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Morning 9: Why Bryson is winning | Live odds coming to a PGA Tour telecast near you | Gary Player’s pleas

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected]

October 13, 2020 

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.  
**We’re currently offering discounted Q4 Morning 9 ad packages. Drop me a line for more details**
1. Shane Ryan on Fitzpatrick’s DeChambeau comments (& future of the sport)
I don’t want to say it’s the fullest rejoinder or the final word on Mr. Fitzpatrick’s remarks, and this is to avoid the issue of whether governing bodies ought to intercede, but Ryan’s take is the reality and historically-informed one, in my opinion.
He writes…”It’s clear from his comments that Fitzpatrick doesn’t want to be forced to change, which is why he’d prefer if somebody else handled the problem. Unfortunately for him, there are far more examples of sports evolving, and old styles being left behind, than there are of governing bodies stopping these changes in their tracks. In the early days of baseball, there were many who thought the curveball was a deceptive, unsportsmanlike tactic that should be banned. In football, the forward pass was resented. In soccer, traditionalists looked askance at the rise of professionalism. Today in basketball, there are fewer true centers than ever before due to recent style transformations. In all sports, equipment has improved, training has improved, and records are continually broken. In almost every case, change carries the day.”
“Golf might become an exception, but smart money is against it. At this point, any interference from the top-such as altering course set-ups (graduated rough, faster greens), or restricting equipment (dialing back the ball)-would have to be implemented specifically to punish long hitters. And that would be an aesthetic choice, because none of the long hitters are doing anything illegal. Can you really re-write the rules simply because a certain style rubs you the wrong way? Probably not (although some believe the anchoring ban was done for that specific reason), and it leaves Fitzpatrick in an uncomfortable position. He may soon arrive at an inevitable conclusion: to compete with DeChambeau, serious weight training and a bigger body are the only way forward. The irony is that this is already true in almost every other professional sport…”
2. CJ Cup telecast to feature live odds
The official word on the permeation of sports betting into the once entirely off limits realm of the PGA Tour (generally, telecast, specifically)…”The PGA TOUR announced today that BetMGM will provide betting odds for all four rounds of THE CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK in Las Vegas, Oct. 15-18 on Golf Channel. This will mark the first time that a PGA TOUR telecast will feature live odds.”
  • “We are excited to build upon our recently announced Official Betting Operator relationship with BetMGM by activating this partnership at THE CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK,” said Norb Gambuzza, PGA TOUR Senior Vice President, Media and Gaming. “The focus of our sports betting partnerships is to engage fans in new and creative ways. As an element of that strategy, we began integrating live odds onto TOUR digital platforms in August and now we look forward to learning from this first-time test in a live telecast.”
  • “The BetMGM telecast executions will occur twice per hour, featuring leaderboards with integrated “open” and “current” odds to win, along with odds for head-to-head matchups, top finishes, winning margin, wire-to-wire winner, holes-in-one and playoffs.”
3. “Solheim Cup stars set to compete in Saudi Arabia – where women fight for basic freedoms”
That’s Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols’ headline…“European Solheim Cup stars Carlota Ciganda, Georgia Hall and Charley Hull plan to tee it up next month in back-to-back events in Saudi Arabia. The first women’s golf events ever held in the Kingdom will take place from Nov. 12-19 at Royal Greens Golf Club on the Red Sea Coast near Jeddah. The two events will have a combined purse of $1.5 million.”
  • “Ciganda, who tied for third on Sunday at the KPMG Women’s PGA, said she’ll go home to Spain for the first time since Christmas after this month’s LPGA Drive On Championship, a new event in Georgia, and then and take the six-hour flight over to Saudi Arabia.”
  • “Top male players drew criticism for teeing it up in the men’s Saudi event in 2019 and 2020, particularly in the wake of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.”
4. Teen star Kim set for The CJ Cup at Shadow Creek
Chuah Choo Chiang for PGATour.com…“Korean teenager Joohyung “Tom” Kim is your typical golf nerd. He idolizes Tiger Woods, regularly watches the PGA TOUR on TV or mobile device and dreams of becoming World No. 1 and a World Golf Hall of Famer.”
  • “Some may think he has his head in the clouds, but with five professional victories already under his belt at just 18 years old, Kim has established himself as a young player to watch.”
  • “This week, he will enjoy another crack at the PGA TOUR when he tees up at THE CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK. The tournament features the last five FedExCup champions and five of the top six in the Official World Golf Ranking.”
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5. Gary Player on Bryson, ball rollback
