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Morning 9: Mental health crisis among golf superintendents? | TW’s “workout secret?” | Worst golf advice

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By Ben Alberstadt
morning9@golfwrx.com is unmonitored! Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com with high praise and tips (monetary or informational). Find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram.

September 26, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. A mental health crisis among golf supers? 
Leading the M9 today is a story that is an order of magnitude greater than our usual fare-and one more than worthy of top billing.
Digest’s Ron Whitten opens an examination of the trend of mental health issues among golf course superintendents with vaunted superintendent Dave Wilber’s story…
  • It reads in part…”So in 2015, Wilber picked up a 90-day prescription, a beta-blocker for his heart rate, opened the bottle and swallowed its contents.”
  • “I was thinking it would shut off my heart,” Wilber says. “All it did was make me super sick. I dozed off, then woke up vomiting it all up. I’m thinking, God, I’m such a f—up I can’t even off myself. I can’t even get that job done.”
And he writes this about the profession and Wilber’s decision to publicize his darkest moment…”Wilber is not the only one in the turfgrass business dealing with such an issue. Maintaining a golf course is a high-risk occupation and can put one’s physical well-being, personal relationships and mental health at risk. But revealing struggles with anxiety, depression or something worse is still considered taboo in this occupation, just as it is in many other lines of work.”
  • “Wilber admits his candor about his suicide attempt, which he revealed two years ago on the website Turfnet, might cost him his career. But he no longer cares. He believes it’s essential to bring these issues to the forefront, because it might save someone.”
  • “When I started writing about my struggles on Turfnet,” he says, “I got an inbox full of responses from golf-course superintendents-­like 60 emails­-mostly supportive. One said, ‘Don’t tell anybody, but I’ve dealt with depression, too.’ Another told me, ‘I wanted to kill myself, too.’ It was mind-numbing.
  • “We need to get this out in the open. Real people have real struggles, and they shouldn’t have to beat themselves to death for what they are or aren’t at work.”

Full piece.

2. Romo’s major
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”But this is the first time that tournament golf has conflicted with Romo’s full-time gig as an NFL analyst for CBS, which has him traveling from one stadium to the next for much of the fall. While the football work means he has had less time to practice than he otherwise might in the spring or summer, his game has still received plenty of attention in recent weeks.”
  • “This has been on my radar for a while, so trying to get the game ready for this. For me, it’s like a major,” Romo said. “I feel comfortable. The more times you’re out here, the more comfortable you feel.”

Full piece.

3. JT keeping goals under wraps 
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…“Count Justin Thomas as one of the PGA Tour pros who likes to set goals at the start of the season. Just don’t ask him to share them publicly.”
  • “If I told you, I’d have to kill you,” he said with a smirk.
  • “Thomas is making his season debut this week at the Safeway Open, the third tournament on the PGA Tour’s 2019-20 wrap-around schedule. Over the past few seasons, he has been tight-lipped about his goals before revealing on social media how he did in achieving them at season’s end. As Thomas explained, he once spouted off a few lofty goals he’d set for himself to members of the press only to be constantly reminded of his shortcomings for the remainder of the year.”
  • “Rookie mistake,” he said. “After that I keep them to myself. They are in my phone so if anyone ever steals my phone and guesses my password they can find them.”

Full piece.

4. “Significant renovation” ahead for Muirfield Village
Golf.com’s Sean Zak with the report…”Muirfield Village Golf Club, home of Jack Nicklaus and the Memorial Tournament, will look a bit different in the future, thanks to a 2020 renovation that was just put in place this week.”
  • “The course that hosts the PGA Tour every summer will shut down the first week of July 2020, which was first reported by No Laying Up. According to GM Nicholas LaRocca, it was Nicklaus’ decision, and plans are, “to redo all the greens. Probably make a few minor changes on a few holes, and get the place ready to go for [the following] May.”

