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Morning 9: Finau positive for coronavirus | Blessings Collegiate update | Bryson’s key club

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1. Finau out of Shriners with COVID-19
Steve DiMeglio for Golfweek…“World No. 16 Tony Finau tested positive for COVID-19 and has been withdrawn from the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin. “Earlier today, I received a positive result for Covid-19 under PGA Tour on-site testing protocols and have begun a period of self-quarantine to protect others around me,” Finau said in a tweet on Tuesday. “I am feeling well, and am otherwise in good spirits.” “I look forward to returning to action as soon as I am able, and I wish everyone at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open a great week ahead!” Finau said in a follow-up tweet.”
 
2. Alabama leads by 3 at Blessings Collegiate Invitational
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine updates the action from Blessings…
  • Men’s team leader: Alabama. The Tide have reentered the chat. Four players shot under par Tuesday as Alabama fired a 6-under 282 to take a two-shot lead over first-round leader Tennessee.”
  • “Women’s team leader: Arkansas. It’s like the host Razorbacks have played this course dozens to hundreds of times. Paced by leader Brooks Matthews at 11 under, Arkansas sits at even par, 10 clear of LSU”
3. COVID-19 takes another tourney down…
The Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine… “There will be no Latin America Amateur Championship next year.”
  • “The USGA, R&A and Masters Tournament announced Tuesday in a joint statement that the 2021 championship, which was scheduled for Jan. 14-17 at Lima Golf Club in Peru, has been canceled because of “complications presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • “Future championship plans will be announced at a later date, the release said.”
  • “The LAAC, first played in 2014, annually awards its champion with invites into the Masters, Open Championship, British Amateur, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open sectional qualifying. Argentina’s Abel Gallegos is the defending champion while Arkansas junior Julian Perico was expected to be among the Peru natives to tee it up.”

Full piece.

4. George W. Bush named 2021 Ambassador of Golf
Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon Journal…“President George W.  Bush, who succeeded his father as honorary chair of the First Tee in 2012, has been named recipient of the Ambassador of Golf Award, to be presented during the 2021 Bridgestone Senior Players Championship, the PGA Tour announced Tuesday.”
  • …”Presented by the FirstEnergy Foundation, the award recognizes a person who has fostered the ideals of the game on an international level and whose concern for others extends beyond the golf course.”
5. 4 ideas to boost interest in PGA Tour’s fall swing
Eric Patterson for The Score with a quartet of suggestions, including…
Season within a season….“If the Tour can get Wyndham Hotels to dish out millions of dollars for a points race already referred to as the FedEx Cup, or AON to spend $1 million for a season-long risk-reward challenge that no one fully understands, it can definitely find a company to sponsor a mini FedEx Cup during the fall.”
  • “The idea is simple: Create a points race separate from the FedEx Cup standings, spread over three or four regular tournaments (not the limited-field events), and reward the top performer with a cash prize at the end. The majority of these fields consist of middling Tour pros or recent graduates from the Korn Ferry Tour, so the added incentive for these players would be very meaningful.”
  • “Additionally, an increase in prize money may grab the attention of some bigger names. Even if it doesn’t, there will be another storyline to follow during events that generally struggle to deliver excitement.”
6. If you like lists…Golfweek just released its 2020: Top Classic courses in Great Britain and Ireland
Golfweek’s Jason Lusk…”Here are the Top 50 Classic Courses in Great Britain and Ireland – built before 1960 – as determined by Golfweek’s Best Raters for 2020.”
  • “For this list, there actually are 51 courses because of a tie at No. 50.”
  • “The members of our course-ratings panel continually evaluate courses and rate them based on our 10 criteria. They also file a single, overall rating on each course. Those overall ratings on each course are averaged together to produce a final rating for each course. Then each course is ranked against other courses in Great Britain and Ireland to produce the final rankings.”
  • …”The members of our course-ratings panel continually evaluate courses and rate them based on our 10 criteria.”
1. Royal County Down (Championship) 8.96
2. Old Course at St. Andrews 8.80
3. Muirfield 8.67
7. Bryson’s other key club 
Our Johnny Wunder writing for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report…“The arm-lock style is not the newest idea, but it is one that has turned decent putters into great putters, and last month it was put on display as resident PGA TOUR physicist Bryson DeChambeau used it to win the U.S. Open. His incredible distance gains have received most of the attention but that storyline overshadows his impressive results with the arm-lock putter. He finished last season ranked 10th on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Putting.”
  • “The arm-lock is a proven method used by DeChambeau, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Keegan Bradley. By resting the elongated putter shaft against the lead arm and thus securing the lead wrist, players can control the putter’s arc with the bigger muscles.”
  • “The anchoring ban sent more players to the arm-lock method after they lost their beloved belly and long putters. It has revived the careers of players like Simpson and Bradley, who used it to re-enter the winner’s circle after lengthy victory droughts.”
  • “DeChambeau began tinkering with the arm-lock method in 2017, the same year he finished 145th on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Putting. He committed to the method in the second half of 2017, and he has improved in that statistic ever since. He was 32nd in 2018, 28th in 2019 and 10th last season.”
  • “It’s safe to say the switch is paying off, perhaps even more so than the 25 pounds of muscle.”
8. Danny Woodhead is a BEAST….
Golfweek’s Adam Woodward on the former running back’s qualification for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball…“A fan-favorite after a successful decade in the National Football League that ended in 2017, the 35-year-old former running back now finds himself so obsessed with golf that his handicap has moved to the pro side of scratch and he’s ruining his house.”
  • “On Monday, Woodhead took a big step in his golf journey, qualifying with partner Mike Wilhelm for next year’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at Chambers Bay in Washington.”
  • “It’s as much fun as I’ve had in a long time,” said Woodhead of the successful qualifier at Firethorn Golf Club in Lincoln, Nebraska. “I’ve played amateur events in Nebraska for three years and it’s a thrill unlike anything I’ve done. Golf doesn’t come as easy as football for me. People are going to be like ‘yeah right’ but in some ways it’s almost cooler than some of the stuff I’ve done on the football field.”
9. Eureka Earth on Twitter continues to show how Augusta is getting green
“Augusta is getting green as they go through the process of over-seeding with rye grass which grows much better during the cooler fall and winter months into spring.”
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  1. Bobtrumpet

