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Tour pro denies ‘sexist-elitist’ accusations after refusing to play combined mens and women’s Australian Open

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Australian pro golfer Scott Hend has never been afraid of making his feeling know.

The 49-year-old winner of ten Asian Tour events is a firm believer in the freedom to play wherever a player wants, saying in July that if the LIV tour held qualifying stages, he would unquestionably sign up.

Now he has been picked up for comments made surrounding the upcoming Australian Open, and the changes allowing both the men’s and women’s championship to be played on the same course, at the same time.

Hend has returned home to play this week’s Queensland PGA and the following Australian PGA, but has decided against entering the country’s flagship event as he believes the combined event lessens the prestige.

In a tweet posted at the end of October, Hend mentions he has been called a “sexist elitist by some people,” but explains that he simply wants both events to have their “own week.”

The 2016 Asian Order of Merit winner expanded on his post via Fox Sports:

“My exact words were I believe the Australian Open is such a prestigious event. The women and the men deserve their own week for the event.

It’s nothing about being against women playing golf, it’s nothing about prize-money being exactly the same… it’s just about the event having the history of how long the event (has been going for, that) both men and women should have their own week to shine.”

Hend continued, “That’s all I’ve said, and that’s what I firmly believe in. So that being the case, I haven’t entered to play, I’m not going to try to pre-qualify… because I still believe that both men and women should have their own week to stand out and shine by themselves, not together, when people are going to compare them against each other in the one tournament.”

“That’s not what the Australian Open is all about.”

The women’s event has been won by the likes of the elite players of their time, such as Karrie Webb, Laura Davies, Jiyai Shin, Lydia Ko, Jin-Yung Ko, Nelly Korda and Inbee Park – quite a roll-call!

The men’s list is equally impressive, with winners Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott and Cam Davies appearing alongside the name of legends Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and current LIV CEO Greg Norman, winner on five occasions.

It is a huge deal for a home player to not be playing in the event, and whilst Hend has no issues with the mixing of genders in other events, he is sticking firm on this decision.

Asked is he received an invitation, Hend replied, “I didn’t ask, I haven’t entered, I don’t want to be a hypocrite…. I still believe both sexes deserve their own week. Not sure how that isn’t Pro Women’s Golf…..”

As the Australian Open takes place, Hend will play at the Indonesian Masters, part of the Asian Tour he knows so well.

With the recent links between the Asian Tour and their LIV sponsors, the irony of not trying to follow Norman into the Victoria winner’s circle is not lost – particularly after his comments on leaving the DP World Tour behind from 2023.

Continuing his stance of freedom, and the belief that he felt the DP World Tour was “petty and childish” when issuing sanctions against LIV players, he has decided enough is enough.

“I’m done with Europe, I’m done with the politics, I’m done with the lying to players, I’m done with having to ask for a release when I want to go play in other tournaments,” he said.

“For the last 25 years I’ve played where I want, when I want and I haven’t had to ask for permission to go to play another event.”

He continued, “Now… if you want to playing in another place, you need to get permission from that tour, otherwise they’re going to sanction you, so if that’s going to be the case, I don’t want to be involved in that anymore.”

“I play golf because I love playing golf. I don’t want to have to get permission every week to go play somewhere else.”

With LIV arriving in Adelaide as part of their revamped 2023 schedule, Hend is keeping one eye on any chance to jump in, hoping to qualify for the cash-rich tour via the Asian Tour.

“I’m 50 in August. People say I’m washed up, I’m done, I’ve got nothing left, but if I can produce what I know I can produce, I can possibly qualify through the Asian Tour”

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TaylorMade signs 15-year-old AJGA Rolex Junior Player of the Year to an NIL contract

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This week, TaylorMade Golf announced that they’ve signed AJGA Rolex Junior Player of the Year, Miles Russell, to an NIL contract.

In a statement, TaylorMade called Russell “nothing short of remarkable”.

“Miles’ record setting success at his young age is nothing short of remarkable and we are excited he chose us to support him in his growth as a golfer to continue to accomplish his career goals. Identifying and developing the top junior talent in the world has always been a priority for us at TaylorMade. Miles and his family epitomize the type of athlete and human being we are looking to add to Team TaylorMade.”

Russell has broken plenty of records in recent months. This season, he was named American Junior Golf Association’s Rolex Boys Player of the Year, making him the youngest male player to receive the award. The record was previously held by Tiger Woods who was about 10 months older than Russell at the time he received the award.

At age 14, J he became the youngest player ever to win the Junior PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass at age 14.

The 15-year-old also played in his first Korn Ferry Tour event on Thursday, the LECOM Suncoast Classic, and shot a first-round 68.

In the aftermath of the agreement, Russell released a statement.

“I have had a great relationship with the team at TaylorMade for years now and couldn’t be more excited to continue to work with them in the future. TaylorMade has a history of developing the top junior talent in the world to help reach their goals of becoming PGA TOUR and major championship winners. I am looking forward to working with the team to reach those and other goals I have laid out for my career.”

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Group of PGA Tour caddies sign endorsement deal with underwear company

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In an interesting turn of events, a group of PGA Tour caddies have signed an endorsement deal with an underwear company.

Geno Bonnalie (Joel Dahmen), Aaron Flener (J.T. Poston), John Limanti (Akshay Bhatia) and Joel Stock (Will Zalatoris) and John Ellis (Wyndham Clark) have signed a deal with the underwear brand, SAXX.

Here are some details about the endorsement deal:

  • The deal eclipses six figures in total value, extending what last year marked the first significant apparel agreement with a group of pro caddies. Of note, Geno and John Ellis appeared in the Netflix docuseries, Full Swing.
  • The caddies will wear SAXX underwear, shorts and polos on and off the course.
  • SAXX will donate $100 to the Testicular Cancer Foundation for every birdie made by the caddies’ players for the rest of the season.
  • SAXX will bring the Ball Masters to the masses at the Travelers Championship, hosting a fan activation with underwear giveaways, photo opportunities, appearances from the Ball Masters and more.
  • Fans can become an honorary Ball Master, which includes a year’s worth of underwear, among other things. Go to SAXX.com/ball-master-application from now until June 15 to enter.

The partnership is great for the caddies and also represents a great cause.

Check out the video they shared on YouTube:

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Man charged with stealing millions of dollars worth of memorabilia from Augusta National

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Augusta National

According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, a man has been charged in Chicago with stealing millions of dollars’ worth of memorabilia from Augusta National.

The man, Robert Globensky, was charged with transporting the memorabilia across state lines.

The report states that between 2009 and 2022, Globensky allegedly transported “millions of dollars’ worth of Masters golf tournament merchandise and historical memorabilia” from Augusta National “and transported to Tampa, Florida, knowing the same had been stolen, converted and taken by fraud.”

The document was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Per the court records there is no mention that Globensky worked for the golf club.

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