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Morning 9: 80-freaking-2! | Perspectives on Tiger Woods’ win | Other tour action

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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 28, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans. If you watched Tiger Woods’ Skins performance, saw him start the Zozo with 3 bogeys in a row and thought he had any chance of winning the tournament, you are lying. An incredible, out-of-nowhere effort to join the Slammer!
 
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1. 82!
Steve DiMeglio for USA Today with the game story…“Ten weeks after he last played and two months after having a fifth surgery to his troublesome left knee, Tiger Woods joined Hall of Famer Sam Snead in the record books with his 82nd PGA Tour victory on Monday (Sunday night in the United States). Snead’s final PGA Tour win came in 1965, when he was 52 years old.”
  • “At the storm-delayed Zozo Championship, the first official PGA Tour event in Japan, Woods played seven holes under sunshine Monday morning to wrap up his historic triumph. With rounds of 64-64-66-67, Woods finished at 19 under to win by three shots over local hero Hideki Matsuyama.”
  • “It’s just crazy. It’s a lot,” Woods said of his 82nd PGA Tour win. “I’ve been able to be consistent most of my career, and I put myself up there with a chance to win on a number of occasions. There’s plenty of times when I didn’t.
2. Nobody (probably not even Tiger) saw this W coming
Forget about the longer arc of Woods career and the “will he win again” abyss of 2013-2018 for a moment and look at the mico level. Excellent stuff from Bob Harig at ESPN putting into perspective just how unlikely this particular win looked just a week ago.
  • “It was only a month ago that he began playing golf again after arthroscopic knee surgery on Aug. 20. Woods admitted that all of his golf in recent weeks was in a cart. “It’s a little bit different than when you have to walk out here,” he said.”
  • “When he competed in the skins game challenge along with Matsuyama, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day on Oct. 21, his game was so sketchy early on that he missed a par-3 green so badly his ball hit a cart path and rolled halfway back to the tee”.
  • “Then he opened the tournament Thursday with three consecutive bogeys — according to Elias, no player dating to 1983 had won a tournament after doing that — and it seemed that it might be a struggle for him to be respectable.”

Full piece.

3. From the man who watched every shot in person (presumably)
All of Tiger Tracker’s bullet points are worth digesting, but here are a few.
  • “In his first start in nine weeks, in his first start since offseason knee surgery, Tiger shot 19 under par and no round worse than 67. Sheesh.”
  • “Was there any doubt that Tiger was going to roll in that 8-footer on the last, to make an indelible moment that can run on a loop for the next six months? Of course not.”
  • “This thing could have gotten a whole lot more interesting early in the restart. Tiger bogeyed his first hole out of the gates (hey, 12 is tough!) and then Matsuyama stuffed it to 5 feet on 14. That could have cut the deficit to just one shot with four holes remaining. Instead … Matsuyama shoved it, and Tiger rolled in a 20-footer for birdie. He never trailed by fewer than two the rest of the morning.”

Full piece.

4. A morsel of perspective
The takes are plentiful, as you’d expect, following Tiger Woods’ win. Here are a couple of Eamon Lynch’s best paragraphs from his reaction piece…
  • “What makes win No. 82 so remarkable isn’t the manner of the victory -we’ve long since become accustomed to seeing Woods cruise past a quality field as he did at the Zozo Championship in Japan – but the fact that few people genuinely expected to witness even wins 80 and 81. It was August 2013 when he notched No. 79 at the Bridgestone Invitational. Then came injuries. Surgeries. Personal travails. Chipping yips. Scorecards more worthy of a 10-handicap. A mug shot. A DUI plea. Treatment. Each episode brought an avalanche of career obituaries.”
  • “…Like the 1,876 barren days between wins 79 and 80, two peaks separated by a valley whose walls once seemed insurmountable. Or the 3,954 days that elapsed between his 14th major victory and his astonishing 15th earlier this year at Augusta National. Or 1,199, the lowly, lonely position in the world ranking to which he had fallen less than two years ago.”
5. Bravo, Brown
John Huggan for Golf Digest on Steven Brown’s improbable triumph…”The last regular-season event on the European Tour is one invariably filled with tales of tour cards lost and found. And the 2019 Portugal Masters did not disappoint. Happiest man on the Dom Pedro Victoria course at Vilamoura, however, was surely Steven Brown. The 32-year old Englishman arrived on the Algarve a lowly 150th on the Race to Dubai and mentally preparing himself for what would have been a seventh visit to tour school in his eight-year professional career.”
  • “Things — and minds — can change quickly though. With a 72-hole aggregate of 267, 17-under par, Brown claimed his first European Tour victory by a shot over a pair of South Africans, Branden Stone and Justin Walters. Way more importantly given his previous status, Brown — whose closing rounds of 67-65-66 all beat his season’s best of 68 — now owns a two-year tour exemption. In the shorter term, his 81-place rise on the money list means he will also be part of the upcoming Turkish Airlines Open, the first of three post-season playoff tournaments.”