 

5. Worst pieces of golf advice
Matthew Rudy with a superb survey of the bottom of a few top teachers’ advice barrels…
  • “What’s the worst tip you’ve ever heard somebody give?...Shaun Webb, Golf Digest top teacher in Louisiana: “How much time do you have? ‘Keep your head down.’ ‘Don’t use your arms.’ ‘You’re swinging too fast.’ One of the worst I’ve ever heard came from another teacher. He told someone that if you fire the hips, the club will square automatically. There’s so much wrong with that-I’ll bet the student doesn’t even play golf anymore.”
  • “Clearwater: ” ‘Hold the club like a baby bird’ is one of the classics. The long drive guys are the biggest, strongest people on earth, and through impact, they’re trying to rip the grip in half. There’s a lot of force going on down there….”Of all the ways you move in a swing, ‘keep your head down’ is the worst advice you could give. Just go look at the tour players. Nobody is trying to stay bent forward. Nobody. You’re not hitting poor shots because of where your eyes are pointed.”

Full piece.

6. The key to TW’s fitness?
Golf Digest’s Peter Morrice…”In all sports, it’s about the legs,” Tiger Woods says in his new 12-part video series “My Game: Tiger Woods,” produced by GOLFTV and Golf Digest. “Have you ever seen a home-run hitter with small legs? That just doesn’t happen. It starts with the base.”
  • “Tiger talks about running and how he used daily runs as a release but also to boost his endurance for long stretches of competitive play. “I was never very big, but my legs were strong, and they could go forever. I just never got tired,” Tiger says. “And because legs feed the wolves, the more I ran, the better I played.”

Full piece.

7. Stephanie Meadow 
Johnny Watterson at the Irish Times with this regarding the rise, fall, and resurgence of Stephanie Meadow…
  • “Stephanie Meadow, 22-years-old. Third in the 2014 US Open.”
  • “It could have been a career epitaph. Qualifying as first alternate and in the mix on the last day of a Major. It was her first professional tournament. No one knew her. The world expected her to fade. She didn’t. That would come later.”
  • “After the first round she was tied 8th, second round tied 10th. On the Saturday a 69 took her to third with three other players.”
  • “When Meadow looked around Pinehurst on the final day she saw the world’s most famous golfer Michelle Wie leading the field. Her partner was Hall of Fame Australian Karrie Webb. The seven times Major winner Webb faded, the Irish rookie did not. Where did Stephanie Meadow go?”

Full piece.

8. Mickelson impressed with up-close view of Steph’s golf game
Golfweek’s Schupak again, this time with what Lefty said after his pro-am round with Chef Curry…”Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry doesn’t just drop bombs on the basketball court. Playing alongside Phil Mickelson in the pro-am ahead of this week’s Safeway Open, Curry launched drives that had Lefty waxing rhapsodic about “hellacious bombs” after the round.”
  • “I think the thing about Steph Curry’s golf game is his touch, his hands, his chipping, putting. He’s got incredible touch but he also has a ton of speed,” Mickelson said. “You saw him dropping all kinds of bombs off the tee, just hellacious bombs, deep and very accurate, certainly straighter than what I have.”

Full piece. 

9. In praise of Phireside with Phil 
From Phil’s commending of the on-course efforts of Curry to Golf.com’s Michael Bamberger gushing over Mickelson’s work alongside an open flame.
Bamberger wrote this regarding the latest episode of “Phireside”…”If possible, Phil has reached a new high with this week’s show, in which he interviews Larry David. The camera work is shaky, at one point a finger crosses the lens, Larry rambles, Phil stares and it all works. On one level you could say it’s about Larry’s extraordinary history as a world-class junior golfer, cut short by a heinous hand injury, but on another level it’s about nothing. Phil is wearing golf shoes, shorts and his Hall-of-Fame blazer. Of course, Larry should have a blazer, too, and likely would, except for the hand thing. Phil has a deep Rolodex and it makes you wonder: who should Phil have next?”
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  1. JohhnyBeGood

    Sep 26, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Its not just golf course superintendents. Its a large portion of society as a whole. There are so many things F-ed up with many systems pile on the addition of social media and everything else hollow taking over peoples lives and its just a toxic combo. Not to mention the smart phones in everyones pocket have been proven to give your brain a hit of dopamine, now every time you look at it the chemicals in the brain get screwed up. Not quite as drastic but very similar to a heroin addict looking for a fix. Depression is a major problem when the dopamine receptors get messed with. Just one of many current issues with the world.

    Wont even get into current cost of living vs wages for most people…

    My first suggestion for people in situations like this is put down the tech and actually go get involved with helping someone else. You would be AMAZED at how good that can make you feel and possibly put things into perspective.

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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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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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