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Morning 9: Super League meeting “underwhelming” ? | A tough sell? | A different Kiawah test awaits



Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1 “Underwhelming”
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”A group of managers representing some of the game’s biggest stars met with representatives from a proposed breakaway circuit Tuesday at Kiawah Island, but the meeting didn’t seem to bring any clarity to the situation.”
  • “One manager who attended the meeting characterized it as “underwhelming” and given how long representatives from the Super League Golf concept have been pushing for the new tour it’s likely going to continue to be a topic and a distraction for some time.”
  • “It’s a complete distraction,” Bryson DeChambeau said. “I would say from my perspective, I’d want to know what way to go and just let’s go, whatever it is. Whatever is best for the players and for the fans is what I would support.”
2. Bryson to unleash the beast
BBC report…”DeChambeau, who leads the PGA Tour in driving distance with an average of 322 yards, also warned those who do not hit it long will be in for a “tough week”.”
  • “This golf course is a beast,” said the US Open champion.”
  • “Hopefully I can unleash the beast, but you never know. I may hit it right or left, I don’t know. But I’d say for the most part you have to hit it pretty straight out here, even though I’m hitting it pretty far.”
3. Stricker restates interest in a Woods vice captaincy 
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”Stricker, speaking in advance of the PGA Championship at the Ocean Course on Wednesday, said Woods’ involvement with the team is welcome.”
  • “I’ve talked to him; I don’t know if we are there yet to commit to him being there,” Stricker said. “He’s still got a lot going on, and his spirits are great, though, as of late. We were on a Zoom call with him just last week, and he seems like he’s in a better place. He’s still got some ways to go.”
  • “But I’d love to have him there. Who wouldn’t, right? The guys really respect him, and he did a great job as [Presidents Cup] captain [in 2019], and he was an assistant of mine in 2017 [at the Presidents Cup] and he was unbelievable. He would do anything for you, and he’s totally, totally vested in the situation and the process, almost to the point of, he’s on it early and so much, it’s like, ‘Dude, we’ve still got months to go yet.’ He’s really good at being an assistant, and I’d love to have him be there if it’s at all possible.”
4. A tough sell? 
Eamon Lynch imagines the reality — and difficulty — on the ground of the Super Golf League…“Interest among players for the Super Golf League is a combination of many things: simmering resentment among top players that the Tour structure is too weighted toward rewarding mediocre performers, a simple desire to secure their financial futures, naked greed, or even a pressing need for cash to ameliorate past misadventures. Live like a Saudi prince and you’ll need a Saudi prince to bail you out.”
  • “But none of them can legitimately claim to be motivated by a desire for competition.”
  • “Imagine Gretzky having quit because Dancing on Ice offered more money. Or Jordan’s Bulls deciding that joining the Harlem Globetrotters was better than winning championships. Those who join the putative Saudi circuit are acknowledging that their competitive careers are over in any meaningful sense, that they’re no longer engaged in the pursuit of history or a legacy of excellence, or in measuring themselves against the greatest ever. It’s instead an admission that they’re not athletes but entertainers, mere vessels for marketing product, even if that product happens to be the currish reputation of a brutal regime.”
  • “But those philosophical matters aren’t even the most troublesome questions players who split will face…There would be a public relations war that rebel players seem fated to lose.”
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5. A different Kiawah test awaits’s Ben Everill…”Nine years ago, this event was held in August. That means a much different challenge awaits this year’s field.”
  • “When Rory McIlroy destroyed the field with his eight-shot win in 2012 he was aided by summer storms that softened up the Ocean Course significantly over the weekend. There was also a searing swampy heat well into the 90s that felt like triple digits. And the winds never blew at full strength.”
  • “Weather forecasts are fickle, of course, but on the eve of this PGA Championship there is a 0% percent chance of rain, the temperatures are expected to be in the high 70s most of the week and the wind is due to sit around 15 mph with gusts towards the mid 20s. The wind will start the tournament out of the east and move to the northeast before flipping for the final round.”
6. On DJ’s knee
Tom D’Angelo, Palm Beach Post…”The world’s top-ranked golfer had his left knee checked out last week after withdrawing from the Byron Nelson. He spent the week at his home in Palm Beach County, had an MRI and put together a plan with his doctor and physiotherapist.”
  • “The result: He’s feeling better and just in time for the PGA Championship, which is being played in his home state.”
  • “It just didn’t feel right,” Johnson said about the knee he had arthroscopic surgery on 20 months ago. “I got an MRI, everything was fine … and just put together a little bit of a plan to get a little bit stronger. It feels good, though.”
7. Bryson’s toughest test? 
Golf Channel’s Ryan Laver…”Bryson DeChambeau, say hello to the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, at a shade under 7,900 yards the longest course in major championship history.”
  • “They would seem a perfect fit, bullies, both brawny and brutish, but it’s not that simple. This PGA Championship will be the most challenging test of his transformation.”
  • “It’s probably one of the hardest courses I’ve ever played,” DeChambeau said after his practice round Wednesday. “You can’t miss it in certain areas. You can’t bail out left or right. You’ve just got to have your ball-striking on the whole day, and if you don’t, you’re going to get penalized.”
8. The essence of a PGA Championship
Paul Sullivan for the NY Times…”With an eight-shot buffer, McIlroy beat a stacked field that succumbed to the course. He also set a record for margin of victory, besting the one set by Jack Nicklaus when he won his fifth P.G.A. Championship in 1980.”
  • “That is exactly the kind of excitement the P.G.A. of America seeks when it selects a course for its major championship. It wants a bunch of players to have a chance to win, but it’s also happy if one player puts on a master class and pulls away from everyone else.”
  • “Our philosophy is we want someone to win it, not lose it,” said Seth Waugh, chief executive of the P.G.A. of America, which holds the P.G.A. Championship and the Ryder Cup. “We want birdies and eagles and bogeys and others. We’re not trying to create a torture test. That’s not what we try to do.”
9. From the Tour Truck Report…
As you might expect, players aren’t making many substantial changes being made the week of a major championship. Nobody is looking to replace the starting quarterback the week of the Super Bowl (yes, I know there’s no WITB trade deadline in golf).
That said, we still have some interesting notes from the Ocean Course to bring your way ahead of the PGA Championship.
  • In a surprising move, Dustin Johnson is reportedly putting a SIM2 Max in play (10.5 degrees) with a LA Golf prototype shaft.
  • Sergio Garcia has switched from the TP5x to the TP5 golf ball.
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  1. Super Dumb League

