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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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WOTW: Just Rose’s ultra-rare Rolex Daytona “Tahiti” in White Gold

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Justin Rose is back in the winners circle after his gutsy performance at the AT&T Pro-Am. The weather was brutal and the tournament had to be completed on Monday, but that didn’t stop Rose from keeping his focus getting the win. He held up the crystal trophy while wearing what looks like a rare white gold Rolex Daytona on his wrist.

WOTW Specs

Name: Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
Reference: 116519
Limited: No
Date: ~2000 – 2006 ?
Case: 18k White Gold
Bezel: 18k White Gold
Dial: Tahitian Mother of Pearl
Size: 40mm
Movement: Calibre 4130, 44 Jewels
Power Reserve: 72 Hours
Glass: Saphire Crystal
Waterproof: 100 Meters
Bracelet: Black Alligator Strap
Price: ~$30,000 – $70,000?

Rolex’s Daytona is currently one of the most collectable and sought after watches in the world. But life didn’t start out so great for the Daytona. The Rolex Chronograph started life as a manual wind watch that struggled to sell. Rolex wasn’t known for its chronograph movements and other watch brands were considered experts in that design. In 1965 Rolex adopted the Daytona name as it was influenced by the races held at the legendary Florida raceway. Even with the name change it took some time for the Daytona to really become a popular piece in the Rolex lineup. In the early 2000’s, Rolex added some color and unique options to the Daytona including some brightly colored leather straps and dials.

It looks like Justin was wearing a very rare Rolex Daytona in white gold with a Tahitian Mother of Pearl dial, featuring Roman Numeral hour markers. I have looked through the internet and there isn’t a lot of information on this particular watch and photos are tough to come by. So if anything is incorrect here, please understand why!

The case on Justin’s Daytona is 40mm and made from solid 18k gold. Rolex has been making its down gold and platinum alloys in its own foundry since the late 1990’s. This enables Rolex to control the quality and consistency of the metal to ensure it lives up to the tight tolerances Rolex demands. The case features a solid caseback that screws into the case and helps give the watch a 100 meter water resistance rating. On top of the case is a white gold bezel that is polished and features a tachymeter scale for the unlikely timing of land speed!

The dial is Tahitian Mother of Pearl that is pretty rare in the Rolex lineup. Tahitian MOP, also known as Black Mother of Pearl, is made from Pinctada margaritifera oysters and about 90% of them come from pearl farms in Tahiti. No two dials will ever be the same color or pattern so replacing the exact purple, pink, and blue hue is impossible. The hour markers are Roman Numerals and crafted from matching white gold. The sub dials are also made from Tahitian MOP and offer a unique contrast agains the rest of the dial. A scratch-resistant sapphire crystal covers the dial and hands.

Inside this special Daytona is a self-winding, automatic Calibre 4130 movement that was designed and built in-house by Rolex. A blue Parachrom hairspring and Praflex shock absorbers help keep time through temperature changes and jarring movements. The 4130 is made from 201 parts, including 44 jewels, and offered 72 hours of power reserve. A black alligator strap holds the Daytona on Justin’s wrist and features a white gold Oysterlock safety clasp.

Details, photos, and pricing for this rare Daytona are pretty hard to come by. I only see one for sale on Chrono24 and it is listed for $70,000 but there are other Tahitian MOP Daytonas with metal bracelets for around $30,000 – $40,000. No matter the price, you can bet that finding another one of these will not be easy!

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Morning 9: Tiger’s new design | New LIV team names | Phoenix Open photos

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.

For comments: [email protected]

February 8, 2023

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans, as attention turns to the first PGA Tour elevated event of the season – the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

1. Brett White: A Monday qualifier with a helluva story making first Tour start

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”White, 29, might be the best story among the trio. The Eastern Michigan alum nearly died six years ago when he contracted viral encephalitis. He was hospitalized for three weeks and needed to re-learn how to do basic tasks, including walking and talking. Just a month after getting out of the hospital, he was swinging a golf club with support from a gait belt. Nine months after that he was playing tournaments again.”

