"Detroit Golf Club workers threaten strike before PGA Tour's Rocket Mortgage Classic"

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Well here’s one you don’t hear every day: members of the Teamsters are threatening to walk off the job at Detroit Golf Club over stalled negotiations.

Greg Levinsky reports for the Detroit Free Press on what’s in dispute and how the action could impact the PGA Tour’s return to the area for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

“Come (Thursday) when this tournament starts,” said Kevin Moore, president of local union, Teamsters Local 299, and executive board member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, “we’re going to do what we have to do. Demonstrations, strikes, whatever is at our disposal.”

A seven-member group of mechanics and groundskeepers represented by Teamsters Local 299 saw their contract expire in 2018. The club had been asking for a contract that included a “3% pay raise, health care relief and job security language,” according to a news release on Monday..

Tiger Dropped From Woods Restaurant Suit After Lack Of Ownership Stake Confirmed

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The wrongful death lawsuit dropped on Tiger’s plate at the PGA Championship will move forward but without Woods as a defendant, reports ESPN.com’s Bob Harig.

The reason is fairly simple: Tiger is not an owner of Woods Jupiter where the young man who bartended there ultimately lost his life in a car accident.

According to Woods' attorney, Barry Postman, Woods invests in but does not own the restaurant.

"The decision was clearly appropriate and reflected the fact that Mr. Woods should not have been included in the lawsuit in the first place because he had nothing to do with Mr. Immesberger's death,'' Postman said in a statement. "While the situation was tragic, the facts will ultimately show that the cause of Mr. Immesberger's car accident were the many decisions made by Mr. Immesberger on the night of his passing.'“

Why The World Golf Hall Of Fame's Street Cred Is Suffering, Files: Hannah Green Declared One Major From HOF Eligibility

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A big congratulations to LPGA rookie Hannah Green on her first win and first major win in the KPMG LPGA Championship, nearly doubling her career earnings and already bringing her within one major win of World Golf Hall of Fame eligibility.

As the World Golf Hall’s Twitter account reminded us:

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Of course we all know Hall eligibility does not ensure induction. Shoot, non-eligibility but amazing lives in the game are not even ensured a place in the Hall.

Steph Curry, Under Armour Getting Into The Golf Fashion Business

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You know I’m just going to leave it to the commenters, but there was confusion over the insignia on Steph Curry’s hat as he unveiled a perfectly classy looking collection of golf clothes with partner Under Armour. (Upside down would be a big problem, in case you want the short version on the golf logo matter.)

The Range Unlimited Collection is detailed here.

The launch at Mission Hills

Detroit Golf Club And How The Motor City Got The Tour Back

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With the Rocket Mortgage Classic bringing PGA Tour golf back to greater Detroit area, there are a couple of stories worth noting if you’re interested in Detroit Golf Club’s big week.

Tony Paul looks at the impact expected by the event, the first in the area since 2009.

"It's so huge, because of this state's and the Metro Detroit area's golf roots, that extend all the way back to the 19th century," said Lynn Henning, a recently retired Detroit News sportswriter who was editor of PGA Magazine from 1989-94 and a senior writer and editor of Golfweek from 1996-98.

"To see that reclaimed and to see the appetite, the hunger for big-name pro golf in Michigan is not only refreshing, but it's deserved."

Carlos Monarrez files an excellent look at Detroit Golf Club’s pursuit of the tour before Dan Gilbert and Quicken Loans made it known they wanted to be back in the Motor City.

Sure, the club had lots of land, a location not far from downtown Detroit and two pedigreed Donald Ross courses that opened in 1916. But as the club’s leadership probed various sources, including the PGA Tour, it soon learned it mostly needed a sponsor and a date on the PGA Tour calendar.

“So during those years there were a couple attempts to find sponsorship that never came to fruition,” Glassberg said. “But meanwhile we had established a pretty good relationship with the PGA Tour. Keith was green chair, so we actually had people from the tour up here a number of times and evaluated what should the routing be, what’s the yardage, et cetera.”

WXYZ, The local ABC affiliate, provided thesis flyover tour. Very nicely done for a local station, even down to highlighting which hole from the club’s South Course is in use.

Average Age Update: Holding Steady For PGA Tour's 2018-19 Winners, A Touch Younger For FedExCup Top 20

With Chez Reavie’s dominating win at the Travelers Championship—and his reflections on the perseverance needed at times to sustain a career as detailed here by GolfDigest.com’s Brian Wacker—the 37-year-old helped maintained the trend of PGA Tour winners just on the coveted demo cusp.

Like Gary Woodland in the U.S. Open—another geezer at 35—each is the story of a player who had great potential and widely recognized talent, yet experienced more downs than ups before winning. Golf’s a weird, cruel game that way, which makes the suggestion of today’s youth being better prepared to win than ever more hype than fact.

Since the start of 2019, there have been nine winners in their 20s. Two won events opposite to more significant tournaments, one was a player who since turned 30 (Rory McIlroy) and another was Brooks Koepka, who is 29. At 25, Xander Schauffele is 2019’s younger winner on the PGA Tour and that was in January. Going back to the fall, Cameron Champ’s win at 23 makes him 2018-19’s youngest.

With Reavie’s victory at Travelers, the average age of 2018-19 PGA Tour winners holds steady at 33, while the top 20 in FedExCup points average 32.6.

