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Morning 9: Golf ball biz big for 4 American towns | Tringale’s massive distance gains (and good advice for you)

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

September 25, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans. Might want to stick to the jumbo packs of toilet paper and steaks next time you’re at Costco…
1. Bloom off the K-Sig rose for good?  
Apparently resurrected from the dead, the Kirkland Signature golf ball is once again deceased (seemingly by its own hand).
  • Our Gianni Magliocco…”Golfers who purchased Kirkland Signature four-piece balls are in line for a full refund after Costco began reaching out to customers of the product via email.”
  • “The original four-piece Kirkland Signature four-piece balls proved a success on their release back in 2016, but the new line has come under fire this summer, with the ball’s cover taking the brunt of the criticism.”
  • “Customers have claimed that the balls are prone to cutting up after short use, while the balls are currently rated 2 out of 5 from customers on Costco’s website.”
  • “In an email shared on Twitter by user @gerencher, which shows Costco actively refunding customers, the company stated that “Feedback we received since the item went on sale shows that some of the balls do not meet the high standards that are expected for the Kirkland Signature brand.”

Full piece.

All this said, good on the company for honoring its vaunted guarantee after serving up a batch of-what’s the technical term?- piece-of-shit golf balls.
(Refund letter from Costco’s VP/GMM Merchandising in the image above)
2. One-arm Murray
Golf Channel’s Jason Crook on a wounded Bill Murray tuning up for the Dunhill Links…”Murray, 69, was reportedly involved in a four-vehicle crash on Tuesday in St Andrews, but he didn’t let that stop him from getting some practice in, even if it meant he could only use one hand.”
“While no one was seriously injured in the crash, the “Caddyshack” actor showed up for his practice round at St. Andrews with a bandaged hand and a makeshift sling made out of a dress tie.”
Of course the sling was made out of a tie. That’s a given! Get well, Bill! (and never change)
3. Golf ball biz big for four American towns
Excellent feature from Bomb & Gouge on the place (and prominence) of the premium golf ball business in the U.S… “Unlike the rest of the equipment in your bag, the golf ball is still largely made in America. Not Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam or China. Rather, it’s New Bedford (Titleist) and Chicopee (Callaway) in Massachusetts. Or Covington (Bridgestone) in Georgia. Or Liberty (TaylorMade) in South Carolina. About nine out of every 10 premium golf balls sold in the United States come from one of four factory towns in three states.”
  • “Each of these operations mixes the highly technical elements of modern golf-ball manufacturing with workers whose multigenerational legacies often stretch back to the Great Depression. It’s these sophisticated manufacturing enterprises that have become the pride-and in some cases, the engine-behind these small towns, and in turn these small towns continue to propel the biggest ball companies, making a combined half-a-billion balls a year.”

Full piece.

4. Inside Tringale’s massive distance gains 
PGATour.com’s Sean Martin…“Tringale’s clubhead speed increased 8.6 mph — from 111.3 to 119.9 mph — from 2018 to 2019. That’s the largest single-season increase in clubhead speed since the TOUR started recording radar data in 2007.”
  • “It was by far the largest increase last season, as well. The second-largest was 5.1 mph. No one else increased their clubhead speed by more than 4 mph.”
  • “…No one came close to Tringale’s improvement in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee last season, either. Tringale improved that statistic by 1.2 strokes gained per round. Sung Kang had the second-biggest leap, and he gained just 0.65 strokes per round.”
  • “To be honest, it’s been more of a byproduct than a goal,” Tringale said. “I got my body to work more in sequence. By doing that, I can let loose a little more and still be under control. I can swing harder and swing faster without the fear of it causing more errant shots.
  • Read the full piece to find out how you too can boom the golf ball! (seriously, though, quality, actionable advice for more clubhead speed)

Full piece.

