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Morning 9: Pro’s 8-hour drive for 20k event | Cantlay’s coup? | Garcia enters Open qualifying

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans, as we gear up for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

1. PGA Tour pro makes 8-hour drive to play for $20K

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”Eric Cole isn’t in the field for this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic. It will mark the first time in 12 weeks that the 35-year-old rookie hasn’t teed it up on the PGA Tour.”

  • So, how is Cole spending his off week? He’s playing a golf tournament.
  • Yes, after tying for 24th on Sunday at the Travelers Championship, Cole hopped in a car and drove eight hours to Pittsburgh for this week’s Frank B. Fuhrer Jr. Invitational, a 72-hole tournament at Pittsburgh Field Club.
  • The Fuhrer has been around for nearly four decades, dating to 1985 when Bob Ford won the inaugural title. The 40-player tournament is the brainchild of Pittsburgh businessman Frank B. Fuhrer Jr., who also was behind the Family House Invitational, a two-day competition for charity that for 14 years featured dozens of PGA Tour pros. Fuhrer died last year at age 96, but his invitational lived on with David Bradshaw winning for a record fourth time last year while claiming the $40,000 first-place prize.
Full piece.

2. Record mark at no. 1

ESPN report…”South Korea’s Jin Young Ko was ranked No. 1 in the world Monday for a record-setting 159th week, and rising star Rose Zhang is now in the top 50.”

  • “Ko remained atop the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings after a tie for 20th at this past week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, surpassing the 158 weeks spent at No. 1 by Lorena Ochoa of Mexico from 2007 to 2010. Ko, a 15-time winner on the LPGA Tour, has held the No. 1 spot five different times since April 2019. This is the 27-year-old’s sixth consecutive week there.”
Full piece.

3. Garcia enters Open qualifying

The Telegraph’s James Corrigan…”Sergio Garcia has entered next week’s final qualifying for the Open Championship. The record Ryder Cup points scorer will take his place alongside 287 other hopefuls — a mixture of starry-eyed amateurs and lowly-ranked pros — attempting to win one of the 16 berths on offer for Hoylake.”

  • “However, Telegraph Sport has also learned that Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter — two other Ryder Cup legends who are members of the LIV Golf League — will not feature in the draw when it is released on Tuesday, with the veterans electing to skip the 36-hole shootout. This means that Westwood will miss his first Open in 28 years.”
Full piece.

4. Blair close to keeping his card

Jim McCabe for PGATour.com…”There were two scoreboards in play for Zac Blair during Sunday’s final round of the Travelers Championship.”

  • “The one that mattered the most – where he stood in his quest to pile up FedExCup points to fulfill his major medical extension – was one he had no control over and one that wouldn’t even come into focus until his round was long over. He needed a solo second to secure his card; a two-way T2 would move him to the precipice.”
  • “So Blair tried to push that out of his mind and focus on the leaderboards at every green. There, he saw his name prominently placed near the top and he was able to take deep breaths and feel a sense of achievement.”
  • “There was a time where I was way back,” said Blair, who began the day tied for 15th, nine behind 54-hole leader Keegan Bradley, who proceeded to win by three strokes over Blair and Brian Harman. “So I was just trying to play well and (the putts) kept going in.”
Full piece.

5. “Technology has passed this course by”

Our Matt Vincenzi…”Rory McIlroy, who finished at 18 under and tied for seventh place, spoke after the round about the golf course. The four-time major champion said that he believes “technology has passed the course by.””

  • “I don’t particularly like when a tournament is like this. Unfortunately, technology has passed this course by, right? It sort of has made it obsolete, especially as soft as it has been with a little bit of rain that we had.”
  • “So, again, like the conversations going back to, you know, limiting the golf ball and stuff like that, when we come to courses like this they just don’t present the challenge that they used to.”
Full piece.

6. Cantlay’s coup?

Our Jason Daniels…”Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch wrote a piece on Saturday that told of the huge pressures now facing PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan following June’s declaration of “an ill-defined but ignominious deal that promises a future in which the Tour will have to rationalize its proximity to [Saudi] regime atrocities.”

  • “According to Lynch, the Tour is now having to cope with rebellious players that previously kept quiet, for they now have “no prospects for the lucrative payday to which they feel entitled.”
  • “Whilst previously, LIV-jumpers were cast as the heinous group, now it seems the new objectors have nowhere positive to go.”
  • “Lynch is clear, though, “his [Cantlay’s] objections aren’t based on the morality of dealing with human rights abusers.” Rather it’s about money.”

