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Morning 9: Pondering Presidents Cup captain’s picks | Daly has knee surgery | The Shark’s letter

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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.

November 6, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans. 
 
**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. Presidents Cup captain’s picks on the way
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard on who captain Woods should select (he picks tomorrow), and Brooks Koepka adding a wrinkle to the process…”There’s a legitimate case to be made for a handful of players, and earlier this week my colleague Steve DiMeglio put himself in Woods’ shoes and made the following four selections: Woods, Gary Woodland, Patrick Reed and Tony Finau. That leaves newlywed Rickie Fowler, who has made two Presidents Cup appearances with a 4-3-1 record, riding the pine pony.”
  • “But, Woods may have to make a fifth pick if Brooks Koepka can’t play. Koepka aggravated a left knee injury last month at the CJ Cup and withdrew after two rounds in Korea, then decided not to play last week’s WGC-HSBC Champions. DiMeglio argued in favor of Fowler taking Koepka’s place if the world No. 1 doesn’t go, but what about a player named Kevin? There are two who deserve consideration.”

Full piece.

2. And on the International side…
Golf Channel’s Will Gray breaks down the contenders…
The Lock…“Jason Day: The former world No. 1 barely missed out on qualifying automatically, and he has played in every Presidents Cup dating back to 2011. Day is a logical selection with the matches taking place in his native Australia, and with four rookies already on the team his veteran leadership will be an asset in the team room. Although he only has one top-10 finish since the Masters, he’s as close to a slam-dunk pick as you can find.”
  • The Contenders…“Sungjae Im: At No. 34 in the world, Im is behind only Day among International players not already qualified for Els’ squad. While he has yet to win on the PGA Tour, his consistent 2019 rookie season led to a Tour Championship berth and Rookie of the Year honors. He hasn’t slowed down since, finishing T-3 in Japan and T-11 in China over the last two weeks. At age 21, he has all the makings of an International stalwart for years to come.”
  • “Byeong-Hun An: Few players had a more successful Asian Swing on the PGA Tour than An, who finished T-14 or better each of the last three weeks. Throw in a third-place showing at Sanderson Farms and he already has four top-15 results in the early part of the new Tour season. While An has yet to win in the U.S., he did take home the European Tour’s flagship event in 2015 and his match-play bona fides include a U.S. Amateur win back in 2009.”

Full piece for the rest.

3. Surgery for Daly 
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall with the report on JD’s knee replacement…”At this year’s A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, Daly confirmed he has bi-compartmental degenerative arthritis in his right knee, a condition that requires a knee replacement. “The doctor says it’s got to be done,” Daly said.”
  • “On Tuesday, Daly underwent surgery on the troubled limb in Little Rock, Ark.”

Full piece.

4. Speaketh Rory
Our Gianni Magliocco…”On Tiger Woods’ recent win at the Zozo Championship, McIlroy expressed his surprise at how Woods was able to win the event after seeing his game up-close at the Japan Skins match the previous Monday and also heaped praise on the 15-time major champion’s victory.”
  • “Not at all (on if he saw Woods’ Zozo victory coming). Look we were all a little tired, we had just gotten there, but I did not, I didn’t see it. I mean, look, he’s Tiger Woods and everything, and he does things that other people just can’t do, but from what I saw on the Monday, I didn’t think that his game looked sharp enough to contend.”
  • “Whatever he did, he got it together for a few days, and that was some performance. I mean to play that good on that golf course, that was a pretty tough golf course. So to have control of his ball like that and to shoot -19, and win pretty easily in the end was awfully impressive.”
5. Chris Kirk

Excellent stuff from Helen Ross chronicling Chris Kirk’s issues with/decision to give up drinking.
  • “That is a day that is definitely stuck in my mind and will be for a long time,” he says.
  • “It was the day Chris Kirk quit drinking.”
  • “He’d previously tried twice to quit. Both times on his own. And he was able to stop drinking — but after six or eight weeks, the anxiety and depression that contributed to the problem became too much to bear. So he reached for another vodka or bourbon or glass of wine, and the cycle started again.”
  • “Kirk would later learn that’s what recovering alcoholics and addicts call “white knuckling.” It wasn’t until he found a support group to help him address the underlying issues that led him back to drinking that he was able to successfully quit.”