Michael McEwean for Bunkered…“he said that is a huge fan of the new US Open champion, South African Player insisted that the time has come for the R&A and USGA to rein in golf ball technology.”
  • “Do I admire DeChambeau? Extremely so, because you’ve got to look after your body,” said the nine-time major champion. “It’s a holy temple. Your health is the single most important thing in your life, and he’s working out and taking it to another level,
  • “They all said, Here comes the kook, here comes the scientist, but he’s been more brilliant than all of them, and there’s nothing worse than when you think you have a superior attitude to others and they actually have a superior knowledge to you.”
  • …”So we must cut the ball back, and it will happen. As sure as I’m standing here, it will happen, otherwise they’re going to make a mockery of these golf courses, and we cannot make them longer because we’re running out of water.”
6. Taking advantage of the COVID-19 bump
The National Golf Foundation compiled some thoughts from its members/industry leaders on how golf can capitalize on the present participation bump.
Joe Assell, CEO, GOLFTEC…“Golf is experiencing an unprecedented surge in interest and activity. As long as COVID-related lifestyle and business restrictions are in place, golf will remain one of the primary activities people pursue. Existing golfers are playing more golf, former golfers are returning to the sport, and droves of people are taking up golf for the first time. This surge is leading to more demand on all aspects of the industry from club memberships, to tee times, to golf equipment, to lessons. The opportunity for golf is to retain as much of this accelerated activity as possible for years to come.”
Mike Davis, Executive Director, USGA…“Thinking about it in very general terms, one of the things that all of us in golf talk about on a constant basis is what the game of golf is. We all know it’s the game of a lifetime, so you can be a little kid to days away from kicking the bucket, so to speak, and you can play golf. It’s a game that through the handicapping system allows players of varying skill levels to play on an equitable basis. Not many other sports are like that. I think that this coronavirus has given us a great opportunity for people that never played the game, or people that did play it that lapsed from it and came back, or families to recreate and socialize together and do it safely. We went from really utter chaos in March and April – golf courses being closed, golf equipment manufacturers furloughing employees, laying off employees, shuttering plants – to now it’s booming. And it’s only been a few months that that’s happened.”
7. Koepka bused outta the Top 10…Hatton in
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine: “The Englishman, who won the BMW PGA Championship on Sunday for his fifth career European Tour title, jumped five spots from No. 15 to No. 10, bumping Koepka to 11th in the process.  Hatton’s previous career-best ranking had been No. 13, which he achieved after tying for third at the WGC-Mexico Championship in February 2018. Hatton nearly dropped out of the top 50 last fall before winning in Turkey and ending the year just outside of the top 30….”
“Koepka, meanwhile, will return to action this week at the CJ Cup, which will be played at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. Koepka hasn’t played since the Wyndham Championship in August, about a year after he underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair his left knee. He later reaggravated the injury at last year’s CJ Cup in South Korea and didn’t play again until February.”
8. Cobb Creek closed for the next 2 years
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Julia Coleman…“Philadelphia’s historic Cobbs Creek Golf Course will close for a few years to undergo a $20 million renovation aimed at restoring it to its former glory as one of the country’s most well-regarded public courses.  Cobbs Creek will close to the public Oct. 31, when the city’s contract with its managing company, Billy Casper Golf, ends. The renovations will start this spring, and the course is expected to reopen in June 2023, a representative from Philadelphia Parks and Recreation said.”
9. Just brutal…Do better
Reading this story, I’m very confused by the build up of tension and what precipitated, but there is no place for a conflict like this nor language like this on a golf course (or anywhere).
City News’ Quintin Bignell and Erica Natividad…“According to Dhillon, there was tension with the family throughout the afternoon as he and his friend played just ahead of them on the golf course. He alleges it came to a head at the final hole.
  • “The son mentioned to me: ‘you better hit a good shot’,” says Dhillon. “Luckily I hit a good shot and after I hit this good shot I [said] to my friend ‘was that good enough’ and as I said that, the father got out of the cart … he said he was going to shove that golf club right up my a**.”
  • “Dhillon says it was after this that he started filming on his phone. The older man in the video can then be heard directing a racial slur towards Dhillon.”
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Equipment

The coolest wedge stampings on the PGA Tour (RSM Classic Edition)

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Wedge stampings are the eye-popping garnish on the glorious plates of golf equipment. Maybe this isn’t exactly the right metaphor, because, well, the parsley (wedge stamp) isn’t as mouth-water as the Wagyu (wedge), but you get the point…right?

