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Morning 9: Hatton tames Bay Hill, himself | Other winners | What’s wrong with Tiger? | Koepka struggles

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1. Hatton tames Bay Hill, himself
Early in the back nine Sunday, Tyrrell Hatton did not exactly look like a man with the composure to win a golf tournament amid trying conditions. The highly combustible Englishman kept his head, however, and earned himself a Palmer cardigan for his ability to steady the ship.
  • Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…”there were some testy moments for Hatton in the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, including slamming his club, flipping the bird, and pointing his putter like a rifle and firing a pretend shot back in the general direction of a pond on the 11th hole where his ball found a watery grave.”
  • “He wasn’t the only one whose patience was tested as Bay Hill Club & Lodge turned into a windy U.S. Open-like struggle. Only four golfers managed to break par for 72 holes.”
  • “Yet leave it to Hatton to keep his cool down the stretch as others faltered to hang on to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by one stroke over Australian Marc Leishman. Juicy rough, greens as hard as cement and howling wind brought the field to its knees with Hatton the ultimate survivor, and winning his maiden PGA Tour title – and a three-year exemption – despite a 2-over 74 and a 72-hole total of 4-under 284.”

Full piece. 

2. ICYMI: A sampling of his theatrics
Golfweek’s Julie Williams…”At the 11th hole on Sunday, Hatton felt the heat. The 28-year-old Englishman started the day with a two-shot lead and appeared to be in good shape after turning in even par. At the par-4 11th, however, Hatton hit his drive into water on the left side of the hole.”
  • “After taking a drop, Hatton hit it over the green on his approach and ended up walking away with a double-bogey. He left no doubts about his level of frustration in a colorful display of gestures not often seen on the PGA Tour.”
  • “Using his putter as a rifle, Hatton turned and fired a pretend shot back toward the pond that swallowed his drive. After that, he extended a middle finger behind him in the pond’s direction, too. There was one final, similarly obscene gesture as he walked off the green and toward the 12th tee.”

Better on video! See it here.

