|March 23, 2023
Good Thursday morning, golf fans, and a big thank you to our friends at Golf Guru for sponsoring today’s Morning 9.
1. Rory on rollback
Our Matt Vincenzi…In a surprising turn of events, Rory McIlroy has stated that he believes the controversial proposal that would result in the bifurcation of the golf ball would be a good thing for the game of golf.
- The four-time major champion appeared on the “No Laying Up” Podcast this week, and talked about the potential changes.
- “I’ve been pretty adamant that I don’t really want the governing bodies to touch the recreational golfer because we need to make this game as not intimidating and as much fun as possible, just to try to keep the participation levels at an all-time high,” he said.
- “So, I’m glad in this new proposal that they haven’t touched the recreational golfer. But for elite level play, I really like it. I really do. I know that’s a really unpopular opinion amongst my peers, but I think it’s going to help identify who the best players are a bit easier.”
- “I think you’re going to see people with more well-rounded games succeed easier than what the game has become, which is a bit bomb and gouge over these last few years.”
- “Selfishly, I think it helps me. I think this is only going to help the better player. You know, it might help the longer player, too, in some ways. But I think it’s going to help the overall professional game.
- “I think making guys hit some long irons again, and some mid irons, and being able to hit every club in your bag in a round of golf. I can’t remember the last time when I’ve had to do that. I don’t know if this change in the ball will make us do that, but it certainly is a step closer to that.”
- “I was once of the opinion that, you know, they don’t try to make Formula 1 cars go slower. Innovation is a part of every sport. It’s a part of every industry. But whenever that innovation outgrows the footprint of the game, that’s when I think we have a problem.”
Listen to the full NLU pod here.
2. More on LIV ratings
Adam Woodard for Golfweek…”The viewership reports are starting to roll through for the second LIV Golf League event of the season, and early numbers aren’t great for the Saudi Arabia-backed circuit.”
- “The Sports Business Journal, citing a source with numbers from Nielsen, reported last week’s LIV Golf Tucson event had an average of 274,000 viewers on the CW for Sunday’s final round from Gallery Golf Club in Marana, Arizona, after an average of 284,000 viewers for Saturday’s second round. At LIV Golf Mayakoba, the season opener last month, the CW averaged 286,000 viewers for Saturday’s second round and 291,000 for Sunday’s final round. Friday’s opening rounds are only available via the CW app and other digital streams.”
- “Outside of the viewership, the SBJ report also claimed that 24 percent of homes – or 29 million – in the United States were unable to watch LIV Golf Tucson on television because their local CW affiliate did not carry the coverage in the 1-6 p.m. ET window.”
3. Busbee on LIV
Golfweek’s Jay Busbee…”LIV Golf’s first season comprised 10 no-cut, high-purse events. The result was so successful — from an attention-grabbing standpoint, at least — that LIV executed its 2024 plans in 2023, upping the schedule from 10 to 14 events. At the same time, LIV has been increasing the focus and emphasis on its four-man teams.”
- “Combined, those two forces have LIV’s players a bit concerned, as the Fire Pit Collective reported from the tour’s second event in Tucson. Players have expressed some concern that their contracts were for 10 events and they’re now expected to play 14, and that money won by the team goes back into the team, rather than directly to the players themselves.”
- “Although LIV is backed by the virtually limitless resources of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the stream of those resources to LIV apparently isn’t limitless. The Fire Pit noted the newly cost-conscious approaches to daily tour life, from travel expense cutbacks to small amenities like snacks.”
4. RIP WGC
From Rex Hoggard’s eulogy for the series…”For most, this week is the end of an era that began in 1999, when then-commissioner Tim Finchem’s plan for what he originally called “world championship events” began with the Match Play in February at La Costa, just north of San Diego. Jeff Maggert won that first WGC, cashing a princely $1 million winner’s check, followed by Tiger Woods’ victory six months later at the WGC-NEC Invitational at Firestone and again later that fall at the WGC-American Express Championship in Spain. Woods played 46 WGCs in his career and won 18 of them, which is the most efficient way to assess the relative success of the World Golf Championships. Top players competing more often for large purses – check, check and check.”
