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7 days left in 2019 Golf Season

It’s that time of year, the hillsides have dressed in the golden hues of fall. Moody skies and cooler weather brought our first frost to the golf course over the weekend. Yes, the leaves are falling and closing time is around the corner.

The golf course will close for the season Sunday, November 3rd and return in the spring bringing warmer weather, greener grass and welcoming smiles.

Stop out for a final round and check out our 2020 Season Pass options

 

Woods ties Snead’s mark with 82nd win at ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP

Two legends tied at top for all-time PGA TOUR victories

They came to see history, the fans who swarmed the inaugural ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in numbers that were “insane” (Jordan Spieth), “phenomenal” (Daniel Berger), and “almost as many fans as we usually have in a full week in just one day” (Japan Golf Tour pro Ryo Ishikawa).

Then the man they’d all come to see, Tiger Woods, upped the ante as only he can.

Woods led wire-to-wire for his 82nd PGA TOUR victory, tying Sam Snead atop the official victory ledger. The only thing that slowed him down was the torrential rain that wiped out the second round, but Woods played through it. Undeterred at the end of a long week, he went 1 under for his final seven holes in front of fewer fans Monday morning, completing a final-round 67 to beat Hideki Matsuyama (67) by three at Japan’s first-ever PGA TOUR event.


RELATED: Chasing 82 | What’s in Tiger’s bag? | WATCH: Tiger’s winning put | Tiger proves Presidents Cup worth


Fans thought they were coming out to see history, but wound up seeing HISTORY, as well.

“Well, it’s a big number,” Woods said of his 82nd victory. “It’s about consistency and doing it for a long period of time. … I’m very fortunate to have had the career I’ve had so far.”

As with the other 81 victories, Woods wore red in the final round. (Also, a black sweater vest.) After being called off the course because of darkness Sunday, he and 45 other players returned Monday morning to complete their remaining holes. Woods bogeyed the 12th and saw his three-shot lead cut to two, but Matsuyama failed to convert a short birdie putt at the par-5 14th.

Woods birdied the 14th and cruised from there, punctuating the win with another birdie on 18.

Sungjae Im (65) and Rory McIlroy (67) tied for third at 13 under, six back.

“Living legend! Congrats on No. 82 @TigerWoods!” tweeted Tony Finau as reactions poured in. The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, where Woods got his first win in 1996, also tweeted congratulations, as did Jack Nicklaus and Condoleezza Rice.

“Just a crazy number,” Gary Woodland, who played with Woods the last two rounds, said of his 82nd victory. “You look at the guys that have won 10 times and it’s pretty special.”

Snead was 52 when he won for the 82nd time; Woods is 43. He converted a 54-hole lead or co-lead into a win for the 55th time in 59 chances, including his last nine.

It is tempting to look ahead. Vijay Singh won 22 times in his 40s, Kenny Perry 11, Steve Stricker nine. What if Woods, who now has three victories in his 40s, is just getting going again?

But to look ahead risks failing to fully appreciate the present moment, and how unlikely it all is. Asked to describe Woods in just a few words, the superfans in Chiba alternately likened him to a deity and a phoenix risen from the ashes, the latter imagery being especially potent in Japan.

It’s also especially apt.

From 2014 through 2017, Woods often couldn’t even swing a club. He gave updates on his health, often grim ones, at Presidents Cups and Ryder Cups, where he served as an assistant to U.S. captains. (Captain Woods will lead the U.S. Presidents Cup Team at Royal Melbourne, Dec. 12-15, and is expected to be the first playing captain since Hale Irwin in ’94.)

Finally, in April of ’17, he saw Dr. Richard Guyer of the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute, where spinal fusion surgery gave Woods a new lease on life. For the first time in years he played a full schedule in 2018, punctuating it with his 80th win – his first in over five years – at the TOUR Championship at East Lake just over 13 months ago.

“Probably the low point was not knowing if I’d ever be able to live pain-free again,” he said then. “Am I going to be able to sit, stand, walk, lay down without feeling the pain that I was in? I just didn’t want to live that way. This is how the rest of my life is going to be?”

