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Morning 9: Do tour pros cheat? A caddie’s take | Monahan: I believe Patrick Reed | Brooks is back



By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected] and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram and golfwrxEIC on Twitter.
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January 7, 2020

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans. A hot launch week rolls on… Thanks to anyone who, despite their better judgment, elected to give me a follow on Twitter yesterday.
**Drop me a line ([email protected]if you’d like to talk about getting your message in front of the M9 readership. Banner and native ad possibilities are, well, possible** 


1. “I believe Patrick”
Perhaps, you’re unhappy being served another helping of Patrick Reed stew (it has a sandy consistency). And while it’s a lukewarm dish at this point in the minds of many, it’s significant to note the PGA Tour’s commissioner has offered his line-toeing take on the Reedian fiasco and fallout.
  • Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine...”When asked whether Reed deserved further disciplinary action for what unfolded in the Bahamas, Monahan said he felt the punishment was fitting while siding with Reed.”
  • “Golf is a game of honor and integrity, and you’ve heard from Patrick,” Monahan said. “I’ve had an opportunity to talk to Patrick at length, and I believe Patrick when he says that [he] did not intentionally improve [his] lie. And so you go back to that moment, and the conversation that he had with [rules official] Slugger [White], and the fact that a violation was applied and he agreed to it, and they signed his card and he moved on.
  • “To me, that was the end of the matter.”

Full piece.

2. BK returneth
ESPN’s Bob Harig with the report…”No. 1-ranked Brooks Koepka is set to return to competitive golf next week for the first time in nearly three months after dealing with a knee injury that kept him out of the Presidents Cup.”
  • “Koepka’s agent, Blake Smith of Hambric Sports, said in an email Monday that Koepka will return at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, a European Tour event that the golfer had committed to some time ago. The tournament had announced Monday that Koepka would be taking part in a pre-tournament exhibition on Jan. 14.”
  • “Brooks’ rehab for his knee has gone great the past three months and he has met all of his physical therapy goals,” Smith said. “He feels as good as he ever has and is excited to tee it up next week.”
3. All-time captain?
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak disagrees with Paul Azinger’s suggestion that Tiger Woods ought to be the U.S. Ryder/Presidents Cup captain until deposed.
  • One of his points…”There’s no doubt that Woods deserves to be U.S. Ryder Cup captain – likely in 2022, or as soon as he wants the job. And I would pencil him in to return to the Presidents Cup in 2021. After all, both Fred Couples and Jack Nicklaus did three consecutive tours of duty, so there’s plenty of precedent for an encore performance. But I want to see Tiger manage a victorious Ryder Cup team before I hand him the keys to the kingdom in perpetuity, and, in particular, a road triumph. The U.S. hasn’t won on foreign soil since 1993. Let’s see him end that streak and then we can talk.”

Full piece.

4. Rory in for Farmers
PGA Tour report…”Rory McIlroy, 2019 PGA TOUR FedExCup champion, 2019 PGA TOUR Player of the Year and defending PLAYERS champion, has committed to the 2020 Farmers Insurance Open, set for January 22-26 at Torrey Pines Golf Course.”
  • “McIlroy, who has won 18 times on TOUR, returns to Torrey Pines after finishing T5 in his Farmers Insurance Open debut in 2019. The 30-year-old from Northern Ireland became the second player to win multiple FedExCup titles last year and won three TOUR events in 2019 – THE PLAYERS Championship, RBC Canadian Open and TOUR Championship.”


5. Do tour pros cheat?
Cheating is “not really” a problem on the PGA Tour, according to Golf Digest’s Anonymous Caddie
  • He (or she) says: “Yes, we all have stories. Hard not to after nearly a decade out here. But it’s not as prevalent or excessive as some might believe. Even the players who carry less-than-stellar reputations, or have been dinged before, are not as bad as they’re portrayed. In my estimation, and talking with other caddies, these guys often make unintentional mistakes that rarely happen twice.”
  • “Well, save for one international guy. Just an absolute nightmare when it comes to law-breaking.”
  • “Whatever trick you can imagine-fudging coins, liberal drops, patting behind the ball for a better lie-he does it, and does so without remorse. His big tell is carrying a driver or fairway wood from the tee to his position in the rough. Takes out more grass than a weed whacker. But, honestly, he’s the exception.”
6. Future Prez Cup sites
Via Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”…Having just returned from America’s 16-14 victory in the Land Down Under, TMOF couldn’t help wonder where will his dog-eared passport be stamped next?”
  • “We already know that the 2021 edition of the biennial competition is a USA home game at Quail Hollow in Charlotte. But The Forecaddie has gone ahead and made a down payment on an AirBnb North of the Border after hearing from multiple sources that the 2023 Presidents Cup is expected to return to Royal Montreal Golf Club, which hosted in 2007. Anyone think Mike Weir for International Team captain, eh?”
  • “International Team Captain Gary Player hugs Mike Weir during Opening Ceremonies for the 2007 Presidents Cup at The Royal Montreal Golf Club. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA Tour)”
  • “The bigger question is 2027, where the likes of Argentina, China and Mexico will be seeking to host for the first time while Australia and South Africa will be under consideration for an encore performance. But let’s not forget another country with Presidents Cup aspirations. New Zealand is turning into quite the golf destination and Royal Auckland is prepping for its potential close up.”