- “Finchem’s grand plan to gather the game’s best more often at big-budget events (again, sound familiar?) was, with notable distinctions, a 2 ½-decade success, but the more pressing question as the WGCs inch toward their ultimate demise is how they arrived at this ending.”
5. Chasing dreams, trailers in tow
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”If Rob Rennell has one regret, it’s that he didn’t buy a fifth wheel sooner. Rennell estimates that traveling the junior golf circuit by trailer with daughter Riley would’ve cut the family’s expenses in half. Rob and Riley have been practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona, for the past three months while their 42-foot trailer is parked at Eagle View RV Resort at Fort McDowell.”
- “It’s almost like an apartment,” said Riley of the setup, which includes two bedrooms and two bathrooms. RV life allows Riley to bring her dog Alex and kitten Frankie on tour.
- “The Rennells also have a 40-acre farm in Columbia, Tennessee, which supplies hay for the cattle ranches that surround. Kendra Rennell, who was back home overseeing roof repairs at the farm, recently made her way out west to watch Riley make her LPGA debut this week at the Drive On Championship at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club in Gold Canyon, Arizona.”
6. Captain Catriona Matthew to make history
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”For those who don’t follow the Curtis Cup closely, the appointment of Catriona Matthew as captain of the 2024 Great Britain and Ireland team at Sunningdale might seem like a no-brainer. Of course she’s qualified for such a position as the three-time Curtis Cupper and major champion became the first captain to lead Europe to back-to-back Solheim Cup victories in 2019 and 2021.”
- “What’s historic about the appointment, however, is that a professional player has never captained a Curtis Cup team. Matthew will be the first LPGA pro to lead the team of eight in the biennial competition against Team USA. GB&I last won the Curtis Cup in 2016 at Dun Laoghaire.”
7. New Tom Watson designed Augusta course
Michael McEwan for Bunkered…”If you’re an avid user of golf Twitter, you’ll likely have heard rumours of a new golf course coming to Augusta.
- “…Say hello to Cypress Shoals, a brand-new development in the north of the city, bordering the Savannah River and the Sumter National Forest, just four-and-a-half miles from Masters host venue Augusta National”
- “First spotted by the Eureka Earth Twitter account, the “multi-generational, mixed-use development” is positioning itself as “America’s Next Great Masterpiece.”
- “Designed for outdoor enthusiasts that enjoy active lifestyles, Cypress Shoals is the perfect combination of luxury and ease of access without compromising the tranquility of exclusivity, the privacy of seclusion as well as absolute security.”
- “The development will include two 18-hole golf courses, one of which will be designed by two-time Masters champ Tom Watson.”
8. Rory’s 19-putt Augusta National round
Cameron Jourdan for Golfweek…”The Masters is two weeks away, and plenty of players have made their way to Augusta, Georgia, in recent weeks to get some practice in.”
- “World No. 3 Rory McIlroy is one of those players. He went last week between missing the cut at the Players Championship and ahead of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. And one of his rounds seems to have been pretty special.”
- “After beating Scott Stallings 3 and 1 in his first match Wednesday at Austin Country Club, McIlroy was asked about a rumor he had 19 putts during one of his practice rounds, and he didn’t exactly shoot that statement down.”
- “Yeah, look, I had two good days,” McIlroy said. “We played 54 holes in two days, and it was good. I was really happy with where my game was.”
9. Photos from the WGC Match Play
- Check out all of our galleries here!
Jun 5, 2008 at 10:08 pm
WOW! I guess I’m in a lot of shock right now… Not only the bashing of Tiger Woods but I was told from some family Members that Mac O Grady is my uncle.
