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Morning 9: Kuchar on caddiegate | Billy Mayfair’s messy DQ | Tiger in for Genesis

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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 13, 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. Kuchar on caddiegate
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…”Matt Kuchar concedes he made a mistake last year when he didn’t reward David Giral Ortiz, his fill-in caddie during his victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, with a fitting tip for a job well done.”
  • “What happened post tournament with David is something I’m not proud of, made some headlines that certainly I’m definitely not proud of, but I’ve done my best to make amends, to make things right with David, to do things right by the community,” Kuchar said on Tuesday in his pre-tournament press conference.”
  • …”It’s a moment I’m not proud of, but it’s one of those things you do your best as a father to teach kids lessons, and there’s no better thing than to show them – taking the lead and showing them the right steps to take. When you have moments you’re not proud of, you make amends for them, you do your best to make it right and try to keep moving forward and staying positive,” he said on Tuesday. “I think I equate it a lot to team sports, you know. You learn a lot in losses, you learn a lot in hard times. Certainly it’s given me an opportunity for growth, for self-betterment.  I try in situations to definitely not make that mistake again but to be better in so many areas, to try to be more charitable, try to be more giving, try to take more opportunities to do the right things and do really good things.”

Full piece.

2. Disappointing grandma!
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”Now, a year later and back at the PGA Tour event near Cancun, Mexico, Kuchar, 41, again apologized on Tuesday and noted that he even heard from his grandmother in the aftermath of the controversy.”
  • “That was a tough thing on me and my family, but it was really tough when I heard from my grandmother and she’s reading headlines about her grandson,” said Kuchar, who will have his regular caddie, John Wood, on the bag this week. “I think I’ve always tried to make her proud. I’ve got kids of my own, you try to set a good example.”
  • “I’m disappointed in myself. It’s a moment I’m not proud of, but it’s one of those things you do your best as a father to teach kids lessons, and there’s no better thing than to show them, you do your best to make it right and try to keep moving forward and stay positive.”

Full piece.

3. Tiger commits to Genesis Invitational 
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…“Tiger Woods has committed to play in the 2020 Genesis Invitational, where he will serve as tournament host for an event with newfound status.”
“Woods made his PGA Tour debut at Riviera Country Club as a 16-year-old amateur in 1992, and in February he’ll return to headline the field for what was formerly known as the Genesis Open. Last year the PGA Tour granted the event elevated status, meaning the field will be trimmed from 144 to 120 players, the purse will jump from $7.4 million to $9.3 million and the winner will receive a three-year Tour exemption rather than the two-year exemption that most other tournament winners get.”
4. Big rights push
Via Geoff Shackelford…”When news of CBS securing Champions League rights broke over the weekend, there was a natural question about what this meant for their PGA Tour rights.”
“SBD’s John Ourand considers takeaways from Champions acquisition and notes:”
  • “….I’m told that CBS has put forth an aggressive bid for PGA Tour rights, which is expected to be decided by the end of the year. Last fall, in a minor surprise, it renewed a deal for the PGA Championship. Under the direction of Sean McManus and David Berson, CBS Sports always has prided itself on deep relationships and historically has had success keeping the rights it wants…”

 

5. Mayfair’s mess
Where to begin with this one? Michael Bamberger penned a massive missive on Billy Mayfair’s Champions DQ.
  • “In the space of seven holes, Mayfair had two serious rules issues. By Sunday morning, golf’s two harshest consonants were beside his name, by then at bottom of the full-field list: DQ. There would be no third-week homecoming. Instead, he was consulting with his lawyer.”
  • “Explaining the ‘advice’ rule at the center of the explosive LPGA Q-School rules controversy Mayfair’s first rules problem on the afternoon – Saturday, Nov. 2 – came on the 11th hole, where he had a lengthy search for ball and, later, a seemingly inaccurate recounting of the search to a rules official.”
  • “His second rules problem came on the 17th hole, where his ball moved at least six inches in the rough. The issue there was not the ball’s movement but how Mayfair described the event to a rules official on the scene, versus what actually happened.”
6. Tiger’s sage advice to amateurs
Golf.com’s Jessica Marksbury discussing TW’s appearance on an Australian radio show…“Throughout the chat, Woods sounded like he was in quite an amiable mood, eliciting laughs from the hosts and giving lengthy, thoughtful answers to questions. Woods even offered some advice for recreational players when one of the hosts confessed to being embarrassed by his play during his most recent round of golf.”
  • “To get better, I would say more than anything, try to make little swings and build up, make bigger swings but hit the ball in the middle of the face,” Woods said. “That’s something I stress with every single junior golfer and every amateur, start with a little pitch shot 10 yards, and then 20, 30. Work your way out and try to hit the ball in the middle of the face.
  • “If you can find the middle of the face consistently, your game is going to improve by so many shots, you’re going to enjoy the game so much more, but if you can’t find the middle of the face it’s going to be quite frustrating, and this game is frustrating enough.”