Woods will turn 44 in two months, and with his back holding, recent events have nonetheless complicated things. His left knee was aching by the end of 2018, but as he wanted to play the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, he put off surgery. That seemed like a good choice as he won The Masters Tournament in April, his 15th major title and 81st win overall.

Alas, the euphoria gave way to more pain: His knee hurt so much that he couldn’t get down to read putts. He didn’t mention it, but his scores fell off and he faded from contention. He failed to reach the TOUR Championship, and underwent his fifth operation on the knee on Aug. 20.

As a result, Woods was something of a question mark for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. Would the knee hold up under the strain of tournament golf? He went 3 over for his first three holes on Thursday, but bounced back with nine birdies for a 64. A typhoon and 10 inches of rain wiped out the second round before it began, but he bounced back with another 64.

Scores of 66-67 kept a world-class field at arm’s length in Japan, the seventh different country in which he has won. (The others: America, England, Scotland, Spain, Canada and Ireland.)

“To battle through the injuries he’s dealt with – gosh, he’s young and he’s playing unbelievable,” Woodland said. “The ballstriking exhibition I’ve seen the last two days is a joke.”

Added Woods: “I didn’t really know that I would come back and play at this level.”

That the event spilled over into Monday morning was fitting. The end of the ZOZO was like the last two years in the career of Woods himself: bonus golf that has left Woods and others smiling.

When will he break the record with No. 83? That depends on when he plays next – the Farmers Insurance Open is a good bet – and whether and for how long he stays healthy.

If his career longevity mirrors Snead’s, then watch out.

“As far as playing until 52, I hope that’s the case,” Woods said. “If you would have asked me a few years ago, I would have given you a different answer, but certainly the future looks brighter than it has, and hopefully I can be as consistent as he was well into my 40s and early 50s.”

Three wins in the last 13 months are an awfully good start.

Source: PGATour

Jason Day tweaks swing ahead of his PGA return

Jason Day has undergone a pre-season bootcamp with coach Colin Swatton in an effort to turn around his dwindling form ahead of his US PGA Tour season debut at the CJ Cup in Korea.

The former world No.1, who featured in the top 10 as recently as January, is desperate to climb back to the top after plummeting to 27th in the rankings.

Having endured his worst season since 2012, Day and long-time instructor Swatton made several swing tweaks during an intense few weeks of training at Day’s home base in Ohio recently.

The pair also vowed to restore the volume of physiotherapy Day received during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, when he became one of the hottest players in golf.

Despite winning his 11th and 12th US PGA Tour titles in 2018, Day’s past three seasons have been marred by injuries.

“A healthy Jason Day is a dangerous Jason Day,” Swatton told AAP.

“In 2014 and 2015, Jason was working regularly with a (personal) trainer, a mind coach, a physio and soft tissue (specialist).

“We’ve tried to reassemble a team that is world class and with one purpose; to help Jason be the best golfer he can be.”

Swatton, who has coached Day since his early teens, has also implemented a couple of changes in Day’s powerful swing.

Day’s hips tend to shift laterally on the backswing instead of rotating, which increased the likelihood of poor shots and his chances of injury.

Swatton has also attempted to straighten Day’s left arm at the top of the backswing for more control.

“Shifting laterally meant Jason was unable to rotate to his right hip, so his torso moved left and that can irritate the back,” Swatton said.

“But now he is starting to rotate away from the ball better; that should improve not only power and accuracy, but protect his body long-term.

“Swinging better and preventing injuries, I think Jason will increase the number of opportunities he has to win on Sundays.”

The CJ Cup is an elite, $US9.75 million event featuring 78 players and no 36-hole cut which kicks off the US PGA Tour’s three-tournament swing through Asia.

Day will be joined in the CJ Cup field at Nine Bridges Golf Club, on Korea’s Jeju Island, by fellow Australians Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith and Matt Jones.

Multiple major winners Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka are among the event’s big names.

Source: 7news

Phil Mickelson explains why he hit driver out of that bush as only Phil Mickelson can

Leave it to Phil Mickelson to have golf fans still talking about a shot—well, really, a decision—days after finishing in 61st place of a fall PGA Tour event. But it isn’t often you see a player hit driver from a bush. It also isn’t often that TV cameras miss any of Mickelson’s shots.

