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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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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2020 Zozo Championship

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GolfWRX is live from the 2020 Zozo Championship, which takes place at Sherwood CC this year following the cancellation of the tour’s Asia swing.

With a loaded field that features Tiger Woods, there is plenty of WITB intrigue, as well as a number of Japanese players, whose setups are always worth taking a look at.

Check out our 12 general galleries and a selection of special collections below, including plenty of Woods, Mickelson, and McIlroy photos.

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See what GolfWRXers are saying in the forums.

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Morning 9: Could Phil be the greatest senior golfer ever? | Tiger’s best statistical performances | Morikawa’s interesting Masters plans

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1. Could Phil Mickelson be the greatest senior golfer ever?
While he acknowledges Phil won’t actually turn to the senior circuit full time, Shane Ryan’s thought experiment considering what it would be like if he did is an excellent read.
“…If Phil did turn 100 percent of his energies to the PGA Tour Champions, just imagine what he could accomplish! The G.O.A.T.s right now are Hale Irwin, with his record 45 wins, and Bernhard Langer, with his record 11 majors. And sure, Mickelson has a very long way to go, with his two victories and zero majors. But! If he started now, how long would it take him to get 10 wins? Five majors? In a non-pandemic year, there are just shy of 30 events on the PGA Tour Champions calendar and five majors. Within three years, on his current form, I’d put Mickelson conservatively at 15 wins and six majors. That’s one win every six events, and while that would be a ridiculous pace on the PGA Tour, it doesn’t seem all that radical for Phil among the AARPers.”
“There’s a chance that this is coming off as an insult to Mickelson’s new old peers. That’s not my intention; I know the level of play is extremely high. I know that just because Phil has gone 2-for-2 so far, it doesn’t mean he’d continue at anywhere near that same rate. The fact remains, though, that he has an age advantage on his competitors, and an uncommonly strong game for a 50-year-old … as you can tell by the lack of other 50-year-olds who are still competitive enough to finish second in a World Golf Championships events after their golden birthday (Mickelson did just that at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude in August). Plus, he seems to be in the best shape of his life, he’s hitting the ball a mile and though he’s sustained a couple of down years on the greens, he’s at worst an average putter by PGA Tour standards. In other words, the man still has his touch.”
2. The best statistical performances from Tiger’s 82 wins
Justin Ray, writing for PGATour.com, breaks down Tiger Woods’ best statistical performances in a fascinating article.
“Off the Tee: 2009 Memorial Tournament…Woods’ performance at the 2009 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide was a statistical masterpiece off the tee. He led the field in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee, but didn’t do it how you may think. Woods hit 87.5% of his fairways, tying his highest percentage as a professional in a PGA TOUR event. That included a run of 18 straight fairways hit to conclude a one-shot victory over Jim Furyk.”
  • “Non-ShotLink division: 1997 Masters: To this day, partly because of the course changes that came after Woods’ 12-shot win, a 21-year-old Woods holds the Masters Tournament single-week average driving distance record, at 323.1 yards. Woods’ advantage over the field average that week was an incomprehensible 46 yards per drive (277.1). For perspective, Bryson DeChambeau averaged 322.1 yards off the tee in 2019-2020, 25.7 yards further than the TOUR average for the season.”
  • “Woods also hit 47 fairways for the week, one fewer than he hit two years prior as an amateur. Since statistical tracking began about 40 years ago, there are two instances where a player averaged 310 or more yards and hit 45 or more fairways in a Masters. Both were Woods (1995 and 1997).”
3. Bob Mathers!
Golfweek’s Julie Williams…“Bob Mathers is the only player in the Golfweek Sandestin Amateur field marking his Titleist 6 with his grandkid’s initials. The event at Sandestin’s Raven Golf Club drew in a field of mostly college players looking for tournament starts in a fall season marred by COVID.”
  • “Mathers lives 20 miles up the road in Niceville, Florida. He retired on Sept. 1 after 32 years as a pilot for Delta Airlines. When a friend told him about the event, he assumed it was only for college teams. He googled it and determined he was eligible.”
