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Morning 9: Vegas leads in Palm Beach Gardens | Wie on her WD | Yardage book DQ

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By Ben Alberstadt ([email protected])

March 1, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans. Top story today: it’s March, meaning it’s theoretically possible I may actually play golf in the month in question.
1. Vegas to the fore in Florida
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Vegas has contended at the Honda before, notably a T-4 finish two years ago, and he’s again in the mix after opening with a bogey-free 64. That score came among the early wave and stood up all afternoon, with Glover getting within a shot before bogeying his final hole of the day. The Venezuelan now has three major champs in close pursuit as he looks for his fourth career PGA Tour title and first in nearly two years.”
  • “Vegas made a tough course seem easy, carding six birdies without dropping a shot. Vegas made his move on the back nine, teeing off on No. 10 and then making four birdies in a seven-hole stretch from Nos. 12-18. It’s a rare bright spot for a player who tied for 10th in Phoenix but has otherwise struggled to start the year.”
2. Els, Z. Johnson in contention
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge on the elder statesmen’s strong starts
  • “World Golf Hall of Fame member Ernie Els and two-time major champion Zach Johnson each shot 4-under 66 in the morning wave and were tied for second by mid-afternoon, two shots behind outright leader Jhonattan Vegas.”
  • “The wind was relatively calm – not traditional “Honda wind,” according to Johnson – but the Champion Course doesn’t let up much.”
3. Olson ahead at HSBC
A more snarky headline would be “No stopping Olson…”
  • AP Report…”Amy Olson’s eagle on the front nine and a late birdie on the 16th hole were enough for the American to emerge from a five-way tie from the first-round lead to shoot a 3-under 69 and take a two-stroke lead after two rounds at the HSBC Women’s World Championship.”
  • “The 26-year-old American had a two-round total of 7-under 137 Friday on the Sentosa Golf Club’s Tanjong course.”
  • “There was a five-way tie for second -Inbee Park (69), Azahrara Munoz (68), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70), No. 1-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn (71) and No. 3 Minjee Lee (71).”
4. Wie on withdrawal: “I couldn’t lift the club”
BBC Sport report, quoting Michelle Wie‘s social media post….
  • “Wie, who had surgery on the injury in October, said an MRI scan on Thursday showed “nerve entrapment.”
  • “I made the decision on 15 to withdraw because at that point, I was unable to lift the club,” said the 29-year-old.
  • “After getting surgery, I had it in my mind that I was going to be completely pain free when I came back to Asia to defend my title.
  • “I was so ready to be pain free, I ignored a couple of warning signs. As a result of not listening to my body, I endured a bad flare-up during my round.
  • “Being in that amount of pain, I was scared that I could possibly do further damage.
  • “Deciding to withdraw during the tournament is always the hardest decision to make but it was heartbreaking.”
5. Cejka disqualified for illegal yardage book
Our Gianni Magliocco…”While Thursday’s opening round of the Honda Classic saw Rickie Fowler poke some fun at the rules of golf in an amusing way, it also saw a disqualification which has the unfortunate title of being the first DQ of its kind since the updated rules of golf came in to play.”
  • “Alex Cejka is the professional in question, who was deemed to have been using a green-book which did not adhere to the new rules of golf. Cejka had been using last year’s green-book for the Honda Classic throughout the opening round, which contained larger scales of diagrams of the greens than are now allowed on the PGA Tour.”
  • Following the DQ, PGA Tour rules official Robby Ware who informed Cejka of the decision after his 14th hole of the day, stated (per a Golfweek report)
  • “It was brought to the committee’s attention that Alex might possibly be using some old greens reading materials. Alex was basically using an old yardage book and old greens reading materials that did not fit the size to scale limit. He knew he was using an old book. He told me that. I don’t know that he was completely understanding of what the scale limits are.”

Full piece.

6. Before the sandstorm delay…
European Tour report...”Joachim B. Hansen reeled in overnight leader Kurt Kitayama before a sandstorm saw play suspended on day two of the Oman Open.”
  • “Relatively calm conditions had allowed for some good scoring in the very early stages at Al Mouj Golf but the winds picked up, bringing sand with them, and play was suspended at 11:38.”
  • “With winds remaining high throughout the early afternoon, the situation was being monitored and the forecast suggested conditions could improve as the day went on.”

Full piece.

