Morning 9: Remembering Brian Barnes | The King at 90 | Great golf equipment fails

By Ben Alberstadt (; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

September 11, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Happy 90th, King!
Yesterday would have been Arnold Palmer’s 90th birthday…
Golf Channel’s Will Gray with an excellent piece…”Tuesday marks what would have been Arnold Palmer’s 90th birthday. And while nearly three years have passed since Palmer’s death, his impact is still felt on Tour just as strongly as when he spent his days signing autographs at home in Latrobe or buzzing around in a golf cart at his beloved Bay Hill.”
  • “Palmer’s reach transcended a sport before there was a blueprint to do so. His appeal was not only felt by those in and around the game, but his recognition extended beyond the course as he managed to span generations like few before (or after) him have done, as players discussed recently.”
  • “He was just a cool guy, and he got along with everyone,” Adam Scott said. “He was 80 years old and he got along with 20-year-olds, and 20-year-olds wanted to hang around him. He liked telling some stories and having a good time, and I think he genuinely kind of loved living life. And that’s appealing to a lot of people.”

Full piece.

2. RIP, Brian Barnes
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall on the demise of the Nicklausslayer…”Brian Barnes, who famously defeated Jack Nicklaus twice in one day at the 1975 Ryder Cup, has died after a bout with cancer. He was 74.”
  • “Barnes won 20 times as a professional, highlighted by nine titles on the European Tour. He was the son-in-law of Max Faulkner, who won the 1951 Open Championship at Royal Portrush. More than four decades later, Barnes would win the Senior British Open at Portrush, and defend his title the next year at the Northern Ireland venue.
  • “Barnes represented Great Britain & Ireland, and finally Europe, in six consecutive Ryder Cups (1969 to 1979). Though he had a 10-14-1 career record at the biennial event, he’s regarded as a team hero for knocking off Nicklaus twice in Sunday singles at Laurel Valley.”

Full piece.

3. Reunited at last
The latest in #MissingBagGate… Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine: “Morgan Pressel tweeted that Angel Yin had been reunited with her clubs late on Tuesday. She tweeted a video of an elated Yin embracing her travel bag, which was lost over the weekend.”
Prior to that, Jodie Ewart Shadoff was reunited with her missing sticks, but Yin remained without hers. He discusses the full fiasco here.
4. Lewis WDs 
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”Stacy Lewis hurt her lower back at the Cambia Portland Classic in her last start nearly two weeks ago.”
  • “It started bothering me there,” Lewis said Tuesday after withdrawing from the U.S. Solheim Cup team. “I had some tests and treatment last week, hoping it would go away, and it felt a little better for a while, but …”
  • “But Lewis knew her growing pain this week might jeopardize American chances, so she told U.S. captain Juli Inkster on Tuesday morning that she was out.”
  • “I didn’t want to have to make that decision, but it’s what’s best for the team,” Lewis said. “And what’s best for me going forward, with my body.”
Full piece.
5. What AmEx gets
Larry Bohannon at the Desert Sun looks into the benefits for the credit giant putting its name on a golf tournament.
  • “It is fair to ask why a company accustomed to sponsoring some of the biggest golf tournaments in the world would be interested in the financial commitment – generally twice the amount of a tournament’s purse – to any regular PGA Tour event. The desert tournament’s purse this year was $5.9 million. Stephen J. Squeri, chairman and CEO of American Express, said in a statement announcing the sponsorship that his company just wants to be associated with golf.”
  • “Golf consistently ranks as one of the top passions of our card members, and the (PGA Tour) provides some of the most exciting experiences at some of the best venues the game offers,” the statement said. “We’re looking forward to making The American Express a ‘must-see’ event for fans and card members alike.”

Full piece.

6. Equipment fails!
Superb stuff from Golf Digest’s E. Michael Johnson reminiscing about some of most notable golf equipment fails from the past couple of decades…
  • “Orlimar golf balls…In 1999, Orlimar was a significant player in the fairway-wood market with its line of TriMetal woods. Buoyed by that success, the company attempted to expand into other categories. At the PGA International Golf Show in Las Vegas that summer, the company proudly introduced a line of golf balls packaged in a pop-top can, much like tennis balls. Allegedly, this was more than a marketing gimmick; the can was supposed to help the balls avoid moisture. The following day, TaylorMade served Orlimar a cease-and-desist letter, claiming the packaging violated TaylorMade’s patent on its InerGel Moisture Block packaging. The Orlimar balls never made it to market, and the launch signaled the start of Orlimar’s sharp decline.”
  • “Dave Pelz Featherlight irons…Introduced in 1984, the Pelz Featherlight irons seemed a reasonable idea. The lighter the club, the faster it could be swung for more distance. Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that the light weight actually contributed to shots going shorter and without much control. Making matters worse, the thin-walled shafts sometimes broke, resulting in injuries- not usually a recipe for increasing sales.”

Full piece. 

7. DJ Trahan 
Golf Digest’s John Strege…”A decorated amateur and twice a winner on the PGA Tour, Trahan could not have envisioned how an injury familiar to so many golfers could send his career careening so far off course.”
  • “From 2014 through 2019, Trahan, 38, split his time equally between the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour, 49 starts on each. The last time he was fully exempt on the PGA Tour was 2012. Thirteen months ago, he was 2,042nd in the World Ranking.”
  • “When I got hurt, it derailed me a little bit,” Trahan said last week. “It actually affected me as much or more mentally than it did physically. Mentally, I went into a dark place. Then I woke up one day and said it’s time to quit the damn pity party, get back to being positive, get back to to the PGA Tour.”

Full piece.

8. Why not golf? 
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch: “At the U.S. Open, Rafa Nadal was serving 5-2 in the fifth and final set when the chair umpire hit him with a penalty for taking too much time before serving.”
“Think about that: The United States Tennis Association was willing to enforce pace-of-play rules against one of the biggest stars in its sport, at a crucial moment in a huge event.”
“Remember that when the excuse makers try to tell you that golf can’t possibly do the same.”

Eamon’s Corner is well worth a watch this week!

9. Bubba’s (millions of dollars worth of) Milles
Whether you’re a Richard Mille enthusiast, or you were heretofore unfamiliar with the $500,000-plus watches that adorn the bomb-launching left-hander’s right wrist, our roundup of a few of his timepieces is worth a read!
A taste…
  • The RM 038 Tourbillon Bubba Watson ($525,000)“This was the one that started it all! The white one with the over half-million-dollar price tag. The one that everyone was searching online for. The Richard Mille RM 038 Tourbillon Bubba Watson. Only 38 lucky people on this planet own a RM 038 with its slightly grey tinted, white magnesium case. This timepiece was special because it combined a complicated movement, precise timekeeping, and extreme durability.”
  • “The case is made up of three pieces of magnesium WE 54 that is 89 percent magnesium, six percent yttrium, and five percent of rare earth metals. The material is extremely lightweight but very hard to machine, taking much longer than traditional metal. The case then goes through Miarox, an electro-plasma oxidation treatment, that coats the pieces in ceramic. Miarox is used in the medical and aerospace sectors, being extremely scratch and corrosion-resistant. The three pieces of the case are held together with 12 spline screws and the Nitrile O-ring seals give the watch water resistance to 50 meters. Inside that case is a RM038 calibre with 19 jewels, 42-hour power reserve, and a baseplate and bridges made from grade five titanium.”

Full piece.

And as a bonus, in other Richard Mille news, Odell Beckham, Jr. wore one of the timepieces in-game, attracting the NFL’s attention…

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