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Morning 9: A 6-man playoff in Turkey | Wild Schwab Cup finish | Eddie’s Tin Cup moment

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1. A six-man playoff under the lights
Reuters report on Tyrrell Hatton’s last-man-standing effort in Turkey...”England’s Tyrrell Hatton beat Austria’s Matthias Schwab on the fourth playoff hole to clinch his second Rolex Series title at the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya on Sunday after a dramatic six-man playoff.”
  • “For the first time at a professional golf tournament, the floodlights were switched on at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course for the playoff as the six golfers battled for the $2 million prize money.”
  • “Hatton, overnight leader Schwab, American Kurt Kitayama, South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen and Frenchmen Victor Perez and Benjamin Hebert entered the playoff after they all finished with a 20-under overall score after 72 holes.”

Full piece.

2. Maggert holes out for win but McCarron gets the cup
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Maggert’s hole-out from 123 yards on the third extra hole ended the 2019 PGA Tour Champions season in spectacular fashion. Entering the final round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship with a one-shot lead, Maggert needed a birdie on the last hole of regulation to force a playoff with Retief Goosen. But with Goosen in tight on the third extra hole, Maggert’s wedge approach took two hops and found the hole and spark a fairway celebration.”
  • “The eagle gave Maggert his first victory on the over-50 circuit since he won four times during the 2015 season…While Maggert and Goosen battled it out in overtime for the tournament title, the fate of the season-long Charles Schwab Cup also hung in the balance. Goosen was in position to win both trophies with a playoff win over Maggert, and he would have become the first PGA Tour Champions rookie to earn the season-long prize.”
  • “Instead Maggert’s victory meant that McCarron finally won the Charles Schwab Cup after a number of close finishes.”

Full piece.

3. A home game win
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“For a second straight year, a Japanese star won on home soil at the Toto Japan Classic. Ai Suzuki, a five-time winner on the Japan LPGA this season, now has the chance to join the LPGA after claiming the first-place check of $225,000.”
  • “It was my dream, so I feel like I want to challenge,” said Suzuki, through a translator, of joining the LPGA. “But I can’t speak English. And I need to talk to my family because I need their support. I am not good in moving around, traveling and food.”
  • “Suzuki has until Nov. 18 to make a decision on LPGA membership. If she decides to pass, she’ll be eligible for six sponsor exemptions in 2020 along with the all five major championships and the HSBC Women’s World Championship. She would not be in the field for the 2020 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.”

Full piece.

4. Korn Ferry Q-School update
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine does the Lord’s work rounding up all the Korn Ferry Tour Q-School action. He writes…”the field for the final stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School is set.”
“The final four of five second-stage sites wrapped up on Friday, with advancing players moving on to final stage, set for Dec. 12-15 at Orange County National in Winter Garden, Fla.”
5. Tin Cup moment
Paging Roy McAvoy… The ever-entertaining Eddie Pepperell was the author of a grim episode at the Turkish Airlines Open…via the Golf Channel Digital team…”Eddie Pepperell is one of the European Tour’s more intriguing personalities and he added to his persona on Saturday at the Turkish Airlines Open by playing the role of Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy.”
  • “Per The Associated Press…England’s Eddie Pepperell did not even finish his round and was disqualified for failing to complete the fourth hole, his 13th of the day.”
  • “Pepperell was 2 over for the round after dropping shots on the second and third and then hit his approach to the next into the water guarding the green. In a scene reminiscent of the ”Tin Cup” film, Pepperell had several more attempts – even his caddie could not say for certain whether it was four or five – before informing playing partners Martin Kaymer and George Coetzee that he had run out of balls.”

Full piece.

6. Fowler out of the Mayakoba
A hidden element of the Prez Cup decision, perhaps? Steve Dimeglio for Golfweek…
  • “In a text message to Golfweek, Fowler said at the tail end of his honeymoon – he got married the first week of October – he came down with Campylobacter jejuni, which is among the most common bacterial infections and leads to cramps, fever, pain and diarrhea.”
  • “Fowler said he started feeling the effects of the intestinal bacterial infection Oct. 26 and didn’t started getting back to normal until Nov. 7.”
  • “It was not a fun stretch,” Fowler wrote. He added he is taking medicine to combat the last stages of the infection and just didn’t have enough time to properly prepare for the Mayakoba Golf Classic, where he’s finished second and in a tie for 16th the past two years.”

Full piece.

7. Making things harder
An interesting take from Geoff Shackelford for Golfweek…
“With world No. 1 Brooks Koepka potentially missing the Cup while rehabbing his left knee, Fowler seems likely to be his replacement. Fowler finished a spot ahead of Reed on the Presidents Cup points list and his easygoing nature suggests he might have been open to being left off the initial roster to give Reed a welcome-back confidence boost.”
  • “Woods has his reasons, but to any impartial observer, he made the already difficult tasks of serving as a playing captain more complicated by adding Reed in an event where pairings would have been easier to make with Fowler in town. Woods will be juggling the role of lineup making, reintroducing Reed to the American team room and needing to keep his game sharp. Not many could handle all of that. Which is exactly what appeals to someone who thrives off of steep challenges at this point in his illustrious career.”

