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Morning 9: Australian Open postponed | Terrible news: Villegas’ daughter dies | New Renee Powell Grant | Chris Como’s living room

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1. Australian Open postponed
Disappointing, but ultimately not surprising stuff. With COVID-19 trending upwards in Australia since the beginning of the month and the impossibility, essentially, of international players arriving for the tournament by air, Oz Open postponement was inevitable.
  • AFP report…”This year’s Australian Open Golf Championship was postponed Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic but officials said they were hoping to restage the event early in 2021.”
  • “Melbourne’s Kingston Heath Golf Club had been due to host the 105th edition of the historic championship, the world’s fifth oldest professional golf tournament, in November.”
  • “But with the country battling a surge in COVID-19 cases and the game’s stars facing major tournaments moved to later in 2020, Golf Australia operations manager Simon Brookhouse said they would instead look at a “January to March 2021 window”.”
  • “Coupled with COVID-19 travel restrictions and quarantine measures, that means it would be almost impossible to assemble a world-class field in Melbourne.”
2. Awful news: Villegas’ daughter, 22-months-old, dies
Condolences, to Villegas and family, first and foremost. What can you say about such wretchedness-the death of a child whose short life was permeated by pain and suffering? Words fail.
  • The news, via an AP report…“Camilo Villegas’ daughter, Mia, has died at just 22 months old after cancerous tumors were found in her brain and spine.”
  • “Four-time PGA Tour winner Villegas revealed last month that he and his wife, Maria, took their daughter to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami for scans in March as they suspected she was not well.
  • “Mia underwent surgery after the tumors were found, and the Villegas family was informed more treatment would be required due to persisting issues.”
3. Renee Powell Grant
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…“The LPGA today announced the first recipients of the newly established Renee Powell Grant, which is designed to assist LPGA*USGA Girls Golf sites in creating partnerships and outreach opportunities with youth organizations serving Black girls.”
  • “Powell followed Althea Gibson as the second Black player to compete in the LPGA. Powell is currently the head professional at Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio, the course her father built with a “Golf for Everyone” vision.”
  • “I think this grant program might help to bring young girls, African American girls and other minorities into the game of golf and to show them that there are people who played before them and that it’s a great sport,” Powell said. “We need to really do a little more to change the culture of what golf is all about, in particular growing our Girls Golf programs and being very inclusive.”
  • “Initial grants totaling $25,000 will be awarded to five LPGA*USGA Girls Golf programs in Ohio, Powell’s home state and the site of the LPGA restart amid the coronavirus pandemic, with this week’s Drive On Championship to be followed by next week’s Marathon Classic in the Toledo area.”
4. Homa isn’t leaving Twitter after all
Golf Digest’s Ryan Herrington: “Max Homa Twitter fans, you have reason to rejoice: Your man’s Twitter sabbatical is over. On Monday afternoon, the 29-year-old let his voice be heard once again on the social-media platform.”
  • Homa tweeted…”Had a nice little detox from Twitter. Felt kinda like a juice cleanse but with fewer bowel movements. Still some, no doubt, but fewer. Anyways, it’s good to be back. Hating hours are closed indefinitely, myself included. This is gunna be a positive place in this pit of despair”
5. Blunt assessment from Pete Cowen
Derek Lawrenson for the Daily Mail…“You can always rely on Brooks Koepka’s short-game coach Pete Cowen for a straight-shooting verdict.”
  • “Asked about the struggling American’s prospects of successfully defending the season’s first major in San Francisco next week, or his WGC title defence starting in Memphis on Thursday, the blunt Yorkshireman replied: ‘If I was a racehorse trainer, I’d say he had absolutely no chance!'”
  • “After he had stopped laughing, Cowen added, in a more serious vein: ‘We all know Brooks is the man for raising his game at the big events – and this is going to be his biggest test yet, because he knows he’s not swinging the club well and he’s not happy with his game. But we all know golf, so let’s see if we can help put him back together again.”
6. More of the dumbest things in golf
Good work by E. Michael Johnson at Golf Digest to round these up…
  • “Having to play a ball from a divot in the fairway…You’ve ripped the tee shot down the middle and your playing companions admire it with comments along the lines of, “That’s only good if you like perfect!” Except it’s not. Some dumbass before you took a divot the size of Montana and failed to replace it or fill it in with divot mix, leaving you muttering WTF and cursing your bad luck. The USGA has done a solid job in trying to make the rules fairer and easier to understand but failing to include a divot as “ground under repair” is a failing in need of fixing. Like yesterday.”
  • “14-way dividers in golf bags…I know I’ll get roasted for this one and I simply don’t care. As I said once before, bag companies tout these abominations of humanity by stating how much wear and tear they’ll save your clubs. We’re sorry, but we don’t need to coddle implements that we strike into the ground and into a hard ball at close to 100 miles per hour with regularity. Plus, how can you slam your club back into your bag after a poor shot when you have to have pinpoint accuracy to do so. Give me an old-fashioned five-way divider any day.”
  • “Cozying up to the beverage cart girl…Yes, you’re absolutely right. That lovely 20-something young lady is absolutely in love with your 40-, 50-, 60-something pot-bellied self. Yeesh. It is perfectly fine to be polite and engage in conversation, but stop the overt flirting tactics and realize that $10 tip you dropped in order to impress her is as useful as setting money on fire. Stop being creepy, order a drink, chat for a moment and drop her a couple of bucks for the effort. Proper, as the Brits might say.”
7. Chris Como’s living room
Excellent stuff from Sean Martin at PGATour.com writing about a place central to Bryson DeChambeau’s transformation during the pandemic: his instructor’s living room…
  • A morsel from a great piece well worth reading in full…”This wasn’t a decision about acoustics or interior design. Como, one of the game’s most innovative instructors, wanted to build something unprecedented. He created a unique space that’s served as a catalyst for the transformation that has captivated the golf world.”
  • “While sales of at-home training aids skyrocketed during the pandemic, Como took it to another level. He loaded his new home in the Dallas area with thousands of dollars’ worth of gadgets that would make any golf academy green with envy. There’s also a squat rack, free weights, a basketball net and hockey goal in the living room.”
  • “It’s like a golf bachelor pad,” said University of Texas junior Pierceson Coody, the world’s 16th-ranked amateur and a longtime student of Como’s.
  • “It’s not all for fun and games, though. The room has an austere aesthetic, with bare, brown walls and windows covered in protective foam. That’s because Como’s Living Room Lab, as it’s been termed, is the site of serious study. It’s golf’s version of DriveLine, the high-tech baseball training facility that started in a Seattle warehouse and has transformed the game at the highest level.”