  • “It’s been a wild ride,” White said two years ago at Q-School. “Over a long journey, sometimes you go back and go, wow, I gotta be thankful for where I’m at. There was a point in the hospital where it was, hey, let’s make sure you can be on your own; and then it was, OK, I want to be able to run around with my kids; then it was, let’s play golf for fun; and it just kept on progressing. I’ve tried to get better every day, and I don’t think I’ve stopped.”
  • “White earned his KFT card for the first time prior to last season after advancing to the final stage of Q-School and earning eight guaranteed starts. But he had just two top-25s in 20 starts and was back at final stage this past year. He’s yet to get into any of the three KFT events this season.”
Full piece.

2. Tiger’s new 8,000-yard Utah design

Alex Vejar for the Salt Lake Tribune…”The world’s most famous professional golfer will add his touch to the golf landscape in the Beehive State.”

  • “Tiger Woods announced Tuesday that he will design a new, 18-hole professional course at the upcoming members-only Marcella Club in Heber City. Marcella Club is a partnership between the yet-to-be-built communities of Marcella Mountain and Marcella at Jordanelle Ridge.”
  • “The new course will be Woods’ first in Utah through his company TGR Design.”
  • “Utah is an incredible place, with favorable year-round weather that offers opportunities to be active outdoors throughout all four seasons – golfing, skiing, biking, hiking, and fishing – the list goes on and on,” Woods said in a news release. “I’m thrilled to be designing a course in such a special location; this new course is uniquely beautiful and will offer engaging play for every ability.”
Full piece.

3. 2023 LIV team captains, new teams revealed

Adam Woodard for Golfweek gives a rundown of the new names for 2023, including Bubba Watson leading ‘RangeGoats GC’…

Full piece.

4. LIV 2022 revenue reportedly near zero

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach…”As the LIV Golf League prepares to start its second season in Mexico later this month, the circuit being financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is generating virtually no revenue, according to federal court documents.”

  • “The LIV Golf League’s attorneys made that admission in a motion filed with the U.S. District Court for Northern California on Monday. LIV Golf asked U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman to deny the PGA Tour’s motion for leave to add the Public Investment Fund and its governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, as plaintiffs in the tour’s countersuit against LIV Golf, in which it alleges LIV Golf interfered with its contract with players.”
Full piece.

5. LIV Golf lawyers argue PGA Tour is ‘exploiting litigation’

Golfweek’s Adam Woodard…”Lawyers for the upstart circuit led by Greg Norman and financially supported by the Public Investment Fund argued “the Tour is exploiting litigation delay to choke off air to LIV and players” and that the current timeframes are “not only workable, but critical to the careers of the Player Plaintiffs and the viability of LIV as a legitimate competitor to the Tour.”

Full piece.

6. List narrows for new Honda Classic sponsor

Tom D’Angelo for the Palm Beach Post…”The Honda Classic is not going anywhere.”

  • “No longer will it be the Honda Classic following this year’s event that starts Feb. 23 at PGA National. But there will be a classic. What’s it is called is still being negotiated.”
  • “The (PGA) tour has no interest in dropping us off the schedule,” executive director Andrew George said.”
  • “We’re really excited about what ’24 and beyond is going to look like. The excitement of a new title (sponsor)and 42 years of building blocks (with Honda) and now let’s take it up a notch again.”
Full Piece.

7. Forget the 16th…

Adam Schupak for Golfweek…”Theegala isn’t the only one to stand on the 17th tee and realize its make-or-break time with the title on the line. And that’s the brilliance of the hole – players can make anywhere from eagle to double bogey and flip the script. While the par-3 16th hole has become iconic for good reason, the 17th lives in its shadow and is grossly under appreciated.”

  • “From Kyle Stanley recovering from a prickly lie to hold on for the title in 2012 to Rickie Fowler losing the tournament with water balls in 2016 to Brooks Koepka pitching in from a brutal lie 45 yards right of the green, it’s 17 that has become pivotal to determining who hoists the trophy on Sunday.”
  • “It also has its place in history as home to Andrew Magee’s hole-in-one, which remains the only ace on a par 4 in Tour history. In case anyone dares to forget it, there is a plaque recognizing the feat.”
Full Piece.

