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Morning 9: USO round 1 update | Peacock fiasco | JT, Reed, Rory, Tiger, and more

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1. At the top: JT (-5), Reed, (-4)
David Shefter for the USGA…“This venue that has dished out more over-par winning U.S. Open scores than any other in the post-World War II era (3) offered some leniency on Thursday in the opening round of the championship’s 120th rendition.”
  • “Perfect weather conditions coupled with receptive greens led to some of the world’s best players turning the tables on this challenging layout.”
  • “Led by Justin Thomas’ 5-under 65 – the lowest round ever recorded in a U.S. Open contested at Winged Foot – 21 players posted sub-70 scores on the 7,416-yard, par-70 West Course designed by A.W. Tillinghast. Thomas, the 2017 PGA champion, has plenty of company at the top of the leader board. Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, carded a 66 that included a hole-in-one. He is joined at that number by a pair of NCAA champions, Thomas Pieters (2012) and Matthew Wolff (2019).”
  • “Rory McIlroy, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, is among a group two strokes back, along with Louis Oosthuizen and 47-year-old Lee Westwood.”
2. Rory starts strong
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…“The most technical reason Rory McIlroy could give for why his opening rounds in major championships haven’t been his best in recent years was also the simplest: golf.”
  • “Maybe putting myself under a little too much pressure to get off to a good start,” McIlroy said. “The first round of a major you’re always anxious to play well, and maybe I’ve overthought it at times. I just went out today and just took what was given to me a little more relaxed and played really nicely.”
  • “That “relaxed” approach lifted him to a first-round 67 at Winged Foot, McIlroy’s lowest opening round at the U.S. Open since 2011, the U.S. Open that McIlroy won. It was also the lowest opening round for the Northern Irishman in any major since the 2014 PGA Championship, which he also won. In those 20 starts, he had a 72.35 scoring average.”
3. The great Peacock switch
Golfweek’s Todd Kelly…“NBC has a new app, maybe you’ve heard of it, or even Googled it. It’s called Peacock.”
  • “If you’re trying to watch the U.S. Open Thursday afternoon and you can’t find it, you probably feel like flipping someone the bird.”
  • “The 120th U.S. Open was on Golf Channel for six and a half hours earlier in the day and then on good old, over-the-air, free NBC for three hours but the final two hours of live golf have switched over to Peacock.”
  • “Problem is, Peacock doesn’t quite have Netflix-level penetration across the U.S. and many sports fans are probably still scrambling as this story was being typed, looking for that app..”
4. Opportunities squandered and a 73 for Tiger
Mark Cannizzaro at the NY Post…“Tiger Woods had his chances. Then he blew them.”
  • “Woods, 44, was on the cusp of vaulting himself into contention in Thursday’s U.S. Open first round at Winged Foot with a string of three birdies from Nos. 9 through 11 to get to 1-under par.”
  • “Then it all went wrong for him. In the end, Woods was victimized by too many unforced errors and tumbled down the leaderboard with a 3-over 73. He is in a tie for 71st place, eight shots out of the lead held by Justin Thomas, one of his playing partners.”
  • “After the round, Woods, who finished with a sloppy double bogey on the 18th hole, referenced his poor finish no fewer than six times, obviously agitated by it.”
5. DJ struggles
Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…“On a day of record-low scoring at Winged Foot, Dustin Johnson could only manage a 3-over 73.”
  • “The world No. 1 made only two birdies in softer, easier conditions Thursday to sit eight shots off the lead of Justin Thomas, whose 5-under 65 was the lowest score in six U.S. Opens held here.”
  • “I didn’t play great, didn’t make any putts,” Johnson said. “Obviously tomorrow, if I shoot a few under, I’ll get back in the golf tournament.”
6. …Phil too
AP report…”He found a grand total of two fairways over a 5-hour slog through the thick grass, sand and greens that he couldn’t figure out. He three-putted twice over the final four holes — including once from inside of 9 feet — and finished at 9-over 79. That tied his worst opening round in any major in his career.”
 
