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Morning 9: McCord speaks out (strongly) on firing | Is Tiger already the GOAT? | LPGA POY

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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 29, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans. A very Happy Birthday to my dad, who took me to Gospel Hill Golf Club in Erie, PA for my first round of golf some 25 years ago. 
 
**Just a reminder we’re looking for advertisers for 2020. Drop me a line if you’d like to talk about getting your message in front of the M9 readership.** 

 

1. McCord: I was fired
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski on the sacking of Gary McCord…
“This is not how I would have preferred to see it end,” McCord said. “I’m going on 72. I’ve been doing this for 30-odd years. I knew I was coming to the end of the deal, but I was going to go out on my terms. That’s not happening now.:
  • “Bottom line, they fired me.”
  • “McCord, who began his CBS career at the 1986 Memorial Tournament, had an inkling what was coming after learning close friend and colleague Peter Kostis, who has been with CBS since 1992, was informed last Wednesday that his option was not being picked up, either. “I looked at my phone, and I had a message from a 212 area code Wednesday night and thought, Uh oh,” said McCord, who got the news from McManus on Thursday.”
  • “He [McManus] tells me, and he told Peter the same thing, that ‘We think CBS golf is getting a little stale, and we need to go in another direction,’ ” McCord told Golf Digest by phone from his home in Scottsdale. “I’ve been called a lot of things, but one thing I’ve never been called is stale.”

Full piece.

Geoff Shackelford’s take is worth noting as well….”There was a great deal of sniping in recent years over McCord’s act having grown thin, but never felt that way. He was often the one person trying to inject some life into telecasts, but without his old foil David Feherty or many opportunities to exhibit his knowledge of the swing, McCord was often limited to the role of 16th hole traffic cop.  Therefore the notion of “stale” strikes me as more a statement about the CBS production elements (Yanni?) or overall energy than the work of any one announcer.”
2. Typhoons, Joker, and shaking off the rust 
Bob Harig takes a backward glance at Tiger Woods’ winning week, which included some interesting elements (in every sense of the word)…”A typhoon, of all things, interrupted Tiger Woods’ unlikely brush with history. As the rain hammered down Friday, postponing play at the Zozo Championship and causing considerable upheaval in the region, Woods and several others ventured to a Narita movie theater to catch “Joker.”
  • “Woods called the film “dark,” and he knows all about that word: from the scandal of a decade ago to the numerous back surgeries and the pain medication issues and the struggles to even assemble a golf game again.”
  • “I know what it’s like to have this game taken away from you,” Woods said in a telling moment on the 18th green Monday, where he soon would be taking part in an awards ceremony to celebrate his 82nd PGA Tour victory, some 8,000 miles from his home in Florida.

Full piece.

3. A Tiger in the Olympics? 
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Woods’ record-tying 82nd career win also vaulted him back into the mix for the U.S. Olympic team, with only the top four American men qualifying for next year’s event in Tokyo. While countries are capped at two players per nation, there is a provision to allow up to four players from the same country to play if all are ranked inside the top 15 in the world.”
  • “Woods’ victory moved him to No. 6 in the latest world rankings, and he’s currently the fourth-highest American behind Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas. But the Official World Golf Rankings utilize a two-year rolling points system that currently dates back to October 2017, while points for the official Olympic rankings only began accruing in July 2018.”

Full piece.

