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Morning 9: Winner, and new world No. 1… | Rounding up other tour action | Tiger arrives at TPC Harding Park

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1. Winner, world No. 1 again
Good fortune, timely play down the stretch were key for Justin Thomas when everyone else (ultimately) was stumbling…PGATour.com’s Sean Martin on JT’s FESJ victory…”He started Sunday in fifth place. Never before has he won after starting the final round so low on the leaderboard. He also trailed by four, matching the largest final-round deficit he’s overcome on the PGA TOUR.”
  • “The victory kept him on an elite pace. Since 1960, only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have reached 13 wins at a younger age. Thomas is 27 years, 3 months and 4 days old.”
  • “Thomas shot 13-under 267 (66-70-66-65) for four rounds at TPC Southwind, good for a three-shot victory over Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Daniel Berger and Tom Lewis.”
  • “Thomas got into position with a stellar 31 on the front nine. He missed just one green (he hit the fringe) and had birdie putts within 25 feet on all nine holes. He bogeyed the 12th hole but birdies on 15 and 16, the former made possible by a fortuitous bounce, were the difference.”
2. Kang wins in LPGA’s return
AP report…”Danielle Kang was away from the LPGA Tour for six months during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is not to suggest she was without competition.”
  • “She lost track of the games she played with her brother, Alex, who has spent two seasons on the Korn Ferry Tour, and boyfriend Maverick McNealy, in his rookie year on the PGA Tour. She played the back tees and forward tees, moved about to different courses in Las Vegas and felt her game improving.”
  • “It paid off Sunday when Kang closed with a 2-under 70 and held on for a one-shot victory over Celine Boutier in the LPGA Drive On Championship at Inverness, the first LPGA Tour event since February.”
3. MC, MC, MC, MC, MC, MC, WIN
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…“Seth Reeves had played six events since the Korn Ferry Tour restart in June – and missed six cuts.”
  • “But after making his first weekend since March, the 29-year-old Georgia Tech product, ranked No. 1,068 in the world, fired a closing 7-under 64 to win the Pinnacle Bank Championship by a shot Saturday at The Club at Indian Creek in Omaha, Nebraska.”
  • “The victory is Reeves’ first since turning pro in 2014. It’s also his first top-10 finish since he notched a pair of top-5s in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals to earn his PGA Tour card, which he lost after one season. He’s now projected to climb to 18th in KFT points.”
 
4. Werenski wins Barracuda
AP report…”Richy Werenski holed a flop shot from the fairway on the par-4 16th for a five-point eagle and birdied the last for a one-point victory over Troy Merritt on Sunday in the Barracuda Championship.”
  • “Werenski won for the first time on the PGA TOUR, scoring 13 points in the final round on Tahoe Mountain Club’s Old Greenwood Course — the first-time venue after 21 years at Montreux Golf and Country Club. The 28-year-old former Georgia Tech player won the event three years after losing to Chris Stroud on the second hole of a playoff.”
  • “It’s huge,” Werenski said. “I’ve been playing well for I feel like the last couple of months, but to get a win, I mean, that’s huge. I got a couple seconds and everything, so it just helps my confidence a lot. Now I know I’m good enough, and now we’re going to go make a good move for the FedExCup Playoffs.”
5. Furyk wins Champions debut
AP report…”Jim Furyk turned 50 when golf was shut down and made the most of it when the PGA Tour Champions returned, closing with a 4-under 68 to win the Ally Challenge on Sunday when Brett Quigley bogeyed his last two holes.”
  • “Furyk became the first player since Miguel Angel Jimenez in 2014 to win in his first start on the 50-and-older circuit.
6. Grace tested positive for COVID-19 Saturday…while tied for second at Barracuda
Branden Grace became the eighth PGA Tour player to test positive for COVID-19 and he withdrew from the Barracuda Championship on Saturday.
  • “Last night, I was tired and thought it had to do with the altitude. This morning, I notified the PGA Tour about my symptoms before going to the golf course,” Grace said in a statement. “I wanted to get tested out of respect for my peers and everyone involved with the tournament. While it is unfortunate given my position on the leaderboard, the most important thing is our health.”
7. Woods has arrived at TPC Harding park
ESPN’s Bob Harig reports El Tigre is on the ground and preparing for the first major of the oddity that is the 2020 professional golf season…“Woods arrived early for the PGA Championship on Sunday but had to wait awhile to get on the course at TPC Harding Park.”
  • “He wasn’t permitted on site until he had passed his COVID-19 test, along with caddie Joe LaCava and his eyes and ears Rob McNamara.”
  • “Woods showed up to hit balls just before 1 p.m. local time, set out for the back nine and then continued to the front side where he played those holes with former PGA champion Jason Dufner.”
8. Holmes, Howell III out of PGA
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine...”J.B. Holmes and Charles Howell III each announced their intentions to pull out of the year’s first major on Saturday, both citing “injury,” according to the PGA of America.”
  • “Holmes has played just one full round since the PGA Tour’s restart, carding a 73 before withdrawing from the Workday Charity Open with a shoulder issue. Howell III tied for third last week at the 3M Open.”
  • “They will be replaced by Wyndham Clark and Brian Stuard, respectively.”
Full piece. 
9. JT’s winning WITB 
Driver: Titleist TS3 (9.5 degrees, B1 setting)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 60 TX (44 7/8″)
3-wood: Titleist TS3 (15 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei AV Raw Blue 85 TX
5-wood: Titleist 915 Fd (18 degrees @18.75, C3 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2 Tour Spec X
Irons: Titleist T100 (4), Titleist 620 MB (5-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design Raw SM7 (46-10F @47.5, 52-12F @52.5), Vokey SM8 (56-14F @57), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks (60T @ 60.5)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (46), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (52-60)
Putter: Scotty Cameron X5.5 Tour Prototype
Grip: SuperStroke Pistol GT Tour
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord
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M9: Shane Ryan on Bryson: Nobody else is trying hard enough | Mike Davis moving on | Rory loves Domino’s

