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Friday on Tour: 5 things we learned

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As you learned yesterday, it’s BOGO week, aka five will get you 10. Not 10 years, but 10 things we learned. With the Korn Ferry Tour in Florida, and the PGA Tour a bit north, on Hilton Head Island, great weather has led to super-low scoring. I have a few golf chums who resist low scoring, but I leave them to their growlers of bitterness. I love birdies and eagles. This week, we have more than we can count.

It’s Friday evening, the weekend is here, KFT is 18 holes from a winner, while PGAT has two rounds to go. Let’s learn what we learned this week, five things from each tour.

RBC Heritage: 5 things we learned

5. Nick Watney has no luck

Flashback to 2010, and Nick Watney is everyone’s pick to win at least one major. He had a rough decade, with healthy servings of injury and self-doubt. Today, Watney withdrew from the RBC, due to a positive test for COVID-19. The Californian exhibited symptoms of the virus, was tested, and confirmed positive on Friday. He withdrew after posting a 71 in round one.

4. Webb Simpson has the lead

The Carolinian made A LOT of birdies on Friday. Nine of them, to be precise, and he needed all of them. When Simpson hit a green, he was money almost all of the time. He gained six strokes on the field in putting on day two, which is obscene. Thing was, he couldn’t make the same putts for par that he made for birdie. Simpson missed nine, eleven, and 14-foot putts when he missed the green. The only time his putter rescued a par, was the sixth. Simpson got up and down for par from 90 yards on that one, draining a twelve-feet putt for four.

Let’s not dwell on the negatives, however. The pride of Wake Forest made 69 feet of birdie putts on the front, then 92 more on the back. He capped his round with a 38-foot bomb for three at the home hole. In the end, as long as the birdies outweigh the bogeys by enough, Simpson will be in the mix.

3. The weather four-putted in the PM

Not Jordan Spieth this time. He did miss a two-footer for par (yikes!) but kept it together for 70. Thunderstorms arrived and reminded us that this is still the PGA Tour and that delays will always be a thing. The second round was halted, stranding golfers for 45 minutes. In the end, no harm and no foul, as castaways made quick work of their remaining holes, and the round completed on schedule. The good news is, no more rain for at least 48 hours, which should allow the tournament to finish on schedule.

2. #BigBandTheory is back

Bryson doesn’t really have the room this week to show off his flex. No matter, he showed off his guile, to the tune of 64 and 11-under par. DeChambeau is driving the ball better than Simpson, and he is hitting more greens that the fellow currently holding the top spot. What that means is, over the course of four days, the Big Bang Theory should overtake the lead. Will it play out that way? This writer says “Yes.”

1. Predictions are in, and …

Most likely to tell you exactly what he’s feeling: Bryson DeChambeau. If I had to mic one guy on tour, it would be him. Most days, I understand his thoughts.

Most likely to break through for a win: Matthew Fitzpatrick. Crystal ball sez that it’s the Englishman’s time.

Most likely to take a high-speed elevator: Jhonnatan Vegas. If there were a stat column for shots-gap from round to round, the Venezuelan would be a strong contender for the hardware. #NeverDull

The King & The Bear: 5 things we learned

5. Vince India held court

The co-leader after 36 holes posted a clinic today. Nine birdies and one eagle allowed the man from the land of Lincoln to offset a bogey and shoot an inconceivable 62 in round three. India turned for home in 29 strokes, thanks to a six-under-in-five-holes stretch. His eagle at the 5th ignited a fuse that brought a run of four birdies to close the outward half. His only hiccough came at the par-four 12th, where he missed the green and could not recover for par. Four birdies from 13 to 18 restored his confidence, and consoled him with a four-shot lead.

4. Chris Kirk kept this thing real

The PGA Tour champion is the only golfer within six shots of the leader. Kirk was three-under through nine, and quickly realized that such a pace simply wouldn’t do for the Duke. He geared up and made five birdies for 31 on the home half. His 64 brought him to 21 deep, and kept him within four shots of the front-runner. If I were India, Chris Kirk is not the fellow I’d want in my round-four grouping. His wins on the big tour bolster his confidence, and if anyone is to catch the leader, it should be Kirk.

