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Morning 9: Finau wins again | Nelly’s emotional victory | Casey’s ranking drop

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.
For comments: [email protected].
November 14, 2022

Good Monday morning, golf fans, as Tony Finau notched yet another win at the Houston Open over the weekend.

1. Remember when Tony Finau “couldn’t win?”

Cameron Jourdan for Golfweek…”Tony Finau came into the 2022 Cadence Bank Houston Open off a missed cut last week in Mexico in his first start of the season. He said he didn’t take any time off and continued to practice to knock off rust in an effort to bounce back.”

  • “…Finau led or co-led after every round, and he ran away from the field during the final round Sunday at Memorial Park Golf Course. Finau captured the fifth PGA Tour title of his career Sunday, finishing at 16 under and winning by four strokes.”
  • “After winning only once in his first 188 starts on Tour, Finau has now won four times in his past 30 starts and three times in his past seven.”
Full piece.

2. Tommy defends his title…2 years later

AP report…”Tommy Fleetwood saved his best for last with a final-round 67 to come from behind and retain his title at the Nedbank Golf Challenge on Sunday as he ended a three-year winless drought.”

  • “The Englishman moved up from a tie for seventh overnight to finish 11 under par overall and win by a stroke from New Zealand’s Ryan Fox (68), who was hoping to go top of the season rankings with a victory in Sun City but just missed out after making a bogey on the last.”
  • “Fleetwood won in Sun City in 2019 but was the defending champion after the 2020 and 2021 tournaments were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Full piece.

3. Ogletree wins in Asia

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”Andy Ogletree closed in 8-under 62 on Sunday in Cairo to win the Asian Tour’s International Series Egypt by four shots over Bernd Wiesberger.”

  • “Ogletree’s closing score was tied for the low round of the tournament as Ogletree, the former Georgia Tech All-American and 2019 U.S. Amateur champion, finished the 72-hole event at Madinaty Golf Club at 23 under and only dropped three shots all week.”
  • “Wiesberger never got closer than two shots on Sunday, and the next closest finishers, Sihwan Kim and Jeunghun Wang, tied for third at 16 under, seven shots back.”
Full piece.

4. Nelly takes the Pelican

Associated Press report…”A year Nelly Korda would like to forget is ending with the American star in a familiar position as the No. 1 player in women’s golf.”

  • “Locked in a battle with Lexi Thompson along the back nine, Korda pulled ahead with birdies on the 16th and 17th hole and held on for a 6-under 64 for a one-shot victory Sunday in the Pelican Women’s Championship.
  • Korda won at Pelican Golf Club for the second straight year, this one elevating her past Thai teenager Atthaya Thitikul to reclaim the No. 1 ranking.”
Full piece.

5. Champions: Paddy in Phoenix

Brian Keogh for the Independent…”Pádraig Harrington shot the lowest 72-hole aggregate of his professional career — and broke Tom Lehman’s PGA Tour Champions 72-hole scoring record — when he closed with a six-under 65 to win the Charles Schwab Cup Championship by seven shots from Alex Cejka on 27-under in Arizona.”

  • “The Dubliner (51) had to settle for second in the season-long Schwab Cup race as New Zealander Steven Alker finished third behind Harrington to claim the $1 million bonus at Phoenix Country Club.”
  • “But Harrington still had the satisfaction of winning his fourth title of the PGA Champions Tour season by the lowest score of his career.”
Full piece.

6. Lynch on potential LIV leadership change, current status quo

Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch…”A change in LIV’s leadership won’t simply be about sidelining a polarizing figure motivated by a personal animus against the PGA Tour and viewed with disdain by many top players, including some he has caressed with MBS’s cash. Swapping out the Shark would suggest short-term desperation more than long-term determination, perhaps even a new face-saving strategy by the Saudis. It would also represent the only move left for LIV before having to acknowledge that the fundamental problem isn’t who captains the ship.”

