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Morning 9: Malnati ahead in Bermuda | Nicklaus’ endorsement for president | Save the range pickers!

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected]
October 30, 2020 
 
Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Malnati leads in Bermuda
AP report…”Peter Malnati saw his infant son at a PGA TOUR event for the first time since the pandemic, which brought a smile to his face and another birdie on his card for an 8-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the Bermuda Championship.”
  • “The tournament is the first to allow limited fans – no more than 500 a day at Port Royal – since the opening round of THE PLAYERS Championship on March 12.”
  • “The final birdie was the ninth of the round for Malnati…”
2. Nicklaus urges voting, endorses Trump
Yes, the M9 avoids all things political, but when the elder statesman of the game makes his endorsement, outlets rush to pen a piece, thus…
 
USA Today’s Jace Evans…“Legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus posted a statement to Twitter on Wednesday night urging people to vote and detailing why he cast his ballot for President Donald Trump.”
  • In Nicklaus’ view, Trump has “delivered on his promises” and “worked for the average person,” while being “more diverse than any President I have seen and has tried to help people from all walks of life – equally.”
3. Opinion: PGA Tour gets it right with return of spectators
A letter from reader Mark Harman to the Morning Read…“If the Sanford International is any indication, and if what experts are saying about the slim chances of outdoors transmission of the coronavirus is accurate, it appears as if having 2,000 spectators at a golf event should be OK.”
  • “We also know that the PGA Tour’s medical staff would not have signed off on this week’s Bermuda Championship and next week’s Houston Open having spectators if they perceived it to be a problem.”
  • “I understand trepidation from Hawkins, but none of the feared scenarios speculated earlier by him or Morning Read’s Alex Miceli has come to fruition. Let’s have some confidence in the PGA Tour continuing to get this right.”
4. Save the range pickers!
As a man who spent many an hour in my teens and 20s driving the picker, I sympathize…
  • Dylan Dethier quoting Daniel Berger for Golf.com…“When we moved up to Jupiter, my dad [a former tennis pro] got into contact with Ivan Lendl, who was one of his tennis peers back in the day,” Berger says on this week’s Drop Zone podcast. “And Ivan set us up with the pro at a course called the Dye Preserve in Jupiter. The pro, Matt Doyle, took me under his wing. He gave me a job at the course: I picked the range. Every day. I would set up the range on the weekends and close it down, sunrise to sunset.”
  • “I do not hit stingers at guys picking the range,” he said. “Camilo [Villegas, then a member of Dye Preserve] did that to me one time and the cart that I was driving was like, 20 years old, it was all rusty on the side and he slapped it into the rust, which hit me in the face. After that, I was like, ‘I’m not hitting balls into pickers anymore.'”
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5. Tom Lewis turns to PGA Tour to reignite career
BBC’s Iain Carter…”England’s Tom Lewis is the latest to commit to America as he searches for a breakthrough that would, at last, allow him to fulfil massive potential.”
  • “Despite flashes of genuine quality, the 29-year-old has still to fully realise his spectacular early promise. It helped him lead the 2011 Open at Royal St George’s as the first amateur to shoot 65 in the Championship’s history.”
  • “Since then, Lewis – who was named after Tom Watson, with whom he played during that famous round at Sandwich – has won twice on the European Tour without becoming the force that was anticipated.”
  • “Now he has concluded he must fully commit to the PGA Tour to find out the full extent of his talents. This week Lewis plays the Bermuda Championship with his mind made up that the US circuit should be his main priority.”
 
