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Morning 9: Tiger, others on Kobe | Leishman | Bryson hit with slow play warning | Premier Golf League World Tour?

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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 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?”
  • “TIGER WOODS:  Well, I was saying to Amanda over here, I just heard of it from Joey when we were coming off the 18 green.  I didn’t understand why they were yelling “Do it for Mamba” on the back nine. People yell things all the time, so I was just, you know, plodding along, doing my own thing.  Then when Joey told me that here, it’s unbelievable, the reality that he’s no longer here.”
  • “LeBron breaks his record and he passes today.  For all of us for me, I grew up a diehard Laker fan, always have been my entire life.  That’s all I remember, and he was part of the most historic franchise in all of the NBA.  As I was telling Amanda, what made him so impressive is that he was dominant on the offensive side, yeah, we know that, but he would lock up on D.  He played their best guard and shut ’em down for all 48 minutes. That’s what made him so special, he played both ends of the court. There are maybe two guys, three guys in the entire NBA history that you can say that, that would do that.  He was up for that challenge. And one of the more impressive things that I’ve ever witnessed is when he ruptured his Achilles and he went to the foul line, made his shots. Ultimate toughness, ultimate competitor, and one of the most shocking, tragic days that I’ve ever been a part of in a very quick span here.”
2. Other pros
Daniel Rapaport at Golf Digest with more player reactions…
  • Rory McIlroy…”His dedication, his drive. The fact he’d make his teammates wait on the bus for two hours while he set an example and worked hard and mastered his craft. And that’s what he did. He was a pure master of what he did.”
  • Tony Finau: “I’ve experienced something like this in my life before. My mom passed away in a tragic car accident in 2011. It’s crazy that some of those feelings that I had at that time are back. That’s how much Kobe meant to me. At a different magnitude-the love of a mother is one you can’t replace, but to have some of those feelings come back when I heard the news, it makes me quite sad.
  • “I think the way to live a life that respects Kobe, and that he would respect, is have the Mamba mentality. And maybe that’s what I need-work even harder at your craft, and have more love of your craft. Maybe that’s something we all need as athletes.”
  • “Max Homa: “It’s devastating. He’s a hero to so many people. The way he competed. I talk to Justin Thomas about this all the time, how much we try to emulate that. He’s a lot like Tiger for us.”
  • “His mentality meant a lot to me. … He was Superman. He played basketball with about eight broken fingers. He shot free throws with a torn Achilles. It’s hard to imagine he could have the sniffles, let alone have something like this happen.”
3. Leish
With respect to the golf in California, Marc Leishman did the winning.
  • AP report…”Marc Leishman couldn’t miss whether it was for birdie for par, racing from four shots behind with a 7-under 65 and winning the Farmers Insurance Open when Jon Rahm couldn’t match his eagle putt from three years ago.”
  • “Leishman ran off five birdies on the front nine to seize control Sunday over a fast-faltering Rahm and Rory McIlroy. He kept a cushion with three big par saves down the tough stretch at Torrey Pines and closed with a 6-foot birdie putt that turned out to be the winner.”
  • “Rahm was 4 over through five holes, the biggest mess coming at the par-3 third when he went left into the canyon and took three shots to reach the green for a double bogey. Each time he appeared to be done, the Spaniard charged back.”
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.”
  • “The duo entered the final day six shots off the lead but with very high winds and showers at Emirates Golf Club, the leaderboard and the event was blown wide open.”
  • “Bezuidenhout and Herbert both fired brilliant rounds of 68 to get to nine under, with the South African finding water after laying up on the last and making a clutch putt for bogey, while Herbert birdied the 17th and 18th.”

 

 

 

5. Sags!
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.”
  • “Sagstrom finished with a 2-under 70 for a 17-under 271 total at rain-softened Boca Rio Golf Club.”
  • “Hataoka shot 69. The Japanese player birdied Nos. 15 and 16 to take the lead, then fell into a tie when Sagstrom birdied the 17th and lost with the bogey on the par-4 18th.”
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.”
  • “But DeChambeau’s pace of play again became an issue when he received a slow-play warning from a European Tour official on the 10th hole. He went on to make par, and cameras later documented a thorough club choice debate with Tucker on the 14th hole between a “10 o’clock” 8-iron and a “10:30″ 9-iron.”
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.”
  • “Bryant’s Lakers won the NBA Finals in 2000, the first of three consecutive NBA championships for Los Angeles. It was the same year Woods won the first three legs of what would become the “Tiger Slam” at the U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship, the beginning of one of the most dominant runs ever in golf.”
  • “Both endured injuries that helped define their legacies. For Woods, it was, among other things, a double stress fracture in his left tibia at the 2008 U.S. Open and a gritty victory that still ranks among his greatest accomplishments. It was no surprise that Woods’ mind immediately drifted to a similarly gritty moment in Bryant’s career.”

