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Morning 9: U.S. Open Rota? | McIlroy stirs distance debate too? | Perspectives on BK’s brashness

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By Ben Alberstadt
morning9@golfwrx.com is unmonitored! Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com
and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram
October 1, 2019
Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Feinstein/Davis on future of major venues/”U.S. Open Rota”
John Feinstein used his hotline access to USGA chief Mike Davis to discuss the future U.S. Open venues and the idea of a “U.S. Open Rota,” ala The R&A’s practices across the pond.
  • “…According to Davis, there will be no rota, but, as the schedule from now through 2027 makes clear, there are a handful of courses the USGA will return to on a frequent basis.”
  • “It’s pretty clear that we love Pebble Beach, Pinehurst, Oakmont and Shinnecock,” Davis says. “Those four meet all our criteria: They’re great tests of golf, they set up logistically either very well or well enough, and-being honest-we’re going to make money when we go there. We’re a nonprofit, but the U.S. Open financially supports everything else we do-all our other championships and all the golf programs we sponsor-among other things.”
  • Also…”The Open is scheduled to go back to Pinehurst in 2024, Oakmont in 2025, Shinnecock in 2026 and Pebble Beach in 2027. That means it will be 10 years between visits to Pinehurst, nine years since the 2016 Open at Oakmont, and an eight-year gap for Shinnecock and Pebble.”

Full piece.

2. McIlroy, distance debate
Geoff Shackelford for Golfweek…”Following his disdainful post-round comments about the ease of European Tour course setups compared with the PGA Tour’s approach, McIlroy backed off that take. In a Monday morning Instagram post, he said the “venting” came “from the right place.” McIlroy then joined the list of great players – Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods – who are uneasy about how the sport is played.”
  • “Strategy, course management and shot making are important aspects of tournament golf that are being slowly taken out of the game at the top level, not just in Europe but worldwide,” McIlroy wrote.
  • “Translation: one of the game’s longest and best drivers, who has benefited from an emphasis on distance over precision, does not like what he sees. While McIlroy has dropped similar hints in the last year, his remarks came after twice playing the Old Course at St. Andrews and in a year when he played his most consistent golf.”

Full piece.

3. Woods cleared for full practice
Kyle Porter at CBS…”…the surgery on his left knee was to “repair minor cartilage damage,” and Woods talked over the weekend about how he’s back playing golf and getting ready for the Zozo Championship and Japan Skins Game at the end of October.”
  • “Tiger was interviewed by Michael Strahan to promote his Nexus Cup, which benefits the TGR Foundation.”
  • “I got the clearance last week to start full practice, and so I played nine holes the other day,” Woods told Strahan. “It’s sore, yeah, it’s sore. But now I can start lifting and getting my muscle back and getting my weight up and doing all that stuff again.”

Full piece.

4. Rory & JP haven’t spoken? 
Interesting/notable only because of Rory’s “sacrifice a professional relationship to save a personal one” position…
  • Derek Lawrenson for the Daily Mail…In his first public comments on the matter, Fitzgerald revealed to Sportsmail on Sunday that the pair, who were close friends, have not exchanged a word since they went their separate ways.
  • The fact he took so much time off might say everything about how hard he took it, but Fitzgerald, a quietly dignified man who has never sought publicity, has no desire to speak ill of McIlroy now.
  • ‘At the end of the day, I went away to collect my thoughts and recharge my batteries,’ said the Dubliner. ‘It was obvious that I needed the break. But I’ve learned from every player with whom I’ve worked, and Rory is no different to others like Ernie Els in that regard. I’m appreciative of the fact they’ve all helped me to get better as a caddie.'”

Full piece.

5. BK’s peers on his brashness
Steve Dimeglio, perhaps in an end-of-season emptying of the notebook, re-examined some of Brooks Koepka’s boldest remarks and solicited peer reaction…
  • “Billy Horschel, the 2014 FedEx Cup champion, said he has no problems with what comes out of Koepka’s mouth. Now, the ball coming off his clubs, that’s an altogether different matter…”It can come off as arrogant and cocky to certain people, but I don’t mind it at all. If you don’t like it, do something about it.”
  • …”Brooks doesn’t play angles,” said Paul Casey, a winner of 19 professional tournaments. “He’s a straight-forward guy, focused on being the best he can be. And he’s backed up his words with impressive stuff.”
  • …”He has just enough arrogance that you need to be the best,” Harmon said. “All great players, in all sports, have it. If you ask LeBron if he’s the best player in the NBA, he’s not going to say no. If you ask Tom Brady if he’s the best in the NFL, he’s not going to say no. If you asked Tiger back in the day, he certainly wasn’t going to say no.