    May 21, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    Super League … B.S…
    More millionaires not satisfied with being millionaires.
    Funds from Saudi Arabia? Gee, if this were a *liberal*-leaning sport, the outrage from the other side would be palpable.
    It was a pathetic thing when Greg Norman tried it, it’s pathetic now, and will be next time too.
    It’s a shame golf isn’t considered “essential service”… Most people in those walks of life make less than $50k/yr.

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19th Hole

Fans react to spectator running onto fairway and hitting shots at U.S. Open



Sunday at Torrey Pines was a wild rollercoaster ride, and amongst the chaos came a bizarre moment when a fan decided that he would like to play some shots too.

Appearing to be carrying his own clubs, the shirtless fan with a rainbow cape slipped under the ropes and made a dart for the fairway. Then with his golf club in hand, he dropped a ball from his pocket and played multiple shots before security took care of him.

Rich Beem caught the incident on camera, and his reaction of “Look at this idiot out here” perfectly sums up the madness of what was happening.


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However, some GolfWRXers reacted differently, with a couple even impressed by the caped crusader’s swing.

“He’s got a nice swing”, wrote one user, while another responded, “Great tempo, I must say”, with one even requesting a WITB: “Can we get a WITB for this guy??”

One of the strangest moments on a Sunday at the U.S. Open since the infamous Birdman of Alcatraz back in 2012.