7. …and Spieth
Here’s the first helping of an excellent piece from Cameron Morfit at PGATour.com on Jordan Spieth’s opening round…”Jordan Spieth sounded exhausted. Frustrated. Cooked.”
  • “His 3-over 73 was far from the worst round at the 120th U.S. Open at Winged Foot, but it might have been the most eventful. He got his ball stuck in a tree (second hole, double-bogey), made three straight birdies (holes 4-6), hit just three fairways (Phil Mickelson style), and putted well (Jordan Spieth style).”
  • “At least there, on the greens, the 27-year-old still looks like the 2015 FedExCup champion.”
  • “There’s a lot that’s off,” he said. “I’m not really sure. If I knew, I’d fix it. So I’m kind of just – kind of working through it and looking forward to having a little more time off to figure it out.
  • “I mean, yeah, I’m late behind it,” he added. “The second I try to get back out in front of, it’s hooking.”
8. Kinder gentler Winged Foot
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…“Few sports cling to the past like golf and Winged Foot’s history is a brutish tale. In ’74, there were eight rounds under par … for the week. In ’06 when Ogilvy won – and, yes, Phil Mickelson lost – there were a dozen under-par rounds for the week and just one on Thursday, when the scoring average ballooned to a soul-crushing 75.98. By comparison, Thursday’s average of 72.42 looked like a typo.”
  • “There were two holes-in-one on Thursday, both at the par-3 seventh; Louis Oosthuizen holed out for eagle at the par-4 second hole from 148 yards; Rory Sabbatini had seven birdies on his card. And there were several more long shots and long putts that found the bottom of the cup in Round 1.”
  • “In the preamble to this week’s championship many players warned of the approaching storm that is the West Course, but some were comfortable acknowledging soft greens and perfect scoring conditions.”
  • “I did a radio show yesterday and told them I think guys will shoot 3 and 4 under … I could see somebody being 4 or 5 under through two rounds,” Brendon Todd, who carded a 68, said before offering an ominous warning, “then a little harder on the weekend.”

Full piece.

9. Davis Thompson and the all-Georgia threesome 
More good stuff from Cameron Morfit of PGATour.com reporting from the Winged Foot.
  • “The phone was in the bag. He put it there before the round, and by golly, it was going to stay there. Instead of snapping a photo, caddie Todd Thompson looked at the leaderboard and burned it into his memory.
  • “Davis Thompson, his 21-year-old son, was at 4-under-par and leading the 120th U.S. Open.”
  • “It was cool to see his name up there,” said Todd, who in his day job is the tournament director for The RSM Classic, the PGA TOUR’s regular stop in St. Simons Island, Georgia.”
  • “Cool? Well, OK, that’s an understatement, but then Todd and his son are understated guys.”
  • “Thompson bogeyed three of the last six holes for a 1-under 69 at Winged Foot, just four back of early leader Justin Thomas, while playing partners Harris English and Brendon Todd each shot 68. The all-Georgia group were the only threesome to all shoot under par in the morning wave.”

 

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Morning 9: Goodbye GolfChannel.com? | Terrible start for Tiger | Munoz in front at Zozo

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected]
October 23, 2020 
 
Good Friday morning, golf fans.

 

