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Immelman: McGinley apologized to me after saying Presidents Cup should be mixed event

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With the Americans ballooning to a -900 favorite prior to this year’s competition at Quail Hollow, most analysts believed the current version of the bi-annual event must be tweaked in order to remain relevant.

All year, Trevor Immelman has been listening.

“Blow this thing up,” he said. “They got to change the format. They got to cut the points. We got to bring the women golfers in.”

“I’ve had to listen to that crap for two years now,” The International team captain said.

Despite losing 17.5-12.5, most would agree that the Internationals did as good of a job as they could have in keeping the match competitive throughout the week. A Saturday surge kept what could have been a historic blowout from taking place.

On Claude Harmon III’s podcast this week, Immelman said that Paul McGinley of Golf Channel has apologized to him for helping drive the narrative that the current Presidents Cup doesn’t work as is, with the Irishman last week touting the idea that women should be included in the event.

“I appreciate the fact that they may be trying to think outside of the box,” he said. “But they need to come up with something else. And I hope Paul doesn’t get offended by me saying this, but he texted me on Monday. And he apologized for saying that on Live From.

“Because he realized what playing for the shield means to us. What having the opportunity to compete in the Presidents Cup against the Americans means to us. And he realized that, and he realized that his take was incorrect and he texted me to apologize. And I thanked him for having the guts to text me and to apologize and I thanked him for realizing how much that event means to us.”

Despite the International team making it somewhat competitive, there’s no denying that the American team has absolutely dominated the Presidents Cup since it’s inception.

The Americans are 14-1-1 all time in the Presidents Cup. This year, the International team looked to have arguably their strongest roster yet before Cameron Smith, Joaquin Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen, Abraham Ancer and Marc Leishman joined LIV Golf. With those players now ineligible, it’s hard to see a path for the Internationals to get markedly better by the time the event heads to Canada in 2024.

However, Immelman still believes no tweaks to the format are necessary.

“I find it disrespectful on all accounts, to be extremely honest with you,” he said. “I find it disrespectful to us as international golfers that are professional athletes that compete at the highest level week in and week out. We’re not scrubs. Are we as strong as the Americans? Doesn’t quite look like it right now. Have they kicked our butts in this event? They sure have. But there’s been some close calls. And so I find it disrespectful to us.”

The former Masters Champion also addressed the suggestion that the event should become mixed with men and women golfers in detail.

“I find it equally disrespectful to the women golfers. And here’s why. I don’t think women golfers need men to make them and their competitions relevant. Their competitions are already relevant. I sit down and watch every single shot of the Solheim Cup. Every single shot. It’s one of my favorite times of the year when that event goes on. I watched the U.S. Women’s Open. I watched the Women’s British Open a few weeks ago when South African Ashleigh Buhai came down the stretch, almost coughed it up and won in the playoff at Muirfield, matching Ernie Els’ win at the Open at Muirfield. Women don’t need men to make them relevant in sport. My family and I were glued to the TV when Serena Williams played her last match at the U.S. Open. She’s one of the greatest athletes to ever walk on the planet. So I find it disrespectful on all accounts when people come with that opinion.”

“Let’s leave the Presidents Cup and the International team alone, for now,” he said on the podcast. “And let us compete. And allow youngsters from Thailand and China and Japan and Korea and Australia and South Africa and Canada and all over South America, allow them to grow up with this as their goal, to be able to compete on this level.

“Because we are eventually going to win this event, I promise you.”

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. MICHAEL

    Oct 8, 2022 at 7:49 am

    Did the President’s cup already happen? Oops, missed it. Absolutely no interest in it among my golf buddies.

  2. Doug Posten

    Oct 5, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    Immelman may have been fired up and felt disrespected, but the sad truth is that with the LIV guys missing, his team did have some scrubs, which was disrespectful to the game. It was nice to see some International players play well and come into their own, but the outcome of the matches was already a foregone conclusion after the opening matches on Thursday. I don’t mind a 14-1-1, but please find a way to make the competition competitive so as to provide a little interest and drama on the weekend.

  3. PoconoMan

    Oct 5, 2022 at 12:02 pm

    Immelman may be fired up and felt disrespected but the sad truth is, without their top 5 players, they were fielding scrubs which was disrespectful to the game. Nice to see a few of the International players play well and come into their own, but the outcome was never in doubt after the opening matches on Thursday. I don’t mind a 14-1-1 record, please just find someway to make it competitive and provide a little bit of drama on the weekend.

  4. Tom K

    Oct 5, 2022 at 9:02 am

    Immelman is a non inclusive member of the patriarchy.

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19th Hole

‘What’s going on?’ – Justin Thomas left frustrated with two officials over ruling at Hero

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During Thursday’s first round of the Hero World Challenge, Justin Thomas called for a rules official and subsequently, a second opinion, on the par-5 9th at Albany Golf Club.

