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19th Hole

LPGA star Jin Young Ko is on a greens-in-regulation streak that defies belief

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Two weeks ago, we highlighted how the race to the LPGA titles, both the Rolex rankings winner plus Player Of The Year were too close to call with Jin Young Ko and Nelly Korda clear at the top but with the width of a hair between them.

Things got even tighter as the 23-year-old Floridian won a play-off for the Pelican Women’s Championship, meaning the two had split eight LPGA tournaments between them, and it was all down to the final event, the CME Group Tour Championship.

After three rounds, the pair could not be split and, whilst nothing is taken away from the other joint-leaders Celine Boutier and Nasa Hataoka, this is what LPGA fans were hoping to see – the Big Two fighting down the stretch.

There was only one winner, and she did so in record-breaking style.

Despite not being able to practise pre-tournament due to a wrist issue, the 26-year-old South Korean posted some impressive stats throughout her final 63 holes.

24 birdies since the 10th on Thursday – one-shot runner-up Hataoka also posted 24, whilst Korda hit 18 and an eagle – the undisputed world number one achieved this off a remarkable 63 consecutive greens-in-regulation (!?), a record that has never been close to that and may never do so again, or at least for a very long time.

Put into context, Justin Ray tweeted that Tiger Woods best-recorded figure was 29 greens and that the longest in PGA history was Mike Heinen with 50+ back in 1995.

The embrace by Korda was surely tinged with disappointment, but if you are going to come undisputed second, do it to a player that in her last ten starts has five wins, a second. two six-place finishes and a ninth.

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  1. Piere LaVenfort

    Nov 23, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    Someone needs to do research. Boo Weekley hit 51 in a row in 2006 and a bunch of guys have had over 45 since 1998.

  2. Pingback: ‘OMG’ – Pro golfers go wild over Tiger Woods’ swing video – GolfWRX

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19th Hole

Caddie Corner: 10 questions with PGA Tour veteran caddie Shannon “Shan” Wallis (Jonas Blixt’s caddie)

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PGA Tour caddie Shannon Wallis with a fire extinguisher, back when he caddied for Steven Bowditch (Via @Bowdo83 on Twitter)

In this new GolfWRX feature, called the “Caddie Corner,” we’ll be firing off questions to a different caddie every week on the PGA Tour.

Caddies, or “loopers,” as some call them, are the too-often-overlooked people who actually have a huge impact on players every week on the PGA Tour. They’re tasked with many objectives – everything from carrying the bag, raking bunkers and getting yardages, to playing psychologist on the golf course as their player competes for millions.

If you’re curious to learn more about the caddies, as well as their stories, lifestyle and insights, then welcome to the “Caddie Corner.”

For the first edition of the Caddie Corner, we grilled veteran PGA Tour caddie Shannon “Shan” Wallis, who currently loops for Jonas Blixt. The Australian got his start on the PGA Tour in 2004, and has also worked for players such as Nathan Green, Matt Jones, Jarrod Lyle, Steven Bowditch, Kevin Stadler, Brandt Snedeker, and more throughout the years.

Without further ado, let’s get into it the first edition of Caddie Corner.

Tursky: What’s your full name and who do you caddie for?

Wallis: Shannon Wallis, and I caddie for Jonas Blixt.

How did you end up being a caddie on the PGA Tour, and what’s been your career progression to get here?

So I have a best friend, Marcus Fraser, he played in Europe, and back in 2003 he got his card in Europe.

He was like, ‘Would you like to come and caddie?’

I said, “Sure!”

So I did that, and then, that lasted a year. And then I came over here in ’04 with Nathan Green and progressed from there. That was ’04, so how many years is that? Going on 18 years.

What’s been the most important lesson you’ve leaned along the way about caddying, or golf in general?

I don’t know if it’s a lesson, but they’ll make you hate golf (laughs).

Aside from actually carrying the bag, like the physical part of carrying the bag, what’s the most difficult part of your job that people might not know about.

The travel. Being away from the family. And then actually at the golf tournament, when the weather’s sh***y. You need to be like an octopus and have eight hands, or eight arms.

How many weeks will you be on the road for, at most?

At most, I mean, for me being on the east coast, the west coast. The last few years it’d be like five or six weeks away. It’s too hard to get back and forth.

Caddies are known for having the best stories. Without incriminating yourself too much, what’s the funniest story you have about caddie life either inside or outside the ropes?

Just, I worked for Nathan (Green) for 9 years, and it’s just the things that would come out of his mouth, I can’t really repeat. A lot of the golfers out here know Nathan, and he was very funny in putting in putting himself down.

Self-deprecation?

Yes.

What’s the biggest, “Uh oh, I messed up” moment of your career?

So, my first week with Nathan was in Richmond, Virginia. We shot 10-under for the first round, and the only bogey that came in the first round, it was me giving him a mystery, and he’s staring this shot down from like 100 yards – he’s staring it down – and I’m like, ‘You can stop posing,’ because it’s going 30 yards over the green. Yeah. Only bogey for the tournament. I think Chopra won at like 30-under, and we shot 26-under and finished second.

Well, he kept his confidence, the only bogey he made wasn’t his fault.

Correct.

When you’re player is a little bit nervous going into the first tee shot, or the last tee shot on the 72nd hole, what’s something you might say to calm them down?

