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Morning 9: Poulter offended by Rory’s comments | DOJ expanding inquiry | Phil on Rory



By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.
For comments: [email protected].
October 27, 2022

Good Thursday morning, golf fans, as we head into day one of the Bermuda Championship.

1. Report: DOJ investigation expanding scope of inquiry within golf

Lorenzo Reyes, USA Today…”The Department of Justice’s antitrust inquiry into professional golf is reportedly wider than previously thought.”

  • “Citing anonymous sources, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Augusta National Golf Club, which operates the Masters Tournament, the United States Golf Association and the PGA of America are also part of the investigation. WSJ had previously reported in July that the DOJ was investigating whether the PGA Tour had engaged in anticompetitive behavior against the Greg Norman-led and Saudi Arabia-funded LIV Golf Invitational Series.”
  • “According to the report, Augusta National had produced documents for the Department of Justice investigation. The WSJ reported that a spokesperson for Augusta National and a lawyer who represents the club both declined to comment.”
Full piece.

2. Latest on LIV, PGA Tour legal battle

Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”It was a legal victory for LIV Golf and its attorneys this week in U.S. District Court, with a California judge giving the plaintiffs in the antitrust case against the PGA Tour more flexibility and breadth in the discovery process.”

  • “Judge Susan van Keulen agreed with the LIV legal team that the PGA Tour needed to provide more detailed information regarding its internal and external communications about LIV Golf, including the identities of those who had been contacted by “authorized” employees, players and directors. The deadline for that discovery is Nov. 15.”
  • “In this most recent exchange, LIV’s attorneys balked at the Tour’s claim that just 13 employees and officers were “authorized” to speak on behalf of the circuit regarding the Saudi-backed breakaway circuit. That number was later increased to 31 employees who the circuit claimed were “authorized” to speak with a wide range of constituents…”
Full piece.

3. Rory: “Us vs. them has gotten out of control”

Ewan Murray for the Guardian…”On media podiums, McIlroy confidently emerged as the popular voice of golf’s establishment despite others – primarily his wife, Erica – asking why he voiced such vociferous sentiment against the breakaway LIV tour. “Oh yeah, all the time,” McIlroy says with a laugh. “On the basis it literally does not affect us one bit. My life is not going to change whether people go to LIV or they don’t. But I care. It mightn’t change our life but it will the guys grinding their asses off to get a tour card. There’s a lot of people in the game who don’t have the voice or the platform I have so I am trying to speak up for them a little, too.”

  • “McIlroy has no desire to fan the flames of controversy, though. Recent time spent with a “cool head” in Europe, away from the “echo chamber” of the United States golf scene, offered fresh perspective. The 33-year-old recognises the PGA Tour is not completely innocent in golf’s civil war and, more importantly, wants peace to break out. “This ‘us versus them’ thing has gotten way out of control already,” McIlroy says. “If the two entities keep doubling down in both directions, it is only going to become irreparable. We are going to have a fractured sport for a long time. That is no good for anyone.”
Full piece.

4. Ian Poulter takes offense to Rory McIlroy’s Ryder Cup ‘betrayal’ comment

Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…Rory McIlroy, the most outspoken advocate for the PGA Tour, added to that divide with comments this week to The Guardian: “I think it is the first time in my life that I have felt betrayal, in a way,” he said. “It’s an unfamiliar feeling to me. You build bonds with these people through Ryder Cups and other things.”

  • On Wednesday at Doral, the site of the LIV Golf team finale, Ian Poulter was asked about McIlroy’s comments.
  • “A betrayal? We can still qualify for the team as far as I’m aware. Unless we’ve been told we can’t qualify, then I’m still ready to play as much as I possibly can and try and make that team,” Poulter said. “My commitment to the Ryder Cup I think goes before me. I don’t think that should ever come in question. I’ve always wanted to play Ryder Cups and have played with as much passion as anyone else that I’ve ever seen play a Ryder Cup.
  • “I don’t know where that comment really has come from, to be honest.”
Full piece.

