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Morning 9: Bryson’s Masters prep plans | Rory searching for speed? | Koepka feeling healthy | Tour Truck report

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1. Koepka feeling healthy, ready for return in Vegas
Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…“Rehabbing his injuries the past two months in San Diego, Koepka said he underwent another round of platelet-rich plasma injections in his left knee and also had a cortisone shot in his hip. If the issue persists, he said, he’s looking at surgery and a nine-month recovery. But asked how he feels now compared to when he began the year, he said: “A million times better.”
  • “I didn’t know how bad I felt until I actually feel good,” he said.
  • “Koepka began hitting balls about 10 days ago and traveled to Las Vegas last week to work with swing coach Butch Harmon. After a painful season, he was pleasantly surprised by the quality of his shots and reported no limitations.”
  • “After this week’s CJ Cup, Koepka will return to San Diego for more rehab. He’ll also play the Houston Open at Memorial Park – where Koepka served as a consultant for the redesign – in the week leading up to the Masters.”
2. DeChambeau’s pre-Masters plans
AP report…”DeChambeau left Winged Foot with the U.S. Open trophy and headed straight to Denver to start working out. Upon leaving Las Vegas, he plans to be in Dallas “practicing every day, working out every day and doing a lot of speed training.”
  • “Every other day I’ll do a speed training session trying to get my swing speed, at least with a 48-inch driver, up to 200 (mph) on average,” he said.
  • “The 48-inch driver, used primarily in long driving competitions, is what he hopes to bring to Augusta National, where he expects to play all the long holes (except No. 10) differently than they’ve ever been played.”
  • “DeChambeau said he would take one scouting trip to Augusta National ahead of the first Masters ever held in November.”
3. Rory revving the engine
Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…“With some speed work in the gym and a lighter shaft in his driver, he posted on Instagram that he’s getting up around 190 mph ball speed and 340 yards of carry.”
  • “Has he been inspired by DeChambeau? Well, yes, but only to a point.”
  • “Yeah, for the last couple weeks I was working on some stuff,” McIlroy said from Las Vegas, where eight of the top 10 and 70 of the top 125 from the final 2020 FedExCup standings will take on Shadow Creek. “I think as a golfer, we’re so ingrained to trying to hit the ball where you’re looking, and I think with – I think that’s one of the great things that Bryson’s done.
  • “Bryson, when he speed-trains, he just hits the ball into a net, so he doesn’t really know where it’s going,” McIlroy continued. “He’s just trying to move as fast as he can … and sort of making the target irrelevant for the time being and then you can sort of try to bring it in from there. From what I’ve done and what I’ve been trying – you know, sort of experimenting with the last couple weeks – it’s the fastest I’ve ever moved the club, the fastest my body has ever moved.”
4. How the PGA Tour made the one-year move of its Asian events 
Daniel Rapaport for Golf Digest…The full piece is well worth a read, but here’s a morsel of the logistical considerations the Tour was looking at…”When those restrictions took place,” said Ty Votaw, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for the PGA Tour, when discussing the status of the tour’s Asian swing events, “we were confronted with the reality that if [the restrictions] stayed in place between then and the tournament, very few, if any, players would fly to Seoul, sit in a hotel for 14 days, then fly to Jeju Island for the CJ Cup.”
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5. Embracing Danny Noonan

 

