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Morning 9: Sports book cometh to TPC Scottsdale | Zalatoris’ unique position

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Good Thursday morning, golf fans. A smattering of odds and ends this morning as the golf mediaverse nurses its collective Masters hangover.

1. A sports book is coming to TPC Scottsdale

David Purdum at ESPN…“The PGA Tour is putting a retail sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale, one of golf’s most raucous environments.”

  • “The PGA Tour announced Wednesday that DraftKings will operate the first-of-its-kind sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale and become the exclusive sports betting partner of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.”
  • “Three locations at TPC Scottsdale are being discussed for the “19th hole” sportsbook, which will be open year-round and include in-person betting windows. The goal is to open the sportsbook by the Super Bowl in 2023.”

Full piece. 

2. Zalatoris’ unique position

Golfweek’s Steve DiMeglio…“Despite all the heady stuff going on in his world, Zalatoris remains level-headed. His meteoric rise – he was ranked 1,514th in the Official World Golf Ranking in April of 2019, was 483rd in April of 2020 and now rests at 27th after nearly becoming the first rookie to win the Masters in 42 years – hasn’t changed his good nature and calm demeanor.”

  • “He’s still the same guy who was Monday qualifying for Korn Ferry Tour events two years ago, the same guy who won his lone pro title at the TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes on the Korn Ferry Tour last July.”
  • “Then again, he’s not the same guy inside the ropes and he might just be on the USA Ryder Cup team. Since winning in Colorado, he’s made 22 starts on the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour and finished in the top-10 10 times and the top-25 18 times. He tied for sixth in the U.S. Open and fell one shot shy of Hideki Matsuyama in the Masters – the only two majors he’s played as a pro.”

Full piece. 

3. More thoughts on the possible coming surge in golf, equipment sales in Japan

Mike Stachura for Golf Digest…“Because as challenging as closing the deal on becoming the first Japanese-born male golfer to win a major championship clearly was during Sunday’s frenetic finish, now the shy, workman-like Matsuyama stands at the forefront of what one long-time Japanese golf business observer called “an epoch-making event.” Japan may comfortably stand as the world’s second largest golf market, accounting for a fifth of the global golf business all by itself, but it is long removed from the country’s golf boom of the late 1980s and ’90s. With the last decade seeing flat revenues and declining play and players, Matsuyama’s win is an opportunity to inject new life in a nation that has been waiting for a golf moment like this for more than half a century.

  • …”Over the last 25 years, the number of golfers has decreased by nearly half, from more than 12 million to now around 6.5 million. The country’s 2,500 golf courses of a generation ago, while likely overbuilt, have seen several hundred shuttered. Sales of golf gear in Japan still account for well more than $2 billion annually, but those numbers have largely been unchanged for the last decade. According to the World Golf Report, a joint research project of the global golf business produced by Golf Datatech and the Yano Research Institute in Japan, Japan accounts for 22 percent of the world’s golf economy, second to the U.S. at 45 percent. Still, golf equipment sales, which rebounded somewhat in the second half of 2020, finished the year down 5 percent, and over the last five years, they are down 1 percent while worldwide sales were up 11 percent.”

Full piece. 

4. Boo’s comeback bid

Brian Wacker for Golf Digest…”Boo Weekley hit a small bucket of balls on a driving range last week, yellow ones to be precise. He was wearing a mesh trucker’s cap, wrinkled tan shorts and a faded, loose-fitting gray t-shirt with the image of a large deer head and a tree screened on the back between the words “Save a tree, Harvest a buck…”

  • “In January, Weekley underwent surgery to have his left hip replaced after it was discovered that the cartilage that serves as a cushion between the hip socket and the femur, or thigh bone, had worn out, leaving the two bones in excruciating contact with one another. Had it been a decade ago, it would have been career over for the former three-time PGA Tour winner. Advances in modern medicine being what they are, the man born Thomas Brent and nicknamed after a fictional character (Yogi Bear’s sidekick Boo-Boo) instead has a chance to author one final chapter in a career that most would find hard to believe.”

Full piece. 