As a result, we’ve had to rely on fan videos to confirm Mickelson did in fact hit a driver out of a bush at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. And that he actually hit a driver out of a bush well, because it definitely fell under the “things you need to see to believe” category. But on Tuesday, we got the ultimate confirmation when Phil himself weighed in.

RANKING: Why Phil Mickelson is the “Content King” of the PGA Tour

It happened after Barstool’s ForePlayPod twitter handle shared a different angle of the ridiculous recovery shot. Shortly after, Mickelson explained the unusual club choice in a way that only Phil—and maybe Bryson DeChambeau—can:

The “depth of the face,” you say? Hmm. OK then. Mickelson’s description also makes it clear the shot happened on the par-5 ninth hole at TPC Summerlin during Saturday’s third round. Mickelson made par on the hole after a disappointing third shot and wound up shooting 74 to tumble down the leader board. Mickelson also explained why he didn’t take relief from the cart path:

Not that keeping a sturdy stance on a cart path is difficult when you have calves like Phil. The previous day, he stood on another path and hit this incredible escape shot:

Unfortunately, no one asked Phil to explain the science behind hitting a low, hard slice out of gravel. Maybe he’ll explain on the next Phireside Chat.

Source: GolfDigest.com

$400 on a putter? Golf Equipment Truths

Nothing against your neighborhood golf store, but our experts are the most knowledgable golf gearheads around. Golf Digest’s equipment editors, Mike Stachura and E. Michael Johnson, have covered the golf equipment business for decades, and there are few who know this space better. We’ve asked them to answer your questions in a weekly equipment round-up. Tweet them any equipment questions you have, and they might answer your questions next week. (Click here or here to ask them a question.)

Do I need to spend $400 on a putter or nah?@Sam_Beishuizen

Do you “need’ to spend $400 on a putter? No one truly needs to spend $400 on a putter. Of course, if you’re willing to spend $500-plus on a new driver, you could investigate the value of a higher end putter because you might be better fit at that price point than one from the bargain barrel. But fact is, most putters on the Golf Digest Hot List are well below that, and we’ve even had putters that go for as little as a hundred bucks make the list. And tour players have won with putters they picked up on sale or even used at the local golf shop or Golf Galaxy. If you’re the type of golfer that appreciates the quality of materials and the craftsmanship that comes with a $400 putter then you might not need to, but you might want to. It’s no different than the person who drives a Tesla or a Mercedes. They don’t need it to get where they’re going. A Honda CR-V will do just fine. But there’s a certain chest-puffing attitude that comes with knowing you have something special. Same applies to putters.

I can’t wait. 80 mph swing speed. 57 years old. What driver is best for me? And you can’t answer, “Go get a fitting.” Thank you.@CrupiRocky

No, sir, thank you for this tragically misinformed question. It is like asking a doctor “I’m 57 years old and I’m coughing. What antibiotic should I take?” You have not provided enough information, nor could that information circumvent a physical examination. First, age and swing speed, while helpful, are only slightly more useful in finding the right driver than hair color and favorite tour player. Would an aging, moderate swing speed player like yourself play better with an extremely heavy, low-lofted head with stiff flex shaft? Probably not. Does that mean you should only be looking at the lightest weight models with high lofts and soft shafts? Hard to say. There are lots of ways to deliver the club at 80 miles per hour. A long, languid 80 miles per hour will necessitate a different shaft than a compact swing with late wrist lag. Weight settings, face settings, even the right grip are all variables that need to be pursued with a fitting. Heck, you might only want to spend $200, in which case, you should look at the used market, but only after getting some guidance from your fitter or club pro. To choose not to take advantage of the expertise of a fitter is to decide that no, you really don’t want to find the best driver for you. But I get it your stubborn: So here are three guidelines: Loft is your friend. Choose consistency of impact over the one long ball. The best driver for you is probably one with a shaft shorter than what’s being sold.

Oh, and go get a fitting.

