By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

August 15, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans. Looks like all the limited release Tiger Woods’ “Frank” hats are sold out. While it’ll never be Arnold Palmer’s umbrella logo, it seems TW’s famed headcover is being embraced as his avatar.
1. Squires!
AP report on what went down at the U.S. Am…”Austin Squires beat qualifying medalist Brandon Wu 2 up on Wednesday on the first day of match play at the U.S. Amateur.”
  • “Squires, a former Cincinnati player who lost to eventual champion Viktor Hovland in the quarterfinals last year at Pebble Beach, was the last player to advance from two rounds of stroke play at Pinehurst No. 2 and No. 4. He needed four holes in a 27-for-3 playoff to claim the final spot in the 64-player field.”
  • “It was kind of nice that I had already played a couple holes before the match,” Squires said. “Granted, it was on (course No.) 4, which (is) a little different, but it was kind of nice. It was a little easier getting rhythm.”

Full piece.

Click Here: liverpool mens jerseyRound of 64 highlights via the USGA here.

2. “Nary a grimace” 
Steve DiMeglio…”There was no hint of injury and nary a grimace. Many shots were hit with force, all chip shots and putts with touch. From the first tee through the 18th green in Wednesday’s BMW Championship pro-am at Medinah Country Club, Tiger Woods walked and played without restriction.”
  • “With the skies bright and Woods on the cheerful side, it was a far different atmosphere from last Friday when he woke up to back pain and was forced to withdraw from the Northern Trust in New Jersey with an oblique strain.”
  • “It was nice to take those days off, and I had to just let it calm down and get a bunch of treatment on it, and it feels so much better,” Woods said of his back. “I played nine today, played the front nine, and played well, which was nice to see, nice to feel. Definitely doesn’t feel like it did on Friday, that’s for sure.”

Full piece.

3. Twilight, aching backs draw Woods, WIlliams together
Excellent stuff from Karen Crouse at the New York Times…
She begins…”Tiger Woods was walking with his pro-am playing partners Wednesday at Medinah Country Club when he heard that Serena Williams had pulled out of a tournament in Ohio because of back spasms. It was the second time in the span of three days that she was forced to drop out of a competition. The same injury also forced Williams to retire during the first set of the Rogers Cup final in Toronto.”
  • “Woods could relate. He withdrew before the second round of last week’s FedEx Cup playoff opener at Liberty National Golf Club when he awoke after an opening four-over 75 bothered by a strained oblique muscle that left his surgically repaired back feeling stiff. Five days later, Woods said he felt much better, but as a precautionary measure, he refrained from hitting full shots during the second nine of his pro-am before the BMW Championship, which starts Thursday.”

Full piece.

4. Kaymer keeps his card
Golf Channel’s Will Gray on how Martin Kaymer is keeping his PGA Tour card…
“Former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer will be allowed to retain conditional PGA Tour membership for the 2019-20 season despite falling short of the Tour’s requirement that a player make at least 15 starts in a season.”
  • “Kaymer has won two majors and The Players, but his five-year exemption for winning the 2014 U.S. Open expired when he missed the cut at the Wyndham Championship earlier this month. The German teed it up only 14 times on Tour this season and finished No. 150 on the points list, a position that would normally merit conditional membership that goes to Nos. 126-150 on the final standings. But because he came up one start short, his case went to the Tour’s competitions committee and ultimately the office of commissioner Jay Monahan.”
  • “At issue was The Open at Royal Portrush, where Kaymer was first alternate to begin tournament week but never got into the field. According to a Tour official, Kaymer was planning to play the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky that week but instead flew to Northern Ireland in hopes of a tee time that never materialized.”
Full piece. 

 

5. Will Tiger pick Tiger?
Quite a conundrum!
  • Golf Channel’s Nick Menta…“Tiger Woods said Wednesday he still wants to make the U.S. Presidents Cup on his own. But with only this week’s BMW Championship left to play before the qualifying window closes, he can’t.”
  • “Woods, the U.S. captain, is currently 13th on the points list, and even a win this week at Medinah will not push him inside the top eight.”
  • “That begs the question: Will Woods use one of his four captain’s picks on himself?”
  • “It’s going to come down to the top eight guys, myself and my vice captains about who are the next four slots,” he said, “and whether that’s me and three other guys, or it’s just four other guys.”

Full piece.

6. HV3’s inner circle
An interesting morsel on the relationship between HV3 and his coach, via Steve DiMeglio…
  • “…he considers Scott Hamilton, director of instruction at Cartersville Country Club in Georgia, a critical part of his “Inner Circle.”
  • “You’re really not doing much instruction. You’re really keeping a guy on a path,” Hamilton said of working with PGA Tour players. “That’s really what my job is.”
  • …”That’s all it is, golf, eat and sleep,” Varner said. “Practice all day. I enjoy doing that; I don’t know how much longer in my life it’s going to be like that. I’m not going to be a kid forever, but I’m going to try to use that as long as possible.”

Full piece. 

7. BMW to renew
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski…It appears as if BMW is staying on as title sponsor of the PGA Tour’s second FedEx Cup Playoff event.
  • “According to a report in Wednesday’s Chicago Tribune, BMW is set to pull a U-turn after indicating it would end its long-running sponsorship of the tournament that formerly was the Western Open and is run by the Western Golf Association. The Tribune reported that BMW is set to sign a new three-year contract for $15 million to $18 million annually.”
  • “The about-face reportedly was initiated by the incoming chairman, Oliver Zipse, who takes over Aug. 16. BMW has been the title sponsor of this tournament since 2007. It was believed that the luxury automaker was interested in diverting its golf-sponsorship resources to the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis. A tournament source said that still might happen in addition to retaining its ties to the PGA Tour.”

Full piece.

8. Shipnuck on PGA Tour hopeful Justin Lower
He writes…”Lower’s broad perspective was born of family tragedy. When he was 15, he was waiting to be picked up at Lyons Den Golf Course, in Canal Fulton, Ohio, but his father, Tim, and brother Chris never made it. In the wake of their fatal car accident, Justin lost himself in the game. Lyons Den became his sanctuary. He was given a key to the shed where the range balls were stored and he hit them by the hundred.”
  • “I wasn’t working on anything,” he says. “It was just therapeutic.”
  • “With golf and sorrow so inextricably linked, Lower had a heavy heart as he embarked on his pro career, after having played at Malone University. But going home again has brought him a newfound peace. Five years ago he reconnected with the one of the most popular girls from his high school, Janice Sandrock. Back in the day, he was a golf nerd and she was a cheerleader, ergo, “She wouldn’t talk to me,” Lower says. They are to be married this fall, and late last year they bought a house in their old hometown. Lower is now once again frequenting Lyons Den, a par 69 of 5,591 yards at which his best score is a 58. Everyone there knows his name.”

Full piece.

9. Brooks knows!
PGATour.com’s Andrew Tursky on some bold Brooks Koepka footwear (Photo cred: PGATour.com)
  • “Brooks Koepka, considered one of the best athletes in golf history, wore golf shoes on Wednesday as a tribute to a man considered one of the best overall athletes in history: Bo Jackson. Actually, Koepka and Jackson played as partners in the Wednesday pro-am at Medinah Country Club ahead of the 2019 BMW Championship.”
  • “The  “Brooks Knows” slogan on Koepka’s shoes put a little twist on the popular “Bo Knows” marketing campaign, featuring Jackson, which started in 1989 for Nike cross-training shoes.”
Full piece. 

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