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Morning 9: Further delay in Distance Insights report | “The humbling of Brooks Koepka” | Rory: Maybe I’m just not as good as I used to be

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1. Further delay in Distance Insights report
Straight from the blue blazers…”UPDATE FROM THE R&A AND THE USGA ON GOLF’S DISTANCE INSIGHTS PROJECT…10 August 2020, St Andrews, Scotland and Liberty Corner, NJ, USA…”
  • “On 18 March 2020, The R&A and the USGA announced that the release of research topics related to the next phase of the Distance Insights Project would be delayed to allow the wider golf industry to focus on its response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • “Given continued health concerns and the impact on golf worldwide, The R&A and the USGA are now targeting March 2021 for the release of equipment research topics. We will continue to monitor the recovery of the golf industry and may update this target date accordingly. In accordance with the Equipment Rulemaking Procedures, the time for golf equipment manufacturers and other interested parties to participate in this research will also be amended to account for the delay.”
  • “In the interim, The R&A and the USGA will continue to monitor the effects of distance on the game.”
  • “Beyond Equipment Rulemaking Procedures, the review of golf course design, set-up, and maintenance, as well as the availability and choice of appropriate teeing grounds, will continue, in support of golf’s long-term health.

Full piece.

2. “The humbling of Brooks Koepka”
Perhaps, humbled in our eyes, and in the words of ESPN’s Ian O’Connor, but doubtfully shattered is one Brooks Koepka…
  • O’Connor writes…”On any other Sunday gone awry, Koepka would have earned the benefit of the doubt. He had struggled with a significant knee injury before nearly winning in Memphis, Tennessee, last week. This PGA Championship could have been a throwaway for him, a bridge back to full health and, perhaps, pushing his chance at a fifth major victory to September’s U.S. Open or November’s Masters.”
  • “But he said what he said Saturday and there should be consequences for failing to honor his words. Not that this will be the last time Koepka talks more like a mixed martial arts fighter than a golfer…”
  • …”In the end Sunday, Koepka lucked out when Johnson’s 68 wasn’t good enough to claim his second major title. But this wasn’t about Johnson as much as it was about the guy who shot 74, the guy who looked completely washed out on his last hole while he finished off his sixth bogey.”
  • “…Brooks Koepka was finally humbled. And that was by far the biggest upset of the day.”
3. Morikawa on 16th-hole drive
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…“If, as Phil Mickelson contends, winning major championships requires a heroic moment, for Morikawa that moment came at the par-4 16th hole that had been trimmed to 294 yards for the final round. Ironically, it was a shot Morikawa said he wouldn’t hit.”
  • “I told [CBS analyst] Colt Knost, he saw me Wednesday afternoon practicing on there, and he asked me if I was ever going to go for it. I told him a quick no, it’s too much into the wind, why go for it,” Morikawa said.”
  • …”[Caddie J.J. Jackovac] looked at me and asked me what I wanted to do and I told him, let’s hit a good drive,” Morikawa said. “I counted back from 14 at Muirfield. What’s different from 14 at Muirfield and this shot, similar numbers, wind was a little left, kind of into me, but I knew I had to hit a good one.”
4. U.S. Am storylines
Golfweek’s Tod Leonard…”There are 264 golfers who will tee it up on Monday in the first stroke-play round of the 120th U.S. Amateur Championship at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon. That’s down from the 312 that would have been entered had the coronavirus not eliminated qualifying. But that still means there are 264 unique stories of who the golfers are and what they’ve accomplished to get here.”
  • “In this year’s tournament, there are businessmen in their 50s and 60s, the reigning U.S. Am champ and runner-up, former USGA winners, college and high school stars, and past touring pros who recaptured their amateur status.”
  • “We have to begin, though, with twins, because who isn’t at least slightly fascinated by twins? For both to reach a marquee event such as the U.S. Amateur is impressive-and it gets better this year, with two sets of twins, as well as another pair of brothers who are only a couple of years apart in age.”
5. A disturbing thought…
BBC report…”Maybe I’m just not as good as I used to be,” said the Northern Irishman, 31. “I can’t really put my finger on it. I go out there and try my best every single day.”
  • McIlroy was never really a factor at San Francisco’s TPC Harding Park, finishing on two under par…
  • …”I feel like the golf that I’ve played in the majors has been sort of similar to the golf I’ve played outside of them, and I’ve won some big events and played well and had a good season last season,” added McIlroy.
  • “Some days I play better than others. I’ve just got to keep going and keep persisting and see if I can do better the next time.”
6. Work for Tiger to do…not a lot of time to do it
ESPN’s Bob Harig looks at both sides of the scale and peers into his crystal ball…“Woods clearly has work to do. He struggled on the greens, had trouble getting the ball in the fairway consistently, and wasn’t his usual stellar self with his iron play — yet he still finished under par, turned what should have been a really bad round on Saturday into a 72, and was able to leave Harding Park with plenty to build on.”
  • “But it all goes back to his health. Now a busy stretch awaits, some of which explains why he didn’t play more to this point. Woods has this week off before the FedEx Cup playoffs begin with the Northern Trust at TPC Boston on Aug. 20.”
  • “At 47th in the FedEx Cup standings, Woods can’t afford to skip that tournament if he has intentions of getting to Atlanta for the Tour Championship, where he won in 2018 for his 80th PGA Tour victory. Woods has 604 points — with 500 of them coming from his October victory at the Zozo Championship in Japan.”
  • “That means the possibility he’ll play multiple weeks in a row, something he has not done since the Hero World Challenge and the Presidents Cup in December.”
7. Royal Montreal lands 2024 Presidents Cup
Todd Kelly for Golfweek…“It’s official: the 2024 Presidents Cup will be staged at Royal Montreal Golf Club.”
“Michel Lacroix, the in-house announcer of the Montreal Canadiens since 1993 and one of the more renowned sports broadcasters in Canada, opened a Zoom call on Monday, and set the stage for the announcement speaking in French. He then switched to English to introduce PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, who then announced that the 15th Presidents Cup in 2024 will return to Canada.”
“The people of Canada are some of the most loyal and passionate sports fans in the world and given the overwhelming success of the Presidents Cup in 2007, it was a natural step for the event to return to The Royal Montreal in 2024,” said Monahan.
8. Tired of JT’s F-bombs? 
An interesting hill to die on, Craig Dolch…“Dude, you’ve got to be f-ing kidding me,” Thomas said…What’s amazing is ESPN announcer Scott Van Pelt wasn’t even stunned by Thomas’ words. “Well …” was all Van Pelt could say.”
  • “Later, on CBS’ telecast, Thomas could be heard cursing again when he hit a bad shot from the ninth fairway into a green side bunker. Thomas muttered two expletives that clearly were audible.”
  • “We apologize for anyone who may have been offended by a couple of Justin’s comments there,” said CBS’ Ian Baker-Finch, another Jupiter resident.”
  • “This is not the way the son (and grandson) of PGA Professionals should be acting on the course, and Thomas knows it.”
9. Why Phil is wearing sunglasses on course
Our Gianni Magliocco…”Prompted by Jim Nantz to discuss his new look, Mickelson explained…”
  • “There’s actually a story to that. Back during Covid break, I did this Carac cream, which is like a skin cancer chemotherapy treatment on your face for like two weeks. Your skin blotches up, and you kill these cancer cells that you can’t see, and when I went outside, I had to wear some protection, so I wore these glasses to kind of protect the area around my eyes.
  • “I liked it. They didn’t move around on my face when I was swinging, I went out and played with them, and I thought, ‘Oh, I’ll give it a try.’ So that’s kind of where it started. And then my eyes were much more relaxed at the end of the day; they weren’t squinting the whole time.”

