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‘This is my favorite game, by far’ – UFC star on his passion for golf

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We all know of the pantomime spat between golf’s world-ranked number 6 and 13, but whilst they go head-to-head in a 12 round/hole match in three weeks’ time, neither will fancy squaring up to MMA/UFC fighter Justin Gaethje either on or off the course.

With an MMA record of 22 wins from 25 bouts and five from eight at UFC level, the graduate of North Carolina may seem an unlikely candidate for the more relaxed waters of municipal golf but, as shown on the UFC ‘Embedded’ show recently, he regards golf as “my favourite game, by far.”

Often found as part of a group of 16 players golfing around City Park Golf Course in Denver, Colorado, Gaethje is captured showing off his skills with a new set of clubs whilst his opponent for this Saturday’s fight, Michael Chandler, is shown ‘shedding some demons’ in the sauna.

Clearly loving the game – “you can play it forever” – we see a holed ten-foot putt before a two-footer that will make the difference of winning $100 or $300. Watch the video to see the result, with Gaethie’s segment beginning at the 90-second mark.

‘If any golfer is willing to trade their skills with me, I’ll be more than happy’.

Brooks? Bryson?

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  1. Mike

    Nov 21, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    Gatheje didn’t graduate from North Carolina.

    He went UNC or University of Northern Colorado.

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19th Hole

Former LPGA pro shares detailed breakdown of expenses for a year on Symetra Tour

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Earlier this week, professional golfer Hannah Gregg opened up on the harsh financial demands of a player on the Symetra Tour.

Gregg, a second-year professional and rookie on the developmental Symetra Tour, spoke to Golf Monthly about the difficulty of making ends meet even for the best players on feeder tours, with their future in the game constantly up in the air.

Included in Gregg’s takeaways was that her annual expenses cost on average $50k and that the WAPT (Women’s All Pro Tour) is the highest paying development tour, with the average winner of high-paying events earning $5-7k for a victory. With expenses for a cheap tournament generally coming in at $1.5-2k, players need to average finishing in the top-3 of each event to make a profit.

As Gregg points out in the interview: “expecting to average top-three for an entire season is not feasible. Even the best players on tour miss cuts and have bad stretches.” and that progression leads to more expenses, “when you do play well and start winning, you generally start moving up to the next level where travel and accommodation are even more expensive. Suddenly, you need to figure out how to pay a caddie.”

Former LPGA professional Anya Alvarez has since praised Gregg for speaking up on the topic and subsequently produced a very interesting breakdown of her expenses for a year of playing on the Symetra Tour.

It’s worth noting that the figures are from almost 9 years ago, and as she wrote on Twitter to accompany the breakdown, Alvarez said, “I drove to 90% of events, stayed with host families, and often didn’t have a caddie. LPGA expenses were much more.” 

It’s also worth noting that per SymetraTour.com, the highest earner on the Symetra Tour in 2013 earned $47,283 in prize money.

@anya__alvarez

Going back to Gregg’s recent interview, the Symetra pro revealed that the harsh financial demands end up making it unattainable for many talented players to continue in the sport:

“Lots of girls stop playing because they can’t afford Q-School, which is the most expensive event of the year.” she says. “if you don’t play in that, then you have no Tour status and are left with very few events to play in. You get phased out and others just lap you.”

In another eye-opening tweet from Alvarez, who is the founder of MajorLeagueGirls.com, a website that promotes women’s sports, she stated that “players who are talented beyond measure and had some success were forced to quit playing because they financially couldn’t do it anymore”, resulting in “the talent on tour being diluted.”

How can things change? In Gregg’s original interview, she shared her opinion that it begins with building up women’s sports and acknowledging that there is a quality product there – something that anyone who watches the LPGA will undoubtedly attest to.

Gregg told Golf Monthly:

“When it comes to making purses bigger and getting donations from sponsors, everyone has an excuse.

I always hear ‘well the women aren’t fun to watch’ but I’ve never understood that. The men weren’t popular to watch compared to the scale they are now. It takes years of marketing and people engaging with women’s sports for them to have a chance to succeed and grow. 

If people really want to help, we should start building up women’s sports and acknowledging that there is a quality product there. Help us raise money when you can, spread the word and find players that you like to watch and then follow their careers.

All of us love knowing that people out there are enjoying our journey and it makes even the struggles that much more enjoyable.”

Plenty of food for thought.

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Rory Sabbatini DQ’d from RSM Classic for having non-conforming attachment on clubface

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Rory Sabbatini fired an impressive round of 4-under on day one of the RSM Classic, but it was all in vain as the 45-year-old was disqualified for having a non-conforming external attachment on the face of his fairway wood.

The Olympic silver medalist had a reflective sticker attached to his clubface, which he did not realize he hadn’t removed until after the first hole on Thursday, and he was subsequently disqualified after his round.

Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard spoke to John Munch, the Tour’s senior tournament director equipment standards, who enlightened everyone about what exactly these stickers are.

“There are stickers, reflective stickers. [They are] tiny. The players use them to track club head speed when they practice and he just didn’t take them off.”

Considering the plethora of rules mishaps we’ve seen in 2021, it’s almost impressive that at this late stage of the year, there’s been another unique one.

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‘Sheeeesh!’ – Bryson impressed after seeing MLB star Mike Trout’s powerful golf swing

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Even Bryson DeChambeau, the King of driving on the PGA Tour, had to comment when seeing MLB’s Mike Trout launch a drive into orbit at a Top Golf facility.

On our Instagram, we posted a video recorded in 2020 of the eight-time MLB All-Star hitting a rocket to rival any play he’s made with the Los Angeles Angels, and fans took to the social media site to ‘virtually’ nod in approval.

Bryson DeChambeau, undoubtedly the longest driver we have ever seen on the full-time golf tour, replied with a stunned emoji and the words “Sheeeesh” after clearly being impressed with the baseball star’s swing.

 

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Bryson himself was at TopGolf last week and showed off his monster hitting by clearing the net with a massive drive we’ve come accustomed to seeing from him on the PGA Tour.

 

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Kyle Berkshire – watch out, as it may not just be Bryson to worry about in the future!

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