5. Phil on Rory

Golfweek’s Adam Woodard…”At a press conference ahead of the upstart circuit’s season finale, Mickelson was complimentary of McIlroy, who said the “us versus them” dynamic between LIV Golf and players on the PGA and DP World tours has gotten out of control.”

  • “You know, I think a lot of Rory. I really have the utmost respect for him, and I look at what he’s done in the game and how he’s played this year and his win last week and No. 1 in the world now, and I have a ton of respect for him,” said Mickelson. “We’ll have three months off after this event to talk about things like that and so forth, but this week something is happening that I don’t want to deflect focus on, which is we’ve never had a team event like this in professional golf.”
Full piece.

6. RIP Titiya Plucksataporn

LET report…“The LET family is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former member Titiya Plucksataporn, who passed away on 22nd October aged 39 from cancer.”

  • “Titiya turned professional in November 2005 and was a member of the LET for 14 years, until December 2019, during which time she played in 186 LET tournaments, with 13 top 10 finishes, her best result being tied for third in the 2013 Ladies Norwegian Challenge. She went on to coach in her native Thailand.”
  • “Titiya started playing golf at the age of 12 and was coached by her father, Mr Tarat, who also often acted as her caddie on Tour.”
  • “Another of her caddies, Gary Wildman, posted on her Facebook page: “Very sad news. One of my favourite players to have caddied for. A lovely person and an excellent player.”
Full piece.

7. “Not sure it’s possible to play any slower”

GolfWRX staff report…”The LIV Golf series returns this week at Trump National Doral Golf Course for the scene of the finale of the new tour’s inaugural season.”

  • “Unlike previous events staged by the Saudi-backed Tour, this week incorporates a mix of both match play and stroke play.”
  • “Also in a changeup this week, Ian Poulter has replaced Lee Westwood as team captain of the Majesticks GC.”
  • “On Wednesday at the pre-tournament press conference, both the Majesticks and the Iron Heads, led by Captain Kevin Na, conducted their pressers together, and things got a little awkward.”
  • “In the clip shown below, Na attempted to make a joke about the age of Lee Westwood, to which Ian Poulter responded that Westy is a former World Number One.”
  • “After a couple of other back-and-forths, the topic of Kevin Na walking in putts came to the fore, and it was at this point that Poulter decided to go on the attack regarding Na’s pace of play.”
  • “It could take him a while to walk a few in. It normally does,” said Poulter, which was met with some oohing and awkward reactions from those in attendance.”
  • “We’ll let that one stew a little bit,” said the moderator attempting to move the conversation on, but when Kevin Na kiddingly asked official Slugger White, can he “play slower on purpose?”, “Poulter decided to go for the knockout blow, saying “I’m not sure it’s possible to play any slower, Kev.”
Full piece.

8. “Maybe I shouldn’t have…”

Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”On Wednesday at the LIV Golf team finale at Doral, Mickelson offered another contrite response following his comments earlier this month that he was glad to have chosen the “winning side” in the divide between LIV and the PGA Tour, and that the Tour is “trending downwards.”

  • “Maybe I shouldn’t have said stuff like that, I don’t know,” Mickelson said. “But if I’m just looking at LIV Golf and where we are today to where we were six, seven months ago and people are saying this is dead in the water, and we’re past that, and here we are today, a force in the game that’s not going away, that has players of this caliber that are moving professional golf throughout the world and the excitement level in the countries around the world of having some of the best players in the game of golf coming to their country and competing.”
Full Piece.

9. Harry’s ominous major warning

Dan Rapaport for Barstool Sports..”On Sunday, Rory McIlroy picked up his third victory of 2023 and the 23rd of his PGA Tour career to summit the mountaintop once again. For the first time since July 2020, Rory McIlroy is the world’s number one golfer. The 33-year-old Northern Irishman held off Kurt Kitayama, Jon Rahm and K.H. Lee at Congaree Golf Club in South Carolina to win the CJ Cup for the second year, only this time on a different venue. Rory’s 2021 CJ win happened in Vegas at the Summit Club, another Tom Fazio-designed course that looks and plays nothing like Congaree.