 

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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2020 Albertsons Boise Open

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GolfWRX is live at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Albertsons Boise Open!

Par-71, 6,880-yard Hillcrest CC is one of only two courses to host a KFT event all 31 seasons.

The Boise Open is the second event of four in the Korn Ferry Tour Championship Series, which replaces the traditional Korn Ferry Tour Finals.

We have four general galleries from the course, as well as looks at Ping, Odyssey/Toulon, and Scotty Cameron putters—and a closer examination of Callaway’s PGA Championship putter cover.

General Galleries

Special Galleries

 

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It’s official: No fans at the 2020 Masters

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The long-standing rumors have proved correct, as on Wednesday Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley confirmed that this year’s Masters would go ahead without any patrons or guests on-site.

In a statement released on Masters.com, Ridley said

“Since our initial announcement to postpone the 2020 Masters, we have remained committed to a rescheduled Tournament in November while continually examining how best to host a global sporting event amid this pandemic. As we have considered the issues facing us, the health and safety of everyone associated with the Masters always has been our first and most important priority.

Throughout this process, we have consulted with health officials and a variety of subject matter experts. Ultimately, we determined that the potential risks of welcoming patrons and guests to our grounds in November are simply too significant to overcome.

Even in the current circumstances, staging the Masters without patrons is deeply disappointing. The guests who come to Augusta each spring from around the world are a key component to making the Tournament so special. Augusta National has the responsibility, however, to understand and accept the challenges associated with this virus and take the necessary precautions to conduct all aspects of the Tournament in a safe manner. We look forward to the day when we can welcome all of our patrons back, hopefully in April 2021.

We appreciate the support and patience of all those we serve – including the Augusta community, our corporate and broadcast partners and our friends in golf – as we continue to plan for this historic event.”

Those who had tickets for the 2020 Masters will now be eligible to attend the 2021 Masters next April.

The 2020 Masters will take place from November 9-15.

