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A New King Of The Hill?

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One thing is for certain this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational – there will be no defending champion. In fact the absence of Tiger Woods is a gaping one at Orlando’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge – in the last ten times this event has been played Woods has once six of them, including the last two.

Prior to Tiger Woods the winner was Vijay Singh in 2007 and the mighty Fijian is also absent this week due to a back injury.

So besides the King, Arnold Palmer himself, who will be the focal point this week on the PGA Tour? It might be less of whom and more of a what. The big story might just be the arena itself – the newly renovated Bay Hill golf course and how the players adapt to the changes.

The 7381 yard behemoth (142 yards longer than 2009 now sports 103 bunkers but be assured, the latest changes at Bay Hill were far more than window dressings. The layout was tackled and revamped specifically with the PGA Tour players in mind. With holes number 6 and 12 now playing as par fives the par has returned to 72. 

Arnold Palmer spearheaded the rebirth of the golf course with his design team, taking into account just how the best players in the world now take on golf courses. That included using all resources available to determine proper bunker placement. "PGA Tour Shotlink data was used extensively to properly site bunkers and now reflects the new distances of the modern game." said architect Brandon Johnson.

Emerald Bermuda grass now graces the putting surfaces for more consistent maintenance. And around each of those 18 green spaces the player will now have to test their short game even more due to firmer conditions that will require exquisite and precise touch.

Having hosted the PGA Tour since 1979 Bay Hill looks to be a better test of golf now, even with the generous fairways still intact. Always a second shot golf course, it will be even more now with greenside hazards pulled closer to the greens. The green changes also allow for a larger variety of hole placements – leaving players, spectators, and media lots to talk about besides the golfers themselves. 

Surely this all will help identify a quality new champion, which is exactly what Mr. Palmer was looking for when he prompted the renovation.

"I love the Bay Hill course, it's my home, which is why it was so important to me to be involved with everything." said Palmer. "The renovations really add some new dimensions of play for Tour players and our members."

"I've introduced firm, fast playing conditions on slopes around greens mowed at fairway height that run away from the green surface and take the ball farther away from the intended target instead of stopping it, like the previous heavy rough did." said Palmer. "With these new conditions we hope to add creativity to recovery shots.”

With that in mind the new conditions might just narrow the list of players capable of becoming the new King of the Hill – at least until Mr. Woods returns to seek his 7th title that is.

Heavy favorites would have to the cadre who can keep the ball away from the 4 inch rough, a nasty mix of Bermudagrass over seeded with perennial ryegrass. Although Phil Mickelson has a tendency to visit the tangle more often than others, the liberal fairways width and the requirement of creativity might just suit the 1997 Bay Hill champ and help to usher him back into the winner’s circle.

With recent wins and fine spells of play you cannot also ignore a couple other guys who can really move the ball – Dustin Johnson and Ernie Els. They are among the 2010 PGA Tour winners (11 of 13) set to tee it up Thursday in pursuit of the $1.044 Million first place prize. 

Seeing how the best players in the world adapt to the new layout should be quite interesting but one player will prove he is up to the challenge.

The true King of Bay Hill, Arnold Palmer, has laid out a quite a test for 120 players in the championship this week and how they work their way through that exam should be quite a show to behold.

Notes:

FedEx

The top four players in the FedEx Cup standings are playing this week: Dustin Johnson, Steve Stricker, Camilo Villegas and Ben Crane

West Penn Connection

Rocco Mediate is making his 22nd appearance at the tournament. He grew up in Western Pennsylvania idolizing Arnold Palmer.

Am Champ

2009 United States Amateur Champion Byeong-Hun An makes his first PGA Tour appearance this week.


This report provide to GolfWRX.com by Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)

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  1. Mayre

    Nov 3, 2012 at 9:35 am

    This review is from: If you play golf once a week or every day this book is a must read, espelialcy if you are in the over 50 crowd and your range of motion has suffered from years of neglect, meaning stretching, weight training, fitness walking, biking etc. To jump out of the car and into the cart is an invitation for injury even if you are young and fit. It’s just that the young and fit don’t break as easily or quickly as the older and stiffer like myself. What I like about this book is that he covers all the aspects of how to play good golf without injury. It is not a cookbook of exercises to make you stronger and more flexible. He really wants you to understand what you are doing to your body when you swing a club and how if not done correctly it can lead to injury. He guides the reader through the process of evaluating how to better care for yourself both off the course, just before you play, and the importance of what comes after a game. The book is divided into three parts. Be sure to read the first part about performance enhancement as it does more than tell you how to get that extra 20 yards off the Tee but how to do it without throwing your back into a spasm. He goes through the mechanics of how your body works for the more challenging part of the game which is mostly the long game. Most golfers are safe from injury when putting but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to squat on the ground and read the green? This section goes through the pre game warm up of 5 minutes, the 15 minute warm up if you have time, how to stay limber through 18 holes exercises, and then the cool down. I espelialcy like the mental game exercises as too many golfers raise their blood pressure when the wheels come off their game. It not only ruins their game and a good day of golf but often the people that are playing with them get affected by negative attitude. Staying mentally calm is really important in golf and critical to the short game when it comes to controlling adrenaline. Part 2 goes into a series of exercises that you can build a regime around based on your fitness, flexibility, and time. They range from simple stretching to some more robust near calisthenics. It is his advice to do what you feel comfortable doing and build up to the harder exercises if your doctor says it is ok. Part 3 goes through the injuries that happen to golfers. It is a good summary of why they happen, what they feel like, and how to avoid them. The book is well written, not preachy, and easy enough to understand and follow the principles he advises for golfers.

