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Morning 9: Augusta won’t ban LIV pros | 2022 rules controversies | Millionaires abound

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.

For comments: [email protected]

December 21, 2022

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans, as we inch closer towards the holiday season.

1. Augusta National says it won’t ban LIV Golf players from 2023 Masters

Golf Digest’s Christopher Powers…”Augusta National announced Tuesday that it will not ban LIV Golf members from the 2023 Masters tournament.”

  • “In a statement, Augusta National and Masters chairman Fred Ridley wrote that, “Regrettably, recent actions have divided men’s professional golf by diminishing the virtues of the game and the meaningful legacies of those who built it.” However, while Ridley said he was “disappointed” in these developments, “our focus is to honor the tradition of bringing together a preeminent field of golfers.”
  • “Therefore, as invitations are sent this week, we will invite those eligible under our current criteria to compete in the 2023 Masters Tournament,” Ridley said. “As we have said in the past, we look at every aspect of the Tournament each year, and any modifications or changes to invitation criteria for future Tournaments will be announced in April.”
Full piece.

2. An upcoming Ryder Cup locale?

Jamie Hall for Bunkered…“An English country estate has launched ambitious plans to host the Ryder Cup in 2031 or 2035. Proposals have been lodged with Central Bedfordshire Council to build a championship course at Luton Hoo with the aim of bringing the biennial clash back to the country for the first time in three decades.”

  • “The estate’s owner Arora Group believes the venue could become a regular stop on the DP World Tour, according to Luton Today.”
Full piece.

3. Lavner: LIV has been good for PGA Tour

Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”Yes, it stings not to have Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith and Bryson DeChambeau teeing it up in Tour events for the foreseeable future, but LIV’s disruption forced a steady but stale product to adapt. The best players are about to get generationally wealthy (if they aren’t already). A top-70 cutoff should lead to a more competitive and cutthroat conclusion to the regular season. And while next year’s schedule is a step in the right direction – elevated events with guaranteed top fields and $20 million purses, with the fall used solely for status qualifiers – 2024 should be even more streamlined as the Tour seeks to build on its strategic alliance with the DP World Tour. The Tour’s stated mission has been to create playing opportunities for its membership, but it’s simply bad business to treat Tiger Woods and Tyler Duncan the same. The Tour has finally begun catering to the biggest names, and that can only mean good things for the product in the future.”

Full piece.
4. Most read equipment stories on GolfWRX

It’s that time of year, GolfWRXers, when we take a backward glance at some of the best content published over the past 12 months.

  • As 2023 approaches, we’re counting down the 10 most-read equipment stories of the year on GolfWRX. And after much internal discussion and impassioned debate (read: my editorial whims), we’ve decided to include WITB articles in the list.
  • A few inclusions…10. TOUR REPORT: This dominant PGA pro is using hybrids (and irons) from 11 years ago…9. Best driver 2022: Most forgiving driver…8. Best fairway woods of 2022: By expert club fitters for you!
  • Hit the link for the rest.
Full piece.

5. Rules controversies of the year

Assembled by Christopher Powers for Golf Digest…

  • One of the most notable…
  • “’You’re wrong’: Berger, Hovland and Dahmen get into spat at Players”
  • “The situation: During the weather-delayed Monday final round of the Players Championship, Daniel Berger’s second shot on the par-5 16th hole at TPC Sawgrass was so wayward that he said “water ball” almost immediately after impact. That’s when things got real testy, real fast. Berger believed his golf ball had started left of the flag stick on the 16th green, therefore crossing land up near the putting surface, where he thought he was going to drop and have a decent chance at an up-and-down par save. His playing partner, Viktor Hovland, disagreed about the line and dropping it that close to the green in an all-time #protectthefield moment. Joel Dahmen, the third member of the group, sided with Hovland, both of them believing the ball had crossed land much further back than Berger had thought.”
  • “To be honest with you, I’m not really OK with [the drop] being up there,” Hovland said. “That’s not really what I saw.”
  • “The result: Given Dahmen and Hovland were in agreement, Berger decided to drop farther back than he thought he should (he could have played two balls or dropped from where he thought it last crossed, but may have run the risk of being DQ’d after the round if it was determined that was the wrong spot). “It’s a bad drop, that’s all I’m saying,” said Berger, who later added “you know what, I’m going to drop here for the sake of you guys, but you’re wrong.”
Full piece.

