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Morning 9: Wie still injured | Why fans hate Reed per psychology | Shane Ryan: Outlandish 2020 predictions

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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.

January 8, 2020

Good Thursday morning, golf fans. Just a reminder we’ll be massively increasing our output in 2020, so don’t forget to subscribe to GolfWRX on YouTube.
**Drop me a line (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com) if you’d like to talk about getting your message in front of the M9 readership. Banner and native ad possibilities are, well, possible** 

 

1. Wie starts the season on the DL
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”Michelle Wie won’t be teeing it up in next week’s LPGA season opener at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions at Lake Buena Vista, Florida.”
  • “Sources told GolfChannel.com that she’s also not likely to play in the following week’s Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio in Florida.”
  • “Wie, who turned 30 in October, is still rehabilitating from the lingering hand and wrist injuries that caused her to shut down play early in each of the last two seasons. In October of 2018, she underwent surgery to repair an avulsion fracture, bone chips and nerve entrapment in her right hand.”
2. Explaining why fans have it in for Patrick Reed
With an assist from psychology!
  • Golf Channel’s Joel Beall…”In a sport like golf where the rules are sacrosanct, that’s a tough label to shake,” says Dr. Sam Sommers, author of This is Your Brain on Sports and a professor of psychology at Tufts University.
  • …”We operate in the context of our previous actions and the narrative created regarding our tendencies,” Dr. Sommers says. “Once that reputation is in place, it colors everything that comes after.”
  • On the surface, what’s at hand seems elementary. In A Qualitative Inquiry on Schadenfreude by Sport Fans, authors Vassilis Dalakas, Joanna Phillips Melancon and Tarah Sreboth note the “feelings of pleasure and joy that one party experiences at the misfortunes [of others]” are inherent to watching competition. Reed, well before the Hero, was a player golf fans were prone to root against. This was purely new fodder.
3. An eye on the Middle East
Golfweek Staff report…”While no big names have yet withdrawn from tournaments that are part of the European Tour’s upcoming swing through the Middle East, players and agents are keeping an eye on the situation in light of escalated tensions between the United States and Iran.”
“…Increased tensions in the Middle East have raised questions regarding the safety of players planning to compete in the European Tour’s events in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia later this month.”
4. 10 non-majors to get excited about
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard with a handful of tournaments we ought to be pumped about…
Two of his selections…
  • Farmers Insurance Open (Jan. 23-26): Woods seems poised to make his first start of ’20 at a place where he’s won eight professional titles, but the debuts go well beyond Tiger. Jason Day, who withdrew from the Presidents Cup in December with an injury, is currently committed to the event as is last year’s Jack Nicklaus Award winner, Rory McIlroy. Professional golf’s wraparound schedule may keep players engaged all year, but Torrey Pines is where the game’s best return to work.
  • Irish Open (May 28-31): Following cameos in July the last two years, the event moves back to May, perched perfectly between the PGA Championship and U.S. Open. The move should make the Irish Open more palatable for international players like McIlroy, who skipped the championship last year but has committed to playing the event in ’20.
5. Outlandish predictions for 2020
Courtesy of the inimitable mind of Shane Ryan…
Here’s a good one…”Rory McIlroy will retire from golf...Rory has always been the most enlightened of our great golfers, with a philosophical bent that isn’t shared by most of his colleagues, or by athletes in general. The fact that he’s managed over time to forge a strong work-life balance for himself while still playing at the elite levels of the sport is remarkable, but 2020 will be the year when he has an epiphany that life is short and subjecting himself to the mental and physical rigors of professional golf just isn’t worth it. He’s going to quit, everyone will think it’s temporary, and a few months later he’ll buy a Caribbean island and start a beach-side bar where he spends the next 50 years blowing the minds of locals and tourists by doling out bits of vague wisdom like “golf made me rich, but you can’t put a price on the tides.”

Full piece.

