Topgolfgears Morning 9: 24-man playoff at the U.S. Am! | The best measure of Tiger | Yellow Pro V1 cometh

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August 15, 2018

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
GolfWRX Morning 9: 24-man playoff at the U.S. Am! | The best measure of Tiger | Yellow Pro V1 cometh
1. 24-man playoff!
Forget the top of the leaderboard, it’s all about the last spot at Pebble!
  • AP Report: “Cole Hammer and Daniel Hillier were tied at the top after two rounds of the U.S. Amateur, but the more compelling action on Tuesday was further down the leaderboard.”
  • “Two dozen players were tied for 64th place after two rounds of stroke play at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. With the top 64 advancing to match play, that means all 24 will compete in a sudden-death playoff Wednesday morning for the last spot in the knockout rounds.”
  • “They’ll be divided into six foursomes and start the playoff at 7:30 a.m. on the par-3 17th.”
  • “The survivor of the playoff will face the 19-year-old Hillier in match play. The New Zealander shot a 2-under 70 at Spyglass Hill to share medalist honors with the 18-year-old Hammer at 6 under. Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas who played in the 2015 U.S. Open at age 15, shot 68 at Spyglass Hill.”
See the bracket .
2. “I’m done”
We’ve never heard explicitly that Tiger Woods thought he was finished playing professional golf. Sure, he’s said he didn’t know how well he’d be able to play and that he’s been surprised by his speed and power, but we haven’t heard anything as extreme as what Nick Faldo claims Woods said at last year’s Masters Champions Dinner.
  • Talking with Dan Patrick, Monday, Faldo had this to say.
  • “What he’s been able to do, Dan, is unbelievable, remarkable,” Faldo said. “To go from a frozen back, I know he whispered to another Masters champion two Masters dinners ago, ‘I’m done. I won’t play golf again.’ And here we are 18 months later.”
  • “He was in agony. He was in pain,” Faldo said. “The pain down his legs, nothing enjoyable, he couldn’t move.”
  • “What he’s been able to do is, it’s unbelievable, remarkable,” Faldo told Patrick. “To go from a frozen back-I know he whispered to another Masters champion two Masters dinners ago ‘I’m done. I won’t play golf again,’ and here we are, 18 months later…”
  • “No, I won’t mention the name, but he’s a Masters champion. He said ‘I’m done, my back is done.’ He was in agony, he was in pain, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn’t move.
3. Yellow Pro V1, Pro V1x are coming
GolfWRX Staff report: “Back in April, when Titleist launched its new AVX golf balls in both white and optic yellow, Michael Mahoney, the Vice President of Golf Ball Marketing for Titleist, spoke on the possibility of yellow Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls on GolfWRX’s Two Guys Talking Golf podcast: “Our process is so focused on golfer feedback… if the demand for a yellow Pro V1 or Pro V1x were large enough…we would like to deliver on it.”
  • “Well, it appears that golfer demand was high enough and Titleist is delivering on it, because on Monday, a company representative confirmed that yellow Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls are coming in 2019.”
  • “Rumors were recently swirling about the possibility of yellow Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls, and Team Titleist Manager Mike D. confirmed them in a post on Team Titleist’s discussion thread.”
4. The best measure of Woods
An unbylined (Ferguson?) AP column reminds us that the ultimate Tiger Time is when Woods enters the final round of a golf tournament with the lead, reminding us, too, that Woods has never won a major when entering the final round trailing.
  • “Close calls at Carnoustie and Bellerive should at least be a reminder that Woods has never won a major when trailing going into the final round. He won all 14 of them from either the lead or a share of the lead, and his closing rate on the PGA Tour is astounding.”
  • “Woods is 43-2 when has the lead going into Sunday, and his record is 11-2 when he is tied for the lead….Now he just has to get there….He is good enough to win. That should no longer be up for debate…Whether he still has that mystique is still to be determined. That starts with him being the hunted, and not the other way around.”
  • “Even in the best of times, Woods never charged his way to victory in a major. He started five shots behind at Hazeltine in the 2002 PGA Championship and birdied his last four holes, only for Rich Beem to make a 35-foot birdie on the 16th for some breathing room. Woods trailed at the Masters and U.S. Open in 2007 and quickly got into a tie for the lead, only to fade by not making enough putts.”

“Give him the lead, give him the crowd, give him the opportunity, and Woods got it done with a rate never seen in golf.”

