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Morning 9: Stiffening Tiger, limited practice | Koepka, McIlroy on slow play | Ko responds to ‘haters”

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By Ben Alberstadt ([email protected]; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

August 8, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans. 
1. Stiffening Tiger, limited practice
ESPN’s Bob Harig reports on a stiff and ginger Wednesday for Tiger Woods at The Northern Trust…
  • “Woods spent most of the back nine of his pro-am round Wednesday just chipping and putting as he experienced stiffness and soreness during his early-morning warm-up session and did not want to take any chances prior to the start of the Northern Trust on Thursday.”
  • “It’s best to be smart about it,” Woods said afterward. “This is kind [of] how it is; some days I’m stiffer than others.”
  • “…All was fine during a nine-hole Tuesday practice round with Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Harold Varner. Woods then attended a dinner with players in the running to make the U.S. Presidents Cup team that he will captain in December.”
  • “Woods said. “As I’ve said to you guys all year, this is how it is. Some days I’m stiffer than others. Yesterday I was out there hitting it great. Driving it out there with Brooksy and D.J. Today, I’m stiff. Hopefully I’m not that way [Thursday].”

Full piece.

2. BK and Rory on slow play
Via Andy Kostka of Golfweek…
  • Koepka: “I get that you can take a long time for your thought process, but once you’re done thinking about it, just go. What else is there to do? That’s been the problem I have,” Koepka said Wednesday. “It’s just gotten out of hand. It seems now that there are so many sports psychologists and everybody telling everybody that they can’t hit it until they are ready, that you have to fully process everything. I mean, I take 15 seconds and go, and I’ve done all right.”
  • McIlroy: “For me, I think the guys that are slow are the guys that get too many chances before they are penalized,” McIlroy said. “So, it should be a warning and then a shot. It should be, you’re put on the clock and that is your warning, and then if you get a bad time while on the clock, it’s a shot. That will stamp it out right away.
  • “I don’t understand why we can’t just implement that. We are not children that need to [be] told five or six times what to do. OK, you’re on the clock. OK, I know if I play slowly here, I’m going to get penalized, and I think that’s the way forward.”
3. Lydia to the “haters”
Perhaps a coincidence the post comes a day after former coach David Leadbetter questioned Ko and her parents…
(Via Ko’s Instagram)
4. Cards are on the line!
If the drama of the FedEx Cup Playoffs doesn’t quite capture your attention, a reminder about the opposite end of the spectrum: the end of the Korn Ferry Tour’s regular season.
  • Golf Channel’s Will Gray…“The Korn Ferry Tour will conclude its regular season this week at the Winco Foods Portland Open, with 25 players earning guaranteed promotions to the PGA Tour for the 2019-20 season. China’s Xinjun Zhang currently tops the season-long points race, with veterans Henrik Norlander (eighth), Mark Hubbard (ninth) and Zac Blair (10th) all set to return to the main circuit.”
  • “Former college standouts Robby Shelton and Scottie Scheffler are second and third, respectively, in the standings, and they’ll become PGA Tour rookies next season. So, too, will Maverick McNealy, who moved from 28th to 20th at the regular season’s penultimate event.”
5. Not keeping track
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Two weeks ago, Koepka won the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational ($1.745 million) followed by the Wyndham Rewards for earning the most FedExCup points this season ($2 million) and the Aon Risk Reward Challenge ($1 million). That’s $4.745 million in two weeks with three FedExCup playoff events and a $15 million bonus for the points leader, who is currently Koepka, looming.”
  • “While most would be keenly aware of the financial possibilities of the next few weeks, Koepka explained that he’s never been fixated on that side of his profession.”
  • “I just love the competition,” he said on Wednesday at The Northern Trust. “I think back to when I’m 5 years old, and you wanted to be the best player in the world…”

Full piece.

