GolfWRX Morning 9: Jordan Spieth’s putting ails cured? | Encouraging rounds played data | Johnny Miller retiring?

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1. More support from the Tour for legalized betting
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard with the details…”Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) outlined his proposal for a federal framework that would govern sports betting on Wednesday.”
  • “Schumer’s proposal would require sports books to only use official league data to determine outcomes and that the sports leagues themselves should be involved in determining what bets would be accepted, which are both safeguards the PGA Tour has pushed for since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a ban on sports betting in most states earlier this year.”
  • “The Tour, along with Major League Baseball and the NBA, released a joint statement late Wednesday, “As legalized sports betting spreads across the states, there is a need for consistent, nationwide integrity standards to safeguard the sports millions of fans love. We strongly support the legislative framework outlined by Senator Schumer and we encourage Congress to adopt it.”
2. Jordan Spieth’s putting woes…are gone?
Golfweek’s David Dusek points out that the difficulties that bedevilled one of the game’s great flatstick wielders seem to have vanished.
  • Spieth, via Dusek.… “If you look at the last month, which is all I need to look at this year, my putting has been fantastic,” Spieth said as beads of sweat dripped down his face. “I’ve been one of the top putters on tour.”
  • “He’s right. Spieth missed the cut at The Memorial in June, not because he putted poorly, but because his iron game let him down. Starting with that event, statistically, Spieth’s putting has been outstanding, with a daily strokes gained putting average in five events of 0.944. To give that number reference, if that was Spieth’s average for the season, he would rank second on the PGA Tour behind Jason Day’s 0.965.”
  • “Everything that I’m working on, I know what to do,” Spieth said. “It’s about actually doing it. The good news is that they are all trends that will serve me better, in the long run, going forward.”
  • “It was because of setup,” he said. “It’s not anything that anyone would have diagnosed in my stroke. It was because of how I viewed my putter in the setup. It’s not frustrating. I don’t really care what other people are saying. Why would I trust what anybody else says when I know exactly what’s going on? I didn’t know exactly for a little while, but I knew that it was in the setup. I’d set over the ball and it didn’t look right to me, then I had to figure out why.”
3. What makes a golf course…not terrible?
We’re not talking about top 100 tracks, but rather, enjoyable 18s. Digest’s Sam Weinman has a good take on what makes a course, well, not terrible.
Here are a few of his metrics.
“Good bones”: Like a once grand colonial fallen into disrepair, here you could squint from the first tee and detect the vague outline of greatness. A gently-winding dogleg cutting through the trees. A face bunker strategically guarding the right side of the green. It’s all there if someone could just put actual sand in the bunkers, and clean up the beer cans in the creek.
“Puttable greens: A golfer can tolerate all sorts of indignities across 18 holes, provided those holes conclude with a ball rolling end-over-end in the direction of a cup. Like a great dessert after a bad meal, true greens help you forgive everything that came before.”
  • “Variety: One way to combat a course’s shortcomings is by disrupting the monotony. A driver toward that pile of cinder blocks here. A hybrid short of the weird-smelling pond there. They say a good golf course should ask a lot of questions. Occasionally they’re just awkwardly phrased.”
  • “Errs on the side of forgiving: Let’s be honest, a golfer is far more capable of suppressing his inner architecture snob if he can string together a decent score. In other words, if you spray it right and find it, if you thin your approach but still watch it roll onto the green, you’re far less likely to get bogged down by strategic deficiencies. Who cares what it looks like, you might break 40 on the back!”
  • “Walkability: The only thing worse than a bad golf course is a bad golf course comprised of absurd elevation changes or tedious stretches between greens and tees. At least when walking, you’re privy to exercise and moments of quiet reflection, and you don’t have to trudge back across the fairway because you brought the wrong wedge. You’ll grade the whole experience on a more favorable scale, especially since they can’t ding you $25 for the mandatory cart.”