Full piece.

7. “Gusted”
A new word enters the golfing lexicon: gusted.
  • Via Golfweek’s Todd Kelly…”We heard it a couple times on TV and later in the interview room from the tournament’s playoff runners-up, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Reed.”
  • “Reed talked about the wind on the 18th hole, which he birdied in regulation and on the first playoff hole.”
  • “Unfortunately I had two putts really to close it, and one of them I got gusted on, and then this last one with the wind and the break, just got me again,” he said.”

Full piece.

8. The meditations of Harry Higgs
Excellent reflections from the SMU alum for Golf Digest, and an impressive devotion to capital letters.
“MY DAD TAUGHT MY YOUNGER BROTHER AND ME HOW TO PLAY GOLF. We mimicked him hitting Wiffle balls in the back yard. We’d draw golf courses on the kids’ paper tablecloths at restaurants. Our parents realized we were obsessed, so they got us junior sets.”
“IT WAS COMPETITIVE BETWEEN MY BROTHER AND ME ALMOST IMMEDIATELY. We pushed each other and tried our best to beat each other. We lived on a golf course, so I could ride my bike to the golf shop. I remember playing in summers, sunup to sundown.”

Full piece.

9. Australia on their minds
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…“Several professional golfers are doing their part to raise money for those affected by the Australian bushfires.”
  • “Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, Nelly Korda and Jessica Korda are among those who have pledged donations based on the number of birdies and eagles they make at upcoming tournaments.”
  • “Smith, who is from Brisbane, plans to donate $500 for every birdie and $1,000 for every eagle he cards at this week’s Sony Open.”


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Morning 9: PIP winners I Player changes LIV tune I Augusta National changes



By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.

For comments: [email protected]. On Twitter: @benalberstadt

November 23, 2022

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Eat, drink, be merry, and please, count a few blessings tomorrow! We’re grateful to put this little roundup together for you weekday mornings and truly appreciate your readership.

1. Your PIP winner is… staff report…”Tiger Woods was No. 1 in the 2022 PGA TOUR Player Impact Program (PIP) for the second straight year, the 82-time TOUR winner earning the top impact bonus of $15 million.”

  • “Rory McIlroy, who won the FedExCup for an unprecedented third time, returned to world No. 1, and over the weekend captured the DP World Tour’s Race to Dubai, finished second ($12 million).”
  • “…Jordan Spieth ($9 million), Justin Thomas ($7.5 million), Jon Rahm ($6 million), Scottie Scheffler ($5.5 million), Xander Schauffele ($5 million), Matt Fitzpatrick ($5 million), Will Zalatoris ($5 million) and Tony Finau ($5 million) rounded out the top 10.”
Full piece.

2. What do the stats say

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”statistically speaking, the case can be made that 2022 was McIlroy at his peak—and we’re not counting his performances behind the podium as the lead defender for the two tours in their ongoing battle with LIV Golf.”

  • “According to DataGolf, McIlroy’s true strokes gained for 2022 was 2.61, with Scheffler a distant second at 2.23. (Even more remarkably, McIlroy’s number does not factor in his win at the CJ Cup in October.) For context, that number is better than McIlroy’s 2014—a season in which he won two majors and a WGC—which was 2.51. It was also a whopping stroke better than his output from last year (1.56). McIlroy also led the PGA Tour in strokes gained with a 2.12 mark; Matt Fitzpatrick was second at 1.79.”
Full piece.

3. Gary Player changes his tune on LIV — again

Via the Golf Channel digital team…”Speaking two days ago to reporter Mahlatse Mphahlele, Player shared some quick thoughts on the ongoing rift between LIV and the PGA Tour, calling for respect and happiness while asserting that he takes no issue with players who have joined Greg Norman’s startup league.”

  • “I have no objection to people going and playing the LIV tour,” Player said. “I think it is wonderful to give people an opportunity to make some money when they can’t play anymore. Most of them are going out there with a new lease of life, and that is fantastic. But what I don’t like is the war that is happening between LIV and the PGA [Tour]. Golf is too good. Golf gave us our dream to start the tour and play. And so, we must have – the word is respect across the board. We’ve all got to have respect for each other and go on with our own lives. But if you have [membership on] the LIV tour, don’t expect to play and have the facilities of the regular [PGA] Tour. Because they are two different tours.”
  • “I just hope everything works out well and everybody is happy.”
Full piece.