  • Late Sunday night, I texted his caddie, Harry Diamond, to ask how this little spurt of golf compares to other runs Rory’s had in his career.
  • “Yeah, close to his best,” Harry wrote. “Still room for improvement, though. Time for some majors.”
Full Piece.
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GolfWRX Editor-in-Chief. Follow me on Twitter. [email protected] for any comments, complaints, glowing praise.



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Morning 9: PIP winners I Player changes LIV tune I Augusta National changes



By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.

For comments: [email protected]. On Twitter: @benalberstadt

November 23, 2022

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Eat, drink, be merry, and please, count a few blessings tomorrow! We’re grateful to put this little roundup together for you weekday mornings and truly appreciate your readership.

1. Your PIP winner is… staff report…”Tiger Woods was No. 1 in the 2022 PGA TOUR Player Impact Program (PIP) for the second straight year, the 82-time TOUR winner earning the top impact bonus of $15 million.”

  • “Rory McIlroy, who won the FedExCup for an unprecedented third time, returned to world No. 1, and over the weekend captured the DP World Tour’s Race to Dubai, finished second ($12 million).”
  • “…Jordan Spieth ($9 million), Justin Thomas ($7.5 million), Jon Rahm ($6 million), Scottie Scheffler ($5.5 million), Xander Schauffele ($5 million), Matt Fitzpatrick ($5 million), Will Zalatoris ($5 million) and Tony Finau ($5 million) rounded out the top 10.”
Full piece.

2. What do the stats say

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”statistically speaking, the case can be made that 2022 was McIlroy at his peak—and we’re not counting his performances behind the podium as the lead defender for the two tours in their ongoing battle with LIV Golf.”

  • “According to DataGolf, McIlroy’s true strokes gained for 2022 was 2.61, with Scheffler a distant second at 2.23. (Even more remarkably, McIlroy’s number does not factor in his win at the CJ Cup in October.) For context, that number is better than McIlroy’s 2014—a season in which he won two majors and a WGC—which was 2.51. It was also a whopping stroke better than his output from last year (1.56). McIlroy also led the PGA Tour in strokes gained with a 2.12 mark; Matt Fitzpatrick was second at 1.79.”
Full piece.

3. Gary Player changes his tune on LIV — again

Via the Golf Channel digital team…”Speaking two days ago to reporter Mahlatse Mphahlele, Player shared some quick thoughts on the ongoing rift between LIV and the PGA Tour, calling for respect and happiness while asserting that he takes no issue with players who have joined Greg Norman’s startup league.”

  • “I have no objection to people going and playing the LIV tour,” Player said. “I think it is wonderful to give people an opportunity to make some money when they can’t play anymore. Most of them are going out there with a new lease of life, and that is fantastic. But what I don’t like is the war that is happening between LIV and the PGA [Tour]. Golf is too good. Golf gave us our dream to start the tour and play. And so, we must have – the word is respect across the board. We’ve all got to have respect for each other and go on with our own lives. But if you have [membership on] the LIV tour, don’t expect to play and have the facilities of the regular [PGA] Tour. Because they are two different tours.”
  • “I just hope everything works out well and everybody is happy.”
Full piece.

4. Changes to ANGC’s 13th

5. A Tiger Sunday Red Masters shirt at auction

E. Michael Johnson for Golf Digest…“In recent years there has been a spike in interest in Tiger Woods auctioned memorabilia. Most of the items have been golf clubs used by the 15-time major champion. A new lot up for bid by Golden Age Auctions presents a different opportunity, allowing bidders to vie for a vintage Sunday red Nike shirt worn by Woods in the final round of the 2010 Masters.”

  • “The auction, which begins on Tuesday, ends on Saturday, Dec. 10 with a starting bid of $5,000, though the final price is expected to far exceed that (Editor’s Note: Golf Digest has a business relationship with Golden Age Auctions).”
Full piece.

6. Vice Captain Colsaerts

“European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald’s team of assistants is beginning to take shape, with Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts named as his third Vice Captain alongside Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari.”