 

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Tour Rundown: Sunday charge times three

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65…64…63. Those are the scores that your winners posted on Sunday this week. That other Basque golfer, Adrian Otaegui, got things rolling at the Scottish Championship, at those other St. Andrews courses, besting Matt Wallace by 4 with his 63. Next came Phil Mickelson in Virginia, where his 65 overtook that other lefty, Mike Weir, by three. Finally, and perhaps most satisfying, Jason Kokrak claimed his first PGA Tour title with a resounding 64, to best Xander Schauffele by a pair.

CJ Cup to Kokrak

With no offense meant to the winner, we ALL tuned in to see Shadow Creek. The mythical Las Vegas club, designed by Tom Fazio in the 1990s, carries a top-shelf sticker price and is not accessible by all. SC lived up to its billing…is Pine Valley next? Now, on to Kokrak. The North Bay, Ontario native had established himself on tour as a reliable money winner, but had not ever lofted a trophy on Sunday. A resident now of balmy Cleveland, Kokrak rode a four-birdie stretch (holes 5-8) to the lead, then withstood a charge by the X-Man, Xander Schauffele. In a tie with Kokrak, Schauffele drove left on the 612-yard par 5, and could but chunk his next a mere 85 yards, still in the rough.

Avoiding the fairway at all costs, Schauffele bombed his third shot into the right-side thick stuff, then failed to get up and down for par. Buoyed by his newfound, one-stroke advantage, Kokrak played error-free golf the rest of the way, then birdied the last for the margin of two strokes and his first tour title.

