Topgolfgears Morning 9: Ryder Cup pairing clues? | Toughest tee shot in golf? | Chamblee: I’m a huge Tiger fan

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1. The most nerve-racking tee shot in golf?
Interesting perspective piece from Beth Ann Nichols at Golfweek that reminds us the Ryder Cup–and Ryder Cup pressure–is a different animal entirely, and the first tee shot makes seasoned pros’ knees weak (just ask Webb Simpson).
  • A few bits…”Even Tiger Woods tried to talk partner Mark O’Meara into letting him tee off on the even holes in 1997 to avoid that first tee shot.”
  • “The best piece of advice that definitely (Ian) Poulter’s given me,” said Fleetwood, “and Rory (McIlroy) says the same thing: He says, it’s the most special you’ll ever feel. Whatever nerves you felt up to now, times it by 10, and that’s what you have.”
  • “Actually, at Le Golf National outside Paris, it might be worse. This is a golf course that was built to host championships, which means there’s plenty of room. The massive grandstand surrounding the first tee seats 6,900. That’s more than three times the size of the first tee at Glenagles. The stand on the first tee at Hazeltine sat 1,668.”
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2. Pairings speculation
Steve Dimeglio reports…”If the groups that went off the first tee Tuesday at Le Golf National are an indication of what’s to come, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed have split…And Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson could play together.”
  • “Instead, Reed was grouped with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau. Right behind them was the group of Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson. The third group was Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau.”
  • “Sergio Garcia, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose led off the Europeans’ practice rounds. They were followed by the group of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Thorbjorn Olesen and Paul Casey. The third group was Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter and Tyrrell Hatton.”
3. Tiger Woods is on Tiger Woods’ Mount Rushmore of golf                       
Our Andrew Tursky…”Who’s on your “Mount Rushmore” of golf? For Tiger, apparently, it’s Snead (Sam), Jones (Bobby), Nicklaus (Jack), and “me” (Tiger Woods). He put himself on the Mount Rushmore of golf!”
  • Woods made the comments in a promotional video for the Ryder Cup.
  • Andrew writes..”What makes this video so great though is that there are so few athletes in all of sports who have the confidence (arrogance?) to put themselves on a list like this. Michael Jordan would definitely put himself on the Mount Rushmore of basketball, and surely Joe Namath would put himself on the Mount Rushmore of football. But in golf where respecting tradition is so important, it’s shocking to hear a statement like this… in the absolute best way possible for Team USA ahead of the 2018 Ryder Cup.”
4. Chamblee on why Tiger can win another major
Often regarded as a “Tiger hater,” Brandel Chamblee told our Johnny Wunder on the Gear Dive podcast that his is, in fact, a huge Tiger Woods fan and always has been.
  • Chamblee spoke further about Woods and the 14-time major champion’s latest victory on the Gear Dive. The full 50-minute interview is well worth a listen, as Chamblee discusses modern instruction, the most important recent invention in golf teaching technology, what’s in his bag, and much more-but here are a few of his best Tiger Woods takes.
  • Commenting on the magnitude of Woods win for the golfer’s career, Chamblee said, “It sort of got this historical freight train back on the tracks. Everything is on the table. It’s possible he could win more majors. It’s possible he could get to 90 wins…he looks healthy. He’s pain free.”
  • “I’m far more convinced with what he did this week than what he did at the PGA Championship. At the PGA, the golf course was really soft and that allowed him to miss fairways…but ever since the PGA…he’s been a much, much better driver of the golf ball. All of a sudden, that makes major championships a possibility for him.”
  • “In my opinion, he’s the greatest player who’s ever played. Nobody has ever played golf like him. But he didn’t just beat his competitors…he defeated his demons. That’s what made it so compelling. We’re all familiar with his issues. Most of relate to most of them…we’re all fixated on them..We know it slowed his career down…he was knocked off the highest pedestal. To re-establish his reputation as a leader in the game…as a an intimidating player…it went a long way toward becoming the alpha male again in the game of golf.”