Full piece.

6. Jang > Kang
Via the LPGA communications team…”Seventy-two holes was not enough to decide the BMW Ladies Championship. With a birdie on the third sudden-death playoff hole, KLPGA star and former LPGA Tour player Ha Na Jang beat Danielle Kang at LPGA International Busan and earned her fifth LPGA victory. Jang is the second non-Member winner of the 2019 season, joining AIG Women’s British Open winner Hinako Shibuno, and is now eligible to again accept LPGA Tour Membership.”
  • “I played to the level of this game which is the best,” said Jang, who birdied No. 17 to tie with Kang at -19. “I’m also happy that I went into a playoff with one of my closest friends Danielle Kang.”

Full piece.

7. Seems like captain Tiger is definitely picking Tiger
Golf Digest’s Christopher Powers…“There have been plenty legitimate questions raised over whether or not Tiger Woods should select himself with one of his four Presidents Cup captain’s picks next week. First, was his current form worthy of a pick? He’d done almost nothing since his Masters victory, save for one backdoor top 10 at the Memorial. Then there was his health, which is always a concern with the 15-time major winner. He did not appear to be at full strength at the end of the season, and his latest knee procedure only further that notion. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, would he be able to handle double duty, something only Hale Irwin has done in the history of the event.”
  • “Woods answered the first two questions emphatically on Monday in Japan, claiming his 82nd career PGA Tour victory at the Zozo Championship, which ties him with Sam Snead for most all-time wins. Not only did he impress with his play, but his body held up for a marathon of a week, one that featured a 29-hole day on Sunday.”
  • “Because of his history, Woods didn’t have to prove anything to anyone in order to pick himself to play at Royal Melbourne. But his performance should certainly silent whatever critics there are left. If there’s anyone that still thinks he shouldn’t pick himself, well, we have some bad news…”

Full piece.

8. Why there was no Woods-Matsuyama grouping
In case you hadn’t been following the action all week and were wondering…
  • Rex Hoggard for Golf Channel…“Poor timing and a curious decision will keep Japanese fans from what could only be considered a best-case scenario at the Zozo Championship.”
  • “Because of Friday’s washout, officials were determined to play as much golf as they could Sunday, which for front-runner Tiger Woods was 29 holes. It also meant players wouldn’t be re-grouped following the third round.”
  • “Had the draw been redone, Woods would have been in the final group with Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who is alone in second place and three strokes behind Woods.”

Full piece.

9. Tiger Woods’ WITB
Driver: TaylorMade M5 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 60 TX
3-wood: TaylorMade M5 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 70 TX
5-wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 80 TX
Irons: TaylorMade P7TW irons (3-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Wedges: TaylorMade MG 2 “Tiger MT Grind” (56 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS
Golf Ball: Bridgestone TourB XS
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

 

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  1. Fredo

    Oct 28, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    The silence speaks for itself, Tiger haters be gone, muahahaha!

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Brooks Koepka withdraws from Presidents Cup with knee injury; replaced by Rickie Fowler

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Brooks Koepka has officially announced his withdrawal from the U.S. side for next month’s Presidents Cup, having been unable to fully recover from a knee injury which he re-injured at last month’s CJ Cup.

