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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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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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