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5 things we learned: Thursday at the Masters

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The rains came early at Augusta, just as they did in Buffalo. The distinguishing factor was, they had a tournament to start in Augusta. Folks in Buffalo simply went to work, and paid attention to the clouds in north Georgia. By ten o’clock, the skies had cleared enough to begin play. Honorary tee shots were hit, and competitive play began. The delay assured that some of the afternoon groups would not sign scorecards on Thursday evening. Instead, they would rise early for completion of play, then turn right back around and go out for round two.

Round one was filled with the usual characteristics of major championship golf. A pair of golfers shot low rounds, with no guarantee that either would be able to preserve the blistering pace. Others gave shots inexplicably away, on the most confounding of holes, to push themselves away from the dream of the green jacket. Others played solid if unspectacular golf, to maintain the top of the board in sight. Finally, some held to a preserver for dear life, finding a way to stay within shouting distance of the leaders.

With that little bit of tease to lead us in, let’s get straight to the five things that we learned on Thursday at the Masters.

One: Can a horse be a horse for a course, for more than one round?

Both Bryson DeChambeau and Scottie Scheffler have plenty of successful memories ’round the Augusta National course. Scheffle owns the ultimate prize, the 2022 green jacket, while DeChambeau was low amateur in 2016. That’s where the similarities end, however. DeChambeau has never finished higher than that low-am T21, while Scheffler has never finished outside the top 20 in four starts. DeChambeau has had fits of brilliance over the MacKenzie hills, but Scheffler is the one with four-round history.

While it seems unlikely the DeChambeau will miss the cut for a third consecutive time, the question of his ability to put rounds together remains. On Thursday, DeChambeau notched eight birdies on the day, and stumbled for bogey just once, at the ninth hole. For much of the day, he held a multi-shot lead over former champion Danny Willett, until Scheffler finished fast, with birdies at 12, 13, 15, and 16. His 66 brought him within one shot of the leader. Scheffler went without a bogey on the day, and ensured that DeChambeau would have much to consider over the night’s sleep.

Two: Find a way to hang around

Rory McIlroy never looked like he had his best stuff on Thursday. Three bogeys on the day, including one at the gettable second hole, had him steaming. Unlike prior years, when his not-best stuff led to mid-70s numbers, Roars was able to four birdies along the way. His 71 won’t win any crystal, but it will keep him in the tournament. Does he need a 67 on Friday? Absolutely.

Will Zalatoris plays Augusta National as well as anyone. Eagles and birdies are always on the table for the young Texan. He reached four-under par at the 15th, but closed with two bogies for 70. Without the shot that you see below, he may never have found the mojo needed to reach minus-four. Moral of the story: find a way to get in the house with a number.

Three: When you do things like this, find a way to keep it together!

The leaders’ board was filled with golfers like Ryan Fox (five-under through 12, inexplicable bogey at 13, finished minus-three), Erik Van Rooyen (minus-four through 13, only to close with three bogeys to finish one deep) Viktor Hovland (four below through nine, double at ten, one below at day’s end) and Matt Fitzpatrick (four deep through 13, three bogeys coming home.) What keeps these golfers from going deeper under par, or at least preserving their successful stature? It’s usually greed or the razor’s edge. There are too-safe places on the greens of Augusta, but there are always properly-safe areas, from where a two-putt is a probablility. In the case of most of these golfers, they either went at flags and short-sided themselves (leading to bogey) or tried to preserve their position, and landed in the three-putt zone.

Four: How could you do this?

Rickie Fowler  at 76, alongside Hideki Matsuyama. Guys, there were plenty of birdies out there! How could you manage to avoid them, and instead, stockpile the bogeys? Well, at least Hideki has a green jacket already, and at least Rickie has some crystal from Wednesday. Odds are that one of them will post 68 on Friday and make the cut.

Five: Which golfers do we hope to see finish strong?

With plenty of round-one action left for Friday morning, we’ve scanned the board and determined that Nicolai Højgaard looks pretty good at five-under through fifteen. We’ll take three pars. We expect one birdie. We’d love to see two or three birdies coming home. Yup, we’re greedy!

Max Homa bounced back from bogey at 12 with birdie at 13, to get back to four under par. We have the same expectations for the California kid: lots of birdies coming home. We have our eyes on a couple of guys at minus-one, and then there’s Tyrrell Hatton at three-deep, along with Ludvig Åberg at minus-two. Plenty of golf left for first-round positioning. Set your alarm for early and don’t miss a single shot!