Full piece.

8. Kendall Dye is hardly alone
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols makes an interesting point regarding the Kendall Dye advice-seeking saga…
  • “None of the players or caddies – on both the PGA Tour and LPGA – interviewed by Golfweek for this story can recall having seen a player flash fingers or verbally ask for club information.”
  • “In that instance, Dye is an exception…And it’s perfectly legal for media to obtain club information. Caddies flash fingers to on-course reporters in every marquee group.”
  • “But that doesn’t mean the advice rule isn’t broken in other ways throughout professional golf on a regular basis.”
  • “Caddies flash numbers to players and caddies,” said one veteran LPGA player. Because rules violations are a sensitive topic, Golfweek spoke to caddies and players about the issue on the condition of anonymity. “That’s really not uncommon. I bet it happens in every group at least once during the round in every tournament.”

Full piece.

9. First loser, indeed
Ryan Herrington of Golf Digest with this observation…“To the victor goes the spoils, and in the case of Tyrrell Hatton, those spoils were plentiful. In holding on under the lights to win a six-man playoff at the Turkish Airlines Open on Sunday afternoon/evening, the 28-year-old Englishman earned the $2 million first-place check with the event being part of the European Tour’s lucrative Rolex Series events.”
  • “Given the unique circumstances of the victory, however, the discrepancy between what Hatton took home and what the fivesome of runners-up-Erik Van Rooyen, Kurt Kitayama, Matthias Schwab, Victor Perez and Benjamin Hebert-at Montgomerie Maxx Royal course in Antalya, Turkey, made was particularly pronounced. A solo second-place finish at the tournament was worth $828,000, but because you had to add the prize money for the third, fourth, fifth and sixth places, then divide the aggregate among the five players, the amount was diluted to $430,589.98.”
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Patrick Reed’s caddie thrown out of Presidents Cup after altercation with fan

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Patrick Reed’s caddie, Kessler Karain, has been kicked out of the Presidents Cup after admitting that he shoved a fan following an altercation on Saturday at the Presidents Cup.

Karain, who is also Reed’s brother in law, admitted to losing his cool after becoming irate after a fan heckled Reed after his 5 and 3 defeat alongside Webb Simpson to Hideki Matsuyama and C.T. Pan on Saturday.

Karin spoke to ESPN and Barstool Sports following the news of his exclusion from the event.

@foreplaypod

In response to his caddie’s ban from the event, Reed stated

“I respect the Tour’s decision. We are all focused on winning the Presidents Cup tomorrow.”

Reed’s swing coach, Kevin Kirk, is expected to be on the bag for the Texan’s singles match on Sunday.

 

 

 

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5 things we learned on day three of the Presidents Cup 2019

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They’ve got us where they want us. We care. In the middle of December, we care about golf. We care about golf course architecture. We care about young golfers earning their first international cap. And about golfers who should and should not be on their respective teams. And about golfers who play well under pressure, on a Sandbelt course with all the traits of a links. And about at least five other things that I’m about to elaborate. Two rounds of four matches each, went in the books on day three of the Presidents Cup. In a facts-only retrospective, Team ROW moved from a 3-point, overnight advantage to a 4-point mid-day advantage. Team USA found a needed gear in the afternoon, and close the 4-point disadvantage to 2 points. And that’s where we stand, with 12 singles matches ahead. Team USA needs to claim 7 points from those 10 matches, in order to retain the cup. Team ROW (the Internationals) need 5.5 points to hoist the chalice on home soil.

1. Why the Internationals will win on Sunday

They’ve played better in Four-Ball competition. In the matches where a golfer’s own ball completes the hole, the ROW has won 6.5 of 9 points. They are making birdies and pars beyond the scope of anything the USA can match. Sungjae Im makes more birdies than anyone else on the PGA Tour. If he gets his usual bushel against Gary Woodland, that’s one point. Ancer has a bit of an advantage against Captain Tiger, in that Woods hasn’t golfed his ball since Friday. If Ancer’s short game stays lit, he has a chance. Unlike the USA, the International squad gets a world-level team event once every two years, and hosts it, once every four. Despite not being an official community (like Europe for the Ryder Cup), the impact of a captain like Els brings the importance of this event home for the team members. It seems that they want to win for him, which goes a long way.