RELATED: Golf equipment roundtable: Why your 3-iron should be fired

With all that’s going on with the testing of drivers, I golf a lot in a hot country, the face of my driver gets very hot. Have any tests been done in these circumstances?@scotgoodtogo

First, manufacturers do a lot of durability tests, making sure clubs lasts through thousands and thousands of hits, extreme temperatures and other generalized overuse. Same is true for grips and shafts and balls. But this concern is a new one on us. We’ve heard of hot faces before but heating up a face to a degree that would change how flexible the titanium is had us reaching for the experts on our Hot List Technical panel. The consensus is that a driver face that was heated up to 120 or 150 degrees in the trunk of your car dozens of times might have its flexibility change by a percentage that theoretically could be measured by a number that would involve an awful lot of zeros after the decimal point. In other words, that would be pretty much a no. Consider this: Titanium’s casting temperature is well over 3,000 degrees. You might be rightly concerned about the epoxy that’s holding your graphite shaft in your driver’s hosel but only if you’re using something with pretty shoddy workmanship or a cheap counterfeit. But unless you routinely play your golf at Proxima Centauri Dunes, your driver should hold up just fine and remain perfectly legal. That said, there is one benefit to all that heat. The team at Trackman reports that going from 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 100 degrees Fahrenheit will add at least nine yards to your drives because of the effect on air density. Lighter clothes, increased muscle flexibility and the elasticity of the golf ball could add even more yards. (Of course, the opposite is true as temps decrease, as well.) So the next time you tee it on Proxima Centauri, when you really nut one, you might hit it approximately 497 yards farther, gravitational effects notwithstanding. Assuming you don’t spontaneously combust on your downswing, of course.

Camilo Villega's wedges

Lead tape on the back behind the impact area of Camilo Villegas’ wedges helps provide a mode solid feel as well as assist in achieving the proper trajectory.

Does/could using lead tape make a club non-conforming?@BryanDFuller

Fortunately, an easy part of your answer here is covered clearly in the Rules, which allow “features for weight adjustment,” such as lead tape. Obviously, you can’t make those adjustments in the middle of a round, just like you can’t tweak the setting of your adjustable driver to help you hit a fade on a dogleg right or a draw on a dogleg left. That being said, you can do things with lead tape that would make your club nonconforming, like piling it up in the heel or toe in such a way that would change the shape and extend the measurements beyond the size rules that require a club to fit within a five-inch square box. But since we’ve been talking a lot about CT testing these days, there is some evidence that the CT test is sensitive to weight. So theoretically, if you had a driver with a very high CT measurement (at the high end of the tolerance zone) excessive weight from lead tape could push that driver a few points over the limit and make it nonconforming. This is why manufacturers routinely test their players drivers for CT just to make sure a much used driver has not crept over the limit. That “CT creep” is under careful study by the USGA and PGA Tour for the coming season. There is a belief that highly used drivers that already were close to the limit could be played into a non-conforming state. The advantage of doing that might be 0.1 mph of ball speed, but as we’ve said before a speed limit is a speed limit. That’s why more testing on the PGA Tour, as done by the USGA, is a good thing. But it does make us wonder about all those drivers at retail and whether some hard-swinging elite players who got their clubs not from a manufacturer’s representative on tour but from a retail store, might just be seeing the same sort of CT creep in their drivers. As they say in the big city, “Watch this Space.”

Are shafts such as Aerotech Steelfiber better in irons for men with arthritic joints? Or are there steel alternatives?@BobRoge321

We’re fans of the Aerotech Steelfiber shaft on many fronts and certainly graphite has its benefits when it comes to shock absorption. But there are steel alternatives. Ping for years has produced steel iron shafts with shock absorption traits and this year True Temper introduced its Elevate shaft with an internal shock absorption mechanism called VSS, which is a strip of foam that winds around the inside of the upper portion of the shaft. Depending on which weight shaft you use, True Temper says VSS can reduce vibration between 56 and 71 percent compared to a standard steel shaft without it. A cushier grip could be another way to reduced unwanted vibration, too, and give those aching joints a break from the rigors of impact.

Original post: GolfDigest

Tour Confidential: Jason Day wins again, a Tiger-Phil date at the Players and more

1. Justin Thomas needed to finish the Wells Fargo Championship 12th or better to become the No. 1 player in the world, and although he couldn’t quite do it (T21), another former No. 1, Jason Day, won for the second time this season. It was barely more than a year ago when Day was the world’s top-ranked player (projected to jump from 14th to 7th after Sunday), but he’s won twice in the last five months and is reminding us of his five-win 2015 season. Can a healthy Day still be as good as any other player on the planet?

