1. JT to tee it up with Tiger?
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski...”If you would have told me when I was a kid that I could play on a Presidents Cup team with Tiger Woods as my captain, I probably would have fainted or something like that.”
2. Juniors + logos = $$?
Geoff Shackelford…”While junior golfers are now regularly clad in corporate logos, have their own tour reps and even endorse brands on their social media bios, the governing bodies are contemplating letting them take those endorsements to another level.”
3. Jack’s Rolex sells for $1 million
Roxanna Scott at Golfweek…”An 18-karat gold Rolex Day-Date watch that was worn by Jack Nicklaus for 50 years and then as he hoisted 12 of his 18 major championship trophies has sold at auction for $1 million.”
4. Nowhere to hide
Shane Ryan on the Patrick Reed controversy, front and center still after P. Reed’s press conference failed to extinguish the blaze…
5. Ogilvy’s keys to Royal Melbourne
Great work by Ben Everill for PGATour.com co-crafting a piece with Geoff Ogilvy on the Royal Melbourne vet’s keys to the course…
Here’s one…”Tee shots are all about position, not distance. The big-bombing Americans will need finesse as well as brawn this week.”
6. Best courses built this decade
A few from Digest’s list of 13…
Old Macdonald, Bandon, Ore. – An ode to the Founding Father of American Course Design, C.B. Macdonald, Old Mac is the second course by Tom Doak and Jim Urbina at Bandon Dunes, and the fourth 18-hole course that opened. The brainchild of Mike Keiser and his respect to the old-school design elements of Macdonald, Doak and Urbina created some of the architects’ favorite template holes that sit on some of the most interesting topography on property.
Cabot Cliffs, Nova Scotia, Canada – Another sensational Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw design, Cabot Cliffs overflows with variety with its southernmost holes in Lahinch-like sand dunes, its northernmost atop Pebble Beach-type ocean cliffs and bits of pine-lined Scottish highlands in between. The course has six par 5s, including three in the space of four holes, and six par 3s, plus an additional one-shot bye-hole aside the fourth. Sporting the same fescue turf mix as nearby sister course, Cabot Links, some tee shots seem to roll forever, but so do errant shots that miss greens. The cliff-edged par-3 16th is quickly becoming one of golf’s most photographed holes.
7. Economic benefits of an Open
Mark Rainey at News Letter…”The Open Championship at Royal Portrush generated more than £100 million of economic benefit for Northern Ireland, a new study has revealed.”
8. Should Reed be limited?
From the Golf.com crew…Given everything that’s happened, should the Patrick Reed controversy affect how much U.S. team captain Tiger Woods should play him?
“Jonathan Wall, equipment editor (@jonathanrwall): Not a chance. Tiger knew what he was getting when he burned a captain’s pick on Reed. Even in the aftermath of Bunkergate (Waste-Area-gate?), he stood up for Reed when the public was demanding he be bounced from the squad. The only thing that matters to Tiger this week is how Reed performs on the course. If he balls out, none of this will matter. And we all know Reed tends to play his best golf when he has a massive chip on his shoulder.”
“Alan Bastable, executive editor: (@alan_bastable): If Tiger doesn’t send out Reed in the first match, I’m boycotting the rest of the event. Better yet, Capt. Woods should pair himself with Reed – how better to support his controversial compatriot than to pace the fairways with him. Imagine the scene on the first tee. You’d feel the earth quake from Melbourne to Manhattan. Give the people want they want.”
9. Frank’s story
Sean Zak at Golf.com went on a fact-finding mission relating to the origin of Tiger Woods’ famed headcover. It’s made by Daphne Headcovers, but that is only part of the story…
Morning 9: Perspectives on the Premier Golf League | Undercover Caddie on Saudi tourney | Rahm didn’t know he needed eagle to win
January 28, 2020
Good Tuesday morning, golf fans. Welcome to the Premier Golf League Edition of the Morning 9…
1. “The tipping point”
Derek Lawrenson at the Daily Mail with an excellent take both lambasting the current state of televised professional golf and suggesting the upstart could compel PGA Tour-European Tour alignment…
2. Shaking up the status quo
Iain Carter for the BBC doesn’t see the PGL taking flight…
So says Martin Dempster at The Scotsman…“It all sounds exciting and this proposal is not something on a whim, with the people behind it having been chiselling away in the background for a number of years in their bid to create a new format aimed at “revitalising the sport for this and future generations”.
4. Rahm didn’t know the score
Kyle Porter at CBS Sports quoting Jon Rahm…”So I did hit it with trying to make it with perfect speed thinking a two-putt would get into a playoff.”
5. When an appearance fee to play in Saudi Arabia is-and isn’t-worth it
Via the Undercover Caddie (with Joel Beall)…”I don’t usually follow player commitments-I have a hard enough time keeping track of my schedule-but whenever I saw a big name sign up for the Saudi International, I think, Here we go. A quick glance of Twitter proves that premonition right, with fans ripping the decision to shreds. And, without fail, the first comment is along the lines of, “Why would he possibly participate?”
