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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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News

Morning 9: Pelley denies PGA Tour alliance spells doom | No fans for Farmers | Weiskopf on Rory

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected]; and find me on Twitter and Instagram.
December 1, 2020
Good Tuesday morning, golf fans. Welcome to the final month of 2020.
1. Pelley insists…
As he does better than anyone in the business, Geoff Shackelford provided context for and picked from the newswire items related to notable story…in this case, the surprise European/PGA Tour “strategic alliance…”
  • “Chief Executive Colorfully Coordinated sported a less-than-comforting black-on-black motif for Friday’s hastily-arranged Zoom to spin the European Tour’s “landmark strategic alliance” with the PGA Tour. “
  • “Based on the reports by those partaking in the call, Keith Pelley remained light on details about the surprising Thanksgiving Friday announcement. Skepticism was in order given that it’s traditionally a day reserved for only Grade A, First Team, All-World news dumps.”
  • “The Daily Mail’s Derek Lawrenson noted the 72 hour mention by Pelley and suggested the announcement was meant to torpedo an upcoming announcement.”
  • “The alliance has been years in the making but came together in the space of 72 hours as both tours look to kill off the upstart Saudi-backed Premier Golf League.”
2. No fans for Farmers
Golf Channel Digital team…”The Farmers Insurance Open will be contested without spectators because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it was announced on Monday. The event is scheduled for Jan. 28-31 at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California.”
  • “We recognize that COVID-19 requires dramatic modifications to the operations of our annual event,” said Marty Gorsich, CEO of the Century Club, a non-profit organization that operates the event. “We have been working closely with the PGA Tour as well as the county and city of San Diego in our planning. The safety and well-being of everyone affiliated with the Farmers Insurance Open and our community remains our top priority. While we will certainly miss the energy our fans bring to Torrey, we remain focused on delivering a PGA Tour competition that showcases the best players in the game set against the backdrop of one of the most storied courses in the world.”
3. Lincicome positive for COVID-19
Golf Channel Digital team…”Brittany Lincicome has withdrawn from this week’s Volunteers of America Classic after testing positive for COVID-19.”
  • “Lincicome made an announcement on Instagram last week, saying”
  • “Although I have been very cautious, unfortunately I have tested positive for COVID-19. My husband and baby girl are both negative. I am now self-isolating and working on contract tracing with all those I have been in contact with. I have mild symptoms but am very disappointed to have to withdraw from the Volunteers of America Classic. I will be isolating at home until it is safe to resume my schedule. I wish everyone the best of luck and look forward to when I can return to playing on Tour.”
4. The odds of DJ playing this week never great…
“The Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine: “The Masters champion is deciding to extend his post-Augusta break.”
  • “Dustin Johnson announced Friday that he will not be teeing it up in next week’s Mayakoba Golf Classic, the final PGA Tour event of the year.”
  • “After much careful thought, I have made the difficult decision to withdraw,” Johnson said…”My mind and body are telling me it’s time for a break, so I look forward to sending some much-needed time at home with Paulina and the boys. I know this is disappointing news and I sincerely apologize to all my friends involved with the tournament.”
GolfWRX Recommends 
One for the Memory Banks is part Final Rounds, part Dewsweepers, part To the Linksland, and part Rick Reilly—and 100% one of the best golf books you’ll ever read! This hilarious and heartfelt travelogue features stories of golf and friendship. If you’ve played golf in the UK, One for the Memory Banks will connect with you on so many levels—if you haven’t, this book will have you calling your travel agent!
Great gift for the holidays!
GolfWRX may earn a commission on sales of “GolfWRX Recommends” products.
5. Weiskopf on Rory
Adam Schupak talked with the venerable Tom Weiskopf about a range of subjects, including his belief that Rory McIlroy has caught the disease of complacency…
“I look at Rory McIlroy and I think golf is something just for Rory to do. I’ve said it for a while now that I don’t think he’ll win much more than the four he’s got or maybe five because I don’t see that determination and will to be the best. I think it is there in Dustin Johnson. I think he finally figured it out and this could propel him to win all four in one year.”
  • “GW: What is it about Rory that makes you think golf is just something “to do” for him?”
  • “TW: I don’t know what it is. Maybe the way he interviews. I don’t see any frustration. Life is good and it should be – he’s a multi, multi-millionaire and has a kid now – but I don’t see the Tiger attitude. It’s like he’s satisfied all the time. The guy is not a good putter…. I know Rory works out but I bet if you watched them both work out, Rory would be a lot of laughs and giggles and Dustin would be balls to the wall and forcing a little bit more on himself and that’s what he’s done. The way that he’s played this year, who the hell can beat this guy?”
6. Over 100k rounds played, but the city of London golf still loses $150k due to COVID-19
Brent Lale for CTV…”Tee sheets were packed nearly every day from opening to close after the courses opened in the middle of May. However starting two months later than expected made it difficult to make up lost revenue.
  • “We thought we would lose about $150,000 this year and we think we will be in and around those numbers,”” says McGonigle.
  • “Staggered tee times are usually at 8 minutes, and we began at 12 minutes. That’s about 360 people per day across four courses. With food and beverage and retail impacted it’s a difficult ground to make up.”
  • “The city says River Road Golf Club would have lost money even though the demand for golf was through the roof. Many city members were frustrated and even organized protests to object to the closure.”
7. Sirak: End of a long strange trip
Ron Sirak for LPGA.com…”In a month in which it wasn’t supposed to be playing, this week’s Volunteers of America Classic at The Colony near Dallas exemplifies adaptability and determination. Originally scheduled for Oct. 1-4, the VOA Classic changed dates, modified its format to exclude spectators and still provides women with what it is all about – opportunity.   “VOA serves on the frontlines of our nation’s COVID-19 response, helping those most at risk during the pandemic,” said Volunteers of America National President Mike King. “We know how important it is to take all necessary precautions to keep people safe, and holding this year’s tournament without spectators was the best thing to do.”
8. New leadership for Ping Europe 
Bunkered.co report…”Long-serving Ping Europe Managing Director, John Clark, will step down from his role at the end of this year, with current General Manager, Lisa Lovatt, taking up the position.”
  • “Lovatt, 51, will begin her new role on 1st January, with full responsibility for all of Ping Europe’s operations in Gainsborough, Cheadle and the four PING offices in Europe. She will report directly to PING Chairman and CEO, John Solheim.”
9. End-of-2020 call for submissions at GolfWRX
A new call for submissions at GolfWRX: Have your voice heard on the largest golf news website that publishes reader contributions!
Learn about the Featured Writer program in general, what we’re looking for with this call in particular, and how to easily submit your writing for publication.
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Equipment

