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Morning 9: Morikawa! | Kang wins another as Ko crumbles | Sullivan | Lynch: Brooks’ verbal sparring is a good thing

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1. PGA Championship: Morikawa breaks through
Bursting forth from a pack of golfers thicker than the marine layer enveloping TPC Harding Park, Collin Morikawa vaulted to victory with an incredible drive onto the par-4 16th’s green to set up a tournament-clenching eagle putt.
  • AP report…”Collin Morikawa delivered a shot that will go down as one of the best in a major that hardly anyone witnessed, setting up an eagle on the 16th hole Sunday that carried him to the most quiet PGA Championship ever.”
  • “In the first major without spectators, Morikawa finished with a bang.”
  • “He was among seven players tied for the lead on the back nine at Harding Park, as wild as any Sunday in a major. Morikawa chipped in from 40 feet on the 14th hole to take the lead, and then he ended it with one swing. On the 294-yard 16th hole, Morikawa hit driver that hopped onto the green and settled 7 feet below the cup.”
  • “He made it for eagle and was on his way. Morikawa closed with a 6-under 64, the lowest final round by a PGA champion in 25 years, and took his place among the young stars taking over golf.”
Our Ron Montesano with more of the story in numbered form
  • “1. Collin Morikawa drove the 16th green and…left himself an eight-foot putt for eagle. And he made it! You’ve seen it, and you’ll see it again and again. Kind of like Christian Laettner’s half-court shot against Duke, or Jack’s putt on 17 at Augusta. Morikawa set up for a baby cut on the antepenultimate hole and executed it to perfection. The ball bounced once in the fairway, once on the green, then rolled up the putting surface to three yards below the hole. His stroke was pure and the putt for the deuce never looked like anything but stellar. The eagle gave him a two-shot lead over Paul Casey with two holes left.”
  • 2. Collin Morikawa put on a short-game clinic on Sunday…You don’t shoot a six-under 64 without holing a bit of this and a bit of that. Morikawa made a few longish putts for par in the early going, keeping himself in the thick of the contest. On the 14th hole, Morikawa hit a weekend-golfer sort of approach …WITH A WEDGE! Unphased by leaving it 10 yards short of the green, Morikawa pitched his third on the par-4 hole to the green, where it rolled into the hole for birdie to reach 11 under par. The pitch-in set the stage for the fireworks yet to come.”
2. Ko falls apart, Kang triumphs
Insane stuff at the Marathon Classic as Lydia Ko carded a final-hole double-bogey 7 to lose by a stroke to Danielle Kang. Alternatively, impressive final-round 68 from DK for her second straight victory….AP report…”Five shots behind with six holes to play, Danielle Kang won her second straight LPGA Tour event on Sunday when Lydia Ko took double bogey on the final hole in the Marathon Classic.”
  • “Kang began her rally with consecutive birdies on the 13th and 14th holes at Highland Meadows, and then all she needed were pars the rest of the way for a 3-under 68, all because of Ko’s shocking collapse.”
  • “…on the closing par 5, Ko fell apart. She hit her chip through the green. With a slightly uphill lie in patchy rough, Ko muffed the chip and watched it roll into a bunker. She blasted that out to 10 feet and missed the putt that would have forced a playoff. She wound up with a 73.”
3. Andy Sullivan!
Gotta be delighted to see Sully hoisting a trophy again! AP report…”An emotional Andy Sullivan ended a near five-year wait for his fourth European Tour title as he recorded a seven-shot victory at the English Championship in Ware on Sunday.”
  • “Heading into the final round at Hanbury Manor with a five-shot advantage, Sullivan saw his lead cut to just two by Spain’s Adrian Otaegui (66).”
  • “But while his challenger faltered over the closing stages, Sullivan recorded four birdies on the back nine to shoot a 6-under 65 for a 27-under 257 total.”
4. Never a factor, Tiger at least finished strong (and made putts)
Golfweek’s Steve DiMeglio…”Starting his final 18 at TPC Harding Park under a thick marine layer that clouded objects 200 yards away, Woods was shrouded in somewhat of a stupor from humdrum play in the second and third rounds. But there was pop in his step from the first tee onward and the 15-time major winner turned in an upbeat performance with a 3-under-par 67 and finished with rounds of 68-72-72-67 to end at 1 under for the tournament, just his second in six months.”