6. Feherty and McCord reunited
Via Geoff Shackelford…”Bill Goodykoontz of the Arizona Republic learns from David Feherty of a one-night reunion with his former CBS sidekick Gary McCord.”
“Instead of his normal standup, Feherty will do his first half then return with McCord at Phoenix’s Orpheum theater. He says “God knows where this is going to go.”
7. Out of the top 50
Could you have imagined this a couple of years ago?
Via Golf Digest’s Joel Beall...”Jordan Spieth’s comeback showed signs of early promise at Torrey Pines, only for the weekend (73, 74) to bring much of what has plagued him for the past two years.”
8. Golf x Super Bowl bets
Westgate Las Vegas Superbook is doing something interesting that will have punters salivating…
Via Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Here’s a look at some of the prop bets involving golf, with the action tied to various final-round results on Sunday (Note: should the golfer in a given matchup miss the cut, the wager in question would be refunded)”
Total points scored by both teams in the first quarter (-1.5) vs. Total fairways hit by Justin Thomas in the WMPO final round”
Jon Rahm WMPO final round birdies (-0.5) vs. Emmanuel Sanders (SF) receptions
Kansas City total rushing yards (-18.5) vs. Rickie Fowler WMPO final-round score
Travis Kelce (KC) receiving yards (-3.5) vs. Jordan Spieth WMPO final-round score
Travis Kelce (KC) receiving yards (-2.5) vs. Dustin Johnson final-round score in Saudi Arabia
9. In praise of Pelham Bay Park
Golf.com’s Dylan Dethier on one of the municipal gems of New York City…”The 36-hole facility is just a fraction of New York City’s largest green space. Pelham Bay Park clocks in at 2,766 acres, more then three times the size of Central Park, and is home to sports fields, hiking trails, playgrounds and beaches, including a 13-mile shoreline on Long Island Sound. As for the golf? It’s much better than you’d expect.”
“The original Pelham course, designed by civil engineer Lawrence Van Etten before its upgrade in the 30s, is open and extremely playable, set on the land of former farmland estates. Renowned course architect John Van Kleek was the go-to guy for the Parks Department’s New Deal-era courses; he designed Silver Lake on Staten Island, Dyker Beach in Brooklyn, Kissena Park in Queens and redid Van Cortlandt in the Bronx. But his best New York course was Split Rock. It’s tree-lined without being too tight, rolling terrain without being boring and has a set of expansive greens replete with knobs, mounds, waves, slopes and plateaus that would please any Golden Age architect.”
Morning 9: Tiger, others on Kobe | Leishman | Bryson hit with slow play warning | Premier Golf League World Tour?
By Ben Alberstadt
January 27, 2020
Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. Tiger on Kobe
A Lakers fan since childhood and longtime friend of Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, spoke about the NBA star’s death following his round.
From a circulated transcript…“Q. I’m sure you heard about Kobe Bryant. So what did Kobe mean to you and what did that news feel like when you heard it?”
2. Other pros
Daniel Rapaport at Golf Digest with more player reactions…
With respect to the golf in California, Marc Leishman did the winning.
4. In Dubai: Herbert in a playoff
European Tour report…“Lucas Herbert won his maiden European Tour title with a play-off victory over Christiaan Bezuidenhout on a dramatic final day of the 2020 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.”
AP report…”Madelene Sagstrom won the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio on Sunday for her first LPGA tour title, birdieing the par-3 17th to tie for the lead and winning with a par when Nasa Hataoka missed a 3-footer on the last.”
6. Bryson hit with slow play warning. Bogeys ensue
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”DeChambeau cruised to victory a year ago at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, where TV cameras caught him discussing air density calculations on the 72nd hole with his caddie, Tim Tucker. He started Sunday’s final round two shots behind Ashun Wu as he sought to keep the trophy and had moved into a tie for the lead with four holes to go.”
7. Few people can understand Tiger Woods…
…but Kobe Bryant could… So asserts Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard as he examines the connective tissue between Bryant and Woods…”They emerged at the same moment in time with Woods turning pro in 1996, the same year Bryant was drafted, and they both reached their competitive strides at about the same time in the early 2000s.”
8. Premier Golf League World Tour?
Mark Townsend at National Club Golfer...”Talk of a world tour has returned in the form of the Premier Golf League. Here’s what we understand so far…”
9. Brooks’ on Kobe
Among the more impactful statements on the death of Kobe Bryant was a tweet from Brooks Koepka referencing this message from Kobe to Gordon Hayward
Tour Rundown: Leishman holds off Rahm, Climactic series of errors at Dubai, Sagstrom, Wolfe
A day of professional golf, that began with the promise of exciting finishes and worthy champions, joined the rest of the sporting world in its conclusion of mourning the loss of life. Kobe Bryant was never associated with golf, but the loss of life impacted the world of athletics as accidents always do. It compelled golf’s aficionados to recall lives and careers in our sport, cut short by tragedy, and reminded us of the promise of a new day, hopefully surrounded by those we love. With that in mind, please keep the Bryant and Altobelli families in your hearts and meditations, and join us in this week’s Tour Rundown.
