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GolfWRX Morning 9: Anonymous pro survey! | How much golf execs make | Fighting for underdog status

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1 Anonymous survey time!
Not for you (sorry), but rather, Golf’s famed anonymous survey of PGA pros has made its seasonal return.
While the questions are many and the percentages plenty interesting, here are three of note.
ARE YOU CONCERNED THAT TOUR PLAYERS ARE HITTING THE BALL TOO FAR?
YES: 32%
NO: 76%
DO YOU FEEL YOUR OWN PACE OF PLAY IS ACCEPTABLE?
YES: 100%
NO: 0%
WILL TIGER WIN ANOTHER TOUR EVENT?
YES: 98%
NO: 2%
“F- yeah!”
ANOTHER MAJOR?
YES: 90%
NO: 10%
2.  Evian: Torres in front
AP Report on the (mercifully non-deluged) first-round action from France…”Maria Torres, a rookie from Puerto Rico, and Carlota Ciganda of Spain each shot six-under-par 65 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead at the Evian Championship, the fifth and final major championship on the L.P.G.A. Tour.”
“Ciganda had six birdies and no birdies, while Torres carded an eagle to help offset two bogeys in her round here at the Evian Resort Golf Club.”
“Austin Ernst, an American, had sole possession of third place at five under. So Yeon Ryu of South Korea, Brooke Henderson of Canada and Nasa Hataoka of Japan were a stroke behind Ernst.”
“Inbee Park of South Korea and Georgia Hall of England headlined a group of 10 tied for seventh at three under.”
3. Who’s the real underdog?
Certainly, it’s beneficial for both the U.S. and European sides to arrive in Paris with chips on their collective shoulders. And assuredly, no one–save for Thomas Pieters, perhaps–wants to give the opposite side bulletin board material. Thus, it’s not surprising to hear Patrick Reed say that he and his defending champion U.S. squad are underdogs in this Ryder Cup.
Golfweek’s Brentley Romine writes…”Furyk’s squad also boasts 31 total major championships and have accounted for six of the last eight major titles. There was the Americans’ dominating performance two years ago at Hazeltine, where the U.S. routed the Europeans, 17-11. And Vegas currently has the U.S. as a 1-to-2 favorite to retain the Cup this year.”
“Yet despite all of those things, Patrick Reed says his team is embracing an underdog role as they prepare to compete at Le Golf National.”
“We feel great and we can’t wait to get over there and try to end the drought of not winning overseas,” Reed said Wednesday during a press conference for the Hong Kong Open. “I feel that kind of takes a little bit of pressure off us and puts more pressure on the European team because they’re the ones that have had so much success overseas, that everyone thinks we’re going to come in and they’re going to win the Cup again….So we’re going to go in and feel like we’re the underdogs and try to play the best that we can.”
4. KLM Open: Wu ahead of Wood
First round at the KLM Open…per EuropeanTour.com…”Wu Ashun will take a one-shot lead into the second round of the KLM Open after firing a bogey-free 64 on day one at The Dutch.”
“The Chinese arrived in Spijk off the back of a top ten in Switzerland last week and continued that form with seven birdies to get to seven under.”
“Chris Wood was also blemish-free in carding a 65 in the morning and there was then a group of 13 players two shots off the lead on a very congested leaderboard.”
At the time of this writing, Wu is 5 under through 17 holes in his second round and is in front by three.
5.  What people in golf earn
An anonymous pro survey and pay data in one newsletter, oh my!
John Paul Newport, forever of the Wall Street Journal, now contributing to Golf Digest rounds up pay data for our favorite executives.
After a lengthy introduction in which he explains the nature of executive compensation (thanks), Newport reveals Jay Monahan earns just north of $3.6 million and more of the monetary morsels you see in the table above.
6. Spieth on a knife edge
Joel Beall on the vagaries of the game, Jordan Spieth’s proximity to more major championships, and our perception of the boy wonder.
“There is an alternate 2018 timeline for Jordan Spieth. A cosmos featuring the 25-year-old slipping into the green jacket for a second time following the greatest comeback in Masters history. Where he becomes just the third player in the last 35 years to successfully defend the claret jug. Likely the No. 1 in the sport, he heads to East Lake seeking his second FedEx Cup title in four years. A world in which Spieth’s peers aren’t Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson or Brooks Koepka but Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan.”
“Depending on your beliefs in the multiverse, perhaps that realm exists. In the one we actually live in, Spieth’s 2018 is decidedly not that.”
“This Spieth season has been marked by struggle. His earnings were the lowest of his six-year career, and he failed to claim a PGA Tour title for the first time since 2014. (He also had no runner-up finishes, another unwanted first on his résumé.) Spieth did not advance to the Tour Championship, creating the ignominious situation of likely facing fine or suspension for not making the minimum required starts on tour. When he makes his next appearance, he will be outside the OWGR top 10. Spieth did earn an automatic selection to the Ryder Cup, although if the point system was based on his play this year alone, there’s a chance Spieth would not have a ticket to Paris.”
 
