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Morning 9: Woodland triumphant | “Cockroach” Koepka | Brooke = Canadian GOAT | No Tiger til Portrush

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By Ben Alberstadt ([email protected])

June 17, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1.Woodland!
AP report…”Gary Woodland denied Brooks Koepka’s bold bid at history with two clutch shots and made U.S. Open memories of his own, starting with that silver trophy in his hands at Pebble Beach.”
  • “Woodland finished in style Sunday. He holed a 30-foot birdie putt for a 2-under 69, giving him the lowest 72-hole score in six U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach and a three-shot victory over Koepka, who was going for a third straight U.S. Open.”
  • “Koepka had to settle for a footnote in history as the first player with all four rounds in the 60s at the U.S Open without winning. But he made Woodland earn every bit of his first major championship.”
2. A quick detour to the LPGA Tour…
Brook Henderson now winningest Canadian pro golfer, man or woman, ever.
  • BBC report…”The 21-year-old, who won the Lotte Championship in April, hit a two-under 70 to finish on 21 under, one stroke ahead of a four-way tie for second.”
  • “Henderson has now won nine LPGA titles, giving her the most wins for a Canadian golfer on either the PGA or LPGA Tour.”
  • “Earlier this year, to get my eighth win and to tie that record was a huge deal for me,” said Henderson. “To now breakthrough that is awesome. I’m just really excited for the rest of the summer and hopefully many more wins in the future. It’s really special.”

Full piece.

3. Koepka the “cockroach”
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker…
  • “He’s like a cockroach,” Xander Schauffele said. “He just won’t go away.”
  • “Koepka did not win on Sunday at Pebble Beach to join Willie Anderson as the only other player ever to claim three straight U.S. Open titles.”
  • “So what? He doesn’t know much about Anderson, or Google, anyway. And he doesn’t even like golf, remember?”
  • “Koepka, who finished second three strokes behind winner Gary Woodland, is the best player in the world and that much he does know. He just wasn’t the best for four days along the Monterey Peninsula, though he was close.”

Full piece.

4. Hovland sets amateur scoring record
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”On Sunday, Hovland birdied the 18th hole to finish with a final round 67, giving him a four-day total of 280 (-4) and setting the 72-hole scoring record for an amateur in U.S. Open history.”
“Hovland broke the mark held by Jack Nicklaus…Hovland opened his week with a 69 on Thursday, then posted 73-71 before his Sunday 67.”
5. See you at Royal Portrush, Tiger
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”Don’t expect to see Tiger Woods again until The Open next month in Northern Ireland.”
  • “The 2019 Masters champion shot his best final round at the U.S. Open in 10 years on Sunday — despite a horrific start to the round — to finish tied for 21st and take a bit of satisfaction out of what had mostly been a disappointing week.”
  • “Woods’ 2-under-par 69 came after he bogeyed four of his first six holes. He played the final 12 holes in 6 under par. He previously broke 70 in the final round of a U.S. Open in 2009 at Bethpage Black.”
  • “Now he’s looking at skipping four weeks of tournament golf leading up to The Open at Royal Portrush, a plan that didn’t work so well heading into the PGA Championship but one that is likely part of a new reality for the 15-time major champion.”
6. Phil
Harig again on Phil Mickelson’s forgettable Open effort.
  • “You couldn’t help but know it was Phil Mickelson’s birthday on Sunday, as much as it was noted among the gallery as he played the final round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.”
  • “Mickelson managed to birdie the final hole and shoot 72 to complete a disappointing U.S. Open that saw him finish before the leaders teed off, never much of a factor in the championship he finished at 4 over par. And that 49th birthday he celebrated Sunday was yet another reminder that the opportunities to win the U.S. Open after six runner-up finishes are coming close to an end.”
  • “Well, I don’t know what else to say. It’s not like I’m going to stop trying,” said Mickelson, who has played in 28 U.S. Opens. “I enjoy the challenge. But I thought this was a really good chance for me.”
7. What we learned
From our Ron Montesano’s post-mortem on the 2019 U.S. Open
  • “Gary Woodland, the private man, and Gary Woodland, the public man, unite to form the man who captured the world’s attention this week. In 2017, Woodland and his wife quietly revealed that one of their expected twins had passed in the womb. Their son, Jaxson, was born early and light of weight, but improved in health with great and tender care. Now two years old, Jaxson and the Woodlands await the arrival of twin sisters later this summer.”
  • “In 2019, the golf world watched as Gary teamed with Amy Bockerstette during a practice round at the Phoenix Open. Bockerstette executed a series of unexpected shots on the par-3 16th to make par, supported all the while by Woodland. It was apparent that Woodland was invested in the entirety of the moment. Three simple words went back and forth between the pair: You’ve got this. On Sunday, at Pebble Beach, a tweet from Amy’s account arrived: You’ve got this, Gary Woodland.”
8. Pete Cowen
A good time to revisit this Pete Cowen Golf Digest “My Shot” (Cowen has recently worked with Gary Woodland on much-improved short game)
One of his best bon mots…“IMPROVING AT GOLF is not that big a deal. I can guarantee dramatic improvement from 15 minutes a day, without even using a club. But that commitment is way out of the range of most people. I spoke recently at a seminar attended by 500 Australian club pros. I said, “We’ve long known that exercising 15 minutes per day will add several years to our lives. Those of you who have spent 15 minutes daily over the last 10 years, raise your hands.” Not a hand went up. I said, “If you won’t commit 15 minutes to lengthening your very life, what makes you think you’ll devote 15 minutes to golf?” The problem comes down to actually doing it. It’s a very tough sell.”
9. The original 0311
I’d like to call your attention to GolfWRX’s new video series with PXG. It breaks new ground for the site, and biasedly, I think the results so far are excellent. Whatever your perception of Bob Parsons is, you’ll want to watch Johnny Wunder’s 25-minute interview with the PXG founder.