Read Lynch’s full piece here

Full Piece.

7. Wolff returns to LIV

Matt Cradock for Golf Monthly…”At the end of May, it seemed that Matt Wolff was no longer part of Brooks Koepka’s Smash GC team in the LIV Golf League. However, just a month after the rumours broke, it appears that the American is back in the quartet, with Smash GC posting a picture of the four-man squad before LIV Golf Valderrama.”

  • “Captioned “VAMOS SMASH”, we see Wolff’s picture in the top left corner, with both Chase and Brooks Koepka in the middle and Jason Kokrak on the right hand side as the tournament gets underway from the 30th June to the 2nd July.”
Full Piece.

8. USGA admits mistake in Rory’s controversial drop

Bob Harig for SI…”It ultimately didn’t factor in the outcome, nor did Rory McIlroy take much advantage of the situation.”

  • “But the ruling he got on the 14th hole during the final round of the U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club has still simmered some 10 days later, due in part to the oddity of the situation and his prominence in the game.”
  • “And a United States Golf Association executive told Sports Illustrated during an interview Monday that while McIlroy did nothing wrong, the spot from which he measured his point of relief from an embedded lie above a bunker was incorrect.”
  • “The nearest point of relief was mis-identified; it should have been directly behind the ball,” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s chief governance officer. “If there’s no area immediately behind the ball, you go to nearest point in the general area. But if you look at where the ball was embedded, there was a grassy area below and that should have been the starting point.”
Full Piece.

9. Framework sent to senators

Rex Hoggard for Golf Channel…”The “framework” agreement that united professional golf following the most tumultuous divide the game had seen in decades was, as officials have explained, a broad stroke.”

  • “PGA Tour officials turned the agreement over to lawmakers late Monday as part of a review of the deal by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.). A copy of the five-page agreement obtained by GolfChannel.com outlines the “long-term strategic partnership” between the Tour, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and the DP World Tour.”
  • “According to the agreement, the for-profit assets of the Tour, DP World Tour and the PIF (LIV Golf) will be combined into what is tentatively being called NewCo. After an evaluation of those assets, the PIF, which owns 93 percent of LIV Golf, will make a minority investment into the new entity.”
  • “Per the agreement, the Tour’s for-profit assets will include “contracts/agreements and equity interests” but do not include player retirement plans, corporate reserves or any of the circuit’s tax-exempt assets.”
Full Piece.
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Morning 9: Rory: I’m not joining LIV | Masters ratings | Nelly: We just need a stage

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans, as we gear up to this week’s RBC Heritage.

1. Rory: I’m not going to LIV

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach…McIlroy said neither he nor his agents have ever discussed a potential deal to lure him to the LIV Golf League, which is being financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

  • “I honestly don’t know how these things get started,” McIlroy told Golf Channel while on the practice range at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina, the site of this week’s RBC Heritage. “I’ve never been offered a number from LIV, and I’ve never contemplated going to LIV. Again, I think I’ve made it clear over the past two years that I don’t think it’s something for me.
  • “It doesn’t mean that I judge people who have went and played over there. I think one of the things that I have realized over the past two years is that people can make their own decisions for whatever they think is best for themselves, and who are we to judge them for that? But personally, for me, my future is here on the PGA Tour, and it’s never been any different.”
Full piece.

2. Masters ratings down

Yahoo’s Jay Busbee…”Ratings for the full Masters week are now out, and 2024’s version ranks as the lowest since the COVID-impacted years of 2020 and 2021. There was a brief moment when four players shared the lead at the 2024 Masters, but Scottie Scheffler took care of business quickly enough and strolled to what qualifies as an “easy” Masters victory — a four-stroke triumph that wasn’t in doubt for most of the second nine.”

  • “Perhaps as a result, Sunday’s final round averaged 9.59 million viewers on CBS, according to Sports Media Watch, a 22.8% decline from last year’s 12.06 million. Scheffler’s win two years ago averaged 10.17 million viewers. Worth noting: Sunday’s final round was down 20 percent against last year’s victory by Jon Rahm, but last year’s final round fell on Easter Sunday, which created a significantly higher out-of-home percentage of viewers — 21 percent in 2023, as opposed to 9 percent this year.”
Full piece.

3. Chevron gets purse boost

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“Chevron’s commitment to the LPGA went a step higher on Tuesday with the announcement of a purse increase to $7.9 million in 2024. The move brings the tour’s first major in line with the purses of other championships. The U.S. Women’s Open purse of $12 million paces the tour, with the KPMG Women’s PGA second at $10 million. The AIG Women’s British Open purse checks in at $9 million while Amundi Evian is $6.5 million.”