7. For your weekend listening pleasure
Our Michael Williams speaks with Master Putting Instructor Bruce Rearick, who gives his insights on how to make the successful switch from anchored putting–a topic of interest following Keegan Bradley’s non-anchored victory. He also chats with Golf Channel Course Architecture Editor Brad Klein, who, fun fact, when I asked him for advice, once told me a website I created looked like a middle school web design project. I cannot say he was completely off base.
8.  Martin Kaymer and the caddie he won two majors with part ways
Martin Kaymer has split with his longtime caddie, Craig Connelly. Connelly confirmed the news on Twitter:.”All good things come to an end.” The Scottish looper was on Kaymer’s bag for his 2010 PGA Championship and 2014 U.S. Open wins. Kaymer has neither commented nor announced a replacement.
9. Ryder Cup garb revealed
Golf Digest’s Brittany Romano with the details on how the U.S. side will be dressing themselves…or being dressed, as the case may be…”Outfitting an entire team of golfers for an international event can be tricky. Not knowing who will make the 2018 Ryder Cup Team and what silhouettes to cater to makes things even more difficult. Willing to accept the challenge for the USA Ryder Cup uniforms, Ralph Lauren curated a patriotic and classic collection that will look good on every player.”
“The U.S. team will show up to Le Golf National wearing white pants for the first days of the competition, Friday and Sunday. The Saturday look includes a high-fashion pinstripe pant that will be a must-see. As always, unpredictable forecasts make layering a necessity. The designers at Ralph Lauren made sure to create thoughtful pieces that not just match but enhance each look. Each item in the Ralph Lauren Ryder Cup Team Collection is versatile, stylish and performance-ready. Check out what the team will be wearing in Paris and where to buy each piece.”
See the looks here, including the bold pinstripery you see below.
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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. A. Commoner

    Sep 17, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Only 59 respondents out of a ‘cast of thousands’ and this survey is to be taken seriously?

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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational

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GolfWRX is on the ground in Orlando ahead of the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge.

We’re assembling our usual collection of WITB photos, general galleries, and of course, gear inspired by the King himself.

We’ll continue to add to the photos below as more flow in from Florida.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying in the forums.

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Morning 9: Rory responds to Gooch | The Match draws record low viewership | AK on joining LIV

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Thursday morning, golf fans, as day one of the Cognizant Classic gets underway.

1. McIlroy on Gooch’s “asterisk” remark

Golf Channel report…”The latest chapters of the saga came Wednesday, when McIlroy said he wanted to give LIV player Talor Gooch “the benefit of the doubt” over comments he made saying if the world’s No. 2-ranked player wins the Masters to complete the career Grand Slam the accomplishment should come with an asterisk because some players who have signed with Saudi-funded LIV cannot play at Augusta National since they have fallen out of the top 50 in the world rankings.”

  • “The Masters is an invitational and they’ll invite whoever they think warrants an invite,” said McIlroy, who’ll play in the Cognizant Classic that starts Thursday at PGA National — the site of what used to be called the Honda Classic. “I think to be fair to Talor, if you read the entire … the question and then the answer, it’s not as if he just came out with that. I feel like whoever did the interview led him down that path to say that, so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt there a little bit. He just agreed with what the interviewer asked.”
Full piece.

2. Villegas named PGA Tour Advisory Board chair

Field Level Media report…”Camilo Villegas was named the new chairman of the PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Council on Wednesday.”

  • The 42-year-old from Colombia will serve in that role for the remainder of 2024. The council advises and consults with the PGA Tour policy board and commissioner Jay Monahan on issues affecting the tour.
Full piece.

3. AK on joining LIV

Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…“What has been rumored for weeks finally became official Wednesday with the announcement from the Saudi-backed league that Kim, 38, who hasn’t played competitively since 2012, will join LIV as a wildcard player for the remainder of the 2024 season…”

  • “After stepping away from the game years ago due to injury, I’m happy to officially announce my return to the world of professional golf,” Kim said in a LIV press release. “It’s been a long time coming, and I’m very grateful for all the highs, lows and lessons learned from the first part of my career.
  • “I want to compete with the best players in the world, and I’m on a mission to prove to myself that I can win again. The next step on that journey starts now, and I’m excited to give everything I’ve got this season on the LIV Golf League.”
Full piece.