Full piece.

6. Let the data show…!
Geoff Shackelford with this interesting bit on Bryson…
  • “Here’s DeChambeau, now (maybe somewhat slightly kinda unfairly) branded as the poster child from Saturday at the Safeway Classic:”
  • “There’s data out there now that shows that I am not the slowest player at all by any means,” he said.
  • “When asked to elaborate on the data he was referring to, DeChambeau was less than forthcoming.”
  • “Well the PGA Tour has it. I’ve seen it. I don’t know if I can disclose any of it,” he said. “But I’m definitely not in the top 10 percent. I’m not close to that. That’s from Shotlink data. We have that. So, I can say that, I know I can say that without a shadow of a doubt.”

Full piece.

7. That’s one interpretation!
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall with a modest proposal: Rory McIlroy is going to defect to the U.S. Ryder Cup team (note: this is satire…I think)
  • “We can hear the gravy-muffled guffawing from the British press on this side of the Atlantic. Sure, ascribe McIlroy’s latest round of haymakers-announcing his disappointment with European Tour’s course setups-as post-round frustrations. That is failing to see the forest for the trees. Well, if England had any trees left, which it does not. The truth runs to a grander design, which ends with McIlroy wearing red, white and blue in Wisconsin exactly one year from now.”
  • “A scheme that is more than a decade in the making, beginning in 2009 when he called the Ryder Cup an exhibition. This caused an uproar and forced then-Euro captain Colin Montgomerie to respond, “It is not an exhibition and it never will be. It’s a very unique, special event.” Which is what you’d expect from someone without a major.”
  • “McIlroy backtracked, but it was would not be the last time he took a Mack truck over all the European golf cognoscenti holds dear. In 2011, he ridiculed the Open Championship, saying “I’m not a fan of golf tournaments that are predicted so much by the weather.” Forget that he was right (there’s a reason the major has the highest OWGR average winner); that McIlroy had the audacity to defame the claret jug caused the strokes of a dozen R&A septuagenarians. And he almost no-showed the final day of the 2012 Ryder Cup, but quickly realized that was too brazen, too fast. The plan needed longer to marinate.”

Full piece.

8. Champ’s club builder speaks
Good Q&A from Andrew Tursky at PGATour.com doing the lord’s work of getting inside info on the pros equipment decisions from the folks they work with…
  • “…PGATOUR.COM caught up with Champ’s club fitter and Ping TOUR rep Kenton Oates…”
  • “PGATOUR.COM: Can you take us through Cameron’s changes?”
  • “KENTON OATES: “The change that started all this was when he started wanting to look at G410 LS Tec drivers in Detroit, so we did a lot of work between Detroit (Rocket Mortgage Classic) and New York (THE NORTHERN TRUST). By the time he got to New York in the Playoffs, he wanted a driver that he could hit lower and hit little cuts with. So we went even shorter in length, from 44.75 inches to 44.5 inches. We also went into a shaft that’s really stiff in the tip, the Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green. Then he loved the driver.”
  • “That’s what kind of sparked us wanting to work on iron shafts. He played Blueprint irons after winning with iBlades (at the 2018 Sanderson Farms), and he actually statistically gained more shots with the Blueprints, but that change kind of came at the wrong time. So we reached out to him after the season was done, and we’re like, ‘Hey, the Blueprints were actually pretty positive. What did you like about them? What didn’t you like about them?’

Full piece.

9. Perspective shift
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker on Jason Day’s focus on family ahead of golf.
  • “In early 2017, Day’s mother, Dening, was diagnosed with Stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer. In the ensuing two years, Day has had to balance his career and family life with his wife, Ellie, and their three children, while helping his mother cope with a life-threatening condition that appears to be in check.”
  • “When doctors in Australia first examined Dening, they gave her 12 months to live. The news came in the wake of some of Day’s biggest professional successes. In 2015, he had won his first career major at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits and reached the top of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time, a position he would hold for much of the following season with more victories piling up in 2016.”
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  1. Jon

    Oct 2, 2019 at 11:29 am

    Hmm…2020 NY, 2021 CA, 2022 MA, 2023 CA, 2024 NC, 2025 PA, 2026 NY, 2027 CA…Yeah, I see where the US Open is going…just coast-to-coast. My family will be happy that I will be able to spend time with them on Father’s Day at least thru 2027. Hey USGA, thank you for bringing back segregation. What’s wrong with Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, Denver? Bye Felicia.

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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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