Josh Sens, contributing writer, GOLF (@JoshSens): For sure. As we’ve seen over the past few years, there are a handful of players who can outright dominate when all systems are firing. Day is one of them. He’s got the necessary triple threat of power, touch and resilience under pressure.

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, GOLF (@AlanShipnuck): His short game has been sensational during this run but the scary thing is that Day has not been totally happy with his ball-striking. He hit a bunch of clutch shots coming down the stretch today, so lookout.

John Wood, caddie for Matt Kuchar (@johnwould): Absolutely. The key word is “healthy.” Watching a bit of the telecast Saturday and watching his putting (which is wonderfully aggressive; he literally looks like he is trying to make every single putt, like that’s the only thought in his head) and his ability to fly the ball 313 right down the middle while one-arming his follow through was startling. A healthy Day can be as good or better than anyone.

Dylan Dethier, associate editor, GOLF.com (@dylan_dethier): Um, yeah. I just hope “a healthy Day” is a realistic long-term expectation.

2. In Tiger Woods’s first start since the Masters, he battled a cold putter at the Wells Fargo Championship and finished T55. Next up is the Players Championship, a tournament he’s won twice. Are you more or less bullish about Tiger’s chances of winning the Players than you were regarding his chances at Augusta, where he was a favorite but finished T32?

Sens: I never liked his chances much at Augusta, so I guess I like them slightly more at the Players, but only slightly. Tiger’s comeback has been amazing to watch. But this field is just too stout and the course too trouble-filled for a guy still on a quest to find his (warning: Tigerism approaching) A-game.

Shipnuck: He has a much better chance at the Players, if only because ANGC demands so many drivers and Sawgrass so few. Notwithstanding his cold putter in Charlotte, the driver remains the weakest part of Tiger’s game. But as fun as it has been to watch him grinding, as the sample size becomes larger it becomes more clear that Tiger has a looong way to go before he’s ready to win anything, let alone against the deepest field of the year on a treacherous course.

Wood: Broken record time. Tiger can win any week he tees it up. It’s a matter of putting everything together in the same week, like anyone else in the field. But even at this point in his career, there is greatness still in there. I think most of us out here still believe that. It doesn’t go away, it’s a matter of tapping into the seed.

Dethier: I was all in on Tiger pre-Masters, so it’s hard for me to match that same level of confidence as he heads to a course where, besides the two wins (and that is a BIG “besides”) he hasn’t played up to his own standards. But I could see him smoking two-iron around the place and getting hot with the putter on some slippery greens more to his liking — I expect it’ll be a better result than this past week.

3. Woods and Phil Mickelson are grouped for the first two rounds of the Players(Rickie Fowler is also joining the star-studded threesome), making it the first time the duo has been paired together since the 2014 PGA. Who will derive more motivation from this grouping: Tiger or Phil?

Sens: Tiger. Phil has spoken at length about how fired up he gets playing with Tiger. But is there any fiercer competitor on the planet than Woods? I know that this is the kinder, gentler Tiger, but I still think of him as being like one of those characters from a movie who wants to rip the other guy’s heart out and show it to him while it’s still beating. Maybe Phil feels the same and is just hiding it behind the aw-shucks smile. Whatever the case, this should be fun.

Shipnuck: Jim Furyk. Throw in the practice round at Augusta and perhaps all of this is laying the groundwork for a Tiger-Phil pairing at the Ryder Cup. Don’t forget, it’s supposed to be a goodwill exhibition; what could possibly generate more buzz than pairing Woods and Mickelson together on an international stage?

Sens: That would be interesting. Let’s hope it works out better than when Hal Sutton tried it.

Wood: I’d say Phil. I think Phil gains a lot of energy from crowds; the bigger the crowd, the more energy he feels. Tiger is in a bubble, in a good way, and he is going to play the same as he otherwise would in the first two rounds of a tournament.

Dethier: We all lose from this pairing. It’s a curmudgeonly take, but I’m so over these manufactured star-studded pairings on Thursdays and Fridays — it makes it that much less compelling to see the game’s biggest names battle it out on the weekend. Gimme this pairing when it feels like we’ve earned it! Tiger comes out on top (through two rounds).

