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Morning 9: Na way he wasn’t winning | Rahmbo: Spanish Open Part II | Bryson bulking up?

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram and (reluctantly) now at benGolfWRX on Twitter.

October 7, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. Na way was he letting this one get away
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard with the black letter of Kevin Na’s victory…”Na won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, the fourth event of the 2019-20 PGA Tour schedule, on Sunday at 23 under par after a two-hole playoff against Cantlay.”
  • “In an emotional post-round interview with Golf Channel, Na gave an impassioned answer in Korean, where he said he was very happy and confident after the win and thanked everyone in Korea for “believing in him,” according to a quick Google translation.”

Full piece.

  • Really, this was a win about a guy with grit and swagger capping an often sloppy final round by going to a well that should have been dry and filling his cup-and walking a playoff-extending putt in with the stones of Tiger at Valhalla. Far from the fragile psyche and cruel caricature of the recent past, this version of Kevin Na is a confident winner.
2. Open de Rahma 
The details on Jon Rahm’s repeat Spanish Open W via Europeantour.com, which saw him become the fastest Spaniard ever to 5 wins, besting the maestro, Seve Ballesteros…”The World Number Five carded a closing 66 that saw him finish at 22 under and enter the record books with a fifth European Tour victory in just his 39th start.”
  • “Rafa Cabrera Bello was his nearest challenger as Spaniards dominated the leaderboard, with World Number 1,413 Samuel Del Val at 15 under in just his fifth European Tour event.”
  • “The victory moved Rahm to the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex as he looks to become the first Spaniard to win the Harry Vardon Trophy since the late, great Seve Ballesteros in 1991.”

Full piece.

3. An unexpected day for Knight 
AP report on the action on LPGA Tour...”Cheyenne Knight struggled so much her rookie season that she made the cut in only half of her tournaments and figured she was headed back to the LPGA Tour qualifying series. One week changed everything.”
“In the only LPGA event in her home state of Texas, in what she thought would be her last tournament of the year, Knight played bogey-free Sunday and closed with a 5-under 66 for a two-shot victory in the Volunteers of America Classic.”
4. Phil’s pleased
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta...”Mickelson closed Sunday with a 4-under par 67, which is about even par this week at TPC Summerlin.”
  • “Phil entered the weekend just three off the 36-hole pace but tumbled down the leaderboard Saturday with a third-round 74 on a day when the scoring average was 67.75.”
  • “Asked to sum up his play, Mickelson said: “I came out and had two good rounds out of four. I didn’t obviously compete, but the road back to playing well is a process, and today or this week was a good start on that process, and I’m looking forward to going to Korea and continuing improving. I identified a few areas to continue to work on, but there were some areas of strength as well.”
5. Bryson bulking?
This is…not totally surprising… Per Ben Everill at PGATour.com, Bryson DeChambeau is taking the next month to seriously get his swole on.
In terms of the specifics, well, who the hell knows. Here’s a bit of Bryson per Ben.
  • “I’m going to come back next year and look like a different person. You’re going to see some pretty big changes in my body, which is going to be a good thing. Going to be hitting it a lot further,” DeChambeau said after finishing his title defense at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open with an 8-under 63.
  • “Bigger. Way stronger. Just stronger in general. I am going to look probably a lot bigger, but it’s going to be a fun month and a half off. I have never been able to do this, and I’m going to go do things that are going to be a lot of fun.”
  • And…”We make sure the neurological threshold is just as high as the mechanical threshold…”
  • “In layman’s terms, pretty much whatever muscle potentially you have, how big and the muscle spindles you have, you can recruit every single one of them to their full potential throughout the whole range and training the whole range of motion.”

Full piece.

6. Scott Herbert survives
Golfweek staff report…”Not only did Scott Hebert come from behind to win the 31st Senior PGA Professional Championship Sunday, he matched a Championship record for lowest 72-hole total with 16-under 270.”
“With rounds of 70-70-63-67 at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa’s Fazio Foothills Course, Hebert finished four strokes ahead of Jerry Haas, Jeff Hart and Frank Bensel Jr. Hebert’s third-round 63 set a Championship record for lowest third round and tied for the best 18-hole score in Championship history.”
7. LPGA card drama 
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”the last player to secure an LPGA card for 2020 didn’t even play at LPGA International.”
  • “Mind Muangkhumsakul got her pro-am time wrong on Wednesday and was forced to withdraw from the competition. She came into the finale 10th on the money list (the top 10 secure LPGA cards), $10,176 ahead of South Korea’s Min Seo Kwak.”
  • “According to a tour official, Muangkhumsakul thought the pro-am began at 9 a.m. and arrived at the course 20 minutes to the hour. With the 8 a.m. shotgun running late, play officially began at 8:17 a.m. Officials tried to get her out to the tee of her second hole in time (had she made it, Muangkhumsakul would’ve only been given a $500 fine). But she didn’t make that either and was forced to WD.”

Full piece.

8. Tee box demons
Mark Townsend at National Club Golfer...”This week in Spain Scott Gregory did likewise during the first round in Madrid. The 2016 Amateur champion, he beat Bob MacIntyre in the final at Royal Porthcawl, has endured an horrific season having come through Q School at the end of last year with just one made cut in 17 starts. His Challenge Tour efforts haven’t realised much better.”
  • “When we see ‘DISQ’ next to a player’s name it always catches the eye, sadly for Gregory it wasn’t a wrong scorecard, as he explained via Twitter.”
  • “I haven’t been DQ’d for anything sinister, it was more a withdrawal. Those closest to me know I’ve been battling some mental demons both off the tee and personally for a while now and today everything kind of fell apart. I ended up struggling to pull the trigger and seeing a shot off the tee, resulting in some quite large misses,” the 25-year-old said.
  • “Because of this my only option was to walk away, it’s not fair on my playing partners with the speed I was playing due to the issue. I’m never one to quit and this is the first and last time in my career it will happen. I want to thank you for all your support and I hope to come back stronger once I’ve got the help I need.”

Full piece.

9. A hole-in-one for Jimmy Buffett! 
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard…”The 72-year-old singer shared a photo on his Instagram page celebrating a hole-in-one, rocking a New Orleans Saints hat and playing a Titleist 2.”
“We unfortunately don’t know what club was used, nor the yardage, or even where Buffett was playing on Saturday. Or if he aced a hole in his backyard? What we do know is, Come Monday, Buffett will still be Havana Daydreamin’ about his ace”
The puns! See the photo here, Parrotheads.

 

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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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