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Morning 9: Perspectives on Captains Stricker, Harrington’s presser | Why Jack is renovating | 1 middle finger = 3 yr. suspension

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram

October 2, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Stricker showcasing thinking that will doom American side?
That’s the contention, basically, from Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch regarding the 2020 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, who help a press conference with his counterpart yesterday. Lynch didn’t care for Strick’s suggestion that Tiger and Phil are virtually assured spots on the team.
  • “[Stricker:] “To leave any of those guys out would be hard to do, just because of what they mean and what they have meant to these teams over the years,” he said.”
  • “That suggests Stricker may be hostage to the same thinking that helped doom the recent captaincies of Furyk and Davis Love III. All three men served on the oft-maligned task force set up by the PGA of America in the aftermath of the heavy American defeat at Gleneagles in 2014. Mickelson was also on that task force. So too was Woods. The last three U.S. captains have been drawn from that small circle, and the decisions they have made – particularly Furyk’s decision to pick Mickelson – creates a perception of an old boys’ network looking after its own. Are the captain’s decisions being crowdsourced? And is the captain compromised as a result?”

Full piece.

2. Clear eyes (presumably full heart)
A few morsels from Shane Ryan’s somewhat different take on the captains’ conference…
  • “…Yes, he [Stricker] has to be concerned about the team’s performance in France. Yes, he has to be concerned that the U.S. has won only three of the last 10 Ryder Cups. Yes, he has to be concerned that Whistling Straits might be slightly harder to modify to his team’s advantage, compared to a course like Hazeltine National was in 2016, because it’s a lakeside links course that’s naturally more difficult to alter (less room to change/expand fairway widths, more waste areas that can’t be altered, etc.). And yes, to the point that provoked his joke, he even has to worry that Americans are 0 for 3 at the PGA Championships played at Whistling Straits.”
  • “…but to the extent that we can get sense of leadership styles, Stricker came across with his usual self-effacing humility. He’s been an assistant captain for three Ryder Cups, along with captain of the victorious 2017 U.S. Presidents Cup team, and he gave every indication that he’ll be a system captain, insofar as the U.S. has a model to follow after the post-2014 Task Force.”
  • “A telling moment: When asked about his first or most compelling Ryder Cup memory, Stricker reverted not to his childhood, but to 1993, when he was 26 and Davis Love III made the winning putt at The Belfry.”

Full piece.

3. Why Jack’s restoring Muirfield Village
According to Golfweek’s Forecaddie “…Nicklaus’ comments at the end of the press release that surprised even TMOF. After assuring members that he’s adding forward tees to keep the course flexible, the Golden Bear made clear he’s not waiting for the governing bodies to address change in the game. Or maybe the Golden Bear just wanted to make sure course setup analyst Rory McIlroy will keep coming to the Memorial.”
“The Forecaddie will let you decide: “But my belief is that tournament golf should be a test to find out who is the best golfer that week. Far too many tournaments have eliminated the rough and firmness of greens, and that is just not my idea of what the game of golf should be. So I am going to stick with my old-fashioned beliefs about how the game of golf should be played and the way golf courses should be set up. How the USGA’s Joe Dey used to set up courses is how I learned and how I thought golf should be played. It’s the guy who drives the ball the straightest; the guy who plays the best iron game; the guy who is best around the greens and is sometimes challenged when he doesn’t play a good shot to the green; and the guy who putts well. The whole gamut of all shots is what the game of golf is all about. The game should challenge every facet of every club in the bag.”
4. This from Captain Harrington…
…a less than surprising take when you consider he’s the skipper of the visiting team!
  • Golf Channel’s Will Gray….”Part of the lore of the Ryder Cup is the notion of home course advantage, one that plays out in various other team sports. But Padraig Harrington hopes it’s an aspect that gets eliminated down the line in the biennial matches.”
  • “The European skipper was a vice captain at Hazeltine in 2016 when the Americans feasted on a wide-open setup with easy pins, and he was in the team room again in 2018 when the Europeans returned the favor by growing the rough and tightening the targets at Le Golf National. The home team is allowed input on course setup decisions, meaning that Whistling Straits will be under the watchful eye of U.S. captain Steve Stricker for the 2020 matches, but Tuesday, Harrington floated the notion of using a more neutral approach in future years.”
5. Mellian drama
Our Gianni Magliocco…”LPGA players Marina Alex and Lizette Salas have hit back after a report from Golf Channel lambasted the performances of both American and European players on the LPGA Tour.”
  • “Within the report, Golf Channel columnist Randall Mell described the combined total of four LPGA individual stroke-play victories between U.S. and European players on the LPGA Tour this year as “woeful.”
  • “Mell also accused the American players of “not holding up their end of the bargain.” after unveiling the statistic that over the past decade Korean players have won twice as many LPGA titles than their American counterparts.”
  • “The article has produced an angry response from two LPGA players, with U.S. Solheim Cup 2019 member Marina Alex writing in a tweet that Mell should be cautious of ever asking either team member for a quote in future, while subsequently describing his criticism as “a bit discriminatory.”