1. Sebastian Munoz leads Zozo
AP report…”Munoz twice holed out for eagle from a combined distance of 219 yards. He also had eight birdies. Throw in a wild tee shot for double bogey, three bogeys and only five pars and it added to an 8-under 64 and a one-shot lead.”
  • “That especially was the case for Woods. For the first time in his 1,277 rounds on the PGA TOUR as a pro, he made bogey or worse on three par 5s in a single round. That led to a 4-over 76 – by two shots his worst score in 49 rounds at Sherwood – that left him 12 shots out of the lead.”
  • “Munoz, the Colombian who played his college golf at North Texas, finished off his bizarre round by saving par from a narrow section of the front bunker with a 15-foot putt on the 18th hole.”
  • “He was one shot ahead of Tyrrell Hatton, the hottest golfer this month, and Justin Thomas, who had a hot finish…”
2. Kang in front
AP report…”Danielle Kang leads the Race to CME Globe and, at No. 5 in the world, is the top-ranked player in the LPGA Drive On Championship-Lake Reynolds Oconee. She showed why Thursday.”
  • “Kang shot a 7-under 65 for a share of the first-round lead with Jennifer Song.”
  • “I think I know the golf course a little bit better,” Kang said. “I’ve only played it once technically so it’s still very new, but I just tried to work on some pace drills on the greens and figure out the type of grass around here. I feel good about today.”
3. Tiger cards worst round at Sherwood ever
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Tiger Woods’ first title defense since 2014 didn’t start well.”
  • “Playing for the first time since last month’s U.S. Open, Woods was tied for 74th out of 77 players following a sloppy 4-over 76 at the Zozo Championship, which he won last fall in Japan. Although Woods declined to speak with the media following his round it wasn’t difficult to pin down his issues on Day 1.”
  • “Woods ranked 77th in the field in strokes gained: off the tee, 64th in fairways hit and 72nd in driving distance. He also made a mess of all but one of Sherwood Country Club’s par 5s.”
4. Goodbye, Golf Channel.com?
John Hawkins for the Morning Read with this heretofore unknown (to me at least) element of Golf Channel move to Connecticut…
  • “The most noticeable change in Golf Channel’s identity is likely to come from the dissolution of its website, GolfChannel.com, which will be integrated into NBCSports.com by the end of 2020 and become accessible only by the scroll-down menu so prevalent on other general-sports sites.”
  • “How big is the loss? We’ll have to see for ourselves. In terms of comprehensive golf coverage from horn to hoof, no journalistically based Internet domain can match GolfChannel.com’s consistency, timeliness and nose for news. The website has played a huge role in the network’s reputation for one-stop shopping. There might be a half-dozen or so other websites with similarly strong credentials, but none of them had a television network behind it, leaving us to wonder whether the NBCSports version will pack as much punch and volume as the original.”
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5. Sergio prepping for Master by – Playing pro tennis?
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers…“Garcia has long been a huge fan of the sport and an accomplished player, but now he’ll be putting his racket skills on full display at the H-E-B Pro Tennis Open in Austin. The event, which is part of the Dropshot Tournament Series, is scheduled for Oct. 25-Nov. 1.”
6. I mean…yeah…
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…“It would be nice to go out and have Tiger talk about how good you are and stuff, his opinion is definitely a higher value than others,” Wolff said, “”but at the end of the day, if you don’t have confidence in yourself and you’re just trying to impress him, I just feel that that’s not a really good way to go about it.”
  • “Wolff’s not the first player to try and downplay a pairing with Woods. It was at Sherwood during Woods’ own Hero World Challenge in 2010 when Rory McIlroy was first paired with Woods in a competitive round.”
7. Indigenous burial ground vs. luxury golf resort
CTV’s Jackie Downs: “Local advocates in St. Lucia are concerned about the preservation of an Indigenous burial site and the lands surrounding it due to the construction of a sprawling luxury golf resort by the team of developers behind two famed courses in Nova Scotia.  The Cabot Saint Lucia project consists of an 18-hole golf course, hotel, villas, and available residential lots covering 152 hectares of land in the Cap Estate neighbourhood on the Caribbean island’s northern tip.  Construction is already underway for the resort, which will be Cabot’s first golf course outside of Canada. Two of the development’s principal investors, Canadian Ben Cowan-Dewar and American Mike Keiser, were co-founders of the award-winning Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs courses in Cape Breton, N.S.”
8. Brooks Koepka owes George Kittle golf clubs
Golfweek’s Kyle Madison…“Kittle on Tuesday joined the Candlestick Chronicles podcast and explained why professional golfer Brooks Koepka is one set of clubs in debt to the 49ers tight end.  “I’m still upset. Brooks Koepka still owes me a set of golf clubs,” Kittle said. “He told me he was gonna send them to me in March and I think we’re a little bit past that. But I’m gonna still talk (expletive) to him.”  So how did the golfer currently ranked 11th in the world come to owe Kittle such a prize? An early shelter-in-place pushup contest.  “He challenged me to a pushup challenge back during quarantine,” Kittle said. “I said I’ll do it if you send me some clubs. He was like, ‘oh yeah, no worries.’ I was like, how many pushups you want, dog?”
9. Johnny’s loving and worrying about
I LOVE this “The Match” concept…I went to the first one, the second was a ball to watch, and the momentum into this third one is fantastic. Its become our new “Skins Game” and golf needed it. Truth be told, this is the Phil Mickelson show: He’s funny, engaging, an educator, and simply one of the most talented humans ever to grab a club. What’s not to love?
I’m WORRIED this Match 3 is being force-fed a bit. Phil I get. Charles I get. Steph I get. Peyton: I love yah, but why? Especially in the pitched format of 2 on 2. Why not go 3 vs Phil? Net Best Ball vs Phil Gross, white tees, stroke play and the net team gets to call out “no driver” 3 times, “no putter” 3 times, and “no wedge” 3 times…I’d watch that.

