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Tour Rundown: Rahma-Lamma-Double-DingDong in Dubai | Ignorance is victory | Duncan’s debut W

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All that is professional golf, has ended for 2019. No, the Parent-Child and other silly-season events don’t count. Not even that little get-together that somehow offers world ranking points, but is an unofficial event. In Dubai, Georgia and Florida, the finest golfers on the LPGA, Euro and PGA tours holed their final putts for the last year of this decade. So much happened in 2K19, including the arrival of Lee6, the major return of Tiger, the dominance of Brooks, and the awakening of Scott McCarron. Raise a toast at year-end gatherings to their entertainment of us all, and to the realization of their hopes and dreams. For now, allow us to run down the tours, one last time, before we hopefully meet again in 2020, with the clearest vision.

Rahma Lamma Double DingDong in Dubai

That’s waaaaay too much of an Animal House reference (and also gives away my age) but it sure is fun to say. Jon Rahm won his 3rd European Tour event of the season in unique fashion. Following earlier wins in the Open championships of Ireland and Spain, Rahm arrived in Dubai in a position to challenge for world supremacy. He did not disappoint.

Rahm seized control of the climactic event of the European Tour with 5 birdies in his first 7 holes. Then, golf took over and the Spaniard let Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Tommy Fleetwood back into the tournament. 4 bogies over the next 8 holes (offset by a 2 more birdies) and some heroics from the French and English, made this finish a nail-biter. Fleetwood sliced 5 strokes off par over his last 7 holes, including birdie at the watery 18th. Never a winner on tour, Lorenzo-Vera closed within one with 2 consecutive birdies, midway through the inward nine. Unable to make additional dents in par over the closing four holes, MLV finished alone in 3rd spot, 1 putt behind Fleetwood and 2 back of the champion.

With his victory at Dubai, Rahm matched previous Race leader Bernd Wiesberger for wins (3) on the season. He jumped two spots over the Austrian, into 1st spot on the season. Fleetwood also elevated his stature with his runner-up finish. The Englishman moved into 2nd place in the season-long Race, relegating Wiesberger to a 3rd position on the podium. Shane Lowry (Ireland) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (England) round out the top 5. The wins at Dubai will no doubt cause pundits across the globe to ask, when will Rahm step up in a major way.  We, of course, won’t ask that question, as we hold ourselves to a higher standard. For certain, the Spaniard has improved every facet of his game, allowing himself to be considered in every event in which he competes.

Ignorance is victory at LPGA Tour Championship

Sei Young Kim thought she was up against Nelly Korda in the final round. She didn’t know that Charley Hull had stormed from way behind tor each 17-under par, the figure where SYK stood on the 72nd green. 25 feet from birdie, Kim needed two putts to reach a playoff with the Englishwoman. Her putt found the bottom of the cup, for what she thought was a 2-stroke victory. Never mind that it was only a 1-shot margin of triumph; Sei Young was the holder of the largest tournament check in the history of women’s golf. The CME Race To The Globe, the season-long points race, went to her countrywoman, Jin Young Ko. Ko was also the Rolex Player of the Year, and holder of 4 tournament titles in 2019, 1 more than Kim.

Most aficionados expected Nelly Korda to offer the greatest challenge to the 3rd-round leader, but Korda and Kim each struggled throughout the round. Each had three bogeys on the day, including silly 6s on the par-5 14th hole. Meanwhile, Hull and Danielle Kang were lighting the Tiburon golf club’s gold course on fire. Hull had 6 birdies on the day, including the final 3 holes, and the 5 of the final 7. Kang had 5 birdies on the opening nine holes, then nothing until the 17th hole, where she made an eagle 3. Her 65 moved her from 9th to a tie for 3rd, while Hull moved from 4th to solo 2nd. Korda’s final-hole birdie returned her to red figures for the 4th consecutive day, out of a tie for 4th with Brooke Henderson, into the 3rd-place tie with Kang.

Sea Island site for Duncan’s debut victory

The fall series on the PGA Tour is known to be the proving ground for the unheralded, or the formerly-heralded. Thus far in 2019, Joaquin Niemann, Sebastian MuÑoz, and Lanto Griffin notch inaugural wins. Cameron Champ and Kevin Na earned important victories in their respective resurgences. No one had made more of an impact than Brendon Todd, who had won his last two tournaments and was gunning for a 3rd consecutive at Sea Island. For a time on Sunday, it appeared that he might do just that. Sadly for him, an incredible, 11-round streak in the 60s came to an end. From Bermuda, through Mayakoba, and up to Sunday morning in Georgia, the UGeorgia alum had played the best golf of any golfer, all year long. On Sunday, Todd came undone, to the tune of 72, and wound up in 4th spot. Not bad, but not what he wanted.