  • “Woods was much sharper with all aspects of his game, especially with his putting, which had been dull throughout the week as he struggled with the speed of the greens. Woods needed just 25 putts in the final round – six fewer than the 31 he took in both the second and third rounds.”
  • “I drove it kind of like I did on Friday, and my irons were a little bit more crisp and I hit better putts,” Woods said. “I made a few early on, and just kind of kept the momentum going. It’s something I hadn’t done the last two days, and it was an under-par tournament score, which yesterday I was saying that’s kind of what I wanted to do. I made it happen today.”
5. Koepka: “Wasn’t meant to be”
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…“Brooks Koepka finally ran out of major momentum.”
  • “Seeking to become the first player in more than 60 years to win the same major three years in a row, and the first to do it at the PGA Championship since the 1920s, Koepka began the final round just two shots off the lead. But while low scores were abundant and several players rolled in birdies while jockeying for position, the two-time defending champ came up empty.”
  • …”Hey, wasn’t meant to be,” Koepka said. “Three in a row, you’re not really supposed to do two in a row looking at history. But that’s all right. Got two more (majors) the rest of the season and we’ll figure it out from there.”
6. Speaking of Koepka…Eamon Lynch says his “verbal jousting…is good for golf”
A morsel from a piece well forth consuming in full…“Koepka has long been an enthusiastic practitioner of the dark art of psych ops, and generous in his targeting. While Tiger Woods treated opponents with an icy aloofness, barely acknowledging their existence at times, Koepka pokes around in search of a frailty, preferably one that manifests itself in an agitated mind under pressure on a Sunday afternoon. His instruments of choice are press conferences and social media posts, but these are not throwaway comments or tweets. Nothing that exits Koepka’s mouth – not one syllable – isn’t premeditated.”
  • “Mind games are as much a weapon in Koepka’s arsenal as his driver, and that isn’t necessarily as popular among his peers as it is among golf fans who crave a little conflict, and reporters thirsty for a good quote.”
7. U.S. Women’s Am. 
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…“The second longest final in U.S. Women’s Amateur history came down to just 3 feet.”
  • “Rose Zhang, a 17-year-old from Irvine, Calif., fully expected to be heading to a 38th hole in Sunday’s championship bout with USC senior and reigning champion Gabriela Ruffels at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland. Instead, Ruffels’ bid to become the championship’s first repeat winner since Danielle Kang in 2011 came to a shocking and sudden end.”
  • “Her 3-foot par save to extend the match was halfway in the hole before it lipped out harshly, leaving a dejected Ruffels to scoop up her ball in defeat.”
8. Travel restrictions separate the Clarkes for 5 months
Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon Journal, with a fairly wild story…”When his wife Alison left Newport Beach, California, on March 8, Darren Clarke could not have imagined they would spend the next five months apart.”
  • “After he completed the final round of the PGA Tour Champions’ Hoag Classic, she flew to their home in Portrush, Northern Ireland, just before international travel was halted by the coronavirus pandemic. Clarke found himself alone at their place at The Abaco Club on Winding Bay in the Bahamas from March 14 until five weeks ago, when their eldest son Tyrone managed to join him.”
  • “The Clarkes were an ocean away on their eighth wedding anniversary on April 11.”
  • “So Clarke’s excitement to return to Firestone Country Club for the first time in nine years for this week’s Bridgestone Senior Players Championship might be superseded by the fact that Alison will join him in Akron on Saturday night.”
9. Morikawa’s winning WITB
Driver: TaylorMade SIM (8 degrees @ 8.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 70 TX
3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Titanium (15 degrees @ 13.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue (19 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White Hybrid 100 TX
Irons: TaylorMade P750 (4, 5), TaylorMade P730 (6-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52-09SB), Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (56-14F), TaylorMade MG2 Hi-Toe (60)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Putter: TaylorMade TP Soto Prototype
Ball: TaylorMade TP5
Grips: Golf Pride Z-Grip 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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