  • “Despite Norman’s inexhaustible bluster and bots, all is not well in the LIV metaverse. While the PGA Tour has given its loyalists what they demanded—elite events, more lucrative prize funds, bigger bonuses—LIV has provided its recruits nothing of what they were promised except cash. There is no uncontested right to cherry pick from other tours, no world ranking points, no clear pathway to the majors, no broadcast rights deal, no audience, no public acclaim as visionaries, no applause for growing the game.”
Full piece.

7. 16-year-old wins Aramco event

Brentley Romine for Golf Channel…”When Chiara Noja was 10 years old, she took a photo with Charley Hull.”

  • “Six years later – yes, six ­– the 16-year-old professional golfer found herself in a playoff against Hull on Saturday at the Aramco Team Series Jeddah, and Noja’s father went into his camera roll to mark the occasion.
  • “Before we went out, my dad showed Charley,” said Noja, who then topped the 26-year-old Solheim Cupper and two-time LPGA winner to capture her first Ladies European Tour title.
Full piece.

8. Casey’s drop

Matt Craddock for Golf Monthly…”First reported by the Twitter page Nosferatu, Paul Casey is the most recent LIV golfer to fall outside of the World’s Top 50, something which hasn’t happened to the Englishman since the 2015 Northern Trust Open.

  • Casey joins the likes of Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau, who have also dropped outside the World’s Top 50, with two-time Major winner, Dustin Johnson, also falling down to 35th in the Rankings.
Full piece.

9. Winning WITB: Tony Finau

Driver: Ping G425 LST (9 degrees @7)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D Limited 70 TX

3-wood: Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond T (14 degrees)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D Limited 80 TX

Irons: Nike Vapor Fly Pro (3), Ping Blueprint (4-PW)

Shafts: Graphite Design Tour AD DI Hybrid 105 X (3), Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 Tour 120 TX

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 (50-S12, 56-S12), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks Proto (60-T)

Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro WV 125S Tour (50-56), Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 125 Wedge (60)

Putter: Ping PLD prototype

Grip: Garsen Golf Ultimate

Ball: Titleist Pro V1 Left Dot

Grips: Lamkin UTX Midsize

Full WITB.
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Morning 9: Tiger plays 9 holes at Pro-Am | Goodbye PIP bonuses? | Morikawa on coach split

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Thursday morning, golf fans, as day one of the Hero World Challenge gets underway.

1. Woods (only) plays 9-hole pro-am (but don’t assume that’s a bad thing)

Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…”What Tiger Woods says goes at the Hero World Challenge.”

  • “And Wednesday morning, Woods determined that nine holes – not the 18 that the rest of the field played – was sufficient for him at the pro-am portion at Albany Golf Club.”
  • “Don’t read too much into it. His latest comeback isn’t being derailed by another setback – although with Tiger you can never know for sure. Rather, to borrow a phrase from the pandemic, Woods is taking an abundance of caution and “wants to save himself for the next four days,” business manager Rob McNamara, who will serve as his caddie this week, said.”
Full piece.

2. Goodbye, PIP bonuses?

Adam Wells for Bleacher Report…”Jordan Spieth thinks one of the key changes the PGA Tour made in an attempt to prevent players from joining LIV Golf will go away if the merger between the two companies goes through.”

  • “Speaking to reporters on Wednesday from the site of the Hero World Challenge, Spieth explained the Player Impact Program will likely go away at some point.”
  • “I think that its goal was to help prevent players from accepting high-dollar Saudi offers, LIV offers,” Spieth said. “I think that’s the goal. If you’re going to see numbers that are thrown out at players now, a couple specific players, it doesn’t really do that.”
Full piece.

3. Morikawa on coach split

Our Matt Vincenzi…”Collin Morikawa has parted ways with his longtime coach. Rick Sessinghaus, who he had worked with for over 18 years.”

