Topgolfgears Morning 9: U.S. RC team flying high | Tour Champ ratings skyrocket | DIY Ryder Cup pools

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September 25, 2018

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. A strong sendoff
PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister with a look at how the U.S. Ryder Cup team was flying high (before flying high).
  • “The U.S. team room at the Renaissance hotel near the Atlanta airport was buzzing Sunday night while anticipating the arrival of its latest winner. Finally, the moment came.”
  • “A giant roar when Steve Stricker walked in the room after his victory last night,” captain Jim Furyk said Monday, doing his best to suppress a smile.
  • “No offense to Stricker, whose wire-to-wire win at the inaugural Sanford International was his third in just seven starts on the current PGA TOUR Champions season. A most impressive performance, to be sure, but even vice-captain Stricker would admit the biggest buzz for the Americans on Sunday was generated by Tiger Woods, who ended his five-year drought on the PGA TOUR by claiming the TOUR Championship.”
  • “Several of the U.S. players had stayed at East Lake late Sunday to congratulate Woods. Then they gathered at the hotel for a team dinner before jumping on a plane that landed in France at approximately 12:45 p.m. locally Monday afternoon.”
2. Setting up Le Golf National
TMOF with a look at how Captain Bjorn will attempt to advantage his team with the setup in France.
  • “After a quick walk around Le Golf National, The Man Out Front can say the 2018 Ryder Cup venue is in sensational condition but is noticeably cruel to tee shots missing the landing areas by more than 10 yards. The course features a lush cool season mix of grasses throughout, with a 3-yard wide transitional cut between fairway and 3-inch maintained rough in length, give or take a few strains of grass.”
  • “After the 10-yard wide transitional area of maintained rough – no picnic for even the strongest players- the rough turns downright nasty. Clearly cultivated to severely punish tee shots, expect to see some lost ball searches and hack-out shots at the many holes where water fronts the green complexes.”
  • “Accuracy and conservative play will be at a premium at the 2018 Ryder Cup. Couple the extra pressure on driving with European team’s experience, and Team USA has a lot of preparation ahead over three days of practice.”
3. Wager this way
Shane Ryan with some solid thoughts on hopefully getting in your friends’ pockets a little during the Ryder Cup.
  • “In golf, the majors don’t really lend themselves to fun, interactive, dynamic pools. Sure, you can do the thing where you pick a player or two from various world ranking categories, but for a sports pool nut like myself, it feels a little empty, a little dull. The Ryder Cup, on the other hand, is that rare event whose format is so unique that it practically begs you to devise sophisticated games of chance. Along with being one of the best sports exhibitions on the world, it’s also a bed of fertile soil for pool-minded zealots like myself.”
  • “1. The Pod Pool…This pool, invented by yours truly for the 2016 incarnation, is tried and true and very fun. I’m leading with it because if you partake in just one pool, it should be this one. It would take more space than we have to explain the rules, so I’m going to refer you to from the Hazeltine Ryder Cup that details everything. The pod pool is a true joy, and it works best with at least 10 people (we had around 35 last time). The new pods for 2018 are below…feel free to tweak if you disagree:”
  • “Pod 1: Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy Pod 2: Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Ian Poulter, Jon Rahm Pod 3: Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Tommy Fleetwood, Henrik Stenson Pod 4: Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler, Francesco Molinari, Alex Noren Pod 5: Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Paul Casey, Tyrrell Hatton Pod 6: Webb Simpson, Tony Finau, Sergio Garcia, Thorbjorn Olesen”
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4. Tiger Woods Effect: Tour Championship edition
Perhaps not surprisingly, with a 5.21 overnight rating, the final round of the Tour Championship was the highest-rated (non-major) PGA Tour telecast of 2018.
