back. ????

A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on

Yes…

To all of it.

Phil…

Please just run for President and get it over with, you got my vote…..in perpetuity. I mean hellacious seeds? Yes I want hellacious seeds. Please.

DM @johnny_wunder

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Justin Rose, Honma officially part ways

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Justin Rose and Honma Golf have officially severed ties, per a joint statement released Friday evening.

Former World No. 1 and current World No. 14, Rose (previously a TaylorMade staffer) made waves in the equipment industry when he signed on as a full-bag Honma staffer at the beginning of 2019. He made waves again in late February when he arrived at PGA National with a TaylorMade SIM driver in his bag.

The next week, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rose swapped out his remaining Honma wares for a TaylorMade SIM Max fairway wood, a Cobra Speedzone Pro 5-wood, TaylorMade P730 irons, and TaylorMade and Titleist wedges.

Full text of the statement from Honma/Rose below

“Honma Golf Limited (“Honma”) announces that, following a successful partnership with the former No. 1 player in the world, Honma and Justin Rose have agreed that Justin will no longer be one of Honma’s brand ambassadors. We are proud to have been a key part of Justin’s journey to regain his position as World Number 1 in early 2019, including a win at the Farmers Insurance Open in his second event with Honma equipment in play.”

“For over a year, Justin worked closely with our team to help develop innovative and top­ performing lines of Honma woods and irons. His pursuit of perfection, approach to product testing and feedback has produced great value to Honma. Justin’s expert input and desire for maximum ball speed inspired our team to make the Honma TR20 460 and 440 drivers among the fastest drivers in the game. Consistently, and excitingly, our nationwide team of fitters are seeing the new TR20 460 and TR20 440 drivers produce some of the fastest speeds on the market. We wish him the very best in his pursuit of more majors and career success,” said John Kawaja, President Honma Golf North America.”

“I have enjoyed working with the Honma team and collaborating closely with them to design and develop excellent golf equipment. I was able to see firsthand the innovations that the craftsmen at Honma bring to their clubs. I am hopeful that during our time of partnership, we have laid the groundwork for Honma to continue to expand their brand. We both feel it is the right time to pursue our own paths,” said Justin Rose.”

Per Honma PR: “This will be the official statement and we are unable to provide any further comments”

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