  • “Chevron, which moved the event away from Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California, to Texas, last year, has increased the purse by $4.8 million since assuming title sponsorship in 2022. The company has committed to title sponsor the event through 2029.”
Full piece.

4. Shipley on “notegate”

Alex Myers for Golf Digest…”So what was up with “notegate”? During his hilarious spot with McAfee, Shipley reiterated there was no note from Woods, and that he was only looking at the moderator because he was so confused where the question was coming from:

  • “I looked over at the moderator like ‘Who the hell is this guy?'” Shipley says in the clip. “Because it just didn’t happen. I was so confused and so shocked in the moment.”
Full piece.

5. Nelly: We just need a stage

Iain Carter for the BBC…”Korda is the first American to win four consecutive tournaments on the LPGA since Lopez won five straight 46 years ago. This astonishing streak made the then rookie front page material for Sports Illustrated.

  • “Korda’s feats have yet to transcend the golfing village, and perhaps that suits her as she “tries to stay in my bubble”. But the American Solheim Cup player does recognise that more could be done to tell the increasingly compelling story of women’s golf.”
  • “I feel like we just need a stage,” she told reporters here at Carlton Woods just north of Houston. “We need to be put on TV.
  • “I feel like when it’s tape delay, or anything like that, that hurts our game. Women’s sports just needs a stage. If we have a stage we can show up and perform and show people what we’re all about.”
Full piece.

6. Photos from the 2024 RBC Heritage

  • Check out all of our galleries from this week’s event!
Full piece.
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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2024 RBC Heritage

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GolfWRX is on site this week at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island for the RBC Heritage. Plenty of golfers who competed in the Masters last week will be making the quick turnaround in the Lowcountry of South Carolina as the Heritage is again one of the Tour’s Signature Events.

We have general albums for you to check out, as well as plenty of WITBs — including Justin Thomas and Justin Rose.

We’ll continue to update as more photos flow in from SC.

Check out links to all our photos, below.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying and join the discussion in the forums.

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Morning 9: Aberg: I want to be No. 1 | Rory’s management blasts ‘fake news’ reports

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans, as we look back at the Masters while looking ahead to this week’s RBC Heritage.

1. Shane Ryan: Appreciate Scottie’s greatness

Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan…”This is what’s called generational talent, and we haven’t seen it in almost 20 years. Steve Stricker read the tea leaves when he picked Scheffler for the 2021 Ryder Cup—a decision that was richly rewarded—and starting in 2022, he was off to the races. The only hiccup was a few putting woes last year, but even that only served to highlight how remarkable his ball-striking had become—instead of winning, he was finishing third. When he fixed the putting, with help from a new coach and a bit of equipment advice from Rory McIlroy, he soared yet again to the top of the game, but this time he seemed more indomitable, more inevitable, more brilliant.”

  • “The sustained success of the last three years has officially made him the best professional golfer since Tiger Woods, a conclusion supported by analytics, the eye test, and every other metric you could dream up. With fewer majors, he has nevertheless leaped past Spieth, McIlroy, and Koepka in terms of pure ability. He doesn’t have their legacy, yet, but if we’re talking about peak performance, he’s already surpassed them.”
  • “He’s so much better than everyone else, which is a sentiment that is both commonplace—I saw it on Twitter over and over again—and revelatory. It’s the thing you say because there is nothing else to say. You’re left with the wild truth, which words can describe but never capture.”
Full piece.

2. Aberg: I want to be No. 1

The AFP’s Simon Evans…”The 24-year-old finished second, four strokes behind winner Scottie Scheffler, after carding a final round 69 but he certainly won many admirers among the patrons at Augusta National and beyond.”

  • “And his performance has filled Aberg with self-belief.”
  • “Everyone in my position, they are going to want to be major champions. They are going to want to be world number one, and it’s the same for me, that’s nothing different,” he said.
  • “It has been that way ever since I picked up a golf club, and that hasn’t changed. So I think this week solidifies a lot of those things are there, and we just need to keep doing those things and put ourselves in positions to win tournaments, ” he said.
Full piece.

3. Homa’s honest answer on double bogey

Golf Channel staff report…”But Homa’s tee shot at No. 12 bounded off the putting surface and into a bush. After a healthy search, Homa found his ball and had to take an unplayable lie. He made double bogey, effectively ending his bid at a maiden major title.”

