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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: 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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