6. Tiger talks 
Tiger Woods has, historically, always had his talking points in interviews. We’ve heard him discuss how “his kids associated golf with pain” for the 15-time major champion, but it’s still an astonishing truth.
Woods expanded on the theme Wednesday, walking with CBS This Morning’s Dana Jacobson during his full-shot free pro-am…
  • (Per Golfweek’s Bill Speros) “Daddy has won golf tournaments, and he’s not the YouTube guy. He’s not the YouTube golfer. You know, that they – that they’ve seen the highlights,” Woods said in an interview with “CBS This Morning” correspondent Dana Jacobson set to air Thursday. “They see highlights of that guy. You know, I’m not that guy. I can still do it.”
  • ...”I am just Dad. That’s all they know. They associated golf with pain. And, you know, that was – that’s – you know, still is one of the tougher things that they’re both excited I’m playing again. But also, ‘You OK, Dad?’ You know, that kinda thing. It – ’cause they – they remember those times when Dad couldn’t get off the couch,” Woods said.

Full piece.

7. Why Stenson is skipping 
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker…
  • “Though it was known since Friday when the field was announced that the Stenson, 43, wouldn’t be teeing it up at Liberty National, the reason was unclear until Tuesday. Stenson announced on Instagram that he was skipping the PGA Tour’s postseason so he could “practice and recharge [his] batteries” in his native Sweden before playing in the Scandinavian Invitation later this month.”
  • “Formerly known as the Nordea Masters on the European Tour, the Scandinavian Invitation is scheduled for Aug. 22-25-the same week as the PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake, where $15 million will go to the season-long champ.”

Full piece.

8. Dinner on Harry?
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch…“During the pro-am at the Northern Trust, the world No. 3 was given a target by his caddie Harry Diamond: shoot better than 3-under on his own ball and the bagman would pick up the tab at a planned dinner with friends on Friday night in Manhattan. A relaxed McIlroy cruised around Liberty National with a couple shots to spare, leaving Diamond likely facing a bill with a comma in a couple days. Diamond admitted he won’t mind if the boss keeps up that scoring pace and wins on Sunday, since his share of the $1.6 million first prize would cover the tab at New York’s finest eateries.”

Full piece.

9. Well played, Fax! 
Credit to Geoff Shackelford for spotting this piece from Joe Kayata at NBC-10 Providence.
  • “Metacomet Golf Club is a 118-year-old Donald Ross design that was once one of the state’s most luxurious golf courses that attracted the who’s who of Providence.”
  • “But since the recession in 2008, the club hit hard financial times and membership has suffered.”
  • “That’s until a new investment group that features Brad Faxon purchased the course in March with the intention of restoring the club to its former glory.”
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  1. bruce

    Aug 8, 2019 at 8:07 am

    My idea to address slow play:

    1. All players in a tournament to have their shots timed.
    2. After Thursday’s play a list of every player’s average time taken to play their shots is published so everyone can see who is the slowest,
    giving all a chance to improve the following day.
    3. After Friday’s play, the top five slowest players have one extra shot added to their score.
    4. This will mean that those on the cut line may miss out, those at the top may lose the chance of finishing in top spot.

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Morning 9: Malnati ahead in Bermuda | Nicklaus’ endorsement for president | Save the range pickers!

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected]
October 30, 2020 
 
Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Malnati leads in Bermuda
AP report…”Peter Malnati saw his infant son at a PGA TOUR event for the first time since the pandemic, which brought a smile to his face and another birdie on his card for an 8-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the Bermuda Championship.”
  • “The tournament is the first to allow limited fans – no more than 500 a day at Port Royal – since the opening round of THE PLAYERS Championship on March 12.”
  • “The final birdie was the ninth of the round for Malnati…”
2. Nicklaus urges voting, endorses Trump
Yes, the M9 avoids all things political, but when the elder statesman of the game makes his endorsement, outlets rush to pen a piece, thus…
 
