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Morning 9: Which famed caddie turned down Tiger? | European Tour “brand refresh” | Only 2 kinds of golf swings?

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

September 24, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Turning down Tiger
Forgive the summary of a summary, but Stephen Hennessey at Golf Digest did a fine job highlighting the notable elements of a very fine piece…
  • …”That’s part of the intrigue behind a great recent story by the Caddie Network on all-time great caddie Tony Navarro. The story, worth a longer read on its own on Navarro, details how Navarro declined the opportunity to be considered for Tiger’s caddie. Navarro was Greg Norman’s caddie in 1998, and Tiger had just decided to part ways with Mike “Fluff” Cowan, leaving the most desirable opening in looping circles open.
  • “In the story, the Caddie Network details how Butch Harmon, then Tiger’s swing coach, was asked about potential replacements for Fluff, and Butch recommended just two names: Stevie and Navarro. But Navarro’s candidacy for Tiger’s caddie ended immediately after Butch first talked to Navarro.”
  • “As Butch told the Caddie Network’s Craig Dolch…”I told Tiger there were two guys he should hire – Tony Navarro and Steve Williams. I spoke with Tony first. But he said, ‘No, I’m still working for Greg.’..”That’s the kind of guy Tony is. He’s incredibly loyal. Whoever he works for, he’s 100 percent invested in that person.”

Full piece.

2. Quite a field at the Dunhill Links (and of course the courses aren’t bad either!)
Golfweek staff with a programming note of note…”Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Jon Rahm are just some of the big names playing at this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. McIlroy has been runner-up three times in the tournament.”
  • “Starting Thursday, the tournament will be held over three courses – the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. There are two competitions this week, the individual professional tournament and the Team Championship, which pairs pros with amateurs.”
  • “Rose will tee it up alongside Justin Timberlake, who is playing in the event for the first time. McIlroy has played with his father, Gerry, in the Team Championship in the past.”

Full piece.

3. A take from a Scotsman at The Scotsman
Martin Dempster at The Scotsman… 
  • “To put that into pespective, the corresponding figure in 2013 was fewer than 8,500 and, though the presence of the likes of Timberlake for the first time this week, as well as regulars such as Hollywood legend Bill Murray and a host of sporting greats might not appeal to the traditionalists, it definitely does to others.”
  • “Put it this way, more non-golfers are likely to take in this event, especially when they can take advantage of a free admission offer on the first three days, than have attended any other golf tournament held so far this year in Scotland and the game can surely only gain from that.”
  • “The Irish would be all over an event like the Dunhill Links like a rash and Scottish golf fans should certainly be giving this week’s event the support it deserves.”

Full piece.

4. European Tour brand refresh
Well…”The European Tour has launched a creative new brand strategy, with the aim of broadening the Tour’s appeal to new and existing fans and commercial partners.”
  • “Golf’s global tour has unveiled its new identity, which includes a modern, fresh logo alongside a new website and App, all underpinned by the Tour’s guiding principles of Innovation, Inclusivity and Globality.”
  • “The brand refresh focuses on ‘Driving Golf Further’, the strapline which features underneath the new logo, as the Tour seeks to build on its strong, established reputation for award-winning content, innovative tournament formats and immersive technology.”
  • “The European Tour’s new identity was unveiled at the Tour’s recently refurbished, state-of-the-art headquarters during the BMW PGA Championship, the fourth event in the Tour’s Rolex Series – an alliance of its eight premium events. It will be rolled out on October 1, coinciding with the launch of the Tour’s revamped website and App.”
5. PGA Tour cancels China Series’ Hong Kong event
AP report…”The PGA Tour Series-China is canceling its tournament next month in Hong Kong because of civil unrest and safety concerns.”
  • “The season was supposed to end with the event Oct. 17-20 at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club in Hong Kong. Instead, the 13th and final tournament will be held Oct. 10-13 at the Macau Championship.”
  • “Hong Kong is in the fourth month of protests that occur every weekend, and some have been violent.”

Full piece.