5. Bahamas Strong Pro-Am
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker…”Golf and the courses on the islands are low on the priority list, but the game has a deep connection in that part of the world with the Bahamas a popular destination for everyone from the casual fan to PGA Tour player. Which is why those in the golf community are trying to do what they can to get the people there, several hundred of whom work at Baker’s Bay, The Abaco Club and other courses, back on their feet.”
  • “On Oct. 8, Brad Faxon and Justin Leonard will co-host a pro-am at Old Marsh Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Among those already committed to play are Justin Thomas, Jack Nicklaus, Jessica Korda, Ernie Els, Greg Norman, Lucas Glover, Billy Horschel, Jaye Greene, Corey Conners, Brett Quigley, Marina Alex and Charl Schwartzel. Funds raised will go directly toward relief efforts.”

Full piece.

6. Pettersen + Easterbrook? 
The AP’s Doug Ferguson…”Suzann Pettersen is now linked forever with Syd Easterbrook, an English golfer and little more than a footnote in Ryder Cup history.”
  • “At the core of what made the Solheim Cup so special was it being decided by the final shot of the tournament at Gleneagles on Sept. 15. Pettersen rolled in a putt from just over 6 feet to beat Alex Marina, 1 up, and give Europe the victory. The ending became even better when Pettersen, a captain’s pick, announced her retirement.”
  • “…to make a putt from the last match on the course to determine who wins? That happened only once before, way back in 1933.”
  • “Horton Smith, who the following year became the first winner at Augusta National, dispatched Charles Whitcombe to level the matches at 5½ points each. It came down to Easterbrook and Denny Shute, who were all square playing the final hole at Southport and Ainsdale.”

Full piece.

7. New Trump Scotland course greenlighted
BBC Report on the approved track and surrounding development…”Plans for a second golf course at US President Donald Trump’s resort in Aberdeenshire have been approved.”
  • “The 18-hole MacLeod course would be built to the south and west of the controversial original course, which opened at Menie in 2012.”
  • “Councillors on the Formartine area committee approved the plans for the second course by eight votes to four.”

Full piece.

8. Smart putter grip
Golf Digest’s Mike Stachura…”In cooperation with gripmaker SuperStroke, Arccos unveiled an adapter that allows its sensors to work with the company’s CounterCore and Traxion putter grips. SuperStroke’s Countercore grips allow the user to counterbalance their putter grips with a weight that fits in the butt of the grip. That weight prevented the Arccos sensor’s post from screwing securely on the top of the grip. Likewise, the SuperStroke Traxion putter grips feature a “Tech Port” that allows for counterbalancing the grip.”
9. Long-term commitment to swing changes key
Good stuff from Andrew Wright at National Club Golfer...
“It’s hard to jump full throttle into something that you’re not quite sure is going to work.” This statement from Danny Willett in his post-victory interview jumped out to me as something that amateurs of all levels can learn from.
  • “…I’m not saying that you need a huge swing overhaul to improve your golf, but if you’ve gone to the effort of seeking the advice of a professional, it’s vital that you commit to the instruction you’ve been given.”
  • “If it takes major champions years to reap the rewards of a change, then why do we give up at the first sign of trouble?”
  • “We’re all human and this game will get the better of us more often than not. Our swings, which feel great one day, can feel completely alien the next. You would be in an elite group of one if you didn’t experience this at some point so it’s important to stay positive and keep your eyes on the prize – whatever that may be.”

 

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Morning 9: Tour updates | One-week offseason | Forgotten father of Skins Game?

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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.

October 18, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans. Get out there and enjoy some fall golf this weekend!
1. CJ Cup
AP report on the action on Jeju Island, where tournament favorite Justin Thomas has surged to the top…”Justin Thomas shot a 9-under 63 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead at the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges, putting himself in position to win his second PGA Tour event in South Korea in three years.”
  • “Thomas, who won the inaugural CJ Cup in 2017, has a two-round total of 13-under 131.”
  • “South Korean-born New Zealander Danny Lee (66) is in a tie for second place with first-round leader and former U.S. Amateur champion Byeong-Hun An, who shot 69 before his home fans.”

Full piece.