Anyway, let’s look at some wedges from the RSM Classic a couple of weeks ago and see what stampings and paintfills the pros were showcasing at Sea Island.

You may not know Anthony Cordes, but surely you’ll want to add him to your shortlist of players to passionately root for after seeing this Wedding Crashers-inspired wedge.

Bo Van Pelt is a fairly cool dude. That usually happens if your name is “Bo”—the nomenclature brings with it a certain je ne sais quoi. When you’ve got initials that sound great together—BVP—you don’t need to add any unnecessary elements to the recipe.

We’ll assume Anastissia and Victoria are Brendan Steele’s daughters, and not that he has an appreciation for royalty of antiquity. Cool stamping with the pink-filled dots.

Look past David Hearn gaming 2011 TaylorMade TP MC irons to the lead tape and stamping on his SM4 (!) wedges. The Canadian knows what he likes!

Similar to the proposition raised in the Bo Van Pelt section: “Hank” is a fairly cool name. If you’re referred to as such, get it stamped on your wedge and call it a day.

Jhonattan Vegas’ Mizuno irons always feature tidy “JV” stamping, and he’s extended the treatment to his prototype Artisan wedges, which are peeking out below.

Also on the Mizuno front, Lucas Glover has his JPX 919 irons stamped with his initials (no paintfill—nastiness), but his 52-degree wedge feature the loft it is bent to (54 degrees)—a classic stamping.

Michael Gligic was the only “MG” in the RSM Classic field, so we’re assuming these are his wedges. They could, however, be stamped with someone with a real affinity for the model.

See more photos from the RSM Classic here. 

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Morning 9: Bezuidenhout wins Alfred Dunhill | Casey’s Saudi about-face | Jon Rahm a father-to-be