4. LPGA POY 
Golf DIgest’s Ryan Herrington…”In contrast, who would pick up the LPGA player-of the-year award has been a foregone conclusion for a few months. Jin Young Ko’s stats speak for themselves: four victories, including two major titles (ANA Inspiration and the Evian Championship), three runner-ups, five additional top-10 finishes and no missed cuts in 20 starts.”
  • “And with a T-9 finish on Sunday at the BMW Ladies Championship, the 24-year-old from South Korea officially ended the discussion. Despite three events remaining on the LPGA schedule, Ko’s edge in points over Jeongeun Lee6 (241 to 123) makes it mathematically impossible for anyone to catch Ko.”
5. The knee is key 
Tiger Woods quoted in the Independent…”The knee wasn’t allowing me to rotate and because of that it put more stress on my lower back and hip,” he said.
“I didn’t really know I’d come back and play at this level but the fact I could get down and read putts again is something I hadn’t done in months. Something pretty subtle makes a difference. I felt more comfortable with my putter just because I was able to make a better stance.
“Ironically my back has been less sore. I’ve been able to rotate better. The way I started this week, who would have thought, bogeying the first three holes, I’d shoot the number I shot. I made a few mistakes this week but they weren’t bad.”
6. East Lake Cupdate
Golfweek’s JuliaKate E. Culpepper…”After Mark Power made a birdie putt on the 18th hole at East Lake Golf Club on Monday, he pumped his fist and smiled. The freshman from Wake Forest was leading the East Lake Cup and in a good position to win the individual honors trophy.”
  • “The passion Power emitted stemmed from the thought of earning his first individual win as a collegiate athlete, but he also smiled because he remembers what it took to get him to this point: disappointment, hard work and a little luck.”
7. Already the GOAT?
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell makes the case…”You don’t need to be a world class litigator to make a convincing case that Tiger Woods is already the greatest player of all time.”
  • “The argument is laid out in the formidable nature of the foes strewn in his path.”
  • “The guy is golf’s version of Keanu Reeves blowing past an onslaught of enforcers in the John Wick movies.”
  • “With his 82 PGA Tour titles, Woods has Nicklaus, Hogan, Palmer, Nelson, Casper, Hagen, Mickelson, Sarazen, Middlecoff and Watson in his rearview mirror. He’ll have Snead behind him with his next title, which doesn’t seem such a daunting task with the form Woods showed tying Snead’s victory mark in Japan.”

Full piece.

8. Tiger’s Rolex
In case you were wondering…from our WOTW report…”Tiger Woods was wearing what looks to be a Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea D-Blue (ref: 126660-0002) on his wrist after winning his 82nd event, the ZOZO Championship! Finally, we get to feature Tiger Woods on WOTW. It feels like it took forever, but after a rain-soaked ZOZO Championship Tiger gets his legendary win, and we get to look at the Rolex he had on his wrist.”
  • “…Rolex created the first water and dustproof watch in 1926, protecting the watch movement from any damage. The Rolex Sea-Dweller debuted in 1960 as the more rugged and capable dive watch compared to the Submariner. Where the Submariner can dive to 300 meters, the standard Sea-Dweller goes to 1,220 meters, and the Sea-Dweller Deepsea will survive the wild depth of 3,900 meters! The Sea-Dweller Deepsea was introduced in 2008 and its water-resistance rating of 3,900 meters is more than 100 times deeper than any human could survive.”

Full piece.

9. Full Bubba 
Did you see the line Bubba took off the tee at the Zozo?
 

Check out the video on Golf Channel.

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4 Comments

  1. G

    Oct 29, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    CBS thought they were too stale? So their way of fixing that was to fire the least stale guy on their team? Huge miss, golf on TV got even worse with this change.

  2. James

    Oct 29, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Tiger is hardly a GOAT. He couldn’t even keep his harem of dogs in line.

    • A. Commoner

      Oct 29, 2019 at 7:45 pm

      Picking the greatest of all time in any sport or activity is beyond nonsensical. Such an exercise ignores innumerable variables as to make it farcical.

  3. Ryan

    Oct 29, 2019 at 11:14 am

    McCord got on my nerves sometimes, he would talk over others, caddie conversations etc, but he knew his stuff and was a solid announcer. Kostis is in the same boat. He is very knowledgeable when it comes to the swing. They will both be missed. I don’t really know who they are going to pull in to replace them.

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13-time major champion Mickey Wright passes away at the age of 85

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@wilsongolf

LPGA Tour legend and Hall of Famer Mickey Wright passed away on Monday after suffering a heart attack, according to the AP.

Wright won 82 titles on the LPGA Tour including 13-major titles in a career which began in 1955 and ended with her retirement at the age of just 34.

Per the 13-time major champion’s lawyer, Sonia Pawluc who was speaking to AP, Wright had been hospitalised for the last few weeks after suffering a fall.

The sporting legend is the only LPGA Tour professional to hold all majors at the same time, and Ben Hogan once described her swing as the finest in the game.

Speaking on the news of her passing, LPGA Tour commissioner, Michael Whan said

“We are deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Mickey Wright. We lost a legend, but we may also have lost the best swing in golf history today. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.”