Full piece.

6. Well earned
Adam Schupack for Golfweek…”Barbara Nicklaus exemplifies what the words ‘giving back’ truly means,” said PGA president Suzy Whaley.
  • “Barbara and Jack first organized the Columbus Pro-Am to raise funds for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the very same hospital that saved Nan’s life. Then he and Barbara took it to the next level with the creation of the Memorial Tournament, founded in 1976 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, which has benefited the hospital since its inaugural year. The tournament has raised more than $36 million for the hospital and other Central Ohio charities.”
  • “Barbara is the chair and co-founder of the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which was established in 2004 to support numerous pediatric healthcare services in South Florida and across the U.S. As chair of the Foundation, Barbara has been the catalyst to raising more than $100 million in nearly 15 years.”

Full piece.

7. Greg Norman’s note, revealed
Credit to Geoff Shackelford for tracking this down! (Satire!)
  • “Mate! …What a performance at the Masters! Congratulations from a fellow gym rat, living brand and member of the Major Club.”
  • “Look, I know we’ve had our moments and I’m ready to let bygones by bygones. Like, when I declared you’d never win another major, or when I said that I’d hate to see golf get lost again in that Tiger talk, or how ratings are up because you brought in new fans who really took to all of the young guys, or when you were looking intimidated by Rory, or that I defended Stevie Williams, or that I criticized The Match. All of that was fake news (well, except The Match part. That thing stunk!).”
  • “What isn’t fake is that my 285-foot yacht measuring 130 feet longer than yours with a fantastic wine cellar.  Kirsten and I would love to have you and the lady friend over some time, maybe share some war stories about finishing off a win or where you see the equities market over the next five years. Guy-to-guy, man-to-man talk about how to be better than the guy you were yesterday.”

Full piece. 

8. “The most visually stunning course I’ve seen”
Alan Shipnuck with high praise for Cape Wickham…”The course now stands as one of golf’s ultimate pilgrimages, sited on the craggy headlands of King Island, a tiny speck halfway between Melbourne and Tasmania. (Commercial and charter flights are available out of Melbroune). There are only 1,500 people on the island but in 2013 the population spiked when Mike DeVries and his family lived there for six months. In partnership with Aussie Darius Oliver, this innocent abroad conjured a modern masterpiece.”
  • “A one-time acolyte of Tom Doak, DeVries incorporated into Cape Wickham the bold strategic questions that are the hallmark of his former boss while making the course more user-friendly than the typical Doak. At a place like Cape Wickham the ocean holes will always be the star – especially with an iconic 150-foot lighthouse always looming – but the inland holes are just as bold, making use of towering sand dunes, rugged ridges and limestone outcroppings. The sandy loam is the ideal base for growing grass; Augusta National wishes its fairways are as pristine as Cape Wickham’s and the greens are equally pure.”

Full piece.

9. USGA and R&A launch new World Handicap System for 2020

Our Gianni Magliocco…”The new World Handicap System (WHS) will launch in January 2020, which seeks to provide golfers with a unified and more inclusive handicapping system for the very first time.”
  • “The system has been developed by the USGA and The R&A in close coordination with existing handicapping authorities. It aims to offer all golfers with a consistent measure of playing ability, with handicaps calculated in the same way across the globe.”
  • “Through the new system, golfers will be able to transport their handicap index globally and compete or play a casual round with players from other regions on a fair basis. The new WHS will also indicate the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving the next time they go out to play.”

 

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  1. underachiever

    Nov 6, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    There go Daly’s chances of being picked for the Presidents Cup

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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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