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Takeaways from LMPD press conference, Scheffler arrest videos

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If you weren’t able to tune in, here are our key takeaways from the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Tuesday morning press conference regarding the investigation into Scottie Scheffler’s May 17 arrest.

The press conference featured Louisville mayor Craig Greenberg and police chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel. Neither Greenberg nor Gwinn-Villaroel took any questions from the media after speaking.

The press conference is viewable on Golf Channel.

1. The charges against Scottie Scheffler are not being dropped

Despite media speculation earlier this week, Scheffler’s case will continue forward. Echoing a sentiment expressed by the mayor, Gwinn-Villaroel stated, “We respect the judicial process, and we will allow the courts to proceed.”

2. Arresting office detective Bryan Gillis’ body-worn camera was not on and he was disciplined

Gwinn-Villaroel referred to this as a procedural violation and stated he has received corrective action.

“Detective Gillis did not have his body-worn camera operational ready,” Gwinn-Villaroel said, “Our officer has received corrective action for his policy violation. We respect the judicial process, and we will allow the courts to proceed.”

The specifics of the “corrective action” were not discussed.

3. Two videos released and what they show

The department released a pair of videos — one from a fixed camera across the street, the other from a patrol car. You can view the videos here.

This portion of the video appears to show Scheffler attempting to pull into the club, Gillis obstructing his progress, and what followed.

The second video shows Scheffler passing near a police cruiser in handcuffs.

At the request of the Louisville attorney’s office, no other video will be released until the legal process concludes.

4. What Scheffler’s lawyer is saying in response

Steven Romines, Scottie Scheffler’s attorney states, “Scottie Scheffler didn’t do anything wrong. We’re not interested in a settlement. It will either be dismissed or we will go to trial.”

Scheffler is charged with second-degree assault of a police officer, criminal mischief, reckless driving, and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic.

Scottie Scheffler’s arraignment is scheduled for June 3 in Louisville.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Wedge Stamping Caviar: “The Traditional” Edition

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Pop open a tin of the finest beluga, GolfWRXers…But really, it’s less jelly-like substance, more richness of intrigue than salt-cured roe at Wedge Stamping Caviar as we present to you some of the finest instances of hammer-and-stamp work on the PGA Tour we spotted over the past couple of weeks.

Grab your mother-of-pearl spoon and dig in — with restraint, please. And be sure to check out the rest of our tour photo galleries when you’re done.

Patrick Reed with a fine articulation of what we’re calling “The Traditional” wedge stamping: First and last initials, usually in white or black. 

Here’s The Traditional on Keith Mitchell’s Mizuno T22 wedge as well as a slab o’ wedge tape positioned to raise CG.  

Tyler Duncan’s Traditional stamping on his Vokey SM10 also includes a note about head weight in Sharpie. 

The Traditional, again, this time for Cam Smith on his Vokey SM10 in Jet Black.  

Jason Dufner’s Cobra’s SB wedge bears his initials, JD.

A variation on The Traditional, Lee Hodges’ initials are surrounded by “RTR,” as is usually the case on his wedges — Roll Tide Roll!

Phil Mickelson’s PM Grind wedge has a saucy little 64 stamped on the toe and a slab of lead near the toe peak. 

John Rahm’s Callaway Jaws Forged wedge featured the motto of his LIV Golf squad, Legion XIII.

John Daly’s Sub 70 wedge is superb, featuring the logo of his alma mater, the University of Arkansas. WPS! 

Check out our tour photo galleries here.

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Morning 9: Scheffler’s arrest to be investigated | LIV team finale venue revealed | Charles Schwab photos

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Thursday morning, golf fans, as day one of the Charles Schwab Challenge gets underway.