2. Why the USA will win on Sunday

To begin, they hold higher rankings on the official ladder of golfing greatness, have won more major championships, and have more international-match caps (if only because they play one every year.) Team USA also has momentum, halving the 4-point deficit in one brace of matches, and being on the cusp of making it even closer. Justin Thomas is flat-out pissed (in the USA understanding of the term) about giving away a half-point. Winning zero holes on the inward half, and failing to tie one of the remaining five, did not leave a fine taste in the mouth of the young stalwart. Knowing his game, this will buoy him in his match with Cameron Smith. Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland finally won a point outright, which should give them the confidence they need to claim matches on Sunday. Oh, and there’s the Captain-Tiger effect. They may not want to win FOR him, but they don’t want a plane ride home WITH him, but WITHOUT a certain goblet.

3. Damage control, Team USA

Where to start? Are these guys all-in for international matches? Is it possible to get up for this competition, after peaking for four majors, a handful of almost-majors, and a three-week, tour playoff? And then taking September through November off (for some of them)? Add in the discomfort that many have with the ground game, the firm game, the non-spin game, the bunkers-cut-into-greens game, the holes-cut-on-the-edge-of-disaster game. How about guys like Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed, who have not partnered well, yet inexplicably been paired 3 times? Both took Saturday afternoon off, and both need to count on Sunday, or the ROW is well on its way to snatching the trophy. Not far behind are Finau and Kuchar (two half-points each). Finau must be the best guy in the team room, the most unlucky competitor, or something else. He continues to get the nod as a Captain’s pick, over match-play stalwarts like Kevin Kisner and Kevin Na.

4. Damage Control, Team International

Start with Haotong Li and Adam Hadwin. One match for Li over 3 days and 4 rounds, and only 2 for Hadwin. Is either one injured? Off form? A bother to partner with? Seeing the ease with which Captain Els and staff shifted golfers in and out of pairings, the first glaring absence was Li, with the Canadian not far behind. Follow up with the aging trio of Scott, Leishman and Oosthuizen. The first two have played every match thus far, with Louis appearing in 3 of 4. They’re the spiritual spine of the team, but do they have the endurance to make it one last day? Finish it off with Joaquin Niemann. Why is he here? South American representation? Perhaps. Youth? Perhaps. Future of the team? Perhaps. He has one-half point in four matches, and has shown an erratic, unreliable game. His win in September on the PGA Tour seems more fluke than fate, but a day-four victory over Patrick Cantlay would be a massive salve on his wounds.

5. The IF factors

So many “ifs” and so little ability to anticipate if they will turn out or not. Here’s a list of ten:

IF Tiger Woods or Abraham Ancer gets out to an early lead, in the day’s first (and most-anticipated) match, how will that impact the remaining 11 matches?

IF Haotong Li finds any semblance of the game that earned him a spot on the team. He’s out 4th, and a win over Dustin Johnson is certainly plausible.

IF Jason Day and Brooks Koepka were playing/not injured…

IF the weather isn’t as predicted (around 70 degrees, no rain, 10 mph winds), what impact will it have?

IF the USA can avoid shooting at flags, and work the ball into the hole using angles, splines and spines …

IF only the small ball still existed, and the ROW could use it to its advantage

IF the ghost of Peter Thomson returns to putt for the ROW

IF the entire ROW team wears yellow bucket hats on Sunday, in memory of Jarrod Lyle …

Now I’m getting misty. So much good about this game. Forget your usual, Saturday-evening celebrations. This Saturday Night Fever doesn’t involve young Travolta. It salutes the passing of one generation to the next, the opportunity to earn your stripes in international competition, and the opportunity to see an exquisitely-designed golf course, whose conditions are much easier to replicate for superintendents than, say, a certain fruit farm in Georgia. Sunday’s matches will be just like Royal Mel, brothers and sisters: fast and firm. Strap in and ride the coaster!

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5 things we learned on day two of the Presidents Cup 2019

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Guess who will take a split of the points each of the next two days? That’s absolutely correct! The men in tan and black, and green and black. In addition to having amazing color schemes for their wardrobe choices, Team International preserved a 3-point advantage over Team USA after two days of competition in Melbourne. Should it have been a wider margin? Might it have been closer? That’s what we want to dig into, with the five things we learned on day two of the last Presidents Cup of this decade. School is in session!

1. It should have been closer

Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar were 2 up after 5, and also after 7, in their match against Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen. By the 10th tee, they were all square. In fact, that 7th-hole win by the Americans was their last hole won on the day. Ouch. Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson won three holes on the outward half on Friday. Their only concern was that the ROWOE (rest of the world outside Europe) won four. And then won 3 against the RWB’s 1, for a 2nd-consecutive loss. I’ll have more on the Simpson-Reed pairing in a moment, but if the Americans are to win this competition, they will need to receive more birdies (ROWOE had 4 & 6 birds, respectively, in the aforementioned, in alternate-shot matches) from all team members, and get the ball in the hole first.