5. LPGA hoodie

Brittany Romano for Golf Digest…“Piggybacking off the WNBA’s wildly popular logo hoodie launched last fall, Michelle Wie has teamed up with the LPGA to release a golf version that is expected to create a lot of buzz. The tie-dye hoodie officially launches next week, but we got a sneak peek of the LPGA logo sweatshirt when Warriors guard Damion Lee was seen wearing it while traveling. The image was tweeted by the LPGA Twitter account and the hoodie almost instantly sold out on the LPGA merchandise site. The hoodie is expected to be restocked over the weekend”

Full piece. 

6. Matsuyama’s pre-Masters putter change

Our piece for PGATour.com…”As Hideki Matsuyama brushed in his winning putt at Augusta National on Sunday evening, the setting Georgia sun glistened off his 2012 Scotty Cameron Newport 2 Tour Prototype as he carried the wand with him off the famed Georgia course’s 18th green.”

  • “While most viewers who have seen the Masters champion in action over the past two years likely assumed from the finish and shaping it was the same flatstick Matsuyama has been stroking putts with all season, Japan’s first men’s major winner actually only put this particular putter in play at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play two weeks ago.”
  • “Matsuyama consulted with Scotty Cameron TOUR rep Drew Page and had a Lamkin Deep-Etched Cord Full Cord installed as well as a stepped putter shaft.”
  • “And while Hideki’s exact specs are under lock and key, Page and company dialed in the same loft, lie, and head weight as the Newport 2 GSS Timeless Matsuyama has played since the 2020 BMW Championship.”

Full piece. 

7. Simpson’s strengths

Justin Ray of the 15th Club writing for PGATour.com…“While Simpson has flashed strong approach play consistently over the last several seasons, it’s far from the only reason he is among the best players in the world. Simpson essentially does everything well.”

  • “Let’s look at the top 20 players in Strokes Gained: Total from last season on the PGA TOUR. As you might expect, many players see their biggest advantages come from one, or two, particular sets of skills. For example, Collin Morikawa ranked 14th on the PGA TOUR last season in Strokes Gained: Total. Seventy-two percent of his strokes gained came from approach shots alone. Matsuyama, who ranked 17th in Strokes Gained: Total, also made more than 70% of his gains with his approach play.”
  • “On the flipside, Matt Fitzpatrick, who ranked 16th in Strokes Gained: Total, gained 76.5% of his strokes on putts and shots around the green. Patrick Reed followed a similar trend, gaining 70.7% of his strokes in the same manner.”
  • “That brings us back to Simpson, and the balance within his game. Of those top 20 players in Strokes Gained: Total in 2019-2020, only one player gained more than 40% or more of his strokes on approach shots – and 40% of more of his strokes on putts and shots around the green combined: Simpson.”

Full piece. 

8. Billy’s apology for returning club to bag with great authority.

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Morning 9: Tiger ready for Match | Zalatoris return date | More NBC changes

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.

For comments: [email protected]. On Twitter: @benalberstadt

December 8, 2022

Good Thursday morning, golf fans, as we inch closer to Tiger’s return this Sunday in the latest edition of the Match.

1. Tiger ready for the Match

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach…”Tiger Woods is ready to go for the latest edition of “The Match” on Saturday night, even if his right foot isn’t fully healed.”

  • “Woods, a 15-time major champion, will team up with world No. 1 Rory McIlroy in a 12-hole match against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas under the lights at Pelican Golf Club outside Tampa, Florida.”
  • “Woods, who was forced to pull out of last week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot, said being able to use a golf cart in The Match will help “a lot.”
  • “I can hit golf balls. It’s just hard getting from point A to point B, so [the cart] will certainly help a lot,” he said Wednesday.
Full piece.

2. McGinley denies DP World Tour bankruptcy rumors

Elliott Heath for Golf Monthly…“Paul McGinley has called DP World Tour bankruptcy rumours “absolutely not true” and hailed the strategic alliance with the PGA Tour as a “phenomenal deal” in an interview with the Irish Independent.”

  • “Relations have never been better between the two tours,” McGinley told the Irish Independent’s Brian Keogh. “They are working very collaboratively together. We’ve just announced record prize funds and so has the American tour.”
  • “I know everybody doesn’t want to believe me and everyone wants to believe the rumours that we’re bankrupt and we were saved by the Americans and all that bulls***. That’s absolutely not true.”
  • “We’ve now hitched our wagon to the PGA Tour, and it provides long-term security for every player on the DP World Tour going forward. It’s a phenomenal deal we’ve done with the PGA Tour.”
Full piece.