The players were playing lift-clean-and-place, and Thomas’ ball came to rest about 5o yards short of the green in an area where it was difficult to identify if the ball was sitting in the fairway or the rough. The ball had gathered some mud, so if the rules official had decided that his ball was in fact in the rough, he would have to hit a pretty difficult shot given the condition on his golf ball.

“Basically, what’s going on?” Thomas asked the official.

The official told Thomas that the change of color in the grass was indicative of the change of fairway to rough, and therefore he would have to hit his ball as it lied. Thomas argued that the grass was cut to the same length in both spots, therefore the color didn’t matter.

“But you see, what I’m saying, this is also beat down from the carts, but look at how much longer this is than this,” he said before walking over to the thicker grass. “Like see, this is the same height [where his ball was and the apparent fairway.] I totally see it’s down grain and it’s a totally different color, but … the change of the length of grass is just what kind of confused me.”

After relief was denied by the official, “JT” called for a second opinion. While waiting for another official to show up, Thomas was heard saying to his caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay, ““It’s the same exact length, this is not rough.”

When the second rules official came over, he said: “I can see the cutline right here,” and pointed to the different shades of grass that the other official mentioned.

Thomas accepted the decision.

Interestingly, announcer Paul Azinger shared his opinion that the second rules official almost never will disagree with the first rules official’s ruling.

“That second opinion almost never works,” Azinger said to Dan Hicks during the broadcast.

“Really?” Hicks asked.

“Never,” Azinger said. “Very rarely will an official go against another official.”

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19th Hole

Data shows how much more difficult greens become as the day progresses

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For many a golf bettor, betting on the first round leader of any tournament revolves around the early starters.

Even a cursory look at this week’s Australian Open shows the morning wave averaging 1.73 shots better than the afternoon players, resulting in 18 early starters finishing in the top-10 by the end of the day, including current leader David Micheluzzi.

However, over on the South African Open, the roles are reversed, with current leader Thirston Lawrence taking up one of 15 places on the front page of leaderboard for the late starters, who shot around half-a-shot less than the morning groups.

Naturally, there are many factors – wind, temperature, dew, grass-types and, potentially, overall quality of the groupings, but these are variables that can change from day to day.

Step in Lou Stagner, data lead of Arccos Golf and all-round numbers guru.

Stagner does not deal in emotion or factors that cannot be measured. It’s facts, figures and that’s your lot!

He will tell you that from the fairway, 80-yards from the pin, professionals simply don’t get as close as many believe:

On Wednesday, the man who once built a Lego model of Augusta #12, tweeted a table showing the variance in putts made by PGA Tour members under morning and afternoon conditions.

Taking stats over 17 years, the table shows an advantage to the early starters, not by much, but enough to consider.

There are plenty of places to take the stats, with a few respondents asking for a table on grass types through the day – Bent v Bermuda v POA – and that will probably turn up on Stanger’s twitter feed soon.

Of course, on a Sunday, later starters have the pressure of trying to win a tournament, which is why we tend to see flashy rounds from those a few off the pace on Payday, but it is enough to consider when trying to get that illusive three-figure first (or second) round leader.

Either way, two-time major champion, and regular tweeter Justin Thomas, decided this was his chance to get in an early excuse when he’s off late in the day.

Make of what you will. Perhaps the stats will one day include how many of these are for par saves against birdie putts, or is that too much?

Either way, Stagner continues to bombard us with stats that delight and entertain, and that can be no bad thing. Unless you are a buddy of Lou’s…

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19th Hole

Cam Smith fumes at ‘pretty s****y’ opening round at Australian Open

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After an incredible week at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship, Cameron Smith is off to a rough start at the Australian Open. The Champion Golfer of the Year struggled to hit fairways all day long and finished his round at +1 which is eight shots back of first-round leader David Micheluzzi (-7).

Smith, who received a massive ovation from the crowd, was extremely displeased, calling his play “pretty shitty” as he went from his post-round press conference to the practice range. The 29-year-old also said it was “as bad as I’ve played in a long time”.

“I don’t think it was a mixed bag, I think it was all rubbish to be honest,”

“Maybe some delayed tiredness, maybe. I did feel a little bit foggy out there at times, but it’s not really an excuse, it’s my job to do all that stuff.”

Despite the uninspiring round, the world number three still feels as if he can get back into the event and contend.

“It’s not like I don’t know how to play golf, it was just a bit of a bad day.”

“I’ve just got a few things to clean up, I think. Like I said last week [at the Australian PGA Championship], I felt as though the golf got better every day.”

The Aussie is incredible at recovery shots and finding his way out of trouble. But if he wants to be the first player to win the Australian PGA and Australian Open in the same season since 2011, he needs to start putting the ball in the fairway.

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