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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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Schedule postponements and cancellations on the PGA Tour, European Tour plus the four majors: What we know so far

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With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the PGA Tour and European Tour have taken steps to cancel or postpone several events. Action has also been taken on some of golf’s major championships, and here we’ll summarize what decisions have been made so far altering the 2020 calendar.

The Majors

Both The Masters (April 9-12) and PGA Championship (May 14-17) have been officially postponed with hopes of rescheduling both events for later in the year. According to the NY Post, the US Open is also set to be postponed and rescheduled for “later in the summer”, though as of Tuesday, March 31 the USGA has made no formal announcement confirming this news.

The R&A has of yet made no announcement on this year’s Open Championship which is due to take place from 16-19 of July.

  • April 9-12: The Masters – Postponed
  • May 14-17: PGA Championship – Postponed
  • June 18-21: US Open – NY Post reporting postponed; not yet confirmed by USGA
  • July 16-19: Open Championship – On Schedule

PGA Tour

Since cancelling the Players Championship mid-event, the PGA Tour decided to cancel several subsequent tournaments. As of now, the earliest return date for the PGA Tour is May 21 at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship which is played the same week as the WGC-Match Play was postponed with plans to reschedule the event.

  • March 12-15: The Players Championship – Cancelled
  • March 19-22: Valspar Championship – Cancelled
  • April 16-19: RBC Heritage – Cancelled
  • April 23-26: Zurich Classic of New Orleans – Cancelled
  • April 30-May 3: Wells Fargo Championship – Cancelled
  • May 7-10: AT&T Byron Nelson – Cancelled

European Tour

Along with the cancelled WGC-Match Play and confirmed postponed major championships, the European Tour has postponed a further seven events. Unlike the PGA Tour, the European Tour has chosen to postpone almost every upcoming event for the time being instead of cancelling. The GolfSixes Cascais is the only confirmed cancellation as of now.

On Monday, the Dubai Duty-Free Irish Open became the latest tournament to be postponed meaning the earliest possible return date for action on the European Tour is now June 4 at the Trophee Hassan II.

  • March 12-15: Magical Kenya Open – Postponed
  • March 19-22: Hero Indian Open – Postponed
  • April 16-19: Maybank Championship – Postponed
  • April 23-26: Volvo China Open – Postponed
  • April 30-May 3: Andalucia Masters – Postponed
  • May 9-10: GolfSixes Cascais – Cancelled
  • May 21-24: Made in Denmark – Postponed
  • May 28-31: Irish Open – Postponed
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PGA Tour to provide financial assistance to players and caddies during Coronavirus pandemic

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The PGA Tour has announced plans to compensate both players and caddies after several Tour events were cancelled due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

In a memo sent to players on Friday, it was explained that due to IRS regulations, the Tour is not allowed distribute un-earned financial benefits to members, but that the organization has developed some programs to help its players during the ongoing pandemic. Players and caddies will receive financial assistance from the PGA Tour with one of the primary programs to help players based on their current FedEx Cup standing.

Players can receive up to $100,000 in bonus earnings during this period which will subsequently be removed from their season-ending bonus after play has been restarted.

Tour pros will also be entitled to request advance payments (up to $30k) for future Monday pro-am spots and advances on future earnings, while the Tour also plans on allowing players to withdraw funds from their retirement plans based on financial need.

“Playing opportunities equate to financial opportunities, and we are concerned about the toll that canceled tournaments are having on some of our members” – Tyler Dennis, a senior vice president and the Tour’s chief of operations.

Included in the memo were caddies, who are entitled to a partial mid-season distribution of an endorsement program and who can also request financial support from the Caddie Benevolent Fund.

Play is not set to resume on the PGA Tour until May 21 at the earliest.

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GolfWRX AUA (Ask Us Anything): TaylorMade fitters are answering YOUR questions!

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With the downtime, #teamtaylormade are ready to talk golf!

Go to the link below to ask any TM specific questions you may have. TaylorMade fitters from across the US will be diving in the forums to answer questions, talk golf and get you dialed. Take this opportunity to go TM crazy.

Team TaylorMade fitters that will be participating:

  • Chris Clegg, Georgia
  • John Junkin, Pennsylvania
  • Lewis Schnauble, Maryland
  • John Tabor, Michigan
  • Freddy Villarta, California
  • Matt Zerishnek, Pennsylvania
  • James Albright, Arizona

Join the discussion here.

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