Full piece.

7. McCumber the surfer
Helen Ross profiles surfing aficionado Tyler McCumber, who is playing his debut season on the PGA Tour. Always interesting to hear from a PGA Tour pro who is passionate about something outside the ropes!…”The beach was Tyler’s happy place when he was a kid, and truth be told, it still is. The PGA TOUR rookie started surfing when he was five or six, first learning to stand up on a boogie board and now riding waves in such far-flung places as Australia, Peru, Portugal and Barbados.”
  • “I just fell in love with the ocean,” Tyler says simply. “It became my favorite hobby. I wish I could have made a career out of it, but that wasn’t going to happen.”

Full piece.

8. MacLaren the scribe
Randall Mell on LET golfer Meghan MacLaren’s skill with a pen…”The 25-year-old Englishwoman won her second Ladies European Tour title this year, but she’s making a mark beyond her run at the tour’s Order of Merit title. She has carved out a special place in the game beyond her own golf. She’s a gifted young writer.”
  • “Her blog at megmaclaren.com is like that wardrobe in C.S. Lewis’ book within the “Chronicles of Narnia” series. It’s a gateway that leads to another world behind the one we see. MacLaren is like having Susan Pevensie in the “Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” as our guide, taking us on an adventure through golf’s hills and valleys, through the challenges young players face.”
  • “MacLaren’s gift is in how delightfully she frames the joy and angst of the beautiful, maddening sport she loves. She writes in a way that makes you feel as if she’s sharing her thoughts with you alone.”

Full piece.

9. “Golf’s ultimate pressure”
Golfweek’s Alistair Tait on what the European Tour Q-School hopefuls will be facing…relative to their tour counterparts.
  • “There’s a lot of pressure riding on this week’s European Tour event. No, not the $7.5 million Nedbank Golf Challenge, but the European Tour Qualifying School.”
  • “There is no pressure in Sun City. These guys have made so much money this season even their caddies are probably looking forward to buying some nice Christmas presents for their loved ones.”
  • “Zander Lombard was the last man into the Nedbank field. He’s earned €516,066.22 this season, $586,671.44 on today’s dollar exchange rate. The guys playing the Final Qualifying Stage at Lumine Golf Club in Tarragona, Spain November 15-20 dream of earning that sort of money.”

 

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  1. I know donkeys

    Nov 14, 2019 at 11:41 am

    I hope Kuchar gets the yips and shanks. May he miss all his putts and quit the game. Then we won’t have to see the Big Donkey anymore.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the Honda Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2020 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,125 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Louis Oosthuizen and more.

Last year, Keith Mitchell canned a 15-footer on the 72nd hole, outlasting Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka.

Check out all our galleries below, along with highlights from PGA National.

General galleries

Special galleries

Vijay Singh using custom Mizuno MP-20 irons with lofts modified enough they had to stamp new numbers. Link to his full WITB

Camilo Villegas with old-school Air Jordans

Close up of Tommy Fleetwood’s putting grip

Luke Donald with a new putting training aid

LA Golf has a couple of new shafts

Brooks Kopeka with his pink and white Nike Air Zoom Infinity Tour shoes

Odyssey Stroke Lab Ten with new sightlines.  Link to galleries and discussion

Kevin Streelman is a huge Chicago Cubs fan, so he went to a spring training game and had the players sign his staff bag (to be fair, he probably took just the panel and not the whole bag)

Jim Furyk has gone back to his standard length putter and cross-handed after trying the arm-lock style for a while.

Kyle Stanley’s coach is taking a worm’s-eye view of Kyle’s alignment and stroke.

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Morning 9: Koepka talks golf | Tiger’s Champions Dinner menu | Tour caddies and hot seats

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1. Koepka talks golf
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…The former World No. 1 – who now sits third behind Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm – opened up in great detail in a profile in GQ about what he would change about the game of golf, a sport that he truly loves despite some outside perception.
  • “One thing I’d change is maybe the stuffiness,” said Koepka, who’s never viewed himself as just a golfer. “Golf has always had this persona of the triple-pleated khaki pants, the button-up shirt, very country club atmosphere, where it doesn’t always have to be that way. That’s part of the problem.”
  • ...”Everybody always says, ‘You need to grow the game.’ Well, why do you need to be so buttoned-up? ‘You have to take your hat off when you get in here.’ ‘You’re not allowed in here unless you’re a member – or unless the member’s here.’…
  • …”I just think people confuse all this for me not loving the game. I love the game. I absolutely love the game,” said Koepka. “I don’t love the stuffy atmosphere that comes along with it. That, to me, isn’t enjoyable.”