    Oct 7, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Wrong link for item 9.

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19th Hole

‘OMG’ – Pro golfers go wild over Tiger Woods’ swing video

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If you are a fan of golf, there’s a good chance you have seen the most recent video of Tiger Woods hitting a golf ball on the range posted to his twitter account yesterday.

As ecstatic as golf fans are about seeing Tiger Woods effortlessly swing a club again, players on Tour seem to be just as fired up about Tiger’s video.

Here we’ve rounded up some of the best tweets from Woods’ fellow PGA Tour players:

The PGA Tour is in a great place, with many young superstars on the rise and interest in the game at all time high. Even still, yesterday was a reminder that nothing moves the needle in the sport of golf like Tiger Woods. If more evidence is needed, the video Woods tweeted currently has 6.8 million views in under 24 hours.

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Brooks Koepka signs with Srixon/Cleveland

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Srixon and Cleveland Golf have today announced that Brooks Koepka has joined its tour staff.

As part of the new deal, the four-time major champion will play a Srixon driver, Srixon irons, Cleveland wedges, a Srixon golf ball, as well as carry a Srixon Staff bag.

The 31-year-old began working with Srixon’s Tour Department earlier this year and played the brand’s ZX7 irons throughout the 2021 PGA Tour season.

On joining Team Srixon/Cleveland, Koepka said

“I am very excited to join my good friends Shane Lowry, Graeme McDowell and Hideki Matsuyama as a Srixon and Cleveland Golf Tour Staff member. I’ve been an equipment free agent for the past few years, so it will be fun to be involved with a company on a daily basis and be able to contribute to the development of their future equipment.

“I put the ZX7 Irons in play in January and it is the best iron I have played on Tour. I look forward to kicking off our new partnership this week in Las Vegas!”

Speaking on the Koepka signing, Rodney McDonald, Vice President of Tour Operations at Srixon, said

“We’re extremely proud to have Brooks come on board as our newest Staff member. He’s one of the best players in the world and brings his major championship pedigree and validation to our brands. We’re excited for Brooks to join the Srixon and Cleveland Golf family and look forward to supporting him out on tour.”

Koepka will make his debut as a member of Team Srixon/Cleveland at Capital One’s The Match on November 26th against Bryson DeChambeau. 