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Gure Txapelduna! Jon Rahm Rodriguez claims 2021 U.S. Open title



The amateur statistician in me is overwhelmed by the fact that NO ONE shot lower than 67 on any given day, and that either 2, 3, or 4 golfers shot that number each day. The linguist in me is thrilled that Spain and the Basque Country have their first US Open champion. The human being in me continues to marvel at how professional golfers can put themselves through the agony of major-championship competition, knowing that the outcome is likely to be gut-wrenching and heart-rending. Professional sport is a fierce cauldron of emotion and exertion and unexpected brilliance. How else to explain the finishes of Harris English (third) and Guido Migliozzi (fourth) at Torrey Pines? They weren’t the story, however. They never should have been there, save for what was already alluded to above.

Jon Rahm played a near-perfect round of golf. He opened with birdies at one and two, and he closed with birdies at 17 and 18. In between, he traded a birdie and bogey and added 12 pars. The brilliant Basque hit eight fairways, and a massive 14 greens in regulation. Only Edoardo Molinari and Rikuya Hoshino were better on the day with approach play, and that was by one more GIR each. It was what the Spaniard did with his flat stick, that made the difference. Rahm putted brilliantly, taking 28 putts on the day. You might expect 28 putts from someone who hit 10 greens in regulation figures, but not from someone who ranked so high. In contrast, the aforementioned Hoshino (31 putts) and Molinari (34) putted more in line with a high GIR tally. Most importantly, Rahm stayed out of trouble.

That could not be said for the mercurial Bryson DeChambeau. After nine holes on Sunday, the defending champion looked to be in prime position to hoist the winner’s medal for a second consecutive year. Two of the tri-leaders (Hughes 77 for T15 and Henley 76 for T13) had fallen off the pace, and the third (Oosthuizen) was plodding along near par. Then came the inward half, and a grotesque tally of two bogeys, a double and a quad for the Californian nee Texan. DeChambeau drove the ball horribly, finding just three of the 14 fairways on the day. His putting was five higher than the eventual winner, and he simply lost his hold on his game. That’s the US Open; it turns the winds and the tide instantly against the sailor.

If a professional golfer were given the option of contending or not in major events, with no guarantee of victory, each golfer would accept the challenges and the inevitable heartbreak. Three of four men’s major championships have been completed this year, and Lodewicus Theodorus Oosthuizen has finished T26, T2 and 2 in them. Known to the world as Louis, Mr. Oosthuizen has much satisfaction and much frustration on this Sunday evening. He outplayed everyone who mattered from tee to green in round four at Torrey Pines, but he couldn’t buy enough putts (four more than Rahm) to close the deal. Some will point to a wayward drive at the penultimate hole and say That’s the one that did it, but it’s always the body of work that paints the portrait. On this day, as last month at the PGA, and at the Masters in 2012, Louis Oosthuizen was in the hands of the fates until the very last moment, but his number simply did not come up.

That one hole might be the best way to sum up the tribulations of those who fell short. For DeChambeau, it was the double at 13, as it was for Morikawa. Rory’s double came one hole earlier, at the long 12th. Brooks didn’t have a double on the card, but his bogey at twelve forced him to go for broke. He performed admirably for a few holes, with birdies at 13 and 15, but the Open never lets you truly go for broke and get away with it, unless your name is Johnny Miller, and that happened once. And the aforementioned English had seven birdies on the day, but he also made bogey at three of his first four, and added a fourth later on. For Rahm, that one hole turned out to be the 4th. Unlike the others, he kept the hole in front of him and never bit off too much. Although he made bogey, he never threatened anything higher. And that is one way that, in hindsight, you win a U.S. Open.

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5 things we learned Saturday at the U.S. Open



The U.S. Open reminds me at times of this monologue from Maurice Moss at the infamous The IT Crowd soccer match

Sure, Roy says a few things, but it’s really Moss who carries the scene. Some people get/like U.S. Open golf, and some do not. There’s usually little movement on the leaderboard unless someone makes a passel of bogeys and doubles. For the third consecutive round at Torrey Pines, 67 earned low daily honors. That’s just four strokes below par, so the birdie fanatics had little to cheer (like Moss.) In fact, sometimes, it’s hard to determine just who is winning, and who isn’t.

