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5 things we learned: Friday at the Travelers Championship

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If things do change, sometimes, they stay the same. In the case of the PGA Tour, one thing hasn’t changed: going low, then staying there, is mighty difficult. Four rounds of 63 or better were posted on Thursday. On Friday, all four golfers soared to 68 or higher. 68 and 69 aren’t bad scores, but they don’t serve to separate a golfer from the field. Their purpose is to keep the golfer in the midst of the fray, with the anticipation that another of those low numbers will return, on Saturday or Sunday. One golfer did manage to follow a 64 with a 63, and that’s the reason that he finds himself in first place after 36 holes. We did learn five things on Friday at the Travelers Championship, and it is our pleasure to share them with you.

1. Let’s begin with Phil

Philip Alfred Mickelson is six feet three inches tall, and just turned 50 years of age. He is in the best shape of his adult life, and has no desire to join the next tour just yet. There can be no doubt that he wishes for one more victory, and that it be a US Open. To come at Winged Foot, where he once came agonizingly close, would be too much to ask. For now, he desires to prepare himself for that fall weekend in September. His work at TPC River Highlands has been stellar, and has granted him a lead of a single shot. Mickelson rests at 13-under par, with a solitary bogey standing between him and perfection. He followed that second-hole plus-one on Friday with eight birdies over the next 16 holes. His driving has been long and accurate enough, according to statistics. As for the money categories, he is firing on both cylinders. Mickelson has given himself a birdie putt on over 80 percent of holes played, and putted extremely well. Can phifty-year old Phil keep it up? We shall find out on Saturday, when he pegs his pelota with…

2. Gordon & Hughes …

should probably have an LLC  or a pair of esquire after it. Will Gordon is the type of player that the Travelers loves. He is a recent graduate of a division 1 school, with a golfing pedigree that makes aficionados envious.  Gordon matriculated at Vanderbilt, and earned first-team All-American status. His Friday round tied for low of the day, a 62 matched only by Brendan Steele, who sits close by, in a tie for 4th. Gordon was out in minus-three, and returned home in minus-five. Like Mickelson, he had one bogey on Friday, else a 61 might have tied him at the top. As for Hughes, a one-time winner on tour (four years back, at the RSM Classic), his return toward the top has been slowed by second-guessing and awareness. What matters is, he tees off today in the final group. No one could have expected the Canadian pride to match his back-nine 29 from Thursday, and he did not. Hughes came home in 34 on Friday, with one birdie and eight pars on the card.

Hughes and Gordon have the difficult task of keeping up with Phil Mickelson, yet not focusing solely on the lefthander. Plenty of hungry, birdie machines lie in pursuit, and will seize every opportunity to steam past the final trio, into the lead.

3. McIlroy

This day will be an important one for the north Ulsterman. His talent is immeasurable, comparisons with the greatest of the greats are inevitable, and McIlroy underperforms when he should not. He opened with 63, and lurched to a 68 on Friday. As noted above, not a bad round. However, pay attention to the pair of par-three bogeys that he made on the outward nine. Give a pro the opportunity to tee the ball up to his liking, and the chance to putt for birdie should be realistic, if not guaranteed. At the fifth, he played to 45 feet and three-putted. At the eighth, he played to the water, and showed grit in making a 16-feet putt for bogey. McIlroy needs to be in command of all of his skills. Saturday will reveal if this is the case.

4. Ancer to answer?

It would be easy to write about Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, and Xander Schauffele. Each has earned our attention, and follow them we shall. It is Abraham Ancer who deserves our focus, at least for these few minutes. His quiet confidence, his desire to immerse himself in the heat of the cauldron, is enviable. Many think that they want this, but shy away from total immersion. Ancer had an ace in round one, at the 16th, and has posted four bogies over two days. Nothing says that this is the guy, except for his downward trend. He had 67 on day one, followed by 65 on day two. He will need a 63 on day three, and some help from those with the advantage. Keep an eye on the Presidents Cup surprise of 2019.

5. Prediction Time

Most likely to make an early run: Viktor Hovland. It’s his style. If he closes as well, he’ll be in the final group on Sunday.

Most likely to make a Saturday exit: Dustin Johnson. His focus is not there yet, not razor sharp, like it was in the mid-2010s.

Most likely to sneak into the final threesome: Brendan Steele. Also, in his nature. A quiet assassin.

Most likely to paint the round for what it was: Bryson DeChambeau. Until someone takes the title, he is the best interview on tour. Honest and well-spoken.

Most likely to take massively-deep breaths: Jon Rahm. Working on composure. Has a barrel chest and still has the look of frustration

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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.

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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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The 6 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (7.9.20)

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In this segment, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best #GolfWRX tagged photos on Instagram. In case you aren’t already, there’s a whole load of action going on at our page, so follow us: @golfwrx

Let’s get to it then, here are six of the best #GolfWRX photos from the past 24 hours.

New Bushnell series wedges in the works from Golf Sub 70.

Built up Honma wedge from Peoples Golf.

Great shots of We-Ko-Pa Golf Club courtesy of Zoe.

New covers from Robert Mark Golf.

‘Skyler & The Gauge’

Beautifully clean looking set of irons from Ballistic Golf.

Get hashtagging your golf posts #GolfWRX for your chance to feature in our best of Instagram posts in the future!

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