Herbert and Bezuidenhout in climactic series of errors at Dubai
Both Lucas Herbert and Christian Bezuidenhout went to sleep on Sunday, knowing that they had tossed away a chance to win a golf tournament on the European Tour. One of them was fortunate enough to regroup and claim the title, but the knowledge that even the best professional golfers botch shots under pressure buoys the amateur in the constant pursuit of improvement. Bezuidenhout came to the unfortunately-ponded 18th hole at the Emirates Golf Club, thinking he needed birdie when par would have won the event in regulation. There will always be camps divided on knowing where you stand versus not knowing; in this case, a little knowledge would have gone a long way. CB got too cute with his approach, spun it back into the drink, and made bogey. In their two-hole playoff, Herbert stood uncomfortably over a 3-metal approach, after Bezuidenhout had laid up on the par-five closer, and chunk-blocked it into the water. It was the worst shot anyone has seen, under pressure, in a long time. Herbert narrated the strike himself, in similar fashion. And yet, the Aussie regrouped, stuffing his 4th to within 18 inches, to save par. Recalling his swimmer in regulation, Bezuidenhout was cautiously beyond the hole, and took two putts for par, and the pair moved on. Perhaps to speed play, a drop zone at 18 aided Herbert in his recovery. Instead of dropping in thick rough, he was given a perfect fairway lie for his 4th, and was able to spin it to a stop. On the second playoff hole, the long-striking LH reached the putting surface in two, and made birdie with two jabs of the flat stick. The South African Bezuidenhout was unable to match, and the tournament was Herbert’s first career title on the European Tour.
Leishman holds off quick-recovering Rahm for 5th PGA Tour title
On Sunday, Marc Leishman ran away with a tournament that Jon Rahm gave away, until Rahm re-entered the fray, forcing Leishman to close the deal. Rahm began the day with a 1-shot lead on Ryan Palmer. With the Texan headed south and east on day four, toward a closing 77 and a T21 finish, the tournament belonged to the Spaniard … until Rahm played the first 5 holes in 4 over par. Over the same few hours, Leishman opened with 5 birdies on the outward half, making up 9 shots and seizing the lead. Various other players (Brandt Snedeker, Rory McIlroy, Tom Hoge) dallied along the leader board, but this day’s story was about two golfers. As quickly as he disappeared, Rahm reappeared on the inward half. He closed with 4 birdies and 1 eagle over the closing, 6-hole stretch. Only a bogey at the 15th kept him from reaching 15 below par. Leishman added 2 more birdies after turning for home, but bogey at the penultimate trace brought him back to Rahm’s -14. In the manner of champions, the Aussie took aim at the hole and dropped his third within a yard, making an eighth birdie on the round, to claim his 5th tour title. Rahm had reached the 18th in 2 mighty strikes, but was unable to drop a long eagle putt to match Leishman’s total.
Sagstrom’s maiden LPGA title comes in Boca
Madelene Sagstrom, another in the line of tremendous Swedish golfers on the LPGA, claimed her first tour title with all the world’s pressure on her shoulders. After bolting from the pack to seize the 36-hole lead, Sagstrom fought past emotions and a collection of challengers, to win by a most slender margin. Sagstrom’s 2nd-round 62 was as stunning as it was unexpected. 9 birdies in the first 12 holes began the whispers of 59. 2 more birdies brought her close, but a bogey at 17 ended her chances. Still in complete control as Saturday closed, the 2017 Solheim Cup competitor posted 67 to establish a 2-shot lead over last week’s runner-up, Nasa Hataoka of Japan. Over Sunday’s opening 9 holes, the 2 golfers reversed course, with Hataoka taking the offensive, on the strength of an outward 33. Sagstrom was +2 through 7, before a birdie at the 8th restored her confidence. On the homeward half, it was Sagstrom who strengthened, with an inward 33. Hataoka could only manage 36, including bogey at the last with everything on the line.
It was the closing pair of holes that determined the champion. Sagstrom took on a 17-green hole location that, for all the world, appeared to be floating in a pond. She stuffed an iron to 3 feet and converted the birdie to tie the lead. At the 18th, the Swede had a 6-feet putt for par, and placed it center-cut, with authority. In total contrast, Hataoka decelerated badly on her 3-feet par putt, missed low, and finished runner-up for a 2nd time in 8 days.
Wolfe claims victory at 2nd Korn Ferry event of 2020
While Matthew Wolfe stokes the embers of PGA Tour fans, Jared Wolfe will happily repeat the success that saw him to victory at the Great Abaco Classic in Nassau. In the second of two Sunday-Wednesday events to open the 2020 season on the KFT, Wolfe earned victory as the only golfer to complete four rounds in the 60s. Wolfe didn’t run away with things, but he avoided disaster on day four, on his way to a closing 69. In contrast, his closest pursuer (Brandon Harkins, -14, 2nd place) had double bogeys at the 1st and 16th holes. Harkins also had 4 birdies, 1 eagle, and 2 bogeys on the day. Wolfe saved his best for last, closing with birdies on 3 of 4 concluding holes. The victory was Wolfe’s 1st on the Korn Ferry Tour, on the heels of 3 PGA Tour Latinoamerica wins. The tour moves to Panama this week, to open February in Central America.
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