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Morning 9: U.S. Am updates…including a proposal! | 1.69 shots per minute shown at PGA | Parting thoughts from Harding Park

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1. U.S. Am stroke play medalist, who’s in, who’s out…
Dave Shefter at the USGA with the update…“Wilson Furr was so focused on hitting quality golf shots that he didn’t realize just how well he was playing Tuesday in the 120th U.S. Amateur Championship. By the time he signed his scorecard at stroke-play co-host Bandon Trails, the 22-year-old from Jackson, Miss., had produced a round for the ages.”
  • “Furr, a rising senior at the University of Alabama, carded a 9-under-par 62 in breezy conditions to earn medalist honors by two strokes over James Piot.”
  • “The 62 matched the second-lowest 18-hole score in U.S. Amateur history – Jeff Wilson also shot 62 in 2011 at The Home Course in Dupont, Wash. It also eclipsed by two shots the Bandon Trails competitive course mark that had been set 24 hours earlier by Aman Gupta, and matched earlier on Tuesday by Charles “Ollie” Osborne.”
2. Matchplay? No. Fiancee? Yes.
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…“Nick Geyer is going home early at the 120th U.S. Amateur.”
  • “He won’t be leaving disappointed.”
  • “Geyer, the 32-year-old Scotty Cameron fitter from San Diego, shot 84-76 to miss the cut at Bandon Dunes, but it didn’t matter. During his practice round Sunday, Geyer got down on one knee on Bandon’s picturesque 16th hole and popped the question to his girlfriend, Lacey Pelham.”
  • “It always matters what I shot, but certainly not as much as how lucky I am to be with Lacey,” said Geyer, who got the answer he was hoping to hear: “Yes!”
Sincere congrats to Nick and Lacey! 
3. Not a bad looper!
Fortunately, it was an injured finger, not a shoulder… Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”When Karl Vilips, the world’s No. 10 amateur, decided to skip the 120th U.S. Amateur as he continues to recover from a broken left grip finger, he offered his looping services to Thorbjornsen, his friend and fellow Stanford freshman. The partnership paid off brilliantly in Monday’s opening round around Bandon Trails, where Thorbjornsen turned in a 3-under 68 to put himself in great position to make match play.”
  • “I felt pretty good about my game, but I felt like my course management was what really set me up pretty well for the whole day,” Thorbjornsen said. “I mean, having Karl on the bag is very helpful. He knows exactly what shot to hit for certain wind types.”
  • “While playing competitor Stewart Hagestad called Thorbjornsen’s performance “clinical,” Vilips’ caddie performance was, no pun intended, downright surgical. The Aussie, with an affinity for playing in the wind, guided the less comfortable Thorbjornsen, a Northeast kid, throughout the round, especially down the stretch with northernly winds really starting to howl.”
4. 1.69 shots per minute
Hat tip to the king of all eponymous golf sites, Geoff Shackelford, for pointing to Classic Sports TV’s analysis of the final round of the PGA Championship. And a full-fledged doffing of the cap for this yeoman’s work…
  • “Once again, I tracked the strokes televised by CBS during the Sunday round of the PGA Championship. I started the tracking at 4pm ET and counted 496 televised strokes from the final round. This total includes 33 shots that CBS aired on its Eye On The Course split screen feature during seven of the commercial breaks. I stopped the tracking when the final group putted out. This resulted in an average of 1.69 strokes per minute which is by far the highest I have ever recorded for any golf major since starting this tracking in 2014. The previous high was 1.41 for the 2017 Masters. For comparison, the 2019 PGA had only 1.14 shots per minute.”
  • “With no paying spectators in attendance, CBS focused on golf rather than fan reactions. With so many players in contention, CBS moved around constantly and showed between 48 and 57 strokes for seven different players. Eleven players received coverage for at least 10 shots. Overall, CBS showed 27 different golfers playing strokes during the tracking period, but 13 of those players only got three shots or fewer. The highest finisher not shown by CBS was Brendan Todd who tied for 17th.”
5. Parting thoughts from Harding Park
Rightful World No. 1 Collin Morikawa (damn the minimum divisor) hoisted the Wanamaker (the lid is a prank at this point, right?) where Prince Louie Dufner once sat, to bring the curtain down on the PGA Championship. Now, the Tour is on to the next one in the form of the former Greensboro Open, current Wyndham Championship on the other side of the country-but not before a few parting thoughts are thunk by one Daniel Rapaport of Golf Digest.
“This was a win for the little guys, inasmuch as such a thing is possible these days. Morikawa isn’t exactly short off the tee, but he’s not long, either-he came into the PGA ranked 110th in driving distance and gave up some 25 yards off the tee to guys like DeChambeau, Tony Finau and Cameron Champ. His victory was a heartening reminder that there is still a place in this game for a guy who finds fairways and greens, who overcomes a distance disadvantage with pure-as-hell ball-striking and flawless course management. He’s still 23, and his frame suggests room for growth, so perhaps Morikawa will add some distance as he progresses through his 20s. But for now, we can all smile a bit knowing a guy with ball speed in the high 160s can win a major on a course that seemingly begged for a bomber.”
“…It was another tough putting week for Tiger Woods, which unfortunately has become a bit of a theme recently. If Woods had enough rounds to qualify, he’d have entered this week 207th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained/putting. How is that possible? How does one of the greatest putters of all time have struggle for such a prolonged period?”
“Simple answer: Age. When we think of a golfer getting old, we think of him losing his speed, struggling to keep up with the whippersnappers who can fly it 310. In reality, putting is often the first thing to go.”
 