 

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GolfWRX Classifieds (10/22/20): Adams MB2, Olson putter, Titleist TS3 head

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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 Bradh972 – Adams raw MB irons

A set of Adams MB2 in this condition doesn’t come up that often – these are highly sought after and considered the peak of Adams golf irons.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Adams MB 

Member ThatCAGolfer – Olson Legacy putter

Made in America, one at a time, Olson putters are some of the nicest around. Now here is your chance to snag one for an attractive price in brand new condition.

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

Member Taylormadehunter1 – Titleist TS3 driver head

With the announcement of the new TSi Series from Titleist, you can expect to see more TS driver on the market and for a great price. This TS3 head comes with extra weights and is hot melted, and ready to go.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: TS3 driver head

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

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Morning 9: What players really think about fan-less events | Adam Scott positive for COVID-19 | PGA Merch Show to be virtual

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected]
October 22, 2020 
 
Good Thursday morning, golf fans. May you own the home stretch of your weeks the way Henrik Stenson’s did the “Dreams” Challenge.
1. What players really think about fan-less events
The Undercover Caddie (yes, I know some readers think UC is fake news, but I believe the source is a legitimate one)…
  • “What’s it like on tour without fans? You came to the right place. I’ve seen what the players have said, and though I’m not calling them liars, they aren’t being honest, either. In their defense, what are players supposed to say? We’re glad fans are at home. They’re pests. This makes our jobs so less demanding. Come on. No one is that boneheaded.”
  • “Listen, everyone misses fans. Most players are alphas; they enjoy entertaining you, and there’s no drug that feels as good as doing what you love and getting loved for it. On the caddie front, no one ever accused us of being introverted souls. But the fact is, life at the golf course is easier without spectators.”
2. Adam Scott positive for COVID-19
BBC report…”Former world number one Adam Scott has pulled out of this week’s Zozo Championship in California after testing positive for coronavirus.”
  • “The PGA Tour confirmed on Wednesday that the 40-year-old Australian will not play at the Sherwood Country Club.”
  • “Scott said his “focus now is on recovery” for the rest of the season.”
  • “In a statement, the PGA Tour said Scott “will have the PGA Tour’s full support throughout his self-isolation period under CDC guidelines”.
3. Mickelson nervous for fans in Houston
ESPN’s Bob Harig..”Mickelson said Wednesday he might skip the tournament, which announced last week it would be the first PGA Tour event in the United States to allow spectators, capped at 2,000 per day.”
  • “I think that they will do a very good, safe job in having 2,000 people at the Houston Open,” Mickelson said at Sherwood Country Club, where he is playing in this week’s Zozo Championship. “However, for me personally, I don’t like the risk that having that happen the week before the Masters. I just feel like the week before the Masters, like that’s a big tournament we have and I just don’t want to have any risk heading in there.”
  • “So it has made me question whether or not I’ll play there. But then I have to give the Tour a lot of credit and confidence in the way that they’ve handled the entire year and I’m sure they’re going to do a great job at keeping the players safe in that environment.”
  • “But because I haven’t seen it before, because it’s the first one out on the Tour with some people, I’m unsure and I don’t want to take any unnecessary risks. I don’t go out to dinner, I don’t go out and socialize, because I want to make sure that I have an opportunity to compete in the Masters.”
4. PGA Merchandise Show will be virtual
Golfweek’s David Dusek…“In an announcement that should come as a surprise to almost no one, PGA Golf Exhibitions and the PGA of America announced on Wednesday that the 2021 PGA Merchandise Show will be an all-virtual event.”
