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Morning 9: Don’t expect a passive PGA Championship course | Discovery-WarnerMedia merger

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Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Don’t be fooled by Rory in 2012: Ocean Course will be a tough test
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…“He made it look easy – too easy – when the truth is that the Ocean Course ranked as the second-toughest course on the PGA Tour in 2012 behind only The Olympic Club, which hosted the U.S. Open. Five of the final nine holes at Kiawah ranked among the season’s top 50 toughest…”
  • …”It’s likely not going to be a great comfort to any of the 156 players who have converged on this slice of the Lowcountry for the PGA Championship that the 2012 edition of the Ocean Course was, at least in theory, a more user-friendly version than what they’ll play this week.”
  • “That PGA Championship was played in August, when the course generally plays much softer thanks to the ubiquitous afternoon thunderstorms that roll through the area…If this week’s forecast holds, there won’t be any relief…”
  • “The bigger issue will be the winds that regularly buffet the layout with gusts to 15 mph predicted for Friday and Saturday.”
2. Chloe Kovelesky!
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”On Chloe Kovelesky’s first birthday she took her first step. Her father, Richard, cut down a putter and wedge that same day. Even before she could walk, Chloe used to scoot across the floor smacking golf balls.”
  • “I think she came out with a golf club,” joked her mother, Tina.
  • “Now, at age 14, Chloe is the youngest player in the field at the 76th U.S. Women’s Open, having qualified May 11 at Banyan Cay Resort & Golf in West Palm Beach, Florida, with two rounds of 70. Chloe had mentor Morgan Pressel’s longtime caddie Barry “Rock” Cesarz on her bag. Growing up in Boca Raton, Pressel has long been Chloe’s favorite golfer.”
3. Golf and the Discovery-WarnerMedia merger
Reuters report…”Discovery Inc (DISCA.O) CEO David Zaslav emailed his counterpart at AT&T Inc (T.N), John Stankey, on a Sunday afternoon in February to lament how the COVID-19 pandemic had led to them missing the AT&T Pebble Beach golf tournament in California, where the two friends had planned to meet.”
  • “After reading Zaslav’s email, which included emojis of a person playing golf and another one with sunglasses, Stankey got on the phone, and the pair spoke for two hours.”
  • “The conversation turned to business. That led barely three months later to the announcement on Monday of a merger deal between Discovery and AT&T’s WarnerMedia with an enterprise value of more than $120 billion.”
4. Microchip shortage hiring rangefinder business
David Dusek for Golfweek…”it is ironic that as laser rangefinders are primed to get more exposure than ever, a looming semiconductor and microchip shortage is playing havoc with the industry. Companies ranging from start-ups to industry leaders are haggling with suppliers, delaying the release of new models and pushing back innovations that would otherwise be in pro shops already.”
  • “Like so many other things, the semiconductor and microchip shortage was caused by a series of events related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, companies worldwide were forced to close, workers stayed home and kids started attending school remotely. Businesses in many industries canceled orders and stopped production because no one knew what the global economy might do. That forced chipmakers to either stop or severely reduce their output.”
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5. Daly’s incredible generosity after Crooked Stick win
ESPN’s Bob Harig…“There was tragedy that intersected with triumph that week at Crooked Stick.”
  • “During the first round, a weather delay required that the course be evacuated. Tom Weaver, who lived in nearby Fishers, Indiana, and had recently gotten into golf, was there with two other friends. Weaver was walking to his car and was struck in the chest by lightning and died at the scene. He was 39 years old. He left behind a wife, Dee, and two daughters: Emily, who was 12, and Karen, who was 8.”