T.J. Auclair for Caddie Network…“After years and years of being recognized as Noonan, O’Keefe said something happened in 2007 that allowed him to embrace it.”
  • “I had a great thing happen – one of the many great things that happened while I was caddying at the Open a couple of weeks ago,” said O’Keefe, who caddied two practice rounds in the 2020 “U.S. Open for PGA Professional Danny Balin at Winged Foot, a place where O’Keefe caddied as a teen in the early 1970s. “Jimmy Roberts did an interview and I was able to tell him this story about how my whole way of relating to the movie changed in 2007.”
  • “That year, O’Keefe was shooting a TV pilot and the wardrobe designer, he explained, was a big fan of Caddyshack.”
  • “When I came in for the meeting, almost one of the first things she said was, she mentioned the movie,” he said. “And, you know, actors are always wanting to be remembered for bodies of work and different performances. Me, personally, I wouldn’t mind it if somebody recognized my work, say, from the 21st century.”
6. LPGA Apprentice Brittany Ferrante plays 200 holes and raised $52,000 for breast cancer  research
Let’s just celebrate a good thing here, shall we? Hope Barnett for LPGA.com…“Headlights were beaming onto the green as Brittany Ferrante dropped to her knees and burst into tears. She had done it. The LPGA Apprentice accomplished more than she thought was possible.”
  • “…Helping people and golf; when you put the two things together, it sounds like a dream to Ferrante. On one summer day in Long Island, New York, these two things combined in a way that no one could wrap their head around. Not even Ferrante.”
  • “Ferrante directs the Junior Golf Program at The Village Club of Sands Point. Not only does she help children every day, but she helps raise money for Babes Against Cancer every year; an organization that funds breast cancer and prostate cancer research, which lives underneath the American Cancer Society.”
7. Fowler, McIlroy say Shadow Creek is a good tuneup for ANGC
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…“players in this week’s CJ Cup are finding the Las Vegas course is serving surprisingly well as preparation for next month’s Masters.”
  • “I think this is actually a great place for-you know, to kind of have a little checkpoint of where things are leading up to Augusta,” said Rickie Fowler.”
  • “Speaking to the media Wednesday, both Fowler and Rory McIlroy commented on the similarities between the Georgia and Nevada properties. Specifically, the comparisons of green complexes.”
  • “I was saying yesterday with how good the greens are here and how slopey and how fast and how the course is set up, it’s actually-it’s not a bad place to prepare for Augusta,” said McIlroy, who owns five top-10s as the Masters. “It’s bent, the same conditions you’re going to get there in terms of grass anyway.”
8. Could this keep a green jacket off Bryson’s shoulders?
Something to keep an eye on. An interesting thought from Golf Digest’s Alex Myers who has taken his eyes off Instagram long enough to publish this piece...”during the second round of the 2019 Northern Trust, Bryson DeChambeau took an astonishing two minutes and 20 seconds before attempting an eight-foot putt. It’s the kind of thing you have to see to believe. It’s also the kind of thing you probably won’t see from DeChambeau-or anyone else-at next month’s Masters.”
  • “That’s not because the Masters cracks down on slow play more than other tournaments-although, Tianlang Guan might beg to differ-but rather, because officials at Augusta National Golf Club don’t allow the detailed green-reading books that have become so prevalent on the PGA Tour.”
9. From the GolfWRX Classifieds…
A few notes from our Johnny Wunder regarding adjustments various staffers are making ahead of play at Shadow Creek.
TaylorMade…
  • Rory McIlroy: To no one’s surprise, Rory made the switch into the Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X in his driver. The lower-lofted 10.5-degree head is set at 8 degrees (45.5, D3, Golf Pride BCT 58R grip, 59.5-degree lie, 2-degree sleeve)
  • Jason Day switched back to his trusty P760 irons (4-PW) after a brief (one week) run with TM’s new P7MB.
  • Collin Morikawa: Testing and may switch into TaylorMade’s new FCG putter.
Titleist…
  • Jimmy Walker (not in the field) is testing a T100 4-iron as well as testing a new TSi3 driver with a Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (@45.75 inches). This would be an increase of an inch from his previous spec. Walker also shot a 61 at home with the new Pro V1 in the bag.
  • Justin Thomas will have a 9 degree TSi3 driver in the bag with the new Mitsubishi Diamana TB 60 TX shaft.

 

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Morning 9: Mickelson dials up pre-Match chatter | Korda sisters land GD cover | Augenstein on going pro

