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Morning 9: Premier Golf League courting Tiger? | TW on Distance Insights | Probation for Gainey

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1. PGL courting Tiger
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”Considered the biggest prize in the launch of a potential golf circuit that would be a rival to the PGA and European tours, Tiger Woods said Tuesday that he’s personally been approached by the Premier Golf League, and like other players, is looking into the concept.”
  • “…”My team’s been aware of it and we’ve delved into the details of it and are trying to figure it out just like everyone else,” Woods said Tuesday at Riviera Country Club, site of this week’s Genesis Invitational, where he is tournament host.”
  • “We’ve been down this road before with World Golf Championships and other events being started. There’s a lot of information that we’re still looking at and whether it’s reality or not, but just like everybody else, we’re looking into it.’
2. Tiger on Distance Insights
Credit to Geoff Shackelford for pulling these quotes from Ye Official transcript of Tiger Woods’ press conference…
“Tiger Woods was asked at today’s Genesis Invitational about the Distance Insights Report and remained consistent with past views, but did reiterate how the sport has run out of room to grow courses. “
“Q.  Tiger, how do you see the discussion around the distance insights study evolving and how would you like to see that discussion resolved?”
“TIGER WOODS:  Well, I’ve always said that the game of golf, it’s fluid, it’s moving.  The golf ball is certainly going a lot further than the balata days. We’ve changed it from using a tree to using high-tech metal.  We’ve come a long way in this game. What’s been crazy, I’ve been a part of all that. My career when I first started, I beat Davis Love in a playoff and he was using a persimmon driver.  To see the technology advance as fast as it has, the average distance was, from when I first came out on here, if you carry it 270, it took a lot of trouble out of play. Now guys are hitting their hybrids and 5-woods 270 in the air.  So the game has evolved and it’s changed. We’re running out of property to try and design golf courses that are from the back 7,800 to 8,000yards, it’s difficult.But on top of that, we want to keep the game so enjoyable and we’ve trying to get more participation, and having the larger heads, more forgiving clubs, it adds to the enjoyment of the game.  So there’s a very delicate balancing act where we’re trying to keep the game at, but also as we’ve all recognized, the players have changed over the years, too. When I first came out it was just Vijay and myself in the gyms and now seems like everyone has their own trainer and physios and guys got bigger, stronger, faster, more athletic like all sports.”
“Q.  Just to follow up on that, can we put you down for bifurcation or do you still want to read the report and kind of think that through?”
“TIGER WOODS:  Well, I think that is certainly on discussion, it’s on the table whether we bifurcate or not.  It’s only one percent of the guys or women that are going to be using that type of equipment, but we want to keep the game enjoyable, we want to keep having more kids want to come play it.  It’s so difficult now, I mean, with everyone walking around with their head down because they can’t get away from their mobile device to come out here and play a game that’s hopefully more on the slow side, we want to have that type of enjoyment.  Part of the discussion going forward is do we bifurcate or not. That’s, you know, it’s going to be probably even well after my career and my playing days that we will figure that out.”
3. Plenty of history, no wins
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch…”The Woods of 28 years ago was all gawky teenage promise. The man playing host at this week’s Genesis Invitational, which benefits his eponymous foundation, is a poised legend and owner of 15 major championships. But not a single one of his many victories was authored at Riviera, where he has competed 12 times. There is no other event on the Tour schedule that he has played as often without at least one trophy hoist.”
  • “I have historically never really putted well here,” Woods said Tuesday morning by way of explanation, before admitting that he’s been trash talked by another star who knows something about winning around Riviera. “Yesterday when I was out there with Bubba [Watson], he was giving me pretty good grief. He’s won here, what, three times, and I haven’t.”
4. Gainey gets 11 months probation
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker…”Former PGA Tour winner Tommy Gainey, who was arrested in Polk County, Fla., in December for soliciting a prostitute and facing a first-degree misdemeanor charge, will avoid jail after agreeing to serve 11 months probation, according to court records.”
  • “Gainey, who was one of 124 people nabbed in a large-scale six-day undercover sting dubbed “Operation Santa’s Naughty List,” was also ordered take a human trafficking class, serve up to 100 hours of community service and will pay fines and fees totaling $6,218.60.”
  • “In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop the misdemeanor solicitation charge. Gainey also could see his probation reduced if he meets the requirements of the deal quickly.”
5. Captain Woods again? Maybe not
PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister…“Ernie Els already has stated that he has no plans to return as a Presidents Cup captain in 2021. Tiger Woods is not ready to make a similar declaration, but the winning U.S. captain at Royal Melbourne in December acknowledged the challenges that led to Els’ decision.”
  • “I talked to Ernie when we were boarding the airplane leaving Melbourne,” Woods said Tuesday prior to this week’s The Genesis Invitational. “He was obviously devastated, and he put everything he had into that two-year window and tried to change the fortunes of the International Team – rebranded the entire side and did some things that’s never been done before on either team.”
  • …”I’m struggling with the same issues because … as an American, we have two Cups that we’re involved in, not just every other year [like] the Internationals and European team. So the responsibilities on an American are a little bit more.”
6. USGA needs Tiger-Phil? 
Interesting thoughts from Golf.com’s Michael Bamberger…“To reach us, they need Arnold. And since Arnold Palmer is not available, they need his closest heir: Tiger-‘n-Phil.
  • “They need to get Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, as a tag team, to do their selling. Whomever Tiger cannot reach, Phil can. That’s the theory here, anyway.”
  • “A checkbook won’t help the USGA win over Tiger and Phil. The USGA cannot buy loyalty as a manufacturer can. Professional golfers (typically) are interested in moving product in the name of making money. But shorter courses played with equipment that takes its cues from yesterday flies in the face of the bigger-is-better mentality that they know, and we know, so well.”
7. More CBS dragging
Good stuff from Geoff Shackelford relaying the writing of John Hawkins and seconding the opinion…”Hate to agree as we all want golf TV to be better, but John Hawkins pretty accurately sums up the rough start to 2020 CBS golf broadcasts here”
“Dottie Pepper is excellent. Mark Immelman has a high ceiling and is  fast becoming a source of pertinence and polish. Since David Feherty hopped to NBC in 2016, however, the Eye has gone blind to the value of  building a team with people who played the game and are fully stocked with knowledge about every competitor, yet remain unfazed by the task of  imparting pure objectivity when the situation demands it.”
“…Pompoms  and nonsense. They’re fine at a high school pep rally, but at a  gathering of the world’s finest golfers vying for the largest share of a  $7.8 million purse, a major network with more than 60 years in the business should know better than to shortchange its educated, dedicated  viewership.”
8. Distance Insights: Numbers of note
Via Golf Digest’s Mike Stachura…
Among its highlights:
  • Nearly nine in 10 golfers agreed that pros are hitting it farther today than they did five years ago, but only 57 percent said recreational golfers were longer than they were across the same period. (According to the 2019 Distance Report, six of the seven professional tour’s driving distance averages have increased since 2014 with an average gain over that time span of around 4.6 yards. Three of the seven tours, however, lost yardage in 2019 compared to 2018. The report also says average driving distance among amateur recreational golfers has increased 16 yards since 1996 to 216 yards.)
  • Those who watch golf and said they “regularly” see drives that are “too long” is nearly equal to those who “rarely” or “never” see drives that are too long (36 percent to 34 percent).
  • Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed agreed that “recreational golf and professional golf are as different as two different sports.”
9. Happy Gilmore lengths ahead?
Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”Said DeChambeau: “I agree with that statement. Whenever you’re trying to change the game because of 500 people in the world, that, to me, is a little unfortunate. I hope that they would look at it in a different light.””
  • “That said, unless changes are made for the elite professionals, DeChambeau predicts that we’ll see the game “in more of a Happy Gilmore setting, where you’re going to have guys hitting it that far and driving greens and you can’t do anything to protect it. Just hit it as hard as possible to get it as close as possible.””
  • …”But the courses that will stand the test of time are going to be the ones that have the longest rough and the tightest fairways and slopiest, fastest greens. If you build golf courses that are long and wide open, you’re going to have guys that bomb it.”