Wright’s long list of accomplishments in the game includes the most victories in a single LPGA season (13), four consecutive LPGA money titles (1961-64), 14 successive years with an LPGA victory (1956-69) and a stunning 44 wins from 1961 through 1964.

She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1976.

 

 

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Morning 9: Tiger: Bad week inside ropes, good week outside | Scott, Park end droughts | CBS’ coverage panned (again)

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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.
February 17, 2020
Good Monday morning, golf fans.

 

1. Scott gets first Tour win since 2016
Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner with a succinct breakdown…“Scott started the day in part of a three-way share of the lead, and he suffered an early stumble with a double bogey on the fifth hole. But the notoriously wobbly putter steadied his nerve down the stretch, burying birdie putts on Nos. 13 and 17 that proved to be the difference. Scott earned an unofficial victory at Riviera in 2005 when he won a 36-hole, rain-slogged event, but now he has an official title as part of his Riv credentials. It’s back-to-back worldwide wins for Scott across two calendar years, as the veteran closed out 2019 with a victory at the Australian PGA Championship. But after a number of recent near-misses, the Aussie now has his first PGA Tour win since March 2016, when he went back-to-back at Honda and Doral.”
2. …and Down Under, another title drought endeth
AP report…”Seven-time major champion Inbee Park saw a seven shot lead shrink to two shots Sunday before winning the Women’s Australian Open by three strokes to clinch her first LPGA title in almost two years.”
  • “Park started her final round three shots in front of 19-year old South Korean compatriot Ayeon Cho. She bogeyed the ninth hole but still turned five shots ahead of the field and went out to a seven shot lead early on the back nine at the Royal Adelaide Golf Club.”
3. …and on the Korn Ferry Tour
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Andrew Novak birdied each of his final two holes to earn his first career Korn Ferry Tour victory at the LECOM Suncoast Classic.”
  • “Novak, 24, started the final round in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., one shot off the lead, and he was part of a crowded leaderboard as the tournament entered the closing stretch. But thanks in large part to birdies on Nos. 17 and 18, two of the seven hardest holes at Lakewood National GC, he closed with a 6-under 66. That left him at 23 under, one shot ahead of John Chin and two shots clear of Taylor Montgomery, both of whom closed with rounds of 64.”
4. Not the weekend he wanted
PGATour.com’s Ben Everill…”It was another week to lament at the famed course where Woods started his PGA TOUR career as a 16-year-old. He faded on the back nine of his rounds on Thursday and Friday and then shot 76-77 on the weekend to be 11 over par, some 22 shots behind winner Adam Scott.”
  • “Woods was full of praise for the event he and his foundation put on in its new elevated status, but could only try some self-deprecating humor when asked of his personal on course efforts.”
  • “I did not do much well today. Good news, I hit every ball forward, not backwards, a couple sideways. But overall, I’m done,” he said. “I’ve been in this position many times unfortunately. Just keep fighting hole by hole, shot by shot and try to make some birdies, which I did not do.
ESPN’s Bob Harig on what he saw…“Woods was still not moving great. While he looked good at times, his overall game was a shell of what he produced three weeks ago at Torrey Pines, let alone in December at the Presidents Cup or October at the Zozo Championship.”
  • “This was simply a day to endure, not make matters worse — and then hand the tournament trophy to winner Adam Scott, who finished 22 strokes ahead of the tournament host.”
  • “And it was yet another reminder: Woods is 44 years old, has a fused spine, had three previous back surgeries prior to that, and counts himself lucky to be playing the game at all, let alone a high level.”
Full piece. 
5. Chubb champ: Scott Parel
Greg Hardwig of the Naples Daily News…”Scott Parel lost two opportunities at victories last year in playoffs. He wasn’t going to take that chance Sunday in the Chubb Classic.”