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected]; and find me on Twitter and Instagram.
November 24, 2020
Good Monday morning, golf fans. May you enjoy your Thursday feasting and giving of thanks and Friday shopping! I will see you all next Monday.
1. Augenstein energized
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”Augenstein went on to reach the semifinals of the U.S. Junior Amateur that summer. He later signed with the Commodores and made an instant impact as a freshman, winning two extra-hole matches to lead Vanderbilt to its first SEC title in 2017. The one they call “Flash” – or, as this writer has coined, “Johnny Golf” – continued to establish himself as one of the preeminent match-play competitors in amateur golf, going 8-1 in the format between conference and nationals while also finishing runner-up at the 2019 U.S. Amateur and scoring the winning point for last year’s U.S. Walker Cup team at Royal Liverpool. Last spring as a senior, he was named SEC Player of the Year and an All-American for the fourth time.
  • “In other words, Augenstein left quite the mark on the Vanderbilt program. From “best player here” to one of Vanderbilt’s best ever.”
  • “As a coach, you dream of being able to coach guys like John Augenstein,” said Limbaugh, who on Monday had to say so long to his superstar.
  • “After four and a half seasons in Nashville, Augenstein announced that he has decided to forego the final semester of his extra year of eligibility and turn professional.”
2. “Chuck tees”
Golfweek’s Todd Kelly with some remarks from Lefty amid his usual pre-Match pot-stirring…”Mickelson will likely have to carry plenty of the weight on Friday. Curry is a talented player, and Manning has shown he can swing the stick a little bit himself. As for Barkley, well, we’ve all seen that swing.
  • “At Stone Canyon, we actually have Chuck tees,” Mickelson said. “They’re a little bit further up.”
  • …”Mickelson then described part of the strategy that he and Barkley plan to deploy later this week.”
  • “If I can hit the green, and let him putt, that’s our strategy on that. Same thing on the drivable par 4s. We saw what happened in Match II where we were really getting beat up pretty good and then Tom and I, on 11, I drive the green and he rolls the putt in for eagle and it just turns the whole match the other way.”
3 Korda sisters land Golf Digest cover
…and Keely Levins landed the Q&A…Good background on the pair which could eventually be written in the history books best golfing sister duo ever.
How do you balance being sisters and competitors?
Nelly: You’re always competing against the golf course, my parents always said.
Jess: People like to put us against each other all the time to see if they can spark a rivalry or something. But we just keep disappointing everybody.
Nelly: We have little side bets here and there. At the end of the day, we want the best for each other, even though we want to beat each other as well. You go into every tournament wanting to win.
4. WMPO organizers cautiously optimistic for 2021
Nick Piecoro for the Arizona Republic…”The annual event at TPC Scottsdale is known for its raucous, jam-packed crowds. It can feel like a tailgate party, rock concert, beer festival and sporting event rolled into one. It is a defining event on the Valley’s social calendar, an excuse even for non-golf fans to head to the course and bask in the sunshine.”
  • “But no one knows what elements of Phoenix Opens past will be visible the first week of February, when the tournament is scheduled to take place.”
  • “For now, organizers expect to go forward with the event. They say it will be scaled down in every respect. Gone will be many of the temporary structures that ran parallel to the course. Organizers hope to have fans, albeit nothing close to the 200,000-plus who typically turn out on Fridays and Saturdays.”
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5. England’s courses reopen
Elliott Heath for Golf Monthly…”Golf courses in England will be allowed to re-open on 2nd December as the country exits its second lockdown.”
  • “UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that the rule of six will once again apply so it looks like fourballs will also be back.”
  • “The country is going back to its Tier system, with each region set to find out on Thursday…More regions will fall into higher tiers than previously, Boris Johnson said.”
6. Course whisperer readying the Ocean Course
The Post and Courier’s Jeff Hartsell…”The man known as the PGA Championship’s “course whisperer,” Kerry Haigh, is keeping an eye on those ever-increasing distances as he prepares the Ocean Course for its next turn on the golf world’s main stage.  The Ocean Course, designed by the late, great Pete Dye, has hosted the famed “War by the Shore” Ryder Cup of 1991 and the 2012 PGA Championship, where McIlroy dusted the field by eight shots.”
  • “But with the PGA moved from August to May on the golf calendar, and with long hitters such as Bryson DeChambeau leading the distance evolution in the game, the Ocean Course will face a new challenge next year. The PGA Championship, set for May 20-23, will be the second major on golf’s 2021 calendar, following The Masters in April.  Haigh, chief championships officer for the PGA of America, is responsible for the operation and course set up for the PGA Championships. He visited the Ocean Course last week to check on preparations. His goal, he said, is to not be the subject of any post-PGA analysis, good or bad.”
7. Pro-Am golf: Reifers captures TaylorMade Pebble Beach Tournament title
John Devine of the Monterey Herald…”Sitting five strokes off the pace after Thursday’s opening round, Reifers inched closer each day before producing the lowest score on Sunday to capture the 49th TaylorMade Pebble Beach Pro-Am Tournament.   Reifers overcame fast and firm conditions at Pebble Beach Golf Course to finish 4-under-par, erasing a one stroke deficit to win the tournament by three strokes over Kirk Triplett, a four-time winner of various tournaments at Pebble Beach.  Finishing a combined 13-under, Reifers used a pair of eagles on the second and third holes at Pebble Beach to grab his first lead of the four-day event, which was played at Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Spanish Bay over the first three days.”
8. h/t Geoff Shackelford: CBS Moneywatch on golf participation
Another item for the “golf is booming” cornucopia…Via Geoff Shackelford…”CBS Moneywatch’s Megan Cerullo doesn’t tell us much we haven’t already read about golf in the pandemic. Still, after years of stories about the decline of the sport’s participation numbers, it’s worth noting pieces like this one, if nothing else to highlight that a resurgence in the game had nothing to do with the opportunity to spend $600 for ten more yards off the tee.”
  • “In August, consumers spent a record $331 million on clubs, balls, gloves and other gear — that was up 32% over the year-ago period and topped the previous sales record for that month in 2006, according to Golf Datatech.”
  • “For the first 10 months of 2020, golf equipment sales were up nearly 30% compared to the same period last year, Matt Powell, an analyst with market research firm NPD Group, told CBS MoneyWatch. Training tools, such as hitting screens, swing aids and putting matts are up 75% as enthusiasts practice their technique away from the golf course.”
9. Streb’s winning WITB
Driver: Titleist TSi2 (10 degrees)
Shaft: Project X EvenFlow RipTide 60 6.5
3-wood: Titleist TS3 (15 degrees, B2 Surefit)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S+ 80 TX
Hybrid: Titleist TS3 (21 degrees, B2 Surefit)
Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black Hy 95X
Irons: Titleist TMB (4), Titleist 620CB (5-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S300
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (46-10F, 52-08F, 56-08M, 60-04L)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S300
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Prototype
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet
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GolfWRX Insider: Interview with RSM Classic winner Robert Streb

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This week at the RSM Classic at Sea Island, Robert Streb won in clutch fashion on the second playoff hole with a pitching wedge to within inches from 160 yards. It not only set up his second PGA Tour victory but also his second victory at Sea Island with his first also coming in a playoff against Brendon de Jonge in 2015.