Full piece. 

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GolfWRX Spotlight: Golf Drawn’s custom golf art

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I recently converted an extra bedroom in my house into a home office (golf-themed, of course). In my search for stuff to put up on the walls, I came across a company that was doing something different. They had a booth at this year’s PGA Show showing off some of their unique work, and when I dug in a bit more, I realized it was a really innovative product for the golf community. So, I reached out to the people at Golf Drawn to see if they could help me create a piece for my office.

Golf Drawn is a custom design and illustration service that specializes in creating original, hand-drawn course routing designs of your favorite club. Any club. That’s the best part. They can draw any course in the world using the wonders of satellite imaging.

Goat Hill Park

Brooklawn on Wood Canvas

Streamsong

“We began just as we still do now, by drawing up folks’ home tracks,” said Anthony Malky, Owner and Creative Director at Golf Drawn. “Whether it was a par three, municipal course, top-100, or whatever. Our whole deal was that we would draw any course….and we still do. There’s yet to be one that we couldn’t execute.”

If you’ve spent any time looking around for golf art or memorabilia, you realize how big a deal that actually is. The top-100 courses get all the love. Golf Drawn is filling a void out there and providing custom art focused on your favorite local course.

“We receive the course request from you and get to work on creating the design,” said Malky, “Once the design is complete, we send you proofs, and then you choose background color, labeling, frame and any additions.”

