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Morning 9: Ko leads LPGA finale I Cole Hammer time I RSM photos

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.
For comments: [email protected].
November 18, 2022

Good Friday morning, golf fans, as day two of the RSM Classic and LPGA season finale gets underway.

1. Ko leads at LPGA season finale

AP report…”Lydia Ko began her quest for the largest prize in women’s golf history by hitting a tree and making bogey on a par 5. The rest of Thursday in the CME Group Tour Championship couldn’t have gone better.”

  • “Ko responded with eight birdies, including four in a row late in the round at Tiburon Golf Club, that sent her to a 7-under 65 and a one-shot lead in the LPGA Tour season finale.”
Full piece.

2. Hammer ahead at RSM after career low

AP report…”Cole Hammer would have been happy with pars in the cold and wind on Sea Island. He wound up with more birdies than he imagined Thursday for an 8-under 64 and the low score to par after one round of The RSM Classic.”

  • “…Hammer, who graduated from Texas in May, shared the low score with another Longhorn alum, Beau Hossler, whose 6-under 64 came at the host Seaside course, which played about two shots more difficult to par.”
Full piece.

3. Fitzpatrick in front at DPW

Cameron Jourdan for Golfweek…”Matt Fitzpatrick couldn’t have started any better than he did Thursday at the 2022 DP World Tour Championship.”

  • “How about five straight birdies to begin the day? That’s what Fitzpatrick, the 2022 U.S. Open champion, did at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai during the first round. He added another on the eighth hole, going out in 6-under 30. on the back nine, he added another birdie and didn’t have any bogeys.”
  • “Fitzpatrick carded a 7-under 65 in the first round and is tied with Tyrrell Hatton following the opening 18 holes.”
Full piece.

4. Neither stomach bug nor water ball…

Kevin Prise for PGATour.com…”Ben Griffin had such a scenario earlier this week at The RSM Classic. As he prepared to take a shower at home Tuesday morning, the adopted St. Simons Island resident learned his roommate had accidentally left the most recent water bill unpaid, and the water was shut off. (That roommate, Bryson Nimmer, had just Monday qualified with a 63). This inconvenience was compounded by a stomach bug that has limited Griffin’s food intake this week – “the last three days have been full of electrolytes.””

  • “It meant for on-the-fly logistical arrangements, but Griffin has thrived under such circumstances in the past year. Thursday was no different. The TOUR rookie opened The RSM Classic in 7-under 65 at Sea Island GC (Plantation), one off the early pace of recent PGA TOUR University graduate Cole Hammer.”
  • “My WHOOP said I was 1% recovery, so that’s never good,” Griffin said Thursday afternoon at Sea Island GC. “I think it was a stomach virus or food poisoning. I didn’t eat at all today. Monday night, I didn’t sleep at all, so I was kind of up all night in the bathroom throwing up. It wasn’t great. Then tried to sleep most of the day Tuesday, but only got two hours.”
  • “I haven’t had a lot of fuel from a food standpoint in my system the last few days, but it’s always exciting teeing it up on the PGA TOUR, and I had energy right out of the gate. So it was all good.”
Full piece.

5. Honda ending title sponsorship

Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…”Golfweek has learned that Honda will end the longest-running uninterrupted title sponsorship deal on the PGA Tour.”

  • “Multiple sources have confirmed that the Japanese automaker won’t renew when its current deal expires after the 2023 Honda Classic in late February.”
Full piece.

6. Simpson gets custom Titleist iron treatment

Our Andrew Tursky writing for PGATour.com…”On Tuesday, Simpson revealed an all-new set of ‘682.WS’ irons that combine everything he likes about his previous 680 Forged, 620 MB and T100 iron models. They’re built exactly to his preferences using special Titleist machines.”

  • “Simpson told GolfWRX.com that he likely won’t play the irons just yet, however, since it’s his first week receiving them, and windy conditions are expected in Sea Island.”
  • “I wanted the blade look and setup, but I wanted the new grooves,” Simpson told GolfWRX. “They kind of have the T100 grooves. I had a lot of success out of the rough with the T100’s, but I still wanted the blade look and feel, and they kind of converge into one iron. It looks just like the (680 Forged irons). It was all JJ’s idea. He thought of it and he wanted to get going on this special project for me. It’s very exciting. They’ll be in play next tournament for sure. They’re beautiful, they’re awesome.”
  • “Only two players have received the same custom treatment previously: Justin Thomas with his 621.JT models, and Adam Scott with his former 681.AS irons.”
  • “Now, Simpson has his initials on set of 682.WS irons.”
Full piece.