2. French Open
With round 2 underway, here’s the post-round one report from Reuters…”George Coetzee and Ryan Fox carded six-under-par 65s to share the lead in the French Open first round on Thursday as the European Tour returned to Le Golf National in Paris a year after the course hosted the Ryder Cup.”
3. Hole-in-one and a second-round lead 
AP report…”Brooke Henderson made a hole-in-one and shot an 8-under 64 to take the lead in the second round of the Buick LPGA Shanghai on Friday.”
  • “The Canadian aced the 175-yard second hole. She followed that with a bogey, but then birdied four more holes on the front nine, finishing her round at 11-under 133 total.”
  • “Jessica Korda (67) was two strokes behind in second, followed by defending champion Danielle Kang (67) in third.”
4. One-week offseason
The Forecaddie with an interesting scheduling observation…”The Man Out Front could not get past the dates for the Korn Ferry Tour playoffs.”
  • “The season-ending stretch will compete head-to-head with the PGA Tour playoffs, right down to the final Sunday of Aug. 30.”
  • Which means while the FedEx Cup comes to a conclusion at East Lake, the Korn Ferry Tour’s always valiant battles to gain Tour cards will be playing out at Victoria National and once again presented by United Leasing but without the spotlight those finals enjoyed this year when finishing on Labor Day, a week clear of the 2019 Tour Championship.”
5. Molinari splits with caddie
Our Gianni Magliocco writes…”Francesco Molinari has parted ways with his caddie Pello Iguaran, who has been on the Italian’s bag for the last four years.”
  • “The 2018 Open Champion will now employ Jason Hempleman until the beginning of 2020 where Mark Fulcher will then take the reigns. Fulcher caddied for Justin Rose for 11 years, in which period Rose won the U.S. Open and Olympic Gold.”
  • “The 36-year-old announced the decision via his social media accounts, where he stated…”It’s been nearly 4 seasons of incredible emotions and really productive work, but unfortunately relationships sometimes come to an end, even if it’s not what we wish for.Pello will always be a member of my team and more importantly my family. He’s one of the most hardworking, loyal, positive, reflective people I’ve come across during my career.”

Full piece.

6. Tiger’s back, but is he ready?
ESPN’s Bob Harig, always a voice of reason, breaks down Tiger Woods’ activities since last playing professional golf, along with what he has on the docket, before concluding..”All of this assumes a level of health and fitness that went missing for the latter part of 2019. Woods turns 44 on Dec. 30 and performing at a high level — competing and winning tournaments — depends so much on his ability to properly prepare, let alone be fit enough to compete with the best in the world.”
  • “But first things first: a long trip to Japan, a skins competition followed by a PGA Tour event, and some answers to where Woods is headed with his game.”
7. How the Skins Game started
Speaking of skins, great stuff from Adam Schupak for Golfweek on the forgotten man from the genesis of the beloved event…”When Steve Sesnick read about the upcoming reboot of the Skins Game in Japan headlined by Tiger Woods, he couldn’t help but feel a moment of pride like that of a proud parent. And why not? It was further confirmation that his concept – even if he believes it has outlasted its expiration date – still works.”
“More than 35 years ago, Sesnick claims that he conceived the concept that became one of the most successful made-for-TV franchises in all of sports: four of golf’s biggest names, competing in a go-for-broke format over two days during Thanksgiving weekend when golf traditionally was dark, college football was limited, and even the NFL had two fewer games to compete against.”
8. Record rounds in the 60s
Viktor Hovland’s incredible play continues…Golf Channel’s Carson Williams…”A day after setting a PGA Tour record with his 18th consecutive round in the 60s, Hovland was at it again Friday during the second round of the CJ Cup in South Korea where he carded his 19th straight round in the 60s. The newly-minted Tour member drained a testy par putt at the par-4 ninth to keep his streak alive.”
  • “No, it’s cool,” Hovland said Friday following a second straight 3-under 69. “Obviously I would have liked to have maybe higher finishes in the tournaments that I’ve played, but it really goes to show the consistency that I’ve had over the summer.”

Full piece.

9. Tiger’s Olympic goal 
Reuters report…”Tiger Woods says next year’s Tokyo Olympics are a “big goal” as he looks to add to his decorated career.”
  • “Woods, 43, won his 15th major at the Masters earlier this year but injury ruled him out of golf’s return to the Olympics after a 112-year absence in 2016.”
  • “I don’t see myself having too many opportunities other than next year,” the American said.
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Francesco Molinari splits with caddie Pello Iguaran

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Francesco Molinari has parted ways with his caddie Pello Iguaran, who has been on the Italian’s bag for the last four years.