What Tyler Duncan wanted, was to rebound from a Saturday 70. No one finds it easy to follow up a 61 with a similar round, but the Purdue alum was hoping for something a bit better than … 70. On Sunday, as Todd struggled and Webb Simpson moved into the lead, Duncan sneaked up on everyone. Simpson came home in the final pairing with 67, for a total of -19. He overcame a 14th-hole bogey with birdies at 15 and 16. Imagine his surprise upon learning that Duncan made birdie at 3 of his closing 4 holes, to also reach the prime minus 19. Into sudden victory did the pair enter, and on the 2nd go-round of the par-4 18th, Duncan made another birdie to shut the door on Simpson and stand atop the PGA Tour podium for the first time.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

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True Sports acquiring Aerotech shafts

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True Sports, the umbrella company for True Temper, Project X, Accra Golf and other sport divisions, has just announced a total purchase of Aerotech Golf Shafts for an undisclosed amount. This purchase comes on the heels of another recent purchase earlier this year when True Sports purchased Canadian-based shaft company Accra Golf.

From a total package perspective this deal makes a lot of sense for everyone involved, True Temper/Project X is already the industry leader in steel shafts, along with offering a full array of graphite products from driver to iron shafts under a number of brands. While on the other hand Aerotech and the SteelFiber shafts are the number 1 graphite iron shaft on all professional tours with many notable players using various models. AeroTech is also the leader by a large margin on the LPGA Tour with a number of the world’s top women’s players using the shafts on route to multiple wins including majors championships in 2019.

How This All Fits

From a portfolio perspective, Aerotech further rounds out the True Sports graphite shaft options available to both the custom aftermarket segment, and to OEMs as part of their custom matrix options. The purchase of Aerotech strengthens True Sports’ position in the OEM world since the SteelFiber line is one of the most requested custom options from OEMs and customers.

“We are thrilled to add Aerotech to our stable of products. Their innovative SteelFiber line of shafts is extremely popular in the aftermarket and has won more professional golf events than any other graphite iron shaft.” – Don Brown, senior director of marketing and innovation for TRUE Sports’ golf division.

This works well as a contrast to the recent Accra Golf purchase since Accra Golf caters exclusively to the aftermarket custom club market and doesn’t offer any shaft models to the OEM world.

From a technology standpoint, Aerotech SteelFiber shafts stand out because of the way they are constructed – from AeroTech,

“The filament winding process yields a seamless and incredibly uniform bending golf shaft. The steel fiber material is produced using a bundle drawing process that utilizes multiple reductions in the diameter of stainless steel wire. Once the wire becomes thin enough, 1,000 individual wires are bundled together and placed inside an iron tube that is further reduced until each individual steel wire is 8 microns in diameter. Each 8 micron steel filament is approximately 1/10th the diameter of a human hair. Finally, 3,000 individual filaments are combined and spun onto spools.”

This is a contrast to the method utilized by essentially every other graphite shaft manufacturer which uses sheets of various pre-preg graphite materials wrapped around a mandrel to produce a shaft.

The other interesting part of this is how Aerotech and its technology and processes could be used outside of the golf world in other sports under the True umbrella, including hockey and lacrosse, since it was the original Aerotech company that produced some of the earliest composite hockey sticks, which are now the norm in the industry.

It’s going to be very interesting to watch how this plays out in 2020 and beyond for both True and Aerotech, and we will continue to follow any developments or changes to both organizations.

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Morning 9: Adler: Phil knows better | Up-and-down day for TW | New USGA prez

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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.

December 5, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.  
 
**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. Good news for Team USA? Reed, Woodland lead
BBC report on round one from Albany...”Gary Woodland and fellow American Patrick Reed share the lead after the first round of the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.”
  • “The pair managed six-under rounds of 66 as Tiger Woods was one of those to struggle in windy conditions.”
  • “The 15-time Major champion closed with a bogey and double bogey to slip to level par for his opening round.”
  • “England’s Justin Rose is one of four players three shots off the lead and one behind second-placed Chez Reavie.”

Full piece.