In a statement released on Koepka’s social media, the world number one stated

“Today, I am announcing my withdrawal from the USA Presidents Cup team because of my knee injury. I notified Captain Tiger Woods that despite constant medical care and rehab, I am not able to play golf at this time. I consider it to be a high honor to be part of the 2019 team and I regret not being able to compete.

Since my injury in Korea, I have been in constant contact with Tiger and assured him that I was making every effort to be 100% in time for the Presidents Cup in Australia. However, I need more time to heal.

I’m sorry I won’t be able to represent the Red, White, and Blue this time around and I wish my teammates nothing but the best as they work to retain the Presidents Cup for the USA.”

View this post on Instagram

Today, I am announcing my withdrawal from the USA Presidents Cup team because of my knee injury. I notified Captain Tiger Woods that despite constant medical care and rehab, I am not able to play golf at this time. I consider it to be a high honor to be part of the 2019 team and I regret not being able to compete. ? Since my injury in Korea, I have been in constant contact with Tiger and assured him that I was making every effort to be 100% in time for the Presidents Cup in Australia. However, I need more time to heal. ? I’m sorry I won’t be able to represent the Red, White, and Blue this time around and I wish my teammates nothing but the best as they work to retain the Presidents Cup for the USA.

A post shared by Brooks Koepka (@bkoepka) on

Koepka has now been replaced in the U.S. team by Rickie Fowler who will be making his third appearance at the Presidents Cup.

The 2019 Presidents Cup takes place at Royal Melbourne from December 12-15.

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Morning 9: Long-term extension for Whan | Rory bemoans major calendar again | Captain Tiger’s Koepka backup plan

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1. If BK can’t play…
Golf Digest’s Daniel Rapaport considers the decision facing captain Tiger Woods should Brooks Koepka be unable to play in Australia.
  • “Brooks Koepka appears to be a question mark after withdrawing from last month’s CJ Cup with a knee injury, an extra concerning development because it was to the same knee that required a stem-cell injection after the Tour Championship in August. Tiger Woods said prior to the Zozo Championship that he was confident Dustin Johnson’s knee would be good to go by Dec. 12, but didn’t know whether Koepka would be able to play. With each passing day that Koepka doesn’t announce his intentions to make the trip to Australia, the uncertainty of him playing in the event grows.”
  • Rapaport’s short list includes…Brendon Todd…Rickie Fowler…Kevin Kisner…Kevin Na…more…

Full piece.

2. “Long-term extension”
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…“Mike Whan doesn’t intend to leave the LPGA anytime soon…With his contract set to expire late next year, Whan confirmed with GolfChannel.com Tuesday that he has signed a contract extension.”
  • “It’s a long-term contract,” Whan said. “I don’t even know how long it is. I really don’t.”..LPGA president Vicki Goetze-Ackerman confirmed there’s a new deal in place.”
  • “It’s a long-term contract,” Goetze-Ackerman said. “That’s all you’re going to get anyone to tell you. He has a vision for the future, and he wants to stay. He’s been fantastic, taking us from a dismal place in 2010 to where we are now, with a vision of an even stronger future.”

Full piece.

3. Ko playing hurt
Golf Digest’s Keely Levins…”Jin Young Ko has had a dominant season on the LPGA, winning four times in 2019, including two major championships. She is the No. 1 player in the world, and she broke Tiger Woods’ record of consecutive tournament holes without a bogey, 114 to Woods’ 110. Moreover, she already has won Player of the Year honors. Yet Ko has arrived at the last event on the LPGA’s calendar, the CME Group Tour Championship facing her biggest challenge this season.”
  • “The 22-year-old from South Korea, citing an ankle injury, considered not playing this week…She said it happened in Taiwan, while playing in the Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA, three weeks before the Tour Championship. On the 18th tee during her practice round at Miramar Golf Country Club in New Taipei City, she took a practice swing and immediately felt pain in her ankle, around the ankle bone both at the instep and outside of the foot. She said she stepped away from the tee, asking her playing partner to hit before her. After waiting a minute, she hit her tee ball, but still felt pain. Post-round, she got a massage and had a trainer tape the ankle.”