6. Coronavirus cancels another LPGA Tourney
AP report…”The LPGA Tour has confirmed that the 2020 Buick LPGA Shanghai has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.”
  • “China’s government last month announced that all international sports events in the country would be canceled until the end of the year, and organizers of the Oct. 15-18 women’s golf tournament made the cancellation official in a statement Wednesday, citing “the current health concerns and significant travel restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19.”
7. Back up the Brinks truck for JT…
Wyndham Rewards, indeed! The AP’s Doug Ferguson…“Thomas has played so well this year with a PGA Tour-best three victories that he is assured of being the No. 1 seed when the FedEx Cup postseason begins. That also means he wins the Wyndham Rewards for leading after the regular season, which comes with a $2 million bonus.”
  • “So he earned $45,000 from the PGA Championship, picked up $2 million and likely will lose $5,000 or so from missing a putt (not because of missing the putt, but because of his verbal reaction to why the ball didn’t go into the cup).”
  • “The rest of the payout from the Wyndham Rewards – it goes through 10th place – has not been decided.”
Thought experiment: How much would your employer fine you/how swiftly would you be dismissed for a full-fledged f-bombardment?
8. Irwin’s fire flares as Langer bids to overtake…
My English major math computes Langer (41) is four senior circuit victories behind Hale Irwin (45)…Good work by Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal catching up with Irwin ahead of the Senior Players (where he’ll be playing in the Pro-Am)
  • …”there is a hint of regret in the 75-year-old’s voice, a touch of disappointment. Not because he feels as if the machine-like Langer will eventually pass him, but rather that he wishes he could have competed more in the twilight of his career.
  • “Hampered by a foot injury that would require three to six months of rehab if he underwent surgery, Irwin has played in three tournaments in 2020, the same number in 2019, and hasn’t competed in more than eight since 2015.”
  • “I probably could have played a little bit longer, more effectively had I wanted to,” Irwin said last week. “But things developed off the golf course that gave me opportunities to do other things. If you’re going to play competitive golf, that’s what you do. If you don’t do that wholeheartedly and with more attention than I was giving it, then you’re not going to play as well.”
Sidebar: Firestone deserves another PGA Tour event. Plenty dump on the track itself, sure, but it’s a fabulous venue for watching golf-and a deep well of Woodsian history and heroism (8 wins in 16 starts!).
9. Important announcement regarding the GolfWRX forums!
Last year, in an effort to improve the capability of our forums, we switched to new software. We expected tremendous scalability and rapid customization that would significantly improve each Member’s experience across multiple devices and integrate flawlessly with social media platforms.
Unfortunately, after a significant capital expense, we have decided that the length of time and the additional cost to reach our goals make this enterprise untenable.
Thus, we have made the difficult decision to transition the forums to our original software platform. We’re excited that, in the nearly two years since we began the process of our most recent switch, our original platform has been upgraded significantly, and we are confident that the reversion will not only provide the stability that we desperately needed prior to our last move but will also return to the Membership the high level of customization that made our online community so great. We have also added technical resources to the GolfWRX staff that will allow us to build custom modules and modifications that we are confident will take the forums to the next level.
We remain the world’s largest online golf community, and we still hold true to our core values and mission statement as written in 2005. Bearing both of those elements in mind, being the best and offering our Members a platform that is world-class are both requirements, not options, and it is that spirit that has motivated this decision.
So, please pardon our mess over the next five days or so while we transition the forums.
A few important notes: Current content will be accessible during that time, but the forums will be READ ONLY, and you will not be able to start new threads or reply to posts or PM’s. We know this is inconvenient, and we apologize, and we greatly appreciate GolfWRXers bearing with us through the transition.
We are very excited about starting this next chapter for GolfWRX and getting back to the high-quality Member experience we all expect as soon as possible!
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