Full piece.

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…”
  • “What is the Premier Golf League?...This is a subsidiary of World Golf Group Limited which, simply put, are the organisers of a new proposed world tour – this would be an 18-event season with a whopping total prize fund of £183 million.”
  • “Where is the money coming from?…The World Golf Group have partnered with the Raine Group, a merchant banker, while other financing is believed to be coming from Tokyo-based Softbank and private equity investment the United States and the Middle East.”
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

 

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The DailyWRX: What’s buzzing on social media 6/5/2020

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With everything going on, I wanted to find some humor out there…hope you all can find some time to have a chuckle, it helps.

I relate to this on so many levels…

My game therefore I am trash.

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Send this to a trash golfer ????

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It’s funny…

But the guy might do it cuz he’s so damn savage.

I’m in…

Once again…

I love the shots and tips that come out of these vids…..but these backyard setups continue to solidify that I have failed at life…SMH. My jealousy rages.

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Rainy Wednesday…we going skippin!

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He is a literal walking ray of golden sunshine…

He’s inching up my list of favorite player…just sayin’.

DM @johnny_wunder for anything good

 

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Morning 9: U.S. Open could feature fans after all | LPGA skins match? | Singh WD’s from Korn Ferry event

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1. Singh bows out of Korn Ferry opener
Adam Woodard reports we will unfortunately not be getting the Singh/Schnell pairing we were hoping for…“Vijay Singh caused quite a stir a few weeks back when the three-time major champion’s name appeared on the field list for the Korn Ferry Tour’s first post-pandemic event at TPC Sawgrass’ Dye’s Valley Course June 11-14.”
  • “On Sunday, the PGA Tour confirmed Singh has withdrawn from the Korn Ferry Challenge. Golf Channel was first to report.”
  • “Singh riled up golf Twitter – Korn Ferry Tour pro Brady Schnell, in particular – with his initial decision to enter the KFT event. Being a lifetime PGA Tour member, The Big Fijian was eligible to enter the event because he wasn’t playing in the Tour’s return to play that same week at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.”
2. Still no fans at Colonial
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Despite a revised state order that would allow fans to attend next month’s Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas, the PGA Tour plans to proceed without fans for at least the first four events when play resumes.”
  • “The PGA Tour’s primary focus continues to be the health and well-being of all involved with our tournaments and the communities in which we play,” a statement from the Tour read. “We plan to resume play at the Charles Schwab Challenge with the event – and the three to immediately follow – closed to the general public.”
3. Lynch on player mics
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch has a few thoughts on one of the most-discussed matters coming out of The Match 2…“The most compelling possibility raised by “The Match II” is having players wear microphones during tournament play, and this week the European Tour said it will encourage players to be mic’d when it resumes action in July. The ET’s chief executive, Keith Pelley, exhibits more confidence in golfers agreeing to this than any of the people I know who produce live tournament golf for a living. Those producers will unanimously tell you it’s near impossible to get a simple walk and talk from a PGA Tour player, much less an intimate audio feed for 18 holes of competition.”
