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GolfWRX Morning 9: Wild stuff at U.S. Am | Tiger looks good | Kaymer keeps card | Will TW pick TW?

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

August 15, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans. Looks like all the limited release Tiger Woods’ “Frank” hats are sold out. While it’ll never be Arnold Palmer’s umbrella logo, it seems TW’s famed headcover is being embraced as his avatar.
1. Squires!
AP report on what went down at the U.S. Am…”Austin Squires beat qualifying medalist Brandon Wu 2 up on Wednesday on the first day of match play at the U.S. Amateur.”
  • “Squires, a former Cincinnati player who lost to eventual champion Viktor Hovland in the quarterfinals last year at Pebble Beach, was the last player to advance from two rounds of stroke play at Pinehurst No. 2 and No. 4. He needed four holes in a 27-for-3 playoff to claim the final spot in the 64-player field.”
  • “It was kind of nice that I had already played a couple holes before the match,” Squires said. “Granted, it was on (course No.) 4, which (is) a little different, but it was kind of nice. It was a little easier getting rhythm.”

Full piece.

Round of 64 highlights via the USGA here.

2. “Nary a grimace” 
Steve DiMeglio…”There was no hint of injury and nary a grimace. Many shots were hit with force, all chip shots and putts with touch. From the first tee through the 18th green in Wednesday’s BMW Championship pro-am at Medinah Country Club, Tiger Woods walked and played without restriction.”
  • “With the skies bright and Woods on the cheerful side, it was a far different atmosphere from last Friday when he woke up to back pain and was forced to withdraw from the Northern Trust in New Jersey with an oblique strain.”
  • “It was nice to take those days off, and I had to just let it calm down and get a bunch of treatment on it, and it feels so much better,” Woods said of his back. “I played nine today, played the front nine, and played well, which was nice to see, nice to feel. Definitely doesn’t feel like it did on Friday, that’s for sure.”

Full piece.

3. Twilight, aching backs draw Woods, WIlliams together
Excellent stuff from Karen Crouse at the New York Times…
She begins…”Tiger Woods was walking with his pro-am playing partners Wednesday at Medinah Country Club when he heard that Serena Williams had pulled out of a tournament in Ohio because of back spasms. It was the second time in the span of three days that she was forced to drop out of a competition. The same injury also forced Williams to retire during the first set of the Rogers Cup final in Toronto.”
  • “Woods could relate. He withdrew before the second round of last week’s FedEx Cup playoff opener at Liberty National Golf Club when he awoke after an opening four-over 75 bothered by a strained oblique muscle that left his surgically repaired back feeling stiff. Five days later, Woods said he felt much better, but as a precautionary measure, he refrained from hitting full shots during the second nine of his pro-am before the BMW Championship, which starts Thursday.”

Full piece.

4. Kaymer keeps his card
Golf Channel’s Will Gray on how Martin Kaymer is keeping his PGA Tour card…
“Former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer will be allowed to retain conditional PGA Tour membership for the 2019-20 season despite falling short of the Tour’s requirement that a player make at least 15 starts in a season.”
  • “Kaymer has won two majors and The Players, but his five-year exemption for winning the 2014 U.S. Open expired when he missed the cut at the Wyndham Championship earlier this month. The German teed it up only 14 times on Tour this season and finished No. 150 on the points list, a position that would normally merit conditional membership that goes to Nos. 126-150 on the final standings. But because he came up one start short, his case went to the Tour’s competitions committee and ultimately the office of commissioner Jay Monahan.”
  • “At issue was The Open at Royal Portrush, where Kaymer was first alternate to begin tournament week but never got into the field. According to a Tour official, Kaymer was planning to play the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky that week but instead flew to Northern Ireland in hopes of a tee time that never materialized.”

 

5. Will Tiger pick Tiger?
Quite a conundrum!
  • Golf Channel’s Nick Menta…“Tiger Woods said Wednesday he still wants to make the U.S. Presidents Cup on his own. But with only this week’s BMW Championship left to play before the qualifying window closes, he can’t.”
  • “Woods, the U.S. captain, is currently 13th on the points list, and even a win this week at Medinah will not push him inside the top eight.”
  • “That begs the question: Will Woods use one of his four captain’s picks on himself?”
  • “It’s going to come down to the top eight guys, myself and my vice captains about who are the next four slots,” he said, “and whether that’s me and three other guys, or it’s just four other guys.”

Full piece.

6. HV3’s inner circle
An interesting morsel on the relationship between HV3 and his coach, via Steve DiMeglio…
  • “…he considers Scott Hamilton, director of instruction at Cartersville Country Club in Georgia, a critical part of his “Inner Circle.”
  • “You’re really not doing much instruction. You’re really keeping a guy on a path,” Hamilton said of working with PGA Tour players. “That’s really what my job is.”
  • …”That’s all it is, golf, eat and sleep,” Varner said. “Practice all day. I enjoy doing that; I don’t know how much longer in my life it’s going to be like that. I’m not going to be a kid forever, but I’m going to try to use that as long as possible.”