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. BobbyG

    Apr 12, 2024 at 6:20 am

    We learned that Gary Player is a patriot!

  2. KJTW

    Apr 11, 2024 at 11:36 pm

    We are happy it’s raining in Buffalo, could be snow.

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News

Takeaways from LMPD press conference, Scheffler arrest videos

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If you weren’t able to tune in, here are our key takeaways from the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Tuesday morning press conference regarding the investigation into Scottie Scheffler’s May 17 arrest.

The press conference featured Louisville mayor Craig Greenberg and police chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel. Neither Greenberg nor Gwinn-Villaroel took any questions from the media after speaking.

The press conference is viewable on Golf Channel.

1. The charges against Scottie Scheffler are not being dropped

Despite media speculation earlier this week, Scheffler’s case will continue forward. Echoing a sentiment expressed by the mayor, Gwinn-Villaroel stated, “We respect the judicial process, and we will allow the courts to proceed.”

2. Arresting office detective Bryan Gillis’ body-worn camera was not on and he was disciplined

Gwinn-Villaroel referred to this as a procedural violation and stated he has received corrective action.

“Detective Gillis did not have his body-worn camera operational ready,” Gwinn-Villaroel said, “Our officer has received corrective action for his policy violation. We respect the judicial process, and we will allow the courts to proceed.”

The specifics of the “corrective action” were not discussed.

3. Two videos released and what they show

The department released a pair of videos — one from a fixed camera across the street, the other from a patrol car. You can view the videos here.

This portion of the video appears to show Scheffler attempting to pull into the club, Gillis obstructing his progress, and what followed.

The second video shows Scheffler passing near a police cruiser in handcuffs.

At the request of the Louisville attorney’s office, no other video will be released until the legal process concludes.

4. What Scheffler’s lawyer is saying in response

Steven Romines, Scottie Scheffler’s attorney states, “Scottie Scheffler didn’t do anything wrong. We’re not interested in a settlement. It will either be dismissed or we will go to trial.”

Scheffler is charged with second-degree assault of a police officer, criminal mischief, reckless driving, and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic.

Scottie Scheffler’s arraignment is scheduled for June 3 in Louisville.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Wedge Stamping Caviar: “The Traditional” Edition

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Pop open a tin of the finest beluga, GolfWRXers…But really, it’s less jelly-like substance, more richness of intrigue than salt-cured roe at Wedge Stamping Caviar as we present to you some of the finest instances of hammer-and-stamp work on the PGA Tour we spotted over the past couple of weeks.

Grab your mother-of-pearl spoon and dig in — with restraint, please. And be sure to check out the rest of our tour photo galleries when you’re done.

Patrick Reed with a fine articulation of what we’re calling “The Traditional” wedge stamping: First and last initials, usually in white or black. 

Here’s The Traditional on Keith Mitchell’s Mizuno T22 wedge as well as a slab o’ wedge tape positioned to raise CG.  

Tyler Duncan’s Traditional stamping on his Vokey SM10 also includes a note about head weight in Sharpie. 

The Traditional, again, this time for Cam Smith on his Vokey SM10 in Jet Black.  

Jason Dufner’s Cobra’s SB wedge bears his initials, JD.

A variation on The Traditional, Lee Hodges’ initials are surrounded by “RTR,” as is usually the case on his wedges — Roll Tide Roll!

Phil Mickelson’s PM Grind wedge has a saucy little 64 stamped on the toe and a slab of lead near the toe peak. 

John Rahm’s Callaway Jaws Forged wedge featured the motto of his LIV Golf squad, Legion XIII.

John Daly’s Sub 70 wedge is superb, featuring the logo of his alma mater, the University of Arkansas. WPS! 

Check out our tour photo galleries here.

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Morning 9: Scheffler’s arrest to be investigated | LIV team finale venue revealed | Charles Schwab photos

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Thursday morning, golf fans, as day one of the Charles Schwab Challenge gets underway.

1. Scheffler arrest to be investigated for policy violations

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Following Scheffler’s arrest at the PGA Championship, Mayor Craig Greenberg acknowledged that detective Bryan Gillis didn’t have his body camera activated during the incident. According to Louisville Metro police policy, officers must turn on their body cameras before “engaging in all law enforcement activities and encounters.” At a weekly press conference on Tuesday, Greenberg said questions remain on why Gillis didn’t have the camera on.”