The coolest wedge stampings on the PGA Tour (RSM Classic Edition)

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Wedge stampings are the eye-popping garnish on the glorious plates of golf equipment. Maybe this isn’t exactly the right metaphor, because, well, the parsley (wedge stamp) isn’t as mouth-water as the Wagyu (wedge), but you get the point…right?

Anyway, let’s look at some wedges from the RSM Classic a couple of weeks ago and see what stampings and paintfills the pros were showcasing at Sea Island.

You may not know Anthony Cordes, but surely you’ll want to add him to your shortlist of players to passionately root for after seeing this Wedding Crashers-inspired wedge.

Bo Van Pelt is a fairly cool dude. That usually happens if your name is “Bo”—the nomenclature brings with it a certain je ne sais quoi. When you’ve got initials that sound great together—BVP—you don’t need to add any unnecessary elements to the recipe.

We’ll assume Anastissia and Victoria are Brendan Steele’s daughters, and not that he has an appreciation for royalty of antiquity. Cool stamping with the pink-filled dots.

Look past David Hearn gaming 2011 TaylorMade TP MC irons to the lead tape and stamping on his SM4 (!) wedges. The Canadian knows what he likes!

Similar to the proposition raised in the Bo Van Pelt section: “Hank” is a fairly cool name. If you’re referred to as such, get it stamped on your wedge and call it a day.

Jhonattan Vegas’ Mizuno irons always feature tidy “JV” stamping, and he’s extended the treatment to his prototype Artisan wedges, which are peeking out below.

Also on the Mizuno front, Lucas Glover has his JPX 919 irons stamped with his initials (no paintfill—nastiness), but his 52-degree wedge feature the loft it is bent to (54 degrees)—a classic stamping.

Michael Gligic was the only “MG” in the RSM Classic field, so we’re assuming these are his wedges. They could, however, be stamped with someone with a real affinity for the model.

See more photos from the RSM Classic here. 

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Morning 9: Bezuidenhout wins Alfred Dunhill | Casey’s Saudi about-face | Jon Rahm a father-to-be