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1. Mike Davis leaving USGA in 2021
Scapegoat? Villian? Whatever your impression of the man, Mike Davis is moving on… Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski…”The USGA on Tuesday announced that Davis is stepping down as its chief executive officer, effective at the end of 2021, to embark on a career in golf course design and construction. Davis plans to team up with Tom Fazio II to create a new golf course architecture company, Fazio & Davis Golf Design.”
  • “I’ve absolutely loved the USGA, and I hate the idea of leaving,” said Davis, 55, who became the USGA’s seventh executive director in 2011, succeeding David Fay, a role that segued into that of CEO in 2016. “I’ve grown up around here. I mean, it will have been 32 years by the time I leave, and my work in championships and governance and so on is just … in some ways, I never thought I’d leave.
  • “But at the heart of this, I have always loved golf course design. I loved learning, seeing, playing, studying golf courses. I’m closer to 60 than I am 50, and there was almost a sense that if I don’t do this, I’m going to regret it.”
2. Replacement search underway 
Shedloski again…”The process of finding a successor to USGA CEO Mike Davis, who announced Tuesday he will leave the association at the end of 2021, commenced about a year ago with the help of a search firm. So it is, according to USGA president Stu Francis, that the association already has taken meaningful steps toward an eventual leadership transition.”
  • “Francis would not divulge how many candidates might have been identified, be they inside the halls of Golf House in Liberty Corner, N.J., or outside them.”
3. More meditations on the Bryson Effect
Shane Ryan, as can be gleaned from his headline, thinks the Bryson DeChambeau Effect is going the change the game of golf…and I for one think his points are superb…
“For a moment, let’s forget the specifics. Let’s forget the weight and distance gain, the muscle activation fitness regimen, the protein shakes, the single iron length, the putting lasers, and a thousand other things that fall under the umbrella of “science.” Forget it all and think broadly. We need some distance to understand Bryson DeChambeau’s win at the U.S. Open-the most consequential result for golf since Tiger Woods won the Masters in 1997-and to internalize the only conclusion that really matters: On an intellectual level, nobody else is trying hard enough.”
“If that sounds like an insult to a group of professionals who have dedicated their lives to becoming elite practitioners of the sport, so be it. DeChambeau is putting them to shame simply because he has the courage not just to seek out innovative ideas, but to pursue them with monomaniacal energy. His commitment is so rigorous, so fanatical, that everyone else comes off looking like a dilettante.”
“This makes people uncomfortable, fans and players alike, but the ultimate legacy of his astonishing win at Winged Foot-a course that was supposed to be the antithesis to and kryptonite for the DeChambeau Style-is that we can no longer dismiss him as a pretentious pseudoscientist. That comfort is gone, and now we reckon with a reality that forces from the mouths of the doubters the three most painful words imaginable.
“He was right.”
4. …and even more…this on Bryson’s putting
Mike Purkey for the Morning Read…“DeChambeau also uses a device that measures putts in miles per hour. Yes, you read that correctly. So, he knows how far to swing his arm-lock putter to produce a particular speed, therefore a precise distance. Then, he takes slope and break into account, using the same device.”
  • “It’s not pretty like Ben Crenshaw putted, but DeChambeau thinks that’s the best way for him to putt. And you can’t argue results. He tied for 11th at Winged Foot in putts per round, at 28.75.”
  • “You see me out there on the greens with the device trying to control my speed,” he said. “It’s just something that allows me and gives me comfort to know that on this green, or these speeds of greens, it’s going to be repeatable. It’s going to be comfort in knowing how far I can take it back and go through.”
5. Danny Lee offers an apology after six-putt horrorshow 
Golfweek’s Julie Williams…“Danny Lee made an early exit from the U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club on Saturday evening – one culminating with a six-putt from 4 feet on the 18th green for a quadruple-bogey 8. After that, Lee withdrew from the championship, citing a wrist injury, and left the property.”
  • …”In the Tweet, Lee pledged to think about his actions and use it to get better.”
  • “I apologize for my poor actions at (the) U.S. Open at week. It was very unprofessional and foolish. Obviously hurts lots of my fans and followers and my sponsors out there,” Lee wrote in part. “My frustration took over me and combined with injury I had to fight with it all week. … I shouldn’t have left it like that.”
6. Watch out for Will Zalatoris 
Adam Stanley for PGATour.com…“Zalatoris’ play on the Korn Ferry Tour has been, in a word, impressive. He has finished in the top 20 in his last 11 starts, the longest streak in that circuit’s history. He’s hitting 81% of greens this season, which is on pace to be the most in KFT history, as well.”
  • “He’s also first in Scoring Average and Ball Striking.”
  • “He might be the best ball striker out there,” said Josh Gregory, a performance golf coach based out of Maridoe. Zalatoris credits a lot of his recent success to his work with Gregory along with Troy Denton, who is the head golf professional at the club.
  • “Denton calls Zalatoris a “freak ball-striker.”
  • “Gregory works with 11 golfers across the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA TOUR, and has been with Zalatoris for the last 18 months. He said Zalatoris was the “perfect candidate” for his way of teaching – mostly wrapped in games and drills and repetition.”
7. JT, TW win Payne’s Valley Cup…
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…“Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas edged Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose in the first-ever Payne’s Valley Cup, played at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri to mark the opening of Woods’ first-ever public course design.”
  • “Woods and Thomas teamed in a Ryder Cup-style match against a pair of former world No. 1s from Europe, with the match divided into three sections. The first six-hole segment, won by McIlroy and Rose, was played using best-ball format. Nos. 7-12 featured alternate shot and saw the Americans strike back to tie the match at one point apiece, setting up a singles’ showdown across the home stretch.”
  • “Woods faced off against Rose in a singles match, while Thomas went against McIlroy. Those two points were also halved, with Rose beating Woods, 1 up, and Thomas beating McIlroy, 2 up. Both matches ended on the picturesque 123-yard, par-3 19th hole at Payne’s Valley, and with the match tied 2-2 Woods and Thomas got the win by virtue of a closest-to-the-pin tiebreaker after Thomas hit his final shot inside 9 feet.”
 