7. Webb “starting to have confidence again”

Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…”Simpson, who has plummeted to No. 111 in the world and hasn’t recorded a top-10 finish since last year’s RSM Classic, recently parted ways with instructor Butch Harmon and started working with Cameron McCormick, who is best known for his work with Jordan Spieth. Of moving on from Harmon, who helped Simpson reach new heights in 2020, Simpson said, “It was so hard to get to him, you know, for just one lesson and make it back to Charlotte.”

  • …”Simpson added: “I’m finally on the right track. I’m healthy, I feel like what I’m working on is simple for me and I’m starting to have confidence again. You know, I didn’t have that much confidence last year. It’s hard to create confidence out of nothing. I’d work on my game and I just wasn’t quite getting over the hump, but I feel like the last five, six weeks since I’ve been home, my practice sessions are different and they’re reminding me of what it used to feel like and the shots I’m hitting, the way I’m striking the golf ball. So I’m optimistic. I feel like, I’m 37, I still have a number of years of good golf in me.”
Full piece.

8. LIV rebels still subject to discovery

Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard….”Phil Mickelson, Hudson Swafford and Talor Gooch withdrew from the antitrust lawsuit that was filed against the PGA Tour in August, but a U.S. District Court judge ruled Thursday that their agents are still subject to discovery, including any non-privileged electronic information related to their clients and LIV Golf.

  • Judge Susan van Keulen ruled in favor of continued discovery citing a standard that “applies no matter whether the responding person is a party to the litigation or a third-party subject.”
  • Attorneys for Mickelson, Swafford and Gooch had argued that the Tour’s discovery requests could impact LIV Golf-related communications of other clients and the court agreed, stipulating in the order that the search is “designed to limit the scope of the results to materials related to their agent’s representation of the players and not other potential principals.”
Full piece.

9. Photos from Sea Island

  • Check out all of our galleries from this week’s Tour stop!
Full Piece.
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WOTW: Viktor Hovland’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver in Khaki Green

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Viktor Hovland successfully defended his Hero World Challenge title this weekend. Hovland fired a final round 69, giving him a 2 stroke win over Scottie Scheffler. After the round, Victor received his trophy from Tiger Woods and on his wrist was a green Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver.

WOTW Specs
Name: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver
Reference: 15720ST.OO.A052CA.01
Limited: No
Date: 2021 – Present
Case: Stainless Steel
Bezel: Stainless Steel
Dial: Khaki Green “Méga Tapisserie”
Size: 42mm
Movement: Calibre 4308, 32 Jewels
Power Reserve: 60 Hours
Glass: Saphire Crystal
Waterproof: 300 Meters
Bracelet: Khaki Green Rubber Strap
Price: $29,000 (~$35,000)

Audemars Piguet has been making the Royal Oak Offshore line of watches since 1992 as the larger and more capable version of the iconic Royal Oak. The larger cases, bezels, and straps give the Offshore a stronger look and stand out more on the wrist. The Offshore Diver line was introduced in 2010 and was the first Audemars Piguet watch to be ISO certified.

The case on the Offshore Diver is 42mm and made from a solid block of stainless steel but it does sit tall on the wrist at around 14mm thick. The caseback on the new Offshore Diver features a large display window, made from sapphire crystal, that allows you to view the mechanical movement inside. The caseback is held in place by 8 screws and is sealed to give the Diver a 300 meter water resistance rating. On the right side of the case is the tradition screw-down crown, finished in black ceramic and ping gold, that is used to set the time and day on the watch. The second crown sits at 10 o’clock and it is used to to set the inner rotating bezel. This bezel is around the dial and can be used for timing during dives. On top of the case is the legendary octagon Royal Oak bezel that sits on a large rubber gasket and is held in place by 8 hex screws. Under the sapphire crystal is a Khaki Green dial the the Royal Oak Offshore’s Méga Tapisserie texture. Méga Tapisserie is a sequence of raised squares with a matte finish. The hour markers and hands are made from pink gold and filled with larger amounts of luminescent material for easy reading underwater. A date is located at 3 o’clock and has a magnifying cyclops lens integrated into the glass.

Inside the stainless steel armor is a self-winding mechanical movement that was designed and built in-house by Audemars Piguet in 2021. The Calibre 4308 is an upgraded movement with a date that moves to the next day instantly a new setting mechanism for added durability. The 4308 contains 234 individual parts, offers the wearer 60 hours of power reserve and features an oscillating rotor made from solid 22k pink gold. That rotor is then given a dark grey finish and perfectly hand polished.