  • “Colsaerts has a memorable history with the Ryder Cup, having been part of the 2012 European team that beat the USA at Medinah. He played a pivotal role in that victory on the Friday when he partnered with Lee Westwood to beat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in the fourball session – a performance that included eight birdies from Colsaerts.”
  • “After being handed the role, Colsaerts drew on memories from that tournament to explain how he would approach next year’s event. He said: “My first reaction when Luke asked me was sheer joy. Every time I hear the words ‘Ryder Cup’, it takes me back to the edition I played in, how proud I was to wear the European colours and be part of such an unbelievable event. Of course, Luke was in that team too, and when we spoke he mentioned how much he has always loved what the Ryder Cup means to me.”
Full piece.

7. Anna Davis picks a college

Cameron Jourdan for Golfweek…“Anna Davis has decided where she wants to play college golf.”

  • “The 16-year-old who won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April announced Monday she has committed to the Auburn women’s golf program via her Instagram account. Davis posted a photo with Tigers’ coach Melissa Luellen and assistant Kim Hall.”
  • “Last week, Davis’ twin brother, Billy, committed to play for the Auburn men….However, whether Davis ever makes it to Auburn remains to be seen. She could turn professional before ever teeing it up for the Tigers. The early signing period for her class is next November.”
Full piece.

8. Tiger and Rory to be hit by Musk’s Twitter purge

Jamie Hall for…”Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will be the most-affected golfers by Elon Musk’s promised Twitter purge.”

  • “Musk, the new owner of the social media giant, has promised to crack down on fake and spam accounts since forking out $44billion to buy the site earlier this year.”
  • “According to an audit of false accounts carried out by using SparkToro software, Woods has the highest number of fake followers, with a massive 2.6million of the accounts following him deemed to be false.”
  • “McIlroy is also followed by a high number of spam accounts on 1.1million, around 100,000 ahead of Ian Poulter.”
Full piece.

9. Wedge Stamping Caviar

Pop open a tin of the finest beluga, GolfWRXers… In all seriousness, it’s less jelly-like substance, more richness of intrigue than salt-cured roe at Wedge Stamping Caviar as we present to you some of the finest instances of hammer-and-stamp work on the PGA Tour.

  • In this initial serving, we’re mining photos from October and November at PGA Tour stops, including the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, the Cadence Bank Houston Open, and the RSM Classic.
  • So grab your mother-of-pearl spoon and dig in — with restraint, please.
Full Piece.
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Tour Photo Galleries

Wedge Stamping Caviar: Have More Fun Edition



Pop open a tin of the finest beluga, GolfWRXers… In all seriousness, it’s less jelly-like substance, more richness of intrigue than salt-cured roe at Wedge Stamping Caviar as we present to you some of the finest instances of hammer-and-stamp work on the PGA Tour.

In this initial serving, we’re mining photos from October and November at PGA Tour stops, including the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, the Cadence Bank Houston Open, and the RSM Classic.

So grab your mother-of-pearl spoon and dig in — with restraint, please.

The traditional K.I.S.S. stamping on a BV proto: first and last initial, demonstrated here by Andrew Landry. Bonus points for the bounce angle (8) stamp.

When your last name is something imposing/interesting, you’re definitely stamping it on your wedge as Cole Hammer has done here in a “University of Texas” colorway.

Simple, perfect stamping for Xuewen Luo. 

Patrick Cantlay is still rolling with a SM7. Ultimate K.I.S.S. to stick with a previous generation wedge with stamped initials. Bent loft (47 degrees) is a classy touch. 

Excellent #perspective on Kevin Roy’s 54-degree Vokey.

Anytime a custom grind wears off the loft number, it’s caviar. Lovely patina on Woodland’s Wilson, too. 

Another favorite motif: Tiny initials pattern (as demonstrated by Palmer Jackson). 

The Webb Simpson traditional. Maybe the longest-serving stamping on Tour. 

Not a stamping on Akshay Bhatia’s Jaws Raw, but we’ll serve it up anyway for reasons immediately discernible to the seasoned palate. 