8. Tiger on Payne’s Valley…
Derek Duncan for Golf Digest…“My goal when starting TGR Design was to create courses that are fun and playable for golfers of all abilities,” Woods told Golf Digest. “This was particularly important at Payne’s Valley, my first public golf course.”
“Woods has always been at his best on the biggest stages, and Payne’s Valley, named for the late Payne Stewart, who grew up in nearby Springfield, is unquestionably big. The course plays atop a broad, starburst arrangement of low bluffs in the southwest Missouri Ozarks, where ancient peaks and ridgetops have been scrubbed and worn by time. (Parts of the property were formerly nine holes of the defunct Murder Rock golf course; the other nine became parts of Ozarks National, Golf Digest’s Best New Public Course in 2019.) Yet Payne’s Valley manages to effect an impression of height by pushing the holes, particularly on the first nine, out to the edges of the extended fingers of land that tumble down into wooded ravines, giving rise to cross-valley vistas. “While shaping the golf course, we spent a lot of time thinking about the views that we wanted to capture from various greens, fairways and tee boxes,” Woods says.”
“To this point, he and Johnny Morris, founder of Big Cedar Lodge and Bass Pro Shops retailers, made several in-the-field adjustments to maximize the down-valley sightlines, including reconceptualizing two of the closing holes into the downhill par-3 16th and the par-4 17th, a classic Bottle hole with a strand of bunkers breaking high and low sections of fairway. (Fitting a drive into the upper fairway is more risky, but it provides a straight look into the angled green.) Woods and Beau Welling, senior design consultant for TGR Design, filled the bare, blufftop panoramas with vast wall-to-wall fairways (the course has a considerable 116 acres of maintained turf), sprawling bunkers and expansive greens with false edges that slip off into smooth, low-cut chipping zones. Zeon zoysia green collars and approaches, which can be cut lower than other zoysia grasses, encourage shots along the ground.”
9. Rory loves…Domino’s pizza…?
Our Gianni Magliocco…“The Payne’s Valley Cup on Tuesday provided plenty of entertaining moments, but one thing golf fans perhaps weren’t bargaining on hearing was a Rory McIlroy deep dive into his current favorite pizza joint.”
“While his partner Rose was preparing to putt, McIlroy revealed that he was on a ‘big Domino’s kick’ at the moment, and it elicited a pretty hilarious reaction from Justin Thomas.”
“The Ulsterman justified his choice by claiming that when you don’t know the good local spots, then Domino’s Pizza is ‘solid’. When asked by JT what toppings he goes for, McIlroy responded that his go-to order is the ‘Deluxe’, which according to google consists of ‘green peppers, black olives, and meats like pepperoni, ham, and Italian sausage.”

