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Morning 9: Why Reed was the right Prez Cup pick | Undercover Tour Pro: We know the cheaters | Jason Day

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1. Reed was the right call
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak praises Captain Woods’ selection of one Patrick Reed…”Woods could have justified the selection of the hot hand, Kevin Na, who has won twice in his past 10 starts, including at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October. He could’ve picked Rickie Fowler and few would have batted an eye. He could have ignored the standings and current form and gone for veteran leadership and taken Phil Mickelson or went with his gut and Jordan Spieth.”
  • “But Woods made the right call in taking the 29-year-old Reed to round out his team going to Australia this December, despite the fact that, as the saying goes, his baggage doesn’t fit in the overhead compartment.”
  • “Definitely was fired up to get the phone call from Tiger saying that I was a pick and that he can’t wait for me to be a part of the team and that I’d bring a lot to the team,” Reed said in a conference call with media on Tuesday night. “That means a lot, especially coming from one of the greatest golfers ever to live on this planet. For him to trust in me and the team to trust in me means a lot because it means that I’ve worked hard and that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and that’s try to go out and play the best golf I can.”
2. What’s eating Jason Day?
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Day has had a mediocre year by his lofty standards, as the former world No. 1 is down to 29th in the latest world rankings. That’s his lowest position since before the 2013 Masters, and it’s a byproduct of a solid but unspectacular stretch that has included just one top-10 finish since the Masters.”
  • “Speaking to reporters at Mayakoba, Day shared that he didn’t have a trainer for most of the year, a decision he regretted after a back injury sparked his withdrawal at Bay Hill and lingered throughout the season.”
  • “…He also pointed the finger to a revolving door on his bag. Day has employed four different caddies this year, including a short-lived union with Steve Williams. He’s back to friend David Lutterus this week on the El Camaleon course.”
  • “I went through three caddies – I’m on my fourth – and my back was injured. Like, that’s not a good formula for success,” Day said. “What do I need to be successful? I need to not have to worry about any of this. All those things that I was worrying about throughout the year is a distraction.”

Full piece.

3. We know who the cheaters are
The Undercover Tour Pro says on the PGA Tour, everyone knows who the cheaters are but there’s little to be done…
  • “Earlier in the week, I remember nearly spitting out my drink when I read what Phil Mickelson said in his press conference. His quote was, “I know a number of guys on tour that are loose with how they mark the ball and have not been called on it. I mean, they’ll move the ball two, three inches in front of their mark, and this is an intentional way to get it out of any type of impression and so forth, and I think that kind of stuff needs to stop.”
  • “Now, if there’s anyone prone to hyperbole, it’s Phil. The truth is, there’s exactly one guy who is known to mis-mark his ball by two or three inches. Ask any player about cheating, and they’ll all tell you the same name. I was paired with this notorious individual recently, and I witnessed it. Using his hand to obscure the distance behind the ball, he picks up his coin so fast that you almost can’t be certain of what you’ve just seen. But when you see it enough times, it becomes pretty obvious. What’s more, this was just after the anchor ban, and he was using a long putter. He wears baggy shirts, but I could tell that he was anchoring. After the round, we got into a heated debate in the scoring trailer when I refused to sign his card. He claimed that if the end of his grip touched his chest, it was accidental. The way the rule is written, it’s all about intent, and an official signed his card.”

Full piece.

4. Ancer grinding for Prez Cup form
PGATour.com’s Cameron Morfit…”Ancer, 28, made history earlier this year when he was one of eight players to earn a spot on the International Presidents Cup Team, which will take on the U.S. at Royal Melbourne, Dec. 12-15. He is the first Mexican to make the International side.”
  • “It’s a big deal for a Mexican to be on that team,” said countryman Carlos Ortiz. “We’re all going to be watching.”
  • “That’s a sentiment shared by others, but Ancer, who last season finished 21st in the FedExCup, has been admittedly slow to let it sink in. He’s simply been too busy.”
  • “I know it’s big,” Ancer said at El Camaleón Golf Club, where he played a rain-delayed nine holes in the pro-am Wednesday. “I get so caught up in like just playing good every week. I’m just so focused when I’m doing that, kind of (need to) take a step back and really think this is something that’s never been done before, which I’m really proud of and I’m really excited.”
5. Fast Eddie gets his card
Eddie Fernandes, five times a Q-School failure in the early 2000s, reborn as a long driver…
  • “…I’d been to Stage 2 once before, but I’d never felt as optimistic as I did this time. Going into the tournament I’d won seven straight mini-tour events-averaging 67.4 strokes per round. I’d coasted through Stage 1.”
  • “And then I missed the cut. Peaked too early, I guess. I was 34. My wife, Eileen, was pregnant with our first child, and I just thought, Eddie, it’s time. Time to take a break from golf and get on with life and having a family.”
  • “I probably played only 20 rounds between 2004 and 2014. I worked as a video-surveillance consultant and opened my own business. I worked in restaurants. I tried a lot of things. And for a long time, I didn’t miss golf. I was focused on providing for my family. But I guess the itch was hiding there somewhere.”