“Parel, 54, birdied six of the first 12 holes to come back from five shots off the lead and went on to win at The Classics Country Club at Lely Resort for his third PGA Tour Champions victory. Parel tied the tournament record at 17-under 196 on the par-71 course, and won $240,000 out of the $1.6 million purse.”
6. Rave review for CBS’ golf coverage…
Joel Beall with a (incomplete) tally of some of the (many) errors…
  • “An incorrect score board from the LPGA’s Women’s Australian Open, caught by No Laying Up. The tournament ended Saturday night.”
  • “A singular Korn Ferry Tour highlight, featuring a putt from Peter Uihlein. Although Uihlein entered the day with the lead, he finished T-20 at the Suncoast Classic, which had already been decided when the event update was televised.”
  • “Delayed footage of Harold Varner III topping his tee shot at the iconic 10th hole. Varner was tied at the time of the miscue, which was noted by CBS Sports analyst Ian Baker-Finch. Varner’s top was eventually shown in a highlight package some 90 minutes after it occurred.”
  • “The relative broadcast absences of Max Homa, one of the more popular PGA Tour players on social media, and Joel Dahmen. As the Twitter handle Deep Fried Egg pointed out, at one juncture Homa, then a stroke back of the lead, had only a single shot televised while Rickie Fowler-who was not in the field-had two highlights during the program.”
7. Rory talks Brooks & more
Adam Woodard at Golfweek draws on more of Rory McIlroy’s conversation with journalist Paul Kimmage…a few morsels…
  • “So, I go out in the final round and my midset was . . . It’s another round of golf . . . a great opportunity . . . I’m going to try to play well. And I was beaten on the day,” McIlroy remembered. “Obviously, Brooks played great and shot 65 but I think, more than anything, I was beaten by his intensity and his desire. I was too relaxed.”
  • “Later on in the season, McIlroy learned of a text Koepka sent to his friends before the final round in Memphis: “I’m going to crush him.”
  • “Yeah, and f*** he sort of did,” said McIlroy. “Well, Brooks and I have always got on great – we do get on great – but he was obviously taking that mindset, ‘It’s me and him’. And I guess it was a good thing that he thinks highly of me, or not highly of me, if he was saying he was going to crush me.”
8. Unplanned break ahead
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”When Muni He triumphed at LPGA Q-Series last November, she seized control of something every professional golfer holds dear: her schedule…”
  • “He, 20, decided early on that she’d skip the first three LPGA tournaments that she was eligible for and start 2020 on a three-week stretch in Asia, playing off of sponsor exemptions in limited-field events in Thailand and Singapore and the Blue Bay LPGA in her native China.”
  • “No one could’ve predicted that her first three starts would be canceled due to threats from the coronavirus. That control He worked so hard for went up in a puff of smoke. She’ll now make her first start of 2020 in late March at the LPGA event in Phoenix.”
9. Genesis a big success for Tiger…outside the ropes
Golf Digest’s Daniel Rapaport rightly points out…”It was not his week on the course, obviously. But Woods’ time here was about more than how he fared inside the ropes. He has hosted this event for the last three years in conjunction with his TGR Live venture, but this was the first year the tournament formerly known as the L.A. Open was no longer an open. It’s an Invitational now, which means a reduced field size to 120, an increased purse and an elevated status.
  • “And the first year was, by any measure, a marked success-four cloudless days, a challenging Riviera that flashed its teeth all week and a bunched leader board that didn’t sort itself until late Sunday afternoon, when Adam Scott prevailed for a two-shot victory.”
  • “From a tournament perspective, it couldn’t have gone any better,” Woods said. “We’ve had perfect weather, people have come out and supported this event. Our elevation, being a part of the new invitational status, look at the players that come out and supported this event that have played this week, we couldn’t have asked for a more dream scenario. The golf course was fantastic. Everything couldn’t have been any better from that side.”