  • “Days later, having just won his first major championship, going from obscurity to stardom, Daly (who had won $230,000) quietly, without fanfare, wrote a check for $30,000. He sent it to Dee Weaver to set up a college fund for her two daughters.”
  • “For him to win this iconic tournament and to be so selfless and share his winnings with us, it does shed a light on his true character and what he values most,” said Karen, whose last name is now Kirschner and who is a doctor in Indianapolis.”
6. Bones on the bag
Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…”There was some confusion when Joe Greiner, who caddies for FedExCup No. 20 Max Homa, qualified to play in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at Chambers Bay, which begins Saturday.”
  • “At first, Greiner and Homa thought the conflict would be during the week of the Charles Schwab Challenge, which they might be able to work around if Homa didn’t play it. But after a while they realized Greiner wasn’t going to be able to caddie in the PGA Championship at Kiawah. (The Four-Ball starts this Saturday.)”
  • …”Acting fast, Greiner and Joe Skovron, who caddies for Rickie Fowler, called an old friend. And as it happened, NBC and Golf Channel correspondent Jim “Bones” Mackay, Phil Mickelson’s former caddie who in recent years has filled in for Justin Thomas, Matt Fitzpatrick and Jimmy Walker, was free.”
7. Phil to design USD training facility
Adam Woodard for Golfweek…”Phil Mickelson will design a new $2 million golf training facility for the University of San Diego, Athletic Director Bill McGillis announced on Monday.”
  • “The Purcell Family Short-Game Practice Facility will be located on campus and feature a one-acre natural turf short-game area fit with a large putting green, practice bunkers and fairway and rough area so players can practice any shot they’d face in competition.”
8. Players, caddies on rangefinders, part 37
Steve DiMeglio for Golfweek…“I love what the PGA of America is trying to do. The organization has been at the forefront of change,” said Paul Tesori, longtime bag man for Webb Simpson. “The PGA Championship is the only major we’ve played lift, clean and place. The PGA of America was the first to allow shorts.
  • “But I think they reached into an area where I don’t think we need help.”
  • “…This is a fact: it’s not going to speed up play because everybody I know and have talked to, we still want front numbers, and the range finder, you can’t always get the accurate front number,” said Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion and current world No. 10. “So you’ll probably have the player shoot the pin, the caddie will walk off the number because I’m going to want what’s front. I haven’t read the reasoning behind it or their desire to test it out that week, but I don’t think it will really make a difference.”
  • “And as Scott Sajtinac, caddie for 2013 PGA champion Jason Dufner, said: “Too much information is needed that is unzappable by a laser. But some will sure try to laser something extra.”
9. PGA Championship: Viewers guide
Our Gianni Magliocco…”The second major of the year is upon us, with a host of players with ambitions of hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy come Sunday evening.”
Thursday
 7a.m.-1 p.m: First-round coverage (ESPN+)
1 p.m.-7 p.m: First-round coverage (ESPN)
7 a.m.- 7 p.m: First-round featured groups and featured holes (ESPN+)
Friday
 7a.m.-1 p.m: Second-round coverage (ESPN+)
1 p.m.-7 p.m: Second-round coverage (ESPN)
7 a.m.- 7 p.m: Second-round featured groups and featured holes (ESPN+)
Saturday
8 a.m.-10 a.m: Third-round coverage (ESPN+)
10 a.m.-1 p.m: Third-round coverage (ESPN)
1 p.m.-7 p.m: Third-round coverage (CBS)
8 a.m.-1 p.m: Third-round featured groups and featured holes (ESPN+)
Sunday
8 a.m.-10 a.m: Final-round coverage (ESPN+)
10 a.m.-1 p.m: Final-round coverage (ESPN)
1 p.m.-7 p.m: Final-round coverage (CBS)
8 a.m.-1 p.m: Final-round featured groups and featured holes (ESPN+)
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Tour Rundown: 63 and victory for Im | Kruising Ko | Spanish overtime

