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Morning 9: New Euro Tour schedule | When Tiger made Adam Scott question turning pro

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

October 3, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. Koepka: I don’t play for awards
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta on BK latest display of confidence…This year’s POY vote stirred up debate after Koepka – who won three times and finished in the top 4 at all four majors with a victory at the PGA Championship – lost the vote to Players and FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy.
  • “Asked on Wednesday for his reaction to the vote, Koepka was initially short….”I don’t play for awards. I just play to win, win trophies, win tournaments,” he said.”
  • “But then, right when it sounded like he was ready to move on and quash the conversation, the PGA Tour’s alpha dog made a sufficiently alpha comparison.”
  • “Yeah, it would’ve been great, but I think everybody in this room knows – I mean, LeBron has only won 4 MVPs

Full piece.

2. Stem cell injection
Steve Dimeglio with the previously unknown news of a Brooks Koepka injury and treatment…”Ahead of his season debut in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin, Koepka revealed Wednesday he underwent a stem cell procedure for a partially torn patella tendon. He did it to relieve discomfort and strengthen a left knee that had been bugging him since March.”
  • “The procedure was performed Sept. 2 in Orlando.”
  • “It’s stem cell, so they go in and inject it into my knee,” Koepka said. “I’m watching it on the screen, as they were doing it, and it was probably one of the most painful things, I was screaming when they did it.”

Full piece.

3. New Euro Tour schedule revealed 
EuropeanTour.com report on the 2020 schedule…”The Rolex Series returns for its fourth consecutive year, beginning with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Presented by EGA (January 16-19) followed by the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (May 28-31), and the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 9-12), before the BMW PGA Championship (September 10-13) and the Italian Open (October 8-11) take place a fortnight either side of The Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.”
  • “The season then concludes with three consecutive Rolex Series events; the Turkish Airlines Open (November 5-8), the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player (November 12-15) and the season-finale, the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai (November 19-22) where the 2020 Race to Dubai champion will be crowned.”

Full piece/see the full sched

4. Notable elements of the new schedule
Joe Hughes of National Club Golfer on a few of most noteworthy elements of the schedule.
  • For example, this on the Irish Open…”Staying with the Irish Open, the tournament will not take up its spot immediately before the Scottish Open and Open Championship in 2020.”
  • “The three events offered a nice links swing when all scheduled close together but this will no longer be the case.”
  • “Stacking up against the Rocket Mortgage Classic, the Irish Open will now be played on the last weekend in May and the move should encourage a stellar field to assemble at whichever venue is chosen.”
5. When Tiger beat up on Scott
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta…”Scott was working with swing coach Butch Harmon shortly after turning pro, and Woods was stopping by Rio Secco on his way to Pebble Beach.”
  • “It was the Sunday before the week of the U.S. Open,” Scott said.
  • “He closed me out on the 14th, but he double bogeyed the 9th for 63, and I was a bit blown away by what I saw. It was quite windy, and I thought I played quite well. Probably shot about even par and I was nine off the pace. I made probably a throwaway comment to Butch, something like, ‘Maybe I should reconsider turning pro?’
  • “The only thing that made me feel good was he won the U.S. Open by 15 the next week, so I was quite happy to see that no one else really played like that.”

Full piece.

6. Is Rory right? 
Alistair Tait thinks he might be…”Although there are still tournaments left to play on this year’s European schedule, average winning totals are two shots easier than Rory’s first full European Tour season of 2008. The average winning total 11 years ago was 272. It’s 270 this year. Ditto for shots under par. Sixteen under is the average winning tally, while it was 14 under in 2008.”
  • “Rory was right to feel miffed at finishing T-26 for 15 under in the Alfred Dunhill. He’d have finished higher with that score every year going back to 2008. In fact, 15 under would have won in 2008, and earned him a playoff last year. It would have put him in the top 10, including five top fives, every year except 2013 when he would have placed T-24.”

Full piece.

7. Na the humble? 
PGATour.com’s Ben Everill quoting Kevin Na…“I’m not afraid to make fun of myself. Some of these things, you have to be able to own up to it,” Na says.
  • “Making a 16, it can happen to anybody. I’ve had the yips. … that can also happen to anybody. Because I have been so open about it, I think a lot of people have come to me asking for advice and I love trying to help people where I can.
  • “It’s important that you are not a person that digs a hole of negativity that you ultimately struggle to get out of. Be open about things. Talk about it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
8. Eye of the Tiger test
Golf Digest’s Peter Morrice…Tiger discusses the subject of trying new equipment in Episode 7 of his “My Game: Tiger Woods'” video series, by GOLFTV and Golf Digest. “A club may perform better than what I have, but if I’m fighting the way it looks, and I have to rely on it on the 72nd hole of a tournament,” Tiger says, “I’m probably not going to give it a chance.”
Tiger talks about having 50 drivers sent to him when he’s considering a change, and his process of eliminating most of them to find a few keepers. First impressions matter to Tiger; in fact, his eye test is the critical first step. “It has to look good, then after that it has to perform at my expectations,” Tiger says. “If it’s not doing those two things, then it’s just not in.”
9. Baseball-golf parallel?
An interesting point from Geoff Shackelford…”Baseball and golf’s launch-angle focus has introduced safety issues in baseball, longer games and a less interesting version of the sport to watch. Similar parallels can be seen in golf. And yet…”
“Craig Calcaterra reports that in a record year for home runs, baseball saw its lowest attendance in sixteen years. While his focus on the price of attending games is no doubt part of the problem, the thirst to see home runs has not been enough to offset the economics. Sound familiar?”
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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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