6. Zac Blair
PGATour.com’s Sean Martin talked to the unique quantity that is Zac Blair…
PGATOUR.COM: What do you love about playing there? (at Waialea)
  • Zac Blair: It’s a cool spot. Any of those par-70s where you get that Bermudagrass, where there’s a real premium on hitting it in the fairway, it’s obviously really nice. I’ve played it a few times where it’s been really firm and I can get it out as far as those longer hitters because they may be hitting hybrid off the tee. The course is fun. It’s a cool way to start the year. I’m excited to get back and see what Tom Doak has done with the restoration. Most of the big changes have taken place the last two or three years since I last played there.
PGATOUR.COM: What do you like about Raynor courses?
  • Zac Blair: I just find them enjoyable. I really enjoy some of those template holes and green complexes in general. I feel like they offer a large selection of pin positions. You can make the course play a lot different day-to-day. A hole can play completely different just by moving the hole 10-12 steps.
7. Abraham Ancer and the hangover-less tequila
Jason Crook for Golf Channel…”Ancer, 28, is hoping to make 2020 a big year. Not only is he looking to build on a season that saw him make it all the way to the Tour Championship, but he is launching a brand of tequila, Flecha Azul, with partner Aron Marquez.”
  • “We’re both Mexican. Both love tequila. We just said, You know what? Let’s give it a whirl. It’s been in the works for over a year, and we’re really excited. We’ve been nonstop working on it, so really happy with all the profiles of our tequila and everything.”
  • Ancer also had this to say.…”It’s just remove the stigma of people like have tequila when they’re in college and they’re already kind of drunk, and then they have tequila shots that are pretty bad and then you mix it and end up throwing up. (Laughter.) You wake up with the worst hangover,” Ancer said. “What you remember is like, Wow that tequila got me.

Full piece.

8. Kuchar keeps his bronze medal…in a sock in his backpack
This is…unique. Golf Channel’s Carson Williams…
  • “Wherever my backpack goes it goes,” Kuchar said. “Hadn’t found a home anywhere other than my backpack.”
  • “Kuchar said traveling with it is easy and fun. He doesn’t take it out much other than during airport screenings.”
  • “They see this big medal blob and always take it out. I always bring it out and it’s in a sock, and you know, even though I’ve put the sock out open in a bin, the screener always grabs a hold of it, pulls it out and [their] eyes kind of bug out.”
9. Mickelson’s great helicopter escape
“One of the trending topics, sandwiched between World War III and Royal Family nothingness, this week was the question, “Tell me a story about yourself the sounds like a lie but is absolutely true.” Someone with the handle “Rick Fil-A” (sigh) replied to the thread with a Mickelson anecdote:”
“Rick Fil-A @rickspeterson…I was in a limo that was stuck in traffic with @PhilMickelson , who called his agent to see if he could get a helicopter to evacuate us.”
“@PhilMickelson…Guns n roses concert 1992. True story”

 

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  1. James

    Jan 9, 2020 at 11:20 am

    I didn’t know Ancer and Blair were, like, some of the most, like, well-spoken, like, aficionados of booze and golf design. Go back to school.

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Morning 9: Match 2: The most-watched golf telecast ever | Rory: Players don’t want fan-less Ryder Cup | Justin Thomas aces broadcast debut

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@attsportsnetpit
1. 5.8 million average viewers for The Match
AP report…”Two of the biggest names from the PGA Tour and the NFL proved to be must-see TV.”
  • “Turner Sports said the Sunday telecast of “The Match: Champions for Charity” attracted an average of 5.8 million viewers across four of its networks. Turner says it was the most-watched golf telecast in cable TV history.”
  • “It said the previous record was 4.9 million viewers on ESPN at the 2010 Masters, the year Tiger Woods returned to golf for the first time since the scandal in his personal life.”
  • “Woods and Peyton Manning scored a 1-up victory over Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady at Medalist Golf Club, a match that featured high entertainment with shots and with words, along with raising $20 million for COVID-19 relief funds.”
2. Shackelford’s take
A few observations from the scribe…“While still an overnight, it easily bests the previous week’s relief fund match that drew a 1.5 and total of 2.3 million viewers across three channels, including a 1.5 rating on NBC and a .24 on Golf Channel).”
“More incredibly, this means The Match 2 out-rated any major championship round on cable.”
“Given a so-so promotional run-up, a slow start to the show (caused in part by a slight weather delay) a dreary day to watch, and a long telecast, the rating is a stunning statement about the remaining star power of the contestants.”
3. JT’s TV debut
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…”That said, whenever he decides to put down the clubs, he should immediately pick up a mic.
The former Alabama star made his broadcast debut as an on-course reporter on TNT/TBS alongside CBS Sports’ Amanda Balionis on Sunday during The Match: Champions for Charity, which saw Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning defeat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. Thomas received rave reviews from golf Twitter during and after the event. He was brilliant. His rapport with Woods and Mickelson allowed them to open up on a different level compared to the original The Match in 2018.”
“Most importantly, Thomas didn’t overdo anything. Unlike some broadcasters, he knew fans weren’t watching for him and he never once tried to steal the spotlight. He didn’t speak just to talk. When he had something to say, it was insightful or funny. Like a golfer picking out which holes he can attack and score on, Thomas picked his spots on where to interject throughout the broadcast like someone who’s been doing it for years, let alone a day.”
4. Tiger looked terrific 
Bob Harig writes…”For the first time in 98 days, we got to see Woods in action. And the last time we saw him, he didn’t look good. Woods shot 77 at Riviera Country Club on Feb. 16 and finished last among those who made the cut at the Genesis Invitational. And he complained that his back was stiff”
  • …”Woods hasn’t played since but neither has anyone else. And the time off has done him some good.”
  • “Woods didn’t miss a fairway. His swing looked smooth and in rhythm. He hit some deft pitch shots and a really nice long bunker shot. And all of this in difficult, rainy conditions.”
  • “It was just a charity match, but he looked pretty good. Who knows when Woods will resume his schedule when the PGA Tour returns next month, but his game looks good to go.”
5. Rory McIlroy: ‘Majority of players’ want 2020 Ryder Cup postponed until 2021 
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…”Rory McIlroy has a hunch about the Ryder Cup, and it’s one that golf fans around the world aren’t going to like.”
  • “In an interview with BBC Sport, the world No. 1 said: “My personal hunch is that I don’t see how it is going to happen, so I do not think that it will happen.”
  • “Wisconsin’s Whistling Straits is scheduled to host the 2020 Ryder Cup Sept. 25-27, but amid the coronavirus pandemic the event would most-likely take place without fans (if held at all).”
  • “I think the majority of players would like to see it pushed back until 2021 so that they can play in front of crowds and have the atmosphere that makes the Ryder Cup so special,” explained McIlroy. “The players are the ones that make the Ryder Cup. If they are not on board with it and don’t want to play then there is no Ryder Cup.”
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The DailyWRX: What’s buzzing on social media (5/25/2020)