 

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Tour Rundown: Morikawa wins twice on Sunday | Race to CME goes to JYK

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This is it. Really, this is it. This is really it. The soon-to-be-renamed European Tour is done. The PGA Tour is done. The LPGA is done. I’m done. Happy American Thanksgiving. It’s colder than the Canadian one, but a good cold breeze is bracing. It also reminds us to get inside, so that we don’t get sick, or frostbite, or some other malady. It also reminds us to be thankful for things like … shirts that don’t tear when you shoot 74 in the final round and fall from first place to another level of frustration (hypothetically speaking, of course.)

Anyhoo, anyhow, anyway, join us one last time for a running of the tours, which is much, much safer than a running of the bulls.

European Tour: Morikawa wins twice on Sunday

I remember that summer of 2019, when Collin Morikawa and two other college stars made their debuts on tour. The guy with the powerful, funky swing won right away. The other guy, the Nordic one, seemed destined to win soon enough (he would win in February of the next year.) Even though Morikawa won in 2019, pundits assessed him to be third in line to the throne. Two years have passed, and there is no line. the Iron Throne belongs to Morikawa.

The Californian from Cal-Berkeley owns two major titles, six worldwide wins, and his first Order of Merit. I’ve always liked that title. Way better than Race To The Cup or any other moniker out there. I’m bringing it back. Morikawa had a good hold on the European Tour’s season-long race, thanks to his Open title in July and his WGC last February. He came to Dubai with great focus, answering few to none of the pointed questions aimed his way. In contrast, and to his credit, Matt Fitzpatrick wasn’t giving up.

The Englishman wasn’t defiant, but he was gritty. He insisted that, as we all know, the tournament and the season were not over until the flagstick was replaced. Fitz did his part with a 66 on Sunday, moving all the way up to a tie for second with Alexander Bjôrk. At that point, sadly, Fitz was finished. He needed a win.

Who topped him? Morikawa, of course. His Sunday 66 at the Earth Course included five birdies on the inward half, when he simply decided to say By the way, I’m the best of 2021. Here’s my third win to prove it. Morikawa’s swing has zero moving parts that should not be moving. It is modern, but classic, if that is possible. If he chases zero distance over the next fifteen years, and simply plays well from tee to green, he should win five more majors and a few more Orders of Merit around the world.

LPGA: Race To CME goes to JYK

Remember last week when Nelly Korda became Rolex Rankings number one again, despite not playing? Pretty sure that’s about to change again. Jin Young Ko steamrolled the field at Tiburón in Naples. The Original JYK was nine-under on day four, breaking out of a four-way tie for the lead at dawn’s first light.

Nelly? She had 69 for T5. Celine? 68 for T3. Nasa? She gave Jin everything she could handle. Hataoka signed for 64, and her 6th-hole bogey was her only blemish on the day. She matched Ko birdie for birdie, posting nine of her own on the final day. She made up strokes on three of the final four holes. Trouble was, Young Ko did not wilt. She turned in 30 and added three more chirps on the inward half, putting things away at the 17th with her last of the day.

The title was her fifth of 2021, and her 12th overall. Ko hit 63 consecutive greens this week, and is on a runaway-train path to the LPGA Hall of Fame, and it will be a pleasure to watch her do just that.

PGA Tour:  RSM Classic crowns Gooch by a smooch

Talor Gooch knocked on a number of doors this fall, most recently the Fortinet and the CJ Cup. At both events, he finished top-five, but could not break through for the “V.” At Sea Island, Gooch went into the final round with a one-shot lead over Sebastián Múñoz. Feeling balanced, Gooch went out and bookended his opening 64 with the same closing number. He made a pair of birdies on the front, then turned on the juice and recorded four more coming home. No bogeys found his card this day.

Mackenzie Hughes, the 2016 champion at the RSM, went out in 30 to pick up three strokes on Gooch. Feeling his own brand of juice, Hughes posted four more birdies on the back nine, but also stumbled to a bogey at the par-three twelfth hole. He missed long and left, and failed to get up and down for par. When Gooch made three at the same hole, minutes later, the road to victory got easier.

Two unofficial events (Hero and QBE) will take place in December, and the Tour will return to action on January 6th, for two consecutive weeks in the Hawaiian islands.

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