The 2018 Open Champion will now employ Jason Hempleman until the beginning of 2020 where Mark Fulcher will then take the reigns. Fulcher caddied for Justin Rose for 11 years, in which period Rose won the U.S. Open and Olympic Gold.

The 36-year-old announced the decision via his social media accounts, where he stated

“It’s been nearly 4 seasons of incredible emotions and really productive work, but unfortunately relationships sometimes come to an end, even if it’s not what we wish for.Pello will always be a member of my team and more importantly my family. He’s one of the most hardworking, loyal, positive, reflective people I’ve come across during my career.

We’ve had both good and tough times on the course, but most importantly we both grew together and as individuals during our time together. Best of luck for the future and thanks for an amazing run together Jason Hempleman will be on the bag until the end of the season. Mark Fulcher will be on the bag at the start of 2020.”

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It’s been nearly 4 seasons of incredible emotions and really productive work, but unfortunately relationships sometimes come to an end, even if it’s not what we wish for. Pello will always be a member of my team and more importantly my family. He’s one of the most hardworking, loyal, positive, reflective people I’ve come across during my career. We’ve had both good and tough times on the course, but most importantly we both grew together and as individuals during our time together. Best of luck for the future and thanks for an amazing run together Jason Hempleman will be on the bag until the end of the season. Mark Fulcher will be on the bag at the start of 2020. Sono state quasi 4 stagioni di emozioni incredibili e lavoro davvero produttivo, ma sfortunatamente le relazioni a volte non finiscono come tutti vorremmo. Pello sarà sempre un membro del mio team e, soprattutto, della mia famiglia. È una delle persone più laboriose, leali, positive e riflessive che ho incontrato durante la mia carriera. Abbiamo avuto momenti belli e momenti difficili sul campo, ma soprattutto siamo cresciuti insieme e come individui durante il tempo insieme. Buona fortuna per il futuro e grazie per una fantastica esperienza insieme Jason Hempleman sarà il mio caddie fino alla fine dell’anno. Mark Fulcher sarà il caddie dall'inizio del 2020 •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

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In the period Molinari and Iguaran were together, some of the highlights include Molinari’s win at The Open Championship in 2018, the BMW PGA Championship, and the 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational. However, since April, Molinari has failed to record a top-10 finish.

 

 

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Morning 9: LPGA, LET partnership? | Ryder Cup ticket fiasco | Alfredsson: Senior women’s golf dynamo

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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.

October 17, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. “True partnership”
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell on an exciting development for women’s golf…
  • “The LPGA and Ladies European Tour have renewed talks that could lead to “a true partnership” between the two organizations.”
  • “LET Board Chair Marta Figueras-Dotti sent a letter to LET players this week informing them of the discussions. She told players that a dialogue was “in full swing” to create a “50-50 joint venture” between the tours.”
  • “LPGA and LET officials said in a joint statement Wednesday that while it’s too early to publicly discuss specifics, they are working to complete terms of a new agreement in time to present it to LET players at their annual meeting on Nov. 26 in Spain.”

Full piece.

2. Alfredsson!
AP report on the emerging dynamo in women’s senior golf with the 2019 double…
  • “Helen Alfredsson added the Senior LPGA Championship to her U.S. Senior Women’s Open title, rallying Wednesday at cold and windy French Lick Resort to sweep the two major championships of the season.”
  • “Three strokes behind Juli Inkster entering the day, Alfredsson closed with a 2-under 70 for a three-stroke victory. The 54-year-old Swede was the only player to break par on the final day at the Pete Dye Course and, at 2-under 214, the only one under par for the week.”

Full piece.

3. And on Jeju Island…
AP report…An was on!
  • “In the first event of a three-tournament PGA TOUR swing through Asia, Byeong Hun An was the first-round leader in his home country at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES with an 8-under 64. Joaquin Niemann sits a stroke behind in second.”
  • “Jason Day’s attempt to impress International team captain Ernie Els for a spot at the Presidents Cup took a positive turn when the Australian shot a 6-under 66 to sit two strokes off the lead and in solo third after the opening round.”