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Four events capped the first full week of October, as professional tours surged toward either a conclusion or a seasonal break. The European, LPGA, and Tour Champions all have playoffs and capstones in view, while the PGA Tour moves ever closer to its holiday recess for 2021-22. Still, there is something about fall golf that captivates the ardent fan. Visits to parts of the world not normally seen are cherished, and the winners are no less grateful for the laurels that come their way. With those thoughts in mind, as leaves begin to turn color across the northern hemisphere, let’s run down a four-pack of events and celebrate golf, in this week’s Tour Rundown.

PGA Tour: Im claims second title on heels of 63

Korea’s Sung-jae Im added a second tour title to his resume this week. He closed with 63 to edge past Matthew Wolff by four shots. Im began day four in fifth position but lit the scoreboard with four birdies through his first seven holes. He then etched birdie into five consecutive slots on his scorecard, from nine through 13, and surged to a four-shot victory.

Matthew Wolff, also in search of a second tour title, turned in minus 3 to keep pace with Im. Deflating bogeys found the Oklahoma State Cowboy on 10 and 13, and a pair of closing birdies at 15 and 16 served only to separate Wolff from Marc Leishman, Rory Sabbatini, and overnight leader Adam Schenk in the race for second position.

LPGA:  Founders Title is appropriate for Kruising Ko

An astonishing thing is taking place on the LPGA Tour these days. Jin Young Ko is playing golf at a level not seen in many a month. She is on a run of 14 consecutive rounds in the 60s, which ties her with Annika Sorenstam for best ever. Sorenstam wasn’t one of the LPGA Founders, it just seems that way. She was one of the best ever, and this places Ko in rare company. Ko opened with 63 in the hills of New Jersey this week, closed with 66, and secured a four-shot victory of her own, for her third win of the campaign and 10th of her career.

Feeling just a bit hijacked was Germany’s Caroline Masson. Masson closed with 64, posted three other rounds in the 60s, but was swept away by Ko’s brilliance. It wasn’t a large gap that separated the two stalwarts. It was one stroke per round, it seems, those brief yet vicious chess moves that make a close match seem not quite so. If Masson had any place to look, it would be to the three bogeys on her Saturday card. After two, one-bogey rounds to begin the week, Masson was poised to go low on Saturday. She had five birdies on her card, but without those bogey stumbles, might have positioned herself for a better run at Ko.

Despite the rain, the champion was solid on Sunday. If nearly eight minutes of highlights aren’t too many for you, settle in and have a ko, err, a go.

European Tour: Spanish overtime duel caps Spanish Open

Sometime Friday, I glanced at the leader board in Madrid, and saw Jon Rahm at 130 after two rounds. It appeared that the Basque would bring another home-Open title to his country, but I was wrong. It was a Spaniard who won, and he defeated another Spaniard on the first extra hole of the tournament, but neither goes by the surname Rahm. Confused? Not for long.

While Rahm fell away with 141 over his closing 36 holes, into a worn-out tie for 17th, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Adrián Arnaus surged. RCB hails from the Canary Islands, while Arnaus is a Barcelona boy by way of Texas A & M university. The pair reached 19-under par in different ways: Cabrera-Bello overcame an opening double to record four birdies, while Arnaus had a pair of eagles over his closing 18 holes. Their totals brought them two shots beyond a trio of third-place finishers, and set them on a course for overtime.

It was over quickly, as Cabrera-Bello made a swift birdie that Arnaus could not match. The victory was the fourth European Tour title for the Canarian, while Arnaus still seeks his debut championship on the big tour.

PGA Tour Champions: Mickelson gets off the bagel for 2021

Despite winning a minor event on the regular tour, back in May, Phil Mickelson had not followed up his two-win debut campaign on Tour Champions 2020 with a 2021 title. Something about Jacksonville and the Timiquana Country Club fit him like a glove, and Mickelson opened with 66 to take the lead. His Saturday 67 kept him at the front of the field, but Mickelson wasn’t pleased. A super-low round was lurking, and he wanted to be the fellow to grab it.

Miguel Angel Jiménez, the crafty Spaniard, must certainly have given a thought to his homeland’s Open championship, being played concurrently across the Atlantic. Jiménez followed a 70 with 65; perhaps he would be the caballero to post the round of which Mickelson spake. Others lurked as well, including tournament host Jim Furyk, In the end, Steve Flesch would drop one slot down the chart with 71 on Sunday, to claim third. Jiménez would submit a clean card of 68, with four birdies, and nearly tie Mickelson with a bomb at the last. Mickelson would not find his fountain of youth near St. Augustine, but he would find Champions victory number three with a 68 of his own.