So I don’t know if this is to calm them down, but it’s to keep their mind off it. You would say to them, ‘Just hit it on the green stuff.’ Lighten the mood a little bit. Especially the first tee shot. The 18th hole is a bit tricky, it’s a bit more focused. But the first tee shot is like, just get it on the green stuff.

That’s great. What’s your favorite tour stop to caddie at, whether it’s the course, the food, the giveaways, or whatever the case may be?

So being a heavy-set fellow myself, anything that’s flat. So, like Hilton Head. But Hilton Head is really a fun week. Hawaii is really good, nice and flat.

They have good weather in Hawaii, too.

Yeah.

What’s the best restaurant in terms of the tour stops, where you can’t wait to get to that event to get to that spot?

Charlotte’s always good, the Del Frisco’s in Charlotte. You always see a bit of Ric Flair in there. I always liked the Del Frisco’s in Fort Worth downtown.

You’re a big Del Frisco’s guy…

Oh yeah, big steak guy. But yeah, the Fort Worth one, for some reason, you always end up drunk at that one (laughs).

On a similar note, what’s your favorite on-course snack, whether it’s you or your player, like you have to have it in the bag?

Just a protein bar or something. Probably bananas. Something to stop from cramping up.

OK, last one. Based on working so closely with tour players throughout the years, what advice do you have for amateur players to improve their games? Other than ‘Hit it on the green stuff’?

Don’t be like a professional golfer. You know, you’re not going to be like ‘em. Yeah, just don’t be like a professional golfer. If you’re playing off a 27 (handicap), you’re shit at golf. Just play and have fun, have a few beers.

How’s your game, do you play much?

No, literally. They make you hate golf. I haven’t played golf in three years. But I was actually pretty good back in the day. I was plus-2. But yeah, I haven’t played in like three years. I still love it, but when you get out there, it’s like, ‘Why?’

Yeah, I prefer to play music, have a good time, maybe have a couple pops.

That’s the thing. It’s six beers, and away you go.

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19th Hole

Rory McIlroy says amateurs can lower their scores by 10 strokes if they follow this tip

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“If I were to caddie for like an average player, I really feel like I could take five to 10 shots off a round very easily.”

So says a certain Rory McIlroy, four time Major winner and former world number one.

Sure, it sounds obvious given who he is and what he has done, but it all makes perfect sense and recreational players might wish to take heed and get more competitive at this weekend’s medal.

Speaking during an interview with with Piers Ward from golf instruction site ‘Me and My Golf’, McIlroy expands on the statement.

“I think effective golf sometimes can be pretty boring, or in people’s minds, it can be pretty boring,” McIlroy said. “Playing the shot that you know you can play, or that you can pull off at least eight times out of 10. I think I see, I see amateurs so much trying to play outside of their comfort zone and trying to take on shots that they think they should hit instead of keeping the ball in play, you know, managing their games a little better and that will produce lower scores.

“And yeah, sometimes it’s fun to take on shots that you might be able to pull off, but I think it’s even more fun to just shoot better scores. You know, I think that it’s a — there’s so many other parts of the game that you can do really well at. And yeah, just managing your game a little better.”

As I write, Rory is just inside the cut-line at the DP World Tour opening event in Abu Dhabi but has recent memories of practicing what he preaches.

At the Wells Fargo Championship last May, a tournament he eventually won by a single shot, McIlroy needed to manage his play.

His drive on the 72nd hole went left and into a penalty area, but, on the advice of caddie, Harry Diamond, instead of trying a swing from an awkward sidehill lie, perhaps outside of his comfort zone, with water a few feet away, McIlroy took a penalty stroke, dropped into a better spot and walked away with just a bogey five. Perhaps the move that won the trophy?

“Harry was awesome out there today, especially that decision on the last,” McIlroy said. “I was ready to get in there and try to play that with a lob wedge, and he was sort of like, ‘Let’s take a step back, let’s think about this. Where’s the best place you’re hitting your third from?’ So he sort of calmed me down and slowed me down a little bit and said, ‘Pal, let’s just think about this a little bit.’”

The interview finishes with the best five-word advice.

“Understanding your limitations is huge,” Ward says.

“Exactly.”

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19th Hole

Data shows that slow play leads to higher scores across all handicap ranges

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The ongoing debate whether slow play actually negatively impact your scores appears to be settled.

According to the study conducted by Arccos Golf,  for every half hour extra on the course, golfers are losing in the region of 0.4-0.7 strokes, while those who take 4.5-5 hours to complete 18 holes are losing between 1.3-1.7 strokes compared to a round that was completed 90 minutes quicker.

Interestingly, the data indicates that the golfers who are most impacted are higher handicaps, with 15-19.9 handicappers taking an extra 1.7 strokes when out on the course for 4.5-5 hours.

This is 0.4 strokes more than handicappers lower than five, which are impacted by just 1.3 strokes when playing a slow round. Handicappers from 5-9.9 are impacted by 1.4 strokes and 10-14.9 handicappers play 1.5 more shots in the longer rounds.

The worst possible scenario for a high handicapper (15-19.9) is a round that 4.5+ hours or longer. These golfers take 0.7 more strokes when playing a 4.5+ hour round compared to 4-4.5 hours.

 

There is a lesson to be learned here for golfers of all handicaps: Play faster!

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