7. Zinger: Tiger should top Snead
PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister talked with new NBC golf analyst Paul Azinger.
  • “If Tiger’s healthy – assuming no more injuries – 100 percent. That’s what I think,” Azinger said. “If he gets hurt, it could go right to zero.”
  • …”Azinger said it’s definitely doable for Woods to catch Snead. “There’s just no way if he’s healthy enough that he won’t… break that record,” said Azinger, who’s not as sure about Woods winning four more majors to match Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18.”

Full piece.

8. The most influential African-Americans in golf in 2019
Black History month concluded yesterday. As a fitting bookend, our Michael Williams put together his list of the most influential African-Americans in golf in 2019.
A few of his selections…
“Junior Bridgeman…An All-American and NBA All-star basketball player, Bridgeman went on to become a highly successful restaurant entrepreneur. In 2008 he was named to the PGA of America Board of Directors.”
  • “Lee Elder…Elder broke the color line at Augusta, becoming the first African American to play in the Masters tournament in 1975. Playing with style and courage despite the many death threats he received that week, Elder missed the cut that year.  But made his mark on the game, notching four wins on the PGA Tour and eight on the Champions Tour. Elder was also the first African-American to play in the Ryder Cup. He was just named the 2019 winner of the Bob Jones Award, the USGA’s highest honor. His omission from the World Golf Hall of Fame is a travesty that should be corrected while the 84-year old Elder is still alive to appreciate it.”
9. Putting the drop in dropping
Our Gianni Magliocco…“Rickie Fowler may have gotten hit with a penalty for an improper drop last week in Mexico, but the 30-year-old wasn’t about to make the same mistake today during his opening round at the Honda Classic.”
“Though that news may not surprise you, the technique he considered using to execute the drop more than likely will.”
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  1. D

    Mar 1, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Always nice to see a Titleist wearing dude using a TM driver. Well done Cejka 🙂

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Phil Mickelson withdraws from PGA Championship

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Just six days before Phil Mickelson’s highly anticipated return to the game, it was announced Friday that the defending champion had withdrawn from this year’s PGA Championship.

In a statement released today, the PGA of America said:

“We have just been informed that Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship. Phil is the defending champion and currently eligible to be a PGA Life Member, and we would have welcomed him to participate. We wish Phil and Amy the very best and look forward to his return to golf.”

Two weeks ago, Mickelson’s agent Steve Loy at SportFive agency revealed that his client had requested a release to play in the Saudi backed LIV Golf series.

Mickelson’s exile from golf continues for now, with the 51-year-old not teeing it up since January.

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MORNING 9: Munoz fires 60 | Norman’s “mistake” gaffe | Homa’s dream foursome