Apr 11, 2008 at 1:11 am
I would of loved to see Phil vs tiger back in the day.I was around 16 years old at a local public golf course called rancho park in los angeles, when phil as i know him as, decided to take me under his wing and teach me,without even asking for one thing back. His kindness was a 10,his physical shape would match up to tiger pound per pound easily, I know he was so healthy in regards to what he ate that even tiger could not have matched it.So yes I do believe in what phil has to say as if you did not know him and see his work ethics you have know reason to be so negative.The reason he does not have a published number, there would be to many calls.
Jul 10, 2007 at 7:33 pm
I will only agree with O’Grady in one respect. Tiger couldn’t play with the old old timers equipment. Byron Nelson said (Golf Digest interview) that if Tiger played in his time with the hickory shafts, he’d snap every one of them.
Jul 10, 2007 at 5:48 pm
mac o grady or whatever his name is a complete idiot—you know something really bothers me about mac or phil or whatever they call him–if you you check on the top golf instructors in golf magazine or golf digest im not sure which one off-hand–they put mac o grady is ranked as one of the top instructors–with no contact info—how do you contact him for a lesson—what a complete scam—who ranks these teachers— themselves???—-as far as this enigma of “ballstriking” goes—tiger hits the ball very solid maybe hes not hogan pure but hits it solid enough—and tigers putting when hes on–awesome—and tigers iron play–awesome–wedge play–awesome—chipping–awesome–creativity and imigination–awesome—bunker play–awesome—-get the idea
Jul 10, 2007 at 5:20 pm
When it comes to the question of great champions, equipment and other factors can be thrown out the window. It is simply a matter of what makes a champion like Tiger: Mental tenacity, competitive strength, personal accountability and leadership in every aspect of life, etc. The only measuring stick we have is how Tiger compares to and competes against his peers today. Barry Bonds took steroids, but is he a champion? No. World series rings: 0. If you could manufacture the intangibles that Tiger posesses and he took them in pill or cream form, McGleno may have an argument and Nike would rule the world. But until then, go ahead and give all the other players steroids and make their grooves octagonal for all I care. I guarantee in the long run Tiger will come out on top until a better competitor comes along.
Jul 10, 2007 at 10:50 am
Over time, all sports evolve. Tennis- wooden rackets, sweater-vests, long pants and long skirts have become what it is today. Look at a pair of Basketball sneakers from 20-30 years ago and it’s amazing that the players could even jump.
The point is, as long as everyone has access to the same gear, what’s the argument? Tiger Woods is TODAY’s best player, if you want to compare him historically that’s fine too but don’t knock him because he has access to technology that everyone else has.
Conditioning also plays a huge role. Do you think Jack and Arnie were at the gym bench pressing what Tiger presses now? Look around the tour, especially the younger players and you can see how far the sport has come in terms of physical strength and physical attributes. THE SPORT HAS EVOLVED, and for the better.
Tiger is the best player of our generation, hands down. And he has transcended the game of golf like NO OTHER. That cannot be disputed. Someone also mentioned the quality of the players throughout the field, also a great point. For the top 50-75 maybe even 100 PGA pros, the skill level is so tight, it’s so much of a mental game and how you approach each shot…Tiger just handles pressure in a way that is also un-matched. He expects to win every tournament he enters, and it’s that approach that gives him that extra something that other players seem to buckle when they encounter.
Jul 9, 2007 at 8:12 am
My mama always told me, “Consider the source” before wasting time and energy on them.
Jul 9, 2007 at 1:40 am
Normally, I don’t respond to trivial fluff like this, but Mac’s comments and these last mind-numbing observations by Justin demand it. First, O’Grady had a fabulous physical game, but mentally when the pressure was on to hit that long iron to the sloped green or sink the putt, his mind shanked. He had documented melt-downs. He was, and is, a loser. Every player today will tell you that the hardest thing to beat about Tiger is his mind-set.
