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Morning 9: Zalatoris’ swing adjustments | Cantlay on LIV rumors | Cam to play Saudi Intl

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.

For comments: [email protected]

January 6, 2023

Good Thursday morning, golf fans, as day one of the Tournament of Champions gets underway.

1. Swing adjustments for Zalatoris in wake of injury

Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”A week after earning his first Tour title, Zalatoris suffered two herniated discs in his back and missed the final four months of the year, an ill-timed setback that cost him not just a boatload of money – he was No. 1 in the FedExCup, in line for a $18 million payday, and ultimately banked $500,000 for finishing 30th – but also a spot on his first U.S. team at the Presidents Cup.”

  • “Forced to sit out for an extended period of time, Zalatoris and his team consulted with Dr. Greg Rose at the Titleist Performance Institute. Their goal was to ensure the wiry 26-year-old could stand up to the rigors of a 20-event schedule for the next dozen or so years.”
  • “We spent a lot of time understanding the pressures on my golf swing and understanding how I push off my right side,” Zalatoris said Wednesday at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he will make his first start since the injury. “I do it later than a lot of guys, so what that does for someone with a lot of side bend is that gets my right hip high and my spine is tilted back, and so as Dr. Rose said, ‘Duh, no wonder I had a back issue.’”
  • “Zalatoris said that his issue was a “motor pattern,” not a structural problem, and that his high right hip was easily addressed through a tweak in his setup.”
Full piece.

2. Cam Smith headlining PIF Saudi International

Adam Woodard for Golfweek…”World No. 3 Cameron Smith will highlight the field for the fifth playing of the PIF Saudi International next month in the Kingdom.”

  • “Smith is set to join defending champion Harold Varner III and the top-30 ranked players on the Asian Tour at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, Feb. 2-5, with more players to be confirmed in the coming weeks.”
Full piece.

3. Cantlay shuts down LIV rumors (again)

Cantlay’s quote, via Tod Leonard at Golf Digest…“I think it’s because I haven’t been too vocal one way or the other,” Cantlay, 30, said at Kapalua of why he thinks he’s been fodder for the rumors. “So, I think that’s probably where it is. Guys, for the most part, seem like they’re pretty polarized on this issue, and I view it as it’s been a competition for top talent, like any other business.

  • “But I have no plans to do that as of now, which has been my stance for, you know, basically since the whole time.”
Full piece.

4. Wilson signs Kevin Kisner and Trey Mullinax

Our Matt Vincenzi…”Wilson announced today that they’ve signed two new players to their professional Golf Advisory Staff.”

  • “Four-time PGA TOUR winner Kevin Kisner and winner of last year’s Barbasol Championship Trey Mullinax will be added to the Wilson team that already includes PGA TOUR players John Augenstein, Kevin Chappell, Quade Cummins, Padraig Harrington, Brendan Steele, Kevin Streelman, Martin Trainer and Kevin Tway; and LPGA Tour player Sophia Schubert.”
  • “As Wilson continues to grow in golf, we are excited to have Kevin and Trey join the Wilson team,” says Tim Clarke, President, Wilson Golf. “More players are putting Wilson golf equipment into play on worldwide professional tours every week, and we are excited to support their efforts in achieving their goals.”
  • “Mullinax will make his Wilson debut this week as he’s set to tee it up for the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua’s Plantation course in Maui.”
Full piece.

5. Kim-mania

Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com with some background on Tom Kim…”Born in Korea to father Changik Lee and mother Kwanjoo Kim, Kim and his older brother, Jaewook Kim, were moved to China for a few years before the family picked up again and alighted for Australia so the brothers could learn English.”

  • “After living Down Under for seven years the family picked up and moved yet again.”
  • “Once we learned English we moved to the Philippines because Australia was getting a little expensive,” Kim said, “and we knew people in the Philippines.”
  • “It was in the Philippines that Kim really took to golf, initially under the tutelage of his father, a teaching professional. (Somewhat surprisingly, Kim says their swings are not similar.) The game was accessible there, and Kim went all in, getting homeschooled. With designs on playing the Asian Tour, he and the family moved again, this time to Thailand, which was more conveniently located for travel purposes. He turned pro at 15.”
  • “Too young for the Asian Tour, Kim played professionally in Thailand until he was 16, when he failed to get through the Asian Tour’s qualifying school. Three quick wins on the Asian Development Tour followed, earning him special temporary membership on the Asian Tour, where he won in his second start. He was just 17. Just as impressive, he was fluent in Tagalog, English and Korean.”
Full piece.

6. Rahm: I battled my swing in 2022

Colby Powell for Golf Digest…A season after capturing his first major championship, Rahm failed to record a top 10 in any of the majors, with his best finish a T-12 at the U.S. Open.

  • “For people that may not believe it, I battled my swing most of the year,” Rahm said Tuesday ahead of the Sentry Tournament of Champions. “I wasn’t as comfortable as I was the year prior and that showed. Then when you go to major championship golf where you need to be better in every single way, those mistakes are going to show.”
  • …“It just didn’t feel as smooth as I would have liked,” Rahm said. “I still had an abundance of top 10s. I think I was close to 50 percent of the tournaments I teed it up on I ended up in the top 10, which is not bad. This year, I didn’t give myself a chance to win as often as I would have liked.”
Full piece.

7. Vandals leave racist slurs at a Florida golf course

Mauricio La Plante, TC Palm…”One or more vandals spray-painted an anti-Black racial slur, a swastika and a star of David with a line slashed through it in a golf course tunnel in Palm City, law enforcement records show.”

  • “Some sexually explicit etchings were found there, too, said Martin County sheriff’s Lt. Yesenia Carde. Palm City is less than an hour north of West Palm Beach, along the Atlantic coast.”
  • “Investigators responded to Martin Downs Golf Club after receiving reports Monday of vandalism at the golf course, according to a sheriff’s incident report.”
Full piece.

8. Scottie back to Number 1?

Elliott Heath for Golf Monthly…”Scottie Scheffler could regain the World No.1 spot this week in Hawaii at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.”

  • “The Masters champion lost the top spot to McIlroy in October after the Northern Irishman’s successful CJ Cup defence in South Carolina. McIlroy has chosen to skip the Tournament of Champions this week, the first elevated purse event of the year, and has left the door open for Scheffler to overtake him in the Official World Golf Ranking.”
  • “Scheffler needs to finish solo-third or better in the 39-man field to overtake McIlroy according to Twitter’s OWGR guru Nosferatu @VC606.
Full piece.

9. Scheffler trolls Bubba

Adam Woodard for Golfweek…”On Tuesday ahead of the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions, Jon Rahm made a crack about how tense the Masters Champions Dinner will be due to the presence of a handful of players who made the jump from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf. Scottie Scheffler, the defending champion at Augusta National, joined in on the fun during his Wednesday presser at Kapalua with a story about seeing two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson while on vacation in Tennessee last year.

  • “I haven’t seen many of the LIV guys. I saw (Bubba Watson) on vacation this year and I told him that I was just gonna have a separate table for him in the corner by himself,” Scheffler said with a big laugh.”
Full piece.
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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

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