  • Tiger Woods’ 80th PGA Tour win was the highest-rated broadcast in FedEx Cup history, with viewership was up 206 percent compared to 2017.
  • Golf’s big Sunday followed an impressive Saturday. As Golfweek’s Martin Kaufmann noted
  • “In the TV-ratings world, a mediocre football game typically drubs even some of the PGA Tour’s biggest events. Yet during Saturday’s third round, with Woods in the final group, NBC’s coverage of The Tour Championship drew more viewers than every college football game except the Alabama-Texas A&M game. Because, as we all know, nobody beats Alabama – not even Tiger Woods.”
  • Across NBC Sports Digital’s platforms, Sunday’s final found saw 18.4 million minutes streamed (up 561 percent year-over-year).
5. Meanwhile at the Mid-Am…
Golfweek’s Brentley Romine writes…”Stewart Hagestad made three birdies and an eagle to easily advance Monday at the U.S. Mid-Amateur…Hagestad, the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion from Newport Beach, Calif., defeated Minnesota’s Bradley Wohlers, 8 and 6, in the Round of 64 at Charlotte (N.C.) Country Club.”
  • “Top seed Stephen Behr, a former Clemson golfer who is playing in his first U.S. Mid-Amateur, beat Jeffrey Osberg of Bryn Mawr, Pa., 3 and 2. He will play Belgium’s Samuel Echikson in the Round of 32. Echikson is one of just four non-Americans left in the field.”
  • “On other notable matches: Sam O’Dell def. Todd Mitchell, 4 and 2; Jordan Sease def. Kyle Downey, 8 and 6; Grant Schroeder def. Marc Dull, 3 and 1; Matthew Mattare def. Bradford Tilley, 2 and 1; and Andres Schonbaum def. defending champion Matt Parziale, 3 and 2.”
6. And the nominees are…
PGA Tour Player of the year nominees...(AKA Brooks Koepka and the other guys who won’t win)
Bryson DeChambeau
Dustin Johnson
Brooks Koepka
Francesco Molinari
Justin Rose
Justin Thomas
Rookie of the Year nominees
Austin Cook
Satoshi Kodaira
Keith Mitchell
Joaquin Niemann
Aaron Wise
7. Cross-handed DJ cometh
After switching to a cross-handed putting grip during the Tour Championship, Dustin Johnson plans to do the same at Le Golf National.
  • Our Gianni Magliocco writes, “Dustin Johnson made a weekend charge at the Tour Championship, and it was almost good enough for him to capture the FedEx Cup title (and with it the $10 million jackpot). Although he fell short, the revival gave him a third-place finish at the season finale, after he fired back to back rounds of 67 at East Lake. The most interesting part about his weekend performance? Well, during the sixth hole on Saturday, Johnson decided to putt for the rest of the event cross-handed.”
  • “So how did Johnson perform with the cross-handed technique? Well, the American gained strokes over the field on the greens on both days over the weekend. For the two days of action, Johnson gained 0.63 strokes over the field with the flatstick, which incidentally was more than he managed over the opening two days in Atlanta. However, a missed birdie chance from inside six feet on the 18th hole on Sunday evening doomed his chances of taking home the FedEx Cup.”
8. Chamblee: Europe should be favored
Brandel Chamblee, appearing on the Golf Channel podcast, said (beyond home continent advantage), the reason the European Ryder Cup squad ought to be favored is Le Golf National will place a premium on driving accuracy, something the American squad struggles with.
9. No social media shutdown
Geoff Shackelford reports on Captains Furyk and Bjorn’s cool daddery…”During these events, I don’t see a lot of our players on their phones and on social media – they are such busy weeks,” Furyk said. “I don’t really have any policies, per se, other than you obviously want to keep everything straight and narrow, and I think social media is great when it’s fun. But past that, you know, I don’t really see any issues or concerns.”
  • “European captain Thomas Bjorn has no plans for a blackout, either. He sees social media now as part of an athlete’s life and image, especially the younger players….”I think if you put restrictions on what they can do and how they live their lives, it changes them a bit,” Bjorn said. “I have no problems with social media. But as Jim says, it’s so busy; a high-pressure week and a sensitive week, and I’m sure they on both sides will respect that.”

 

GolfWRX Morning 9: U.S. RC team flying high | Tour Champ ratings skyrocket | DIY Ryder Cup pools

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