4. A peek into the Tour’s private-equity plan

Matthew Rudy for Golf Digest…”The new entity—PGA Tour Enterprises—built an equity distribution plan that looks similar to something tech companies use to protect themselves from losing their most valuable contributors to deep-pocketed competitors. “The whole idea behind restricted stock units [RSUs] is to motivate employees to stay and create more value for the business,” says Matt Erley, who before founding golf start-up fund Old Tom Ventures was the head of growth at beverage-delivery startup Drizly when it was acquired by Uber. “You’re acting like an owner.”

  • “In broad terms, RSUs work in two phases: how they’re allocated and triggered, and how and when they vest. At a tech start-up backed by a venture capital firm, the leadership team will usually assign a certain amount of equity to be distributed each year to contributors for a variety of reasons—from simply being a member of the team to achieving a performance milestone. The rules about how and when contributors get access to the equity they’ve been awarded are set with strategic goals in mind.”
  • “Confirmed details about the PGA Tour’s new equity plan are still murky, but we know there will be four broad categories of players earning equity stakes in this initial round: A handful of superstars like Tiger Woods will share $750 million. A second group of 64 players will share $75 million based on their past three years of performance. The third group—mostly the remaining fully-exempt current players—will share $30 million, and a group of 36 designated “founding” players will share $75 million for their historical contributions. Another $600 million will be distributed in the future through recurring grants based on factors like on-course performance and Player Impact Program finish.”
Full piece.

5. Worse for the Tour rank and file?

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…It’s an immediate ripple effect of sweeping changes made by the PGA Tour for this season, most notably the transformation of several events into limited-field, highly lucrative signature stops that was expected to shrink the total number of playing opportunities by about 10%. A select group of guys, however, are the ones taking the brunt of this initial wave.

  • “Those top-50 guys, they’re playing fields that we can’t get into, and then fields that we can get into, they’re playing those, too,” a Korn Ferry Tour graduate, who wished to remain anonymous, argued. “And it’s not their fault; I would do it if I were them. But it does make it kind of tough. I don’t know what to do. Do you play Korn Ferry? Do you try and go get a DP World start? Do you try and keep writing for these f—ing sponsor invites? I’m tired of writing for sponsor invites.
  • “… They’re going to tell you to play better, and I hear ya, I do. But you can’t play better if you’re not in the field.”
  • Scott Gutschewski is 47 years old and has 140 career PGA Tour starts under his belt. He’s familiar with this reorder territory, having played out of similar categories for much of his career, though he notes this year has been uniquely challenging – “The Tour gives you the access summaries from previous years, and you can just throw that thing away. It’s completely meaningless.” When he finished No. 28 in Korn Ferry Tour points last year, Gutschewski planned a family vacation to Hawaii that would culminate with his season debut at the Sony Open.
Full piece.

6. Record low audience for The Match

7. Schmelzel leads in Singapore

AP report…” Sarah Schmelzel birdied two of of her final three holes Thursday for a 4-under 68 to take a 1-stroke lead over three players, including fellow American Lilia Vu, at the LPGA tournament in Singapore.”

  • “Also tied for second with Vu at the HSBC Women’s World Championship at Sentosa Golf Club were Linn Grant and Esther Henseleit.”
Full Piece.

8. 2024 Cognizant Classic photos

  • Check out all of our galleries from this week’s event!
Full Piece.
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Morning 9: Gooch: Masters deserves asterisk | LIV’s new streaming deal | Mosquito mayhem

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans, as the PGA Tour moves over to the Florida swing, while Anthony Kim looks set to make his stunning return in Jeddah.

1. Gooch: Majors sans LIV golfers deserve asterisk

Brad Clifton and Rohan Clarke for Australian Golf Digest…In an ominous portent to Augusta National, Gooch said: “If Rory McIlroy goes and completes his [Career] Grand Slam without some of the best players in the world, there’s just going to be an asterisk. It’s just the reality. I think everybody wins whenever the majors figure out a way to get the best players in the world there.”

Full piece.

2. “The Match is good again”

Brody Miller’s take for the Athleltic…”Monday night’s version offered a potential vision for this to stay around. Here’s how.”

  • “For starters, the mixed-gender format works. It is a chance to watch golf with a perspective we’re not used to. Women’s golf is booming. The women’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach was a huge moment for the game, seeing these elite women play a historic course we’ve known for decades. And getting to watch these four play a skins game against one another provides context, and context makes golf better.”
  • “Second, the people. The Match needs to be about highlighting certain personalities. Otherwise, it’s just watching mostly forgettable golf with awkward pauses in between as they get from hole to hole. Homa was put on Earth to be in settings like this. His witty digs and dry narrations made this all flow. He made me legitimately laugh out loud multiple times. He constantly needled McIlroy and playfully pretended to flex on Zhang when he tied her on a hole. On one shot out of a bunker, he jumped in the air and confusedly yelled, “I don’t know, fore? Fore?” Multiple times he begged and pleaded for his competitors to give him short putts so he didn’t have to embarrass himself.”
Full piece.

