Topgolfgears Morning 9: Dragging the Tiger | Plenty of Merritt | Brandel gets it done

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Dragging the Tiger | Plenty of Merritt | Brandel gets it done
1. Plenty of Merritt
Alternate title: “A heavily bearded man wins a shaving cream-sponsored tournament.”
  • AP Report…”Merritt shot a 5-under 67 on Monday to win the rain-delayed Barbasol Championship by one stroke. He led or shared the lead after each round. This was his second career PGA TOUR victory.”
  • “A pretty nice payoff for renewed dedication that helped him keep his TOUR card after struggling to follow up his 2015 Quicken Loans National victory.”
  • “You always ask yourself, is this the time to move on?” said Merritt, who earned $630,000 and 300 FedExCup points with the victory. He also is exempt through the 2019-20 season.”
  • “The win highlights a good run for Merritt, who is 34-under par in his last seven rounds dating back to the second round of last week’s John Deere Classic. He tied for 43rd.”
2. Chamblee walks the walk…into the Senior Open
Love him or hate him, you’ll now be able to watch him in the Senior Open Championship. That’s right, golf fans, Brandel Chamblee has qualified for the Senior Open-and the Golf Channel analyst did so in impressive fashion.
  • The 56-year-old arrived at Scotscraig Golf Club in Tayport, one of the four Senior British Open qualifying sites, the morning after coverage for the The Open concluded. Chamblee was on of 596 entrants trying to fill the 26 available spots.
  • And fill a spot he did, earning co-medalist honors with a 2-under 69.
  • The one-time PGA Tour winner stepped away from the sport in 2003. However, he told Golf Digest, the prospect of a Senior Open at St Andrews wasn’t something he could pass up.
3. Dragging the Tiger
Parsing apart the takes on Tiger Woods’ return to major championship contention is an ongoing process…especially in a week where the scribes have little else to scribble about.
  • If “Tiger’ back” is the perspective at one end of the spectrum, then Tiger blew The Open is at the other end. The AP’s Tim Dahlberg happily represents the latter perspective.

with commentary from Geoff Shackelford…then read the whole darn thing…if you want to. .

4. The “did Tiger choke debate”
I outlined the perspectives on the question of whether Tiger Woods choked away The Open in a piece yesterday. It was largely interpreted as my scathing take on Woods’ performance, which it shouldn’t have been. I was merely pointing out the different camps.
  • I wrote…While it’s fair to say Woods didn’t play his best golf down the stretch, and perhaps he asked too much from shots from the rough at the 11th and 12th, the suggestion that he choked, failed to capitalize, or got nervy when the heat was on is off base.
  • That said, Woods’ legion of detractors will gleefully claim he choked. The Choke Lite take is that while Woods didn’t totally let things slip through his fingers, but the combination of opponents not self-destructing (most did though, Sunday, didn’t they?) and lacking the “step on their necks” gear he displayed so often earlier in his career did him in.
  • More to the point, the 79-time Tour winner hit a few poor shots and tried to do too much on a couple of occasions. He paid the price for both. The larger import we see likely had more to do with our preconceived notions of Woods than anything that happened inside the ropes at Carnoustie Sunday.
5. Feinstein relents (sort of)
Longtime Woods hater, negative take opportunist, John Feinstein, has decided that while Tiger Woods will only be “back” after tasting major glory, he’s back…ish.
  • He writes: “All of that said, it is impossible. I have said, only half-joking, that the comebacks should have roman numerals attached, like Super Bowls, because there have been so many.”
  • …hilarious, John.
If Feinstein is your cup of sour tea, …I go no further.

 

6. Slumbers on the issues
The R&A isn’t sleeping on what’s being talked about in the world of golf! Martin Slumbers talked through some of the big-ticket items with Golf Digest.
  • Slumbers on the distance debate…”on distance, this time last year, I made a comment that we were waiting to see what the full year distance numbers look like, but I expressed in this room that we were concerned where the preliminary numbers were going, and that our concern was based upon the balance between skill and technology and whether the balance between skill and technology for the recreational game and the elite game was appropriate. And that’s the concern that I outlined a year ago. We still believe that, and we still believe that what we are looking at is not just an instantaneous where we are today, but very much where are we going and where’s the game going 20 years from now in terms of that balance between skill and technology?”
  • “Golf is a game of skill, and long may it remain being a game of skill. We started the distance report three years ago, driven entirely because I believe that we needed to get transparency, and there was too much Chinese whispers around what data were we looking at, so we published it. And it was fascinating seeing the results and the comments on the published data.”
  • “When we published [the distance report] at the beginning of this year, we were very clear saying that the concern that I had alluded to a year ago was real, and with the USGA, we said that we would now want to start an open and constructive dialogue around the hitting distance. We’ve started that process. We’ve talked to a number of people. From my perspective, I’m in listen mode. I’m listening.”

 

7. Golf is a tease
Shane Ryan penned a piece for Digest, as he does on occasion.
  • “There was a moment when Rory McIlroy drained a prayer of a putt on 14 for eagle when it looked like the tournament might come down to him, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth. A hectic, unpredictable Sunday had gradually built toward its climax, and this seemed like the last piece of build-up. What came next, I thought, might actually go down in history as one of the greatest major finishes ever. And with due respect to Molinari, a comparatively dull two-shot win was not what I had in mind. Like it or not, a sporting event is defined by its ending, and the 2018 Open Championship was like a movie that keeps you on tenterhooks for 90 minutes and then sputters through the conclusion…”
  • “I should have known better. Golf is a tease.”
  • There is little debate about the greatest rivalry in the sport’s history: It’s Jack vs. Arnold. In 1962, they met in a two-man 18-hole playoff at Oakmont. With the pro-Palmer crowd taunting him the entire way, Nicklaus prevailed. Only 22 years old, it wasn’t just his first major-it was his first professional win. It was also the peak of the rivalry, and it happened before anyone really knew the rivalry existed!”
  • “In the ensuing decades, as they fought for supremacy, they never again met in a what anyone would call a true “duel.” Golf is a tease.”
  • “Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have never really fought it out mano-a-mano in a major. Golf is a tease.”
8. Furyk/Woods Ryder Cup
Captain Jim Furyk is mum on handing Tiger Woods a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup.
  • “I’m going to handle him the way I do everyone else…I’ll ask my top eight guys. The way he’s playing, he might be one of them. I’ll ask the vice captains, collectively, and I think we’ll do the best we can to round out the team. We want the guys playing the best.”
  • “We had a lot of guys in pretty good form,” Furyk said. “Flip over to Tiger, you look at him because he’s Tiger, and he’s earned a lot of attention. … I loved seeing him play well. I loved seeing him jump to 20th. It’s fun to watch. But we’ll handle him like everyone else.”
  • That’s a nice thought, Jim, but considering Woods has already expressed his ambition to be a playing assistant captain, is there really a chance Furyk would tell him no and deal with the awkwardness? Plus, there’s zero chance Furyk passes on Woods’ starpower…do you think any of the vested interests would stand for a healthy Tiger Woods sitting on the bench?
9. Bob battles a troll
I have great respect for ESPN’s longtime golf voice Bob Harig. Surely, Harig has dealt with his share of nonsensical under-bridge dwellers in his time because, well, #internet. But I was amused to see Harig fire back at some particularly stupid remarks on Twitter.
Apologies for Tom’s language, but when you’re in an ALL-CAPS RAGE, you’re beyond the point of self-censorship
GolfWRX Morning 9: Dragging the Tiger | Plenty of Merritt | Brandel gets it done

GolfWRX Morning 9: Dragging the Tiger | Plenty of Merritt | Brandel gets it done

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