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Morning 9: Norman talks LIV Golf plans | Spieth back in top 10 again



By Ben Alberstadt
For comments—or if you’re looking for a fourth—email me at [email protected].
November 2, 2021
Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Norman on LIV Golf
Golf Digest’s Daniel Rapaport with the interview…
  • “GOLF DIGEST: LIV Golf says its aim is to “holistically improve the health of professional golf on a truly global scale.” What is wrong with the current landscape that you seek to improve?”
  • “NORMAN: In 40 years as a professional golfer, I’ve seen many parts of the world that have benefitted from golf and its growth and development. So when I became CEO of LIV Golf Investments, I started looking straightaway at the Asian Tour, seeing the lack of benefit from the growth of the game of golf there. That was what I zoned in on. That’s the first place I went to play golf as a pro.”
  • “DIGEST: The initial announcement was for 10 events on the Asian Tour, but it seems the vision is for a more robust offering that is a tour of its own. Is the goal here eventually to compete with the PGA Tour for top-level talent?”
  • “I just wanted to create a bed where more great players [can develop] … In the ’80s, I went to play the Swedish Open. There was a gentleman, Sven Tumba, an ice hockey player. His dream was to create a platform that goes down to the grassroots to develop a generation of players to get on the PGA and European Tour. He did a phenomenal job of transforming golf from non-existent in the country to something where you had Swedish players coming through winning majors. It’s no different on the Asian Tour. My dream is to do the same with Asia … if we have an opportunity to invest and grow the game of golf through our investment dollars in Asia, God bless us. There’s nothing wrong with that, and no one should decry us for doing that. I just get a little bit miffed as to why people feel so against me wanting to do that through LIV Golf Investments.”
2. Ancer’s putter trove’s Helen Ross…”He stopped short of calling himself a collector. But when Abraham Ancer actually thought about it, he admitted that he has about 60 putters at his home in San Antonio, Texas.”
  • “I have a ton of putters just because sometimes I go through phases of tinkering and trying other putters and making my gamer jealous, as I like to call that,” Ancer says. “So, I like to maybe see something different for maybe a week or so.
  • “And then I go back to my gamer.”
  • …”Not all of the putters in his collection are the kind that Ancer, who won the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in August, might put into play on the PGA TOUR, though. Some are very special — “one of ones that you can’t find anywhere else,” he says.”
3. In the top 10 again
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard…”Jordan Spieth was ranked No. 92 in the world after he missed the cut in his first start of 2021 at the Farmers Insurance Open.”
  • “After the disappointing start to the year at Torrey Pines, the three-time major champion and former world No. 1 officially kicked his comeback year into gear with finishes in the top five in three of his next four starts, a consistency fans hadn’t seen in a few years.”
  • “The 28-year-old won for the first time since the 2017 Open Championship in April at the Valero Texas Open, then finished T-3 at the Masters a month later. Spieth added runner-up finishes at the Charles Schwab Challenge and Open Championship for his best season on Tour since his 2017 campaign (you know, the one that featured three wins and 12 top-10s in 20 made cuts).”
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4. Push cart disaster
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”The par-3 second hole on the Dye Course at the Country Club of Landfall is surrounded by water on three sides. Maryland’s Karla Elena Vázquez Setzer knocked her tee shot to 10 feet in winds that were gusting over 35 mph, yet still managed to find the hazard.”
  • “As Vázquez Setzer putted out for par during Round 1 of the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, North Carolina, her push cart – parked on a flat surface roughly 25 yards from the water – went barreling toward Dye Lake.”
  • “By the time Vázquez Setzer made it to her golf bag, it was fully submerged. Thankfully, quick-thinking volunteers grabbed rakes from a nearby bunker and held onto the wheels to keep the cart from fully sinking.”
5. Mickelson motivated Josh Allen’s Ben Everill…”Turns out Mickelson has given the Bills offensive star a mindset boost. He was used as a motivational speaker of sorts for the team in the pre-season after becoming the oldest player to win a major championship at 50 years, 11 months.”
  • “It was right after he won the PGA and he was right there with his trophy and the golf cart. He was on the golf course, and he took about 30 minutes to talk to the team and it was really cool,” Allen revealed after.”
  • “He talked about finding, kind of like your Zen, finding where you’re calm and early on, I’ve known this for a long time, I don’t play good when I’m pissed off and frustrated. (And) I think that was maybe kind of causing some issues early on and to that second half just trying to find that inner peace where I can just kind of go out there and relax and that’s what we did.”
6. Green reading book ban
Daniel Rapaport at Golf Digest…”The PGA Tour took a big step toward banning green-reading books on Monday when it sent a memo to players and caddies outlining specifics of the proposed new rule. According to the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Golf Digest, the new tournament regulation, which is currently being worked on by both the USGA and R&A, will be presented to the PGA Tour advisory board on Nov. 8 and will go into effect on Jan. 1.”
  • “The purpose of the rule, per the memo, is to “return to a position where players and caddies use only their skill, judgment and feel along with any information gained through experience, preparation and practice to read the line of play on the putting green.”
  • “The memo provided a four-point overview of the ban, telling players that they and their caddies may only use “Committee Approved” yardage books for tournament rounds. These books will look similar to the yardage books used on tour today with one main difference: They’ll provide only “general information on slopes and other features.” This differs from the green-reading books that have grown in popularity, which use laser renderings of greens to tell precise breaks in each section of the putting surface. To ensure that everyone uses a Committee Approved book, players will not be permitted to use any books printed for PGA Tour events before 2022.”
7. Stunning St. Andrews apartment hits the market…for quite the sum of money!
Our Jason Daniels…“Golf has its iconic courses for sure, but arguably not even Augusta can hold a candle to St. Andrews as the premium recognizable piece of golf real estate.”
  • “And now, you can have a small part of it.”
  • “Hamilton Grand, originally built as the Grand Hotel to overshadow the clubhouse, has had a couple of refurbishments — much expected given its 126-year history — and is now home to 27 luxury apartments, one of which can be yours for the princely sum of just over £2.8 million Sterling.”
  • “With the home of golf hosting the 150th Open in July 2022, this looks to be the perfect time to invest in apartment 26, with the course sure to be the most popular by far on the European Tour next year and probably one of the best attended anywhere in the world.”
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Tour Rundown: Cricket chirps, Stricker family victory