USA Today’s Jace Evans…“Legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus posted a statement to Twitter on Wednesday night urging people to vote and detailing why he cast his ballot for President Donald Trump.”
  • In Nicklaus’ view, Trump has “delivered on his promises” and “worked for the average person,” while being “more diverse than any President I have seen and has tried to help people from all walks of life – equally.”
3. Opinion: PGA Tour gets it right with return of spectators
A letter from reader Mark Harman to the Morning Read…“If the Sanford International is any indication, and if what experts are saying about the slim chances of outdoors transmission of the coronavirus is accurate, it appears as if having 2,000 spectators at a golf event should be OK.”
  • “We also know that the PGA Tour’s medical staff would not have signed off on this week’s Bermuda Championship and next week’s Houston Open having spectators if they perceived it to be a problem.”
  • “I understand trepidation from Hawkins, but none of the feared scenarios speculated earlier by him or Morning Read’s Alex Miceli has come to fruition. Let’s have some confidence in the PGA Tour continuing to get this right.”
4. Save the range pickers!
As a man who spent many an hour in my teens and 20s driving the picker, I sympathize…
  • Dylan Dethier quoting Daniel Berger for Golf.com…“When we moved up to Jupiter, my dad [a former tennis pro] got into contact with Ivan Lendl, who was one of his tennis peers back in the day,” Berger says on this week’s Drop Zone podcast. “And Ivan set us up with the pro at a course called the Dye Preserve in Jupiter. The pro, Matt Doyle, took me under his wing. He gave me a job at the course: I picked the range. Every day. I would set up the range on the weekends and close it down, sunrise to sunset.”
  • “I do not hit stingers at guys picking the range,” he said. “Camilo [Villegas, then a member of Dye Preserve] did that to me one time and the cart that I was driving was like, 20 years old, it was all rusty on the side and he slapped it into the rust, which hit me in the face. After that, I was like, ‘I’m not hitting balls into pickers anymore.'”
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. 
 
5. Tom Lewis turns to PGA Tour to reignite career
BBC’s Iain Carter…”England’s Tom Lewis is the latest to commit to America as he searches for a breakthrough that would, at last, allow him to fulfil massive potential.”
  • “Despite flashes of genuine quality, the 29-year-old has still to fully realise his spectacular early promise. It helped him lead the 2011 Open at Royal St George’s as the first amateur to shoot 65 in the Championship’s history.”
  • “Since then, Lewis – who was named after Tom Watson, with whom he played during that famous round at Sandwich – has won twice on the European Tour without becoming the force that was anticipated.”
  • “Now he has concluded he must fully commit to the PGA Tour to find out the full extent of his talents. This week Lewis plays the Bermuda Championship with his mind made up that the US circuit should be his main priority.”
 
6. Zalatoris aiming high at Bermuda Championship
Kevin Prise for PGATour.com on Willy Z (established nickname? Should be…)’s pursuit of Special Temporary Membership…
  • “Zalatoris, 24, has taken the golf world by storm since the Return to Golf in June. The Dallas resident via San Francisco has recorded 14 top-20 finishes in his last 15 starts between the PGA TOUR and Korn Ferry Tour, including three top-10s in four TOUR starts this fall: sixth at the U.S. Open, eighth at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, and fifth at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Now he’s just 3.035 non-member FedExCup points shy of securing Special Temporary Membership, which would allow him to accept unlimited sponsor’s exemptions for the remainder of the 2020-21 PGA TOUR season.”
  • “With his top-10 in Las Vegas, Zalatoris earned a spot in this week’s Bermuda Championship, where a two-way T69 finish or better will earn him the requisite non-member points needed to equal or surpass No. 150 in the 2018-19 FedExCup standings. (The official magic number is 288.035 points; Zalatoris currently has 285.)”
  • “In a way, Zalatoris is playing with the house money. He finished in the top 10 on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List through the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, so he’ll get some starts on the PGA TOUR in 2020-21 regardless of this week’s outcome…”
7. Brooks Koepka clears up PGA kiss controversy with girlfriend Jena Sims
Jaclyn Hendricks for the NY Post…While participating in an Instagram Live Q&A on Monday, Sims was asked why the 30-year-old golfer didn’t kiss her before the final round of the 2019 PGA Championship, a moment now forever ingrained in social media meme-story.
  • “When you’re walking in, there’s a million different things going on, and we’d always gone a certain way,” Koepka explained of the tournament, which took place at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale.
  • “But there was a big group of people, the one way that we had usually gone, and decided we were going to go a little different route, just because of so many people blocking it,” he continued. “I kind of was going to grab Jena, and tell her to come this way, I didn’t realize – she thought we were going to separate, I thought we were going to walk in together.”
8. New PGA pres
AP report…”Jim Richerson was elected the 42nd president of the PGA of America on Thursday at a virtual annual meeting that included Tim Rosaforte becoming the first journalist to be awarded honorary membership.”
  • “Richerson, the senior vice president of operations for Arizona-based Troon Golf, succeeds Suzy Whaley, He previously was general manager and director of golf for Wisconsin-based Kohler, where he first was elected a PGA officer.”
  • “The PGA of America, which has some 29,000 members, held its annual meeting virtually for the first time in its 104 years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
 
