Morning 9: Tiger “feeling better” | Slowww playyy | Reed’s golf ball tweak pays | Byrd’s plea

By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

 

August 14, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. “Feeling better”
If you saw any of the video of Tiger arriving at Medinah, you saw USA Today’s Steve Dimeglio was basically there to greet him in the players’ parking lot. Who better than DiMeglio to turn to for the present State of the Tiger then? (image above via DiMeglio)
  • “Tiger Woods flew in from Florida on Tuesday and drove into a massive parking lot at 1:20 p.m. local time at Medinah Country Club, home to this week’s BMW Championship, the second of three events in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
  • Now he has to get to the first tee for Thursday’s first round.
  • At 43 and following four surgeries to his back – as well as four to his left knee – Woods has spoken often this summer that some days he feels stiff, other days he feels fine. It’s the day-to-day unknown that leaves his start in the BMW Championship in question, no matter his intent to play.
  • Woods said he decided to try and play in the tournament Tuesday morning.
  • “I feel good,” Woods said as he got out of the courtesy vehicle. “Feel a lot better than I felt last week. Felt good this morning so I thought I’d give it a go.”

Full piece.

2. Reed’s ball change pays dividends
Good stuff from PGATour.com’s Andrew Tursky on Patrick Reed’s projectile switch…”While Reed has switched golf balls multiple times throughout 2019, he had settled into a Titleist Pro V1 “left dot” prototype. Fordie Pitts, Titleist’s Golf Ball R&D rep, once explained to PGATOUR.COM that the TOUR-only, left-dot prototype golf ball spins “a little bit less and aerodynamically it flies a little lower.” For Reed, it was spinning too little and flying too low, thus causing control issues coming into the greens.”
  • “According to Reed, Simpson suggested that Reed switch into a higher-spinning and higher-launching 2017 Pro V1 golf ball, instead of the “left dot” prototype.”
  • “Reed said that Simpson gave him a dozen of the golf balls to use for the weekend at the Wyndham Championship. While Reed didn’t switch on Saturday, he said he put the 2017 Pro V1 golf ball in play on Sunday.”
  • “After sitting in 55th place heading into the final round, Reed shot 7-under using the golf ball on Sunday, vaulting him into a T22 finish.”

Full piece.

3. Shackelford’s slow play take
“Until last weekend’s social media fueled outrage over Bryson DeChambeau taking his sweet time, there have been few seminal moments to point to as evidence that we’ve lost the plot.  Now the sport has one, it’s just a shame that Bryson is the poster child as he’s a good-hearted soul who genuinely loves the game. While spectacularly immodest at times, he’s also incredibly sensitive to the health and perception of the sport more than most professional golfers.”
  • “…the bickering will continue, ShotLink will be leveraged and pro tours will stall on the most pressing issue in the sport, the real concern should be about fans both in person and watching at home.  I haven’t heard much concern for them, only what would happen to a golf professional’s bank account if we were to penalize them.”
  • “If the professional’s livelihood continues to be the focus, the insular world of professional golf will quickly lose fans for not adapting quickly to the times.”

Full piece.

4. Thanks to video?
The AP’s game story master flexes his editorial muscles in a column on slow play pointing out that if, indeed, we are at some sort of a slow play tipping point, the Tour’s expanded video coverage will have played a key role
  • “…Oddly enough, it was an older form of technology that brought searing attention to a sore subject: a television camera.”
  • “Fans get a Twitter vote on which of two groups they would rather see in streaming coverage, and the winner Friday at The Northern Trust was Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas and Tommy Fleetwood. Without them being seen, there would be no video of DeChambeau taking 2 minutes, 6 seconds on an 8-foot putt.”
Full piece (and plenty of veteran perspective)
5. Staggered scoring coming into focus
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…“The shift from points to starting strokes is beginning to hit home on the eve of the penultimate event, especially for those whose starting total at East Lake could shift by a stroke or two with each birdie or bogey this week at Medinah Country Club. One of the best statistical seasons of Rory McIlroy’s career has him in third place heading into the BMW, a position that would equate to a 7-under starting total next week. If the standings hold, he’d tee off three shots behind Brooks Koepka and one shot behind Patrick Reed, a winner last week at the first playoff event.”
  • “I want to be 10 under par standing on that first tee in Atlanta next week,” McIlroy said. “It’s hard enough to win golf tournaments when you’re all starting on a level playing field. But whenever it’s staggered like that, it’s a tough proposition if someone like Brooks Koepka or Patrick Reed or whatever is starting two or three shots ahead of you.
  • “Obviously 72 holes is a lot of golf to play, and things can happen. But I think it all evens out over the course of the week, and to spot guys of that caliber a few shots at the start of the week is pretty tough.”

Full piece. 

6. Rory remembers
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…“McIlroy admitted that he hopes a bit of the “good vibes” from that week will aid him at this week’s 69-man event, where he will tee off behind only Brooks Koepka and last week’s winner, Patrick Reed, in the points race.”
  • “McIlroy’s frantic commute to Medinah seven years ago ended up having ripple effects in his off-course life as well. The car was driven by his future wife, Erica Stoll, who was working the week as part of the transportation team. The two began dating shortly thereafter and got married in 2017.”
  • “”Erica that week was always the one that was checking us in and out. She was there at transportation, so she was always in the car park over there (by the clubhouse),” McIlroy said. “But yeah, it’s still cool to look around and think about that week, and obviously everything that’s happened since then. It’s pretty cool.”

Full piece.

7. Byrd appeals for a kidney for mother
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker…”Social media can be a powerful tool-see the recent firestorm over slow play and it leading to the PGA Tour saying it will review its pace-of-play policy. On a far more important note, PGA Tour veteran Jonathan Byrd is hoping the power of social media can help his ailing mother.”
  • “The 41-year-old five-time tour winner took to Twitter and Instagram on Monday night seeking an organ donor for his mother, Jo, who is fighting kidney disease.”
See Byrd’s full post here…and FYI the optimal donor would have “O positive or O negative blood”
8. First time in 32 years…
“…Padraig Harrington claims to have gone 32 years before losing his clubs on a flight … Until this week.”
  • “Harrington tweeted Monday was the “first time in 32 years of traveling that [his] clubs failed to arrive on the way to a tournament,” as he was headed to the Czech Masters at Albatross Golf Resort.”
  • “Harrington tweeted…”1st time in 32 years of traveling that my clubs have failed to arrive on the way to a tournament. Strange as it was a direct flight and I checked in 3 hours early. How lucky am I @EuropeanTour”

Full piece.

9. “Idiotic”
An element of all the pace-of-play/slow play talk: green-reading books. Phil Mickelson, for one, doesn’t think they dial back the pace of the game at all.
  • Golfweek’s Bill Spreos…But the green-reading books have a big-time supporter in five-time major champion Phil Mickelson. A 44-time winner on the PGA Tour, Mickelson carries a bit more course cred than some others when it comes to this issue. Slow play is rarely a concern when Lefty lines up a shot.”
  • The greens book allows me to do 80% of my read before I even get to the green. For anyone to say they slow up play is flat out idiotic,” Mickelson posted on Twitter in support of a tweet from Rickie Fowler’s caddie.”
  • “Lefty continued in an another post: “Let me add the countless hours and many days it saves me preparing for tournaments throughout the year. The book gives me info on where I can/can’t miss it and still get up and down as well as best approach shot into the green without having to play multiple practice rounds.”
Full piece. 

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