1. Scheffler arrest to be investigated for policy violations

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Following Scheffler’s arrest at the PGA Championship, Mayor Craig Greenberg acknowledged that detective Bryan Gillis didn’t have his body camera activated during the incident. According to Louisville Metro police policy, officers must turn on their body cameras before “engaging in all law enforcement activities and encounters.” At a weekly press conference on Tuesday, Greenberg said questions remain on why Gillis didn’t have the camera on.”

  • “I think that’s critically important that we do that [investigate], not just in high profile events like took place on Friday, but on a regular basis,” Greenberg said. “And if policies are not being followed, there will be transparency about that. There will be action taken.”
  • “Greenberg added that Louisville Metro police chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel would address the matter later in the week, including if the Professional Standards Unit investigation—Louisville’s internal affairs arm tasked with investigating policy breaches—will be involved.”
Full piece.

2. LIV names site for team final

Field Level Media report…”The LIV Golf League will host its 2024 team championship event Sept. 20-22 at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas, the organization announced Wednesday…”

  • “Our LIV Golf players are looking forward to playing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with its great golf tradition,” LIV Golf commissioner and CEO Greg Norman said. “Texas is legendary for producing and hosting great golfers who set a high bar while competing for championships.”
  • “The season-ending event will mark the Dallas-area debut for LIV Golf. The private Maridoe Golf Club measures 7,817 yards. Jordan Spieth, Will Zalatoris and golf legend Lee Trevino are among the members there.”
Full piece.

3. 16-year-old Kris Kim to play British Masters

BBC report…”Sixteen-year-old English amateur Kris Kim will make his debut on Europe’s DP World Tour at the British Masters in August.”

  • “Surrey-based Kim, the son of South Korean former LPGA player Suh Ji-hyun, became the youngest player to make the cut on the PGA Tour since 2015 at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson in Texas earlier this month.”
  • “The teenager had five birdies and an eagle in a three-under-par opening 68 in McKinney before finishing 65th overall.”
  • “The British Masters will be hosted by six-time major winner Sir Nick Faldo at The Belfry from 29 August to 1 September.”
Full piece.

4. Spieth details Xander’s speed gains

Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”But Spieth said Wednesday at the Charles Schwab Challenge that there was one aspect of Schauffele’s improvement that has largely gone unnoticed – but, clearly, paid off in a big way.”

  • “He’s looked to add speed,” Spieth said, “but did it very methodically, very quietly, very in the dark.
  • “It’s been amazing watching him go after the tournament rounds – like on Thursday, Friday, Saturday – and he’ll go to the workout trailer and hit a heavy gym session after the round. It’s not common out here. There’s a few guys that will do it, but it’s still not common. Everybody goes before now; 10, 12 years ago, half the field went before, now everyone does.
  • “But he’s going after and hitting these heavy workouts with a goal in mind that he thought would gain a slight advantage. He already had a lot of speed, and he did it while maintaining his consistency and his short game, and it just allowed him to hit shorter clubs into greens, which, maybe over the course of four rounds, being a shot or two. The way he approached that patiently is extremely inspiring.”
Full piece.

5. Stanford wins NCAA women’s golf title

AP report…”Kelly Xu went undefeated in match play for the second straight year and the rest of Stanford followed her lead Wednesday, beating UCLA in the title match for its second NCAA championship in the three years.”

  • “Rachel Heck delivered the final point in a 3-2 victory and the celebration was on for Stanford, the No. 1 team and the top seed going into match play.”
  • “We never take anything for granted,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “We’re privileged to be in this position. We talk a lot about staying patient, staying grateful and enjoying the moment. These are so hard to win.”
Full piece.

6. Spieth contests ‘false’ PGA Tour narrative

John Turnbull for Bunkered…”Jordan Spieth has dismissed claims that the PGA Tour is in a ‘bad place’, as questions surface over a deal with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.”

  • “But Spieth has hit back at ‘untrue’ notions about the PGA Tour, whilst remaining optimistic about the process.”
  • “I think the narrative that things are in a bad place and are moving slowly… are untrue,” he said, speaking ahead of the Charles Schwab Challenge.
  • “I know that it’s false, actually. Things are actually moving positively from both sides. I think ultimately, we’ll end up in a place where professional golf is maybe the best that it’s ever been.
  • “I think both sides believe that. From what I do know, it’s cordial, there’s open dialog, and it’s moving along at the pace that it’s moving along. And anything else that’s said about it is just, I just know to be false.
  • “So, I’m very optimistic I think is what I would say out of all of it.
  • “I think that’s starting to resonate amongst players as they’re able to get more and more information on the matter and it will continue to get more and more information over the coming months.”
Full piece.

7. Photos from the Charles Schwab Challenge

  • Check out all of our galleries from this week’s event!
Full Piece.
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