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected]; and find me on Twitter and Instagram.
November 30, 2020
Good Monday morning, golf fans. Happy to be back with all of you, and I hope Thanksgiving was filled with both good food and gratitude.
1. Bezuidenhout wins at Leopard Creek
EuropeanTour.com report…”Christiaan Bezuidenhout claimed his second European Tour title as a brilliantly composed bogey-free back nine of 34 handed him a four shot victory at the 2020 Alfred Dunhill Championship.”
  • “The home favourite entered the final day at Leopard Creek Country Club three shots off the lead and despite making a double and a bogey on the front nine to turn in 35, he had trimmed that gap to one at the turn.”
  • “As the rest of the leading contenders fought for their maiden victories, Bezuidenhout then used all of his experience to card three birdies on the way home in a 69 to finish at 14 under, clear of England’s Richard Bland, American Sean Crocker, Pole Adrian Meronk and South African Jayden Schaper.”
2. Rahms expecting
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”Jon Rahm had a little extra to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.”
  • “Sure, the 26-year-old won twice and reached No. 1 in the world for the first time, but that wasn’t why. Instead, Rahm revealed Friday via social media that he and his wife, Kelley, are expecting their first child.”
  • “Feeling extra grateful this year, Happy Thanksgiving from us and our growing family!” said Rahm, who didn’t disclose any other details.
3. Casey’s about-face on Saudi Arabia
Golfweek’s Tim Schmitt…”Paul Casey responded to those attacking him for hypocrisy after he previously stood strong against playing in Saudi Arabia — and now has agreed to play there in 2021.”
  • …“This is not a decision I’ve taken lightly. I wasn’t comfortable going in the past, but I have always been open-minded and willing to learn. I believe sport has the power to affect change. I’ve listened to the Saudi’s commitment to this and their vision for the future,” Casey said in a statement released to Golfweek a few other select members of the media.
  • “They have successfully hosted two professional ladies tournaments which shows that Golf Saudi have big plans not only for professional golf, but more so for grassroots and the next generation.”
4. Pedersen’s treble
Golfweek’s JuliaKate E. Culpepper…”It’s been a good November for Emily Kristine Pedersen.”
  • “Following rounds of 68-71-68, Denmark’s Pedersen shot a final-round 66 to win the Ladies European Tour’s Andalucia Open De Espana Sunday at 15 under — her third straight win.”
  • “Pedersen, 24, was coming off a pair of wins at The Saudi Ladies Team International at Royal Greens Golf & Country in Saudi Arabia.”
GolfWRX Recommends
One for the Memory Banks is part Final Rounds, part Dewsweepers, part To the Linksland, and part Rick Reilly—and 100% one of the best golf books you’ll ever read! This hilarious and heartfelt travelogue features stories of golf and friendship. If you’ve played golf in the UK, One for the Memory Banks will connect with you on so many levels—if you haven’t, this book will have you calling your travel agent!
Great gift for the holidays!
GolfWRX may earn a commission on sales of “GolfWRX Recommends” products.
5. Are Masters, U.S. Open ratings concerning?
Tim Schmitt at Golfweek with explanations for the…incredibly modest…ratings for the majors in general.
  • “The jumbled schedule didn’t help…The schedule we’ve all come to know and expect is the schedule for a reason. April is the perfect time to kick off the golf season and the Masters sees little competition in its familiar time slot. The U.S. Open has similarly enjoyed success due to its traditional Father’s Day placement and a fairly free spot on the sports calendar…”
  • “Football is still king…When it was announced that times for the Masters would be moved up to ensure there was little or no overlap with major college football games and the late NFL matchups, some golf purists were miffed…”
  • “More platforms, more splintering…Although CBS’ numbers for the PGA Championship were down, ESPN’s early coverage of the event saw a 35 percent increase in viewership and the largest average on cable since 2010.”
6. McGinley on PGA Tour/Euro alliance
Paul McGinley, who is looking quite impressive in his SkySports headshot, writes…”I think it’s the right partnership for the European Tour and I think it’s the right partnership for golf. There’s a long way to go, but I really do believe this is the beginning of something that’s the right thing for our sport.”
  • “The view that most people within the game would have is that there are too many governing bodies within the sport. This is the first real big step in tying everything together, which I think is something that golf needs.”
  • …”Three of the four major championships are played in America every year and a lot of the World Golf Championships have migrated back to the USA. I think the players can eventually expect, hopefully from a European point of view, a more international flavour to the world’s best events.”
7. Why Charles Barkley thought Phil was a bartender
Nick Piastowski for Golf.com…”Barkley had just been traded from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Phoenix Suns. Mickelson had just turned pro. And Mickelson’s then-girlfriend-now-wife, Amy, was a Suns cheerleader who wanted the two to meet.”
  • …”She says to me, ‘Will you play golf with my boyfriend, Phil?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, yeah, OK.’”
  • “She says, ‘You going to play golf with my boyfriend, Phil?’” Barkley said. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’ll play golf with your boyfriend, Phil.’”
  • “Three months go by. Still nothing.”
  • “She says, ‘Are you ever going to play golf with my boyfriend, Phil?’” Barkleys said. “I’m like, ‘OK, Amy, I like you. What’s the deal? What’s his name?’ She said, ‘Phil Mickelson.’
  • “I said, ‘What? You going out with Phil Mickelson?’ I said, ‘Amy in the future, you start out with my boyfriend, Phil Mickelson. I thought you were going out with Phil the bartender. I would have canceled everything I was doing to go play golf with the great Phil Mickelson. But she started out with, ‘My boyfriend, Phil.’ How the hell am I supposed to know his last name is Mickelson.”
8. Bezuidenhout’s winning WITB
Driver: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana DF 60 TX
3-wood: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana DF 70 TX
Hybrid: Callaway Mavrik Pro (19 degrees)
Irons: Callaway X Forged ’18 (4-PW)
Shaft: KBS Tour 125 S+
Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy Forged (50, 54, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400
Putter: Odyssey Works Big T #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
9. End-of-2020 call for submissions at GolfWRX
A new call for submissions at GolfWRX: Have your voice heard on the largest golf news website that publishes reader contributions!
Learn about the Featured Writer program in general, what we’re looking for with this call in particular, and how to easily submit your writing for publication.
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