4. Changes to ANGC’s 13th

5. A Tiger Sunday Red Masters shirt at auction

E. Michael Johnson for Golf Digest…“In recent years there has been a spike in interest in Tiger Woods auctioned memorabilia. Most of the items have been golf clubs used by the 15-time major champion. A new lot up for bid by Golden Age Auctions presents a different opportunity, allowing bidders to vie for a vintage Sunday red Nike shirt worn by Woods in the final round of the 2010 Masters.”

  • “The auction, which begins on Tuesday, ends on Saturday, Dec. 10 with a starting bid of $5,000, though the final price is expected to far exceed that (Editor’s Note: Golf Digest has a business relationship with Golden Age Auctions).”
Full piece.

6. Vice Captain Colsaerts

“European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald’s team of assistants is beginning to take shape, with Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts named as his third Vice Captain alongside Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari.”

  • “Colsaerts has a memorable history with the Ryder Cup, having been part of the 2012 European team that beat the USA at Medinah. He played a pivotal role in that victory on the Friday when he partnered with Lee Westwood to beat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in the fourball session – a performance that included eight birdies from Colsaerts.”
  • “After being handed the role, Colsaerts drew on memories from that tournament to explain how he would approach next year’s event. He said: “My first reaction when Luke asked me was sheer joy. Every time I hear the words ‘Ryder Cup’, it takes me back to the edition I played in, how proud I was to wear the European colours and be part of such an unbelievable event. Of course, Luke was in that team too, and when we spoke he mentioned how much he has always loved what the Ryder Cup means to me.”
Full piece.

7. Anna Davis picks a college

Cameron Jourdan for Golfweek…“Anna Davis has decided where she wants to play college golf.”

  • “The 16-year-old who won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April announced Monday she has committed to the Auburn women’s golf program via her Instagram account. Davis posted a photo with Tigers’ coach Melissa Luellen and assistant Kim Hall.”
  • “Last week, Davis’ twin brother, Billy, committed to play for the Auburn men….However, whether Davis ever makes it to Auburn remains to be seen. She could turn professional before ever teeing it up for the Tigers. The early signing period for her class is next November.”
Full piece.

8. Tiger and Rory to be hit by Musk’s Twitter purge

Jamie Hall for…”Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will be the most-affected golfers by Elon Musk’s promised Twitter purge.”

  • “Musk, the new owner of the social media giant, has promised to crack down on fake and spam accounts since forking out $44billion to buy the site earlier this year.”
  • “According to an audit of false accounts carried out by using SparkToro software, Woods has the highest number of fake followers, with a massive 2.6million of the accounts following him deemed to be false.”
  • “McIlroy is also followed by a high number of spam accounts on 1.1million, around 100,000 ahead of Ian Poulter.”
Full piece.

9. Wedge Stamping Caviar

Pop open a tin of the finest beluga, GolfWRXers… In all seriousness, it’s less jelly-like substance, more richness of intrigue than salt-cured roe at Wedge Stamping Caviar as we present to you some of the finest instances of hammer-and-stamp work on the PGA Tour.

  • In this initial serving, we’re mining photos from October and November at PGA Tour stops, including the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, the Cadence Bank Houston Open, and the RSM Classic.
  • So grab your mother-of-pearl spoon and dig in — with restraint, please.
Full Piece.
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Tour Photo Galleries

Wedge Stamping Caviar: Have More Fun Edition



Pop open a tin of the finest beluga, GolfWRXers… In all seriousness, it’s less jelly-like substance, more richness of intrigue than salt-cured roe at Wedge Stamping Caviar as we present to you some of the finest instances of hammer-and-stamp work on the PGA Tour.

In this initial serving, we’re mining photos from October and November at PGA Tour stops, including the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, the Cadence Bank Houston Open, and the RSM Classic.

So grab your mother-of-pearl spoon and dig in — with restraint, please.

The traditional K.I.S.S. stamping on a BV proto: first and last initial, demonstrated here by Andrew Landry. Bonus points for the bounce angle (8) stamp.

When your last name is something imposing/interesting, you’re definitely stamping it on your wedge as Cole Hammer has done here in a “University of Texas” colorway.

Simple, perfect stamping for Xuewen Luo. 

Patrick Cantlay is still rolling with a SM7. Ultimate K.I.S.S. to stick with a previous generation wedge with stamped initials. Bent loft (47 degrees) is a classy touch. 

