Morning 9: Adler: Phil knows better | Up-and-down day for TW | New USGA prez

By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram and golfwrxEIC on Twitter.

December 5, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.  
 
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1. Good news for Team USA? Reed, Woodland lead
BBC report on round one from Albany...”Gary Woodland and fellow American Patrick Reed share the lead after the first round of the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.”
  • “The pair managed six-under rounds of 66 as Tiger Woods was one of those to struggle in windy conditions.”
  • “The 15-time Major champion closed with a bogey and double bogey to slip to level par for his opening round.”
  • “England’s Justin Rose is one of four players three shots off the lead and one behind second-placed Chez Reavie.”

Full piece.

2. Tiger opens with 72
Bad bookends a slow start make for captain Woods…
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”A good bit of work to get himself back in the tournament was blown away on the final two holes, as Woods finished with a bogey and double-bogey to shoot even-par 72 and finish 6 strokes back of leaders Patrick Reed and Gary Woodland and tied for 11th in the 18-player field.”
  • “I didn’t putt that well today, but my short game was great and I drove it really well,” Woods said. “Just hit a couple poor iron shots that cost me a few shots. Got myself kind of right there in the mix and then bad shots on 17, 18.”
  • “Playing for the first time since his October victory at the Zozo Championship in Japan, Woods simply appeared a bit off, not giving himself very many birdie opportunities, bogeying two par-5s and struggling on a particularly windy day in the Bahamas.”
  • “But after playing the front nine in 2 over par, he rebounded by playing a five-hole stretch in 5 under par, including chipping in for an eagle at the par-5 15th hole. That got him to 2 under par, only to give it back on the last two holes.”

Full piece.

3. Adler: Phil knows better
Scathing stuff from Golf Digest’s Max Adler on Phil Mickelson’s decision to tee it up in KSA…
“Phil’s so smart, there’s no doubt he knows the definition of chiasmus. You know, “a rhetorical or literary figure in which words, grammatical constructions, or concepts are repeated in reverse order, in the same or modified form.” Phil being Phil is the chiasmic distilled essence of his being. Whether it’s putting two drivers in the bag or none, wheeling through a Krispy Kreme drive-thru in a green jacket, or smacking down Jake Owen on the dance floor with a wad of cash, the world recognizes “Phil being Phil” when we see it. And so does Phil. He wielded the technique Monday on Twitter in response to criticism for entering the Saudi International amid the human rights turmoil going on in that nation. “You do you booboo cuz ima do me” Mickelson replied to Guardian golf writer Ewan Murray.”
“Now, there are other prominent American golfers likely banking large appearance fees for participating in the second edition of the Saudi European Tour event-like Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau, and Brooks Koepka-but the heat is on Phil because presumably he should know better. A worldly man on the cusp of 50, knowledgeable on subjects as wide ranging as wine, dinosaurs and subcutaneous fat (and really almost any topic you care to bring up, many golfers say), should know that the staging of a popular western sport in a country whose values are so antithetical to our own comes with certain dilemmas that cannot be quickly dismissed. See the uproar between China and the NBA that’s now lasted over a month. Just last year Saudi Arabia directed the assassination of a dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, and so hosting a professional golf tournament is a stunt to rehabilitate its global image that the New York Times calls “Sportswashing”. Phil has to be aware of all this.”

Full piece.

4. Tiger on the pursuit of speed
Interesting stuff via Geoff Shackelford for Golfweek. “While Tiger has transformed professional golf in many ways, nowhere is his influence more substantial in encouraging a power game. This holds true even as the 43-year-old has transitioned away from using power to silence a field in his two 2019 victories.”
  • “While Woods doesn’t say he regrets pushing his body to extremes, he does expect more injuries in golf as more strive for power.”
  • “There’s going to be added wear and tear on different parts of the body that traditionally there hasn’t been…”Now people are doing PiYos, Olympic lifts, all the different things because they know how important ground is to create power,” Woods said of modern swings that emphasize rotation over the old reverse C moves of the 1970s. “Now you’re going to start to see, I’m sure, some wear and tear injuries that traditionally hasn’t been the case. We’ll see how that goes.”
Full piece.
5. New USGA prez
USGA media release…”J. Stuart Francis, of Hillsborough, California, has been nominated to serve as the 66th president of the United States Golf Association (USGA).”
  • …”Francis has been a member of the USGA Executive Committee for five years and has served on the Compensation, Equipment Standards and Governance committees in addition to four years as chair of the Championship Committee. An accomplished amateur golfer, Francis has competed in three US Amateur Championships, two NCAA Championships and three Canadian Amateur Championships. Francis earned his B.A. from Princeton University, where he was named First Team All-Ivy League and All-American as co-captain of the men’s golf team. Francis, who also earned an MBA from Stanford University, is currently a senior managing director for Evercore, a global investment banking advisory firm, where he leads the Silicon Valley technology practice.”

Full piece.

6. Looking for a look in the eye
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”After choosing himself with a pick, Woods is required to play in a minimum of two matches including a singles match on the final day. Els is playing this week in the Australian Open along with six International Team members, and he told PGATour.com that he’ll assess some intangible factors when weighing which players might be best-suited to go up against the reigning Masters champ.”
“I’ll analyze how the guys are playing and see who’s really got the look in the eye,” Els said. “There are a lot of guys who have put their hands up to want to play Tiger … but I will not put a guy in there that’s going to feel overwhelmed.”
…”The youngsters look up at him, but they definitely want to have a piece of him,” Els said. “So, we’ll see who I think can really play against Tiger the best and get the best result.”

Full piece.

7. No turtle polo for Bryson!
Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”But it’s the design that may turn a few heads, with the light blue-themed collection including the Slow Play Polo, Slow Play Tee and the Predators Polo. A turtle logo adorns the Slow Play Polo. Get it. Turtle. Slow.”
  • …”As Gary Woodland and Rickie Fowler debuted different versions of the turtle-infused line, the field’s other Puma player was not quite ready to embrace the golfing turtle.”
  • “It’s an awesome collection,” Bryson DeChambeau said as The Man Out Front trailed him in a quick course departure following an opening 76. “They had the turtle one …” he said, and before the Forecaddie could ask if it would make his repertoire.
  • “That’s not going to happen,” DeChambeau said.
Full piece.
8. Leaney leads 
Golfweek’s Todd Kelly…”Stephen Leaney shot a second-round 66 on Wednesday to take a four-shot lead at the PGA Tour Champions Qualifying Tournament Final Stage.”
  • “Leaney had six birdies and a bogey in his round at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona.”
  • “Todd Fischer, who also shot a second-round 66, joins Paul Stankowski an Frank Esposito in second. All four golfers have shot in the 60s in the first two rounds.”

Full piece.

9. Tiger outdrives Thomas…jabs the needle
Via the Golf Channel Digital team…”Well for the most part, it looked like Woods had a blast with buddy Justin Thomas on Wednesday, but it was particularly evident on the 11th hole, when the 44-year-old tournament host outdrove the 26-year-old Thomas by a mile, and then made sure to let him know it.”
  • “While walking down the fairway, Tiger strolled over to JT’s ball just to “make sure” it wasn’t his, bringing a big smile to the face of the player 18 years his junior.”
Full piece/see the clip here

 

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