  • “The three-day event held annually at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, typically attracts more than 40,000 PGA of America professionals, manufacturers, media members and golf industry insiders. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing throughout the United States and the rest of the world, the safety of everyone involved took precedence.”
5. No fans for USWO
From the Golf Channel Digital team…“The U.S. Women’s Open will be conducted without fans because of ongoing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, the USGA announced Wednesday.”
  • “The Women’s Open, originally slated for early June, was rescheduled for Dec. 10-13 at Champions Golf Club in Houston.”
  • “Following extensive consultation with health officials, we have decided that hosting the U.S. Women’s Open without spectators will provide the best opportunity to conduct the championship safely for all involved,” said John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s senior managing director of championships. “While we are disappointed that we won’t be able to welcome fans and their unmatched energy at Champions Golf Club, we know this is the right decision for the community and players.”
6. Tiger talks distance debate in Zozo press conference
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard “…Whether the game’s rules makers should consider dialing back some of those gains, however, is a completely different question.  “[The rules makers] should have been worried a long time ago, but the genie’s out of the bag now,” Woods said. “It’s about what do we do going forward and how soon can they do it? You’re not going to stop the guys who are there right now. Guys are figuring out how to carry the ball 320-plus yards, and it’s not just a few of them.”
7. Record golf equipment sales 
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…“Golf Datatech, an industry research firm, announced Wednesday that United States retail golf equipment sales surpassed the $1 billion mark for the third quarter. If that number sounds significant, it is, the first time sales in July, August and September have ever exceeded $1 billion in Q3, and serves as the second-highest quarter ($1.013 billion in Q2, 2008) of all-time.”
  • “For comparison, Q3 sales are up 42 percent over the same period last year, spurred by purchases of golf bags, wedges and irons.”
  • “The story keeps getting better as golf continues to surge coming out of the shutdown, and Q3 equipment sales suggests that 2020 will likely end up positive for the entire year,” said John Krzynowek of Golf Datatech. “While the US economy will not enjoy a ‘V Shaped Recovery’ in 2020, if golf continues on this trajectory we will be there soon.”
8. Tiger’s toughest test?
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…“But the biggest challenge for Tiger may have nothing to do with the conditions or his uprooted schedule. Since the Tour’s restart in June, Woods, along with a few other players, have talked of how difficult it is to focus during rounds without fans at events and nowhere will that be more evident than at the Masters, a tournament defined by Sunday roars.”
  • “There’s no other place like it. It echos there, it travels,” he said. “When you know the pairings, you know where certain players would be at that particular time and you can figure out who’s doing what, and the roars for certain people are louder than others, and then you hear eagle roars and hole-outs on 16, or whatever it may be. It’s unlike any other place in the world.”
9. A thin slice of golf’s recent success pie
The Denver Post’s Kyle Frederickson…“Colorado’s golf renaissance is real.  Public golf courses operated by the City of Denver report a roughly 20-percent rise in rounds played this year and that’s despite being closed for several weeks due to the coronavirus. Ed Mate, executive director of the Colorado Golf Association, said: “I’ve heard from some private clubs, anecdotally, that they’ve increased their rounds by 100 percent in a given month.”  The CGA compiles an annual survey of public course operators, and prior to this year, the state averaged about 1.5 million-1.7 million rounds played. That number is about to rise, by a lot.”

 

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