4. “I don’t care about the U.S. Open or the Open Championship,” Rory McIlroy said prior to the Wells Fargo, when discussing his close call at the Masters last month. “(The Masters) is the biggest tournament in the world. It has the most amount of eyeballs, the most amount of hype. The most amount of everything is at Augusta.” A day later McIlroy clarified his comments: “I didn’t mean it like that at all … I care deeply about those other ones. I’m a proud winner of both of those tournaments.” What did you make of Rory’s remarks?

Sens: I take him at his word that his first words came out wrong. Rory’s a forthright interview. When you speak freely, as he does, sometimes you don’t phrase things exactly as you’d like. What’s fair to take from it, I think, is that the Masters looms the largest in his mind because it’s the one major he’s missing, and because it has tormented him with close calls. That’s not the same as him not caring about the others.

Shipnuck: I agree with everything Josh said — of course Rory is proud of his Opens and venerates those events. The whole thing was a non-event for me except that it revealed the depth of Rory’s Augusta obsession. He wants that jacket so badly I fear he will continue to get in his own way.

Wood: He did not mean he didn’t care about the U.S. Open or the Open Championship. His statement was referring to not caring about the public’s or media’s opinion/perception when it came to the importance of these events. What Rory meant was that in terms of rankings, in terms of what majors most professionals would want to win, the Masters IS the easy choice. It is The Biggest Tournament in the world. Reading it any other way is just trying to stir up a controversy that is not there.

Dethier: Well-covered by my colleagues above. I actually felt like the response to this was fairly measured and appropriate, although there may be some Open Championship diehards seething across the pond that I missed. Rory gives the best pressers in the game — he meant what he said, but he also didn’t mean it like, all the way. Move along now.

5. Day played the dreaded Green Mile — Quail Hollow’s name for its 16th, 17th and 18th holes — in two under Sunday to pick up his 12th career PGA Tour victory. What’s the toughest three-hole stretch you’ve ever played?

Sens: The closing three at Ko-Olau, a sadistic course on Oahu with ball-swallowing ravines and lush vegetation everywhere you look. I know they’ve softened it in recent years, but it’s still not the kind of layout most amateurs can get through with a single sleeve of Titleists. You could easily lose three balls on the 18th alone. That finisher is a 467-yard dogleg right par-4 with a couple of forced carries. And yet some young stud once cut the corner and made a hole-in-one. True story. You’ll be shocked to hear it wasn’t me.

Shipnuck: Is it the Bear Pit or Snake Trap? I can never remember.

Wood: I don’t know about the toughest three-hole stretch, but the toughest four-hole stretch I ever played was the last four holes at The Olympic Club when I was playing there in a tournament in college. What made it especially tough was the fact that I had wrenched my putter around the crook of a tree after three-putting the 14th green, bending it into a beautiful “U” shape like a large horseshoe. I putted with my Ben Hogan sand wedge for the last four. So, self-imposed difficulty, yes, but the toughest nonetheless.

Dethier: I’ve got particularly fond memories of the viciousness of 16-18 at Wild Horse Golf Club in Gothenburg, Neb., which may well be the BEST deal in these entire United States of America. I tend to hit the ball pretty high, which doesn’t work all that well into a 50-mph wind, particularly against two local sticks who never seemed to hit it more than 10 feet off the ground. I paid up after that match.

6. Several stars missed the cut at the Players Championship last year, but many are in form entering this year’s edition. Who is your pick to win and runner-up, and what will the winning score be?

Sens: Rickie at 12 under, with Sergio nipping at his spikes, one back.

Shipnuck: Patrick Reed. He was hot before the Masters win and he’s stayed hot. It’s a position golf course so his lack of pop off the tee is a non-issue. The last nine years every winning score has been between 10 under and 16 under, so I’m gonna say… 13 under.

Wood: Kuchar at 11 under, Fowler runner-up.

Shipnuck: Woody, you’re shameless.

Dethier: One Jordan Spieth at 15 under, with Rafa Cabrera Bello in second. But Matt Kuchar won’t be far behind!