3. Substation attacks hurting Pinehurst

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”Tens of thousands of Duke Energy customers in Moore County, North Carolina, lost power after police say two power substations were intentionally damaged by gunfire on Saturday night.”

  • “The list of those affected includes Pinehurst Resort.”
  • “According to Pinehurst’s website, parts of the resort, including all its golf courses, remain open, but the main clubhouse has been closed among other temporary changes.”
  • “While Pinehurst Resort has been affected by the widespread power outage in Moore County, we are working diligently to provide our guests with the best experience possible given these challenging circumstances,” the resort said in a statement. “At this time, the resort remains open, and golf is still being played, but we are implementing temporary changes due to limited electrical power throughout the resort.”
Full piece.

4. A special exemption

Golf Channel’s Max Schreiber…”At the tournament he grew up attending, the APGA Tour’s Michael Herrera will make his PGA Tour debut. “

  • “The Moreno Valley, California, native has received a sponsor’s exemption into the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.”
  • “The Farmers team is proud to congratulate Michael on earning this exemption and making his PGA Tour debut at the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open,” said Jeff Dailey, President and CEO of Farmers Insurance. “Our efforts to support the APGA Tour and grow diversity in the game of golf reflect the value Farmers places on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion as an organization, both on and off the course.”
Full piece.

5. Zalatoris sets a return date

Golf Channel’s Max Schreiber…”Nursing a lower back injury since August’s FedExCup playoffs, Zalatoris will tee it up at Kapalua’s Sentry Tournament of Champions during the first week of January.“

  • “A week after notching his maiden Tour victory at the FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis, Zalatoris was in contention at the BMW Championship. However, during the second round, he injured his back during a tee shot.”
Full piece.

6. Tappen out at NBC

Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…“Golfweek has learned that Kathryn Tappen, who handled post-round player interviews this season, will be replaced by a revolving door of Golf Channel talent already on site, including Cara Banks and Damon Hack. Tappen declined to comment and neither Banks nor Hack responded to messages.”

  • “An NBC spokesperson said it had no further comment beyond its previous statement that it “will be announcing any additional changes to our lineup early in the new year.”
Full piece.

7. Lexi ready for QBE Shootout

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“Lexi Thompson is back for a sixth time at the QBE Shootout while her partner, Maverick McNealy, is a rookie at the event. The former Stanford star got his first look at Tiburon Golf Course on Wednesday.”

  • Thompson, however, competed there just last month at the LPGA season-ending CME Group Tour Championship. She won the CME at Tiburon in 2018.
  • “I know he’s good,” said Thompson, when the pair of 27-year-olds were asked what they knew about each other. McNealy commented on their shared competitive drive.
  • “We’re not showing up here as an exhibition,” he said. “I want to give us as many good looks from the fairway as possible and just hit it right at the flag. Really excited.”
Full piece.

8. Best celeb foursome Tiger has played with

Our Matt Vincenzi…“With Capital One’s The Match set to take place this weekend, Tiger Woods was asked about the best celebrity foursome that he’s ever played a round with.”

  • “Tiger replied: “[John] Smoltz, [Tom] Glavine and [Greg] Maddux when they were all pitching with the Braves. That was epic. I shot 62, 62 and lost money.”
  • “The three pitchers combined to win seven National League Cy Young Awards in the 1990s and led the Atlanta Braves to a World Series win in 1995.”
Full piece.

9. QBE Shootout Photos

  • Check out all of our galleries from this week’s event
Full piece.
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Morning 9: On-site betting coming to PGA Tour | Scott on LIV peace talks | Rory to play Irish Open

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.

For comments: [email protected]. On Twitter: @benalberstadt

December 7, 2022

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans, as we inch closer to Tiger’s return this Sunday in the latest edition of the Match.

1. On-site betting is coming to the PGA Tour

Josh Weinfuss for ESPN…”The PGA Tour and DraftKings held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday at TPC Scottsdale, site of the WM Phoenix Open, on the first sportsbook to be located at a tournament venue.”

