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Morning 9: Presidents Cup to Australia | DP World Tour’s ‘fake battle’? | Rocket Mortgage Photos

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

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

1. Neither rain nor snow…

PGATour.com staff…”The storm closed the golf course to media on Monday, but did no damage to the course and left structures intact, Rocket Mortgage Classic Executive Director Jason Langwell said.”

  • “We’re in great shape,” Langwell said Monday amid the din of wood chippers and chainsaws. “We’ve got golfers, we’ve got a full driving range here, Max (Homa) and others out practicing. Players on the back nine getting their practice rounds in just like they always do on a Monday.”
  • “The cell came through at roughly 6:45 p.m. Sunday, said Rocket Mortgage Classic Chief Referee and PGA TOUR Senior Tournament Director Stephen Cox.”
  • “We got incredibly lucky,” Cox said. “The trees fell in the right direction. One fell on a car at the entrance to the club, and another fell in close proximity to the practice putting green and did some minor damage, but if it had fallen 4 or 5 feet to the right it would have been much worse.”
Full piece.

2. Big hitters only

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”In his two PGA Tour starts this season, both majors (Masters and U.S. Open), Sargent has averaged 323.9 yards off the tee and 125.6 clubhead speed. Those numbers would rank second and third, respectively, on the PGA Tour.”

  • “Sargent will tee it up in this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic – and he might find it difficult to be the longest player not just in the field but in his group.”
  • “Brandon Matthews and Matti Schmid will be grouped with Sargent for each of the first two rounds at Detroit Golf Club, where they’ll tee off at 2:11 p.m. ET in Thursday’s first round. Matthews is second on Tour in driving distance (321.8 yards) while Schmid is fourth (315.8 yards). Matthews is also second in clubhead speed (126.38 mph), behind only Cameron Champ (126.5), and ball speed (189.55), also behind Champ (190.71).”
Full piece.

3. Presidents Cup headed to Kingston Heath in 2028

From a press release…”The PGA TOUR and the Presidents Cup today announced that the 2028 Presidents Cup will be contested at Kingston Heath Golf Club, one of the most iconic venues on the famed Melbourne Sandbelt. The 2028 Presidents Cup will mark the event’s fourth visit to Melbourne, with the TOUR having previously announced a long-term commitment with Visit Victoria to staging the Presidents Cup in Melbourne in 2028 and 2040.”

  • “Consistently ranked as one of the top courses in Australia and around the world, Kingston Heath was designed by Australia’s Dan Soutar and features a natural bunkering layout spearheaded by legendary architect Alister Mackenzie in 1926. Among the noteworthy championships held at Kingston Heath include the Australian Open, which has been hosted seven times and most recently in 2022 when it shared duties with Victoria Golf Club. It has also hosted the 2009 and 2012 Australian Masters, the 2008 Women’s Australian Open, and the 2016 World Cup of Golf.”
Full piece.

4. Zhang may need captain’s pick

ESPN report…“Zhang won the Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National in her pro debut. Three weeks later, she was within one shot of the lead until a bogey on the 16th hole at Baltusrol in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She tied for eighth.”

  • “Because of LPGA policy, Zhang does not get credit for her victory because she became a member after she won. That cost her 60 points toward the Solheim Cup. As it stands, she is 25th on the points list with at least five tournaments — two of them majors — before qualifying ends for the leading seven players.”
  • “The LPGA typically doesn’t change policy in the middle of a season. Along with losing out on Solheim Cup points, Zhang’s victory also did not count toward player of the year or rookie of the year.”
Full piece.

5. Taking another Trip

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”Trip Kuehne will make his first USGA championship appearance in 16 years at this week’s U.S. Senior Open.”

  • “The 51-year-old Kuehne hasn’t played in a USGA championship since winning the 2007 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Bandon Dunes. The following year, after competing in the 2008 Masters, Kuehne retired from competitive golf to focus on his son Will’s football development.”
Full piece.

6. Ryder Cup x Roc Nation?

Matt Cradock for Golf Monthly…”The Ryder Cup is arguably the biggest golf event on the planet, with the battle between Team Europe and Team USA watched globally by millions of people. Not only is it viewed by millions, but it also draws huge stars such as Michael Jordan and Niall Horan.”

  • “Now, for the 2023 edition of the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, it has been announced that Roc Nation Sports International, a company founded by multiple-time Grammy award winner and rap legend, Jay-Z, will work in partnership with the Ryder Cup to show all the drama and action to new audiences this September.”
Full Piece.

7. Sergio and Rory friends again

Our Matt Vincenzi…”…While speaking to the media ahead of this week’s LIV tournament, Sergio called the U.S. Open a “great event” due to the fact that he reconciled with the man who was an usher at his wedding in 2017.”

  • “More than anything, because I gained a friend back, a friend that I kind of felt like I lost in the last year or so.
  • We talked and we had a great conversation, and I feel like I have that friend back, and that to me means a lot. That’s a very positive thing.”
Full Piece.

8. ‘Fake battle’?

Ben Parsons for Bunkered…”DP World Tour pro Mike Lorenzo-Vera believes his circuit is fighting a “fake battle” to eradicate its perennial slow play problems.”

  • “Speaking to bunkered at The Belfry ahead of the British Masters, the outspoken Frenchman voiced his anger at authorities over the glacial pace of play he experienced at last week’s BMW International Open.”
  • “Lorenzo-Vera unusually took to Twitter after taking over three hours to make it to the 12th tee during his nightmare second round in Munich.”
  • “The 38-year-old explained how he was forced to wait on “every single shot” – despite struggling around the course himself on a front nine that included two double bogeys and one treble.”
  • “And after posting a horrendous 84 on a marathon Friday, he claimed that big fines and penalty shots must be imposed immediately as an appropriate deterrent for consistent offenders.”
Full Piece.

9. Rocket Mortgage Photos

  • Check out all of our photos from this week’s event!
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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