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WOTW: Lydia Ko’s Rolex Yacht-Master 40 in Rose Gold



Lydia Ko won twice this weekend with her victory at the CME Group Tour Championship that also earned her the 2022 Rolex Player of The Year award. The CME win was her 19th LPGA Tour victory and her third this year. While collecting all of her trophies, Ko was wearing a Rolex Yacht-Master 40 in rose gold.

WOTW Specs
Name: Rolex Yacht-Master 40
Reference: 126655-0002
Limited: No
Date: 2019 – Present
Case: Everose Gold
Bezel: Black Cerachrom Ceramic
Dial: Intense Black
Size: 40mm
Movement: Rolex 3235, 31 Jewels
Power Reserve: 70 hours
Glass: Saphire Crystal Cyclops Lens
Waterproof: 100 Meters
Bracelet: Black Oysterflex Rubber Strap
Price: $28,050 (~$32,000)

The Rolex Yacht-Master was introduced in 1992, and it was the first new model in the Rolex line since the Daytona was launched in 1964. The unconfirmed story of the Yacht-Master was that it was originally intended to be an updated Submariner. Rolex couldn’t make such a large change to the most iconic watch that had ever been produced, so the Yacht-Master was born. Yacht-Masters have always embodied luxury and included a precious metal in the watch. The first Yacht-Masters in 1992 were made from solid yellow gold and a few dial options. The Yacht-Master saw a lot of success, but it really took off in 2012 when the Rolesium, platinum and steel, model with the silver dial was released. Since then the Yacht-Master has been one of the most underrated watches in the Rolex lineup.

Lydia has been wearing this Yacht-Master 40 in Everose gold for a little while now as we saw it on her wrist back in April of 2021. The case is 40mm wide and is made from Rolex’s own 18k Everose gold. Rolex created their own rose gold alloy to ensure that the precious metal could meet their strict quality and durability requirements. Rolex stopped outsourcing and created their own foundry in the early 2000s to make its own gold, rose gold, and platinum for its watches.

The caseback on Ko’s watch is matching Everose gold and screws into the case giving the watch a 100 meter water resistance rating. On the side of the case is a screw down crown that is made from Everose gold and features a Triplock seal waterproof system. On tope of the case is the Yacht-Master’s legendary chunky bidirectional bezel. The bezel itself is made from Everose gold and contains a matte black Cerachrom ceramic insert. The ceramic insert is extremely scratch resistant and won’t fade from long term exposure to saltwater and UV rays.

The raised numerals on the bezel are polished for a contrasting look that is easier to read. A sapphire crystal covers the Intense Black dial and there is a magnifying Cyclops lens covering the date at 3 o’clock. Large Everose gold hour markers surround the dial and are filled with Rolex’s Chromalight luminescent material that glows with more of a blue light. The hour, minute, and second hands are all made from polished Everose gold and filled with the same Chromalight material.

The heart and brain of the Yacht-Master 40 is Rolex’s Calibre 3235 movement that is found in a few other Rolex models. The 3235 is a self-winding movement that uses the blue Parachrom hairspring that keeps accurate time regardless of the temperature and is very shock resistant. Rolex’s designed the Parachrom hairspring in house so they can control the quality and the acceptable tolerance is 0.1 microns, or about 1/1000 of a human hair. The 3235 has up to 70 hours of power reserve and is COSC certified to ensure its accuracy in all conditions.

A black Oysterflex strap holds the watch on the wrist and is far more than just a strip of rubber. Rolex encases flexible titanium and nickel “blades” in a high-performance elastomer. This metal spine adds durability while maintaining the soft comfort you expect from a rubber strap. The underside of the Oysterflex strap has a cushioning system molded into it that can also add stability on the wrist. An Everose gold Oysterlock safety clasp brings the strap together and contains Rolex’s Glidelock extension system to fine tune the fit without the use of any tools.

The Yacht-Master 40 in Everose has become a very popular model and is now hard to find at any Rolex dealer. Many didn’t think that a rose gold watch on a rubber strap would ever be something in high demand but that theory has been proven incorrect. If you can get one of these Yacht-Masters at the $28,050 retail price, then consider yourself lucky. Most will pay around $32,000 on the secondary market to get one on their wrist.

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