 

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The DailyWRX (9/22/2020): 12 steps back, 1 step forward | Golf ball compression goals | Elk’s truth hammer

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Sometimes yah gotta take 12 steps back to take 1 step forward…

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@berndwiesberger after the US Open ???? #USOpen

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Rick looks…pi$$ed off…

Samesies…

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Compression goals from @brysondechambeau. ????

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Truth hammer…If a course is 7,400, they only actually play 6.300 of it. That’s what happens when you can carry…everything.

St’i emit I dnuof a wen emag…….

MD @ynnhoj_rednuw or @johnny_wunder

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An inside look at the world of golf club design

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The design process has always fascinated me, especially when it comes to golf clubs.

The ability to create something new while also making them distinctly recognizable within a brand is impressive. The most parallel comparison I can draw would be in the car industry, where new models are released on a yearly basis that both look familiar yet refined. Add in the technological improvements, and you create something worth upgrading to.

The keyword here is “improvement,” because when OEMs release new equipment, the ultimate questions from golfers are “How is this better, and how can it help my game?” There is no doubt we are seeing advancements in technology, but whether those advancements are designed for you or a different segment of golfers is up the engineers behind the products. I have had the opportunity to speak with designers and engineers from multiple OEMs, and they all have a few things in common.

Obviously, nobody is trying to design a worse-performing golf club, and the process to create something new always starts with goal setting.

Pulling levers and reaching goals

Like with any engineering project, end goals are mapped out, with performance and looks as key factors in the success of the project. Thanks to computer modeling, and a deep understanding of materials, it’s not overly difficult for engineers to design to the far outreaches of what’s possible—but the difference between possible and playable is massive.

For example, we have seen extremely low spin drivers enter the market and help golfers hit it further, but to build that Center of Gravity (CG) location into a driver, you have to sacrifice forgiveness. On the other end of the spectrum, you can create a driver that goes very straight with higher MOI but then you lose the potential to maximize distance – its a fine balancing act and engineers are very good at pulling the right levers to balance performance depending on the target demographic.

So to answer one of the questions from the top “how is this better?”, in some individual cases it might actually not be, it could be that a previous generation had all the design characteristics to perfectly match your game. That doesn’t mean designers haven’t actually created a better club, it just means that it’s not better for you!

One of the best examples is in modern-day fairway woods. Unlike drivers where the end goal is to continue to drive the ball as far as possible, with a fairway wood it is a fine balancing act between distance and control. A 3-wood that goes as far as your driver off the tee doesn’t make a lot of sense since you already had a driver, and if it can’t be hit from the fairway, then you are basically wasting a spot in your bag.

Who’s driving the technology?

When we look at the golf industry as a whole, it is a substantial economic driver, but compared to other industries that rely on using the same raw materials to produce products, golf is just a tiny fraction of that business. No other part of the industry better exemplifies this than golf shafts.

They are made from exotic raw materials, including various forms of carbon fiber that can be quite expensive, but when you compare the types and amounts of carbon fiber used in golf shafts versus commercial and military aviation applications, then golf is obviously a very small player. This is why we see golf shaft companies utilizing materials from the aviation industry—the most recent example is the ProjectX RDX line of shafts which uses HexTow® carbon fibers to add more stability to the already extremely stable line of HZRDUS Smoke shafts. Although you might have never heard of Hexcel before this, to put them into perspective, they topped over $3.25 billion dollars in sales last year–that’s near twice the sales of Callaway’s entire portfolio.

Photo by S. Ramadier – Airbus

The same goes for club heads. Maraging steel, for example, which is used in both fairway woods and even some iron faces, wasn’t developed for golf clubs, it was developed in the 1950s, and was primarily used in military applications including rocket casings. We still use it today even though it was developed in the age or persimmon woods—How’s that for a mind-bender?

 

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