Excellent #perspective on Kevin Roy’s 54-degree Vokey.

Anytime a custom grind wears off the loft number, it’s caviar. Lovely patina on Woodland’s Wilson, too. 

Another favorite motif: Tiny initials pattern (as demonstrated by Palmer Jackson). 

The Webb Simpson traditional. Maybe the longest-serving stamping on Tour. 

Not a stamping on Akshay Bhatia’s Jaws Raw, but we’ll serve it up anyway for reasons immediately discernible to the seasoned palate. 



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WOTW: Lydia Ko’s Rolex Yacht-Master 40 in Rose Gold



Lydia Ko won twice this weekend with her victory at the CME Group Tour Championship that also earned her the 2022 Rolex Player of The Year award. The CME win was her 19th LPGA Tour victory and her third this year. While collecting all of her trophies, Ko was wearing a Rolex Yacht-Master 40 in rose gold.

WOTW Specs
Name: Rolex Yacht-Master 40
Reference: 126655-0002
Limited: No
Date: 2019 – Present
Case: Everose Gold
Bezel: Black Cerachrom Ceramic
Dial: Intense Black
Size: 40mm
Movement: Rolex 3235, 31 Jewels
Power Reserve: 70 hours
Glass: Saphire Crystal Cyclops Lens
Waterproof: 100 Meters
Bracelet: Black Oysterflex Rubber Strap
Price: $28,050 (~$32,000)

The Rolex Yacht-Master was introduced in 1992, and it was the first new model in the Rolex line since the Daytona was launched in 1964. The unconfirmed story of the Yacht-Master was that it was originally intended to be an updated Submariner. Rolex couldn’t make such a large change to the most iconic watch that had ever been produced, so the Yacht-Master was born. Yacht-Masters have always embodied luxury and included a precious metal in the watch. The first Yacht-Masters in 1992 were made from solid yellow gold and a few dial options. The Yacht-Master saw a lot of success, but it really took off in 2012 when the Rolesium, platinum and steel, model with the silver dial was released. Since then the Yacht-Master has been one of the most underrated watches in the Rolex lineup.

Lydia has been wearing this Yacht-Master 40 in Everose gold for a little while now as we saw it on her wrist back in April of 2021. The case is 40mm wide and is made from Rolex’s own 18k Everose gold. Rolex created their own rose gold alloy to ensure that the precious metal could meet their strict quality and durability requirements. Rolex stopped outsourcing and created their own foundry in the early 2000s to make its own gold, rose gold, and platinum for its watches.

The caseback on Ko’s watch is matching Everose gold and screws into the case giving the watch a 100 meter water resistance rating. On the side of the case is a screw down crown that is made from Everose gold and features a Triplock seal waterproof system. On tope of the case is the Yacht-Master’s legendary chunky bidirectional bezel. The bezel itself is made from Everose gold and contains a matte black Cerachrom ceramic insert. The ceramic insert is extremely scratch resistant and won’t fade from long term exposure to saltwater and UV rays.

The raised numerals on the bezel are polished for a contrasting look that is easier to read. A sapphire crystal covers the Intense Black dial and there is a magnifying Cyclops lens covering the date at 3 o’clock. Large Everose gold hour markers surround the dial and are filled with Rolex’s Chromalight luminescent material that glows with more of a blue light. The hour, minute, and second hands are all made from polished Everose gold and filled with the same Chromalight material.

The heart and brain of the Yacht-Master 40 is Rolex’s Calibre 3235 movement that is found in a few other Rolex models. The 3235 is a self-winding movement that uses the blue Parachrom hairspring that keeps accurate time regardless of the temperature and is very shock resistant. Rolex’s designed the Parachrom hairspring in house so they can control the quality and the acceptable tolerance is 0.1 microns, or about 1/1000 of a human hair. The 3235 has up to 70 hours of power reserve and is COSC certified to ensure its accuracy in all conditions.

A black Oysterflex strap holds the watch on the wrist and is far more than just a strip of rubber. Rolex encases flexible titanium and nickel “blades” in a high-performance elastomer. This metal spine adds durability while maintaining the soft comfort you expect from a rubber strap. The underside of the Oysterflex strap has a cushioning system molded into it that can also add stability on the wrist. An Everose gold Oysterlock safety clasp brings the strap together and contains Rolex’s Glidelock extension system to fine tune the fit without the use of any tools.

The Yacht-Master 40 in Everose has become a very popular model and is now hard to find at any Rolex dealer. Many didn’t think that a rose gold watch on a rubber strap would ever be something in high demand but that theory has been proven incorrect. If you can get one of these Yacht-Masters at the $28,050 retail price, then consider yourself lucky. Most will pay around $32,000 on the secondary market to get one on their wrist.

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