2. Tiger opens with 72
Bad bookends a slow start make for captain Woods…
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”A good bit of work to get himself back in the tournament was blown away on the final two holes, as Woods finished with a bogey and double-bogey to shoot even-par 72 and finish 6 strokes back of leaders Patrick Reed and Gary Woodland and tied for 11th in the 18-player field.”
  • “I didn’t putt that well today, but my short game was great and I drove it really well,” Woods said. “Just hit a couple poor iron shots that cost me a few shots. Got myself kind of right there in the mix and then bad shots on 17, 18.”
  • “Playing for the first time since his October victory at the Zozo Championship in Japan, Woods simply appeared a bit off, not giving himself very many birdie opportunities, bogeying two par-5s and struggling on a particularly windy day in the Bahamas.”
  • “But after playing the front nine in 2 over par, he rebounded by playing a five-hole stretch in 5 under par, including chipping in for an eagle at the par-5 15th hole. That got him to 2 under par, only to give it back on the last two holes.”

Full piece.

3. Adler: Phil knows better
Scathing stuff from Golf Digest’s Max Adler on Phil Mickelson’s decision to tee it up in KSA…
“Phil’s so smart, there’s no doubt he knows the definition of chiasmus. You know, “a rhetorical or literary figure in which words, grammatical constructions, or concepts are repeated in reverse order, in the same or modified form.” Phil being Phil is the chiasmic distilled essence of his being. Whether it’s putting two drivers in the bag or none, wheeling through a Krispy Kreme drive-thru in a green jacket, or smacking down Jake Owen on the dance floor with a wad of cash, the world recognizes “Phil being Phil” when we see it. And so does Phil. He wielded the technique Monday on Twitter in response to criticism for entering the Saudi International amid the human rights turmoil going on in that nation. “You do you booboo cuz ima do me” Mickelson replied to Guardian golf writer Ewan Murray.”
“Now, there are other prominent American golfers likely banking large appearance fees for participating in the second edition of the Saudi European Tour event-like Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau, and Brooks Koepka-but the heat is on Phil because presumably he should know better. A worldly man on the cusp of 50, knowledgeable on subjects as wide ranging as wine, dinosaurs and subcutaneous fat (and really almost any topic you care to bring up, many golfers say), should know that the staging of a popular western sport in a country whose values are so antithetical to our own comes with certain dilemmas that cannot be quickly dismissed. See the uproar between China and the NBA that’s now lasted over a month. Just last year Saudi Arabia directed the assassination of a dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, and so hosting a professional golf tournament is a stunt to rehabilitate its global image that the New York Times calls “Sportswashing”. Phil has to be aware of all this.”
4. Tiger on the pursuit of speed
Interesting stuff via Geoff Shackelford for Golfweek. “While Tiger has transformed professional golf in many ways, nowhere is his influence more substantial in encouraging a power game. This holds true even as the 43-year-old has transitioned away from using power to silence a field in his two 2019 victories.”
  • “While Woods doesn’t say he regrets pushing his body to extremes, he does expect more injuries in golf as more strive for power.”
  • “There’s going to be added wear and tear on different parts of the body that traditionally there hasn’t been…”Now people are doing PiYos, Olympic lifts, all the different things because they know how important ground is to create power,” Woods said of modern swings that emphasize rotation over the old reverse C moves of the 1970s. “Now you’re going to start to see, I’m sure, some wear and tear injuries that traditionally hasn’t been the case. We’ll see how that goes.”
5. New USGA prez
USGA media release…”J. Stuart Francis, of Hillsborough, California, has been nominated to serve as the 66th president of the United States Golf Association (USGA).”
  • …”Francis has been a member of the USGA Executive Committee for five years and has served on the Compensation, Equipment Standards and Governance committees in addition to four years as chair of the Championship Committee. An accomplished amateur golfer, Francis has competed in three US Amateur Championships, two NCAA Championships and three Canadian Amateur Championships. Francis earned his B.A. from Princeton University, where he was named First Team All-Ivy League and All-American as co-captain of the men’s golf team. Francis, who also earned an MBA from Stanford University, is currently a senior managing director for Evercore, a global investment banking advisory firm, where he leads the Silicon Valley technology practice.”

Full piece.