  • “The 26-year-old revealed the news on Tuesday at the Hero World Challenge, sharing with reporters that the split took place just before this year’s Ryder Cup in Rome.”
  • “Right before the Ryder Cup, I let go of my long-time coach, Rick Sessinghaus for — we’ve been working for just over 18 years, which wasn’t easy,” Morikawa shared for the first time publicly on Tuesday during a press conference ahead of the Hero World Challenge, a 20-man unofficial event held at the Albany Club. “He’s more than just a coach, he’s one of my really good friends. He’s someone I’ve always looked up to, someone that’s been there for every step of my life essentially, not just in golf but just kind of living life, right?
  • “It wasn’t easy, and sometimes things happen like that. But 18 years is a long time. Not many relationships that I can say with a lot of people that I’ve had relationships for 18 years, and real relationships where I’m talking to them every week, right? So that wasn’t easy at all.”
  • “As for the reasoning behind the decision, Morikawa stated that “what I saw kind of over the past two years wasn’t to my expectations.”
Full piece.

4. Zalatoris on surgery, recovery

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”A couple days after his Masters withdrawal, Zalatoris was undergoing a microdiscectomy…”

  • “Zalatoris makes his competitive return at this week’s Hero World Challenge, his first start since the WGC-Dell Match Play in March, after a long and prudent path back from the disabled list.”
  • “It’s been an interesting seven months,” Zalatoris said. “It’s been a patience game. It’s been a grind. You know, I had a lot of really good advice from guys that have had to go through the same thing, and all of them said take your time, no one’s ever come back from an injury taking too long.”
  • “Zalatoris believes his back troubles stem from a shot he hit from the thick fescue during his first round of the 2021 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, where he withdrew after 18 holes. His “hyperdynamic” golf swing – left heel coming off the ground, huge reverse-C, lots of X-factor – didn’t help matters, either. When Zalatoris re-injured his back at the BMW, though, Zalatoris’ surgeon, Michael Duffy at Texas Back Institute, didn’t recommended surgery at the time. Neither did the over 20 other specialists who reviewed Zalatoris’ MRI results.”
Full piece.

5. Spieth on joining policy board

Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”Spieth understood that position – he has two children under the age of 3, while also trying to return to the top 10 in the world rankings – but was eager to step up. On a phone call, he said he told fellow board member Patrick Cantlay that he could fill the role, if the others supported that.”

  • “I think this is a pivotal moment in time for professional golf and the PGA Tour,” Spieth said, “and I felt like I could be of help.”
  • “Since officially joining as the sixth board member, Spieth said he’s been “playing a bit of catch-up on what I’ve missed,” with the Tour not only negotiating with the PIF ahead of the Dec. 31 deadline, but also engaging with private equity firms looking to invest in the Tour.”
  • “There’s nothing but optimism among the player directors,” he said. “Collectively, we feel that we’re going to get something done that’s great for our Tour, and hopefully done by the same deadline that we’ve been trying to.”
Full Piece.

6. Shane Ryan: Appreciate Tiger while you can

Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan…”Point being, I spent a large part of Tiger’s prime missing the point of what I was seeing and was forced to spend his resurgence in the digital fetal position. Now, in his state of fading, I have to clutch what I can clutch, here at the last minute, and though I never quite grasped what we had in him, I can now see clearly what we’re going to lose. It’s a thing you can’t replace, and that makes everyone in his shadow look like a pretender.”

  • “It’s a thing called human greatness. Divorced from the complications of personality, behavior, culture, and capital. Plain, undeniable, and human greatness. The time may be coming when technology strips human greatness of its place atop the hierarchy, when we’re no longer, even in our own minds, the most important beings in the universe. The time is definitely coming when the greatest golfer of all time will have lost the last glow of his prime, and we can no longer credibly claim even a wisp of athletic relevancy on his behalf. We will be forced to interact with younger sports fans who know him only as a name, the way you and I might know someone like Bjorn Borg today. He is fading, and there’s nothing we can do about it because we’re fading too.”
  • “With Tiger Woods, we’re standing on the edge of permanence. The ephemeral part was his glory; the eternal part is its absence. This week, and whatever weeks are left, hold on.”
Full Piece.