The word grillo means cricket in Spanish and Italian. The Jiminy type, not the sport. So it goes with language; one word in one language has multiple manifestations in another. After a birdie at the 70th hole, Emiliano Grillo had a tournament sewn up, until he made double at the last. More on that later.

The ladies of the LPGA took to match play, and in the land of American excess, not a single American made it past the quarterfinals. The seniors christened the PGA of America’s new golf heaven in Frisco, Texas, with their Senior PGA Championship. The DP World Tour saw Spain’s version of a late-career, Ben-Hogan surge continue, and the Korn Ferry Tour had a thrilling stretch run in Knoxville, Tennessee.

In other words, just another week around the tours. Let’s run it all down in this week’s Tour Rundown.

PGA Tour @ Charles Schwab Challenge: Cricket chirps to second tour title

If there was one silver element to Emiliano Grillo’s finish, it was that he had made birdie at the par-three 16th hole in regulation. This mattered when the Argentine showed the nerves that all of us face when we compete at golf. With a two-shot advantage and 435 yards between him and a regulation victory, Grillo bailed right, way right. So far right, in fact, that the tour’s website labelled it unknown. From there, Grillo took a penalty drop, pitched back to the fairway, pitched to the green, and missed the bogey putt for the win. Oh, he was also fortunate that, moments later, Adam Schenk missed a 15-feet putt for the win.

The pair returned to that challenging closer, and each made par. The second playoff hole was … yup, the par-three 16th. Schenk blew his shot some five feet into the post-green rough, while Grillo accepted a lucky bounce off the front bunker’s shoulder tucking within five feet. Schenk’s pitch narrowly missed, settling inside three feet. With a second shot at victory, the cricket did not flinch. The thirty-year old Grillo read the right-breaking slider just right, made the putt for birdie, and claimed a second career title, eight years after his 2015 win in Las Vegas.

PGA Tour Champions @ Senior PGA: Playoff blesses Stricker with victory

A friend of mine was on a clubhouse patio, back in the day. Approaching the age of 50 and a decent stick, he mentioned that he might consider trying to qualify for a few senior events. A fellow to the side tuned in and, desperate to put the victim out of his misery, asked a simple question: how many times have you shot 64? My pal, taken aback, replied “never.” The interloper finished with “these guys you see out there, they shoot 64 for lunch, any day of the week.”

Is it coincidence that the two playoff contestants, Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington, each posted a 64? Probably, but it helps my story line. Through the first three rounds at PGA Frisco’s Fields Ranch East course, low was the way to go. Stricker and Harrington looked to be the show ponies, although a few other names craved inclusion. Day four was really about the duo of former Ryder Cup captains, as Stewart Cink’s birdie-eagle finish elevated him to solo third position, looking way closer than he actually was.

The overtime stretch was brief. The hole that Harrington had birdie in regulation, became his nemesis. He struggled from tee to green, and was unable to manage better than bogey. Stricker was able to negotiate his second par of the day over the long closer, and became once again the poster boy for the PGA of America. The 2023 Senior PGA Championship is Stricker’s third different, senior major title, and the 6th of his career second season.