6. Millionaires abound

Tod Leonard for Golf Digest…”It’s inarguable. This year, there was more talk about money in professional golf than at any time in the sport’s history. It was a conversation thrust upon us by the arrival of Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf, whose investment of $750 million in its first year of existence changed the way that tours and fans viewed the value of the game’s top players—as well as those who are closer to a cushy retirement than they are contending in major championships.”

  • “The dollar signs for LIV Golf were pretty staggering. Beyond the many millions numerous players are guaranteed simply to show up at events, those who performed the best earned incredible amounts. Dustin Johnson led all LIV check cashers with $35.6 million in eight starts, including an $18 million bonus for winning the season-long individual points title. Branden Grace was second by making a combined $16.6 million.”
  • “The lowest earner among those who played at least seven LIV events? South Africa’s Shaun Norris, a 40-year-old one-time DP World Tour winner who made $1,006,000, good for 52nd place in the LIV money standings, in seven appearances.”
Full piece.

7. What the players think on LIV players in Masters

Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…”Ahead of ANGC Chairman Fred Ridley’s announcement, Golfweek asked more than a dozen players, including past champions Jordan Spieth (2015) and Trevor Immelman (2008), whether LIV golfers should be allowed to play in the Masters. Here are their answers.”

  • Trevor Immelman…“If they have qualified via various criteria, yes. It is an invitational though so the Masters can decide on its own criteria.”
  • Justin Thomas…“If they’ve qualified, if they’re good enough. I don’t think it’s just a pity invite. DJ, Cam Smith, P Reed, Charl, they’ve earned it and they definitely deserve to play.”
  • Xander Schauffele…“If they’ve qualified, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be allowed to.”
  • Jim Furyk…“I’m definitely going to take the high road on this. It’s their tournament and at any private club you can invite who you want to join. In this case, it’s their tournament, their club, they started it and they can invite who they want. It’ll be interesting. They are the first major of the year and that will set a precedent, for sure.”
Full piece.

8. Six-year-old golf prodigy signs NIL deal with bag manufacturer

Our Jason Daniels…”Much has been written about the attention placed on Charlie’s shoulders at such a young age, something the 15-time major champ is keen to protect against, so imagine his thoughts at the news that a six-year-old golfer now has a NIL deal. Yes, SIX YEARS OLD!”

  • Golf gear company Sunday Golf recently held a press conference showcasing Patton Green with his father Matt, discussing the revelation that the golf phenom has signed the Name-Image-Likeness deal, making this the youngest such partnership in sports history.
  • Despite his tender years, Patton has already accumulated several titles, including the 2022 Southern California State Champion for Six and Under alongside nine other first-place finishes in competitive tournaments.
Full piece.

9. Bryson on Augusta’s decision

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Max Homa’s winning WITB: 2023 Farmers Insurance Open

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Driver: Titleist TSR3 (10 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei 1K Black 65 TX

3-wood: Titleist TSR3 (16.5 degrees, C1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue TR 8 X

7-wood: Titleist TSR2 (21 degrees, C1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD XC 9 TX

Irons: Titleist T100S (4), T100 (5), Titleist 620 MB (6-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour $-Taper 130 X

Wedges: Vokey Design SM9 (46-10F, 50-12F, 56-14F, 60-04L)
Shafts: KBS TOUR $-Taper 130 X (46), KBS Hi Rev 2.0 125 S (56-60)

Putter: Scotty Cameron T-5.5 prototype

Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

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Morning 9: Ryder in front at Torrey | McIlroy-Reed showdown in Dubai? | Anthony Kim return talk

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.

For comments: [email protected]

January 27, 2023

Good Friday morning, golf fans.

1. Ryder leads Farmers by 3

AP report…”Sam Ryder extended his lead to three shots in the Farmers Insurance Open with a 4-under 68 in challenging wind in the second round Thursday on Torrey Pines’ South Course while Jon Rahm had an eagle and three straight birdies late in his 5-under 67 on the easier North Course to get under the cut line.”