Well, that’s not exactly true. We know that this year’s Cinderella, Richard Bland, isn’t winning. Blandy ran out of gas on the back nine, making five bogies for 41 and 77 and tied for 21st. With that written, plenty of stories remain, and we’ve tracked down five five that you’ll agree are worthy of a spot in Five Things We Learned on day three of the US Open.

1. Spuds Mackenzie has a share of the lead

At least in Ontario, Poutine is a popular treat when you have the munchies. That’s our spuds reference, although Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes does share the grit of the bull terrier that hawked Budweiser back in the day. Hughes’ long game afforded him plenty of opportunities to chip away at par, and he made the most of them. His two hiccups came on the outward half, at the fourth and ninth holes. Approach shots went astray, and his chipping game failed to get him close enough for par saves. On the inward half, Hughes was brilliant. Two birdies and an eagle earned him a 32 and a minus-five total after three rounds. As he finished earliest at that number, Hughes was assured of a spot in Sunday’s final twosome, no matter what the chasers did.

2. Louis, Louis

No, not the song. This makes twice that the 2010 Open winner and champion golfer of the year has challenged into the final round of a 2021 major. The PGA didn’t end so well for him, if we’re talking victories. Let’s remember that, if not for Bubba’s wedge silliness, Oosthuizen might have a green jacket to wear while drinking from his claret jug. As things stand, Oosthuizen’s minus-five total has him even with Hughes and paired in the final twosome. Things will be different from his last-group match last month with Phil Mickelson. Let’s say that Hughes won’t have the fanatical following that Oosthuizen’s last partner had. Oh, did we mention how Louis finished off the day?

3. Rory and Bryson

No, they won’t play together. Rory gets Russell Henley in penultimate pairing, while Bryson tees it up with Scottie Schefler in the third-last pairing. Rory and Bryson do represent opposite sides of a conundrum: chase distance or don’t? Rory has been open about the toll that chasing yards put on his game, and he has spent the past year rediscovering much of his game that was lost. Torrey represents his first true chance to determine the worth of his quest. In contrast, Bryson is unabashed in his pursuit of distance, and has demonstrated that his method can have positive results. Rory reached minus-three on the strength of a four-under 67 on Saturday. He managed the front in one-under, then came alive on the inward half to match Paul Casey for day’s low round. Bryson had no bogies on his card on Saturday, and has an enviable, downward trend (73-69-68) in his scoring. I’ll say this: if he goes lower than 68 on Sunday, he keeps the trophy.

4. Rahm, DJ, and the Wolff

Jon Rahm got hosed by the 14th hole today. Sort of. He played carefully out of fairway sand, clanked the flag stick with his recovery, then got too aggressive with his par try. Other than that, he has more momentum going into Sunday. I say, forget caution; chase birdies. On egin!

Dustin Johnson is in a similar position. Come to think of it, so is Matthew Wolff. They are all within 4 shots of the lead, and there is no suggestion that any of the minus-5 guys will go any lower than 2 under on Sunday, to reach 7 under. Thus, what do these lads chase? Do they go for 66 and hope that it will be enough? I think so. It’s lower than any other round this week, but by one slim stroke. I’m hoping that the USGA will give us enough tempting hole locations to reward brave play. That would be a nice send-off for Mike Davis in his final U.S. Open as executive director and CEO.

5. Who do we like?

No one mentioned just yet. He first qualified for the U.S. Open in 2016, and one year later, earned low amateur honors. Slowly but surely, he has worked his way into contention in major events, tying for 4th and 8th in the last two PGA Championships. He has yet to win on the PGA Tour, but I say that he makes the 2021 U.S. Open his first tour win and his first major title. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Scottie Schefler, your 2021 Gorham Company trophy winner.

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