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Interesting Photos, Weekend Edition: 16 more equipment photos from the Shriners Open

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The photos and associated stories GolfWRX captured this week at the 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas were terrific — and we had plenty of ingredients to offer a second course of our “interesting photos.”

That Las Vegas is one of the most photogenic cities in the world helped, too.

Below are some of our favorites we didn’t add to our Tuesday “Interesting Photos” article.

Links

WITB

General galleries

Here are a few of the most interesting shots from the Shriners.

Danny Willett – WITB & Prototype Toulon Daytona putter – won Dunhill Links last week at St Andrews – (see photos here)

Anirban Lahiri – WITB – (see photos here)

James Hahn – WITB & Cameron H-19 CT putter (see more photos)

Garsen – Quad Tour 17 grip – (see photos here)

Bettinardi putters – (see photos here)

Jason Kokrak – PXG Gen 4 Blacked out irons- (see photos here)

Matt Kuchar back to old faithful irons – (see photos here)

Rickie Fowler – WITB – (see photos here)

Pat Perez a testing SIK putter – (see photos here)

Spotted: 2022 Callaway Apex UW- (see photos here)

Check out all the galleries and discussion in the forums

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Morning 9: Brooks with high praise for Bryson | Rahm’s new reality | Rose on Ryder Cup snub