Source: Golf.com

Watch: Angry turkey chases golfers into a ditch

Consuming Wild Turkey on a golf course isn’t unusual. Being chased by one, however, is.

You’ll recall the high school player who was recently attacked by an angry goose on the course. Well, apparently fowl of the world have united against golfers.

In the video (seen below), an agitated turkey chases a pair of giggling golfers and wins the battle without physical violence. The turkey showcases his mastery over the lay of the land, taking “a shortcut” and running the golfers into a ditch.

Birds, man.

 

Source: GolfChannel

The Zurich Classic of New Orleans concluded Sunday with Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy winning the tournament by one stroke over Jason Dufner and Pat Perez. Horschel and Piercy each won a little more than $1 million and earned a two-year PGA Tour exemption.

Next step in the creative brain of tournament director Steve Worthy: Getting the winners into the Masters.

“I’m not saying I think it will happen next year or the year after or perhaps ever,” Worthy said Sunday morning. “But when I brought it up, I didn’t get a flat no or anyone laughing at me. They said, ‘We’ll take a look at it.’ That’s all I can ask.”

A Masters invite for the winners of what is now the tour’s only team event would be a Grand Slam home run for Worthy and his tournament. Even without the Masters though, it is already a home run.

Sunday’s finish marked the second year the tournament has been played as a team event after 59 years as a 72-hole stroke-play event. That was the problem: New Orleans was always a solid tour stop, played on good golf courses. But with a late April date that came when most top players are looking for a post-Masters break, the quality of its field had suffered.

“In 2016, we had four of the top 30 in the World Rankings,” Worthy said. “This year we have six of the top 10, 10 of the top 15 and 18 of the top 30. Players like what we’re doing. We’re going to keep trying to give them something different every year. What it’ll be, I’m not sure. We’ll sit down and talk about it after we’re done this year.”

The first year of team play was a roaring success, players enjoying the idea of a unique format and the chance to partner up with a buddy. This year, Worthy added walk-up music as the players approached the first tee. Who knows what next year might bring.

RELATED: What entrance music says about the players at the Zurich Classic

Regardless, the success in New Orleans has made other tournament directors start to think outside the box. “I’ve heard guys talked about maybe having a mixed team event,” Worthy said—a notion PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said was, ‘only a matter of time,’ on Sunday.

There’s also been talk about another tour event perhaps going to match play. The WGC-Dell Match Play has been a success since launching in 1999. Perhaps some tournament struggling to get players might make the switch if only to break the monotony of one identical 72-hole stroke-play event after another.

The genesis of the idea came on April 19, 2016 at 6:12 a.m. when Andy Pazder, the tour’s executive vice president and director of operations, had, as he called it, “a crazy idea,” while he was drinking his morning coffee.

Pazder texted Jay Monahan, the tour’s commissioner-in-waiting (that’s how he knows the exact time) and wondered about making New Orleans a team event. Monahan suggested running the idea by CAA—the agency that represents Zurich. If the title sponsor didn’t like it, there was no sense going any farther with it.

CAA and Zurich were intrigued. From there, the idea was passed onto Worthy, who would have to execute it going forward—36 holes of best-ball; 36 holes of alternate shot. He also liked it because he knew something had to change or New Orleans might go the way of other PGA Tour events that didn’t have a title sponsor when the Zurich contract was up in 2019.

“When we all got together after the tournament in 2016 we talked the idea around and, at some point it became apparent there was a consensus in the room that this was worth a try,” Worthy said. “We knew it was different. But that’s what we needed.”

To some, the notion was far-fetched. New Orleans was one of the tour’s oldest events. It was actually first played in 1938, went dormant for 10 years in 1948 and has been part of the tour every year now since 1958.

Steve Worthy
NOLA.comWorthy believes the Zurich Classic’s renaissance is only just beginning.

“All the reports we were getting back on our execution during the week were excellent,” Worthy said. “The players were all very positive about what we were doing for them. But the fact was we weren’t getting the kind of fields we wanted—or needed. Being realistic, that was an issue.”

Worthy had just finished his fifth year as tournament director in New Orleans. He had spent five years as the operations director at the Memorial and then 15 with the USGA, running the U.S. Open. In 2007, he’d been offered the chance to be a tournament director at Pebble Beach.