  • “There’s at least a 40-year age difference between Mathers and most of the other players in the field, but he lands squarely in the middle of the pack – T-24 in a field off 55 players after opening rounds of 75-73.”
4. “The attention of the entire golf industry” 
Geoff Shackelford writes…“Lauren Ohnesorge’s of the Triangle Business Journal takes a look at the USGA’s testing center move to Pinehurst and it’s certainly exciting to see the potential development of talent, turfgrass and museum exposure to more eyeballs. “
  • “But the notion of a manufacturing center remains very odd in Ohnesorge’s characterization.
  • “As N.C. Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland outlined in an August letter supporting the project, made available through a public records request, officials envisioned a golf cluster in North Carolina.”
  • “Having the Test Center in Pinehurst will focus the attention of the entire golf industry on North Carolina and will very likely attract many golf equipment manufacturers and suppliers to not only Moore County but also the region so they can be in close proximity to the Test Center,” Copeland wrote.”
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5. Great question…
“National Club Golfer staff…“Golf consistently ranks in the top ten of the most popular sports on the planet. And its numbers are growing. The game has an overall reach (play, watch or read about it) of approximately 108 million in the United States, which equates to 1 in 3 Americans over the age of six. In 2019, 34.2 Americans played golf. And it’s not declining either, with 2.5 new players last year alone (it was 1.5 million in 2011).”
  • “So what makes golf so popular? What’s the sport’s secret? As a from-the-cradle golfing nut I’d argue that it’s just blatantly obvious, but the real answer is of course a little more nuanced.”
6. Morikawa’s Masters plan
Geoff Shackelford writes…“Perhaps it’s familiarity with the course through television. Or maybe a change in how players view local knowledge. Plenty have been burned by not seeing the course in tournament week conditions, which get pushed Wednesday evening after the practice round. So it was not a huge shock to see Collin Morikawa plan to take a modest approach to his first Masters.”
  • “From today’s ZOZO Championship press conference, the first event for Morikawa in his native southern California since winning the PGA Championship in August”
  • “I don’t want to put any of these things in my head where I’m going to have to show up and, man, this is going to be so much harder to prep for than another event. I think I’ve done a really good job every course I’ve gone to for the first time in figuring it out and I feel like I’m very prepared. I never feel on a Thursday like, oh, man, I wish I had one more practice round. I don’t think that’s going to be the case at Augusta. Yes, I’m going to want to be out there a little more just to figure out some greens, figure out the slopes, but I’m not going to just go out there at 8:00a.m. in the morning and leave at 6:00p.m. just because it’s Augusta National. I’m going to spend my time-wisely and really get my rest because at the end of the day you want to feel as prepped and pressure fresh by Thursday.”
7. New Donald Trump golf course cleared for development in Scotland
AP report…”Authorities in Scotland have approved plans by President Donald Trump’s family business to build a second golf course in Aberdeenshire, despite campaigning from environmental activists.
  • “The Aberdeen council published documents Friday showing it gave full planning permission for the development, subject to some conditions such as measures to minimize the flooding risk at the site, located on Scotland’s northeast coast.”
8. Rockstar Billionaire founder makes “Monster” real estate deal, on property linked to Tiger Woods
Darrell Hofheinz, Palm Beach Daily News …“Weiner sold the oceanfront house for a recorded $41.77 million and the smaller house for a recorded $6.42 million, the records suggest. He bought and sold the properties as trustee of a revocable trust in his name.  Weiner is the creator of Rockstar Energy Drink, which he sold to PepsiCo last spring in a deal reported at $3.85 billion. Weiner has an estimated net worth of $3.7 billion, according to Forbes.”
9. LPGA’s “Drive on for the future” 
Cool stuff. From the LPGA Communications team…“The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Foundation announced today the “Drive On for the Future” Virtual Scramble, a two-person scramble fundraiser with the goal of bringing the golf community together to empower and inspire more girls through the game of golf.”
  • “The tournament was inspired by the recent success of the Virtual Pro-Am and Virtual Scramble hosted by the LPGA Professionals and LPGA Amateurs, respectively. From Aug. 28 to Sept. 13, over 1,100 players and 191 teams raised $56,185 for the LPGA Renee Powell Grant, the LPGA Amateurs Women on Par Scholarship and the LPGA Professionals COVID-Relief Fund.”