Holding this dive watch on Viktor’s wrist is a Khaki Green rubber strap with a stainless steel pin buckle. You are able to quickly change out the strap with quick release buttons on the lugs and pin buckle. Each strap then has steel latches built into them to snap into the lugs and pin buckle. Audemars Piguet makes plenty of $600+ rubber and leather options to dress up, or down, your Offshore Diver.

These Royal Oak Offshore Divers are gaining popularity and at one time pretty easy to get your hands on. This isn’t the case currently and if you can get one at your local Audemars Piguet dealer for the $29,000 retail price, consider yourself lucky. On the secondary market you can expect to add around a $6,000 premium to that retail price.

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Morning 9: Hovland repeats at Hero | Historic Aussie Open | ‘Project Wedge’

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.

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

December 5, 2022

Good Monday morning, golf fans, as Viktor Hovland survived a late wobble to once again win the Hero World Challenge.

1. Hovland repeats at Hero

Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…”The ending was tense, but the result was the same.”

  • “Viktor Hovland, who carried a five-shot lead into the back nine Sunday, survived a shaky finish and shot a final-round 69 to edge Scottie Scheffler (68) by two at the Hero World Challenge at Albany.”
  • “…Both players bogeyed the 18th hole, Hovland rolling in a 20-foot putt after hitting his second in the hazard from an awkward lie on the lip of a bunker. “When you’re standing there with a two-shot lead, that’s like the last thing you can do,” he said.”
  • “Scheffler couldn’t capitalize. Needing a birdie, he lost his approach into the waste bunker right of the green and also made bogey. After losing the world No. 1 ranking to Rory McIlroy at THE CJ CUP in South Carolina in October, he would have regained it with a win at the Hero, which provides world ranking points but not FedExCup points.”
Full piece.

2. (Simultaneous!) Australian Open winners

Evin Priest for Golf Digest…”The prize money was small, but the stage was massive as the Australian Open pulled off the historic first of running a men’s and women’s national championship simultaneously on the same courses. And the payoff for Adrian Meronk’s victory in men’s tournament will be far more valuable than the $183,000 he bagged for defeating local hero Adam Scott in an exciting finish on Melbourne’s famed Sandbelt.”

  • “Meronk secured his second DP World Tour victory of the year when he overcame a one-shot deficit to former World No.1 Scott—Meronk’s final-group playing partner and “childhood idol”—with a four-under 66 on the final day at Victoria Golf Club. The native of Poland sealed the deal with an eagle from off the green at the par-5 18th, and at 14 under, he won by five over Scott (72).”
  • …”In the group proceeding Scott, Lee and Meronk coming up the 18th hole, reigning Women’s British Open champion Buhai (73, 12 under) defeated two-time Women’s British Open winner Jiyai Shin by one shot (75, 11-under). LPGA Tour star Green (74) was third at 10 under. Buhai joined seven-time major winner Karrie Webb (2002) and Yani Tseng (2010 and 2011) as the only women to complete the British-Australian double in the same year.”
Full piece.

3. “Brainwashed”

The AP’s Doug Ferguson…”Rory McIlroy thought his differences with Greg Norman over a Saudi-funded rival golf league had been patched up. That changed when Norman accused him of being “brainwashed” by golf’s ruling brass.”

  • “I thought, You know what? I’m going to make it my business now to be as much of a pain in his arse as possible,’” McIlroy said in a lengthy interview in the Sunday Independent in Ireland.
  • “…McIlroy and Tiger Woods have said Norman, the CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf, needs to be out of the picture for golf to have any chance of coming together. Norman said that won’t be happening.”
Full piece.

4. Meanwhile, in South Africa

AP report…”Thriston Lawrence held on to win his home South African Open despite a final-round 2-over 74 at the Blair Atholl course on Sunday.”

  • “Lawrence started the day with a 2-shot lead over Clement Sordet of France and despite extending his advantage to 5 strokes early on the back nine, the South African just managed to hold off his playing partner to finish with an overall 16-under 272.”
Full piece.

5. Tiger to Charlie: Copy Rory, not me

Colby Powell for Golf Channel…”Some were saying his swing looked like a hybrid of Tiger and Rory McIlroy’s swings, but the elder Woods wants it to look more like the current world No. 1.”