5. Kristen Gillman overcame more than opponents
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols does an excellent job reminding us that Kristen Gillman’s road to her second U.S. Women’s Am title was a rocky one.
  • “Life came rushing toward an unsuspecting Kristen Gillman like a tidal wave after she won her first U.S. Women’s Amateur title in 2014. Among the perks of winning the most prestigious amateur title in the world are invitations to LPGA majors. Asked if she’d ever competed in a major championship before, 16-year-old Gillman replied, “Does the Girls’ Junior count?”
  • “Gillman competed against the best in the world the next month at the Evian Championship, where she missed the cut. Similar results followed in 2015 at the U.S. Women’s Open and British Open.”
  • “In the midst of all these incredible opportunities, Gillman couldn’t shake a wrist injury suffered in the second round of match play at the 2014 Women’s Amateur. She went to five different hand specialists, ultimately ending up in a cast for six weeks. For most of 2015, Gillman did minimal practicing, doing the best she could to take advantage of doors that had opened.”
  • “I think the hardest part was not knowing if I would be able to play again,” said Gillman of the forced break, “or even be able to be the player I was.”
  • “Gillman, now 20, learned the value of rest and stayed her course, enrolling at the University of Alabama, in the fall of 2016. She had missed out on the 2016 Curtis Cup after plummeting down the World Amateur Golf Rankings. It would drive her to a 5-0 showing in ’18 for Team USA at Quaker Ridge.”
6. Graeme McDowell battling to retain status
Golf Channel’s Will Gray… “For the first time in nearly three years, Graeme McDowell heads into an event with his PGA Tour status hanging in the balance.”
  • “The Ulsterman joined the Tour in 2006, and he has had nearly uninterrupted status since winning the 2010 U.S. Open. But McDowell’s two-season exemption for winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba only extends through this week, where he will start the Wyndham Championship at No. 143 in the season-long points race.”
  • “McDowell tied for fifth at Sedgefield Country Club in 2016, and he will likely need a similar result to crack the top 125 in the standings and retain his fully exempt status for the 2019 season. While he finished T-10 in Las Vegas in November, that remains his lone top-10 finish of the Tour season. The veteran’s best results this year have come in Europe, where he tied for fifth at the Italian Open and finished T-12 at the BMW PGA Championship.”
7. Major grades are in…
Students can pick up their final report cards! Mr. Lavner has finished tallying last week’s work at the PGA Championship, folded in performances at the three prior majors, and is ready to hand out letters.
Forget the As, Bs, and Cs, let’s check out the end of the grading spectrum where I most often toiled.
  • “Why: His series of lowlights at the U.S. Open – where he bizarrely whacked a moving ball on the green and then staunchly defended his actions – underscored that his window is all but closed at the majors. His major results since getting demoralized by Henrik Stenson at the 2016 Open: T33-T22-MC-MC-T36-T48-T24-MC. ‘Nuff said.”
  • “Why: No doubt, marriage and fatherhood are massive adjustments for everyone, but he’s missed the cut in his last five majors (and didn’t break par in any major round this year), plummeted down the world rankings (to 25th!) and put European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn in a difficult position of deciding whether to burn a pick on the slumping Spaniard. Memories of that breakthrough Masters victory are already drifting further and further away.
8. Ryder Cup Radicals redux
Luke and Shane are back; trading emails now that the U.S. qualifiers are set.
Here’s a taste of their correspondence.
  • Shane: Europe hasn’t been in this much trouble since Genghis Khan rode a horse, and though he stopped short of conquering the entire continent, the mighty Americans will be showing no comparable mercy. That top eight is superlative. It’s not real life-it’s a dream, and if you’re on the wrong side of the Atlantic, it’s a nightmare.
  • But just for fun, let’s take the Euro-optimist view and go down that list one by one, charting the main reason for hope with each player:
  • Koepka: Two majors to his name, but has to read about how nobody likes him and he’s boring. Clearly a confidence crusher.
  • Johnson: Another year, another 0-4 in the majors. Worse, he got beat at the U.S. Open by his younger doppelganger. He’s crushed.
  • Thomas: Just a slew of missed short putts in the year’s final major, and he’s going in on a sour note. CRUSHED.
  • Reed: Obviously coasting on his Masters all season, will go in over-confident. CRUSHED.


9. Airline loses 2 sets of clubs 5 bags in 10 days
…all of which belonged to Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen.
He tweeted “Another week, another set of missing golf clubs and lost baggage with &. Any chance you could help find all of my luggage and send it to me before my tournament this week?! Need them for work!! Thanks”

GolfWRX Morning 9: 24-man playoff at the U.S. Am! | The best measure of Tiger | Yellow Pro V1 cometh

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