Otaegui is week’s low Basque with Scottish Championship win

Most weeks, unless he takes a rest, Jon Rahm Rodriguez is a shoo-in for low euskalduna. Rahm tied for 17th at the CJ Cup, opening the door to Otaegui for the coveted designation. The native of San Sebastian (Donostia) did not disappoint. Five birdies on the outward nine gave Otaegui the advantage over 54 hole leader Matt Wallace, who struggled with two birdies and two bogies on the front. Bogey at the tenth slowed the Spaniard, albeit momentarily. He recaptured his mojo with another five birdies from 11 through 18, finishing on -23, four clear of the runner-up, Wallace. The title was Otaegui’s third on the European Tour, and first since 2018.

Phil is two-for-two on the Tour Champions

Some say you need to know when to fold’em. Others say, you need to know when to say farewell. Phil Mickelson seems to know that now is a good time to bid adieu to the regular tour, although who can really phigure out Phil? On Sunday, Mickelson went lefty-vs.-lefty with that other, portside Masters champion, Mike Weir. It was the California vs. the Canadian, and sadly, it was one-sided. Mickelson made five birdies in his first eight holes, then survived a bellyflop bogey at the reachable, par-five ninth. Unfazed, the five-time major winner posted four additional birdies over the stretch run, reaching -17 on the week.

Weir had started quickly on in rounds one and two, both of which were played on Saturday (after a Friday rain-out.) Sunday was a different story. A passel of pars, and just one birdie, brought him to the ninth even on the day, pharther behind Phil. Weir’s fortunes on the inward half were slightly improved, and he closed at one-under on the day, one clear of Paul Goydos for solo second.

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GolfWRX Classifieds (10/19/20): Olson Putter, TaylorMade M4 Fairway, Sweetens Cover

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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 osubuckeyes690 – Olson Mfg putter

Clean as clean can be. Milled, weld neck beautiful Olson putter—quality doesn’t come cheap, but this is still a pretty nice deal.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Olson Putter 

Member HeathBar – Tour Issue M4 3-wood

In a world of adjustability, sometimes it’s nice to know you’ve got things locked. This is a great condition 3-wood just begging for a new home and the opportunity to hit some more par 5’s in two.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: M4 3-wood

Member Aprovenz – Sweetens Cove driver cover

The only thing cooler than Sweeten’s Cove is Sweeten’s Cove merch, and this cover will keep you looking fresh and your big stick protected.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Sweeten’s Cove cover

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

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Morning 9: Kokrak breaks through in Vegas | High-end mini golf on the horizon? | No new tee box for 13 at Augusta?

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1. Door finally opens for Kokrak
10 years of knocking… AP report…“Jason Kokrak was playing for the 233rd time in his 10th season on the PGA Tour without ever having won, so he didn’t need any reminders Sunday in the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek that anything would come easily.”
  • “He watched Xander Schauffele stuff a wedge to 5 feet for birdie and roll in a 45-foot birdie putt from the thick collar of the 13th green on the next hole to tie for the lead.”
  • “Kokrak never flinched. Holding his nerve to the end and delivering all the key shots, Kokrak matched the low score of the week with an 8-under 64 to overcome a three-shot deficit at the start and win by two shots to finally be able to call himself a PGA Tour winner”
2. El Pirata!
Great win for a man with an equally great nickname. EuropeanTour.com report…“Adrian Otaegui produced a brilliant closing round of 63 to storm to his first 72-hole stroke play victory on the European Tour at the Scottish Championship presented by AXA.”
  • “The Spaniard has shown himself to be an expert at head to head battles, winning both the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play and the Belgian Knockout, and he showed all those skills again as it came down to a three man contest at Fairmont St Andrews.”
  • “Otaegui entered the day four shots off the lead of Matt Wallace but eight birdies in 11 holes from the fifth helped him finish at 23 under, four clear of the Englishman.”
 