7. Primer: LPGA Q-Series

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”An abbreviated LPGA Q-Series gets underway on Thursday at Robert Trent Jones’ Magnolia Grove Golf Course in Mobile, Alabama. The event, which has been shortened from 144 holes to 108 holes, concludes on Dec. 5.”

  • “A field of 104 players will compete over the Falls and Crossings courses, with a cut after Round 4 to low 65 and ties. Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Hae Ran Ryu medaled at the 2022 Q-Series.”
  • “Players who finish in the top 45 and ties will earn 2024 LPGA cards. Those who finish in the top 20 and ties will earn the Category 14 status while those who are 21-45 and ties will fall into Category 15.”
  • “Any player who completes 72 holes will receive Epson Tour status.”
Full Piece.

8. Inbee Park in line to represent athletes at Olympics

AP report…”Seven-time Olympic champion sprinter Allyson Felix and seven-time golf major winner Inbee Park are candidates in elections at the Paris Games to represent their fellow athletes at the IOC.”

  • “The International Olympic Committee announced a list of 32 candidates Wednesday for elections to be held during the Paris Games from July 26-Aug. 11, when about 10,500 athletes are eligible to vote.”
  • “Felix, the now-retired American track great, and Park, who took gold for South Korea when golf returned to the Olympics in 2016 at Rio de Janeiro, are among a slew of Olympic champions competing for four places in the 100-strong IOC membership.”
Full Piece.

9. Tiger Woods WITB: Hero World Challenge

Driver: TaylorMade Qi10 LS

Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD VF 6 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Titanium (15 degrees @14.25)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 70 TX

5-wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees @18.25)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX

Irons: 2023 TaylorMade P770 (3-iron), TaylorMade P7TW (4-PW)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: TaylorMade MG4 Raw (56-12TW, 60-11TW)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS prototype

Grip: Ping PP58

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B X

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord 58R

Full WITB.
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Morning 9: Tiger on his health and game | Donald named Ryder Cup 2025 captain | Tiger’s caddie for Hero

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans, as all of the attention turns to Tiger’s comeback this week at the Hero World Challenge.

1. Tiger on the state of his health, game

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach…”On Thursday, Woods is scheduled to make his first start since the third round of the Masters in April at the Hero World Challenge. He hosts the tournament, which benefits his foundation.”

  • “My game feels rusty; I haven’t played in a while,” Woods said during a news conference Tuesday. “I had my subtalar fused. I’m excited to compete and play, and I’m just as curious as all of you are to see what happens because I haven’t done it in a while.
  • “I can tell you this: I don’t have any of the pain that I had at Augusta or pre-that in my ankle. Well, other parts are taking the brunt of the load, so I’m a little more sore in other areas, but the ankle’s good. So that surgery was a success.”
Full piece.

2. Woods frustrated by Tour handling of framework agreement

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Tiger Woods, in his first comments since the Masters, admitted he was “frustrated” with the PGA Tour’s handling of the framework agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.”

  • “Woods, speaking to the media at this week’s Hero World Challenge, was asked for his reaction to the tour’s surprise announcement with the financial backer of LIV Golf, as Woods had been publicly silent on the matter. The 15-time major winner said he was “surprised” before expressing irritation for how the situation was handled.”
  • “Well, going back to that, I would say that my reaction was surprised as I’m sure a lot of the players were taken back by it, by what happened,” Woods said on Tuesday. “So quickly without any input or any information about it, it was just thrown out there. I was very surprised that the process was what it was. We were very frustrated with what happened and we took steps going forward to ensure that the player involvement was not going —we were not going to be left out of the process like we were. So part of that process was putting me on the board and accepting that position.”
Full piece.

3. Tiger’s plans to play

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”Best-case scenario? Playing “maybe a tournament a month,” Woods answered.”