Full piece.

6. A meditation on pigeon and statue-ness
Eamon Lynch writing about Cameron Champ…”In 26 events after his win at the Country Club of Jackson, Mississippi, Champ totaled two top-10 finishes and 11 missed cuts. He was soon out of the conversation of the most impressive rookies on the PGA Tour.”
  • “After the Wyndham Championship in early August, Champ’s coach Sean Foley was philosophical about the player’s struggles and emphasized it was still early on the steep learning curve of playing on Tour.”
  • “Golf is not about the guy who is happiest. It’s about the guy who can endure the most disappointment and still get up the next day and keep doing it.”

Full piece.

7. Praising Rory
Perspective from Jack Rathbone at the Independent…”The 30-year-old owes nothing to the European Tour, having already repaid it for providing the launchpad he received as a youngster with more than a decade of excellence. The specific nature of McIlroy’s comments may initially provoke the ire of the Tour, yet the key now should be to show a willingness to appease him – and others who are passionate enough about the game to publicly vent their frustrations with constructive criticism.”
  • “A wider look at an adjustment to course set-up is not an outrageous suggestion either, given the game itself shows little sign of a willingness to scale back advancements in technology from manufacturers.”

Full piece.

8. On caddie scholarship programs
As someone who grew up working in the golf industry, I can say unequivocally: Support caddie programs! Support caddie scholarships!
  • Good stuff from Paul Sullivan at Golf.com discussing a matter of no small importance…”But at many golf clubs that maintain caddie programs, the loopers look a bit different: shorter, scrawnier, less savvy but hopefully inquisitive and friendly. That’s because most club caddies, particularly in the peak summer months, are drawn from the ranks of local high school and college kids. And for good reason. The club needs strong, seasonal workers. For the young caddie, it’s a pretty good summer gig: You get to work outside, earn cash, meet people who might one day help you land an internship or job. Plus, if your boss is a jerk, you get a new one the next day.”
  • “But member and looper have helped each other in a more long-lasting way for the past century, in the form of scholarship money. National caddie scholarship funds, combined with thousands of individual club programs, now award tens of millions of dollars each year to boys and girls who work at golf courses. The fall is the time to apply. The impact is meaningful. The Evans Scholars Program, the granddaddy of caddie scholarships, last year awarded $24 million in full scholarships and housing at 18 colleges to 985 caddies. Some $14 million of that comes from Evans alums giving back, with another $10 million from 34,000 golfers making small donations.”

Full piece.

9. One middle finger = three-year suspension? 
Our Gianni Magliocco…”On Tuesday, the KPGA handed golfer Bio Kim a fine and three-year suspension from the Tour for making an obscene gesture at a spectator during an event last week.”
  • “The incident occurred during the 16th hole on Sunday, where according to the AFP, the sound of a cellphone camera put the Tour money leader off his drive.”
  • “The distraction led to an errant drive from Kim, who reacted by flipping his middle finger to the crowd. Check out the incident here.”
  • “The 29-year-old went on to win the tournament and apologized swiftly afterwards. Kim then attended an emergency meeting with the KPGA and made a further public apology where the teary-eyed golfer knelt and asked for forgiveness.”
  • “However, the KPGA decided to slap Kim with a three-year suspension from the Tour and a fine of 10 million won (U.S. $8,350).”

 

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  1. Ryan

    Oct 2, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Neither Phil or Tiger have a stellar record in the Ryder Cup. In fact they have both have losing records. I don’t know how you take either one over a more deserving and “hotter” player when the time comes if both fail to qualify outright. Especially if you want to win.

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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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