By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

May 28, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Wolff ravages the competition
Golf Digest’s Ryan Herrington on your 2019 NCAA individual champion…
  • “…there was never much doubt that an Oklahoma State golfer would be crowned the NCAA individual champion for the ninth time in school history. Where the suspense would arise was which Oklahoma State golfer it might be. Sophomore Matthew Wolff started the final stroke-play round with a two-shot lead at seven under, while sophomore Austin Eckroat was the man just behind him. And senior Zach Bauchou sat five shots off the pace in a tie for fifth.”
  • “Yet after making the turn in even par, Wolff sucked the drama out of individual race in much the same way OSU had done to the team competition (more on that in a moment). Birdies on the 10th, 15th and 17th holes let the 20-year-old from Agoura Hills, Calif., stretch his lead to as much as six strokes as he cruised to a five-shot victory over Georgia Southern’s Stephen Fisk with a closing three-under 69 and a 10-under 278 total.”
Full piece.
2. Beyond his unique swing
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine profiles Wolff, focusing on his new-found faith…
  • “But last year around Thanksgiving, he messaged one of his close friends, former high-school teammate and current Texas junior Spencer Soosman. Something was missing.”
  • “He said that he didn’t really feel whole,” Soosman said.
  • “Soosman and Wolff grew up in Jewish families. They’d celebrate holidays but weren’t necessarily devout in their practice of the faith…”
  • “I gave my faith to God,” Wolff said, “and it’s been pretty incredible.”
  • “Added Soosman: “He’s still the same kid, but the difference is he sees himself for what he is, and he sees what he can do.””
  • …”My identity I thought was in golf, and that’s all it was, that’s all anyone knew me by,” Wolff said. “That might be all people still know me by, but to myself, I wanted to be known by more than that.”
Full piece.
3. SMU!
Brentley Romine again on SMU’s toppling of Clemson to advance to the NCAA match play…
  • “The Mustangs had already overcome so much this season – the death of Enloe’s wife, Katie, last summer; a disqualification at The Goodwin that nearly kept the team out of the postseason; a gutsy regional performance – but they persevered yet again. SMU’s counting scorers played their final hole, the par-4 ninth at Blessings in a combined 4 over to fall into a tie with Clemson for the eighth and final spot in match play. With both teams at 44 over, they headed back out for a 5-count-5 sudden-death playoff, which SMU won by two shots to earn a quarterfinals date with top seed Oklahoma State.”
  • “It was so hard out here,” Enloe said. “I felt bad for them actually because this course is so brutal. They just amazed me again today, and to bounce back in this crazy playoff is awesome. It has been a crazy year. These guys are just so awesome. Great group of kids. I’m so proud of them and so proud to be their coach. I think we had a little destiny on our side this year.”
Full piece.
4. Big name PGA Tour players were ready to boycott U.S. Open?
Golf Digest’s John Huggan and Brian Wacker with the shocking details from their larger piece about the fractured relationship between the USGA and PGA Tour pros…
  • “But instead of the image of Brooks Koepka clutching his second consecutive Open trophy, the lingering memory for many is of Phil Mickelson, a six-time runner-up in the event he needs to win to complete the career Grand Slam, running after his ball and stopping it before it could roll off the 13th green. Facing a possible disqualification, Mickelson was instead penalized two strokes and made a 10 on his way to an 81. Was it 27 years of U.S. Open frustration for Mickelson, or was he sending a message for many of the players, speaking to far-greater issues with the ruling body?”
  • “Golf Digest interviewed 57 people intimately involved in the game, including 35 current players and 16 major champions, along with caddies, coaches and analysts, and uncovered details on rapidly eroding relationships with the governing body. The resentment ran so deep that at one point in 2016, leading players say, they even contemplated the unthinkable: a boycott of the U.S. Open.”
A taste of how the story unfolds…
  • “MULTIPLE MAJOR WINNER, INCLUDING THE U.S. OPEN: They’ve had a bad run of golf setups, of decisions, and in some cases, golf courses. They know this is a bad time. Controversy is killing the major championship.”
  • “TEACHER OF MULTIPLE MAJOR CHAMPIONS: They think they’re qualified to do what they do, but, like Bill Parcells says, “You are what your record says you are.” Their record is awful.”
Full piece.
5. Jack’s place
Dave Shedloski, writing for PGATour.com, looks at the evolution of Muirfield Village…
  • “And, yet, until a few years ago, when he redesigned the par-3 16th hole and built a new tournament tee for the par-4 18th in preparation for the 2013 Presidents Cup, Nicklaus continually had tinkered with his prized layout, transforming that imperfect masterpiece into one of the most revered designs in the world.”
  • “Not only is Muirfield Village the site this week of the 44th playing of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, it also has been the venue for some of golf’s most popular and prestigious events. It is the only golf course in the world to host the Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup and Presidents Cup. It also was the site of the 1992 U.S. Amateur.”
  • “Long before Muirfield Village hosted any of those prestigious events, or even the first Memorial Tournament, Nicklaus made clear his intentions and aspirations for Muirfield Village as “a showplace of what the game of golf should be.”