  • “We have set up right now the biggest events are one per month, it sets itself up for that,” Woods added. “Now, I need to get myself ready for all that. I think this week is a big step in that direction.”
  • “Looking at the PGA Tour’s schedule for next year, here are the events Woods could play if he chose to start in January and play once per month through July: Farmers, Genesis, The Players, Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open and The Open. The FedExCup Playoffs begin in August, though assuming Woods’ still light schedule, he’d be a longshot to earn enough points to qualify.”
Full piece.

4. Rob McNamara to caddie for Woods

PGATour.com staff report…”There’s an open position on Woods’ bag following longtime caddie Joe LaCava’s move to Patrick Cantlay earlier this spring. For now, a full-time replacement is still in flux.”

  • “I don’t think Charlie’s going to be able to caddie,” said Woods, who spent several weeks this fall caddying for Charlie in various junior tournaments. “[He] can’t play hooky that often.”
  • “Woods confirmed Tuesday that Rob McNamara, his longtime business partner and vice president of TGR Ventures, will fill in this week at the Hero World Challenge. It is Woods’ first start since he underwent a subtalar fusion procedure in his right ankle in April. Woods withdrew from the third round of the Masters because of pain in the ankle, which stemmed from a broken talus bone suffered in a February 2021 car crash.”
Full piece.

5. Don’t forget about Will Z!

PGATour.com staff…“Tiger Woods and Will Zalatoris, each of whom withdrew from the Masters Tournament in April only to undergo season-ending surgery shortly afterward, return to action at this week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.”

  • “…One of the most promising up-and-coming Americans, Zalatoris had already suffered a few near-misses in majors by the time he captured his first PGA TOUR title in a playoff at the FedEx St. Jude Championship in 2022. It seemed like the start of something big, but fate intervened.”
  • “He suffered two herniated discs the next week, withdrew from the BMW Championship and missed the TOUR Championship and Presidents Cup. Although Zalatoris returned early this year, so did the pain, and he withdrew from the Masters without hitting a shot.”
  • “A microdiscectomy…ended Zalatoris’ season.”
Full Piece.

6. G-Mac joining Smash

Our Matt Vincenzi…”After finishing outside of the top-24 in the LIV Golf standings (40th) last season, Graeme McDowell has not been resigned by his former LIV Golf team, Cleeks GC.”

  • “However, McDowell received some good news after losing his guaranteed spot and has been signed by Smash GC which is captained by Brooks Koepka.”
  • “According to James Corrigan of The Telegraph, McDowell, an insider told him “Could not believe his luck.”
  • “Obviously, all was not rosy on the Cleeks and with G-Mac and Kaymer. He thought he was out of LIV and would have to be participating on the Asian Tour next year. Playing alongside Koepka – probably the best player on LIV – is a massive result for him.”
  • “G-Mac is the second player to depart from Martin Kaymer’s Cleeks GC, as Austrian Bernd Wiesberger also failed to finish inside the top-24 on the standings and is now returning to the DP World Tour to play once again.”
Full Piece.

7. Donald to captain Europe in 2025

8. Spieth reaggravated injury in bizarre way

Our Matt Vincenzi…”Last season, Jordan Spieth struggled with a wrist injury for most of the year. The three-time major champion failed to earn a victory and finished 27th in the FedEx Cup standings.”

  • While speaking with the media prior to the Hero World Challenge, Spieth shared how he reaggravated the injury after he finally started to feel better over the summer months.
  • “I was reaching for a toaster to make my son breakfast. The toast wasn’t even in the toaster.”
  • The injury stems from overuse, so the 30-year-old has been cautious about too much practice.
  • “It’s not anything to mess with, so I’ve been trying to take it very, very carefully.”
Full Piece.

9. WITB Time Machine: Rickie Fowler’s winning WITB, 2017 Hero World Challenge

We’re jumping in the WITB Time Machine and heading back to 2017 when Rickie Fowler was head of the class at Albany. The patron saint of orange finished with an 18-under tally, four strokes ahead of Charley Hoffman, thanks to a scorching final-round 11-under 61.