  • “It’s a big deal,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
  • “The building, which has already broken ground and is set to open in October, according to Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega, will be 12,000 square feet and located to the east of the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course, which hosts the tournament. It will hold about 390 people, be open year-round and serve food and drinks.”
  • “Five years ago, Monahan said Monday, he never saw the PGA Tour having a sportsbook at one of its tournament sites. But, eventually, as the sports betting landscape kept evolving and growing, the PGA Tour saw potential openings in building physical structures at courses.”
Full piece.

2. Adam Scott on talk of LIV peace talks

The AP’s Doug Ferguson…“Negotiations don’t start with one party getting to decide who speaks for the other. Most curious to Scott was the idea of any peace talks. LIV Golf has spent $2 billion to lure big names and start a rival league and the PGA Tour doubled down by suspending players who left. LIV Golf sued and the PGA Tour countersued.”

  • “What’s there to talk about outside of depositions?”
  • “I don’t know what this coming together is,” Scott said last week in Melbourne. “I don’t know, is someone making that up? Is that a possibility? I don’t know. I really am not involved at that level at all, and it seems like all speculation to me.”
  • “I genuinely feel like LIV should get on with what they’re doing and the PGA Tour should get on with what they’re doing and it will all sort out,” he said. “Whether that’s together or not, I have no clue. But I don’t necessarily think that it has to be together or not together for the good of the game. I think the good of the game will prevail, but it’s a big shake-up and we’re not used to that.”
Full piece.

3. New USGA president nominated

Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…“Fred Perpall has been nominated to serve as the 67th president of the United States Golf Association. He would be the first Black man to hold that post in the association’s history, dating to 1894.”

  • “If elected, Perpall, 47, will succeed Stu Francis of Hillsborough, California, who will conclude his three-year term in February 2023. Highlights of Francis’ presidency include helping to guide the organization successfully through the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing on Mike Whan as USGA CEO, and working to elevate all USGA championships and host sites, among many other contributions.”
  • “Perpall, a native of the Bahamas who now calls Dallas home, is completing his fourth year on the executive committee, and his first as president-elect. He chairs the Championship Committee, helping to usher in the inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open Championship and the site selection of several USGA championships to many of America’s iconic courses.”
Full piece.

4. ICYMI: A few notable Tiger quotes from the Bahamas

Kevin Prise from PGATour.com assembles some of TW’s remarks from last week…

  • “To get not only just one, but I’d like to get a big one too.”
  • “Woods was posed the question by Paul Azinger on Saturday’s broadcast of the Hero World Challenge: How motivating is the prospect of earning an 83rd PGA TOUR title to break a tie with Sam Snead as winningest player in TOUR history?”
  • “Woods was direct. It is motivating to be sure, and he doesn’t intend on limiting his ambitions to a standard TOUR event. He’s intent on pursuing another major title.”
  • “Woods built his 2022 schedule around competing at The 150th Open at St. Andrews. Not only did he achieve this goal, but he also competed at the Masters and PGA Championship, advancing to the weekend in each. He missed the cut at The Open but remains steadfast in his belief that he can go toe-to-toe with “the kids” and return to contention in TOUR starts, including majors, moving forward.”
Full piece.

6. R.I.P. Leon Gilmore

Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…“Golf industry veteran Leon Gilmore died Dec. 1. His family said he suffered a massive stroke. He was 52.

  • “During his career, Gilmore served in various roles for First Tee, the Monterey Peninsula Foundation and PGA Tour Champions.”
  • “He began his career in the golf industry in Atlanta as director of the East Lake Junior Academy’s program for underserved youth in the community. After spending a year and half there, Gilmore assumed a role with First Tee, rising to director of development, where he was responsible for facility development and strategy in nine states and was involved in the successful launch of 35 facilities.”
Full piece.

7. Rory to return to Irish Open

Irish Independent report…”Rory McIlroy will return to the Irish Open at the K Club next year.”