Full piece.

6. Way to go, coach!
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols with the story…
  • “Two days after Amy Ruengmateekhun led Ursuline Academy of Dallas to its second consecutive state high school title, she qualified for her first U.S. Women’s Open. Ruengmateekhun, 27, had been trying to make her way into the biggest championship in women’s golf since 2007. It took quitting the game competitively to get there.”
  • “My girls are a huge inspiration for me,” Ruengmateekhun said of the high school team that carded its lowest round – 307 – on the final day of the championship. It marked the first time four players on her team broke 80 in the same round.
Full piece.
7. Studying with the scientist
Dave Shedloski sat in on the singular Bryson DeChambeau discussing his methods…
“FACTORS WHEN HITTING A 150-YARD SHOT”
1 Air Density
2 Elevation Change
3 Wind Vector X
4 Local Slope Adjustment
5 Roll Out Number
6 Secret
7 Choose Shot
“He of the single-length shafts in his irons and a vocabulary that makes him even more dangerous in Scrabble than on a golf course, DeChambeau went into painstaking detail on how he hit upon this checklist to hit upon a golf ball. With five PGA Tour wins before turning 25, and a victory earlier this year on the European Tour at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic (where he won by a record seven shots), The Professor has proven that his method is effective.”
Full piece.
8. Feinstein wants to hear from Rory again
…Sabbatini, that is…
  • “Almost 10 years later, with slow play still an issue, I was writing a column about it for Golf Digest. Naturally, the first person I thought to talk to was Sabbatini. I’d always gotten along with him and thought getting him to talk about it would be a slam dunk.”
  • “I was wrong. I approached him early in the week at the Players Championship. We shook hands and he said pleasantly, “What can I do for you?””
  • “I never got the next sentence completely out of my mouth. “I’m doing a column on slow play and . . . “
  • “NO!” Sabbatini roared, starting to walk away. “I’m not talking about it anymore. I’ve told the tour how I feel and what needs to be done and no one pays any attention. When they decide to do something, come back and talk to me. Until then, I’m finished!”
Full piece.
9. A very expensive flight
Our Gianni Magliocco writes…“Tom Gillis was one of many players who struggled in the tough conditions at Oak Hill East Course at last week’s Senior PGA Championship, and after finishing his second round on a total of nine-over par, the 50-year-old made the ill-fated decision to pack up his things and fly home to Michigan.”
  • “Gillis had been three shots outside of the cut line when he decided to head back to Detroit, but on landing, the veteran golfer learned that the cut line had moved to nine-over par meaning Gillis had made the weekend.”
  • “Faced with the option to either fly back to Rochester for round three or take a WD, Gillis chose the latter.”
Full piece.

 

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