Phil afoul of the Rules again | Toughest majors

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Good morning, Top Golf Gears members. As most of you are signed up for our newsletters, you likely already know that I’ve been sending this little Morning 9 roundup of nine items of note.

In case you’ve missed it, or you prefer to read on site rather than in your email, we’re including it here. Check out today’s Morning 9 below.

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July 9, 2018

Good Monday morning, golf fans.  
GolfWRX Morning 9: Na, Na, Na, Na | Phil afoul of the Rules again | Toughest majors
1. Na, Na, Na, Na, hey, hey, Greenbrier


Kevin Na has been known as a slow and steady player (emphasis slow) who painfully cobbles together quality showings but rarely wins (and the guy who made a 16 at the Valero Texas Open).
  • He modified one of the elements of his legacy yesterday, winning his first PGA Tour event in seven years thanks to a six-under 64 to wrap up A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier.
  • “I failed so many times,” Na said after the win. “I see the records on TV, most starts since winning. I’m always up there.
  • Behind K-Na: -14 K Kraft; -13 B Snedeker, J Kokrak; -12 J Neimann, A Cook, J Dahmen, S Saunders, H Varner III
2. Phil Mickelson and the Rules of Golf, Reprised


Lefty used his right foot to flatten fescue in front of the teebox at the seventh hole during the final round of A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, yesterday.
  • After conferring with rules official, Mickelson was told he had run afoul of the Rules of Golf for the second time in as many tournaments, having run afoul of Rule 13-2. He was hit with a two-stroke penalty.
  • I wrote yesterday (do I have to quote myself?): Mickelson didn’t have to take the penalty. I mean, right? He hadn’t hit the tee shot when he began wondering if he’d broken the rules (per the video). All he would have had to do is re-tee his ball in another position, thus taking a different line, right?
  • Of course, after he hits the ball, the damage is done (Mickelson consulted a rules official after the tee shot, so the official wasn’t able to intercede). But if he was concerned he may have broken a rule, why wouldn’t he have pressed pause on hitting the tee shot and called for an official then?
3. Knox over Fox


Per “Russell Knox holed two incredible putts on the 18th green as he beat Ryan Fox in a play-off to win his second European Tour title at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.”
  • “The duo were locked together on 14 under after 72 holes, with the fourth Rolex Series event of the season producing unforgettable drama at Ballyliffin Golf Club…Scotsman Knox holed from 40 feet for a birdie on the final green in regulation to sign for a 66 and set the target but coming up behind him Fox put his approach into the 18th to ten feet.”
  • “The New Zealander had that putt for the title but missed on the high side and the pair were left to go back up the last…Knox put his second shot to a position almost identical to the one he found on the 72nd hole and rolled it home again, with Fox missing his own birdie attempt from 12 feet.”
  • Knox was six back to start the day. The W is the biggest comeback in Irish Open history. Host Rory McIlroy tied for 28th.
4. A scoring record on the LPGA Tour


Kim Sei-young broke the LPGA Tour’s 72-hole record, winning the Thornberry Creek Classic with a score of -31.
  • The previous record of 27 under, set by Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam in 2011.
  • Spain’s Carlota Ciganda (22 under) finished second. Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist, American Emma Talley and Korean Amy Yang tied for third at 20 under.
5. Scheduling difficulties


We will finally be presented with the the 2018-19 PGA Tour schedule this week, Golfweek’s Forecaddie writes.
  • “Normally, schedule releases are met with little fanfare given how little juggling traditionally occurs. But this is no ordinary schedule release, with the PGA Championship move to May creating new possibilities and issues. Throw in having had to deal with events struggling to land sponsors (Houston, Washington D.C.) with ambitious new events (Detroit, Minneapolis) and the Tour has had to work through numerous variables.”
Rather than paraphrase paragraphs aplenty, I’ll encourage you to .


6. Farewell, JPete (?)


It seems like John Peterson is making good on his pledge to retire
  • Golf Digest’s Joel Beall writes: “Peterson, a former NCAA champion and three-time All-American, has been playing this year on a medical exemption, and announced at the Wells Fargo Championship that if he failed to earn conditional status in his remaining starts, he was going to retire from professional golf.”
  • “I’m kind of freewheeling it at this point,” Peterson said in Charlotte. “I know a little bit has been said about me retiring if I don’t make the necessary money for my medical starts, and all that’s true. If I don’t make it, I’m not playing golf anymore.”
  • “The Greenbrier marked Peterson’s last outing on the exemption, and after making the cut on the number, the 29-year-old turned in a fourth-round 66 to jump up the leaderboard. It was good enough for a T-13 finish, bestowing a $121,362 check and 52.12 FedEx Cup points. However, because his exemption goes back to 2015, he’s playing off that point allotment (long story), and in that standing, Peterson earned 54.75 points…Which is 0.58 points short of earning conditional status.”
7. The 25 toughest major courses of the last 25 years


Golfweek put together a list of the 25 most difficult major championships of…well, you read the header. Anyway, here are the five toughest by average shots over par.


Carnoustie 1999 British Open 5.82
Oakmont 2007 U.S. Open 5.70
Winged Foot 2006 U.S. Open 4.99
Bethpage Black 2002 U.S. Open 4.91
Royal Birkdale 2008 British Open  4.87


8. Carnasty, by reputation


On that note... Alistair Tait files a remembrance and rounds up some quotes.
  • “Of course, Carnoustie’s fearsome reputation was enhanced in 1999 when the R&A let the course get out of hand. Knee-high rough just off narrow fairways and rough in spots where players could normally putt from led to the layout being dubbed “Carnasty.”‘
  • ‘”I feel like I just fought a war,” Hal Sutton said after an opening 73″‘
  • ‘”Hitting the fairways is like driving the ball through the door of my hotel bedroom,” two-time Open winner Greg Norman said.”
  • ‘”It’s just a bloody difficult golf course, especially if there’s any rough,” said Howell, a five-time European Tour winner and chairman of the European Tour’s tournament committee. “It got the term ‘Carnasty’ for a reason. My first one was when Lawrie won. I remember seeing Sergio crying, that’s how hard it was. That finish is the toughest in the world. If 15, 16 and 18 are into the wind, then it’s brutal, and by the time you get to that last four holes you’re already drained.”‘
9. How big would Tiger vs. Phil be?


…the Tour Confidential panel debates
  • Alan Shipnuck, senior writer: The intensity of the news coverage and on social media that followed our story tells me how much interest there is for this. It doesn’t make sense to rank it in the context of meaningful tournaments – this a lark, just a bit of fun. But it would certainly be anticipated.
  • Dylan Dethier, associate editor: Shipnuck’s right; you can’t really compare this to a Tour event and it ultimately means nothing in terms of legacy for either of the two. But it’s such a simple, digestible concept with exciting characters that I think it would grab the attention of plenty of casual golf fans in a way that only the majors and Ryder Cup currently do.

GolfWRX Morning 9: Na, Na, Na, Na | Phil afoul of the Rules again | Toughest majors

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