6. Zalatoris aiming high at Bermuda Championship
Kevin Prise for PGATour.com on Willy Z (established nickname? Should be…)’s pursuit of Special Temporary Membership…
  • “Zalatoris, 24, has taken the golf world by storm since the Return to Golf in June. The Dallas resident via San Francisco has recorded 14 top-20 finishes in his last 15 starts between the PGA TOUR and Korn Ferry Tour, including three top-10s in four TOUR starts this fall: sixth at the U.S. Open, eighth at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, and fifth at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Now he’s just 3.035 non-member FedExCup points shy of securing Special Temporary Membership, which would allow him to accept unlimited sponsor’s exemptions for the remainder of the 2020-21 PGA TOUR season.”
  • “With his top-10 in Las Vegas, Zalatoris earned a spot in this week’s Bermuda Championship, where a two-way T69 finish or better will earn him the requisite non-member points needed to equal or surpass No. 150 in the 2018-19 FedExCup standings. (The official magic number is 288.035 points; Zalatoris currently has 285.)”
  • “In a way, Zalatoris is playing with the house money. He finished in the top 10 on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List through the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, so he’ll get some starts on the PGA TOUR in 2020-21 regardless of this week’s outcome…”
7. Brooks Koepka clears up PGA kiss controversy with girlfriend Jena Sims
Jaclyn Hendricks for the NY Post…While participating in an Instagram Live Q&A on Monday, Sims was asked why the 30-year-old golfer didn’t kiss her before the final round of the 2019 PGA Championship, a moment now forever ingrained in social media meme-story.
  • “When you’re walking in, there’s a million different things going on, and we’d always gone a certain way,” Koepka explained of the tournament, which took place at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale.
  • “But there was a big group of people, the one way that we had usually gone, and decided we were going to go a little different route, just because of so many people blocking it,” he continued. “I kind of was going to grab Jena, and tell her to come this way, I didn’t realize – she thought we were going to separate, I thought we were going to walk in together.”
8. New PGA pres
AP report…”Jim Richerson was elected the 42nd president of the PGA of America on Thursday at a virtual annual meeting that included Tim Rosaforte becoming the first journalist to be awarded honorary membership.”
  • “Richerson, the senior vice president of operations for Arizona-based Troon Golf, succeeds Suzy Whaley, He previously was general manager and director of golf for Wisconsin-based Kohler, where he first was elected a PGA officer.”
  • “The PGA of America, which has some 29,000 members, held its annual meeting virtually for the first time in its 104 years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
 
9. “They probably suck at golf” 
Jack Seddon for GolfMagic…“Varner returns to action on the PGA Tour this week at the Bermuda Championship and speaking to the media ahead of the event, the World No.120 ripped into the dinosaurs of our sport who have an issue with hoodies on the golf course…”
  • “The funniest part is I was watching the Panthers play, I had some beers and I’ve had people ask me about a hoodie,” Varner said. “I’m like, ‘Damn, is it really a hoodie?’ They’re like, ‘What’s the deal with the hoodie?’ So I had about five or six people ask me about a hoodie and I just, I said, ‘The problem with golf is that we’re talking about a freakin’ hoodie.’
  • “My tweet had nothing to do with a hoodie, it’s the fact that we’re talking about a hoodie and we’re not worried about how we’re going to get more people into golf and how we’re going to grow the game. That’s the part that’s funny to me because some people are bitter, man. They want it to be like a certain way.
  • “I don’t really care that you’re mad what I think of a hoodie, you know, and if you really think a hoodie’s a problem, then you probably suck at golf anyway.”
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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. ViralGolf2020

    Oct 30, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    I didn’t know Jack Nicklaus owned a pointy white hood.

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News

Morning 9: Rory: I’m not joining LIV | Masters ratings | Nelly: We just need a stage

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans, as we gear up to this week’s RBC Heritage.

1. Rory: I’m not going to LIV

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach…McIlroy said neither he nor his agents have ever discussed a potential deal to lure him to the LIV Golf League, which is being financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

  • “I honestly don’t know how these things get started,” McIlroy told Golf Channel while on the practice range at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina, the site of this week’s RBC Heritage. “I’ve never been offered a number from LIV, and I’ve never contemplated going to LIV. Again, I think I’ve made it clear over the past two years that I don’t think it’s something for me.
  • “It doesn’t mean that I judge people who have went and played over there. I think one of the things that I have realized over the past two years is that people can make their own decisions for whatever they think is best for themselves, and who are we to judge them for that? But personally, for me, my future is here on the PGA Tour, and it’s never been any different.”
Full piece.

2. Masters ratings down

Yahoo’s Jay Busbee…”Ratings for the full Masters week are now out, and 2024’s version ranks as the lowest since the COVID-impacted years of 2020 and 2021. There was a brief moment when four players shared the lead at the 2024 Masters, but Scottie Scheffler took care of business quickly enough and strolled to what qualifies as an “easy” Masters victory — a four-stroke triumph that wasn’t in doubt for most of the second nine.”

  • “Perhaps as a result, Sunday’s final round averaged 9.59 million viewers on CBS, according to Sports Media Watch, a 22.8% decline from last year’s 12.06 million. Scheffler’s win two years ago averaged 10.17 million viewers. Worth noting: Sunday’s final round was down 20 percent against last year’s victory by Jon Rahm, but last year’s final round fell on Easter Sunday, which created a significantly higher out-of-home percentage of viewers — 21 percent in 2023, as opposed to 9 percent this year.”
Full piece.