Full piece.

4. Ticket fiasco
Oh boy. JR Radcliffe at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, syndicated in Golfweek…”Tickets for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, next year sold out in less than 50 minutes on Wednesday, and fans on social media were furious with the process.”
  • “Tickets for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler next year sold out in less than 50 minutes on Wednesday, and fans on social media were furious with the process.”
  • “The Ryder Cup website did indicate: “Due to high demand, having an access code does not guarantee you a chance to buy tickets. Available inventory may vary depending on when you’re able to access the sale.”
5. “Better options”
ESPN’s Bob Harig suggests Lefty doesn’t think he’s getting picked for captain Woods’ squads…”Mickelson said Wednesday that he doesn’t expect an at-large pick from U.S. Presidents Cup team captain Tiger Woods and that he does not believe he is deserving.”
  • “There are much better options of players that have played consistently at a high level that deserve to be on the team,” Mickelson, 49, said in South Korea at the CJ Cup, a PGA Tour event he is playing for the first time. “Even if I were to win, I have not done enough to warrant a pick.
  • “I’m not asking for one. I don’t expect one. I think there are a lot of better options for the U.S. side.”
6. 58 penalty strokes!
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers on a wildly penal occurrence…”Lee Ann Walker was assessed 58 penalty strokes after it was discovered she had violated Rule 10.2b several times over the course of the first two rounds at the senior major being played at the Pete Dye Course in French Lick, Ind. Implemented earlier this year, the rule prohibits caddies from lining up golfers on putting greens, among other spots on the course. And as Walker found out, there is no limit to the amount of penalty strokes a player can incur for breaking it.”
  • “In a statement released by the Senior LPGA Championship Rules Committee, the harsh decision came after Walker notified a rules official during the second round on Tuesday that she had been violating the rule. Obviously, Walker didn’t realize this until it was pointed out to her by a fellow caddie on her fifth hole. Walker then went through her round so far as well as the first round on Monday to determine just how many times she broke the rule. Considering the total, she was obviously being lined up by her caddie on most putts.”

Full piece.

7. BK vs. Rory
Our Gianni Magliocco…”The 29-year-old, who was speaking to the AFP ahead of this week’s CJ Cup, has been on the PGA Tour since 2015 and has won four major’s in that period, while McIlroy’s last success at a major championship came back in 2014.”
  • “I’ve been out here for, what, five years. Rory hasn’t won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour. So I just don’t view it as a rivalry.”
  • “The world number one then further reiterated his lack of belief that there is currently a serious rivalry in golf and laid out his intentions to remain at the top of the sport for the foreseeable future.”
  • “I’m not looking at anybody behind me. I’m number one in the world. I’ve got open road in front of me I’m not looking in the rearview mirror, so I don’t see it as a rivalry. You know if the fans do (call it a rivalry), then that’s on them and it could be fun. Look I love Rory he’s a great player and he’s fun to watch, but it’s just hard to believe there’s a rivalry in golf. I just don’t see it.”

Full piece.

8. Meanwhile, at Q-School…
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell with the report on the action in Florida…”Germany’s going for a wire-to-wire victory at the LPGA’s second stage of Q-School.”
  • “Esther Henseleit grabbed a share of the second-round lead with a 5-under 67 Tuesday at Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice, Fla., a day after fellow countrywoman Olivia Cowan took the first-round lead.”
  • “At 9-under overall, Henseleit is tied at the top with China’s Yan Liu (67), one shot ahead of Cowan (72), Thailand’s Prima Thammaraks (68) and American amateur Sierra Brooks, whose 66 equaled the low round of the day.”

Full piece.

9. LPGA Shanghai update
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell...”Nasa Hataoka should be getting more worldwide attention.
With two Japan LPGA Tour major championship victories in her homeland over the last month, she arrived for the start of this week’s Buick LPGA Shanghai on fire.”
  • “And she didn’t cool off in Thursday’s first round.”
  • “A 5-under-par 67 at Qizhong Garden Golf Club gave Hataoka a share of the lead with South Korea’s Amy Yang.”

Full piece.

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