Equipment and the game evolves. Tiger’s ability has changed the courses, his physical conditioning has changed the physical shape of golfers from pot-bellied softies(go look at Jack in the ’60s) to buffed athletes. All the players during Jack and Arnie’s era played with the same equipment, just like players today have the same gear as Tiger. What you do with that equipment determines how great a player you are.
It’s too bad Mac has fallen still lower in the golfing ranks by having to try and get some publicity by these idiotic comments.
Jul 8, 2007 at 9:53 pm
You all need to get off the tiger band wagon. The equipment today is so much better it is almost is like cheating. Also tiger is not even close to the best ball striker whoever thinks that does not Know golf. Mac is even a better ball striker then tiger. Tiger just has an incredible short game that saves him all the time from his bad shots. Whoever wrote that article probably knows as much about golf as my sister. You probably are a weekend hacker like the rest of you out there with a 15 handicap or something.
Jul 7, 2007 at 8:49 pm
Sounds like someone needs a mental coach…. or perhaps just a psychologist!
Jul 6, 2007 at 8:30 pm
Arnie, Jack, Slammin Sammy, Hogan and all the others played the field using the same equiptment of the day. Tiger is doing the same, playing against the field with the equiptment of the day. Even the grass is different today compared to when Arnie, Jack and Hogan played and won their Majors. Unless you are taking drugs you can easily see that Tiger Woods is a 9+ of 10 easily. I watched O’Grady play at the Buick Open a few times, and he’s a talented individual, but he must be on crack to make comments like these.
Jul 4, 2007 at 6:19 pm
I’m in my 60’s and have seen every great player from the 50’s to the present. I can say without question that Tiger is the best ball striker I have ever seen. Jack is the greatest champion with 18 majors, but Tiger is the best golfer.
In addition, when Nicklaus, Arnie, Player and Trevino went into a major, they only had to beat, at most, 15 players. The competition is so much better today that it isn’t even close.
To show how much impact Tiger has on the tour, they never had to ‘Nicklaus-proof’ the courses as they do today. Also, when Tiger joined the tour the total prize money was about $70MM. now it is almost $300MM. Nicklaus, Arnie, etc, never had that kind if impact. Don’t get me wrong, Jack Arnie, Player and all the rest were great golfers and grew the game, but Tiger took it ito the stratosphere.
O’Grady is just jealous of the players of today, especially Tiger.
Jul 4, 2007 at 2:52 pm
To compare todays golfers to golfers 4 decades ago is simply not fair to either. The equipment is completely different, the main advantage being todays balls. The courses are completely different. The game in general is nowhere near the same. While I do feel that the players 30 and 40 years were overall better players and there was more competition, to say that Tiger would not have won is ridiculous. Just imagine Nickluas, Palmer, and Tiger battling for the trophy.
Jul 3, 2007 at 10:06 pm
You might understand the golf swing, but you don’t understand golf.
Jul 3, 2007 at 11:45 am
Does Tiger even have square grooves on his Nike blades?
Jun 30, 2007 at 1:12 pm
“O’Grady attempted to qualify for the PGA Tour through Q School 17 times before receiving his tour card, during this time he legally changed his name from Phil McGleno to Phillip McClelland O’Grady, and then to Mac O’Grady. His best finish in a major is a T-9”
I assume Mac plays in Green.
Jun 30, 2007 at 12:27 am
Wait, so let me get this straight, Tiger has these grooves so he is cheating, let’s just completely disregard the fact that every other player on tour has the same exact type of stuff. In the hands of Tiger they are like steroids, in the hands of everyone else they aren’t? What a joke, Tiger is the best and probably would have been the best had he played back then.
Jun 29, 2007 at 2:03 pm
Interesting. The courses were shorter in the days and are now longer due to the equipment improvement. I have a feeling if Tiger were to play back in the days of Nicklaus, Hogan, etc… he would actually have more wins.