5. Wrist injuries for Thomas, Spieth ahead of RC
Golfweek’s Brentley Romine writes tendonitis has come for the U.S. squad.
  • “Thomas is battling tendonitis in his right wrist, the injury flaring up during the final round of the BMW Championship, while Spieth, according to Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis, is suffering from the same ailment in his left wrist.”
  • “It’s just kind of more precautionary than anything, just a little tightness, and it probably looks a little worse than it is,” Thomas said last Tuesday before he tied for seventh at the Tour Championship…Spieth echoed Thomas’ comments on Tuesday, telling Lewis that the injury was “not a big deal.”
6. No time to reflect
PGATour.com’s Mike McAlister writes…”Tiger, though, simply hasn’t had time to process unforgettable. Less than 48 hours after completing a year-long comeback from career-threatening back surgeries, Woods has turned his attention to beating the Europeans on their home turf for the first time in 25 years. Not until next week will he have a chance to reflect on the improbable climb back into the winner’s circle.”
  • “I saw a couple of [videos] on some French news channel [of] the people rushing behind me, but I haven’t sat down and watched it yet,” Woods said. “I still have this event to do.
  • “Post-Ryder Cup, it will be a different story. I will look back and soak it up and really reflect on what really transpired that entire week.”
7. Captain America, ready for duty
Cameron Morfit on Patrick Reed, match play dynamo.
  • “The bonkers singles victory over Rory McIlroy at Hazeltine in 2016. The grind-it-out takedown of Henrik Stenson at Gleneagles in 2014, when Reed shushed the European crowd. Other Reed exploits, like the college grudge matches against Harris English (Georgia) and Uihlein (Oklahoma State) that were part of his 6-0 record as Augusta State won national titles in 2010 and ’11, we’ve heard about enough to feel like we were there.”
  • “In college, he was so excitable for match play, his nickname was Next Level. But excitement and enthusiasm only go so far; Reed, more than most players this side of Ian Poulter (more on him shortly), somehow utilizes that run-through-a-wall spirit to elevate his play.”
  • “I just get more jacked up, more excited,” Reed says of his Captain America persona. “Just really pumped and goin’, and that’s why even if it’s a 5-footer for par, I’m screaming. I think just the show of emotion gets the crowd going, gets me kind of going, kind of picks you up. That’s a week that’s all on adrenaline.”
8. The forgotten Ryder Cupper
Kevin Van Valkenburg returns to the narrative that Brooks Koepka remains overlooked.
  • “A lot has happened since that Ryder Cup two years ago. Koepka has won three majors, including two this season. In doing so, he’s establishing himself as perhaps the most formidable big-game hunter of his generation. He has just one regular-season PGA Tour victory, the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open. But get him in a major, or a Ryder Cup, and the people around him can actually see his focus narrow, his preparation intensify. He is not one for chest-bumping theatrics or egging on a hostile crowd the way Patrick Reed is, but if the United States is going to win this Ryder Cup this week on European soil for the first time since 1993, it will likely be because Koepka turned in another dominant performance.”
  • “How much respect Koepka deserves for his accomplishments, and how much he’s received for them, has been something of a sensitive topic this year on the PGA Tour, particularly in Koepka’s camp. Though he has risen to No. 2 in the world, it’s become obvious Koepka doesn’t feel golf media — or the sport’s fans — are giving him the attention that Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson frequently receive. Koepka isn’t particularly forthcoming in interviews, but when he does open up, he’ll sometimes share anecdotes he is clearly using to fuel the narrative of disrespect.”
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9. Phil wants strokes
Mickelson tweeted…”I just played with Tiger today and it is the best I’ve ever seen him swing the club. It is so on plane and solid. I’ll be asking for a shot a side for our Thanksgiving match. I doubt I’ll get it though.”
Patrick Reed told reporters he didn’t think a stroke a side would be enough to give Mickelson a chance.Ouch.

 

GolfWRX Morning 9: Ryder Cup pairing clues? | Toughest tee shot in golf? | Chamblee: I’m a huge Tiger fan

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