Full piece.

4. BBC loses Masters TV rights
Guardian staff report…”The BBC will not show any live golf next year for the first time since 1955 after the broadcaster lost the rights to live coverage of the Masters. Sky Sports will be the sole broadcasters of the tournament from Augusta.”
  • “The BBC lost the rights to the Open in 2016, ending a 60-year run with Britain’s flagship tournament, while their live Masters coverage was pared back to two days in 2011. From next year terrestrial viewers will be able to watch only highlights.”
5. Major calendar worries Rory for casual fans
Golfweek’s Alistair Tait…”Rory McIlroy has reiterated fears that casual golf fans may be turned off the game because the major championships are crammed too tightly together.”
  • “…Major Championship golf now ends in July at the conclusion of the Open Championship. The majors previously wound up in August, but that changed this year with the PGA Championship from its traditional August date to May to avoid a clash with the FedEx Cup.”
  • “I’d love to see the major schedule just spread out a little bit just so, you know, casual fans of the game are a little more interested in golf, not just for five or six months of the year but maybe nine or ten months of the year,” McIlroy said. “Especially with the way the game is going in terms of how important majors are and how much emphasis everyone puts on them.”

Full piece.

6. Lexi’s perspective 
“Remember, she was 12 when she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open in 2007. She was 15 when she finished runner-up at the Evian Championship. She was 19 when she won her first major at the Kraft Nabisco.”
  • “There was always the urge to feel like she’s playing for others…”I’ve gotten to that point at some parts of my career, just a lot of expectations and feeling like I have to perform for others,” she said. “But now I know I’m putting in the hard work. I’m going out and trying to win. But it’s not going to happen every time. I’m not a robot. I’m human. This is my life, and I’ve put in a lot of work, and that’s what people need to realize.”
  • “The challenge in golf is not one’s age or experience, but rather how young everyone else is getting.”

Full piece.

7. Kupcho
AP report…”After turning pro in May, the Colorado native disappeared from the leaderboard for several months. She had only one significant check, a fifth in the Marathon Classic worth $52,798.”
  • “Everything changed a few weeks later in France at her fourth major in eight starts, the Evian Championship. She shot a final-round 66, finishing two shots behind Jin Young Ko, in a three-way tie for runner-up and most importantly, a check for $290,778.”
  • “The LPGA rookie princess is loaded with confidence, and comfortable with her status that includes a 47th place in the Race to the CME Globe rankings.”

Full piece.

8. Leaning on the Patricks?
PGATour.com’s Sean Martin on the origin of the Patrick Reed-Patrick Cantlay friendship, which could prove significant for the American side in Australia…”He decided to phone a friend from his amateur days. Cantlay was a high-schooler when he played a practice round with Patrick Reed at one of the country’s top amateur events, the Western Amateur. Now Cantlay wanted to team with him at TPC Louisiana.”
  • “Reed accepted, and the partnership has lasted through all three team editions of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Cantlay and Reed are even the rare team that coordinates outfits.”
  • “The partnership could make its way to Australia next month. With Jordan Spieth not on this year’s roster and all 11 players clamoring to team with Tiger Woods, it could make sense for the Patricks to pair at the Presidents Cup.”
  • “Cantlay and Reed, two iconoclasts who are known to keep to themselves, are kindred spirits. Reed stays firmly ensconced in the tight circle known as Team Reed, while the quiet Cantlay is an old soul who can speak more easily about classic rock than college football.”

Full piece.