6. Looking for a look in the eye
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”After choosing himself with a pick, Woods is required to play in a minimum of two matches including a singles match on the final day. Els is playing this week in the Australian Open along with six International Team members, and he told PGATour.com that he’ll assess some intangible factors when weighing which players might be best-suited to go up against the reigning Masters champ.”
“I’ll analyze how the guys are playing and see who’s really got the look in the eye,” Els said. “There are a lot of guys who have put their hands up to want to play Tiger … but I will not put a guy in there that’s going to feel overwhelmed.”
…”The youngsters look up at him, but they definitely want to have a piece of him,” Els said. “So, we’ll see who I think can really play against Tiger the best and get the best result.”
7. No turtle polo for Bryson!
Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”But it’s the design that may turn a few heads, with the light blue-themed collection including the Slow Play Polo, Slow Play Tee and the Predators Polo. A turtle logo adorns the Slow Play Polo. Get it. Turtle. Slow.”
  • …”As Gary Woodland and Rickie Fowler debuted different versions of the turtle-infused line, the field’s other Puma player was not quite ready to embrace the golfing turtle.”
  • “It’s an awesome collection,” Bryson DeChambeau said as The Man Out Front trailed him in a quick course departure following an opening 76. “They had the turtle one …” he said, and before the Forecaddie could ask if it would make his repertoire.
  • “That’s not going to happen,” DeChambeau said.
8. Leaney leads 
Golfweek’s Todd Kelly…”Stephen Leaney shot a second-round 66 on Wednesday to take a four-shot lead at the PGA Tour Champions Qualifying Tournament Final Stage.”
  • “Leaney had six birdies and a bogey in his round at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona.”
  • “Todd Fischer, who also shot a second-round 66, joins Paul Stankowski an Frank Esposito in second. All four golfers have shot in the 60s in the first two rounds.”

Full piece.

9. Tiger outdrives Thomas…jabs the needle
Via the Golf Channel Digital team…”Well for the most part, it looked like Woods had a blast with buddy Justin Thomas on Wednesday, but it was particularly evident on the 11th hole, when the 44-year-old tournament host outdrove the 26-year-old Thomas by a mile, and then made sure to let him know it.”
  • “While walking down the fairway, Tiger strolled over to JT’s ball just to “make sure” it wasn’t his, bringing a big smile to the face of the player 18 years his junior.”

 

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Morning 9: Woods turned down Saudi tourney, $3 mil payout | CBS shakeup continues | Bulked up Bryson

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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.

December 4, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.  
 
**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. CBS shakeup continues 
Via Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Michelle Wie and Trevor Immelman are joining CBS Sports, as the network continues to retool its coverage for 2020.”
  • “CBS announced a flurry of moves on Tuesday morning, weeks after parting ways with mainstays Peter Kostis and Gary McCord, and adding Davis Love III, with Wie the biggest name in the announcement. Though her role is vague-a statement said Wie “will contribute to CBS Sports’ multimedia golf coverage this season, including the Masters”-Wie’s transition to media has been expected, as mounting injuries have sidelined her playing career. During the Solheim Cup in September, Wie appeared on Golf Channel as a guest analyst in the network’s Orlando studio.”

Full piece.

2. Woods passes on Saudi tourney 
ESPN’s Bob Harig with TW’s explanation...””Woods, who begins play in the Hero World Challenge on Wednesday at Albany Golf Club, was offered in the neighborhood of $3 million to play the tournament each of the last two years. He declined.”
  • “I just don’t want to go over there,” Woods told ESPN. “It’s a long way.”
  • …”I understand the politics behind it,” Woods said Tuesday of the controversy. “But also the game of golf can help heal a lot of that, too. It can help grow it. And also a lot of top players are going to be playing there that particular week.
  • “It’s traditionally not a golf hotbed, the Middle East. But it has grown quite a bit. I remember going to Dubai for my very first time and seeing maybe two or three buildings in the skyline. Now there is a New York City skyline. Again, golf has grown. There were only a few courses when I went to Dubai and now they’re everywhere. Same with Abu Dhabi, and maybe eventually in Saudi Arabia.”

Full piece.

3. Bulked up Bryson
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker...”Two months ago, Bryson DeChambeau weighed just under 200 pounds and struggled to do 10 arm raises with a 10-pound weight. Now he’s up to 25-pound weights, and tips the scale at a brawny 225.”
  • “The gains haven’t been limited to his gym routine or sudden beefiness, either. The 26-year-old five-time PGA Tour winner says he has picked up 12 mph of ball speed – up to 185 – and another 6 mph in clubhead speed in recent weeks. During a breezy pro-am round at the Hero World Challenge on Tuesday, he blasted a few drives north of 350 yards.”
  • “More distance,” DeChambeau said when asked what prompted him to pack on the pounds. “People are gonna say what they’re going to say.”

Full piece.