Let’s take a look at what Rickie had in play that Sunday in the Bahamas.

Driver: Cobra King F8+ Nardo (8 degrees)

Shaft: Aldila 2KXV NV Blue 70 X (43.35 inches)

3-wood: Cobra King F8+ (14.5 degrees)

Shaft: Aldila Synergy 70 X

5-wood: Cobra F8+ Baffler (18.5 degrees)

Shaft: Aldila Synergy 70 X

Irons: Cobra King Forged MB (4-PW)

Shafts: KBS Tour C-Taper S+ 125

Wedges: Cobra King V-Grind (52, 56, 60)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS prototype

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Full WITB.
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Morning 9: Tiger’s return | Rollback for everyone? | Scott: Fix the driver head

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans, as all of the attention turns to Tiger’s comeback this week at the Hero World Challenge.

1. Rollback on the horizon for all?

S.I.’s Bob Harig…”A decision on the proposed rollback of the golf ball is due by the end of the year—and it might not just be for elite players as part of a Model Local Rule originally put forth by the United States Golf Association and the R&A.”

  • “Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of the R&A, told Golf Digest in an interview last week that he expects a final decision soon; a comment period on the matter ended in August.”
  • “There has been considerable pushback about the proposal, with a majority of professional players and golf ball manufacturers not in favor of the idea. Both the PGA Tour and PGA of America have come out against it, although key names in the game, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, expressed their support.”
Full piece.

2. Adam Scott: Do this instead

Our Matt Vincenzi…”The debate on whether or not to “roll back the golf ball” is once again taking center stage in the world of golf. This month, R&A chief executive, Martin Slumbers, announced there is a plan in place for bifurcation of the golf ball and the plan will be revealed by the end of the year.”

  • “While speaking at the Australian PGA Championship over the weekend, Adam Scott said he believes the driver is more of a problem than the golf ball itself.”
  • “The biggest fundamental change in the game since I’ve been a pro, is traditionally the driver has been the hardest club to hit in the bag, and now it’s the most forgiving.
  • “And that’s the biggest evolutionary change in the golf bag to me out of the equipment.
  • “The ball is the ball, but the driver went from the hardest club to hit to now the most forgiving and the go-to club for guys if they are nervous.
  • “The penalty for missing a driver just isn’t high enough anymore, in my opinion, at the top level.
  • “I’d like to address that first and see what knock on effects that has. If guys wanna swing at it 130 with a tiny driver head then good luck.”
Full piece.

3. Tiger returneth

Adam Stanley for PGATour.com…“He will once again play a dual role of host and participant at the Hero World Challenge, contested in Albany, Bahamas, and it was announced last week that Team Woods will play the PNC Championship for the fourth straight year. These are two very different situations for Woods, as the 72-hole Hero World Challenge requires walking, while the 36-hole PNC allows the use of a cart.”

  • “Woods did not play last year’s Hero World Challenge – withdrawing before the competition due to the same plantar fasciitis condition. He made two TOUR starts earlier this year, finishing T45 at The Genesis Invitational before the Masters.”
  • “In an interview with the Associated Press two weeks ago, Woods said he was pain-free when it comes to his right ankle which was fused in April…”
  • “Regardless of body issues, though, Woods has always been a fighter. And the fact that he is working on a return to action, starting in Albany, is going to make an already exciting week that much more fun.”
Full piece.

4. Senden to play on after Parkinson’s diagnosis

Golf Digest’s Tod Leonard…”Australian senior tour pro John Senden says he can have a satisfying warm-up session before a competitive round, “but as soon as the anticipation of hitting the first shot or a difficult shot or even the name called on the first tee, all of a sudden my right arm starts shaking and I can’t control that sometimes.”