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected]; and find me on Twitter and Instagram.
November 30, 2020
Good Monday morning, golf fans. Happy to be back with all of you, and I hope Thanksgiving was filled with both good food and gratitude.
1. Bezuidenhout wins at Leopard Creek
EuropeanTour.com report…”Christiaan Bezuidenhout claimed his second European Tour title as a brilliantly composed bogey-free back nine of 34 handed him a four shot victory at the 2020 Alfred Dunhill Championship.”
  • “The home favourite entered the final day at Leopard Creek Country Club three shots off the lead and despite making a double and a bogey on the front nine to turn in 35, he had trimmed that gap to one at the turn.”
  • “As the rest of the leading contenders fought for their maiden victories, Bezuidenhout then used all of his experience to card three birdies on the way home in a 69 to finish at 14 under, clear of England’s Richard Bland, American Sean Crocker, Pole Adrian Meronk and South African Jayden Schaper.”
2. Rahms expecting
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”Jon Rahm had a little extra to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.”
  • “Sure, the 26-year-old won twice and reached No. 1 in the world for the first time, but that wasn’t why. Instead, Rahm revealed Friday via social media that he and his wife, Kelley, are expecting their first child.”
  • “Feeling extra grateful this year, Happy Thanksgiving from us and our growing family!” said Rahm, who didn’t disclose any other details.
3. Casey’s about-face on Saudi Arabia
Golfweek’s Tim Schmitt…”Paul Casey responded to those attacking him for hypocrisy after he previously stood strong against playing in Saudi Arabia — and now has agreed to play there in 2021.”
  • …“This is not a decision I’ve taken lightly. I wasn’t comfortable going in the past, but I have always been open-minded and willing to learn. I believe sport has the power to affect change. I’ve listened to the Saudi’s commitment to this and their vision for the future,” Casey said in a statement released to Golfweek a few other select members of the media.
  • “They have successfully hosted two professional ladies tournaments which shows that Golf Saudi have big plans not only for professional golf, but more so for grassroots and the next generation.”
4. Pedersen’s treble
Golfweek’s JuliaKate E. Culpepper…”It’s been a good November for Emily Kristine Pedersen.”
  • “Following rounds of 68-71-68, Denmark’s Pedersen shot a final-round 66 to win the Ladies European Tour’s Andalucia Open De Espana Sunday at 15 under — her third straight win.”
  • “Pedersen, 24, was coming off a pair of wins at The Saudi Ladies Team International at Royal Greens Golf & Country in Saudi Arabia.”
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5. Are Masters, U.S. Open ratings concerning?
Tim Schmitt at Golfweek with explanations for the…incredibly modest…ratings for the majors in general.
  • “The jumbled schedule didn’t help…The schedule we’ve all come to know and expect is the schedule for a reason. April is the perfect time to kick off the golf season and the Masters sees little competition in its familiar time slot. The U.S. Open has similarly enjoyed success due to its traditional Father’s Day placement and a fairly free spot on the sports calendar…”
  • “Football is still king…When it was announced that times for the Masters would be moved up to ensure there was little or no overlap with major college football games and the late NFL matchups, some golf purists were miffed…”
  • “More platforms, more splintering…Although CBS’ numbers for the PGA Championship were down, ESPN’s early coverage of the event saw a 35 percent increase in viewership and the largest average on cable since 2010.”
6. McGinley on PGA Tour/Euro alliance
Paul McGinley, who is looking quite impressive in his SkySports headshot, writes…”I think it’s the right partnership for the European Tour and I think it’s the right partnership for golf. There’s a long way to go, but I really do believe this is the beginning of something that’s the right thing for our sport.”
  • “The view that most people within the game would have is that there are too many governing bodies within the sport. This is the first real big step in tying everything together, which I think is something that golf needs.”
  • …”Three of the four major championships are played in America every year and a lot of the World Golf Championships have migrated back to the USA. I think the players can eventually expect, hopefully from a European point of view, a more international flavour to the world’s best events.”
7. Why Charles Barkley thought Phil was a bartender
Nick Piastowski for Golf.com…”Barkley had just been traded from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Phoenix Suns. Mickelson had just turned pro. And Mickelson’s then-girlfriend-now-wife, Amy, was a Suns cheerleader who wanted the two to meet.”
  • …”She says to me, ‘Will you play golf with my boyfriend, Phil?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, yeah, OK.’”
  • “She says, ‘You going to play golf with my boyfriend, Phil?’” Barkley said. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’ll play golf with your boyfriend, Phil.’”
  • “Three months go by. Still nothing.”
  • “She says, ‘Are you ever going to play golf with my boyfriend, Phil?’” Barkleys said. “I’m like, ‘OK, Amy, I like you. What’s the deal? What’s his name?’ She said, ‘Phil Mickelson.’
  • “I said, ‘What? You going out with Phil Mickelson?’ I said, ‘Amy in the future, you start out with my boyfriend, Phil Mickelson. I thought you were going out with Phil the bartender. I would have canceled everything I was doing to go play golf with the great Phil Mickelson. But she started out with, ‘My boyfriend, Phil.’ How the hell am I supposed to know his last name is Mickelson.”
8. Bezuidenhout’s winning WITB
Driver: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana DF 60 TX
3-wood: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana DF 70 TX
Hybrid: Callaway Mavrik Pro (19 degrees)
Irons: Callaway X Forged ’18 (4-PW)
Shaft: KBS Tour 125 S+
Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy Forged (50, 54, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400
Putter: Odyssey Works Big T #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
9. End-of-2020 call for submissions at GolfWRX
A new call for submissions at GolfWRX: Have your voice heard on the largest golf news website that publishes reader contributions!
Learn about the Featured Writer program in general, what we’re looking for with this call in particular, and how to easily submit your writing for publication.
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Ed Murray, brother of Bill, and patriarch of the Murray golf family passes away

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As first reported on the Willian Murray Golf Instagram page, Ed Murray, the eldest of the famous Murray brother, and the inspiration for Caddyshack has passed away at the age of 76.

As per the statement

“Ed was the recipient of the Evans Scholarship back in 1963, while attending Northwestern University—a scholarship awarded to golf caddies—a family storyline which served as inspiration for the Danny Noonan character in ‘Caddyshack’ when Brian Doyle-Murray co-wrote that iconic screenplay.

Ed and all five Murray brothers are members of the Caddie Hall of Fame, as well—something all the boys take pride in, as this game helped shape their lives.”

 

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