By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram and golfwrxEIC on Twitter.

December 4, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.  
 
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1. CBS shakeup continues 
Via Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Michelle Wie and Trevor Immelman are joining CBS Sports, as the network continues to retool its coverage for 2020.”
  • “CBS announced a flurry of moves on Tuesday morning, weeks after parting ways with mainstays Peter Kostis and Gary McCord, and adding Davis Love III, with Wie the biggest name in the announcement. Though her role is vague-a statement said Wie “will contribute to CBS Sports’ multimedia golf coverage this season, including the Masters”-Wie’s transition to media has been expected, as mounting injuries have sidelined her playing career. During the Solheim Cup in September, Wie appeared on Golf Channel as a guest analyst in the network’s Orlando studio.”

Full piece.

2. Woods passes on Saudi tourney 
ESPN’s Bob Harig with TW’s explanation...””Woods, who begins play in the Hero World Challenge on Wednesday at Albany Golf Club, was offered in the neighborhood of $3 million to play the tournament each of the last two years. He declined.”
  • “I just don’t want to go over there,” Woods told ESPN. “It’s a long way.”
  • …”I understand the politics behind it,” Woods said Tuesday of the controversy. “But also the game of golf can help heal a lot of that, too. It can help grow it. And also a lot of top players are going to be playing there that particular week.
  • “It’s traditionally not a golf hotbed, the Middle East. But it has grown quite a bit. I remember going to Dubai for my very first time and seeing maybe two or three buildings in the skyline. Now there is a New York City skyline. Again, golf has grown. There were only a few courses when I went to Dubai and now they’re everywhere. Same with Abu Dhabi, and maybe eventually in Saudi Arabia.”

Full piece.

3. Bulked up Bryson
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker...”Two months ago, Bryson DeChambeau weighed just under 200 pounds and struggled to do 10 arm raises with a 10-pound weight. Now he’s up to 25-pound weights, and tips the scale at a brawny 225.”
  • “The gains haven’t been limited to his gym routine or sudden beefiness, either. The 26-year-old five-time PGA Tour winner says he has picked up 12 mph of ball speed – up to 185 – and another 6 mph in clubhead speed in recent weeks. During a breezy pro-am round at the Hero World Challenge on Tuesday, he blasted a few drives north of 350 yards.”
  • “More distance,” DeChambeau said when asked what prompted him to pack on the pounds. “People are gonna say what they’re going to say.”

Full piece.

4. Reed’s mysterious irons
Andrew Tursky at PGATour.com with some recon (stay tuned to GolfWRX, as I believe we know “the company” and are in the process of confirming).
“When Patrick Reed came to the 2019 Hero World Challenge this week, he did so with a set of never-before-seen custom irons in the bag. As photos of the irons began to circulate on social media, equipment fans were left guessing as to who exactly designed the irons. The irons are stamped with his foundation’s logo, the word “Forged” and “Patrick Reed,” but what’s glaringly absent is a company name.”
  • …”They’re custom-made,” Reed told PGATOUR.COM. “We made them with a company. We worked for 12-14 months on them and we finally got them to where I feel like we need them to be.”
  • “While the irons are listed on the USGA Conforming Clubs List as being manufactured by Emery JPN Co., that doesn’t necessarily mean Emery is the company who designed the irons, it’s just the company’s facility they were manufactured in.”
Full piece (and see one of the clubs below…photo via Andrew Tursky)

 

5. Phoenix Open, understandably, disappointed 
Via Josh Weinfuss at ESPN.com…“The tournament chairman of the Waste Management Phoenix Open is “disappointed” that Phil Mickelson became the most recent PGA Tour golfer to decide to play in the controversial Saudi Invitational instead of the Arizona event, in which he participated for 30 years.”
  • “Phoenix Open chairman Tim Woods said he’s not concerned about a “mass exodus” of tour players forgoing the event, which is traditionally played on Super Bowl weekend, in exchange for the seven-figure appearance fee that comes with playing in Saudi Arabia.”
  • “It’s on our radar,” Woods said at the tournament’s Tee-Off Luncheon at Chase Field on Tuesday. “We’re actively exploring ways to fight back against it and will continue to do so. But I’m not concerned that it’s going to be a negative ultimately.”

Full piece.

6. Who else? 
Via EuropeanTour.com…“Rahm was selected by a panel comprising members of the golfing media as the winner of the prestigious annual award after a superb season in which he won two Rolex Series events, defended his national Open title and became the first Spaniard since Severiano Ballesteros to finish the year as European Number One after sealing the Race to Dubai title in a dramatic finale to the 2019 campaign.”
  • “The 25-year-old finished tied ninth at The Masters, tied third in the U.S. Open and was runner-up at the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Valderrama Masters before securing his first European Tour title of the year at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.”
Full piece.
7. Tiger’s ball testing process
If you’ve ever wondered how Tiger Woods tests golf balls, the ever-fortunate E. Michael Johnson got the exclusive to Tiger’s Bridgestone Tour B XS testing
  • He writes…”I was fortunate enough to have exclusive access to one of the earliest sessions, in February 2019, at Woods’ home course at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla. Having attended a similar testing session with Woods and Nike in 2003, I was eager to see if his approach had changed. As it turned out, it had remained pretty much intact, with an emphasis on short-game performance, flight windows and spin rates.”
  • “Five white boxes of prototype balls were presented to Woods. All of them without Bridgestone’s branding except for assorted Sharpie marks so Bridgestone’s staff, including Andrew Troutner, the company’s R&D test-site manager, could tell which ball was which. According to Elliot Mellow, Bridgestone’s marketing manager, each of the balls Woods was testing had a variation of the company’s urethane cover material, meaning there should be noticeable differences in feel and performance.”

Full piece.

8. Ohoopee! 
Golf Digest’s Ron Whitten on one of the two selections for Best New Course: the eminently unique Ohoopee Match Club.
  • “Last winter, after I compiled the list of nominees for Golf Digest’s 2019 Best New Courses survey, I privately handicapped the chances of each course, just for my amusement. I gave long odds to Gil Hanse’s entry in the private category, Ohoopee Match Club, an exclusive course in rural Georgia designed to cater to match play, with a total of 22 holes in two routings. Though it sounded like a fascinating concept, I figured that because our evaluation criteria seems tailored toward stroke-play competition, panelists would struggle to fit our square pegs into Ohoopee’s offbeat golf holes.
  • “…Needless to say, Ohoopee Match Club has won in the balloting. It’s Golf Digest’s Best New Private Course of 2019, finishing ahead of The Summit Club, a Tom Fazio design in Las Vegas. TPC Colorado, an Art Schaupeter design in Berthoud, north of Denver, finished third, and Pete Dye’s final full design, Links at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Md., is fourth. In fifth place is Aberdeen Golf & Country Club in Boynton Beach, Fla., a design by Jim Fazio, Tom’s brother, that replaces a controversial layout by Desmond Muirhead.”

Full piece.

9. The part of Jon Rahm’s wedding day Jon Rahm is most looking forward to is…exactly what you think it is…
Crack work by Brentley Romine to ask the hard questions!
  • Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”Current World No. 3 Jon Rahm became engaged to longtime college girlfriend Kelley Cahill in August of 2018, and now the Hero World Challenge defending champion has finally cleared space on his calendar to marry Cahill in the coming weeks.”
  • “…Asked by GolfChannel.com’s Brentley Romine what part of his wedding day he’s most looking forward to, Rahm’s expression changed and he paused briefly.”
  • “Part of the day?” he said. “What part, I mean, it’s pretty self explanatory, right?”
Full piece.

 

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