4. Reed’s mysterious irons
Andrew Tursky at PGATour.com with some recon (stay tuned to GolfWRX, as I believe we know “the company” and are in the process of confirming).
“When Patrick Reed came to the 2019 Hero World Challenge this week, he did so with a set of never-before-seen custom irons in the bag. As photos of the irons began to circulate on social media, equipment fans were left guessing as to who exactly designed the irons. The irons are stamped with his foundation’s logo, the word “Forged” and “Patrick Reed,” but what’s glaringly absent is a company name.”
  • …”They’re custom-made,” Reed told PGATOUR.COM. “We made them with a company. We worked for 12-14 months on them and we finally got them to where I feel like we need them to be.”
  • “While the irons are listed on the USGA Conforming Clubs List as being manufactured by Emery JPN Co., that doesn’t necessarily mean Emery is the company who designed the irons, it’s just the company’s facility they were manufactured in.”
Full piece (and see one of the clubs below…photo via Andrew Tursky)

 

5. Phoenix Open, understandably, disappointed 
Via Josh Weinfuss at ESPN.com…“The tournament chairman of the Waste Management Phoenix Open is “disappointed” that Phil Mickelson became the most recent PGA Tour golfer to decide to play in the controversial Saudi Invitational instead of the Arizona event, in which he participated for 30 years.”
  • “Phoenix Open chairman Tim Woods said he’s not concerned about a “mass exodus” of tour players forgoing the event, which is traditionally played on Super Bowl weekend, in exchange for the seven-figure appearance fee that comes with playing in Saudi Arabia.”
  • “It’s on our radar,” Woods said at the tournament’s Tee-Off Luncheon at Chase Field on Tuesday. “We’re actively exploring ways to fight back against it and will continue to do so. But I’m not concerned that it’s going to be a negative ultimately.”

Full piece.

6. Who else? 
Via EuropeanTour.com…“Rahm was selected by a panel comprising members of the golfing media as the winner of the prestigious annual award after a superb season in which he won two Rolex Series events, defended his national Open title and became the first Spaniard since Severiano Ballesteros to finish the year as European Number One after sealing the Race to Dubai title in a dramatic finale to the 2019 campaign.”
  • “The 25-year-old finished tied ninth at The Masters, tied third in the U.S. Open and was runner-up at the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Valderrama Masters before securing his first European Tour title of the year at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.”
7. Tiger’s ball testing process
If you’ve ever wondered how Tiger Woods tests golf balls, the ever-fortunate E. Michael Johnson got the exclusive to Tiger’s Bridgestone Tour B XS testing
  • He writes…”I was fortunate enough to have exclusive access to one of the earliest sessions, in February 2019, at Woods’ home course at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla. Having attended a similar testing session with Woods and Nike in 2003, I was eager to see if his approach had changed. As it turned out, it had remained pretty much intact, with an emphasis on short-game performance, flight windows and spin rates.”
  • “Five white boxes of prototype balls were presented to Woods. All of them without Bridgestone’s branding except for assorted Sharpie marks so Bridgestone’s staff, including Andrew Troutner, the company’s R&D test-site manager, could tell which ball was which. According to Elliot Mellow, Bridgestone’s marketing manager, each of the balls Woods was testing had a variation of the company’s urethane cover material, meaning there should be noticeable differences in feel and performance.”

Full piece.

8. Ohoopee! 
Golf Digest’s Ron Whitten on one of the two selections for Best New Course: the eminently unique Ohoopee Match Club.
  • “Last winter, after I compiled the list of nominees for Golf Digest’s 2019 Best New Courses survey, I privately handicapped the chances of each course, just for my amusement. I gave long odds to Gil Hanse’s entry in the private category, Ohoopee Match Club, an exclusive course in rural Georgia designed to cater to match play, with a total of 22 holes in two routings. Though it sounded like a fascinating concept, I figured that because our evaluation criteria seems tailored toward stroke-play competition, panelists would struggle to fit our square pegs into Ohoopee’s offbeat golf holes.
  • “…Needless to say, Ohoopee Match Club has won in the balloting. It’s Golf Digest’s Best New Private Course of 2019, finishing ahead of The Summit Club, a Tom Fazio design in Las Vegas. TPC Colorado, an Art Schaupeter design in Berthoud, north of Denver, finished third, and Pete Dye’s final full design, Links at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Md., is fourth. In fifth place is Aberdeen Golf & Country Club in Boynton Beach, Fla., a design by Jim Fazio, Tom’s brother, that replaces a controversial layout by Desmond Muirhead.”

Full piece.

9. The part of Jon Rahm’s wedding day Jon Rahm is most looking forward to is…exactly what you think it is…
Crack work by Brentley Romine to ask the hard questions!
  • Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”Current World No. 3 Jon Rahm became engaged to longtime college girlfriend Kelley Cahill in August of 2018, and now the Hero World Challenge defending champion has finally cleared space on his calendar to marry Cahill in the coming weeks.”
  • “…Asked by GolfChannel.com’s Brentley Romine what part of his wedding day he’s most looking forward to, Rahm’s expression changed and he paused briefly.”
  • “Part of the day?” he said. “What part, I mean, it’s pretty self explanatory, right?”

 

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