Full piece.

2. Fajitas and sushi
“Being born and raised in SoCal, having fajitas and sushi was a part of my entire childhood, and I’m going back to what I had in 2006,” Woods said. “So, we’ll have steak and chicken fajitas, and we’ll have sushi and sashimi out on the deck, and I hope the guys will enjoy it.”
  • “Woods also said he’s considering serving milkshakes for desert like he did during the 1998 dinner.”
  • “That was one of the most great memories to see Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead having milkshakes that night in ’98,” he said.”

Full piece.

3. Why a tour caddie is always on the hot seat 
The Undercover Tour Caddie writeth again…“I’ve been lucky to partner with 18 players on the PGA and developmental tours, four of which were longtime appointments. I’ve also been fired 17 times-and among my friends, that’s on the low end of the spectrum…”
  • “The majority of the time, the breakups are amicable and done in person. I consider myself friends with almost all the players I’ve worked for, and though there were some strong emotions from both sides when it came time to disband, I get it. This is a business, and they’re making a business decision. Plus, you don’t want to burn any bridges. I’ve had two guys toss me aside after a month’s work, only for them to circle back within the year, one of which ended up sticking for five seasons.”
  • “There have been callous splits. In the early 2000s, I was trying to get my guy to hit an 8-iron on an approach at the 71st hole. He was adamant that 9 was the play. I strongly, but respectfully, said he needed to club up. He went with the 9; his ball came up short of the green, and he couldn’t get up and down. That bogey dropped us out of the top 10. He fired me after signing his card, claiming he needed someone “who has faith in me.” Hey, I had faith-faith that his 9 was the wrong club.”

Full piece.

4. The best part of Tiger’s Masters win…
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski…”Last April at Augusta National Golf Club, behind the 18th green, after tapping in for a one-stroke victory and fifth Masters triumph, there were hugs all around, none sweeter than those from his daughter and son.”
  • “I think what made it so special is that they saw me fail the year before at the British Open. I had gotten the lead there and made bogey, double, and ended up losing to Francesco,” Woods said. “To have them experience what it feels like to be part of a major championship and watch their dad fail and not get it done, and now to be a part of it when I did get it done, I think it’s two memories that they will never forget. And the embraces and the hugs and the excitement, because they know how I felt and what it felt like when I lost at Carnoustie … to have the complete flip with them in less than a year, it was very fresh in their minds.”
  • “It’s a long and rambling thought, and totally justified in the context of all the emotion woven into the two experiences. Some things are just difficult to express cogently, and the struggle with doing so only underscores their impact.”
5. Dream of Coul is dead
Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”Coul Links was supposed to be Scotland’s next great links golf course. Envisioned to be built by Coore-Crenshaw on a protected wildlife site in Embo on dunes near Dornoch, those hopes took a serious blow on Feb. 21, when the Scottish government denied planning permission for a project spearheaded by golf course developer Mike Keiser.”
  • “I’m moving on. I have so many other projects,” Keiser tells The Forecaddie. “God bless Dornoch.”
  • “In its decision notice, Scottish Ministers determined that the proposed development would adversely affect the local environment, stating in their findings that the “likely detriment to natural heritage is not outweighed by the socio-economic benefits of the proposal.”
6. Koepka: Great round of golf with Trump
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard…“In a profile in GQ, Koepka…talked about a recent round with President Trump…Koepka, his father, younger brother Chase and President Trump “had a blast” at Trump’s course in West Palm Beach.”
  • “It was nice to have my family there, my dad, my brother. Anytime it’s with a president, it’s pretty cool,” said Koepka. “I don’t care what your political beliefs are, it’s the President of the United States. It’s an honor that he even wanted to play with me.”
  • “I respect the office, I don’t care who it is,” added Koepka. “Still probably the most powerful man in the entire world. It’s a respect thing.”

Full piece.

7. Tiger on lengthening Augusta National 
Golf Digest’s Daniel Rapaport…”Augusta National has been at the forefront of trying to keep it competitive, keep it fair, keep it fun, and they’ve been at the forefront of lengthening the golf course,” Woods said. “Granted, they have the property and they can do virtually whatever they want. They have complete autonomy. It’s kind of nice.
  • “But also they’ve been at the forefront of trying to keep it exciting as the game has evolved. We have gotten longer, equipment changed, but they’ve been trying to keep it so the winning score is right around the 12- to 18-under-par mark, and they have.”
8. Inside the Bear Trap
Golf Channel Digital team…“Here’s a look at some of the notable Bear Trap stats according to the PGA Tour (all figures since 2007, when the tournament moved to PGA National):”
  • “Among non-majors, the Bear Trap ranks as the third-toughest three-hole stretch on Tour at 0.644 over par on average. It’s behind only Nos. 16-18 at Quail Hollow (+0.873) and Nos. 8-10 at Pebble Beach (+0.673).”
  • “The Honda Classic field is a combined 3,629 over par across the Bear Trap and 4,934 over par across the other 15 holes at PGA National.”
  • “543 different players have played at least one competitive round at the Honda since 2007, with 76 percent (415) of them hitting at least one ball in the water on the Bear Trap.”