  • The world number one, PGA Tour and DP Tour champion has confirmed his entry for next year’s event from September 7-10. McIlroy won the Irish Open at the same venue in 2016 with a stunning birdie-par-eagle finish to win by three stokes.
  • “The Irish Open is a tournament that I grew up not just watching on TV but attending as a kid, seeing all my favourite players there over the years,” said McIlroy. “It’s always been such a well-supported event. I’ve had my fair share of support and great memories at that tournament and going back to The K Club, it’s where I’ve had the most success and I’m obviously excited to get back there.
  • “The atmosphere was electric during that final round in 2016 and I’m looking forward to seeing the fans out in force at The K Club once again.”
Full piece.
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Morning 9: QBE Shootout to be mixed event | Rory reveals Sergio text rant | Screenshots of the year

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.

For comments: [email protected]. On Twitter: @benalberstadt

December 6, 2022

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans, as we inch closer to Tiger’s return this Sunday in the latest edition of the Match.

1. QBE Shootout to become mixed team event

The AP’s Doug Ferguson…”Nelly Korda and Lexi Thompson are representing the LPGA Tour this week in the QBE Shootout. Next year, they will have plenty of company.”

  • “The QBE Shootout will become a mixed-team event starting in 2023, returning such a format to the schedule for the first time since the JC Penney Classic in 1999.”
  • “Players were informed of the change at a meeting last week in the Bahamas.”
Full piece.

2. Top three JGTO finishers to receive DP World Tour membership

PGATour.com staff report…“The DP World Tour and PGA TOUR jointly announced today a new landmark partnership with the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO) that will see the top three players on the JGTO Order of Merit earn membership onto the DP World Tour for the ensuing season, beginning with the 2022-23 campaign.”

  • “The formal pathway further enhances the existing global pathway system, as the leading 10 players on DP World Tour’s Race To Dubai Rankings [in addition to those already exempt] will earn cards on the PGA TOUR, beginning with the 2024 season, as part of the operational joint venture partnership between the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour announced in June.”
  • “In addition to these new formal pathways, which also includes access to DP World Tour Qualifying School for leading players not otherwise exempt, the JGTO will work alongside the DP World Tour and PGA TOUR on other key business areas, including strategic development and commercial growth. Among those is a continued commitment to the ISPS HANDA – CHAMPIONSHIP, which is set to make its debut on the DP World Tour schedule next April 20-23, 2023, at PGM Ishioka GC in Omitama, Japan.”
Full piece.

3. ICYMI: Zack Fischer’s big day in Argentina

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”A spot in next summer’s Open Championship was secured on Sunday in Argentina.”

  • “Zack Fischer, a Korn Ferry Tour member playing in his first PGA Tour Latinoamerica event, won the Visa Argentine Open by a shot at Nordelta Golf Club in Buenos Aires to earn an exemption into the 2023 Open at Royal Liverpool.”
  • “I’m just over the moon right now,” said Fischer, who will be making his major-championship debut July 20-23 in England.
Full piece.

4. “Shut up about LIV”

Our Matt Vincenzi…

  • “During the 2022 U.S. Open, Rory McIlroy woke up to a text message from Sergio Garcia telling him to “shut up” about LIV Golf.”
  • “Rory revealed that he received the text message while doing an interview with the Irish Independent, saying, “He was basically telling me to shut up about LIV, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
  • “The 33-year-old said that he “was pretty offended and sent him back a couple of daggers and that was it.”
Full piece.

5. Devastated by DQ at Q-Series, Alana Uriell is determined to bounce back

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”It had been an emotional 48 hours for Alana Uriell.”

  • “Two days earlier, the 26-year-old professional golfer had made the costliest mistake of her career, signing for an incorrect score and subsequently being disqualified from LPGA Q-Series after just two rounds. Now, she was tasked with making sense of it all.”
  • “I’m still reeling from the whole thing,” Uriell told GolfChannel.com on Sunday afternoon.
  • “I’ve never done this before; I’ve never signed for a lower score and gotten disqualified,” she added. “I don’t think I’ve ever been disqualified. This is new … and terrible timing, too. It could’ve just been a normal LPGA event and I would be like, Well, I lost out on a week, but I can compete next week. This was a little more at stake, and that’s the part that really is the butt-kicker in all this.”
Full piece.

6. Screenshots of the year

  • No words for this fine item from Golf Digest’s Christopher Powers, just check it out.
Full piece.
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