After the win, we had the chance to speak with Robert about that final shot on 18 as well as his clubs, how he goes about testing new equipment, and the most common mistakes he sees from amateur golfers.

RB: To start, I have to ask you about the shot you hit on the second playoff hole to set up the win. It was a pitching wedge from the rough from 160 yards. How were you able to judge the distance so well?

RS: As soon as my caddie and I saw the lie we had a really good feeling it was going to jump a bit, and that’s why I hit my pitching wedge instead of my 9-iron. We don’t always judge it as right as we did on that shot, but the big key was to make a confident swing and trust that we made the right decision— it obviously worked out for the best.

RB: If we take a deeper look at the club you hit for that shot in the playoff, you use a pitching wedge that matches your wedges rather than one that matches your irons (Vokey Design SM8 46 degree) is there a specific reason you choose to use that club vs a set matching pitching wedge?

RS: For a long time I used the pitching wedge from my iron set, but for me being a self-described feel player I like using the Vokey 46 degree because I feel I have a bit more control on half shots because of the groove technology and the overall profile of the club. When the SM8’s hit the tour I asked Dill (Titleist wedge tech Aaron Dill) about getting set up with that, and it pretty much went right into the bag. I also really like using it around the green.

RB: Sticking to new equipment, you also recently put the Titleist TSi2 driver into play. What do you like about that club versus your previous driver, and what was your process for putting that club into play?

RS: I know I mentioned this already, but I really am a feel player when it comes to my clubs, and everything has to fit my eye. The TSi2 is really appealing since I’m a guy that plays a draw and the shape of the toe is extremely appealing at address behind the ball. I did a lot of hitting it on the range before ever getting on Trackman, because I want to know that I really love it before dialing it in.

The other thing I really like is the ability to hit it a bit higher and see a flight that I really like without having it ever feel out of control. Since I like to play a draw, I like that it helps my misses stay in the air longer and go straighter—like any golfer, I like knowing that my misses are going to be better when I switch to something new.

RB: We’ve talked wedges, and we’ve talked the driver, so now let’s talk everything in between and how you like to gap your set. You previously used a 2-iron as the next club after your 3-wood and now you go from a 3-wood to a 21-degree  hybrid and then a 4-iron. What are your main goals when gapping your set?”

RS: Over time I realized that I would make more birdies and save more shots using a gap wedge over a 2-iron, so I finally made the decision to take that out of the bag and play a full four-wedge setup (46/52/56/60) and use the hybrid. I used to have to work really hard at managing my distance gapping since there was almost a 20-yard gap in the short end of my bag, but now I don’t ever have to worry about that.

At the top end of my bag, the hybrid is really versatile and I always find I get more control with a shorter club with a bit more loft vs a 5-wood, so I’ve stuck with it since I really like the iron feel I get out of that club.

From there, my 4-iron (Titleist TMB) really plays like a 3 1/2 iron—I feel confident getting a few extra yards out of it when needed because it’s hollow, while still offering the ability to hit softer shots with it, which is whys its a club I don’t mess around with.

RB: Being a player at your level, you understand how to get around a golf course and minimize mistakes. If there was one piece of advice you could offer to golfers trying to break their next scoring barrier what would it be?

RS: The biggest mistakes I see golfers make is not playing within themselves and hitting shots they aren’t truly comfortable with. This could mean a shot around the green and trying to get too aggressive, or not pulling the right club on approach shots. When I play in pro-ams, the vast majority of golfers miss short and don’t take enough club—they hit the club they think should get there rather than the one that will, and over the course of a round of golf those missed shots add up.

Being able to take your medicine when you put yourself in a bad spot can be the difference between a bogey and a triple and a hole like that can mean the difference between making a cut, or in the case of many golfers, not getting to that next scoring barrier.

Check out Streb’s full WITB: Robert Streb’s RSM Classic winning WITB

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The DailyWRX (11/23/2020): Do not enter if…

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Don’t do it….

 

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My God…..

 

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“Bad Little 9″……..

 

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It’s an honest question…

True Legend spotted in the wild…

DM @johnny_wunder

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