3. Meanwhile, in Qatar…
Reuters report…”Spaniard Jorge Campillo showcased a putting masterclass to beat Scotland’s David Drysdale in a two-way playoff on the fifth extra hole to win the Qatar Masters on Sunday.”
“Campillo looked on course for a two-stroke victory on the final day of the tournament but a wayward tee shot on the par-4 17th gave him a double bogey that meant he finished tied on 13-under overall.”
4. Big Easy! 
Golf Digest’s John Strege…”Ernie Els is a World Golf Hall of Famer who was eager to rejoin his contemporaries on the PGA Tour Champions, though they might have preferred he continued competing against the younger generation.”
  • “In only his third start on the senior tour, Els won the Hoag Classic at Newport Beach (Calif.) Country Club on Sunday. In his senior debut in January, he tied for second in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, losing in a playoff.”
5. Harig: What’s wrong with Tiger Woods?
ESPN’s Bob Harig on TW skipping The Players...”Perhaps some long-forgotten history is in play, and Woods has learned the lesson of past transgressions. TPC Sawgrass is no place to show up if you’re not ready to play, and given the fact that his back is giving him issues, it is difficult to envision Woods having practiced to the level necessary to be competitive.”
  • “Way back in 2011, Woods suffered knee and Achilles injuries during the final round of the Masters. The injury kept him out until the Players, which was then played in May. He showed up, looked terrible, shot 42 for nine holes and withdrew. And he wasn’t seen again until August, with a lackluster result at the Bridgestone Invitational followed by a missed cut at the PGA Championship.”
  • “The point is there is no sense in rushing to play a tournament if you are not prepared to play it…But the fact that he isn’t ready to play says everything and why Steinberg’s words of reassurance are anything but.”
6. Still sh***
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta…”Asked to compare his Sunday 71 to his Saturday 81, here’s how he summed it up: “Still sh–. Still sh–. Putting better.”
  • “In blustery conditions at Bay Hill on Saturday, Brooks Koepka carded his career-worst round of 81. “I’m a big boy. I can handle it,” he said.”
  • “When it was then suggested that he “probably can’t say that on the podium,” Koepka offered an elegant solution.”
  • “Well, fine me,” he said with a laugh, before continuing on about his putting. “I found something with my putting, so my putting, the touch is back. I feel very confident with that. But still close on the swing, sometimes it’s there and then sometimes it’s not.”
7. Preparing for the Grand Slam bid…again
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”Career-slam talk commenced immediately, and McIlroy has been chasing that green jacket ever since, logging some top-10 finishes but truthfully not coming as close as he did nine years ago — when he was the 54-hole leader, triple-bogeyed the 10th hole and shot 80.”
  • “Inevitably, the questions surface, and McIlroy does his best to entertain them, basically going the route that there is a lot of golf to be played prior to the Masters.”
  • “For some people, it starts the Monday they arrive at Augusta,” McIlroy said when asked this week when the process for the year’s first major begins. “For some people, it started in January. I think it’s different for everyone. For me, what I realized is I can’t make things too big in my head. So if I started to gear up for Augusta in January, by the time Augusta got around in April, my head would be absolutely fried.”
  • “So I try to push it out as late as possible. I’ve got four tournaments to play between now and then, and my biggest concern and my top priority are those four tournaments.”
8. Yeah, I shanked it. So what?
That’s the essence of Twitter swing critic/PGA Tour pro Max Homa after shanking a pitch into a TV tower at the API.
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”I had a horrendous lie. Didn’t even know if I pitched it left if I could keep it in a decent spot,” Homa told GolfChannel.com. “I figured if it came out bad, it would go in the bunker. Never really thought it was going to grab my club and make me shank it. Hadn’t done that in a while.”
  • “While the lie had Homa guessing, the placement of the TV tower proved fortuitous. Instead of “flying into the water,” according to Homa’s estimate, his ball instead bounced off the tower and into the hazard but stopped in front of some rocks. He was able to play it, ended up hitting the pin with his next shot and tapped in for a bogey-6 that could have been much worse.”
  • “I think (playing partner) Sam Burns said it best, he goes, ‘Tap that thing in and get the heck off this hole,'” Homa said. “I guess it was a bad lie, so that was a bad break, and then a great break off the sideboard. So we’ll call it even.”
9. Every shot live!
We’re looking at an exciting week in the history of golf media ahead! The PGA Tour has cracked the logistics code (and has the deep pockets) to give viewers the opportunity to see every shot of its flagship event alive.
  • Jim McCabe for PGATour.com…“And it’s likely to land you in a stratosphere never imagined – like being able to deliver to your fans every shot by every player in THE PLAYERS Championship. Yes, all of ’em. Somewhere north of 31,000 combined by 144 players over four days over THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.”
  • “Digest those numbers and the mere concept of Every Shot Live for a minute. Then you can appreciate the sense of anticipation that is swelling within Scott Gutterman, Senior Vice President of Digital Operations for the PGA TOUR.”
  • …”He could add that it’s daunting, overwhelming, and complicated, too, but Gutterman knows passionate fans aren’t so much interested in all the logistics. Nope. They’re only thrilled that Every Shot Live is the ultimate supply that answers the demand.”
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Morning 9: Match 2: The most-watched golf telecast ever | Rory: Players don’t want fan-less Ryder Cup | Justin Thomas aces broadcast debut