 

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Tour Rundown: Scott’s grit and guile, Queen Bee, Wofford’s pride

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The PGA Tour’s Cali Swing came to a close for 2020, while the Champions Tour returned to the continental USA after a stint in Morocco. The ladies of the LPGA stood tall in Australia, just as the Korn Ferry tour also docked in the lower 48, after time spent in South America. As the world of golf considers the pros and cons of a world tour, it’s easy to look around and see how such a grand plan might come to pass. As the globe continues to orbit, we take our turn in running down this week’s results.

PGA Tour: Scott claims 14th tour title with grit and guile

Say what you must about the back nine at the Augusta National, but I will stand the inward half at Riviera as the ultimate gut-check site in golf. For starters, we saw Tiger Woods go out in 4-under par on Thursday, stoking the embers of bonfires of hope everywhere. El tigre played the inward half in 36-38-41-39, so we know which high-school crush still makes him nervous! Wasn’t much different for the rest of the field; play the inward half well and you stand a chance. How about Adam Scott? After an inexplicable 37 on Thursday, he back-nined Riviera for 31-33-35. For those (like me) not counting, that’s the essential difference between what Tiger tallied, and what the tournament victor posted. Scott had his hands full, as players like Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy, and late to the party: Sung Kang and Scott Brown. Both Kang and Brown closed fast, reaching -9, joining Kuchar in a tie for 2nd. They call Riviera Hogan’s Alley, for the playing record of the wee ice mon over its 18 holes. It begs the question, which Riviera was Hogan playing, that he could get that good, that repeatedly, over these beguiling, 18 holes?

LPGA: Queen Bee secures 20th title in Royal fashion. Could gold be next?

Inbee Park has been many things over the years: Major champion (she won her first LPGA event at the 2008 US Open); Olympic Gold Medalist (yup, that was her in Rio, wearing the bling); and now, comeback kid. Park was injured in 2017, and despite a victory in 2018, has yet to capture the stature that thrust her to #1 in the world, and 18 tour victories. Watch out, world; she might be back. Park stood sooo tall after three rounds; 67-69-68 had her at  15-under par over the glorious, Royal Adelaide course in Seaton. Only Ayean Cho managed to find similar altitude, with 3 rounds of 69 for -12. Would Cho solve the mystery of the final round, the one that eluded her last week, when she gave back a lead over the final 9 holes? In a word, no. She closed with 77 and dropped to -8 and a tie for 6th place. All part of the learning curve, as they say. With her playing partner stalled, Park played things close to the safety vest. She finished with a +1 74 on Sunday, good for a 3-putts margin of victory over new runner-up Amy Olson of the USA. If Inbee is rounding into form now, she’ll be a certain threat to claim a second gold medal this summer, in Japan.

Korn Ferry: Wofford’s pride birdies final two holes for 1st victory

You know you’re small when … your small town isn’t the bigger of the two small towns in an arguably-metro region. Spartanburg ain’t no Greenville, says no one in those parts, but it’s true. And Wofford College is a charming, southern institution of higher learning, located in the middle of Spartanburg. And Andrew Novak found a golf and learning home at Wofford. And now, he has a title and Wofford again has a pro tour winner. Again? You mean another Boston Terrier has won on tour? Uh-huh, one William McGirt, at the 2016 Memorial Tournament. According to my researchers, that’s all. The dynamic duo of McGirt and Novak.

Right, back to Andrew Novak. He and 5 other golfers reached 20-below par at the Lakewood National (not to be confused with other, national golf clubs) near Sarasota. Greyson Sigg, Chandler Blanchott, and David Kocher ran out of gas there, and tied for 4th. Taylor Montgomery actually reached -22, before a bogey at the last dropped him to -21 and solo 3rd place. John Chin had 5 birdies throught 7 back-nine holes, but failed to summon a 6th, and ended his run at -22. And Novak? He birdied 17 and 18, to jump from 3rd to 1st in the blink of an eye. Novak moved all the way from 26th to 3rd on The 25 chase for PGA Tour cards. He’ll certainly earn his for 2020-2021, but might he manage 2 more victories, for a battlefield promotion? Keep closing and the answer will be uh-huh. #GoTerriers

Tour Champions: The ultimate grinder peppermills his third Senior victory

Bernhard Langer, Stephen Leaney, and Chris DiMarco went out on Sunday and shot wonderful rounds … for the conclusion of a US Open. Hovering near par, on any day, would not bring baubles at the Chubb Classic. Bob Estes went out and posted 64, his best round of the week by 3, to reach 15-under par. He blazed past the aforementioned trinity, but could not reach the brass ring. That plum went to Scott Parel, probably the only Georgia Bulldog who never was … a Georgia Bulldog. Parel posted 63 on Sunday, eclipsing Estes’ 198 by 2 shots. The victory was Parel’s 3rd on the late-stage circuit, and was his first since October of 2018. Parel graduated from the large, state school in Athens, but never competed for the varsity squad. He made his living as a computer programmer, but never gave up his dream of playing professional golf. As a size 50+, he is now living that dream. Langer salvaged a tie for 3rd (with Kevin Sutherland) at -13. Ironically, Parel has been in two Champions playoffs in his career, and has lost both of them … to Kevin Sutherland. Good thing for him that the California native could “only” close with 67

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