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By Ben Alberstadt
For comments—or if you’re looking for a fourth—email me at [email protected].
October 7, 2021
Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. Brooks with high praise for Bryson
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”Asked at the Shriners Hospitals for Childrens Open how the event came together, Koepka said, “You’ll have to ask Bryson.”
  • “He did, however, have some complimentary words for the man he has feuded with for much of this year, marveling at DeChambeau’s ability to hit the ball great lengths and also be competitive in last week’s Long Drive Championship.”
  • “I think it’s going to change the game of golf forever, personally,” Koepka said. “But if you’re going to hit it that far and you find a couple fairways, it’s tough to beat. It does get very difficult when you got wedge into hole where guys got 6-iron. Your odds are going to be in your favor. That’s what he’s done”
  • “…So the fact he’s able to do that, the fact he did at the Long Drive, I don’t think anybody really thought he was going to get that far, but the fact he did was quite impressive,” Koepka said. “I think you’re just going to continually see that type of distance come from the kids that are in college or high school now that will be out here in five, six years.”
2. Emulating Seve 
Reuters report…”World No. 1 Jon Rahm is hopeful that he can emulate compatriot Seve Ballesteros by becoming only the second three-time winner of the Spanish Open when he tees off on home soil on Thursday.”
  • “Rahm, 26, is aiming for a hat trick of titles at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, having previously won in 2018 and 2019. The 2020 event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
  • “It would be very unique. I know names like Ollie (Jose Maria Olazabal), he couldn’t win it… I would hope to be able to get to a third not only to tie Seve but to win it three times in a row,” Rahm said.”
3. Things have changed for Jon Rahm 
AP report…“His U.S. Open triumph and rise to No. 1 golfer in the world has turned him into a star transcending sports in the country, on the same level as the likes of Rafael Nadal, Pau Gasol and Fernando Alonso.”
  • “…It took 30 seconds from the time I arrived at the hotel and went for a walk before someone recognized me,” said Rahm, who this weekend will try to defend his Spanish Open title.
  • “He is making his first visit to Spain in nearly two years, and finally seeing up close the impact of his sporting deeds.”
  • “It’s hard to realize it when you are not living here,” he said on Tuesday. “My parents tell me about it, my friends tell me about it, but you don’t really get it until you can see it for yourself.”
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4. Mickelson on RC assistant experience
Golf Channel’s Max Schreiber…”The 51-year-old, who this week will become the first-ever reigning major champion to make a PGA Tour Champions start, said on Wednesday at the Constellation Furyk & Friends that he was happy contributing in a new way.”
  • “I had a blast not having the pressure and the anxiety that you have as a player,” Mickelson said. “I really enjoyed the week. Obviously, we had a really strong team and the guys played really well and it was fun to be a part of that and see it from a different view than what I’ve been used to. I would have obviously loved to have been a player, but conversely, the experience of not having that kind of pressure was also very enjoyable.”
5. Kevin Nat playing in the Shriners, unfortunately 
Golfweek’s Riley Hamel…”Kevin Na’s first PGA Tour win came back in 2011 at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. He then went on a seven year winless drought before breaking through in 2018. He’s now won a golf tournament in three of the last four years, including the 2019 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.”
  • “On Tuesday, the two-time champion announced on Twitter he had withdrawn from this week’s field at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. Although he was seen practicing throughout the day, his absence this week is due to a rib injury.”
6. Long, slow goodbye of the Dinah Shore
Larry Bohannon for the Desert Sun…”Make no mistake, the tournament most recently known as the ANA Inspiration had its problems, not the least of which was the looming loss of All Nippon Airways as a sponsor after 2022. As an international airline, ANA was hemorrhaging money like all airlines in the pandemic era, and no fans at Mission Hills the last two years because of COVID-19 didn’t help the event or its sponsor.”
  • “The conflict with the Augusta National Women’s Amateur was a bigger problem than the LPGA or tournament officials first believed. Augusta National, home of the Masters, is the 800-pouind gorilla of golf, and the minute the Georgia club announced the ANWA for dates that conflicted with the LPGA major, smart people in golf knew a date change for the LPGA would be necessary. Augusta National could hold a cornhole tournament and people would watch.”
  • “Crowds that seemed smaller and smaller each year also were a problem. After the LPGA brought ANA to the event, saving the tournament for 2015, a high-ranking LPGA official looked at the sparse crowds during the third round of the tournament and wondered if desert fans understood how hard then-commissioner Mike Whan had worked to keep the tournament in the desert.”
7. Rose on Ryder Cup snub
Our Andy Lack…??”For the first time in over a decade, British professional golfer Justin Rose was not a part of this year’s European Ryder Cup team.”
“In an exclusive interview with the Telegraph‘s James Corrigan, the 24-time world-wide winner reflected upon European captain Padraig Harrington’s decision to go in another direction.”
  • “In the final tournament before the selections were made, Rose finished sixth at the BMW PGA Championship, and closed on Sunday with an eagle on the par-five 18th hole. “When I walked off that last hole I felt good about things, but I quickly got the vibe it wasn’t so good. There was a weird atmosphere on that Sunday afternoon. In the players’ lounge, all the vice captains were around Padraig and yeah, I got a bit of a strange feeling,” Rose remarked.”
  • “The Englishman continued, “I was discovering I’d dug myself a hole deeper than I realized and I’m not going to lie, I was gutted. It was interesting, maybe I could have done more in that final run of tournaments, but it was a slightly awkward time for me as well in terms of not playing [the European Masters] and in Italy.”
8. Eyes on the prize for Nelly Korda
Golf Channel’s Amy Rogers…”Nelly Korda has a chance to make history with four events remaining in the LPGA Tour season.”
  • “Korda, the No. 1 ranked player in the world, leads nearly every points race and statistical category as the season winds towards its finale at the CME Group Tour Championship. Should she maintain the form that earned her three wins, a major championship and an Olympic gold medal over the first half of the year, she could add her name to the record books.”
  • “Ahead of the Cognizant Founders Cup, Korda sits atop the money list, the Rolex Player of the Year standings and the Race to the CME Globe points list. Korda has an opportunity to become the first American since Stacy Lewis, in 2014, to win multiple season-ending awards. That year, Lewis won the Vare Trophy (lowest scoring average), Rolex Player of the Year and the money title.”
9. Shriners photos
GolfWRX has an assortment of photos from the 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, including in-hand photos of equipment, shots from the range, exclusive looks at new shafts, 17 WITBs, and more.
  • With the meat of the 2022 season far off on the horizon and the equipment launches for the year ahead still months away, the antsy and searching of the PGA Tour are keen to experiment.
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