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@attsportsnetpit
1. 5.8 million average viewers for The Match
AP report…”Two of the biggest names from the PGA Tour and the NFL proved to be must-see TV.”
  • “Turner Sports said the Sunday telecast of “The Match: Champions for Charity” attracted an average of 5.8 million viewers across four of its networks. Turner says it was the most-watched golf telecast in cable TV history.”
  • “It said the previous record was 4.9 million viewers on ESPN at the 2010 Masters, the year Tiger Woods returned to golf for the first time since the scandal in his personal life.”
  • “Woods and Peyton Manning scored a 1-up victory over Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady at Medalist Golf Club, a match that featured high entertainment with shots and with words, along with raising $20 million for COVID-19 relief funds.”
2. Shackelford’s take
A few observations from the scribe…“While still an overnight, it easily bests the previous week’s relief fund match that drew a 1.5 and total of 2.3 million viewers across three channels, including a 1.5 rating on NBC and a .24 on Golf Channel).”
“More incredibly, this means The Match 2 out-rated any major championship round on cable.”
“Given a so-so promotional run-up, a slow start to the show (caused in part by a slight weather delay) a dreary day to watch, and a long telecast, the rating is a stunning statement about the remaining star power of the contestants.”
3. JT’s TV debut
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…”That said, whenever he decides to put down the clubs, he should immediately pick up a mic.
The former Alabama star made his broadcast debut as an on-course reporter on TNT/TBS alongside CBS Sports’ Amanda Balionis on Sunday during The Match: Champions for Charity, which saw Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning defeat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. Thomas received rave reviews from golf Twitter during and after the event. He was brilliant. His rapport with Woods and Mickelson allowed them to open up on a different level compared to the original The Match in 2018.”
“Most importantly, Thomas didn’t overdo anything. Unlike some broadcasters, he knew fans weren’t watching for him and he never once tried to steal the spotlight. He didn’t speak just to talk. When he had something to say, it was insightful or funny. Like a golfer picking out which holes he can attack and score on, Thomas picked his spots on where to interject throughout the broadcast like someone who’s been doing it for years, let alone a day.”
4. Tiger looked terrific 
Bob Harig writes…”For the first time in 98 days, we got to see Woods in action. And the last time we saw him, he didn’t look good. Woods shot 77 at Riviera Country Club on Feb. 16 and finished last among those who made the cut at the Genesis Invitational. And he complained that his back was stiff”
  • …”Woods hasn’t played since but neither has anyone else. And the time off has done him some good.”
  • “Woods didn’t miss a fairway. His swing looked smooth and in rhythm. He hit some deft pitch shots and a really nice long bunker shot. And all of this in difficult, rainy conditions.”
  • “It was just a charity match, but he looked pretty good. Who knows when Woods will resume his schedule when the PGA Tour returns next month, but his game looks good to go.”
5. Rory McIlroy: ‘Majority of players’ want 2020 Ryder Cup postponed until 2021 
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…”Rory McIlroy has a hunch about the Ryder Cup, and it’s one that golf fans around the world aren’t going to like.”
  • “In an interview with BBC Sport, the world No. 1 said: “My personal hunch is that I don’t see how it is going to happen, so I do not think that it will happen.”
  • “Wisconsin’s Whistling Straits is scheduled to host the 2020 Ryder Cup Sept. 25-27, but amid the coronavirus pandemic the event would most-likely take place without fans (if held at all).”
  • “I think the majority of players would like to see it pushed back until 2021 so that they can play in front of crowds and have the atmosphere that makes the Ryder Cup so special,” explained McIlroy. “The players are the ones that make the Ryder Cup. If they are not on board with it and don’t want to play then there is no Ryder Cup.”
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The DailyWRX: What’s buzzing on social media (5/25/2020)

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Gotta say, The Match: Champions for Charity, was a fun escape from reality and further fueled the “we need golf back” fire. I dedicate this DailyWRX to The Match, thanks for thrills boys.

No matter how hard you try to make this a meme…

It’s Tom Brady. He wins….always, no matter what. He’s a Mount Rushmore guy.

This gave me goosebumps…

Its an exhibition match for charity, and I’m over here jacked up like its Balboa vs. Drago. SMH. I love TW.

View this post on Instagram

Sunday red is back. ????

A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on

Yes…

To all of it.

Phil…

Please just run for President and get it over with, you got my vote…..in perpetuity. I mean hellacious seeds? Yes I want hellacious seeds. Please.

DM @johnny_wunder

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Justin Rose, Honma officially part ways

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Justin Rose and Honma Golf have officially severed ties, per a joint statement released Friday evening.

Former World No. 1 and current World No. 14, Rose (previously a TaylorMade staffer) made waves in the equipment industry when he signed on as a full-bag Honma staffer at the beginning of 2019. He made waves again in late February when he arrived at PGA National with a TaylorMade SIM driver in his bag.

The next week, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rose swapped out his remaining Honma wares for a TaylorMade SIM Max fairway wood, a Cobra Speedzone Pro 5-wood, TaylorMade P730 irons, and TaylorMade and Titleist wedges.

Full text of the statement from Honma/Rose below

“Honma Golf Limited (“Honma”) announces that, following a successful partnership with the former No. 1 player in the world, Honma and Justin Rose have agreed that Justin will no longer be one of Honma’s brand ambassadors. We are proud to have been a key part of Justin’s journey to regain his position as World Number 1 in early 2019, including a win at the Farmers Insurance Open in his second event with Honma equipment in play.”

“For over a year, Justin worked closely with our team to help develop innovative and top­ performing lines of Honma woods and irons. His pursuit of perfection, approach to product testing and feedback has produced great value to Honma. Justin’s expert input and desire for maximum ball speed inspired our team to make the Honma TR20 460 and 440 drivers among the fastest drivers in the game. Consistently, and excitingly, our nationwide team of fitters are seeing the new TR20 460 and TR20 440 drivers produce some of the fastest speeds on the market. We wish him the very best in his pursuit of more majors and career success,” said John Kawaja, President Honma Golf North America.”

“I have enjoyed working with the Honma team and collaborating closely with them to design and develop excellent golf equipment. I was able to see firsthand the innovations that the craftsmen at Honma bring to their clubs. I am hopeful that during our time of partnership, we have laid the groundwork for Honma to continue to expand their brand. We both feel it is the right time to pursue our own paths,” said Justin Rose.”

Per Honma PR: “This will be the official statement and we are unable to provide any further comments”

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