“The absence of mic’d competitors in tournaments isn’t because producers don’t want greater access. For all their garrulousness on social media, even younger Tour players maintain an old school mentality passed down from generations of Curtis Stranges and Raymond Floyds, who were as about as approachable as a piranha with toothache when they were working between the ropes. There is also a cost attached. “The Match II” was carefully stage-managed, with players held up along the way to ensure they were live at the right times. That won’t happen in tournaments with 156 guys in the field. Sure, you can stream a single group wired for sound, but for network broadcasts you’ll add the expense of a production staffer to monitor all the chatter for gems and a tape operator to cue it up (and armchair critics will still bemoan that it’s tape-delayed).”
4. Stymied LPGA skins match
Wherefore art the women in these charity matches? Apparently, we’d have already seen an LPGA skins match featuring top players, but for a lack of financial backing…
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols has the full story…
“It’s all in place:
  • “Two courses are interested in hosting
  • Twelve players have agreed to compete
  • If they can pay for TV production, Franzen says they have the full support of the LPGA to work with their broadcast partners
“The idea is to deliver two days of skins matches to outlets around the globe. Players will have the ability to choose which COVID-19 relief fund they want their winnings to go toward.”
“But here’s the deal: Franzen needs funding. Lots of it.”
5. USGA: USO could feature fans
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”But the United States Golf Association is now optimistic about keeping the championship at Winged Foot Golf Club in suburban New York City and remains hopeful that spectators in some limited form will be able to attend.”
  • “The organization had been working on contingency plans to move the tournament to another venue, if necessary.”
  • “We are focused singularly on Winged Foot,” John Bodenhamer, senior managing director of championships for the USGA, said in a phone interview Friday. “Once we got the September dates, that was our thinking. Time is on our side. We did look at multiple scenarios, but given the recent news we felt we could focus there.”
  • “Winged Foot is a special place for us. And the golf course will be amazing. And to be able to do this in New York, where things have been so challenging, will put an explanation point on it. We see Winged Foot as our sole focus.”
6. Fill-in Tour event?
Rob Oller, Columbus Dispatch, syndicated in Golfweek…“Columbus could be in the mix to host a second PGA Tour event the week before the Memorial Tournament scheduled for July 16-19, two sources confirmed to the USA Today Network on Friday.”
  • “The Columbus-based tournament would serve as a temporary fill-in for the John Deere Classic, which was scheduled to be held July 9-12 in Silvis, Illinois, but canceled on Thursday because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. It was to be the first tour event to include spectators.”
  • “…Other leading alternative site is Detroit with Lexington, Kentucky, and Carmel, Indiana, also possibilities. (This story was updated on Saturday, May 30, to include new information from the Akron Beacon-Journal, a member of the USA Today Network.)”
7. Mackenzie Tour cancels season
Carson Williams at Golf Channel…“Border restrictions, mandatory quarantines for those who enter Canada and gathering restrictions in all provinces because of the coronavirus pandemic were just a few reasons that led the tour to cancel its season.”
  • “With growing uncertainty surrounding the border and the 14-day quarantine regulations, among other factors, we’ve weighed all of our options and concluded that it is not feasible to play this summer,” Mackenzie Tour Executive Director Scott Pritchard said in a press release. “With the safety of the communities we play in mind, as well as the well-being of our players, sponsors, tournament-organizing committees, volunteers and golf course staff, we came to the realization that this is the best decision for everyone involved.”
  • “Mackenzie Tour members have been sent information detailing eligibility for the 2021 season. Those who have earned status at three 2020 Qualifying Tournaments will keep their status for next season. For the Qualifying Tournament entrants who have not yet competed, they will be guaranteed a spot for the 2021 event.”
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Morning 9: Latest memo from Tour to players | Phil’s post-Match perspective | Greg Norman’s regrettable take