  • “Ryder survived both the Santa Ana wind and the tougher South Course with just one bogey to reach 12-under 132 and take a three-stroke lead over Brendan Steele, who shot a 70 on the South Course. Tano Goya was two more shots back after a 67 on the North Course.”
  • “The Santa Ana wind blowing out of the desert and down the mountains raked the course most of the day, with gusts up to 30 mph. It sent leaves, branches and even a tumbleweed onto greens, and cardboard trash cans tumbling down hillsides.”
Full piece.

2. Rahm rallies for Farmers cut

Ryan Young for Yahoo…”For a long time on Thursday, it looked as if Jon Rahm’s hot streak was over.”

  • “Thankfully for the Spaniard, his quest for a third win in three starts is still alive.”
  • “Rahm snuck past the cut on Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open, thanks largely to a huge eagle on his back nine after struggling through the first round and a half at Torrey Pines in San Diego.”
  • “He’s at 4-under for the week, eight shots back of the lead, with the projected cut at even par.”
Full piece.

3. In Dubai, potential McIlroy-Reed showdown shaping up?

4. Reed-McIlroy frostiness thawing?

James Corrigan for the Telegraph…”Without McIlroy’s generous advice, Reed would have been at Majlis Course six hours before he needed to be.”

  • “I woke up at 5am and was on my way to get a car to get here for my 7.40am tee-off time,” Reed explained. “I hadn’t seen that play had been suspended while they got all the water off the course after the storms. But when we were on steps of the hotel where we are both staying, Rory came up and said ‘you don’t have to go yet, we aren’t playing for a while’. ‘Ok, thanks,’ I said.”
  • “So, I went back to bed. It’s nice to think that this means that it’s all good again between me and Rory, but I was with my caddie and coach at the time, so he might have been telling them. Yet I’ve taken it as a little victory. It was nice to move on from all that today. I’ve seen they’ve labelled it ‘Teegate’, as if it was an assassination or something. It was built out of all proportion.”
Full piece.

5. Talking an Anthony Kim return in the New York Times

Our Matt Vincenzi…Despite having not played in over a decade, the golf world has an obsession with former PGA Tour star, Anthony Kim.

“Kim shined at the 2008 Ryder Cup, earning 2.5 points in the event which was tied for the second-best performance on the U.S. side. “AK” played with Phil Mickelson in fourball and was the first man out in Sunday singles matches where he defeated Sergio Garcia 5&4. At the time of the Ryder Cup, Kim was the number 10 ranked player in the world as a Tour rookie. He went on to win three times on Tour from 2008-2010.”

  • “After a New York Times piece on the fascinating story of Anthony Kim, he’s found himself back in the headlines.”
  • “According to Kim’s former caddie Eric Larson, the now 37-year-old hasn’t ruled out a return to the game. Larson had a recent phone call with Kim and asked if he’d be open to a deal with LIV Golf.”
  • “Larson told the New York Times, “He goes, ‘I don’t know. I really don’t know.’” Larson said. “I said, ‘Come on, man, get the old clubs out. Go out there and have some fun.’ And he starts laughing at me. He goes, ‘That’s what everybody wants me to do!’”
  • “Also in the piece was a quote from AK’s longtime swing coach Adam Schriber who said Kim still has “the same swing you remember”, after playing with him twice over the past two years.”
Full piece.
7. PGA Show

  • Check out all our photos from Orlando, below.
Full Piece.
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Morning 9: Teegate | Rahmpage | JT on Saturday finish | PGA Show

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.

For comments: [email protected]

January 25, 2023

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans. It’s day 1 of the PGA Show in Orlando. Stay tuned to the front page, forums, and our social channels.

1. Teegate

Brian Keogh for the Irish Independent…”Patrick Reed threw a tee at Rory McIlroy in disgust after the world number one appeared to ignore his efforts to say hello at the Emirates Golf Club, according to reports.”

  • “The former Masters champion, who has moved to LIV Golf but continues to play DP World Tour events until an arbitration case being held in the UK in a fortnight decides on the Tour’s ability to suspend the rebels, saluted McIlroy’s caddie Harry Diamond without incident, according to the Spanish golf portal TenGolf.com.”
  • “Reed, whose defamation case against analyst Brandel Chamblee and Golf Channel was dismissed Friday by a federal judge in Florida, then approached McIlroy, who was on his hunkers at the time, looking at the ground.”
  • “Reed stood near McIlroy a few seconds with the intention of saying hello but McIlroy did not even turn his head towards him.”
  • “Reed insisted in saluting McIlroy but after getting no response, he gave up and walked away but not before putting his hand in his pocket and throwing a tee in McIlroy’s direction in disgust.”
Full piece.