  • “Homa tied for third, seven shots back of Scheffler. Asked about what happened on the fateful 9-iron, Homa offered two replies.”
  • “The honest answer is, it didn’t feel fair. I hit a really good golf shot, and it didn’t feel fair. I’ve seen far worse just roll back down the hill,” he said.
  • “The professional answer is, these things happen.”
Full piece.

4. Harbour Town ahead

RBC Heritage field notes, via Adam Stanley of PGATour.com…”Scottie Scheffler is, for now, set to tee it up at the RBC Heritage. He was clear to say that if his wife, Meredith, would go into labor during the Masters, he would head home to be with her, so it’s safe to assume that same rule will stand at Harbour Town. Scheffler has not shot an over-par round all season and has three victories (and one runner-up). He made his debut at Harbour Town last year and finished T11… Matt Fitzpatrick looks to become the first golfer to go back-to-back at the RBC Heritage since Boo Weekley in 2007-08. Fitzpatrick, a playoff victor last year, has two top-10 finishes this season. He has just one missed cut at Harbour Town over the last six years and he finished fourth in 2021 to go along with two more top-15 results in a three-year span (T14 in 2018 and 2020)…”

  • “Jordan Spieth is hoping to continue his run of fine play at Harbour Town after a playoff loss last season and a playoff win the season prior. Spieth has five top-25 finishes at the RBC Heritage in seven starts… Justin Thomas earned a spot in the field after remaining in the top 30 (he’s No. 30) in the Official World Golf Ranking despite a missed cut at the Masters. Thomas, who finished T25 last season at Harbour Town, has two top 10s on the season… Ludvig Åberg, who is tops in the Aon Next 10, will head to Hilton Head for the first time. Åberg has had a fabulous 2024 campaign thus far with four top 10s (including two runner-up results) and is knocking on the door for a victory… Hideki Matsuyama was the only eligible player who did not commit to the RBC Heritage, while Viktor Hovland – after a missed cut at the Masters – withdrew from the field on Saturday.”
Full piece.

5. Reed’s caddie’s needle

Our Matt Vincenzi…”After a particularly bad drive during his third round on Saturday, Reed’s caddie, Kessler Karain, also his brother-in-law, made a snide but factual comment to Patrick.”

  • “Your driving has cost us a lot this week,” Karain remarked.
  • “Reed didn’t disagree and told reporters after the round that there was nothing good about his round…
  • “A reporter then asked: “It’s a good thing he’s a family member, right?”
  • “Yeah, exactly. I’d probably be dragging him up that last hole,” Reed said. “I swear.Just what you want to hear as you’re looking at the ball in the tree, and he goes, ‘You need to drive it better.’ Thanks, Kessler. I appreciate it. Great words of wisdom. Drive it better.”
  • “This may be the last major for Reed for a while, as the 33-year-old has not been invited nor qualified for next month’s PGA Championship.”
Full piece.

6. LIV wants Hovland next?

Ewan Murray for the Guardian…”Rising speculation that Viktor Hovland will be the next high-profile golfer to be coaxed to the LIV tour will increase the need for Ryder Cup Europe to apply a simple qualification process for golfers on the Saudi Arabian-backed circuit.”

  • “LIV is forging ahead with plans for 2025, which include new events and the recruitment of more players from the PGA and DP World Tours. The rate of turnover is likely to be increased by the number of golfers who had three-year contracts when joining LIV, which will expire at the end of 2024.”
  • “Chatter on the range at the LIV event in Miami this month and again at the Masters largely surrounded Hovland, the world No 6 who starred for Europe in the defeat of the United States in Rome last year. Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton, who also played in that team, have subsequently joined LIV. Hovland missed the cut at the Masters and promptly withdrew from the PGA Tour’s $20m stop in Hilton Head this week.”
Full piece.

7. Rory’s management: LIV reports are ‘fake news’

Brian Keogh for the Irish Independent…”A report that Rory McIlroy was on the verge of an $850million move to LIV Golf has been slammed as “fake news” by his management.

“Fake news. Zero truth,” McIlroy’s manager Sean O’Flaherty said in an email.

London financial paper “City AM” reported today that sources have told them that McIlroy “could” join LIV Golf

The paper reported that “two separate sources have told City AM that they believe a deal is close. It is claimed that LIV Golf chiefs have offered world No2 McIlroy an eye-watering $850m to join, plus around two per cent equity in the competition.”

Full piece.
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