9. A rooftop bar overlooking St. Andrews?
Our Gianni Magliocco…”On Tuesday, U.S.-based investment firm, AJ Capital Partners, announced plans to renovate the Macdonald Rusacks Hotel beside the Old Course at St. Andrews, which is set to feature a new rooftop bar overlooking the Old Course’s iconic 18th hole.”
  • “The new bar is set to be 3,000-square feet in size and is expected to be completed by July 2021 for the 150th Open Championship.”
  • “Speaking on the new project, AJ Capital CEO Ben Weprin stated in a release…”St Andrews is one of the most iconic destinations in the world, and our team is honored to embark upon bringing our unique approach to hospitality to this incredibly historic and inspiring community.”
  • “As well as the rooftop “19th hole”, the hotels current 70 rooms and restaurant facilities will be upgraded, while an additional 44 rooms will be added – all of which will pay tribute to St. Andrews and the Old Course’s designer, Old Tom Morris.”
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Morning 9: Brandon Matthews is a good man | The art of the painful comeback | Are the Rules still too complicated?

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1. Singular stuff
Pretty impressive stuff from Brandon Matthews. Via Julie Williams at Golfweek…”Matthews, 25, entered a sudden death playoff with Ricardo Celia on Sunday after both reached 11 under for 72 holes.”
  • “The two men tied the first two holes, and as Matthews stood over an eight-footer for birdie to extend the playoff to a fourth hole, a yell rang out from the crowd. Matthews missed the putt, despite having felt his putter was dialed in all week.”
  • “…The missed putt was perhaps season-altering. It handed Celia the title. Matthews was frustrated in the moment, but that was before the pieces came together.”
  • “As it turns out, the voice belonged to a middle-aged man with Down Syndrome, a detail Matthews only came to know because a tour official sought him out to offer an explanation in the locker room after the playoff ended, according to Golf Digest reporting.”
  • “Matthews immediately returned to the course to meet with the man, sign a glove and assure him that he was not upset.”

Full piece.

2. Back-to-back for Brendon Todd
AP report…”Two tournaments, two victories…They didn’t make Brendon Todd forget about the dark years, when he had the full yips so bad he didn’t know where the ball was going and made only two cuts in 35 events he played over three years.”
  • “They just made him appreciate how good it feels to be back…Todd returned Monday morning and quickly holed an 18-foot birdie putt for a 1-shot lead, then closed with two nervy pars for a 3-under 68 to win the Mayakoba Golf Classic for his second straight PGA Tour victory. He won the inaugural Bermuda Championship two weeks ago.”

Full piece.

3. The art of the painful comeback 
Shane Ryan on the incredible resurgence of Brendon Todd…
“The dark days couldn’t have been far from his mind.”
  • “I really lost it,” Todd said of the first long slump of his career. “I would get to the first tee, no confidence, nervous, and I’d hit it 50 yards right. It might go out-of-bounds, and from there it would be an all-day grind just to keep the ball in play. Then I’d chip and putt phenomenally, shoot 75, and miss the cut.”
  • “At home, Todd would break down crying with his wife, Rachel, and though he never lost his desire to play, he began to question whether there was a real future. He knew he could get a regular job if he needed to, and a lot of people had it much worse, but that didn’t make him feel any better.”

Full piece. 

4. Love’s Plantation Course redesign
PGATour.com’s Sean Martin on Davis Love III’s work giving the Plantation Course a facelift…
  • “And that’s what the World Golf Hall of Famer did, hopping on a bulldozer to shape some of the sharp angles and old-school features that will be on display this week during the PGA TOUR’s annual visit to Sea Island. The Plantation Course will be used, along with the neighboring Seaside layout, on Thursday and Friday. The RSM’s weekend rounds will be played on Seaside.”
  • “The Plantation Course’s new look is a blast from the past, drawing upon the course’s history and other attributes common to golf’s Golden Age designs.”
  • “Plantation is the oldest course at Sea Island. The Walter Travis design opened as a nine-hole course in 1928, shortly before the Seaside nine that was designed by Harry Colt and Charles Alison.”
5. Are the Rules of Golf still too complicated?
The Golf.com team debated that question (among others) in Tour Confidential…
  • “Russell Henley was penalized eight strokes at the Mayakoba Golf Classic for violating the One-Ball Rule. Henley used a slightly different Titleist ProV1x model for holes 9-12, and that violation of Rule 20-3 cost him two strokes per hole (he missed the cut). This comes days after a bizarre Billy Mayfair rules controversy was reported by Michael Bamberger, and in a calendar year when a considerable number of rules infractions have made headlines. Almost a year after the governing bodies made sweeping changes to the rule book, are the rules still too complicated?”
  • “Josh Sens, contributor (@JoshSens): No. There are too many of them for the average player to expect to know them all offhand. But overly complicated? There’s nothing especially murky or obscure about the rules that have been violated recently. Where things have gotten muddy is in how certain people have responded to those violations. But that has to do with the complexities of human nature, not the rules themselves.”
  • “Michael Bamberger, senior writer: With Josh. Casual golf cannot be played with obsessive following of the rules. Serious tournament golf requires it. What Henley did show is that he could not live with himself had he known he played in violation of the rules. There’s a sound reason for that rule. If you want to get rid of it, start a petition, but you won’t get far. Henley set the right example.”