3. $10 million question

James Corrigan for The Telegraph…”He might well be re-emerging as a freak show this week, who could be taking a $10 million insurance gamble to rejoin the circus, but be sure his return would have been big news whether there was a Saudi-funded breakaway league or not.”

  • “Indeed, the myth of Anthony Kim has continued to build with so much fascination over the last decade that any tournament promoter worthy of their publicity department would crave his presence.”
  • “When he burst through those country club gates, Kim – or “AK” as he soon became known – was America’s ‘can’t miss kid’, the country’s first since Tiger Woods. At the time, there was no Dustin Johnson, or Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler or Justin Thomas, or, of course, the next generation led by Collin Morikawa.”
  • “When Kim played in the Texas Open in 2006, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Adam Scott had largely been seen off by the monstrous domination of Woods. Although there was a young Ulsterman by the name of Rory McIlroy threatening to storm the hegemony, here was a 20-year-old with the skill and swagger to at least promise a vibrant future.”
Full piece.

4. Nicklaus, pros keen on PGA National decision

Tom D’Angelo for the Palm Beach Post…”Steve Rintoul, the Tour’s vice president for rules and officiating and the chief referee for the Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches, believes that stretch from the fourth hole to No. 17 without a par 5 was as grinding as any on Tour. So he contacted the man who re-designed the course in 2000 and asked what he thought of converting the 10th hole from a par 4 to a par 5.”

  • “And Jack Nicklaus agreed with the move.”
  • “His reply was, ‘I always thought it was a better par 5 than a par 4,’ ” Rintoul said. “Now we got his blessing.”
  • “Then, after talking with several Tour pros who have either won Cognizant or played the event regularly, the move became official.”
  • “Nobody said, ‘Well, that’s a bad idea,’ ” Rintoul said. “It was an easy sell.”
  • “Now, for the first time since the event moved to PGA National in 2007, it will have three par 5s and become a par 71. The 10th will be lengthened by about 25 yards, playing at 530 yards, and the fairway line will be shifted a bit to the left by about eight yards at the dogleg.”
Full piece.

5. Mosquito mayhem

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…“There could be a record amount of mosquito repellant used on the Korn Ferry Tour this week in Argentina.”

  • “The city of Buenos Aires and its surrounding areas have been dealing with multiple mosquito invasions since the start of the new year, according to the Buenos Aires Times. The most recent swarm hit less than a week ago following another bout of flooding, and multiple videos online show hordes of the flying insects invading city streets, structures, subway stations and more. One video showed what looked like a dark cloud of mosquitoes flying over a road.”
  • “Olivos Golf Club, where the 117 Visa Argentina Open will begin on Thursday, is located about 25 miles north of the capital’s center. Some players who have arrived in Buenos Aires have already reported run-ins with the mosquitoes. Another, Thomas Walsh, posted a video of himself hitting a shot on the range while wearing protective netting over his head and upper body.”
Full piece.

6. Pettersen adds Reid as vice captain

Sky Sports report…”European Solheim Cup skipper Suzann Pettersen has added Mel Reid as a fourth vice-captain for this year’s contest against Team USA in Virginia.”

  • “Englishwoman Reid – a vice-captain to Catriona Matthew in 2019 – will join Dame Laura Davies, Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Martens as deputies when Europe look to retain the trophy in Gainesville between September 13-15, live on Sky Sports.”
Full Piece.

7. LIV’s new streaming deal

Golf Monthly’s Jonny Leighfield…”The LIV Golf League has announced a new broadcast deal with streaming platform, Caffeine to show its live Friday action.”

  • “As well as opening-day coverage being available on the LIV YouTube channel, LIV Golf Plus, and the CW app, fans of the 54-hole competition will now have another option to watch Jon Rahm and co. battle it out.”
Full Piece.

8. ICYMI…Overton set for Cognizant start

Tom D’Angelo for Palm Beach Post…”It’s been a long road back for former U.S. Ryder Cup member Jeff Overton, but the Palm Beach Gardens resident will have a short drive this week to continue that journey.”

  • “Overton was one of three players to earn a spot in this week’s Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches when the 40-year-old Monday qualified with a 6-under 66 at the Tesoro Club.”
  • “It feels great, but it will feel even greater if I can continue this thing,” said Overton, who was sidelined from the game for five years with a serious infection after back surgery in 2017.
Full Piece.

9. 2024 Cognizant Classic photos

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