LPGA @ Bank of Hope Match Play: Pajaree outlasts Ayaka in final match

As my Twitter friends love to say, match play is the finest form of competition that exists. It is certainly different from medal play, in spades. It’s no longer you and the ball. Instead, it’s you, the ball, and the direct opponent. No one else matters. No one with whom to concern yourself. On this final weekend in May, Pajaree Anannarukam announced herself to the world as one heck of a head-to-head competitor.

The 23-year old from Thailand survived a playoff with Karis Davidson in the round-robin qualifying segment. Moments before, Davidson had bested PA by 4 and 3, a healthy margin, to say the least. The Aussie Davidson stumbled in the extra time with bogey, and Anannarukam was on to the knockout rounds. In the round of 16, she eliminated the USA’s Cheyenne Knight, and in the quarterfinals, sent Spain’s perennial Solheim Cup stalwart, Carlota Ciganda, packing.

In the semifinals, Pajaree came up against Sweden’s Linn Grant, who had one tie against four wins to her credit. Gaining strength, the pride of Thailand eaked out a 3 and 1 win to move into the final match. There, she would face the undefeated Ayaka Furue, who had taken down formerly-undefeated Leona Maguire of Ireland.

The championship match was close, through 11 holes, as neither player was able to seize momentum. That situation changed in a heartbeat. Anannarukam posted birdies at 12, 14, and 17, against just one by Furue. For the second consecutive match, PA came out on top with another 3 & 1 decision. Bank of Hope was her second career title on the LPGA, after winning at the age of 21 at the Handa World Invitational.


DP World Tour @ KLM Open: Larrazábal continues late-career run

Pablo Larrazábal collected a quintet of tour titles between 2008 and 2019. His average of a title every two years was enviable, and enough to keep his tour card safe and secure. During the height of the pandemic, Larrazábal’s victory run subsided, and he endured a 27-month dry stretch. In March of 2022, Larrazábal won in South Africa (where he had won in 2019, coincidentally.) From the moment, the Spaniard’s game flipped and his average became two wins a year, instead of a win every two years. Nice move to make at the age of 39.

This week, Larrazábal and countryman Adrián Otaegui battled to the final green. Otaegui birdied 16 and 18 to finish on 11-under par. Larrazábal was too strong, with birdies of his own at 15, 17, and 18, to win by two. Is there a limit for the fisherman-turned-golfer? Hard to say. Was there a limit for Hogan?

Korn-Ferry Tour @ Visit Knoxville: Uncle Rico grabs the ring

Rico Hoey is 27 years old, yet doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry. That tells you enough about his journeyman career to this point, but after Sunday, that might change. Hoey closed 66-65, including birdie at the par-five 18th, to finish at 14-under par at Holston Hills country club. The elegant, Donald Ross-designed club in Knoxville was a fitting place for a breakout victory.

Norman Xiong was the 54-hole leader, but made 17 pars with just 1 birdie on Sunday, to finish in a runner-up tie with Chase Seiffert. With due respect to Hoey, Seiffert was the man on fire over the weekend in the Volunteer state. His 64 on Saturday was followed by a 65 on Sunday, making him two strokes better than the winner over the final 36 holes. It was a Thursday 71 that ultimately relegated Seiffert to second place.

With the win, Hoey moves to second place on the season-long points race, and puts himself in the driver’s seat for a year-end promotion to the PGA Tour. It’s nice when things go your way.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge



GolfWRX was live at the Charles Schwab Challenge this week where Cinderella story Michael Block continues to steal the spotlight. To that end, you’re encouraged to check out Block’s full WITB, which we shot at last week’s PGA Championship, and take a look at our in-hand photos of his now-famous hole-in-one 7-iron.

In non-Block news from Colonial, we have seven general galleries for you and five WITB looks — including Vandy star Gordon Sargent.

In our pullout galleries, just as we did last year, we have photos of prototype and personal Ben Hogan golf clubs. Must-see stuff for any equipment junkie!

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying about the photos in the forums.

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Morning 9: Spieth on injury | Scheffler hungry | Phil on major prep



By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Thursday morning, golf fans, as day one of the Charles Schwab Challenge gets underway.

1. Spieth on wrist injury

Blame the kid! Golfweek’s Tim Schmitt…”Spieth told the media at the Charles Schwab Challenge that the cause of his injury wasn’t anything thrilling, but rather a strange tweak while playing with his 18-month-old son, Sammy.”