  • “I think that’s critically important that we do that [investigate], not just in high profile events like took place on Friday, but on a regular basis,” Greenberg said. “And if policies are not being followed, there will be transparency about that. There will be action taken.”
  • “Greenberg added that Louisville Metro police chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel would address the matter later in the week, including if the Professional Standards Unit investigation—Louisville’s internal affairs arm tasked with investigating policy breaches—will be involved.”
Full piece.

2. LIV names site for team final

Field Level Media report…”The LIV Golf League will host its 2024 team championship event Sept. 20-22 at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas, the organization announced Wednesday…”

  • “Our LIV Golf players are looking forward to playing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with its great golf tradition,” LIV Golf commissioner and CEO Greg Norman said. “Texas is legendary for producing and hosting great golfers who set a high bar while competing for championships.”
  • “The season-ending event will mark the Dallas-area debut for LIV Golf. The private Maridoe Golf Club measures 7,817 yards. Jordan Spieth, Will Zalatoris and golf legend Lee Trevino are among the members there.”
Full piece.

3. 16-year-old Kris Kim to play British Masters

BBC report…”Sixteen-year-old English amateur Kris Kim will make his debut on Europe’s DP World Tour at the British Masters in August.”

  • “Surrey-based Kim, the son of South Korean former LPGA player Suh Ji-hyun, became the youngest player to make the cut on the PGA Tour since 2015 at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson in Texas earlier this month.”
  • “The teenager had five birdies and an eagle in a three-under-par opening 68 in McKinney before finishing 65th overall.”
  • “The British Masters will be hosted by six-time major winner Sir Nick Faldo at The Belfry from 29 August to 1 September.”
Full piece.

4. Spieth details Xander’s speed gains

Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”But Spieth said Wednesday at the Charles Schwab Challenge that there was one aspect of Schauffele’s improvement that has largely gone unnoticed – but, clearly, paid off in a big way.”

  • “He’s looked to add speed,” Spieth said, “but did it very methodically, very quietly, very in the dark.
  • “It’s been amazing watching him go after the tournament rounds – like on Thursday, Friday, Saturday – and he’ll go to the workout trailer and hit a heavy gym session after the round. It’s not common out here. There’s a few guys that will do it, but it’s still not common. Everybody goes before now; 10, 12 years ago, half the field went before, now everyone does.
  • “But he’s going after and hitting these heavy workouts with a goal in mind that he thought would gain a slight advantage. He already had a lot of speed, and he did it while maintaining his consistency and his short game, and it just allowed him to hit shorter clubs into greens, which, maybe over the course of four rounds, being a shot or two. The way he approached that patiently is extremely inspiring.”
Full piece.

5. Stanford wins NCAA women’s golf title

AP report…”Kelly Xu went undefeated in match play for the second straight year and the rest of Stanford followed her lead Wednesday, beating UCLA in the title match for its second NCAA championship in the three years.”

  • “Rachel Heck delivered the final point in a 3-2 victory and the celebration was on for Stanford, the No. 1 team and the top seed going into match play.”
  • “We never take anything for granted,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “We’re privileged to be in this position. We talk a lot about staying patient, staying grateful and enjoying the moment. These are so hard to win.”
Full piece.

6. Spieth contests ‘false’ PGA Tour narrative

John Turnbull for Bunkered…”Jordan Spieth has dismissed claims that the PGA Tour is in a ‘bad place’, as questions surface over a deal with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.”

  • “But Spieth has hit back at ‘untrue’ notions about the PGA Tour, whilst remaining optimistic about the process.”
  • “I think the narrative that things are in a bad place and are moving slowly… are untrue,” he said, speaking ahead of the Charles Schwab Challenge.
  • “I know that it’s false, actually. Things are actually moving positively from both sides. I think ultimately, we’ll end up in a place where professional golf is maybe the best that it’s ever been.
  • “I think both sides believe that. From what I do know, it’s cordial, there’s open dialog, and it’s moving along at the pace that it’s moving along. And anything else that’s said about it is just, I just know to be false.
  • “So, I’m very optimistic I think is what I would say out of all of it.
  • “I think that’s starting to resonate amongst players as they’re able to get more and more information on the matter and it will continue to get more and more information over the coming months.”
Full piece.

7. Photos from the Charles Schwab Challenge

  • Check out all of our galleries from this week’s event!
Full Piece.
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