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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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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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Morning 9: Streb gets 2nd win…at same course as first | World #1 picks up where she left off | Lynch: “Giving thanks in a lousy year”

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at [email protected]; and find me on Twitter and Instagram.
November 23, 2020
Good Monday morning, golf fans. A bit of housekeeping for this Thanksgiving week: Morning 9 will be expressing gratitude and ingesting holiday fare from Wednesday through Friday.

1. Second for Streb (finally)

PGATour.com’s Sean Martin…”Robert Streb thought the wins would keep on coming after his first victory at The RSM Classic. He had to wait six years for the next one, though.”
  • “Streb won The RSM Classic again Sunday, becoming the first two-time winner of this decade-old event at Sea Island Resort. He knocked a wedge within inches of the hole to beat Kevin Kisner on the second hole of their sudden-death playoff.”

 

  • “With the win, Streb became the first player since Dave Eichelberger in the 1970s to earn his first two titles at the same event but at least six seasons apart. Eichelberger won the 1971 and 1977 Greater Milwaukee Opens.”

2. Sei Young Kim wins Pelican Women’s Championship

AP report…”Sei Young Kim won the Pelican Women’s Championship on Sunday for her second straight victory, closing with an even-par 70 for a 3-stroke victory over Ally McDonald.”
  • “The KPMG Women’s PGA winner on Oct. 11 in her last start, the second-ranked Kim won for the 12th time on the LPGA Tour to break a tie for third on the South Korean victory list with Jiyai Shin, behind only Inbee Park (20) and Se Ri Pak (25).”

3. Hansen seals maiden victory in Johannesburg

EuropeanTour.com report…”He graduated from the European Challenge Tour in 2012 and 2015 but had a breakout year in 2018, claiming two Challenge Tour victories en route to becoming the first Dane to top the Rankings since Thomas Bjørn 23 years earlier.
  • “The 30-year-old had his best year to date on the Race to Dubai in 2019 as he finished in the top 50 on the Rankings presented by Rolex and, after securing an impressive top ten in the Rolex Series at the BMW PGA Championship last month, he is now a winner, making it a Danish hat-trick in 2020 after Rasmus Højgaard’s brace of victories.”

4. Lynch: Giving thanks in a lousy year—to Bryson, Brooks and the ‘stick to golf’ brigade

Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch “…the grim realities of the pandemic and the attendant economic hangover suggest that at least part of ’21 won’t be much better, so perhaps its more important than ever amid our shared gloominess to spare a moment to recognize the things we are thankful for.”
  • “For Bryson DeChambeau, who single-handedly filled the long, dark days of summer with antics sufficient to fuel social media for an age. Blessed be his talent, his success, his work ethic and his stupendous absence of self-awareness. The PGA Tour and its fans are richer for all of the above.”
  • “For Brooks Koepka, whose most noteworthy shot during this truncated major season came at the PGA Championship, when he grazed his ex-pal Dustin Johnson in a Saturday night drive-by press conference. He also freely admitted that he wouldn’t share a protein shake with DeChambeau and that he’s not out to make friends on Tour, solidifying his reputation as a straight-shooter unafraid to flavor golf’s vanilla-centric menu.”

5. Doomed by distance

John Huggan for Golf Digest…”Three days after hitting the drive that echoed around the world of golf—a 439-yard bomb off the tee at the 597-yard par-5 fourth hole on the Randpark course during the opening round of the European Tour event—Wilco Nienaber arrived on the penultimate tee tied for the lead with Joachim B. Hansen. Unfortunately for Nienaber, a 20-year-old South African, that was as good as things would get. His tee shot on the 223-yard par-3 17th finished inches from the water that runs behind and left of the putting surface. A bogey, his first of the day, was the almost inevitable result from the awkward spot, the dropped shot putting Hansen one shot clear.
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6. Maria Fassi added to U.S. Women’s Open field.

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“It wasn’t that long ago, Fassi said, that she was 14th on the alternate list. But, as players begin to drop out, like Shanshan Feng for example, Fassi zipped up the list. The U.S. Women’s Open will take place Dec. 10-13 at Champions Golf Club in Houston.  “I was pretty sad honestly,” said Fassi of potentially missing out on the year’s final major. “For me, the U.S. Open is the one that I look forward to the most.”

7. A return to his trusty tools: Kisner back to Callaway Apex ‘14 irons

Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”For those who were really paying attention, they might have also recognized his familiar irons.”
  • “Kisner put into play this week the irons he won the ’14 event with. It was an attempt to find some consistency and control his ball flight in what were demanding conditions.”
  • “I was struggling with my distance control the last few weeks, couldn’t figure out if it was the change in the weather or if it was me or if it was the irons,” Kisner said. “I knew they were familiar and had some good history with them here, so they seemed to work.”

8. Niemann donates RSM paycheck to ailing cousin

Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…”Joaquin Niemann missed the Masters last week after testing positive for COVID-19. It sounds like a horrible twist of fate until you consider that the 22-year-old Chilean is dealing with graver medical concerns.”
  • “Niemann’s one-month-old cousin, Rafita Calderon, was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a rare genetic disease that affects about one in every 10,000 babies born every year. Calderon is battling for his life, desperately needing a one-time injection of Zolgensma, a drug which according to Niemann costs $2.1 million.”