Full piece. 

7. BMW to renew
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski…It appears as if BMW is staying on as title sponsor of the PGA Tour’s second FedEx Cup Playoff event.
  • “According to a report in Wednesday’s Chicago Tribune, BMW is set to pull a U-turn after indicating it would end its long-running sponsorship of the tournament that formerly was the Western Open and is run by the Western Golf Association. The Tribune reported that BMW is set to sign a new three-year contract for $15 million to $18 million annually.”
  • “The about-face reportedly was initiated by the incoming chairman, Oliver Zipse, who takes over Aug. 16. BMW has been the title sponsor of this tournament since 2007. It was believed that the luxury automaker was interested in diverting its golf-sponsorship resources to the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis. A tournament source said that still might happen in addition to retaining its ties to the PGA Tour.”

Full piece.

8. Shipnuck on PGA Tour hopeful Justin Lower
He writes…”Lower’s broad perspective was born of family tragedy. When he was 15, he was waiting to be picked up at Lyons Den Golf Course, in Canal Fulton, Ohio, but his father, Tim, and brother Chris never made it. In the wake of their fatal car accident, Justin lost himself in the game. Lyons Den became his sanctuary. He was given a key to the shed where the range balls were stored and he hit them by the hundred.”
  • “I wasn’t working on anything,” he says. “It was just therapeutic.”
  • “With golf and sorrow so inextricably linked, Lower had a heavy heart as he embarked on his pro career, after having played at Malone University. But going home again has brought him a newfound peace. Five years ago he reconnected with the one of the most popular girls from his high school, Janice Sandrock. Back in the day, he was a golf nerd and she was a cheerleader, ergo, “She wouldn’t talk to me,” Lower says. They are to be married this fall, and late last year they bought a house in their old hometown. Lower is now once again frequenting Lyons Den, a par 69 of 5,591 yards at which his best score is a 58. Everyone there knows his name.”

Full piece.

9. Brooks knows!
PGATour.com’s Andrew Tursky on some bold Brooks Koepka footwear (Photo cred: PGATour.com)
  • “Brooks Koepka, considered one of the best athletes in golf history, wore golf shoes on Wednesday as a tribute to a man considered one of the best overall athletes in history: Bo Jackson. Actually, Koepka and Jackson played as partners in the Wednesday pro-am at Medinah Country Club ahead of the 2019 BMW Championship.”
  • “The  “Brooks Knows” slogan on Koepka’s shoes put a little twist on the popular “Bo Knows” marketing campaign, featuring Jackson, which started in 1989 for Nike cross-training shoes.”
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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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Morning 9: Masters Champions Dinner is on | Can TW find his 2019 Masters form? | Other side of the golf gambling coin

