Topgolfgears Morning 9: A surprise Ryder Cupper | She didn’t know she was leading the tournament | Move over, Cosmo Kramer

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1. A surprise European Ryder Cupper?
Made in Denmark winner, Matt Wallace may not be a household name. He may, however, be on the European Ryder Cup squad later this month.
  • As Golfweek’s Alistair Tait writes...”Wallace couldn’t have done much more to impress the European captain in the last tournament counting toward European qualification. With Bjorn watching, the 28-year-old birdied five of the last six holes in a closing 5-under 67 to reach 19 under and get into a four-man playoff with fellow Englishmen Lee Westwood, Steven Brown and Jonathan Thomson. Wallace birdied the two extra holes to win.”
  • Captain Thomas Bjorn will make his four selections Sept. 5
Meanwhile in the States…heading into Monday’s final round, the top of the Dell Technologies Championship leaderboard looks like this…Abraham Ancer (-13)…Bryson DeChambeau (-12)…Tyrrell Hatton (-12)…Cameron Smith (-11)…Justin Rose (-11)
2. The best golfing Kramer since Cosmo?
Kramer Hickok went wire-to-wire at the DAP Championship, the second of four Web.com Finals events.
  • AP Report…”Playing to improve his PGA Tour status after earning one of 25 cards from the Web.com Tour’s regular-season money list, Hickok shot his second straight 2-under 68 to finish at 14-under 266. He matched the Canterbury Golf Club record Thursday with a 63 and had a 67 on Friday.”
  • “Hickok earned $180,000 for his first tour victory to push his season total to $373,635. He has jumped from 23rd to second among the 25 regular-season qualifiers in the first two tournaments, earning a series-best $198,000. The 26-year-old former University of Texas player was the Canadian tour player of the year last season, winning twice.”
  • “Six-time PGA Tour winner Mahan and Jones each shot 67. They wrapped up PGA Tour cards, each earning $88,000. Jones is fourth in the series standings, with $112,000, and Mahan fifth with $102,500.”
3. The year of living painfully
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard with a thin slice of Tiger Wood’ path since Woods tweeted, “Dr. gave me the ok to start pitching” one year ago.
  • “Since his fourth back surgery, a fusion on his lower back, Tiger had gone to ground and understandably so. At the time there was no end to the questions that swirled around his possible return and not a single answer. At least not a meaningful answer.”
  • “Until that day when his doctors had given him a green light to resume, however tenderly, golf activities, Tiger didn’t know if he’d ever be able to play golf again. He didn’t know if his fused back could withstand the torque of arguably the game’s most explosive swing. And he certainly didn’t know if he’d ever stand on the first tee at PGA Tour event again.”
4. TW & BAD
Bob Harig reports Bryson DeChambeau and Tiger Woods were plenty friendly during their first tournament pairing.
  • “Tiger Woods is usually one to go about his business during a round of golf, with the small talk kept to a minimum….But even he couldn’t avoid the verbal onslaught he got Sunday from Bryson DeChambeau, who has played numerous practice rounds with Woods but was paired with him for the first time in competition during the third round of the Dell Technologies Championship.”
  • “He’s my childhood idol,” said DeChambeau, 24, who is coming off a victory last week at the Northern Trust. “I’ve admired him my whole entire life. And to be finally able to play with him under tournament conditions, it was different. I was a little nervous, for sure. But I was able to get out there and execute shots and worry about my game and focus on hitting the best shots possible. And I was able to play really well like that.”
  • DeChambeau joked last week that Woods sometimes tells him to “shut up and hit the ball,” and he might have been inclined to do so Sunday, so often was the three-time PGA Tour winner in his ear. But Woods seemed fine with it.”
5. She didn’t know she was leading the tournament by 4…
Keeley Levins with the report on Marina Alex’s steely Sunday performance, which included a singular spot of discipline…”Marina Alex trailed by six strokes at the beginning of the final round of the Cambia Portland Classic on Sunday. But when she made the turn at Columbia-Edgewater Country Club, she was leading. Alex had birdied the last five holes of the front nine to turn in 30.”
  • “Behind her, the duo of Minjee Lee and Georgia Hall were faltering in the final group. Both Lee and have won in 2018, setting up the expectation that Sunday’s final round was going to turn into a duel between the two. But Hall’s 75 and Lee’s 77 put them well behind Alex.”
  • “The former Vanderbilt All-American had spent the entire day avoiding any glimpse of a leader board. So she was completely unaware that she held a four-stroke lead while standing on the 18th tee. Only when she got within 150 yards of the green did she finally asked her caddie where they stood.”
How is that humanly possible?
6. Oh no, Joe!
Disaster for Joe Durant at the PGA Tour Champions’ Shaw Charity Classic.
  • Ryan Herrington reports…”Durant was on the par-4 17th hole, sitting at 14 under par. He played the opening 11 holes at Canada’s Canyon Meadows Golf & Country Club in five under, but had bogeyed the 13th and 15th to fall into a tie for the lead with Scott McCarron.”
  • “Looking a birdie to retake the lead on the penultimate hole, Durant missed, leaving himself around a foot to finish with a par. Surely he was thinking get this in and get on to the par-5 18th, a hole where birdie was in play and the chance for his fourth career senior win was real.”
  • “Unfortunately for Durant, McCarron moments later made a birdie on the 18th to jump to a two-stroke lead. So when Durant wound up birdieing the 18th himself, he wound up finishing one agonizing stroke short of a playoff.”
7. Hatton didn’t buy that putter at Golf Galaxy after all…
…well, he did, indirectly, but the Englishman wasn’t the one who physically did the shopping last week.
“I was on an app, a video, with him, because I was too embarrassed to go into the store to buy a putter,” said Hatton at the Dell Technologies Championship. “Obviously he made a good choice. But it’s just one of those things, it’s not obviously normal that this happens.”
8. Do you really understand “strokes gained?”
Of course you do, on some level, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sit in on Trey Pezzetti’s 101- level course.
  • “In 2011, the PGA Tour introduced ShotLink, which is a real-time scoring system that captures data points on all shots taken during PGA Tour events. ShotLink measures the distance from the hole, as well as categorizing shot types like tee, fairway, rough, sand, and green.”
  • “Mark Broadie, a professor at Columbia Business School, took the data from ShotLink and helped develop a new way to analyze putting performance. This new statistic was called “strokes gained: putting,” and it measures the number of putts a golfer takes relative to the PGA Tour average from that same distance. Strokes gained putting recognizes that sinking a 20-foot putt represents a better performance than sinking a three-foot putt, even though they both count as a single putt and a single stroke on the scorecard.”
  • “This was revolutionary because golfers no longer had to rely on the number of putts per round to understand their putting performance. Strokes gained also provided a unified way to measure an individual golfer against his opponents on the PGA Tour.”
9. Remember this kid?
In case you missed it (which I admittedly did), the kid who had this exchange with Phil Mickelson during a DTC practice round last year caddied for him in the pro-am of this year’s event.
  • “If I could hit my 3-wood 260, I would probably go for it,” Riley told Mickelson last year, in a video that made the rounds on social media. Mickelson had playfully asked the crowd if he should go for the green in two during a practice round.
  • “I like the way you think...Riley, you can caddie for me anytime,” Mickelson responded.
about the importance of a sharp needle.

 

GolfWRX Morning 9: A surprise Ryder Cupper | She didn’t know she was leading the tournament | Move over, Cosmo Kramer

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