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1. Latest “bubble” memo
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard details the most recent communique from Tour to its players…“In a memo sent to players on Wednesday, tournament director Michael Tothe outlined many of the protocols that will be required when play resumes on June 11 at Colonial including the four Fort Worth, Texas, hotels that will create the foundation of the circuit’s “bubble” for the week.”
  • “The core of the PGA Tour’s plan to return was always about testing, but it’s a fine line to walk. In two weeks, at the Charles Schwab Challenge, we’ll find out if it will be enough.”
  • “Players are allowed to stay in individual RVs or rental homes but they are being encouraged to assure the health and safety of their accommodations if they choose to stay outside the bubble.”
  • “Players were also informed where COVID-19 testing will occur when they arrive in Fort Worth as well as meal options at Colonial, which will be limited to grab-and-go lunches in order to follow safety protocols.”
2. Little John finishes second at Crooked Stick 
Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star…Daly II made that same walk on Wednesday, up the 18th fairway for the final round of the inaugural Dye Junior Golf Invitational at Crooked Stick.”
  • “I think a lot of guys have re-watched the 1991 PGA tournament,” Daly II said. “I watched it every night before the tournament. (Watching him) walk down the 18th with all of the fans everywhere was pretty cool. He started as the ninth alternate and didn’t expect to play. For him to win, it was a ridiculous story. He loves it.”
  • “Daly II put together a remarkable tournament in his own right, finishing a three-way tie for second place behind winner John Marshall Butler of Louisville, Kentucky. Daly II was 4 over for the two-day, 54-hole event, which featured 33 of the top high school boys players in the country and 33 of the same on the girls’ side.”
3. Phil open to wearing mic
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Speaking on the Dan Patrick Show, Mickelson admitted that he didn’t expect the same level of banter during a typical Tour event with a seven-figure prize on the line, but he’d nonetheless be willing to broadcast his inside-the-ropes dialogue.”
  • “I would be open to the idea because of how it’s being received, and some of the insight and so forth,” Mickelson said. “But you don’t have the play between individuals. I had a partner, and Tom and I could talk back and forth. And maybe you could get some of that with the caddie, but having a partner is much more intimate and you have much better conversation.”
4. …wants annual Match
AP report…”Phil Mickelson, fresh off the success of Sunday’s charity golf exhibition with Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, says he would like to see “The Match” become an annual event.”
  • “I think you could showcase guys like Steph Curry and Michael Jordan or Tony Romo and Patrick Mahomes, who are all good golfers, elite talents and have great personalities,” Mickelson told the Los Angeles Times in a column published Wednesday. “Those personalities are going to come out with this event. Or you could have someone who loves the game and is competitive but is really entertaining like Larry David and Bill Murray. I think that could shine.”
5. More audience info
Interesting stuff from Geoff Shackelford…“According to Showbuzzdaily.com, almost 1/3 of The Match 2’s audience was in the coveted 18-49 demo and the number was even better on on TruTV, also meaning there are people of any age group who know how to find TruTV”
  • “About 30% of The Match’s audience landed in the 18-49 demo despite the 44.5 average age of the participants…The numbers for TaylorMade Driving Relief with a foursome averaging 29.5 years”
  • “That’s 25% of the almighty buyers for a younger, supposedly more millennial-friendly group of golfers. And a grand total of (at least) 860,000 fewer viewers 18-49.  While not a huge difference in the percentage department, The Match did rout Driving Relief in overall audience and even took chipped away at NASCAR’s ratings.”

Full piece.

6. After a long layoff, how do the pros play?
Dylan Beirne, 15th Club for PGATour.com, examines the question…“As we might expect, there’s a clear relationship between performance and the number of weeks a player has been off. We can analyze how well players perform by comparing our estimate of their ability (how we would expect them to perform) to how they actually performed.”
  • “Generally, players taking small breaks of two weeks or less are marginally better than expected, while longer breaks result in an average drop in performance of between 0.1 and 0.2 strokes per round. For context, a drop of 0.2 strokes per round is about the gap between 100th- and 135th-ranked players in the world. It’s a significant change, but not enormous.”
  • “Additionally, the drop in performance after a 10-20 week gap is quite consistent across different levels of players. Top-50 players in the world are affected by a similar amount to those outside the top 50.”
7. A really bad take from Greg Norman
I mean, what else can you call it? A man who has a history of obtuseness and putting his fin in his mouth outdid himself with unfounded speculation about the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash in an interview with Michael Bamberger…“I asked Norman about the January helicopter crash in Los Angeles that killed all nine people aboard, Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, among them. I asked Norman if he had any insight, from his own experience as a helicopter pilot, and as an elite athlete who has flown often in helicopters as a passenger, into the tragedy.”
  • “Yes – yes,” he said. His voice was sober. “Probably pilot error and pressure from the back,” Norman said. Norman could imagine the legendary basketball player saying, “‘Get me through this; get me there. I’ve got to get my daughter to this game.’
  • …”My instructor and I had a saying, ‘If you can’t see through it don’t fly through it.’ If I was flying to Doral or Orlando or Naples and there was fog, we just put it down and waited it out.”
8. Sprint to the Cup
Ben Everill at PGATour.com…“The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting cancellations and postponements of tournaments leaves just 11 eligible tournaments over a 10-week stretch for players to qualify for the Playoffs and a chance at the $15 million bonus that comes with the season-long FedExCup crown.”
  • “While the top 125 will not double as the cutoff for TOUR cards next season in this reduced schedule, it will remain the mark to get into THE NORTHERN TRUST, the first of three Playoffs events in the chase for the FedExCup.”
  • “Gone is the luxury of extended rest between starts for those sitting way back on the list, such as Koepka, who was just starting to find his feet again on a return from injury when the pandemic halted play in March.”

 

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