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Morning 9: JT! (and other winners) | Why were scores so low at Medinah? | Why Phil nearly missed his tee time

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

August 19, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans. If there was ever a golfer built for point-and-shoot golf in wet conditions, Justin Thomas is that man. Power. High apex. Steep swing to handle wet rough. JT always looks like a soft-course specialist on paper.
1 JT triumphant
The AP’s Doug Ferguson…“Justin Thomas had more stress than he needed Sunday before regaining control with four birdies on the back nine at Medinah to win the BMW Championship and claim the No. 1 spot in the FedExCup standings entering next week’s TOUR Championship at East Lake.”
  • “Thomas closed with a 4-under 68 for a three-shot victory over Patrick Cantlay, who shot 65 and moved into the No. 2 spot in the FedExCup standings.”
  • “Thomas started with a six-shot lead and still led by that margin through seven holes. Three holes later, Cantlay narrowed the lead to two shots with eight to play. Thomas, who earned his 10th PGA TOUR win, answered with three birdies on the next five holes, and Cantlay couldn’t keep up.”

Full piece.

2. Season over for TW
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…”Woods provided a glimmer of hope with Saturday’s 5-under 67, but he fell well outside the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings after a final-round 72 Sunday at the BMW Championship.”
  • “…Woods finished the week 7 under overall and recorded his first bogey-free round of the season Saturday. He made back-to-back birdies at four and five Sunday to get to 9 under and provide a glimmer of hope early in the day. But he stalled out from there and just wasn’t able to give himself many birdie looks.”
  • “Now we won’t see Woods again until October, when he’ll almost certainly begin his 2019-20 season at the inaugural ZOZO Championship in Japan. He’s also slated to play an exhibition skins event that week with Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama.”
3. Meanwhile, among the guys who don’t play for money…
Win one for the bespectacled! 
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard..“Georgia Tech’s Andy Ogletree defeated Vanderbilt’s John Augenstein 2 and 1 in the 36-hole final match to win the 119th U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst on Sunday evening.”
  • “Earlier this week Augenstein explained his strategy of winning the first six holes, and he did just that, taking an early 4 up lead through the first five holes. Ogletree, a Yellow Jacket senior, was able to weather the storm and eventually cut the deficit to 2 down after the opening 18 holes on Pinehurst No. 4 with a clutch birdie on No. 18. Through the first 18 holes, Augenstein was 4 under while Ogletree finished 3 under.”
  • “For the first time in history, the 36-hole final match took place over two courses: Pinehurst No. 2 and No. 4. After a 2 hour break, the finalists teed off on Pinehurst No. 2 at 2:30 p.m. ET for the final 18 holes of the tournament.”

Full piece.

4. A repeat Czech master
AP report…”Thomas Pieters shot a 3-under 69 Sunday to become the first golfer to win the Czech Masters for the second time, beating Adri Arnaus by one stroke.”
  • “Pieters took a three-shot lead after a birdie on the seventh only to bogey the eighth. The overnight leader added a birdie and a bogey on the back nine in the final round to finish on 19-under 269 for his fourth European Tour victory, and his first since the 2016 Made In Denmark tournament.”
  • “I felt like I was in control today, almost the whole day and I kind of did my own thing,” Pieters said.

 

5. …and at the World Invitational…
BBC report…”Stephanie Meadow earned an emotional home win at the World Invitational in Northern Ireland after holding off England’s Charley Hull by one shot.”
  • “Solheim Cup star Hull had a four-foot eagle putt on the 18th to draw level but missed as Meadow, 27, holed out for par to take victory at Galgorm Castle.”
  • “Playing in her first pro event in Northern Ireland, Meadow’s level-par 73 gave her a 10-under-par total.”
  • “Jack Senior beat Matthew Baldwin in a play-off to win the men’s event.”

Full piece.

6. Scottie!
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…”Scottie Scheffler already earned his PGA Tour card by finishing in the top 25 of the Korn Ferry Tour regular season points list.”
  • “He carried that momentum into the first of three Korn Ferry Tour finals events and won the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.”
  • “There are 25 PGA Tour cards available in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals series, while 25 were handed out for the top points finishers at the conclusion of the regular season. The top 75 players in the regular season advanced to the Finals, along with PGA Tour players who finished 125th-200 on the FedEx Cup Points list.”
  • Scheffler shot 4-under 67 in the final round Sunday at Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course for a two-shot victory. He totaled a 12-under 272 for the week and finished two shots ahead of Brendon Todd, Beau Hossler and Ben Taylor.

Full piece.

7. Why so low? 
Plenty have been wondering why so many red numbers (and four course records) were posted at Medinah…
PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister reports on the matter…
  • “It doesn’t matter what golf course it is. You give us soft good greens and soft fairways, we’re going to tear it apart,” Thomas said after his 11-under 61 that included two back-nine eagles. “It’s just how it is.”
  • Indeed, the conditions this week have essentially left Medinah defenseless. Rainy weather has softened up the course, turning greens into dartboards. The wind on Friday came from a different direction than the first round, throwing a few players off, but for the most part, it has been a non-factor.
  • When Finau first stepped on the course Tuesday for his first practice round at Medinah, he never expected the birdiefest that has developed.
  • “I was almost convinced single digit was going to win,” Finau said his 68 on Saturday – his highest score of the week. “It’s a long golf course. I felt like it was going to firm out. Obviously hasn’t firmed out.

Full piece.

8. Phil and the phire
Wild stuff made wilder by Mickelson breaking the news on Twitter… 
  • “Mickelson said on Twitter that lightning struck the hotel where he was staying, leading to an evacuation. One problem: He was staying on the top floor, his clubs were in his room and his tee time at Medinah was approaching.”
  • “Kind of a funny deal,” Mickelson said after ending his season with a 71 to fail to reach the Tour Championship. “The building got struck by lightning right above me and blew out a brick chimney and caught fire a little bit. There were 10 fire trucks. I got in my car and left and couldn’t get back. The roads were closed and the hotel was closed.”
9. Have modern drivers made the game too easy? 
Golf Channel’s Will Gray on some noteworthy remarks from one Adam Scott
  • “…But in the Aussie’s eyes, the scoring this week highlights a glaring issue with the current state of the game. Scott pointed to shorter layouts like Colonial and Harbour Town as examples that length is not synonymous with challenge, and believes that the task required of top players has become overly simplified.”
  • “If you require us to shape tee shots to get it in play, I think we’re going to struggle,” Scott said. “We just play straight. Everything straight. And if you had to draw a driver to get it in the fairway, down where you want to be and long, then I think we’re going to see different scores. But while there’s an option to go over trees and go over bunkers, it’s just relentless.”
  • “The driver is the most forgiving club in the bag now. You swing as hard as you can and get it down there far, it’s not skillful. It’s not a skillful part of the game anymore.”

 

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  1. Ryan

    Aug 19, 2019 at 8:29 am

    Decision making is the difference between -24 and -10 winning scores. These courses need to force players to make decisions off the tee instead of “see straight fairway, hit fairway”. Par 5s that are 600 yards are reached in 2, par 4s that are 500 yards are driver, 8 iron for some, 250 par 3s are 4 irons. When you force the player to not think and just bomb the ball the game is easier for them. Force them to curve the ball off the tee with the driver, or force them to make decisions and then scores will come down. There’s a reason why the guys that putt the best each week are the contenders, there’s decision making in putting. It shows who is reading the greens and making putts.

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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.””
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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. 
 
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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 
 
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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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