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Gotta say, The Match: Champions for Charity, was a fun escape from reality and further fueled the “we need golf back” fire. I dedicate this DailyWRX to The Match, thanks for thrills boys.

No matter how hard you try to make this a meme…

It’s Tom Brady. He wins….always, no matter what. He’s a Mount Rushmore guy.

This gave me goosebumps…

Its an exhibition match for charity, and I’m over here jacked up like its Balboa vs. Drago. SMH. I love TW.

View this post on Instagram

Sunday red is back. ????

A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on

Yes…

To all of it.

Phil…

Please just run for President and get it over with, you got my vote…..in perpetuity. I mean hellacious seeds? Yes I want hellacious seeds. Please.

DM @johnny_wunder

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Justin Rose, Honma officially part ways

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Justin Rose and Honma Golf have officially severed ties, per a joint statement released Friday evening.

Former World No. 1 and current World No. 14, Rose (previously a TaylorMade staffer) made waves in the equipment industry when he signed on as a full-bag Honma staffer at the beginning of 2019. He made waves again in late February when he arrived at PGA National with a TaylorMade SIM driver in his bag.

The next week, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rose swapped out his remaining Honma wares for a TaylorMade SIM Max fairway wood, a Cobra Speedzone Pro 5-wood, TaylorMade P730 irons, and TaylorMade and Titleist wedges.

Full text of the statement from Honma/Rose below

“Honma Golf Limited (“Honma”) announces that, following a successful partnership with the former No. 1 player in the world, Honma and Justin Rose have agreed that Justin will no longer be one of Honma’s brand ambassadors. We are proud to have been a key part of Justin’s journey to regain his position as World Number 1 in early 2019, including a win at the Farmers Insurance Open in his second event with Honma equipment in play.”

“For over a year, Justin worked closely with our team to help develop innovative and top­ performing lines of Honma woods and irons. His pursuit of perfection, approach to product testing and feedback has produced great value to Honma. Justin’s expert input and desire for maximum ball speed inspired our team to make the Honma TR20 460 and 440 drivers among the fastest drivers in the game. Consistently, and excitingly, our nationwide team of fitters are seeing the new TR20 460 and TR20 440 drivers produce some of the fastest speeds on the market. We wish him the very best in his pursuit of more majors and career success,” said John Kawaja, President Honma Golf North America.”

“I have enjoyed working with the Honma team and collaborating closely with them to design and develop excellent golf equipment. I was able to see firsthand the innovations that the craftsmen at Honma bring to their clubs. I am hopeful that during our time of partnership, we have laid the groundwork for Honma to continue to expand their brand. We both feel it is the right time to pursue our own paths,” said Justin Rose.”

Per Honma PR: “This will be the official statement and we are unable to provide any further comments”

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