4. Johnny Miller retiring?
After nearly 30 years in the chair, NBC’s lead golf analyst, the irrepressible Johnny Miller,  may be stepping down..
  • “It’s been 50 years on the road, and part of me is saying, ‘That’s enough,’” Miller told the AP’s Doug Ferguson. “I haven’t gotten to that point yet. They’re still trying to convince me to keep going. So we’ll see. I usually listen to my gut, so to speak, and my wife. Right now, I am planning on scaling down even more. We’ll see what happens. Maybe I will say, ‘Hey, one more year.’”
5. Encouraging rounds played data
Golf Datatech, well, data, via Golf Digest’s Mike Stachura. (Was he “Bomb” or “Gouge”?)
  • “Rounds played numbers for July were down across the U.S. by 1.6 percent compared to July 2017, which might be the most misleading statistic in golf history next to Jeff Sluman holding the record for the longest drive ever recorded on the PGA Tour (473 yards, in 2003-yes, that Jeff Sluman and, yes, that 2003).”
  • “The slight decline in rounds played is remarkable in that it came in a month where many sections of the country were receiving buckets of rain that likely washed out entire weekends, even weeks of rounds. At the very least, it could close a course to golf carts, further chilling the incentive for some to play. So let’s look a little more closely at the numbers from Golf Datatech’s thorough research of the country’s golf in July.”
  • “First, 18 states showed more than a 2 percent increase in rounds played, almost equal to the number that showed more than a 2 percent decrease (21). But the real story again is precipitation and bad weather, which has plagued the golf business much of the year. While it is the sixth month of seven this year that rounds played were down, it is also the sixth month this year when temperatures in much of the country were colder (early in the year) or precipitation amounts were higher.”
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6. Bryson vs. the robot
This morsel from L’Artiste about his ping pong prowess ahead of the Dell Technologies Championship…
  • “I used to practice at lunchtime with a couple buddies of mine against this little robot…We got a robot where this thing would shoot out the ball, different velocities, and different spin rates — this is what professionals practice with. We practiced every lunch period for a couple of years. And I got pretty good, needless to say.”
Just another reason he belongs on the Ryder Cup team…
7. What’s ahead for Brooke?
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell looks at what’s ahead for Brooke Henderson after her storybook Canadian Open win.
  • “Henderson jumped inside the top 10 with Sunday’s triumph, moving six spots to No. 8. While you won’t catch her coveting the No. 1 ranking publicly, she relishes a chance to get there. And she is in a great place now to make a run at it before the year is out.”
  • “Henderson is hot at an opportune time. She won in Portland in 2015 and ’16. There’s something about Columbia Edgewater Country Club that brings out her best….”I’m really excited to be back here in Portland, where, really, my career got started,” she said.”
  • “The victory in ’15 was Henderson’s first LPGA title. She was still a few weeks from her 18th birthday, and not yet an LPGA member, but she got into the field as a Monday qualifier. She ended up winning in an eight-shot runaway. She claimed LPGA membership with the victory.”
  • “After this week’s event, the women get a week off and then head to the Evian Championship for the year’s final major. That’s where Henderson could really put her signature on this season.”
8. For your listening pleasure…
A great guest on the TG2 podcast! Sean Toulon, Founder of Toulon Design and GM of Odyssey, joins the Two Guys Talking Golf podcast. He discusses getting his start in the industry, why he started his own putter company, why his diamond-milling face pattern works, blades vs. mallets, his famous Indianapolis design, the benefits of toe hang, and much much more.
9. A sign to be heeded?
While another user commented that the actual sign most often unheeded is probably, “No alcohol beyond this point,” Redditor Azione 81 suggested that the sign below is one of the most often ignored in golf. Whether that’s true or not, the point stands: #PlayItForward, folks!
GolfWRX Morning 9: Jordan Spieth’s putting ails cured? | Encouraging rounds played data | Johnny Miller retiring?

GolfWRX Morning 9: Jordan Spieth’s putting ails cured? | Encouraging rounds played data | Johnny Miller retiring?

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