  • “I was just playing with my son. I wasn’t even holding him or anything. I was just pushing myself off the ground while he was like laughing and going side to side. Something just popped and jammed, and then all of a sudden, I couldn’t move it and got on it right away,” Spieth said. “Ended up with an MRI the next morning and went through a few specialists and tried to figure out the right plan for it.
  • “I was pretty surprised I was able to play last week. … So I thought, if I could get through four rounds and I was not going to make anything worse or jeopardize anything going forward, then I thought it would be worth it and you just never know. Turns out you can’t really kind of fake it into a major. You kind of really need to be as prepared as possible.”
Full piece.

2. Two captains, two different situation

Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”For Donald, his “clarity” is the byproduct of the DP World Tour’s decision to essentially fine players off the tour and off this year’s Ryder Cup team. The European circuit hasn’t handed down broad suspensions for players who violated its conflicting-event release policies when they joined LIV Golf, but in the wake of a favorable ruling from an arbiter in the United Kingdom, it has doled out heavy fines that make maintaining membership, at the least, difficult to justify.”

  • “According to various sources, LIV Golf has agreed to pay those fines, but in one case, a player who joined the breakaway circuit last year is on the hook for nearly £500,000 and counting. Last week, Henrik Stenson resigned his DP World Tour membership, which is required to play on the European Ryder Cup team, and others are sure to follow.”
  • “It’s that clarity, for better or worse, that’s made Donald’s job easier.”
  • “Johnson’s gig, however, only became more complicated Sunday thanks to Brooks Koepka’s commanding victory at the PGA Championship. Although the U.S. captain would never admit it, the best scenario is for Koepka to perform equally brilliantly at the U.S. Open and Open Championship to lock up his spot in the team room in Rome.”
Full piece.

3. Scheffler “hungry” at Colonial

Golfweek’s Riley Hamel…”The vibes should be high in Fort Worth, Texas, at the 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge for Scheffler, who lost in a playoff to his best bud Sam Burns at Colonial Country Club last season and comes into the week in great form.”

  • “But is the hunger there a few days after a major championship?”
  • “I’m typically pretty hungry to win whatever event it is,” he said Wednesday after his nine-hole pro-am. “I show up expecting to come here and play well and do my best. Yeah, I’m hoping for a good finish this week, but I try not to look too far ahead.”
Full piece.

4. Mickelson: LIV provides the best path to major prep

5. What Waugh said to Koepka

6. Justin Bieber, DJ Khaled, more to invest in TMRW Sports

Dean Straka for CBS…”TMRW Sports, the sports and entertainment venture co-founded Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy alongside former golf television executive Mike McCarley, announced Wednesday that it has added recording artists Justin Bieber, DJ Khaled, Macklemore, Jake Owen and Darius Rucker to its investor group. The lineup of musicians were selected based on their mutual passion for golf, according to a release, with the goal of growing the sport’s interest through their reach.”

  • “Golf is thriving from a surge in cultural relevance that spans generations and demographic groups,” McCarley said in a statement from TMRW Sports. “These entertainers come from different walks of life and have different fanbases, but all share a real passion for golf and, in their own ways, can introduce golf to new fans.
Full piece.

7. Cornwell: Chamblee a “bully”

Our Jason Daniels…”Cornwell told viewers that Chamblee had tried to have her removed from her post several times and that, “When you cross the line you become a chapter in the book, possibly. That’s what happens when cross line on several locations, one of which was actively trying to get me fired for absolutely no reason.”

  • “She then commented on the somewhat heated argument between Chamblee and Brad Faxon, centered on whether newly crowned PGA Championship winner, Brooks Koepka, should play at the Ryder Cup in September.”
  • “He’s [Chamblee] a bully, plain and simple. I mean those of us who have worked closely with him and dealt with his tirades understand it. I mean, I watched it too.”
  • “Cornwell believes that there was an argument for both sides, but indicated that she wasn’t surprised at the manner of Chamblee’s stance.”
Full piece.

8. Bryson wants LIV exemption category at majors

Ben Parsons for Bunkered…”Bryson DeChambeau has called for majors to implement an “exemption category” that ensures LIV golfers can take part in the biggest events.”

  • Speaking ahead of LIV’s Washington DC event, DeChambeau said:
  • “There’s been numerous ideas brought up. One that we’re all looking at right now, at least from my perspective and what I’ve heard so far is just creating an exemption category for LIV players based on how they play during the course of the year.
  • “That would be the most fair and opportune thing for LIV golfers considering the fields that we have, the major champions we have, and the elite level of play that we have each and every week.
  • “If they’re able to do that, I think everything is good. The OWGR points, we’ve gone so far down the list now that it’s really difficult to make us even relevant.
Full piece.

9. Photos from Colonial

  • Check out all of our galleries from this week’s event!
Full Piece.
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