  • “That’s an extremely challenging way to play golf, of course, and the 52-year-old two-time PGA Tour winner has been doing so for the last 18 months with symptoms associated with his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. In an interview with Australia’s ABC Sport, Senden said he has no plans to stop playing.”
  • “I’ve got to stay in the gym, stay fit and stay open, because Parkinson’s wants to close you down, wants to make you feel a bit more depressed,” Senden said. “I’ve got to stay playing, stay light-hearted about everything. It doesn’t actually undermine my strength; it just sort of makes me feel a bit weird sometimes. … “It’s not going to go away, but I’m still able to play and still enjoying golf.”
Full piece.

5. More restrooms, courtesy cars, better food for pros in 2024

Golf Digest’s Tod Leonard…The requirements are:

  • “All tournaments now must provide complimentary courtesy cars during the week.”
  • “Tournaments will have amenities for players’ families on the course, including a private restroom on each nine, with flushable toilets, water and dry snacks. Additionally, four restroom stations on each nine will be provided for the players.”
  • “Cold plunge tubs, which have become popular to the players, will be provided by the tour, with tournament directors needing to find a place to put them and keep them maintained during the week.”
  • “The memo states that tour players are focused on their nutrition and wellness, and that the tour is “encouraging” events to re-evaluate the meals that players and their families are receiving in player dining.”
Full Piece.

6. Remembering the Little Pro

Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…”Merrins, who died at 91 in Los Angeles, was one of golf’s most respected professionals, a championship-winning coach at UCLA, a beloved figure and an institution at Bel-Air Country Club. In recent years, as pro emeritus, he could still be found there impeccably dressed in a coat and tie and white-knit tam o’shanter, ready to impart his wisdom to another golfer desperate for help.”

  • “I had the privilege of writing a story for the 2013 U.S. Open preview issue on the 5-foot-7 Merrins, affectionately known as The Little Pro, and it was the start of a beautiful friendship. Without fail, he’d seek me out at every Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship he attended – add me to the list who received an impromptu lesson from Merrins, who advised me to start my swing in New York, flow through Chicago on the way to Los Angeles. I’d be called to the front desk of the media center at the Masters or come back to my desk and find a note that I could come to find him setting up shop on the range. One year, I dressed to the nines in a tuxedo for the Ben Hogan Award as his guest at the ceremony held annually on the Monday of the PGA Tour stop at Colonial. He’d often welcome me to Bel-Air for a get-together when I was in town for Riviera, including one time when he walked all 18 as I played.”
Full Piece.

7. Hisatsune voted Euro Tour top rookie

AP report…” Ryo Hisatsune was voted as the European tour’s top rookie on Tuesday after a memorable season that saw the 21-year-old Japanese player win the French Open and earn dual membership with the PGA Tour.”

  • “Hisatsune became the first Japanese golfer to receive the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award, beating a list of contenders that included highly rated Swede Ludvig Aberg.”
  • “Hisatsune was outside the world’s top 200 at the start of the 2023 season. Three years ago, he lost his card on Japan’s leading tour.”
Full Piece.

8. McGinley to step into Azinger’s role for Hero

Joel Beall for Golf Digest…”Paul McGinley will step in as temporary lead analyst for NBC Sports’ golf coverage this week at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Golf Digest has confirmed the news first reported by The Independent in Ireland.”

  • “McGinley, 56, is a four-time European Tour winner best known for his captaincy at the 2014 Ryder Cup, where he led the Europeans to a resounding victory. The Irishman has previously appeared on Golf Channel’s “Live From” show, which is owned by NBC, and also appears in Sky Sports’ golf coverage. McGinley reportedly will work alongside NBC play-by-play commentator Dan Hicks and analyst Curt Byrum.”
  • “According to the Independent, “McGinley’s [TV] future will likely depend on how he does in the Bahamas and future events over the next few months.” McGinley has received kudos for his commentary on “Live From” as he often gets into spirited golf debates with fellow commentators Rich Lerner and Brandel Chamblee.”
Full Piece.

9. ICYMI: Trending golf gifts

  • Check out the current hottest golf gifts to get your hands on!
Full Piece.
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