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Morning 9: Rory on being #1 | New Tour media deal? | Chris Couch’s Moonlight Tour domination

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1. Rory on No. 1
Phil Casey at the Belfast Telegraph…“This is McIlroy’s 96th week in total as World No.1, one behind the record for a European player held by Sir Nick Faldo, although his lead over fellow four-time Major winner Koepka is just 0.03 points.”
  • “Everyone keeps saying congratulations but the work’s only started, it’s staying there is the hard part,” McIlroy told a pre-tournament press conference.
  • …”I’ve always said it’s a by-product of doing the right things week in, week out, playing well, trying to win tournaments, and if I can continue to do that then hopefully that thing takes care of itself.”
  • “Asked if it was something of an anti-climax to become No.1 during a week off, McIlroy added: “I’ve already that euphoric moment in 2012; I won the Honda Classic to get to No.1 in the world, Tiger was coming down the stretch, I was able to hold him off. That to me was the really cool moment.”
2. Speculating about the next deal 
Per Geoff Shackelford…”Multiple well-placed sources confirmed to GeoffShackelford.com a major change in the next PGA Tour media rights deal.”
  • “Modeled in some ways after the Olympic Broadcast System, production will be handled by a primary PGA Tour operation providing a world feed to likely broadcast partners CBS, NBC, Golf Channel, ESPN+ and GolfTV.  The networks will retain production independence with the final product, along with familiar voices by producing announcers, graphics, replay and other extras beyond the “world feed”.”
  • “The move allows the PGA Tour to more cohesively produce coverage and improve PGA Tour Live streaming presentation that has often looked under-produced.”
3. Woods on wanting to win at Riv
Great stuff from PGATour.com’s Ben Everill putting Riviera in context for Tiger Woods-and what not having won there yet means to the golfer…
“Woods recounted a story from his childhood where, as a spectator, he ran over to the eighth green to watch Tom Watson hit a chip shot from near the gallery, only to be moved out of the way by Watson’s caddie Bruce Edwards. He recounted it when he joined the TOUR and was told playfully, “well, you were in the way.” Woods still beams at such stories from his younger years.”
  • “For me to have experiences like that here at Riv and to have now this be my event.. (it’s great), and hopefully on Sunday we’ll be having this discussion a little bit more,” Woods added.
  • “I’ve played in a number of events over the years and for me not to win an event that has meant so much to me in my hometown (is tough). I’ve done well in San Diego, I’ve done well at Sherwood, just haven’t done well here. So hopefully I can put together this week and we’ll have a great conversation on Sunday.”
4. Rory not looking to battle with Brooks…outside the ropes
Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”When he steps onto the tee Thursday morning to start the Genesis Invitational, McIlroy will do so as the world No. 1, the reigning FedExCup champion and 2019 PGA Tour Player of the Year. Of course, Koepka would be quick to point out – as he did last fall – that the accolades are nice, but what McIlroy lacks is another major title, at least since Koepka came on Tour full time in 2015. That dig was factual but piercing. As McIlroy said in October, with a slight grimace: “I didn’t need him to remind me.”
  • “In a sport desperate for a rivalry, McIlroy seems to have little interest in retaliating publicly, even after those biting comments. He said there’s no added satisfaction nipping Koepka. Asked by a reporter about the “fun back and forth” they’ve had over the past few months, McIlroy interjected: “Have we? I feel like it’s been a one-way street.”
  • “But Koepka has done some chirping, right? Again, McIlroy interrupted: “But that’s not my area to comment on. That’s his prerogative.”
5. New BMW Championship locale
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…“The BMW Championship is heading to Baltimore next season, according to the Chicago Tribune.”
  • “Teddy Greenstein writes that Caves Valley, located in Owings Mills, Md., will be named as the BMW host in 2021 in an announcement on Monday. The Tom Fazio design-which has the reputation of a player’s course-has previously held the 1995 U.S. Mid-Am, 2002 U.S Senior Open, 2005 NCAA Championship, the inaugural International Crown in 2014 and the 2017 Senior Players, but never a Tour event. It is ranked No. 152 in Golf Digest’s America’s Second Greatest 100 list.”
6. The incredible saga of Chris Couch
Quality writing from Brian Wacker here in a feature on Chris Couch’s Moonlight Tour dominance…
  • “Last week, Chris Couch won his 34th golf tournament in the last 12 months. No, that’s not a typo. That it came in his 118th start in that span is also impressive-it’s a winning percentage that would rival that of Tiger Woods’ best years on the PGA Tour.”
  • “It felt good, I gotta tell ‘ya,” the 46-year-old Floridian says in a gentle drawl.
  • “Of course, none of those victories for Couch came on the PGA Tour. They took place on the Open Golf America Tour, more commonly known among its participants as the Moonlight Tour given how most everyone playing also has a day job. It really isn’t even a tour so much as an assortment of one- and two-day events at a handful of courses in the Orlando area, including West Orange Country Club, where Couch now spends his days giving lessons and playing.”
7. He did indeed!
Mike McAllister at PGATour.com…“Yes, Justin Thomas is well aware of what Tiger Woods said this week about their undefeated partnership at the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.”
  • “I carried his ass in Australia,” a smiling Tiger said Tuesday during his press conference for this week’s The Genesis Invitational.”
  • “A few hours later, JT saw Tiger and offered a response….”All I know is,” he told Woods, “if I didn’t make a putt, you’d have a one next to your halve column.”
  • “So you’re welcome for that.”…You may recall that it was Thomas, not Woods, who buried a 17-foot putt on the 18th hole to win their Foursomes match against Hideki Matsuyama and Byeong Hun An on that Friday in mid-December. Afterwards, Thomas shouted, “I love me some me” as he and Woods celebrated.”
8. Hamlin vs. Fowler (at MJ’s new place)
Michelle Martinelli, For the Win… “The good news for NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin is he didn’t lose any money playing golf against Rickie Fowler this week.”
  • “The bad news for him is he didn’t win any, either.”
  • “Hamlin, Fowler and former NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip visited Michael Jordan’s new exclusive golf course, Grove XXIII, in Hobe Sound, Florida (near Jupiter), and the defending Daytona 500 champion said he bet Fowler “a lot and ended up with nothing.”
  • “I tied Rickie on the final hole,” Hamlin said Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway. “Thank goodness that got me back square, so that was a lot of fun. But it’s just amazing to see how good pros are. You think you’ve seen people that are good at their craft; go see a professional athlete do his craft. And it’s just amazing to watch.”

Full piece.

9. GolfWRX Shop
As I’ve mentioned before, we’re expanding our YouTube content. Our resident Master Club Builder, Ryan Barath, will be hosting the GolfWRX Shop series, and in the first video since our reboot, he shows you a driver build using a new TayorMade SIM head.
  • I think the content is excellent, and I’m excited for the future of our channel in general and the Shop in particular.

 

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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 ????

A post shared by Joshua Kelley (@holein1trickshots) on

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!

A post shared by R I C K I E (@rickiefowler) on

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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