3. Will Z won’t give up

The Calixan (Californian and Texan) by way of Wake Forest is learning the most basic of questions in professional tournament golf: What do I have to do to win out here? Rounds of 65-66-66 have him at 19-under par, tied with two others. As we know by now, that’s two back of the chaser, and six behind the leader. Zalatoris posted two eagles on Wednesday, and one each the next two days. He has 16 birdies, to boot. It’s the others, the three bogeys and the double, that relegated him to long chaser. Eliminate the double and he’s tied with Kirk. Ditch the others, and he’d be one back of the lead. Sometimes, your best isn’t good enough. Through three rounds, that might be WZ’s thinking. If he tossed a 64 on Saturday, he’ll give India something to think about.

2. Might we see a 59?

It’s doubtful, but 60 or 61 are under consideration. Only one golfer (India) has anything to lose. The rest are playing for glory, and will go as low as they possibly can. Eagles are commonplace on the par-five holes, and the two-shotters have given up an enormous amount of threes. The low round won’t come from the last grouping, but someone like Braden Thornberry or Scott Langley might get hot early and sustain momentum. If India gets to 30-under par, the tournament is his. If not, the early, low round might cart the trophy off.

1. Predictions on the menu

Most likely to jump into the top ten: Davis Riley. He rooms with Zalatoris, and need to close the gap with his roomie. I’m guessing 65 for the Alabama golfer.

Most likely to fall out of the top ten: Brett Coletta. The first-round leader has worsened each round, from 63 to 66, to 70. His best is behind him, at least for this week.

Most likely to shoot that 61: I’ve mentioned Langley and Thornberry already, so let’s add a third name: long-hitting Canadian, Taylor Pendrith.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Gunter Eisenberg

    Jun 21, 2020 at 11:30 am

    I beg PGA tour players not to contract Covid-19. Please wash your hands frequently, maintain social distancing, and above all, not consume bat fried rice or soup.

  2. AOC

    Jun 20, 2020 at 1:18 pm

    I can’t believe they are still playing! Defind the PGA tour! Defund the PGA tour!

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Equipment

TGD: Faldo, New TM Irons Drop, Bryson and Rickie scoop with Cobra Tour Manager Ben Schomin and the decline of my golf game

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On this episode of TGD brought to you by Titleist, Johnny goes in on the new TaylorMade MB, Faldo’s comment on Bryson’s wedges, the demise of his golf game and some nuggets on Rickie and Bryson with Cobra Golf Tour operations manager Ben Schomin.

Enjoy!

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GolfWRX Classifieds (07/09/20): YES! Putter, Mevo, Honma irons

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member mlp021 – Flightscope Mevo

If you are looking to add some fun to your practice routine, while also getting useful data to help you improve and become more consistent, the Mevo is one of the best options around.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Flightscope Mevo 

Member OpenPar – YES! Golf Holly Putter

Finding any classic YES! putters in good shape continues to be more difficult, but this Holly looks like it hasn’t seen many rounds of golf, and it even comes with the original cover! Yes!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Yes golf Holly

Member niznikd – In plastic Honma TW 747V Irons

These are a steal of a deal and just a third of their original asking price—and did I mention BRAND NEW!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: 747V Honma Irons

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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Morning 9: Why a fanless Ryder Cup never made sense | Rapid LPGA restart | How Tiger practices putting at home