Popular additions to the framed prints include images of the scorecard table, compass to show direction of the course routing, alternative club logos, etc…

And Golf Drawn can then put that routing design or logo on a tee-shirt, sticker or other items if you like as well. Every new design requires a one-time design fee to get the work completed. But once that design is done, it is free to put on any framed print or tee in the future for anyone. Tee-shirts are becoming a rather popular item on the website.

If a course has been renovated or simply no longer exists, Golf Drawn has worked directly from old photos or original course plans to recreate the old track you remember. And, of course, Golf Drawn can do the famous courses as well. It’s a great way to commemorate a favorite round, hole in one, or once in a lifetime score.

My local club is Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. They already had a design drawn of Colonial, so it wasn’t hard to customize what I wanted and finish the order. I added the columns logo to the top left corner and script location on the bottom right.

So how did this all begin? Anthony Malky grew up in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. He caddied at Oakmont Country Club for over a decade…and even got to play the course on some Mondays. He loves golf, just like we all do. And he started drawing courses as a hobby.

“I began drawing up the clubs that meant a lot to me,” Malky said. “After some time, at the urging of others I made an Instagram. I had a ton of course designs done and figured might as well post them for folks. From there, the Instagram took off, that turned into a website…then the custom orders started coming.”

Fast forward a couple of years, and Golf Drawn now has an entire wholesale catalog of unique products, over 250+ club accounts, and products stocked in shops around the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. That is pretty impressive for a business that does everything in-house with a fully customizable product. And keeping prices low has always been a goal for Malky, as he remembers a time when he wanted to buy golf art himself but found everything to be overpriced and low quality.

Sticker Variety Pack

“We’ve tried to keep our prices, minimums at wholesale, all low and cost effective,” Malky said.  “That was part of the initial start too, allowing people to get their course drawn up, framed, etc. for a price that anyone could pay. Not some outlandish design fee or commission type setup.”

Prices per print with framing included

The supply is working hard to keep up with the demand. Golf Drawn is still a small operation and Malky does all of the designs himself. There is a team that helps with operations and a few sales reps across the country, but the business definitely remains small. That is intentional. Malky believes that allows Golf Drawn to offer a personal, high-level service to each individual customer. And it allows the company to remain focused on the reason they got started in the first place.

“It’s always been about shedding light on and propping up courses and places that otherwise wouldn’t be,” Malky said.  Giving attention to and making that local municipal course look as good as a top-10 track. Getting the par-3 course by your house designed, framed and up on a wall, highlighted in a way that many people have only seen the big courses like Pebble, Pinehurst, Oakmont. It’s always been about highlighting the places and the memories that mean so much to people.”

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Report: 2020 Open Championship set to be cancelled; R&A releases statement in response: “continuing to work through options”

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This year’s Open Championship will be cancelled outright by the R&A due to the Coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from Golf Digest.

Per the report, an unnamed source has divulged to the publication that the championship will next take place in 2021 with St. Andrews hosting the event. Royal St. Georges, due to host the 2020 Open Championship, would instead host the 2024 edition.

According to Golf Digest’s source, insurance has played a pivotal role in the decision making. As with Wimbledon, the Open Championship has an insurance policy that protects itself against a global pandemic if the event is cancelled by a specific date.

On Wednesday, the R&A officially announced that the 41st Curtis Cup would be played in 2021 while the organization also moved the British Amateur and British Women’s Amateur from June to August.

Though unconfirmed, this would mark the first major championship of 2020 to be cancelled outright, with the Masters and PGA Championship having been officially postponed.

*UPDATE*

On Thursday morning, in light of the speculation surrounding this year’s Open Championship, Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, released a statement where he said the R&A are “continuing to work through our options for The Open this year.”

“We are continuing to work through our options for The Open this year, including postponement. Due to a range of external factors, that process is taking some time to resolve. We are well aware of the importance of being able to give clear guidance to fans, players and everyone involved and are working to resolve this as soon as we can. We will give a further update as soon as we are in a position to do so and thank everyone for their support and understanding in this challenging situation.”

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Report: Woods-Mickelson Part 2 likely to happen in May and will feature two other sporting superstars

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Earlier this week, Phil Mickelson teased “The Match” Part 2 on his social media, and according to a report from CNBC the exhibition, though unconfirmed, is likely to take place in May and will include both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

On Monday evening, golf journalist Robert Lusetich stated that the potential “The Match” Part 2 would likely involve NFL legends, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in a two on two contest.

Now per CNBC’s report, who claim that “a person familiar with the negotiations” confirmed the story to them, the contest is organized by AT&T’s WarnerMedia and the PGA Tour, and would likely take place in May with the proceeds going towards coronavirus relief charities.

The report also claims the event would likely not be a pay-per-view contest, with plans also in place to feature big names throughout the PGA, NFL, and National Basketball Association.

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