8. Beer showers banned?

Golf Digest’s Christopher Powers…”That’s why in 2023, with the tournament ramped up even more thanks to its designated-event status and $20 million purse, measures are being taken to reduce the risk of injury or damage to the course (and people) should another ace occur. Ryder’s hole-in-one was the first on the 16th hole in seven years, so it’s not like it’s a common occurrence (though it did happen again the following day with Carlos Ortiz). But it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

  • “According to the PGA Tour, the measures that are being taken include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • • All alcoholic beverages on the 16th will be served in commemorative plastic cups
  • • Fans will not be allowed to enter the 16th from other areas with a canned alcoholic beverage
  • • Elevated security and police presence in both the General Admission and Hospitality areas on the 16th
  • • A social-media campaign on this policy
  • • Signage in General Admission and Hospitality areas of Zero Tolerance for throwing anything on the course
Full Piece.

9. WM Phoenix Open photos

  • Check out all of our galleries from Phoenix this week!
Full Piece.
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Morning 9: Rose blooms at Pebble | Swilcan Patio’s brief life | ANGC adjustments

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.

For comments: [email protected]

February 7, 2023

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans, as Justin Rose closed the deal at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

1. Rose blooms again

Our Ron Montesano…”The world forgets how good Justin Rose was a decade ago. He won a US Open and an Olympic gold medal, and narrowly lost out on a green Augusta jacket. His last win came in 2019, just before the pandemic touched down on planet Earth. Rose has been saddled with equipment rumors, suggesting that his talent was compromised beyond his control. Whatever.”

  • “This week, Rose was the King of Carmel. He toured the Monterey peninsula like a chieftain. The Englishman was the only golfer to post four rounds in the 60s, including an ace on Friday at Spyglass Hill’s 15th hole. Rose saved his best for the weekend-plus. On Saturday-Sunday, Rose signed for a third-round 65 at Monterey Peninsula, and followed that up with a Sunday-Monday 66 at Pebble Beach.”
  • “A resurgent Brendon Todd gave Rose some chase, but his final-days 65 was just one better than Rose’s tally. Todd finished in a second-place tie with Brandon Wu, who posted a 66 of his own in the final round. Will this victory give Rose the propulsion needed to once again contend in major championships on the final nine holes? We think that he has one or two more runs in him.”
Full piece.

2. R.I.P Swilcan patio

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”It didn’t take long for St. Andrews Links Trust to reverse course. The stonework that was recently added to the famed Swilcan Bridge at the Old Course will be removed in the coming days. The pivot comes after golf fans took to social media with an avalanche of criticism.”

  • “St. Andrews officials said the move to add the stone “patios” at both ends of the bridge was done to mitigate the wear and tear of the turf from tens of thousands of visitors each year.”
  • “The stonework at the approach and exit of the bridge was identified as one possible long-term solution,” the statement read. “However while this installation would have provided some protection, in this instance we believe we are unable to create a look which is in keeping with its iconic setting and have taken the decision to remove it.
  • “We have also taken on feedback from many partners and stakeholders as well as the golfing public and we would like to thank everyone who has been in touch for their contribution to the issue.”
Full piece.

3. ANGC adjustments

Mike Hall for Golf Monthly…“Following years of speculation, it was confirmed last September that the 13th hole at Augusta National had finally been lengthened, with an aerial image from Eureka Earth showing that the tee set had been moved back significantly following work that began last July.”

  • “Now there is confirmation that the famous dogleg left Azalea, which has regularly been cited in the driving distance debate, will stretch to 545 yards for the 2023 Masters, up from 510. That news will be welcomed by many as the shorter length had allowed the game’s biggest hitters to gain a significant advantage by driving over the trees and cutting the corner.”
Full piece.

4. Full Swing ahead

Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…“Full Swing,” the Netflix documentary that chronicles the 2022 PGA TOUR season and is set to be released Feb. 15, is a surprisingly emotional watch. Surprising because if you’re a golf fan, you know most of what’s going to happen, and yet it still hits home with vignettes of fathers and sons, battles won and lost, and sacrifices by friends and family.”