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1. Officially no Ryder Cup in 2020…Prez Cup moved to ’22
What was widely reported is now official. Our Gianni Magliocco…”On Wednesday, it was officially announced that the 2020 Ryder Cup had been postponed and rescheduled for September 21-26, 2021.”
  • “Subsequently, the next Presidents Cup which was initially scheduled for September 30-October 3, 2021 will now be played in September 2022.”
  • “Per the announcement on the Ryder Cup website, the decision to postpone “was based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
  • “Speaking on the postponement, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh stated…
  • “Unlike other major sporting events that are played in existing stadiums, we had to make a decision now about building facilities to host the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. It became clear that as of today, our medical experts and the public authorities in Wisconsin could not give us certainty that conducting an event responsibly with thousands of spectators in September would be possible. Given that uncertainty, we knew rescheduling was the right call. We are grateful to PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan and our partners at the TOUR for their flexibility and generosity in the complex task of shifting the global golf calendar.”
2. A fanless Cup never made sense…
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”Some 50,000 spectators a day packed Hazeltine four years ago. They came ready and roaring, fueled by flowing alcohol and the freedom that comes with a Ryder Cup, where cheering and booing is expected and taunting of the opponent comes with the territory.”
  • “It was much the same two years ago at Le Golf National outside of Paris — although the event was lacking the boorishness observed two years before that — when the Europeans romped to victory in front of a serenading home crowd.”
  • “That, in essence, is the Ryder Cup….And to not have that in any form would be nearly as depressing from a sporting standpoint as what all have endured during these unprecedented times.”
3. Forecaddie on LPGA restart
Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”After nearly five months off, LPGA players can finally begin to explore what their comeback on tour might look like, and there’s not much time to ease into things either. The decision to travel overseas for two weeks in Scotland looms large ­- not to mention the possibility of fans in Toledo. To the Forecaddie, in many ways it feels like a straight plunge into the deep end.”
  • “One day after two events in Scotland were confirmed for next month, the LPGA hosted two tour-wide conference calls on Wednesday and sent out a couple of surveys.”
  • “The Forecaddie certainly didn’t expect the LPGA to offer its players anything remotely close to the $100,000 that PGA Tour players received after testing positive for COVID-19. It looks like LPGA players will receive a $5,000 stipend if they test positive during a tournament and $2,500 if it happens while at home. Same for caddies.”
4. Playing while testing positive
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…“In what the PGA Tour is calling a clarification regarding its health and safety plan, players or caddies who continue to test positive for COVID-19 can now return to competition under certain guidelines.”
  • “Last week, the Tour announced a move to a “test-based model” for asymptomatic cases, which means that anyone who tests positive would be allowed to return competition if they returned two negative tests that were administered at least 24 hours apart.”
  • “Wednesday’s clarification addressed a player or caddie who continues to test positive after 10 days since the first symptoms appeared and hasn’t had a fever for 72 hours. That player would be allowed to return to competition with certain restrictions.”
5. LPGA return environment
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…“There are all kinds of challenges for the women going overseas, even with Scotland set to ratify the United Kingdom’s foreign athlete quarantine exemption, which will allow Americans and players from other foreign countries to avoid the 14-day quarantine required upon arriving.”
  • “That exemption doesn’t include parents or agents.”
  • “That’s a challenge for young players accustomed to traveling with their parents, a fairly common practice in the LPGA ranks.”
  • “The Women’s British Open is creating a “bio secure zone” at Royal Troon, allowing only players, caddies and other essential personnel inside the zone, which restricts movement to the course and designated hotel.”
6. Workday features COVID-19 grouping
Todd Kelly for Golfweek…“Nick Watney, Denny McCarthy and Dylan Frittelli, who all tested positive for COVID during the PGA Tour’s restart and who the Tour says continue to test positive, are in the field at this week’s Workday Charity Open and, after a late change to the tee times, will play in the same group for the first two rounds.”
  • …”The Tour said it is following the CDC’s symptom-based model for those three golfers, as they have continued to return positive tests but they all meet the CDC guidelines for Return to Work.”
7. Asia Pacific Ams canceled 
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…“The Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific, set for Oct. 7-10 in Thailand, and Asian-Pacific Amateur, scheduled for Oct. 29-Nov. 1 in Australia, will not be played this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • “While the women’s championship, which was already rescheduled from last February, will return next year for its third edition, to be played Feb. 4-7 at Siam Country Club, the men’s championship does not have a future date at this time. It was supposed to be contested at Royal Melbourne this fall.”
8. Rocket Mortgage ratings
Geoff Shackelford…”Another very solid weekend for PGA Tour ratings with not much sports competition due to the pandemic and a late start for NASCAR’s rance, a July 4 weekend that should have substantially cut into numbers, did not.”
  • “Bryson DeChameau’s win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic was up 56% from 2019 and if you ignore the silly demographics, earned plenty of eyeballs.”
9. Tiger’s at-home practice putting routine
In case you ever wondered how one of the greatest flatstick wielders practices his putting…
Explaining to GolfTV’s Henni Koyack, Woods revealed how he consistently focuses on his putting from 6 feet and in before going straight into a heavy workload of lag putting.
  • “I end up doing a few sets of chalk lines from probably about 6 feet and in. I work on my start line (and) I try and get that dialed in. And then I really don’t spend a whole lot of time in the 8-15 foot range.
  • “Once I get a lot of my dialed-in time on my putting, then I’ll lag putt a lot and start trying to get my feel in my fingers and how I like to release the putter and feel it in my stroke. I like to do designated tee drill, line drill and then lag putt to death.”
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