“I loved it there,” he said. “I mean, come on, it’s Pebble Beach. The people out there were great to me.”

Which begs the question, why would anyone leave Pebble Beach, one of the tour’s most iconic stops, to take over the struggling event in New Orleans? The answer’s simple. “It was home,” Worthy said. “More than a few people questioned my sanity when I took the job but I was turning 50 and, well, home’s home.”

Worthy grew up outside Baton Rouge, was a decent high school quarterback and went to LSU (not to play football). “My last high school game I threw five interceptions,” he said. “Three were returned for touchdowns. My offensive line didn’t tackle very well.”

The good news when Worthy arrived was that the tournament had a solid sponsor—Zurich, which had come on board in 2005 and was locked in through the 2019 tournament. But as the years on the contract dwindled and the fields didn’t get much better, people began to get a little nervous.

After Brian Stuard won the 2016 event in a playoff over Jaime Lovemark and Byeong Hun An, it was time to seriously consider Pazder’s “crazy idea.”

Once Zurich and the Fore!Kids Foundation (Worthy’s bosses) had signed off, the idea had to be taken to the players, starting with the Players Advisory Board. Pazder brought it up formally at a September PAC 2016 meeting.

“I thought it was entirely possible they’d throw me out of the room,” Pazder said. “By the time the meeting was over, guys were pairing up with one another. That’s how much they liked it.”

Zurich Classic
John Korduner/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty ImagesSo happy with the changes in the tournament, Zurich extended its title sponsorship of the New Orleans event through 2026.

This year’s field had 19 past major champions, including all four current major champions: Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed. It also had past Ryder Cup partners in Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson; Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter; Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar; and Sergio Garcia and Rafael Cabrera-Bello. U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk played with another former Ryder Cupper, David Duval.

From the tournament’s perspective, the best news of the week came on Sunday, when Zurich announced a seven-year contract extension, meaning the tournament is on solid sponsorship ground at least through 2026.

What’s next? The walk-up music this year was a huge success. The pro-am format was also changed this year so that three amateurs played with a two-man team, rather than one pro. The final round of tournament in 2017 was best-ball, this year it was alternate shot.

“The tour and CBS both thought alternate shot the last day would keep more teams in contention,” Worthy said. It can also knock teams out of contention: the tournament lost the Spieth-Ryan Palmer team on Friday when they finished with back-to-back double bogeys in alternate shot to miss the cut by one.

Worthy was asked if he might approach the tour with the idea of putting mics on the players—a long-time tour no-no.

“We’re not going to do anything that takes away from this being conducted like an important PGA Tour event,” Worthy said. “That’s why we checked with a lot of players about the walk-up music.”

He paused. “I will say this, several of our amateurs said they really enjoyed hearing the players talk strategy during the pro-am. But we’d never do anything unless the players and the tour were ok with it.”

A Masters invitation? Micing the players? Out of the question, right? All Worthy can do is ask. He’s already come a long way in just two short years.

 

Source: GolfDigest

Golf legend Jack Nicklaus gives Tampa students some lessons on golf and life

TAMPA, Fla. — One by one, the Tampa students stood in front of Jack Nicklaus at Rogers Park Golf Course and tried to do what the 18-time champion once did better than anyone on the planet.They tried to hit a golf ball: far, straight, with poise and strength.Freedom High School senior Helena Noel, who hopes to go pro one day, was soaking it all in.“I hit my driver 250, 260 yards,” Noel said. “I wanna ask him how much farther he could have hit it with modern technology.”Nicklaus eventually told her with a chuckle. The six-time Master champ would have hit it farther than anyone else. But the 78-year-old was not just here to give golf tutorials or brag about his illustrious past.As part of his First Tee program, Nicklaus wanted the students to also excel at life.“When they get out here, they blossom,” Nicklaus said. “They find something they like to do instead of getting on the streets and doing something they shouldn’t be doing.”Kids are his focus now. He told them to be bold, brave and believe in themselves.“You can make a lot of putts. But none of those putts are worth what these kids are worth,” said Nicklaus.As he watched the kids laugh, clap, take good swings and bad, the man known as the Golden Bear smiled.“These kids are going to do all right,” said Nicklaus.Source: ABC Action News