Full piece.

6. Tough decisions 
Golf Digest’s Keely Levins…”Previously in Q school, any college players who earned LPGA membership had to decide immediately whether they would turn pro and play the next season, forgoing any remaining collegiate eligibility. Starting last year with the launch of the Q-Series, collegiate players could turn pro right away and start the LPGA season with the rest of the Q-Series graduates, or defer their status until the end of May and the completion of their collegiate spring season.”
  • “While more flexible than the old rules, the current choice remains difficult. Turn pro right away, and you leave your college team mid-season and miss out on the chance to play in the NCAA Championship (or the newly created Augusta National Women’s Amateur if you’ve qualified). But wait to start your the LPGA season in June, and you leave yourself fewer events to earn enough to be among the top 100 on the money list at season’s end and keep your status for the next year. Failure to finish in the top 100 then puts those players right back where they started: Q-Series.”
  • “In 2018, the first year of the new deferral option, two collegiate players made the choice of skipping the early LPGA events to stay in school: Jennifer Kupcho and Maria Fassi. Both enjoyed the benefits of remaining amateur; Kupcho won the inaugural ANWA and Fassi claimed the NCAA individual title. And then both also retained their LPGA cards after turning pro in June. Kupcho’s rookie season was highlighted by a T-2 at the Evian Championship, helping her finish No. 38 on the money list. Fassi played in 11 events and earned $129,164, good enough to finish No. 98.”

Full piece.

7. Aidan Kramer: scholar, golfer and philanthropist
That’s how Golfweek’s Adam Woodard introduces the collegiate golfer.
  • In the little downtime Kramer has from hitting the books or golf balls, he enjoys watching football and movies or playing ping pong, like most teenagers. That said, he’s unlike most his age, especially when asked about his dream golf foursome. His answers? Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer (upon realizing he forgot himself, he would later bench Hogan).
  • For the last two years, his free time has also been spent working with Orlando’s local Fairways for Warriors organization, which is dedicated to decreasing the number of veterans who commit suicide and helping them readjust to civilian life when they return from combat.
  • “They use the game of golf to bring people together and form camaraderie between veterans,” explained Kramer. “It’s really been amazing to see the impact (Fairways for Warriors) has had on veterans in the area.”
  • “Kramer not only volunteers. He also started an equipment drive for the veterans in need through donations from local golfers, equipment manufacturers and clubs in the area.”
8. Video-game based friendship
Excellent stuff on a unique friendship from Cameron Morfit...”Not quite a year after a chance encounter on “Call of Duty,” Harold Varner III finally met gamer pal Arturo at the Mayakoba Golf Classic on Tuesday. Carlos Ortiz, one of seven players representing Mexico here, and Preston Lyon, Varner’s childhood friend and agent – both of whom also know Arturo through the game – were also on site.”
  • “They’ve spent hundreds, maybe thousands of hours together, but this was the first time they had met in person.”
  • “I can’t believe this is happening,” said Arturo, a 22-year-old college student from Mexico, smiling through his braces. He wore jeans and a red Tommy Hilfiger sweater and admitted to being too nervous to have slept much the night before.

Full piece.

9. The man who played too much
Tamar Lapin of the NY Post...”One of Britain’s most exclusive golf clubs gave a member the boot for teeing off too much – and the golfer is striking back with a lawsuit.”
  • “John Cawood, 72, is taking a swing at the Sunningdale Golf Club in Berkshire over claims the club revoked his membership for allegedly playing more than 30 rounds a year, The UK Times reported.”
  • “The club charges a reported $77,000 to join, with high-profile members including former James Bond actor Sean Connery, Hugh Grant and ex-soccer pro Gary Lineker.”
  • “Cawood, a retired lawyer from Australia, was paying a yearly discounted overseas membership of about $1,500 – until members in 2011 began to gripe that he was hitting the green too often.”
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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Dan

    Nov 14, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    Who’s the cheater?

  2. huh?

    Nov 14, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Why is the undercover tour pro article from 2017 being included?

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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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