2. JT praises Saturday finish

Colby Powell for Golf Channel…”Reviews about a Saturday finish on the PGA Tour are mixed, but Justin Thomas loved the change when it was implemented for the first time at last year’s Farmers Insurance Open.”

  • “It was incredible, I got to watch football on Sunday,” Thomas said. “I was ecstatic about it. Even so much so that I pushed the Tour that we do it during the entire playoffs because I love football and I love watching football.”
  • “While the Tour didn’t suddenly move every early-season tournament to a Saturday finish, the move seems to have stuck at the Farmers, which is played the same week as the NFC and AFC Championship games.”
Full piece.

3. Remembering JD at the Farmers in ’04

Max Schreiber for Golf Channel…”It had been a very bumpy road for Daly since his improbable victory at St. Andrews’ 1995 Open Championship, battling through more divorce and additional alcohol rehab.”

  • “But at the 2004 Buick Invitational, he ended a nine-year winless drought in typical Daly fashion.“
  • “Ranked No. 299 in the world at the beginning of the week, the two-time major champion, despite a final-round 75, found himself in a playoff with Chris Riley and Luke Donald.”
  • “On the first playoff hole, Daly hit a 100-foot bunker shot that landed just feet from the hole and he tapped in for birdie. Riley and Donald then missed both their birdie putts from inside 6 feet and Daly was once again back in the winner’s circle.”
Full piece.

4. Rahm approaching a Woodsian feat

Golfweek’s Adam Woodard…”The 28-year-old has won four of his last six events, including his last two starts on the PGA Tour at last week’s American Express and the season-opening Sentry Tournament of Champions two weeks prior. This week Rahm is in the Farmers Insurance Open field at Torrey Pines in San Diego and is looking for a rare three-peat.”

  • “If Rahm is able to win again, it’ll be the 19th time since 1997 that a player has won three straight Tour starts. But wait, what’s so rare about something that’s already happened 18 times over less than 26 years? According to stats guru Justin Ray, Tiger Woods accounts for 14 of the 18 trifectas.”
Full piece.

5. Enhancements to the PGA Tour’s Betting Integrity Program

PGATour.com staff report…”The PGA TOUR today announced two new agreements that will enhance monitoring capabilities as part of an expanded PGA TOUR Integrity Program. A new partnership with U.S. Integrity, paired with an extension of the TOUR’s existing relationship with Genius Sports, will provide the organization with best-in-class bet monitoring services through 2024.”

  • “U.S. Integrity is proud to partner with the PGA TOUR and assist with maintaining the integrity of its golf competition across the world,” said U.S. Integrity’s CEO and Co-Founder Matthew Holt. “U.S. Integrity’s mission is to provide conflict-free, best-in-class insights and compliance solutions to our clients. We are looking forward to working with the premier golf tour in the world, featuring the biggest names. All our partners are committed to the highest integrity standards, and they are no exception. These types of partnerships help ensure sports betting integrity and strengthen the unique and proprietary anomaly-detection tools we have developed at U.S. Integrity.”
  • “The PGA TOUR Integrity Program, established January 1, 2018, covers all facets of competition and operations on the Tours overseen by the PGA TOUR, including players and their support teams, all tournament staff and volunteers, all PGA TOUR employees and the PGA TOUR Policy Board.”
Full piece.

6. On notice

The AP’s Doug Ferguson…”The 28-year-old Spaniard has won four his last six starts worldwide over the last three months, including his two PGA Tour events this month on courses — Maui mountain, California desert — that couldn’t be more different.”

  • “He won in Spain by six shots and the DP World Tour Championship by two in the fall. He started the new year on the PGA Tour by closing with a 63 to overcome a seven-shot deficit against Collin Morikawa at Kapalua, and then holding off a spirited challenge from Thompson in The American Express.”
  • “Next up is the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, one of his favorite places even before he won the U.S. Open. Rahm won his first PGA Tour event at Torrey in 2017, and twice in the last three years he has missed a playoff by one shot.”
Full piece.

7. PGA Show

Full Piece.
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