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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Tour Rundown: Streb outduels Kisner | Sei what you will

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It’s nearly Thanksgiving and we STILL have three competitive events to run down here at GolfWRX. The first real snows of the season have fallen gently in western New York, which gives even more value to watching events in South Africa, Georgia, and  Florida. The golf world was introduced to a talented player this week, by way of a 439-yard drive; reintroduced to a stunning talent from Korea; and re-reintroduced to a tournament that has become a warehouse for first-time winners. The time has come to run down some late November tournament golf, where excitement ruled the day.

Robert Streb outduels Kevin Kisner in playoff at RSM

In 2014, Robert Streb made the then-McGladrey Classic his first PGA Tour victory. 2015 saw Kevin Kisner earn a debut title at the same event, rechristened the RSM Classic. Both players came to the 2020 on a cool streak, in search of the magic that results in a tour title. Since 2014, Streb had yet to find the winner’s circle, while Kisner had earned two additional titles, both in Texas. In an ironic twist of fate, both golfers reached 19-under par, one stroke clear of Cameron Tringale. With no one ahead of them, a playoff was in order, and off they went to the 18th tee of Sea Island Resort’s Seaside course. A demanding par four of 460+ yards,  water runs the entirety of the left side, forcing shots right, toward the marsh.

In truth, Streb’s arrival at the playoff was a minor miracle. His two-under 70 the final day was scorched by Kisner’s 63, Tringale’s 62, and a host of other, low-60s numbers. His three-shot lead held up, barely, awarding him a spot in extra holes. Harris English made birdie at six of his first eight holes, also reaching 62, but needing 59 to join the playoff. Kisner notched seven birdies on the day, but was unable to collect an eighth over the closing stretch.

In the playoff, each golfer recorded par at the first playoff hole, albeit in completely different manners. Kisner missed a 15-feet putt for the win, while Streb clutched-in a seven-feet effort of his own. Return they did to the tee for another go. This time through, Streb nearly holed his approach shot. After kissing the edge of the cup, the ball settled 18 inches from pay dirt. With the birdie, Streb became the only two-time, both-in-a-playoff winner at the Sea Island event.

Sei what you will, she’s a winner!

Sei Young Kim found herself in a Streb-like situation on Sunday morning. She had an ample three-round lead, and wished only to secure a victory as the LPGA season waned. Ally McDonald had other ideas. buoyed (or gurled?) by her inaugural LPGA title in 2020 and her third-round ace, McDonald went on the attack. After a bogey at the third, she reeled off three birdie in four holes. As quickly as her charge mounted, it just as promptly dissipated. McDonald made no more birdies until the 18th hole, securing solo second.

There were low numbers on the course on Sunday. Jessica Korda signed for 64, while Angela Stanford and Jennifer Song were able to attest to 65. All three were too far back to charge, and settled for top-ten placements. In addition to McDonald, Stephanie Meadow, Austin Ernst, and Lydia Ko all had ample opportunity to make a run with a Korda-esque round. Each was derailed by a slow start, at even par or worse through the round’s first third. Solid play earned that trio a top-five result.

As for Sei Young Kim, it was a case of balance. Make a bogey? Make a birdie. She had three of each on the day and, after McDonald’s stalled charge, enjoyed a stroll along the fairways of the inaugural Pelican Women’s Championship. The title was her second of 2020, and the 12th of her career. The 2020 PGA Champion will break with her tour mates before heading to Texas for the VOA and the US Women’s Open, in early December.

Wilco nearly complies, but Joachim emerges in end

It’s has been a tale of two cities, for Wilco Nienaber and Joachim B. Hansen. Nienaber stunned the world for a moment with his 440-yard explosion on Thursday, then showed that he has much more game than just the long ball off the tee. Hansen spent the 2010s doing apprentice duty, first in the Nordic Golf League, then on the European Challenge Tour. As recently as 2018, he was a two-time winner on the second-tier circuit but, after this week’s performance, the 30-year old native of Denmark might have some confidence on the big circuit.

For all the world, the 2020 Joburg Open looked to be a home-country affair. In addition to Nienaber, fellow South African golfers Shaun Norris, Jacques Blaauw, and Brandon Stone made appearances at or near the top of the board. Nienaber had the greatest staying power. The 20-year old opened with 63, and followed it with a pair of 67s. At his heels was the danish bulldog. Hansen played four rounds in the 60s, punctuated by a Saturday 64. The week required a pair of low-60s scores from any other challenger, and none was up to the task.

On day four, Hansen and Nienaber were flawless if unspectacular. Nienaber made birdie at holes 4 through 6, to reach 19-deep. Hansen countered with a quartet of birdies of his own. Well spaced, they allowed him to keep pace with the wunderkind. At the 17th tee, either adrenalin or club selection did Nienaber in. His tee ball was long, leaving him an awkward stance for his recovery. The ensuing bogey dropped him a shot back of Hansen. Pressing for a matching birdie at the home hole, Nienaber once again made bogey, allowing Hansen a two-stroke margin of victory.

The peripatetic tour remains in South Africa for one more week, before moving on to Mauritius and Australia to close the books on 2020.

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