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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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Morning 9: From “idiot” to first-round leader | Brooks’ blunt assessment | Kiradech returns to action

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected]; and find me on Twitter and Instagram.
December 3, 2020
Good Thursday morning, golf fans. .
1 From “idiot” to first-round leader
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”When it comes to self-assessments, Andy Sullivan’s description of his golf game prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was as blunt as it gets.”
  • “I was being an absolute idiot,” Sullivan said.
  • “The numbers certainly supported that. The 33-year-old Englishman, who less than five years ago was a top-30 player in the world and a European Ryder Cupper, dropped outside the top 150 in the world rankings during the coronavirus break, a downward trend sparked by a few years of mediocre golf.”
  • “But things changed when the European Tour restarted this summer. Sullivan tied for fourth at the first event back, the British Masters, and two starts later notched his fourth career European Tour victory, at the English Championship. He’s now No. 72 in the OWGR, and on Wednesday in Dubai he equaled the best round of his tour career, an 11-under 61, to take the first-round lead at the Golf in Dubai Championship.”
2. Brooks’ blunt assessment
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…”The year 2020 will go down in the record books as a lost year for Brooks Koepka. Injuries to his hip and knee didn’t heal properly and prevented him from being the cold-blooded closer who won four majors between the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills and the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.”
  • “Koepka made a valiant effort at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and the PGA Championship to claim a victory, but he enters this week’s Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico with one last chance to avoid being winless in 2020. Asked to sum up out how he would describe his golf year, Koepka took the high road.”
  • “I don’t know if I could say that without getting fined,” he said. “Pretty bad.”
  • …“It couldn’t have got much worse than it did over the summer,” he said. “My body wouldn’t let me do things that I wanted to do.”
3. Aphibarnrat making first start since COVID-19
Chuah Choo Chiang for PGATour.com…”The burly Thai, who is nicknamed “Asia’s John Daly,” arrived at the Mayakoba Golf Classic following a tie for 11th at the Bermuda Championship early last month. It was his best result on TOUR since finishing T8 at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in Korea last year.”
  • “After being home-bound in Orlando with the coronavirus, Kiradech started practicing two days before flying out to Mexico on Sunday. He spent two hours at the driving range on day one and doubled his range time the next day. He credited time spent with his swing coach Mike Walker in the U.K. in October for his recent resurgence in Bermuda.”
4. Andy Ogletree’s grind for PGA Tour status begins
Golfweek’s Julie Williams…”After garnering so much attention next to Woods at Augusta – and making a Sunday trip to Butler cabin – Ogletree returned home to small-town Mississippi last week. He helped his dad Jim put on a local community Thanksgiving. Ogletree hopes to get back home for Christmas, when he can make the rounds, see everyone and celebrate recent milestones.”
  • “Like turning professional and making his first start as a pro at this week’s Mayakoba Golf Classic.”
  • “Ogletree, 22, made four other Tour starts this year before the Masters, including at the Charles Schwab Challenge, RBC Heritage, the Memorial and the U.S. Open. He missed the cut in all four. Before those doors opened for Ogletree, the 2019 U.S. Amateur champion, he hadn’t ever played a Tour event. It was a transition that felt similar to the one from junior golf to Georgia Tech.”
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Great gift for the holidays!
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5. John Wood is the latest caddie to become a full-time on-course TV reporter
Brian Wacker for Golf Digest…“Though the move marks a career change for Wood, who stopped working for Kuchar in August, it won’t be his first time behind the microphone. In 2015, Wood joined Mackay as an on-course reporter for Golf Channel at the RSM Classic. Two years later, Mackay parted ways with Phil Mickelson and joined the network full time. “I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the incredible team at Golf Channel and NBC,” Wood said. “They’ve set the standard in golf coverage, and I hope to bring an interesting perspective to their incredible production.”
6. Catriona Matthew on Emily Pedersen
“It’s been a fantastic year for Emily,” Matthew told BBC Sport.
“The 24-year-old’s success is all the more admirable given the way her form plummeted following a dispiriting Solheim Cup debut for Europe in 2017.”