Full piece.

9. San Diego muni renovations (including Torrey)
Jason Lusk of Golfweek…“San Diego’s city council has allotted $15 million for upgrades and renovations to the city’s three municipally operated golf facilities including Torrey Pines’ South Course, site of the 2021 U.S. Open, according to a report Tuesday by the San Diego Union-Tribune.”
  • “…The $15 million approved Monday by the city council also will include contract work at San Diego’s other municipally operated golf facilities at Balboa Park and Mission Bay, the Union-Tribune reported. The courses will remain open during the jobs that include installing new irrigation systems and drainage, replacing and repairing cart paths, renovating bunkers and tree work.”

 

*featured image via Augusta National/the Masters

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Tour Rundown

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@asiapacgolfgrp

Only two of the world’s featured tours were in action this week, but the golf that they provided was memorable and historic. Not the type of historic that you find in school books, but certainly the type that golf aficionados point to, down the road. On the one hand, a prodigious yet poliarizing talent demonstrated complete control down the stretch, during his march to a 2nd World Golf Championship victory. On the other, a precocious competitor joined into a talented triumvirate with a marvelous birdie at the last, to secure an inaugural PGA Tour championship.Tuesday Tour Rundown is back, for this week only!

WGC-Mexico flies away in the hands of Patrick Reed 

Golf Twitter, depending on your perspective, is either entertaining or inflamatory. As happens in the world today, people take sides. In the case of Patrick Reed, that’s not difficult. One either forgives (or denies) Reed’s free interpretation (on multiple occasions) of the rules and their enforcement, or one preserves a disregard for a leading player who simply doesn’t act like one. What isn’t up for debate, is Reed’s seizure of this week’s World Golf Championship in Mexico. What looked for so long like a Bryson-DeChambaeau win, ultimately stowed away in Patrick Reed’s check-on pouch.

The tournament came down to the aforementioned duo. Both Jon Rahm and Erik Van Rooyen swam along the margin, but neither made enough of a Sunday move to figure in the outcome. Both, in fact, tied for 3rd place, 2 back of DeChambeau and 3 behind the champion. Bryson and his on-display muscles barged out of the 10th-hole gate like a man (and muscles) on a mission. Birdies at 4 of the first 5 holes on the inward half, staked him to a 2-shot advantage. Over the closing four, however, the magic went away, and a bogey at the penultimate hole brought him back to 17-under par.

Reed looked like a man playing for second. His long game was nothing exceptional, but his putter kept him afloat, time and again. And then, whatever DeChambeau had in his water bottle, came over to Reed. Birdies at 15, 16 and 17 suddenly brought the 2-shot advantage to the 2018 Masters champion. Even the cough of an expectorant fan, mid-backswing on the 18th, was not enough to convulse the champion. A closing bogey made the margin closer than it was, and Reed jumped from 33rd to 5th in the FedEx Cup standings.

PGA Tour Puerto Rico is Viktor Hovland’s debut decision

It wasn’t as mauling as Tyson Fury’s technical decision over Deontay Wilder, but Viktor Hovland and Josh Teater came down the stretch in Puerto Rico, like a pair of pugilists. The young Norwegian, Hovland, was pitted against the career grinder, Teater. First it was the veteran, with 3 birdies on the opening nine, to reach minus-19. Hovland chipped away, with a birdie at 5, and a 2nd at 10. And then, Teater hit Hovland with a right-cross (or Hovland hit himself with a sucker punch; you make the call.) Triple bogey! A startling six at the 11th, dropped Hovland into a tie with Teater (bogeys of his own on 10 and 11) who now had new life … and new pressure.

To his credit, Teater didn’t back down. He made birdies at 15 and 17, to recoup the lost shots at the turn. Unfortunately for him, tour victory the first would have to wait. Hovland, the Oklahoma State alumnus, made a sensational eagle at the 15th, to counter Teater’s birdie, and reclaim the advantage. The pair reached the 18th tee, a par five, all square, and it was there that Hovland dealt the final thrust. He took every bit of break out of a 25-feet birdie putt, and banged it into the hole. With the win, Hovland joined Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa as anticipated winners who actually won. Now comes the hard part: winning again and reaching a new echelon of champion.

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