2. It should have been wider

The obvious match to point to, is the final one of the day. Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im stood on the 16th tee in a strong position. They held a 2-up lead over Rickie Fowler and Gary Woodland, and were poised to make the margin 7 to 3. Back came the American duo, with birdies at 16 and 17, to erase the deficit. Imagine the horror if the RWB had won a 3rd-consecutive hole, and trimmed the margin to 6-4! Fortunately for Smith/Im, they held strong and halved the 18th in pars, escaping with a half-point and just a few bruises. In the day’s 4th match, eyes were on the powerful pairing of Tiger and Justin. Could they recreate their first-day magic? They needed to, if the USA were to preserve any hope. The day started well, with 2 holes won over the first 5 holes. Then Ben and Hideki lit fire to 3 consecutive holes, turning a 2-down into a 1-up, International-squad advantage. And then came the USA, with a win at the 9th, for an all-square (with 6 holes traded) at the midway point.

Things got interesting on the inward half. More a dance than a tussle, two more holes were exchanged early, then 4 went by with no blood. On the 18th tee, all square, with so much on the line (pride, margin, well, pride and margin) and JTTW came through. With a magnificent birdie at the last, Tiger and Justin didn’t lose, nor did they tie. They won the most crucial point for the 2nd consecutive day. Their win on Thursday avoided the shutout, the dreaded tennis bagel. On Friday, they gave Team USA a reason to cheer, and a reason to hope.

3. Bet me…Bet me!!!

I’m not the brightest when it comes to bets. Check out the comments from Friday’s, first-round 5 Things, and you’ll see a bet I made with one of our readers. Pretty awesome bet on Sungjae, except for the fact that he wasn’t playing his own ball on Friday! I shall accept my loss and claim distraction as my only culprit. I shall also ask for double-or-nothing from said reader, and wager as gentlemen once again, that Sungjae will make 9 birdies on his own ball, in Saturday’s first match. That’s correct, the one that tees off at 7:16. Yessir, the one where he and Abraham Ancer will compete against the state of California (Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele).

4. Back to golf…and Saturday’s AM pairings

TIGER ON THE BENCH! Indeed, the captain has benched himself. The captain knew that the player would need rest, and the captain needs to lead his golfers around Royal Melbourne. Take a look back at how quickly Seve Ballesteros drove around Ryder Cup matches…no governor in that golf cart. He needed to be everywhere, for everyone. Tiger will do the same, mark my words. As fast as Royal Melbourne is playing, he won’t need much acceleration. Yes, it’s an exhibition, and no, it won’t be the end of the world if the USA loses. Tiger doesn’t accept losing, not before, nor during, nor after, the final putt is holed. More important, his reclaimed legacy in the game will include how he fairs as #PrezCup and #RyderCup captain. He will say to Justin, Padawan, I’ve given you all I know. Now you are a Jedi. Get Rickie’s head in the game!!! To Patrick and Xander, he will say Hey, Calif boys, I’m one of you. Just a little older, is all. Let’s get it done, west coast style. To Webb and Patrick, he will … jeez, what do you say to these guys? O42 and not showing much sign of life. Maybe they will pull one out for the big cat. If not, we can remove the Captain-America nickname from Reed’s slumping shoulders. Finally, he will look at two more, underachievers (trust me, they’re great in the team room) named Finau and Kuchar, and perhaps say more than They’re good to Finau and Tip better to Kuchar.

And the International side? We begin with LiLeishman. Haotong Li makes his debut with Leishman in the morning’s first match. The faith that Els has in Leishman! He gave him Niemann on day one, Ancer on day two and now Li on day three. Leishman is the rookie whisperer on this squad. He must be like a mix of teddy bear and boa constrictor. Next we have Abe and Im. Guess what? They haven’t partnered each other yet, but Ancer is 2-0 and Im, 1.5-0.5. They are pretty strong and might be the darlings of these matches. Third come Pan and Matsu. This is the first time that partners have reprised their roles. That’s a mountain of respect from the Big Easy. First, he trusts them to play well with each other. Second, he trusts his entire company to play well WITH ANYONE! Last come Ben and Adam. OK, they also played together on day one. So much for my theory. Good pairing, I’ll admit. Big comeback, they had, against Finau and Bryson.

5. Speaking of Bryson…

Where is El fuerte, el gigante, los SMUsculos? On the sidelines for a second-consecutive match, he is. He and his 4-degree driver, his new build, his…inability to partner well in four-ball? If he didn’t play on Friday in foursomes, is he likely to play on Saturday in foursomes? Who knows? That’s a rough assessment, and will either motivate (or soul-crush) him for Sunday’s singles match. Oh, right, it’s an exhibition. I always get ahead of myself.

See all the things we learned? Sometimes they happen on the course, and sometimes, in my mind. Remember: 9 birdies this evening/tomorrow morning from Sungjae. Put it in the bank. And collect interest. And bet on him again.

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