  • “Pedersen was picked by skipper Annika Sorenstam for the match in Illinois but was comprehensively beaten in all three of her matches in Europe’s 16 1/2 – 11 1/2 defeat.”
  • “I really felt for her after the Solheim in Des Moines,” said Matthew, the 2009 Women’s Open champion.
  • “She was at the top of her game and she just kind of completely lost it after that Solheim.
  • “It just shows great character, I think, to come back. I’ve seen her over the last couple of years working really hard at her game, but golf is a lot in the head and I think it’s taken a lot of mental strength.”
7. Match 3 ratings
Geoff Shackelford…”I have no idea if the organizers find the .21 for last week’s The Match 3 a success or not given the bizarre sports ratings of 2020. As Mitch Salem’s roundup of last Friday’s cable numbers highlights, The Match was just edged out by WETV’s Love After Lockup with the coveted demo and landed 8th on the list of November 27, 2020’s most watched cable telecasts.”
  • “After the streaming debacle that was The Match 1, the absolute ratings stunner that was The Match 2—a higher rating than the final round of the rescheduled U.S. Open—the average of a million viewers is probably about right for a celebrity golf match.”
  • Check out the full post for all the links.
8. “Don’t be Rory McIlroy”
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard on Abraham Ancer’s acquired wisdom…”I“I quickly realized that I made huge mistakes trying to play golf like other golfers,” he said Wednesday from the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
  • “Specifically, he wasn’t Rory McIlroy.”
  • “It was at the 2015 Frys.com Open, and Ancer was making his first start on Tour when he set up next to the former world No. 1 on the range.
  • “He starts hitting these irons that just take off straight up in the air carrying 210 [yards] into the wind and cold, like 5-irons,” Ancer said. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t do that.’ I started thinking I need to hit it higher and farther, so I started tinkering and that was a terrible idea, but I just didn’t know better.”
9. Sea Island Women’s Am
Golfweek’s Julie Williams…”Sea Island, Georgia, has long been an important stop in men’s amateur golf, having hosted the Jones Cup tournaments (together with Ocean Forest Golf Club) since the early 2000s. Now, women will get the chance to compete there annually, too. The Georgia resort has announced the creation of the Sea Island Women’s Amateur, to be played for the first time July 27-29, 2021.”
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Morning 9: Pelley denies PGA Tour alliance spells doom | No fans for Farmers | Weiskopf on Rory

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected]; and find me on Twitter and Instagram.
December 1, 2020
Good Tuesday morning, golf fans. Welcome to the final month of 2020.
1. Pelley insists…
As he does better than anyone in the business, Geoff Shackelford provided context for and picked from the newswire items related to notable story…in this case, the surprise European/PGA Tour “strategic alliance…”
  • “Chief Executive Colorfully Coordinated sported a less-than-comforting black-on-black motif for Friday’s hastily-arranged Zoom to spin the European Tour’s “landmark strategic alliance” with the PGA Tour. “
  • “Based on the reports by those partaking in the call, Keith Pelley remained light on details about the surprising Thanksgiving Friday announcement. Skepticism was in order given that it’s traditionally a day reserved for only Grade A, First Team, All-World news dumps.”
  • “The Daily Mail’s Derek Lawrenson noted the 72 hour mention by Pelley and suggested the announcement was meant to torpedo an upcoming announcement.”
  • “The alliance has been years in the making but came together in the space of 72 hours as both tours look to kill off the upstart Saudi-backed Premier Golf League.”
2. No fans for Farmers
Golf Channel Digital team…”The Farmers Insurance Open will be contested without spectators because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it was announced on Monday. The event is scheduled for Jan. 28-31 at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California.”
  • “We recognize that COVID-19 requires dramatic modifications to the operations of our annual event,” said Marty Gorsich, CEO of the Century Club, a non-profit organization that operates the event. “We have been working closely with the PGA Tour as well as the county and city of San Diego in our planning. The safety and well-being of everyone affiliated with the Farmers Insurance Open and our community remains our top priority. While we will certainly miss the energy our fans bring to Torrey, we remain focused on delivering a PGA Tour competition that showcases the best players in the game set against the backdrop of one of the most storied courses in the world.”