  • “I told [Charlie], ‘Don’t copy my swing. Copy Rory’s,’” Woods said during the third round of the Hero World Challenge.
  • “The 82-time PGA Tour winner joked that he can’t move like that anymore before lobbing more praise McIlroy’s way.”
  • “Have you ever seen Rory off balance in a shot?” Woods asked Dan Hicks and Paul Azinger. “Not ever. That’s one of the things my dad instilled in me, is that you should be able to balance and hold your finish until the ball rolls and stops. You can swing as hard as you want, but you need to have balance.”
Full piece.

6. “Project Wedge”

Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”LIV Golf and its disruptive introduction into professional golf began as a concept named “Project Wedge,” according to a motion filed by the PGA Tour Friday in U.S. District Court.”

  • “Project Wedge” was the internal designation at the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for LIV Golf according to the motion, which seeks to have Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the PIF and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund, deposed and comply with discovery in a lawsuit that was filed against the Tour by a group of players and LIV Golf earlier this summer.”
  • “Although Al-Rumayyan and the PIF are not named in the lawsuit, the fund has invested $2 billion and owns an estimated 85 percent of LIV, although the exact amount has been redacted in the court filings.”
Full piece.

7. Report: PGA Tour doesn’t believe Greg Norman is running day-to-day LIV operations

Alex Miceli for Sports Illustrated…”Greg Norman is CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf in name only, according to newly filed documents by the PGA Tour in federal court Friday.”

  • “In a reply filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, in support of its motion to compel the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) and Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, the managing director of PIF, to comply with documents and deposition subpoenas, the Tour used documents obtained previously in discovery to paint a picture of who it believes really controls LIV Golf and its efforts to establish the league in the golf ecosystem.”
  • “According to the motion, Al-Rumayyan functions as LIV’s chief executive, meeting regularly with Norman, approving LIV’s budget, making key strategic decisions, participating in player recruitment in the U.S. and micromanaging LIV’s day-to-day operations.”
Full piece.

8. Hovland’s surprising record

9. Winning WITB

Driver: Ping G425 LST (9 degrees @8.4)

Shaft: Fujikura Speeder TR 661 TX (45.75 inches)

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (15 degrees)

Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

Utility: Titleist U510 (3)

Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI Hybrid 85 X

Irons: Ping i210 (4-PW)

Shafts: KBS Tour-V 120 X

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 (50-12SS, 56-06SS), Ping Glide 2.0 (58-12TS)

Shafts: KBS Tour-V 130

Putter: Ping PLD DS 72 Prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride MCC

Full WITB.
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Morning 9: 4-way tie at Hero | Garcia defends Norman | Golfer has nose bitten off

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.

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

December 2, 2022

Good Friday morning, golf fans, as day two of the Hero gets underway at Albany with a four-way tie at the top.

1. Hovland part of historic tie for lead at Hero

Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…“Hero World Challenge defending champion Viktor Hovland picked up where he left off, shooting 3-under 69 on Thursday at Albany Golf Club to share the opening-round lead with a trio of players. The four-way tie for the lead is the most after any round in tournament history.”

  • On a warm, windswept day, Hovland continued his magic at the drivable par-4 14th, registering his fourth eagle of the hole in five attempts – and noted the one time he didn’t make eagle was a bogey.
  • “That green obviously is not the biggest green, but with how soft it is, if you land it on the green, you can keep it on the green whereas if it was really firm, you kind of have to land it up in the slope and stuff,” said Hovland, who nearly aced the hole.
Full piece.

2. Garcia defends Norman

Golfweek’s Riley Hamel…“Add Sergio Garcia as another player coming to Norman’s rescue. During an interview with the Spanish outlet Marca, Garcia had this to say: “They (Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy) say that Greg Norman has to go; and Monahan has to stay or go? It’s very easy to say those on the other side have to go. And those on your side? There are also people who have done things wrong.”

  • “You have to look at everything. Greg Norman is our CEO and we support him. We all wish we could come to an agreement. There are people who could have done wrong in both places, but it seems that there are only bad guys on one side.”
Full piece.

3. Golfer has nose bitten off in altercation

Again, Golfweek’s Riley Hamel…“Have you ever been upset with your playing partner over not giving you a short putt? Probably. …Have you ever bitten someone’s nose off for it? Probably not…If you have, get help.”

  • “Mark Wells, 51, of Biloxi, Mississippi, got into an altercation with his playing mate after a round of golf and went on to bite the other man’s nose off in a casino parking lot later in the day.
  • Wells was charged with felony mayhem but walked out of jail within an hour of booking after paying 10 percent of his $50,000 bond, WXXV-TV reported.”
  • “According to WXXV-TV, the nose was not found at the scene. The victim was taken to the hospital.”
Full piece.