Watch it here.

 

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  1. James

    Jun 17, 2019 at 11:48 am

    Xander the cockroach. He just will not go away.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Interesting photos from the Zozo Championship

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This week is the Zozo Championship at Sherwood Golf Club, and with most of the worlds top golfers including Tiger Woods playing and prepping for the November Masters, there is a lot going on around the range when it comes to gear and testing.

As a reminder, you can check out all of our photos in the GolfWRX forums.

New Fourteen irons and wedges

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The irons are a throwback to a classic “channel back” style iron with mass positioned towards the top and bottom of the face to increase vertical stability of the blade while also maintaining feel.

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Justin Rose with Artisan lob wedge

The little shop from Texas continues to make big waves with more wedges spotted on tour every week including in former world number 1 Justin Rose.

Xander Schauffele’s new Apex irons and testing putters on Quintic

Xander’s prototype Callaway Apex irons look a lot like the newly released 2021 X-Forged irons but with obvious Apex branding. We also can’t forget about putting, and it’s cool to see a Quintic high-speed camera system on the practice green getting players dialed in to launch conditions just like how they would for a driver.

Ricky using older generation Cobra Amp Cell Pro Irons

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If there is one thing pros love, it’s a set of older irons—they’re the golf equivalent of putting on a pair of comfy broken-in jeans. For Ricky and his custom Amp Cell Pro’s with tungsten toe inserts, there must be some magic there because he has previously used multiple newer sets of irons but continues to gravitate towards these.

Shigeki Maruyama testing new Bettinardi putter

Shigeki isn’t someone to shy away from testing putters, and this week he was spotted testing one of the new Bettinardi putters that debuted last week in Las Vegas at Shadow Creek.

Pros are “just like us” – Justin Thomas and Mac Hughes edition

Yes, tour pros are just like us except for the fact that they are exceptional golfers, but even JT likes help in his long game and has a Titleist T300 3-iron in the bag, and when it comes to breakfast Mackenzie Hughes happens to like ketchup with his breakfast sandwich—although personally, I’m anti-ketchup when it comes to breakfast sandwiches.

Mickelson testing older X-Hot 3Deep

We’ve heard rumblings, of Champions Tour terminator Phil Mickelson testing 47.5″ drivers in the name of speed and distance, but as a way to also have a “fairway finder” it appears that he is contemplating putting his old X-Hot 3Deep in play. (Being able to identify a multi-generations old fairway wood from a distance based on its paint scheme is part of the reason we are WRX)

Gary Woodland testing Ping G425 driver

With the launch of the Ping G425 woods on tour a few weeks ago, it’s no surprise to see more players testing them in prep for the Masters, and for the fact that, they are the next evolution of the well-loved Ping G410—Gary Woodland is no exception.

 

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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.

General galleries

Special galleries

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.”
GolfWRX Recommends 
 
We think a quarterly journal is the best complement to a website that publishes dozens of articles daily. And while that might not make sense to you now, it certainly will once you subscribe to The Golfer’s Journal and dive into some of the best golf writing and photography around. 
 
GolfWRX may earn a commission on sales of “GolfWRX Recommends” products.
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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