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Morning 9: Na Prez Cup captain’s pick? | LPGA’s slow play call out | Honesty and a brutal DQ

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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 golfwrxEIC on Twitter.

October 8, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Kevin Na: Presidents Cup captain’s pick?
Plenty of chatter on the subject, but Golfweek’s Steve Dimeglio makes the case as articulately as any…”After winning just once in his first 369 starts – he won in Las Vegas in 2011 – Na has won three of his last 30 starts on the PGA Tour. He’s ranked No. 24 in the world, ahead of many of the names being considered.”
  • “And only three players have won multiple titles on the PGA Tour this calendar year – world No. 1 Brooks Koepka, world No. 2 Rory McIlroy and, wait for it, Na.”
  • “Yes, as his critics will point out, the wins by Koepka and McIlroy were cream of the crop – Koepka a major and a WGC title, McIlroy won the Players, RBC Canadian Open and the season-ending Tour Championship. Na, on the other and, was victorious at Colonial in the Charles Schwab Challenge and at defenseless TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas on Sunday.”
  • “But winning is winning and winning twice in less than five months means something. In Las Vegas, he held off Patrick Cantlay, one of the eight players on the U.S. team who qualified in the points race, in a playoff.”

Full piece.

2. Poulter (defending champ) skipping Houston Open
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…“This week the Houston Open will move into its new fall date on the PGA Tour calendar, but it will do so without defending champ Ian Poulter.”
  • “Last spring Poulter notched an emotional victory at the Golf Club of Houston, rolling in a birdie on the final hole to force a playoff before defeating Beau Hossler on the first extra hole. It was his first official PGA Tour win since 2010, and it earned Poulter the final spot in the 2018 Masters.”
  • “But rather than defend his title this week, Poulter will instead tee it up on the European Tour at the Italian Open. The decision likely has roots in the change to the PGA Tour schedule: played annually in the spring, often the week before the Masters, the Houston Open this week will debut as a fall event as part of a new five-year agreement after struggling in recent years to find footing with a title sponsor.”

Full piece.

3. You’ll be able to watch every shot of The Players live
Our Gianni Magliocco…”PGA Tour Live subscribers on either NBC Sports Gold or Amazon Prime Video Channels will have the opportunity to see every shot from any player in the 144 man field from TPC Sawgrass, with almost 120 cameras set to be utilized, as each group at the event will have its own dedicated stream.”
  • “Speaking on the project, Rick Anderson, Chief Media Officer for the Tour, stated”
  • “The PGA TOUR is the most content-rich sport on the planet and we have been focused on expanding the amount of content we bring to our fans from our competitions. Our vision is to bring every shot in every PGA TOUR golf tournament live and on-demand to our fans, and this is the first step to making that happen.”
  • “The Tour has already announced the addition of early-round featured groups coverage from seven events between September and December as they continue to ramp up live coverage.”

Full piece.

4. LPGA’s slow play call out
Golfweek’s Forecaddie writes…”Slow players on the LPGA are singled out each week on a sheet that’s posted in the locker room. The list includes those who have had plus times that have resulted in both fines and two-stroke penalties.”
  • “Does it help?…Depends on whom you ask. The Forecaddie wasn’t surprised to learn that some players didn’t even know about the public shaming. (It’s hard to get people to read.)”
  • “Others like that the list is up but don’t believe it makes that much of a difference.”
5. Money can’t buy rivalries
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch with this meditation in light of the upcoming Woods-McIlroy skins game…”It’s been 36 years since the Skins Game was first played and about 30 years since it lost its novelty, though only a decade since it was finally mothballed. Money mattered back then, even to Jack Nicklaus, who was ecstatic once after making a putt worth $240,000 (almost $100,000 more than he got for winning the ’86 Masters). Given the sums now commonplace in golf – 112 players earned over $1 million before bonuses last season on the PGA Tour – Skins games need a raison d’etre beyond testing the old ‘putt for dough’ theory, especially if the cash at stake won’t even gas the competitors jets or make caddies sweat their percentage.”

Full piece.

6. “Trying to grow the game like Seve”
BBC Golf Correspondent Iain Carter on Jon Rahm’s motivations outside the ropes…”Last weekend, his biggest battle was probably with himself. The Basque Country-born champion admitted he felt extra pressure in Madrid to perform in front of Spanish fans.”
  • “It’s great that I’ve done it here, to beat Seve’s record with his last professional win being at this course as well,” Rahm said. “It’s very special for me.
  • “Any time I can do anything close to what he did is unbelievable. That’s why I’m here, trying to make Spanish golf bigger and grow the sport in Spain like he did.”
  • “And this commitment stretches beyond the borders of his home country. Even though his elite amateur golf was played in the United States, Rahm is proving a significant ambassador for the European Tour.”

Full piece.

7. Young Payne never made it easy 
New book, The Last Stand of Payne Stewart: The Year Golf Changed Forever, by Kevin Robbins, is excerpted in Golf Digest (our Johnny Newbern talked with the author last month). The book details Stewart’s final year. Here’s an excerpt of an excerpt, as it were.
  • Payne Stewart chose the colors of the Chicago Bears for the final round. He played the front at even-par 36, capped by three irritating putts on the ninth that put him five strokes behind Mike Reid. Payne saw Jerry Pate, who was broadcasting on the course for ABC, on the walk to the tenth tee.
  • “If I can shoot 31 on the back nine, I could have a chance to win this thing,” he told Pate.
  • “It seemed like another bold pronouncement, another empty assertion, another case of spouted words he could not back up. That chance would depend on luck: a calamitous, uncharacteristic collapse by Reid.”

Full piece.

8. Honesty and a DQ
Heckuva story from Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, syndicated in Golfweek, regarding a high school golfer who found herself in a precarious position…
“Parrott, after eating lunch, noticed that the live scoring app had her at +3 for the tournament instead of +4. At first, she believed it was an error on the app. Then, after checking her official scorecard again, Parrott’s stomach dropped. She had signed an incorrect scorecard.”
  • “In the moment, the 17-year-old was faced with a conundrum: She could play along, knowing the score was incorrect by one stroke. Parrott would have tied for fifth with the incorrect score, five shots behind state champion Faith Johnson of Evansville North. Or, she could turn herself in”
  • “There was no way anyone else would have known,” Parrott said Monday.”

Full piece.

9. Meadow & Maguire
Good stuff from Brian Keogh for the Irish Independent on the rising talents Meadow and Maguire…
  • “Stars Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire want to inspire the next generation of Irish girls when they tee it up on the LPGA Tour next season.”
  • “Meadow (27) birdied her last two holes in the Volunteers of America Classic to keep her card, revealing she had to endure a nerve-racking wait for confirmation that she’d made the crucial top 100 money winners.”
  • “I was sick to my stomach for two hours afterwards until I knew for sure,” Meadow said of her tie for sixth in Dallas and her last-gasp leap from 112th to 99th thanks to a brilliant birdie at the last.
  • “I just knew I had to make that putt on 18 or I was going back to Q-School. It was a thrill to know I could do it when I really needed it.”
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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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