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.
For comments: [email protected].
May 13, 2022
Good Friday morning, golf fans, as we head into day two of the AT&T Bryson Nelson.
1. 60
Colby Powell for Golf Channel…”Sebastian Munoz made history Thursday at the AT&T Byron Nelson, becoming the first player in PGA Tour history with multiple rounds of 60 or lower in the same season.”
  • “Munoz also shot 60 in the first round of the RSM Classic in November. However, that was on a par-70 golf course. Today’s round at TPC Craig Ranch was a 12-under-par 60 for the Colombian, which was highlighted by a 6-under stretch through four holes in the middle of his round.”
2. “Mistake” 
ESPN’s Mark Schlabach…”On Wednesday, during a news conference in London to promote LIV Golf’s first event at Centurion Club, June 9-11, Norman was asked about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s alleged complicity in the 2018 killing of Khashoggi, an American citizen. LIV Golf is being financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which is controlled by bin Salman.”
  • “From what I heard and what you guys reported, just take ownership of what it is,” Norman told reporters. “Take ownership no matter what it is. Look, we’ve all made mistakes, and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward.”
3. Khashoggi’s fiancee on Norman’s remarks
Our Matt Vincenzi…”Today as reported by the Telegraph, Hatice Cengiz who was Khashoggi’s fiancee, responded to Norman’s comments saying how she found them to be “so hurtful”.”
  • “It is so hurtful when Jamal’s brutal killing is brushed off as a ‘mistake’ and that we should just move on. Would you say that if it was your loved one?“
  • “How can we go forward when those who ordered the murder are still unpunished, and continue to try to buy back their legitimacy?
  • “We should not fall for their wealth and lies, and lose our morals and common humanity.
  • “We should all be insisting on the truth and justice; only then can we look forward with hope and dignity.”
4. Sagstrom takes Founders Cup lead
AP report…”Madelene Sagstrom shot a flawless 9-under 63 during a round she felt holes kept getting larger to take one-stroke lead over Megan Khang after the first round of the Cognizant Founders Cup on Thursday.”
  • “Nasa Hataoka, who won in Los Angeles in April before taking time off, was third after a 65 on the Upper Montclair Country Club course, roughly 10 miles from New York City.”
5. Homa’s dream foursome 
Our Gianni Magliocco…”For those who follow Homa on Twitter, his opening choice of Green Bay Packer’s QB Aaron Rodgers will come as no surprise. The two good friends teamed up together at the 2020 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and Rodgers even sent a congratulatory note on Twitter to Homa following his win on Sunday.”
  • “For his second selection, Homa turned to NBA star Steph Curry, who the golfer has repeatedly praised for his attempts to grow the game of golf, with the most recent being Curry’s introduction of a new junior golf tour.”
  • “Finally, Homa plumped for Tiger Woods, and when co-host Brian Knudson remarked that it was quite a group of talented golfers, the Wells Fargo champ stated: “You don’t want to be chasing golf balls all day.” Good point, Max.”
6. Stricker starts strong in Champions major
AP report…??”Steve Stricker shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday to take a two-stroke lead over Miguel Angel Jimenez and Wes Short Jr. after the opening round of the Regions Tradition, the first of five PGA Tour Champions majors.”
  • “Stricker, the 2019 champion, closed his bogey-free round with a birdie on No. 18 at Greystone Golf & Country Club. Jimenez, the 2018 winner, started on the 10th tee and broke out of a 10-player logjam at 4 under with a birdie on No. 8.”
7. From trash to the Tour
Colby Powell for Golf Channel…??”Kyle Wilshire was playing golf in Shawnee, Oklahoma, last week on the All Pro Tour, where he finished T-2 and was rewarded with a check for $8,000. He now finds himself near the top of the leaderboard on the PGA Tour after Monday qualifying into the AT&T Byron Nelson.”
  • “Wilshire, who turned pro in 2014 out of UCF, is making just his third career start on Tour, with the other two coming in the fall of 2021 and featuring a missed cut and a T-62. He was in fourth place when he signed his card on Thursday, five back of leader Sebastian Munoz.”
  • “It hasn’t been an easy road for the 29-year-old, who had knee surgery in 2018, didn’t play well in 2019 and then wound up taking a job as a trash porter in the evenings when golf was shut down during the early stages of the pandemic in 2020.”
8. Im out for PGA?
Ryan Lavner for Golf Channel…”Sungjae Im’s status for the PGA Championship is now in doubt after testing positive for COVID-19 in his native South Korea.”
  • “Im had returned home to play in the Korean Tour’s Woori Financial Group Championship but tested positive hours before the opening round and withdrew from the event, according to local news reports.”
9. Photos from the Byron Nelson
GolfWRX is live from this week’s Byron Nelson, where we have selected galleries including plenty of WITBs in our forum.
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‘It is so hurtful’ – Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée hits out at Greg Norman over recent Saudi comments

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At a press conference on Wednesday to discuss the LIV Golf International series, Greg Norman seemingly played down the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi was a columnist for the Washington Post and was brutally murdered in Turkey in 2018. It was later discovered that Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents in Istanbul.

When asked about the 2018 murder, Norman said: “From what I heard and what you guys reported just take ownership of what it is. Take ownership no matter what it is. Look, we’ve all made mistakes, and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward.”

Today as reported by the Telegraph, Hatice Cengiz who was Khashoggi’s fiancee, responded to Norman’s comments saying how she found them to be “so hurtful”.

“It is so hurtful when Jamal’s brutal killing is brushed off as a ‘mistake’ and that we should just move on. Would you say that if it was your loved one?

“How can we go forward when those who ordered the murder are still unpunished, and continue to try to buy back their legitimacy?

“We should not fall for their wealth and lies, and lose our morals and common humanity.

“We should all be insisting on the truth and justice; only then can we look forward with hope and dignity.”

Cengiz’ statement to the Telegraph was released through her attorney, Rodney Dixon QC. She has stated that her goal is to raise awareness in regards to Saudi Arabia’s human rights failures.

Norman has been attempting to separate LIV Golf from the political issues plaguing Saudi Arabia, but thus far it’s been mostly unsuccessful in the public eye.

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