  • “The emotionality is a credit to the creatives as the series makes great use of home movies, multiple edits, and a strong soundtrack. Episode 1 especially tugs at the heartstrings.”
  • “All it takes is one week and your life changes,” Justin Thomas says in the series trailer.
  • “What the cameras capture off the course ranges from the relatable – Thomas going to CVS seeking relief from his allergies – to the intimate. You see players with their families and pets (redefining the term “WAG”). Viewers ride on private jets, peek inside million-dollar homes and revel in the rowdiness of the 16th hole at the WM Phoenix Open.”
Full piece.

5. Last-minute switch

E. Michael Johnson for Golf Digest…”Justin Rose won the weather-delayed AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am by playing incredibly solid golf over his final two rounds, fueled, in part, by a set of Cobra irons that he did not even try before Tuesday.”

  • “According to Ben Schomin, PGA Tour rep for Cobra, Rose approached him on the range Tuesday and casually mentioned he had heard good things about the company’s new irons and wouldn’t mind trying them.”
  • “I’ve known Justin for a number of years,” Schomin said. “People forget he used to play our clubs when he was a teenager, so it was a little full circle. We built him a combo set and dropped them off late Wednesday morning. About 15 to 20 minutes later his coach tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I could see Justin. He really liked the clubs but needed an adjustment on the grips. He also wanted to try a new shaft.”
  • “As great as it is to get a player like Rose to play your irons, the clock was ticking. PGA Tour regulations require the tour vans to leave the premises by mid-afternoon on Wednesday. Schomin worked quickly to put together the combo set of the King Tour model for the 4-iron, King CB for the 5- and 6-irons and King MB for the 7-iron through pitching wedge with Project X 6.5 shafts.”
Full piece.

6. The flip side

ESPN’s Bob Harig…”Of course, there were bound to be unintended consequences with the new designated event structure. Or perhaps consequences that were known, and would need to be addressed going forward.”

  • “Pebble Beach took a big hit last week, and at least some of that can be attributed to the new system.”
  • “While it’s true that Pebble at times has suffered due to many factors, among them the possibility for poor weather (such as this year), playing three courses and the pro-am format, the event was even more bereft of star players.”
  • “…Just one player in the top 10, Matt Fitzpatrick, was in the field, along with just seven of the top 50 and only 21 of the top 100. There were 81 players ranked outside of the top 300.”
  • “For years, there has been a lament that Pebble Beach, an iconic event that dates to the Tour’s beginnings, can’t draw better. Circumstances play a big role, with so many good tournaments making up the West Coast Swing and another busy stretch to come.”
  • “Throw in the designated events and it gets worse.”
Full Piece.

7. Tour alleges LIV suitors have failed to furnish core responsive documents

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Attorneys representing the PGA Tour in its lawsuit against LIV Golf are seeking a new, later trial date along with an extension to the document discovery process.”

  • “The tour’s request, filed Sunday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, cites the additions of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and its governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan as defendants in the tour’s tortious interference counterclaim—and the tour’s accusations that PIF and Al-Rumayyan have gone to “extraordinary steps to avoid producing a single document or providing sworn testimony”—as the reasons for asking for an extension.’
  • “The tour cannot—and should not be forced to—defend against the antitrust claims without receiving any discovery from the people who created LIV in the first place, and who continue to exercise control over every facet of LIV’s business operations,” the request reads. “By ignoring the reality that discovery from LIV’s owners and decision-makers is essential to resolving the antitrust claims, Plaintiffs confirm the unworkability of the current schedule.”
Full Piece.

8. Winning WITB: Justin Rose

Driver: Callaway Paradym (8.5 degrees)

Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond (15 degrees)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX

5-wood: TaylorMade M6 (18 degrees)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX

Irons: Cobra King Forged Tour (4); Cobra King CB (5-6); Cobra King MB (7-PW)

Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (52-12F, 56-08M), TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60-07)

Shafts: KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 135 X

Putter: Axis1 Rose

Grip: Lamkin PistolClaw

Ball: Titleist Pro V1 Left Dot

Grips: Lamkin UTX

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