 

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Morning 9: Match 3 details announced | The New York Yankee who nearly won the Masters | Good news for golf card collectors

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By Ben Alberstadt
October 20, 2020 
 
Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.

 

1. The Match 3 details announced

PGATour.com staff report…“Turner Sports will present Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Change, a premier golf event with the World Golf Hall of Famer and crossover legends competing – Phil Mickelson, Charles Barkley, Stephen Curry and Peyton Manning. TNT will exclusively televise the event, to be held Friday, Nov. 27, at 3 p.m. ET at Stone Canyon Golf Club in Oro Valley, Ariz. Bleacher Report will also provide exclusive live content leading up to and during the event on the B/R app.”
  • “Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Change will uniquely contribute toward and highlight diversity, equality and inclusion through donations to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), while raising awareness and spotlighting opportunities for diversity and equality in sports. All four players have previously supported diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout their careers, which has led to them teaming up for this event. Additional information on these elements, among others, will be announced at a later date.”

2. DJ out of ZOZO
ESPN’s Bob Harig…“Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from this week’s Zozo Championship at Sherwood after missing last week’s CJ Cup due to a positive COVID-19 test.”
  • “Johnson, the No. 1-ranked player in the world, was eligible to return Thursday because he would have been 10 days past the onset of symptoms.”
  • “Unfortunately, Dustin just made the decision to withdraw from Zozo,” said David Winkle, Johnson’s agent, in a text “While he is feeling much better, he is still a bit low on energy and feels it would be best to wait and resume his schedule in Houston. “
3. Hero World Challenge canceled
PGATour.com staff report…“Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and associated travel restrictions, Tiger Woods’ TGR Foundation announced on social channels today the cancellation of this season’s Hero World Challenge at Albany, Bahamas.”
  • “The unofficial 18-player event was to have taken place Dec. 3-6.”
  • …”Here is the statement…Given the current global restrictions and ongoing developments resulting from COVID-19, the 2020 Hero World Challenge will not be played this year. This decision was made with the health and well-being of all tournament constituents and the Albany community in mind. We look forward to hosting 18 of the top players in the world and welcoming tournament guests to Albany, Bahamas next year.”
4. Solheim Cup: 2023 event to take place in mid-September in Spain
BBC Sport report…“The 2023 Solheim Cup in Spain will take place from 18-24 September.”
  • “Andalucia’s Finca Cortesin was already confirmed as host of the event – the first time Spain has staged the match between Europe and the United States.”
  • “Spain will be the sixth European nation to host the biggest team event in women’s golf.”

Full piece. 

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5. Good news for golf card collectors
Adam Woodard for Golfweek…”Come next spring, a new set of trading cards will be available for golf fans thanks to Upper Deck. The sports and entertainment collectibles company announced a new set of cards that will feature golf’s current stars like Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Matthew Wolff, Danielle Kang and Lexi Thompson alongside legends like Arnold Palmer and Annika Sorenstam.”
  • “Collectors have been begging us to bring golf cards back for years,” said Upper Deck’s Sports Brand Manager, Paul Zickler”
  • ….”The release will be Upper Deck’s first golf cards since 2014 and feature a 50-card base set, a 30-card rookie set, a multi-major winners subset and rare signed memorabilia cards.”
6. Barkley guarantees victory in “Match”
We’ll see, Chuck…
Adam Schupak for Golfweek…“The competition format will be modified alternate-shot match play with five-time major winner Mickelson teaming with Barkley, a Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer, in facing Curry, a three-time NBA Champion and near scratch golfer, and two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning, who played a pivotal role in his team winning the last edition of Capital One’s The Match.”
  • “I’m excited to return for the third edition of Capital One’s The Match and get out on the course with these three legendary athletes,” Mickelson said. “While we may need a handicap for Chuck, I’m looking forward to playing with Peyton and Stephen and to help raise money for another important cause. It’s also going to give fans and viewers an up-close look at Stone Canyon Golf Club, a place that I’m extremely proud of and excited to show how special it is.”
  • …”Barkley added: “Capital One’s The Match has been a lot of fun to be a part of over the past few years and I’m excited to finally show off my skills on the course. Phil and I got this, I GUARR-AAAN-TEEEE!!!”
7. The New York Yankee who nearly won the Masters 
Ashamed to say this is first I’ve heard of Sammy Byrd. Excellent stuff from John Fischer for the Morning Read…”it earned him much more than that: an invitation to play in the 1940 Masters. The Masters, which debuted in 1934, originally was known as the Augusta National Invitation Tournament, and the name change, beginning in 1939 and over club co-founder Jones’ initial objection, didn’t alter the “invitation” aspect. All players were invited by Jones to participate. There were no automatic entries based on prize money or other measurements of standing in the golf world.”
  • “It didn’t hurt that Byrd had played golf with Jones in 1933 and impressed him with his ball-striking ability, nor did it hurt that Byrd’s boss, Dudley, was the head professional at Augusta National Golf Club during the winter. In his first Masters, Byrd finished a respectable 14th, but the best was yet to come.”
  • “The next year, Byrd finished third at the Masters with a score of 3-under 285, behind Craig Wood’s winning 280 and runner-up Byron Nelson’s 283. Byrd finished one stroke ahead of Ben Hogan and four ahead of Sam Snead. Byrd was right in the mix of a major golf tournament.”
  • “In 1942, Byrd started the Masters with back-to-back rounds of 68, putting him one stroke behind the leader, Nelson. Byrd’s last two rounds of 75 and 74 put him at 285 and in fourth place, behind Nelson, the winner in a playoff with Hogan, and third-place Paul Runyan.”
8. How Kokrak got it done
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski…“For the first time in his career, Kokrak led the field in stroke gained/putting, gaining 2.573 strokes on the field. He made a little more than 401 feet of putts. A putter switch, to a club with a longer, stiffer shaft, that he made late last season has made a huge difference for a guy who ranked 151st in strokes gained/putting in the just completed campaign.”
  • “Experience on the tricky greens didn’t hurt. And reliance on his caddie, former tour player David Robinson, to help read those greens was another ace in the hole, so to speak.”
  • “Jason Kokrak praised his caddie, former tour pro David Robinson, for his assistance throughout Sunday’s closing 64.”
  • “I would characterize it more D-Rob’s work,” Kokrak said, magnanimously. “I mean, he reads them pretty dang good. I did a good job of hitting the spots where we were trying to putt it to. Very happy with how I’ve been putting and kind of paying off with all the work I’ve been putting in.”

 

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