6. Only two kinds of golf swings…
Golf.com’s Luke Kerr-Dineen…:GOLF Top 100 Teachers and Titleist Performance Institute experts Dave Phillips and Jon Tattersall
  • “…Body mass golfers, like Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, and Lee Westwood, are usually bigger in stature, carry more weight and are stronger in terms of raw strength. Body mass golfers’ swings may look slower than their counterparts, but they still generate lots of speed because they have more mass than others
  • …Rotary golfers typically have lower body mass, Phillips and Tattersall say, and generate swing speed by learning to fire their muscles really quickly, often using the ground for maximum leverage. Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy – two of the longest pound-for-pound golfers in history

Full piece.

7. From Taiwan to the Tour
Good bit from C.T. Pan himself in GD on his journey to the Tour…
“We didn’t have much when I was a kid. I was the youngest of six, and we had cousins living with us, too. There was so little room that I shared a bed with my parents and other siblings until I was a teenager. The only way I could play golf was by sneaking on our local course. I’d wake up before 4 a.m. and get in nine before the clubhouse opened, and another nine after it closed. I didn’t know until later that the golf shop knew-they always know, right?-but looked the other way. Especially when they found out I was good.”
8. Mav McNealy interview
McNealy, who secured his Tour card, chatted with PGATour.com…
  • “PGATOUR.COM: You struggled towards the end of your first season. How bad did it get?”
  • “Maverick McNealy: “Last year, at the end of the season, I was in a really bad place. I had a really hard time with my ball-striking. I was really stuck underneath and had this really bad right block. It became mental.”
  • “There was a week there where I came home to Vegas and I lost two dozen golf balls in a week. I just couldn’t hit a fairway. When it got to Columbus (for the opening event of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals), I told my caddie, ‘I don’t know if I can play. I don’t know if I should keep going.’ He told me, ‘Just get your butt on an airplane.’ It was a heroic effort to make the cut in Columbus. I missed the rest of the cuts in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, but that was kind of the turning point.”

Full piece.

9. When golf gives you lemons…
A sour morsel from the Golf Digest mailbag…”I heard about an LPGA Tour pro who sucks on lemons when she gets stressed out while playing. Is this true? Does this actually have a calming effect on people? -Carlos Watson, Indianapolis”
“A: Strange but true. When the going gets tough, Nanna Koerstz Madsen, a 24-year-old from Denmark, likes to chomp down on a nice, juicy lemon. It seems the ritual is partly designed to distract her. She has said it helps shift her focus away from stress or anger. But some nutritionists believe there are more benefits than that. Lemon juice contains potassium, which can help combat anxiety, and it has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Its electrolytes will also help keep you hydrated, it’s known to ease joint and muscle pain, and it even aids digestion. Other than the excruciatingly sour taste, what’s not to like?”
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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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Morning 9: Improving golf coverage | Oral history of TW’s “best shot” | Nichols: Charity matches were great…but why no women?