Full piece.

6. Wanna buy a golf course? 
Todd Kelly at Golfweek…”The Spring Valley Golf Club in Elizabeth, Colorado, is going up for auction Tuesday, Nov. 19, according to businessden.com. The course is located about 40 miles southeast of downtown Denver.”
  • “The 18-hole, par-72, 7,200-yard (from the tips) course opened in 1998. The land was previously a working cattle ranch. The 240-acre property includes the course, a restaurant, a maintenance facility and a pro shop as well as two adjacent vacant parcels of land.”
  • “The businessden.com story reports that the Haynes Family LTD sold the property in 2003 for $3.8 million, then re-acquired it in 2010.”
7. Financial security for LPGA pros
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols with some perspective…”Sunday’s unprecedented payday at the CME Group Tour Championship – $1.5 million to the winner – could be a life-changing day for one of the 60 players at Tiburon Golf Club. Unlike previous years, anyone in the field can claim the big prize. The total purse for the week is $5 million.”
  • “CME’s commitment to raise the bar sends a message to current and potential sponsors, and everyone else, that women’s golf deserves more. There are favorites – World No. 1 Jin Young Ko, Nelly Korda and Lexi Thompson to name a few ­- but Caroline Masson believes that any of the 60 players here can win the CME. In fact, she’s hoping someone unsuspecting grabs the title to further illustrate the depth of the LPGA. Twenty different players have won on the women’s tour this season. The last player in the field to gain entry happens to be Lewis, a former No. 1.”

Full piece.

8. Dinner at DL3’s
Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”As far as The Man Out Front is concerned, the best Tuesday night meal of the golf year isn’t the Champions Dinner at Augusta National. That may be the most coveted invite, but The Forecaddie can attest that it doesn’t get much better than the RSM Classic’s pro-am draw party hosted in a tent in the backyard of former U.S. Ryder Cup captain and World Golf Hall of Famer Davis Love III.”
  • “This is the 10th year Love has played host to more than 250 of his newest and closest friends willing to fork over $8,000, or $22,000 for a threesome, for the opportunity to play in the tournament pro-am on Wednesday. There’s nothing else on the PGA Tour quite like a night under the oaks feasting on the best low-country cuisine that can be had at DL3’s digs, A.K.A. Sinclair Plantation.”
9. ICYMI: The greatest shank
Our Gianni Magliocco…”While the claim of greatest shank ever is undoubtedly subjective, you’ll do well to find a hosel rocket which proved more effective than Joachim Hansen’s during Saturday’s round at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.”
  • “On the par-4 18th during the third round, Hansen found himself in the greenside bunker where his spectacular shank caused his ball to cannon into a bank and ricochet perfectly onto the green and end up just a foot away from the hole.”
  • “Fellow pro’s posted their tongue in cheek thoughts on the shot, with Luke Donald stating “Perfect spin control”, while Dylan Frittelli went into more in-depth analysis saying “Textbook bunker play. Hit two inches behind the ball, hosel-rocket to bank shot to reading the break perfectly.”

See it here.

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