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected]
October 27, 2020 
 
Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. The putt that kept DJ at No. 1
Golf Channel’s Mercer Baggs…“Thomas birdied the 72nd hole Sunday at the Zozo Championship, joining Rahm in a share of second place for the tournament. That was just enough to keep Rahm from regaining the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking.”
  • “Johnson, who did not play the Zozo as he continued to recover from a bout with COVID-19, leads Rahm by just over .08 points. Rahm, in turn, is .11 points ahead of Thomas, who stands third in the OWGR.”
2. Masters Champions Dinner is still on
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…“Tiger Woods confirmed Saturday at the Zozo Championship that the annual Champions Dinner is still a go.  Woods, who won his fifth green jacket two Aprils ago, said the plan is to hold the dinner on Nov. 10, in its usual Tuesday night slot during Masters week. The dinner, though, will be relocated to downstairs in the iconic clubhouse, so they have more room to socially distance.”
  • “I think we’re not going to get a lot of the past champions coming because obviously they’re at the at-risk age,” Woods said. “It’s going to be a shame, but this is unlike any times we’ve ever had in the past, so we’ve got to do what we can do to obviously have the traditions that we’d like to have but also maintain safety guidelines.”
3. Can Tiger rediscover his 2019 Masters form?
He’s not exactly on pace to, writes ESPN’s Bob Harig…“The lead-up to the Masters in 2019 saw Woods play five times in the three months prior to the tournament, with his best result a tie for fifth at the WGC-Match Play. He was not a back-nine contender at the Farmers Insurance Open (20th), the Genesis Invitational (15th) or the WGC-Mexico Championship (10th)”
  • “But those results were far better than what we’ve seen since in the post-shutdown events. Woods’ best tournament was a tie for 37th at the PGA Championship. He missed the cut at the U.S. Open. In each of the six tournaments he played, Woods was never closer than 8 shots through 36 holes.”
  • “At least he showed some flashes at the first five events, where he gained strokes on the field in approach to the green. But even that aspect of his game was off at Sherwood, where he was near the bottom of the field.”
  • “And not much else was very good. Woods was 70th in the 77-player field in strokes gained off the tee; 71st in stroke gained tee to green; 55th in proximity to the hole; 21st in strokes gained around the green; and 65th in strokes gained putting.”
4. Shackelford’s ZOZO observations
An interesting point among many other of note…including the “funerary” milieu at Sherwood…The Sunday range scene was…intense. If you ignored the lack of fans and just watched players warm up, you sensed big money, a nice title and pre-Masters momentum was on the line. Matthew Wolff and instructor George Gankas engaged in a spirited putting lesson up to his tee time. And I mean, right up to his tee time. Eventual winner Patrick Cantlay’s instructor Jamie Mulligan was shuttling from his Virginia Country Club member-guest duties to keep a watchful eye on his student. The overall intensity seemed like the old days, minus too many range volunteers and agents blocking your view.”
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. Pagdanganan just missed averaging 300 yards off the tee at the LPGA Drive On Championship
Golf Digest’s Keely Levins…“She’s averaging 288.8 yards for the season, besting fellow bombers Maria Fassi (282.2 yards) and Anne van Dam (281.8 yards) to lead the tour. But at the LPGA Drive On Championship at Reynolds Lake Oconee, Pagdanganan was hitting it far-even for her.  According to the tour, Pagdanganan’s longest drive of the week came during Saturday’s third round, when she hit her tee shot on the 18th hole 317 yards. She had an iron into the green with her second shot, while others had to lay up on the closing par 5.”
6. I’d be honored….
Golf.com’s Nick Piastowski on a truly bizarre/spectacular moment in the history of golf on television.
  • “As Thomas got ready to swing during Saturday’s third round of the Zozo Championship, Dion began to sing. A home near the 18th turned the speaker dial as far right as it would go. Then it dialed up the last stanza of the song.”
  • “You’re here, there’s nothing I fear”
  • “And anybody that can hit a shot through Celine Dion music coming from one of the nearby houses, it’s big,” announcer Dan Hicks said on the Golf Channel broadcast.
  • “And I know that my heart will go on”
7. Vandals hit Ontario course
If you live North of the border and have any information, help the folks at Lake St. George Golf Club out…
  • CTV Kim Phillips…”Provincial police in Orillia are asking for the public’s help to find the culprit who caused thousands of dollars in damage to a Severn Township golf course.  Police say someone drove a vehicle onto the Lake St. George Golf Club on South Sparrow Lake Road in Washago, ripping through the fairways and greens over the weekend.  According to its Facebook page, this is the first time in the club’s 40 years that anything like this has happened.”
8. The possible other side of the golf gambling coin
George Peper for Links with a cautionary scenario…Consider two big differences between golf and arena sports such as football and baseball. Number one is the proximity of the gallery to the players, and number two is the absence of loud “white” noise. We’ve all watched telecasts punctuated by yahoos yelling “Baba Booey.” Consider what might happen if one of those liquored-up clowns has a big bet on the line.”
  • “The Tour currently deals with such incidents by escorting the offender off the course, but there’s no way to prevent such an incident from occurring-especially if the disturbance is caused not by a stumbling drunk with a $100 bet but a deadly serious shark with a lot to gain.”
  • “Let’s say there’s a professional gambler, a shady character, who has placed a big bet on a player to win The Players Championship and stands to reap a seven-figure payout if it happens. And let’s say his horse is now in the clubhouse with the winning score and just one player has a chance to tie him, if he can sink a three-foot putt on the final green. Shady, in order to protect his bet, has hired a stooge who is standing beside the green. As the player takes his putter back, Stooge fires a blast from an air horn.”
  • “The ball never hits the hole. Stooge goes to jail for a week and pays a $50,000 fine, a pittance compared to the fee he receives from Shady, who is the big winner. The big loser is golf.”
9. Sawgrass turns 40: Some or the real beneficiaries are tour pros…
Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…“TPC courses have hosted more than 400 professional tournaments, with the rent-free venues allowing for bigger purses and charitable donations…”
  • “It’s those world-class players, though, who may have the most to celebrate. For them, the TPCs are a lot more than a bucket-list destination. They’re a lifeblood; a top-quality driving range, an impeccably groomed course (or two), a place to find a game or just a putting contest. For them, it’s hard to overstate the importance of former TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman’s totally revolutionary “Stadium Golf” invention those many moons ago.”
  • “It’s home,” said 2014 FedExCup champion Billy Horschel, who lives in Ponte Vedra Beach and practices at TPC Sawgrass, where his coach, Todd Anderson, is Director of Instruction at the PGA TOUR Performance Center. “It’s been a great place to practice, to get better.”
  • “About 77 professionals from the six PGA TOUR-owned-and-operated tours play out of TPC Sawgrass…”
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