3. Chevron gets purse boost

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“Chevron’s commitment to the LPGA went a step higher on Tuesday with the announcement of a purse increase to $7.9 million in 2024. The move brings the tour’s first major in line with the purses of other championships. The U.S. Women’s Open purse of $12 million paces the tour, with the KPMG Women’s PGA second at $10 million. The AIG Women’s British Open purse checks in at $9 million while Amundi Evian is $6.5 million.”

  • “Chevron, which moved the event away from Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California, to Texas, last year, has increased the purse by $4.8 million since assuming title sponsorship in 2022. The company has committed to title sponsor the event through 2029.”
Full piece.

4. Shipley on “notegate”

Alex Myers for Golf Digest…”So what was up with “notegate”? During his hilarious spot with McAfee, Shipley reiterated there was no note from Woods, and that he was only looking at the moderator because he was so confused where the question was coming from:

  • “I looked over at the moderator like ‘Who the hell is this guy?'” Shipley says in the clip. “Because it just didn’t happen. I was so confused and so shocked in the moment.”
Full piece.

5. Nelly: We just need a stage

Iain Carter for the BBC…”Korda is the first American to win four consecutive tournaments on the LPGA since Lopez won five straight 46 years ago. This astonishing streak made the then rookie front page material for Sports Illustrated.

  • “Korda’s feats have yet to transcend the golfing village, and perhaps that suits her as she “tries to stay in my bubble”. But the American Solheim Cup player does recognise that more could be done to tell the increasingly compelling story of women’s golf.”
  • “I feel like we just need a stage,” she told reporters here at Carlton Woods just north of Houston. “We need to be put on TV.
  • “I feel like when it’s tape delay, or anything like that, that hurts our game. Women’s sports just needs a stage. If we have a stage we can show up and perform and show people what we’re all about.”
Full piece.

6. Photos from the 2024 RBC Heritage

  • Check out all of our galleries from this week’s event!
Full piece.
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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2024 RBC Heritage

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GolfWRX is on site this week at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island for the RBC Heritage. Plenty of golfers who competed in the Masters last week will be making the quick turnaround in the Lowcountry of South Carolina as the Heritage is again one of the Tour’s Signature Events.

We have general albums for you to check out, as well as plenty of WITBs — including Justin Thomas and Justin Rose.

We’ll continue to update as more photos flow in from SC.

Check out links to all our photos, below.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying and join the discussion in the forums.

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Morning 9: Aberg: I want to be No. 1 | Rory’s management blasts ‘fake news’ reports

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans, as we look back at the Masters while looking ahead to this week’s RBC Heritage.

1. Shane Ryan: Appreciate Scottie’s greatness

Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan…”This is what’s called generational talent, and we haven’t seen it in almost 20 years. Steve Stricker read the tea leaves when he picked Scheffler for the 2021 Ryder Cup—a decision that was richly rewarded—and starting in 2022, he was off to the races. The only hiccup was a few putting woes last year, but even that only served to highlight how remarkable his ball-striking had become—instead of winning, he was finishing third. When he fixed the putting, with help from a new coach and a bit of equipment advice from Rory McIlroy, he soared yet again to the top of the game, but this time he seemed more indomitable, more inevitable, more brilliant.”

  • “The sustained success of the last three years has officially made him the best professional golfer since Tiger Woods, a conclusion supported by analytics, the eye test, and every other metric you could dream up. With fewer majors, he has nevertheless leaped past Spieth, McIlroy, and Koepka in terms of pure ability. He doesn’t have their legacy, yet, but if we’re talking about peak performance, he’s already surpassed them.”
  • “He’s so much better than everyone else, which is a sentiment that is both commonplace—I saw it on Twitter over and over again—and revelatory. It’s the thing you say because there is nothing else to say. You’re left with the wild truth, which words can describe but never capture.”
Full piece.

2. Aberg: I want to be No. 1

The AFP’s Simon Evans…”The 24-year-old finished second, four strokes behind winner Scottie Scheffler, after carding a final round 69 but he certainly won many admirers among the patrons at Augusta National and beyond.”

  • “And his performance has filled Aberg with self-belief.”
  • “Everyone in my position, they are going to want to be major champions. They are going to want to be world number one, and it’s the same for me, that’s nothing different,” he said.
  • “It has been that way ever since I picked up a golf club, and that hasn’t changed. So I think this week solidifies a lot of those things are there, and we just need to keep doing those things and put ourselves in positions to win tournaments, ” he said.
Full piece.

3. Homa’s honest answer on double bogey

Golf Channel staff report…”But Homa’s tee shot at No. 12 bounded off the putting surface and into a bush. After a healthy search, Homa found his ball and had to take an unplayable lie. He made double bogey, effectively ending his bid at a maiden major title.”