3. Move over, Bernhard!
Hank Kurz, Jr. for the Associated Press…“Phil Mickelson likes to play aggressively and found the PGA Tour Champions’ stop at The Country Club of Virginia the perfect place to begin his preparations for the Masters.”
  • “Bombing drives like he will have to do against the younger set on the PGA Tour, Mickelson shot a 7-under 65 and became the third player – and second this year – to win his first two starts on the tour for players 50 and older. He slammed the door on Mike Weir with a back-nine surge Sunday in the Dominion Energy Charity Classic.”
  • “It’s fun for me to come out here and play well and this is a good start for me as I try to build a little bit of momentum heading to Augusta in about a month,” Mickelson said.
4. Age brings wisdom…
Humor with a  touch of smugness AKA Phil being Phil. Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine with these remarks from Mickelson prior to the Dominion Energy…
“Even if I beat all 78 guys, it would still be a letdown,” Mickelson said Thursday at Country Club of Virginia. “I made so much more last time I played, that I just didn’t see the benefit. Sorry.”
  • “While the comment was made tongue in cheek, Mickelson believes his road to Augusta best goes through Richmond, Virginia, where he will make his second career PGA Tour Champions start beginning Friday at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic. Mickelson will look to build off his maiden senior win two months ago at Ozarks National while some of the top names on the PGA Tour go at it at the CJ Cup in Las Vegas.”
  • “The 50-year-old Mickelson has missed seven cuts in 15 worldwide starts this year, including most recently at the U.S. Open. He does have a trio of top-3 finishes, including a T-2 in Memphis and T-3 in Saudi Arabia, but outside of that he boasts just one other top-25 showing.”
5. High-end Putt Putt?
Montreal Gazette’s John Meagher…“Times are tough for local merchants coping with the economic fallout of COVID-19, but West Island businessman Lee Naylor says the pandemic also presents new opportunities.”
  • “Naylor is behind a new mini-putt course being constructed at Golf Dorval, an 18-hole public golf course in the West Island.”
  • “..We’re going to have a waterfall and a koi (fish) pond and some other really nice attractions,” he said. “It’s going to be a kind of high-end course.”  After Golf Dorval approved the plan, Naylor chose 18 different holes by going online and researching the best holes at other mini-putt courses.  The playing surface will be made of artificial grass that cost $30,000. “We’re using Pro Putt type of synthetic grass which is very good,” said Naylor, who also plans to add sand traps and water holes.  The course will be lit for night-time use, and players will be able to use  “glow-in-the dark” LED golf balls.”
6. “Look no further than the players on the LPGA Tour”
Ashleigh McLaughlin for LPGA.com…
…”many parents are finding a pipeline of reliable role models in female professional athletes. And it’s not just talent that makes those athletes an ideal choice. The added bonus that comes with their influence is that female athletes inspire girls to take up and stick with playing a sport, an activity that research shows can improve girls’ mental well-being, physical health and academic achievement. Of the sports identified by the Women’s Sports Foundation as the most effective in promoting healthy development, golf sits near the top of the list, giving girls a lifelong game from which they can gain great benefit.”
“Whether girls choose golf or not, they’ll have no issues finding a professional golfer whose story they can connect with. The LPGA is full of bright personalities, beat-the-odds successes, and women whose roads are diverse. One example is LPGA player and major winner Mo Martin. Standing at just 5’1″, Martin’s stature isn’t what you’d expect of a professional athlete, and her path to climbing the ranks wasn’t traditional for a pro golfer either. Growing up, Mo’s family of five lived in a 900-square-foot house next to a Jack in the Box fast-food restaurant. She has fond memories of splitting a spicy grilled chicken sandwich five ways, an exercise in making the best of things she learned growing up. Her father saw golf as a potential outlet for his kids, and what they lacked in financial means he made up for in ingenuity…”
7. No new tee box for 13 at Augusta
Dylan Dethier for Golf.com…“Will, when and should the 13th hole at Augusta National ever be lengthened? Those have been key Masters talking points for years, although recently we’ve gotten some clarity.”
  • …We might have an answer now. Likely not this year.
  • “David Dobbins, the man behind the Eureka Earth Twitter account who snaps aerial photos from a plane, shared a picture of the 13th tee area on Friday, which he said was taken on Monday. “It appears it’s time to press pause on the ANGC No. 13 tee discussion – at least for now,” he wrote.”
8. Neck injury forces a weekend withdrawal for Jason Day
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…“Jason Day began Sunday’s final round of the CJ Cup just five shots off the lead and playing in the penultimate group.”
  • “He ended it having completed just one hole.”
  • “Day withdrew during the second hole Sunday at Shadow Creek, citing a neck injury. No further details were given. The 32-year-old Australian, who shot 66 on Saturday, tripled-bogeyed the opening hole before calling it quits after hitting his approach shot on the next hole.”
9. Jason Kokrak’s winning WITB
Driver: TaylorMade SIM (9 degrees @8.5)
Shaft: Accra TZ5 85 M5 Proto 
3-wood: TaylorMade M5 (15 degrees @14.5)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke 80
Irons: PXG 0311T Gen2 (3-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (52-12F, 56-14F, 60-08M)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Putter: Bettinardi Studio Stock 38
Grips: Golf Pride MCC 
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
 
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