3. Lincicome positive for COVID-19
Golf Channel Digital team…”Brittany Lincicome has withdrawn from this week’s Volunteers of America Classic after testing positive for COVID-19.”
  • “Lincicome made an announcement on Instagram last week, saying”
  • “Although I have been very cautious, unfortunately I have tested positive for COVID-19. My husband and baby girl are both negative. I am now self-isolating and working on contract tracing with all those I have been in contact with. I have mild symptoms but am very disappointed to have to withdraw from the Volunteers of America Classic. I will be isolating at home until it is safe to resume my schedule. I wish everyone the best of luck and look forward to when I can return to playing on Tour.”
4. The odds of DJ playing this week never great…
“The Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine: “The Masters champion is deciding to extend his post-Augusta break.”
  • “Dustin Johnson announced Friday that he will not be teeing it up in next week’s Mayakoba Golf Classic, the final PGA Tour event of the year.”
  • “After much careful thought, I have made the difficult decision to withdraw,” Johnson said…”My mind and body are telling me it’s time for a break, so I look forward to sending some much-needed time at home with Paulina and the boys. I know this is disappointing news and I sincerely apologize to all my friends involved with the tournament.”
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Great gift for the holidays!
GolfWRX may earn a commission on sales of “GolfWRX Recommends” products.
5. Weiskopf on Rory
Adam Schupak talked with the venerable Tom Weiskopf about a range of subjects, including his belief that Rory McIlroy has caught the disease of complacency…
“I look at Rory McIlroy and I think golf is something just for Rory to do. I’ve said it for a while now that I don’t think he’ll win much more than the four he’s got or maybe five because I don’t see that determination and will to be the best. I think it is there in Dustin Johnson. I think he finally figured it out and this could propel him to win all four in one year.”
  • “GW: What is it about Rory that makes you think golf is just something “to do” for him?”
  • “TW: I don’t know what it is. Maybe the way he interviews. I don’t see any frustration. Life is good and it should be – he’s a multi, multi-millionaire and has a kid now – but I don’t see the Tiger attitude. It’s like he’s satisfied all the time. The guy is not a good putter…. I know Rory works out but I bet if you watched them both work out, Rory would be a lot of laughs and giggles and Dustin would be balls to the wall and forcing a little bit more on himself and that’s what he’s done. The way that he’s played this year, who the hell can beat this guy?”
6. Over 100k rounds played, but the city of London golf still loses $150k due to COVID-19
Brent Lale for CTV…”Tee sheets were packed nearly every day from opening to close after the courses opened in the middle of May. However starting two months later than expected made it difficult to make up lost revenue.
  • “We thought we would lose about $150,000 this year and we think we will be in and around those numbers,”” says McGonigle.
  • “Staggered tee times are usually at 8 minutes, and we began at 12 minutes. That’s about 360 people per day across four courses. With food and beverage and retail impacted it’s a difficult ground to make up.”
  • “The city says River Road Golf Club would have lost money even though the demand for golf was through the roof. Many city members were frustrated and even organized protests to object to the closure.”
7. Sirak: End of a long strange trip
Ron Sirak for LPGA.com…”In a month in which it wasn’t supposed to be playing, this week’s Volunteers of America Classic at The Colony near Dallas exemplifies adaptability and determination. Originally scheduled for Oct. 1-4, the VOA Classic changed dates, modified its format to exclude spectators and still provides women with what it is all about – opportunity.   “VOA serves on the frontlines of our nation’s COVID-19 response, helping those most at risk during the pandemic,” said Volunteers of America National President Mike King. “We know how important it is to take all necessary precautions to keep people safe, and holding this year’s tournament without spectators was the best thing to do.”
8. New leadership for Ping Europe 
Bunkered.co report…”Long-serving Ping Europe Managing Director, John Clark, will step down from his role at the end of this year, with current General Manager, Lisa Lovatt, taking up the position.”
  • “Lovatt, 51, will begin her new role on 1st January, with full responsibility for all of Ping Europe’s operations in Gainsborough, Cheadle and the four PING offices in Europe. She will report directly to PING Chairman and CEO, John Solheim.”
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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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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