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1. Match-inspired innovations for improving golf coverage
Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan with a few thoughts…Mid-round interviews…There’s no really good reason beyond mild annoyance to the players that this couldn’t work, even in the current COVID-19 environment, provided that safe social distancing is practiced. In the major team sports, coaches are obliged to give interviews, and players will occasionally speak at halftime or between periods. There are no “coaches” in that same sense in golf, but the game happens at a slower pace, and a 60-second walking interview between holes is not too much to ask. I don’t think there’s a reasonable argument that it’s overly disruptive, especially if planned in advance.”
  • …”Mic’d up players and caddies…In exhibitions past, we’ve witnessed players with live microphones, but the purpose behind it is dreaded “banter,” which typically comes across as hollow, forced and not very funny. But if players and caddies wore mics during a round, producers could find riveting audio that captures natural conversation or impromptu strategy sessions. Phil serving as a mentor for Tom Brady was riveting and hopefully stokes our appetite for similar mid-round insight…”
2. An oral history of Tiger’s “best shot” 
Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…(This is just the introduction to a fantastic piece that talks to Bob Weeks of TSN and Steve Williams, among others!)…”Had it slipped between Tiger Woods’ 6-iron and golf ball, one rogue grain could have sunk his hopes of winning the RBC Canadian Open in 2000, becoming the first since Lee Trevino in 1971 to win golf’s Triple Crown – the U.S., British, and Canadian Opens in the same year.”
  • “So was it the ultra-fine margin? The stakes? The absurdly improbable physics of the shot itself?”
  • “Yes. Yes. And yes. All of these things compelled Scott Verplank, among others, to call it “the greatest shot I’ve ever seen in my life,” Woods’ 218-yard masterstroke from the wet sand at the par-5 18th at Glen Abbey. Woods’ caddie Steve Williams would return to the bunker once the commotion had died down, still struggling to get his head around what he’d seen. Others have made the same pilgrimage and tried to visualize what Woods had, tried to feel what Woods felt, for this was magic.”
3. Thrive? Struggle? Survive? 
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak contemplates what’s ahead for the golf industry…”These are strange times living through a global pandemic. Suddenly, golf courses are packed in a way the industry hasn’t experienced since Tiger Woods was revolutionizing the game in the late 1990s and former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem was predicting 50 million golfers by 2020.”
  • “Well, that didn’t happen, but golf has been given this new-found seal of approval highlighting its healthy aspects and its ability to provide safe recreation. As courses across the country re-open there is pent up demand among golfers to get out and play. Tee sheets are mostly filled and former golfers and those trying out the sport for the first time are emerging out of the woodwork desperate to be in the sunshine and doing something, anything that has been deemed “COVID OK.” There is renewed belief that golf can grab a bigger piece of the pie among recreational and entertainment options.”
4. Where were the women?
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols wonders…How can there be downside to two Sundays of golf taking center stage and raising mega-money for COVID-19 relief?”
  • “Well, there is no a downside, but it could’ve been more. As LPGA player Mel Reid tweeted during the TaylorMade Driving Relief Challenge, the broadcasts could’ve represented all of golf.”
  • “They could’ve included women.”
  • “…It would’ve been great to see an LPGA player and her sponsorship partners get in on the action in a similar fashion.”
  • “The TaylorMade event could’ve been a mixed-team format. Maria Fassi and Paula Creamer are both in Florida. Some of TaylorMade’s female stars could’ve also called in during the broadcast as Jon Rahm did. Staffers who could’ve called in include Natalie Gulbis, Muni He and Charley Hull. Sung Hyun Park, who speaks limited English, was involved in a charity exhibition in South Korea with current No. 1 Jin Young Ko. Women’s golf frequently takes center stage in that part of the world.”
5. 80% of golf retail open
From the NGF Q…”The number of physical golf retail outlets that are back in business continues to increase – from off-course stores and specialty club-fitters to green grass pro shops.”
  • “Approximately 66% of golf course pro shops are open at facilities that are open to play, the equivalent of almost 9 million square feet, although some states and counties have limitations on the number of customers permitted at one time. That percentage is up from 36% at the start of the month, but is unchanged over the past week as pro shops in at least 10 states (including Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois and New York) have government mandates that say they must remain closed inside to customers.”
  • “Meanwhile, approximately 79% of off-course golf retail stores were open (in terms of total square footage) through May 25. This is up from 73% last week and 59% two weeks ago. In early April, only about 4% of the 6.5 million square feet of total off-course golf specialty space was open to in-store traffic. Roughly 81% of all off-course retail stores are now open to customers.”
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GolfWRX Classifieds Spotlight (05/27/20): Adams, Mizuno, Ping

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member Gator5 – Adams CMB Irons

Forged – check, Multi-Material construction – check, cool as all heck because these clubs are sweet and Adams made some really cool gear – check!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Adams CMB Irons

Member Ksears – Brand New Mizuno MP20 Irons

Did someone say brand new Mizunos??? What else could you really want from a forged blade beside being meticulously crafted and forged in Japan – as well as being priced lower than retail.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link hereMP 20 Irons

Member 1hellaofashot – Ping G410 7 Wood

Speaking from experience let me just say this “stop denying the inevitable and embrace the 7 Wood” It’s endlessly versatile, more forgiving than a hybrid, and because this one for sale is a Ping G410 it is adjustable. Here’s your chance to dial in your own par 5 killer.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Ping 7 Wood

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds 

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