4. No winter thaw in LIV, Tour tensions?

Gary Smits for Florida Times-Union…”The setting of the RSM Classic, the PGA Tour’s final fall event, has a serenity that can almost dissolve all cares.”

  • But a peaceful setting didn’t necessarily lend itself to thoughts of a peaceful resolution to the PGA Tour vs. LIV war.
  • “I’m not optimistic,” said PGA Tour Policy Board member Charley Hoffman when asked if the upcoming break in golf could give both sides a chance to breathe deep and reflect on any possibility for conciliation. “I don’t see how you partner with them at this point in time. They don’t have a sustainable product.”
  • Kevin Kisner, who will end his current term on the Policy Board at the end of the year, was even more blunt.
  • “No … I don’t think that’s the future,” he said.
Full piece.

5. Here’s how much the TikTok star who hit a golf ball into Grand Canyon will pay

KiMi Robinson for the Arizona Republic…“Sigmond received three federal violation notices – which are tickets issued by law enforcement departments for U.S. agencies such as the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service – and was charged with three Class B misdemeanors as detailed under Title 36 in the Code of Federal Regulations.”

  • “The three charges were for tossing items into the Grand Canyon, littering and creating hazardous conditions with disorderly conduct. She was only cited for disorderly conduct and tossing or throwing items into the canyon, which carry a maximum fine of $5,000 and six months in prison, according to a copy of the written record of the collateral forfeiture agreement that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona provided to The Arizona Republic, part of the USA TODAY Network. Baird said prior to Sigmond’s court date for cases for these, jail time is unlikely. “
  • “Sigmond was ordered to pay a $285 fine, which includes $60 in processing fees. A spokesman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts confirmed to The Republic that the Central Violations Bureau received two payments of $155 and $130 from Katie Sigmond on Nov. 15.”
Full piece.

6. Tom Kim on meeting Tiger

Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”But all of that might pale in comparison to his brush this week with Hero World Challenge host Tiger Woods.”

  • “Kim, whose youthful exuberance is infectious, was quick to point out following an opening 69 at Albany that left him tied for the lead with Sepp Straka and Collin Morikawa that, “officially,” he’d met Woods before.”
  • “The first time I actually met him was at the 2020 PGA Championship. I got in the field at Harding Park and I took a picture with him. Obviously the COVID year, so there was no fans to witness it, but it was the first I got to kind of meet him and take a picture but never really got to talk to him,” Kim admitted.
  • “But even a selfie with the 15-time major champion as evidence, that interaction at Harding Park was very much impromptu compared to this week’s introduction.”
Full piece.

7. Ready for the grind

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”One hundred players will tee it up this week at LPGA Q-Series, an eight-round grind that begins on Dec. 1 and ends Dec. 11. The first week will be contested at the RTJ Trail at Magnolia Grove in Mobile, Alabama, at the Crossings and Falls courses.”

  • “The field will be cut to top 70 and ties after the first week of competition. The second week of competition will take place at Highland Oaks Golf Course in Dothan, Alabama.”
  • “A total of 45 players will receive LPGA status in 2023. This is the first year that players were required to turn professional before entering Q-Series. A total of six players turned pro for this week: Nataliya Guseva, Minji Kang, Ashley Lau, Heather Lin, Valery Plata and Natthakritta Vongtaveelap.”
Full piece.

8. Why Corey Conners switched drivers for the first time in five years

Our Andrew Tursky writing for PGATour.com…”The Ping G400 LST driver – which was first released to the public in July 2017 – was also in the bag for his 2019 Valero Texas Open victory.”

  • “Conners told GolfWRX.com on Tuesday that he’s been through roughly 10 different G400 LST driver heads throughout his five years playing the model, but he finally found something better. Although he said that his former G400 LST gamer is “maybe even a touch faster” than the new Ping G430 LST driver, he found that the new G430 technology significantly increased consistency on off-center strikes.”
  • “Conners already was known as a straight driver. He ranked 20th in Driving Accuracy last season, but he could further increase that advantage thanks to the new driver.”
  • “At this year’s Presidents Cup, Conners revealed his secrets to success off the tee.”
  • “I think just having good rhythm has always been sort of a hallmark of my game and something that I focus on every week. … That allows me to hit the ball solidly, and usually it results in it going where I am looking,” he said. “I … just take some practice swings, try and feel the body moving in sync, (take) a few practice swings … with my right foot kind of behind me a little bit, feeling the body moving, club staying in front of the body, and that helps with my rhythm, as well.”
Full piece.

9. Hero World Challenge photos

  • Check out our photos from Albany.
Full Piece.
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