  • “Homa tied for third, seven shots back of Scheffler. Asked about what happened on the fateful 9-iron, Homa offered two replies.”
  • “The honest answer is, it didn’t feel fair. I hit a really good golf shot, and it didn’t feel fair. I’ve seen far worse just roll back down the hill,” he said.
  • “The professional answer is, these things happen.”
Full piece.

4. Harbour Town ahead

RBC Heritage field notes, via Adam Stanley of PGATour.com…”Scottie Scheffler is, for now, set to tee it up at the RBC Heritage. He was clear to say that if his wife, Meredith, would go into labor during the Masters, he would head home to be with her, so it’s safe to assume that same rule will stand at Harbour Town. Scheffler has not shot an over-par round all season and has three victories (and one runner-up). He made his debut at Harbour Town last year and finished T11… Matt Fitzpatrick looks to become the first golfer to go back-to-back at the RBC Heritage since Boo Weekley in 2007-08. Fitzpatrick, a playoff victor last year, has two top-10 finishes this season. He has just one missed cut at Harbour Town over the last six years and he finished fourth in 2021 to go along with two more top-15 results in a three-year span (T14 in 2018 and 2020)…”

  • “Jordan Spieth is hoping to continue his run of fine play at Harbour Town after a playoff loss last season and a playoff win the season prior. Spieth has five top-25 finishes at the RBC Heritage in seven starts… Justin Thomas earned a spot in the field after remaining in the top 30 (he’s No. 30) in the Official World Golf Ranking despite a missed cut at the Masters. Thomas, who finished T25 last season at Harbour Town, has two top 10s on the season… Ludvig Åberg, who is tops in the Aon Next 10, will head to Hilton Head for the first time. Åberg has had a fabulous 2024 campaign thus far with four top 10s (including two runner-up results) and is knocking on the door for a victory… Hideki Matsuyama was the only eligible player who did not commit to the RBC Heritage, while Viktor Hovland – after a missed cut at the Masters – withdrew from the field on Saturday.”
Full piece.

5. Reed’s caddie’s needle

Our Matt Vincenzi…”After a particularly bad drive during his third round on Saturday, Reed’s caddie, Kessler Karain, also his brother-in-law, made a snide but factual comment to Patrick.”

  • “Your driving has cost us a lot this week,” Karain remarked.
  • “Reed didn’t disagree and told reporters after the round that there was nothing good about his round…
  • “A reporter then asked: “It’s a good thing he’s a family member, right?”
  • “Yeah, exactly. I’d probably be dragging him up that last hole,” Reed said. “I swear.Just what you want to hear as you’re looking at the ball in the tree, and he goes, ‘You need to drive it better.’ Thanks, Kessler. I appreciate it. Great words of wisdom. Drive it better.”
  • “This may be the last major for Reed for a while, as the 33-year-old has not been invited nor qualified for next month’s PGA Championship.”
Full piece.

6. LIV wants Hovland next?

Ewan Murray for the Guardian…”Rising speculation that Viktor Hovland will be the next high-profile golfer to be coaxed to the LIV tour will increase the need for Ryder Cup Europe to apply a simple qualification process for golfers on the Saudi Arabian-backed circuit.”

  • “LIV is forging ahead with plans for 2025, which include new events and the recruitment of more players from the PGA and DP World Tours. The rate of turnover is likely to be increased by the number of golfers who had three-year contracts when joining LIV, which will expire at the end of 2024.”
  • “Chatter on the range at the LIV event in Miami this month and again at the Masters largely surrounded Hovland, the world No 6 who starred for Europe in the defeat of the United States in Rome last year. Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton, who also played in that team, have subsequently joined LIV. Hovland missed the cut at the Masters and promptly withdrew from the PGA Tour’s $20m stop in Hilton Head this week.”
Full piece.

7. Rory’s management: LIV reports are ‘fake news’

Brian Keogh for the Irish Independent…”A report that Rory McIlroy was on the verge of an $850million move to LIV Golf has been slammed as “fake news” by his management.

“Fake news. Zero truth,” McIlroy’s manager Sean O’Flaherty said in an email.

London financial paper “City AM” reported today that sources have told them that McIlroy “could” join LIV Golf

The paper reported that “two separate sources have told City AM that they believe a deal is close. It is claimed that LIV Golf chiefs have offered world No2 McIlroy an eye-watering $850m to join, plus around two per cent equity in the competition.”

Full piece.
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