9. “They probably suck at golf” 
Jack Seddon for GolfMagic…“Varner returns to action on the PGA Tour this week at the Bermuda Championship and speaking to the media ahead of the event, the World No.120 ripped into the dinosaurs of our sport who have an issue with hoodies on the golf course…”
  • “The funniest part is I was watching the Panthers play, I had some beers and I’ve had people ask me about a hoodie,” Varner said. “I’m like, ‘Damn, is it really a hoodie?’ They’re like, ‘What’s the deal with the hoodie?’ So I had about five or six people ask me about a hoodie and I just, I said, ‘The problem with golf is that we’re talking about a freakin’ hoodie.’
  • “My tweet had nothing to do with a hoodie, it’s the fact that we’re talking about a hoodie and we’re not worried about how we’re going to get more people into golf and how we’re going to grow the game. That’s the part that’s funny to me because some people are bitter, man. They want it to be like a certain way.
  • “I don’t really care that you’re mad what I think of a hoodie, you know, and if you really think a hoodie’s a problem, then you probably suck at golf anyway.”
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GolfWRX Classifieds (10/28/20): Olson putter, Titleist TS4, PXG 0811X Proto

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member Luke1333 – Olson 303 Stainless

There are putters—and then there are putters! This Olson 303 is made from stainless steel and features a simple site dot, along with a sound slot for improved feel. This is by far not the least expensive putter you’re going to find, but it could be the nicest!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Olson Putter

Member Footjoy16 – Titleist TS4 driver

Have some shafts with Titleist tips already kicking around and looking to build a low spin monster? The Titleist TS4 is one of the lowest spinning heads on the market and this is your opportunity to flatten that trajectory.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Titleist TS4

Member staust5 – PXG Proto 0811X driver head

PXG is known for doing things a little different, and the 0811X Proto drivers were released under the radar—almost stealthy—and have slowly made their way into the hands of the public. Now is your chance to get a used one for a really nice deal!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: PXG Proto

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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Morning 9: Topgolf, Callaway merge | Tiger won’t tee it up in Houston | The lost major of 2020

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By Ben Alberstadt
October 28, 2020 
 
Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Merger alert: Callaway, Topgolf 
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard with the details of the chevron’s now-controlling interest in the golf-entertainment chain it previously owned 14 percent of…”Callaway and Topgolf announced on Tuesday an all-stock merger with an implied equity value of Topgolf of approximately $2 billion.”
  • “Together, Callaway and Topgolf create an unrivaled golf and entertainment business,” said Chip Brewer, Callaway’s president and CEO. “We’ve long seen the value in Topgolf and we are confident that together, we can create a larger, higher growth, technology-enabled global golf and entertainment leader.”
  • “Callaway invested in Topgolf in 2006 and the equipment manufacturer already owned 14 percent of the open-air entertainment company. That agreement included an integrated partnership at all Topgolf venues.”
2. The lost major of 2020
Excellent stuff from John Huggan at Golf Digest on the decision to cancel the 2020 Open Championship…“On March 23, as soon as the United Kingdom officially joined multiple nations around the globe in COVID-19 “lockdown,” Slumbers began talks with the game’s other power brokers. Alongside the R&A chief executive, representatives of the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the LPGA Tour, the USGA, Augusta National and the PGA of America sat down in an attempt to assemble and salvage a viable tournament schedule for the remainder of the year.”
  • “All to no avail as far as the 14th Open at Royal St. George’s, on England’s southeast coast, was concerned. By April 6, Slumbers had released a statement saying that the “champion golfer” of 2019, Irishman Shane Lowry, would have to wait at least another 15 months to defend his title over the Kent links.”
  • “In those 13 to 14 days, we covered ground that in normal times would have taken a year’s worth of thinking,” Slumbers said. “We all worked together, which is a very powerful point to make. That doesn’t happen often. But you build friendships in good times, and all of us knowing each other as well as we do really paid off. It was like putting together a jigsaw without a starting point. It really was extraordinary.”
3. Tiger won’t tee it up in Houston
Golf Digest’s Ryan Herrington…“Steinberg told Golf Digest’s Daniel Rapaport via phone on Tuesday: “There was some speculation whether Tiger would play Houston based on what he said at Sherwood, but he has decided to prepare for the Masters at home.”
4. Masters taketh away Par 3 Contest, giveth ESPN’s College GameDay
Adam Schupak for Golfweek…”Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, announced the Masters, scheduled for November 9-15, will provide an expansive slate of content across multiple platforms, including ESPN’s College GameDay airing live from Augusta National on Saturday, November 14.
  • “Given the circumstances brought about by the pandemic, the delivery of quality content is as important as ever to the storytelling of the Masters Tournament,” said Ridley. “While we will dearly miss our patrons at Augusta National this fall, we are excited to showcase what promises to be a truly memorable Masters in a variety of ways for viewers around the world.””
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. Zalatoris speaks (writes)
The rapidly rising Mr. Zalatoris for Golf Digest…”and I don’t know how much ghostwriting was done, but “Willy” is proficient with the pen…He begins “It’s summer 2007. “Ticks” by Brad Paisley has just come out and, yes-it’s a jam. Every prepubescent Dallas boy has these lyrics on LOCK … including me. Little Willy Zalatoris, all 11 years of age, daydreaming about singing it to his fifth-grade crush. Anyway, I’m sitting in the car with my friends, Cade Storey and Jordan Spieth. Cade’s mom had just picked us up from a junior event that, shocker, Jordan dominated and won by eight strokes.
  • …”We’re chatting away as we pull up to a stoplight when, bam, “Ticks” hits the airwaves and … I’m not sure whether it was the high from winning, but Jordan goes full Paisley and starts belting it out like there’s no tomorrow. Eyes closed, shoulder shimmies, singing into his water bottle-the whole nine yards. The kid almost cracked the windshield with his voice. Man, to this day, I haven’t laughed so hard in my life.”
6. Time to pay up, son…
Golf Digest Alex Myers… “George Kittle claimed Koepka owes him a set of golf clubs during an interview with Candlestick Chronicles. Apparently, Koepka enlisted the San Francisco 49ers superstar in a push-up challenge back in March and Kittle says the new sticks were part of the deal.” “Im a man of my word, I got him”
7. A Canadian on the rise
Scott MacLeod for Flagstick.com…“Conners’ play at Sherwood Country Club boosted him to 68th in the rankings, putting him two spots ahead of Hadwin. He still trails good friend Mackenzie Hughes in the battle for top Canadian, Hughes is in the #53 spot after a flurry of fine play at the end of the 2020 schedule.  The top two spots are key as they represent the team positions for the 2021 Olympics in Japan. Qualifying runs until June 21, 2021.”
8. Why did this take so long?
CBC report…”A review is underway in P.E.I. after two teen girls questioned why boys get to play twice as many holes in school golf tournaments.
  • When sisters Brayah and Lexie MacDonald joined Montague Intermediate’s school golf team last year, they discovered that girls play nine holes instead of 18.
  • The two sisters said that ability, not gender, should determine how many holes a student plays.
  • “Why is it not fair and equal for everyone?” Brayah said.
  • On Oct. 22, the province responded to the girls’ concerns, announcing it would review school sports to ensure gender equity.”

Full piece.

9. Woods: ‘I rolled it great’ – Why Tiger’s assessment of his putting at the Zozo is at odds with reality
Our Gianni Magliocco…“on his website in a piece by journalist Daniel Rapaport, Woods gave this head scratching assessment of the positive he’ll be taking from the Zozo.”
“The only thing I can take out of this week that I did positively is I putted well. I feel like I rolled it great. Unfortunately, they were all-most of them were for pars and a couple for bogeys here and there, but not enough for birdies.”
  • “Unfortunately for Tiger, that’s just not true.”
  • “For his four days at the Zozo, Woods lost over 3 strokes to the field on the greens. Of the 77 players in the field last week, Woods was 65th in putting. In what parallel universe, especially for arguably the greatest player ever, could that be considering ‘putting well’?”
  • “It was Woods’ second-worst performance on the greens since the Tour’s restart, and it’s worth a reminder that even before last week Tiger was in the midst of his worst form with the putter of his career.”
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