There should be nothing wrong with golfers peaking in their 30s. Such a phenomenon, to the surprise of no one, would be something to celebrate as a reward for longevity and experience gained.

But as Eamon Lynch notes in this column juxtaposing the invasion of youth at the Travelers with one-time child phenom Michelle Wie’s suggestion she has little left in the tank, the youth (and the people pushing them to turn pro) can learn a thing or two about the big picture.

If we are seeing the truncating of Wie’s playing career, it is an aching loss for golf, and not just women’s golf. There is no more melancholy sight in sport than that of a sublime talent whose potential goes largely unrealized.

Wie is an exemplar of how the natural, joyous passion of a child can become the challenging, frustrating job of a professional. Yet by no measure have these been fruitless years. Whatever the capricious whims of golf inflicted, she is a winner, a Stanford graduate, a poised public figure even under intense scrutiny. That’s why, as Wie inches with characteristic grace toward the door marked ‘Exit’, young men like Hovland and Wolff who are entering the professional ranks would do well to learn from her example.

There will always be phenoms. But it’s still quite confounding to see the push to hype young players with so little appreciation for the long game in a sport that has generally seen few players peak young.

LPGA's Whan Still Yearning To Get His Tour More Broadcast Network Airtime

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Intriguing stance by Commish Mike Whan’s in believing network television is still the place to get more notoriety and purse growth for the LPGA Tour. From Beth Ann Nichols’ Golfweek story posted after Whan discussed the close on a two-year Golf Channel extension and the PGA Tour’s involvement in handling negotiations:

Whan points to current No. 1 Jin Young Ko as a prime example.

“If you gave me 39 weekends a year, I promise you I could make you love Jin Young Ko,” said Whan. “You’re going to get to know her story and swing. You see her five times a year, she’s just a name I can’t pronounce. That’s a shame. If you give me 39 weeks there’s a lot of guys on the PGA Tour I wouldn’t care about.… When they become people you know, you want to watch them.”

However, as the Nichols story points out, the U.S. Women’s Open on Fox was outdrawn by NBC network broadcasts of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Diamond Resorts TOC, with strong Golf Channel and promotional tie-ins on other NBC outlets, suggesting that a mere broadcast network presence isn’t enough.

It’s also hard to see a broadcast network taking on the LPGA Tour at the PGA Tour’s negotiating insistence when even PGA Tour events do not all get broadcast network coverage. Seems obvious who will get priority in negotiations, but stranger things have happened.

Koepka Admits He's Fried, Still Not Over Rush From PGA Win

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Just as Tiger Woods took a while to recover from putting everything into winning the Masters, Brooks Koepka hit a wall Saturday after his PGA win and subsequent U.S. Open push to win a third in a row.

It’s one thing when 43-year-old Tiger is on fumes, but to hear Koepka say he’s “fried” suggests it might be tougher, not easier, to win a Grand Slam with the new schedule.

From Nick Menta’s GolfChannel.com story:

“I'm just pretty – I don't think I'm even over the PGA,” he said. “And then to exert all your energy there last week, just fried. I mean, I've caught myself yawning on the golf course. I don't think I've ever yawned on a golf course before.”

In fairness, Koepka has yawned before – in a way that was weirdly perfect – but it’s clear that last week’s run at a third consecutive U.S. Open title took a lot of him.

Asked why he made the cross-country trip here after Pebble, Koepka said he wanted to honor his commitment and that he couldn’t have known in advance he would be this drained. Considering the reason, he’s happy to feel fatigued.

“When you're planning your schedule, you're not thinking you're going to compete in all three majors and still be fried from it,” he said. “It's fine. I don't mind it.”

It’ll be interesting to see what the combination of The Open followed by a WGC, a week off and then the playoffs yields in the way of energetic play from the game’s stars. In the hottest month of the year.

Jason Day Is Officially In Stevie Williams Boot Camp

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Veteran bagman Steve Williams is bringing some discipline and drive to Jason Day’s preparation as the former PGA Champion looks to save his season. And hey, why not?

Day, from Brian Wacker’s GolfDigest.com story:

“We've definitely been a lot more disciplined about going to the range and putting green, chipping green after the round and making sure we're staying on top of it, especially with our feels,” Day said, sounding an awful lot like Williams’ most successful employer with that word choice.

“I've got a lot of work [to do],” Day said. “[Steve] is very black and white.”

He followed it up with a 63. Stevie!

As David Dusek notes, the Stevie-takes-charge method started at Pebble Beach and has continued to Connecticut. There have also been attempts to refine his equipment.

LPGA, Golf Channel Near Two-Year Extension, What Does It Mean?

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Randall Mell says the “finishing touches” are in the works for an LPGA Tour television extension with Golf Channel that would extend the current deal.

“We're in the final stages of completing a two-year extension, pretty much as is,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan told reporters Friday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

A Golf Channel spokesman confirmed Whan’s announcement.

Whan confirmed that the PGA Tour has led the LPGA’s TV negotiations, as part of a strategic alliance agreement struck between the tours in 2016.

This sets the LPGA up to be part of the PGA Tour’s next television contract negotiations, likely benefiting from the ability to be included as part of the bidding. Though to what extent the PGA Tour will prioritize the LPGA in packaging, scheduling and inclusion in deals remains to be seen. Whichever networks interested in taking on PGA Tour coverage will almost surely have to take on other (less or not profitable) tours as well.

Current PGA Tour contracts with CBS, NBC and Golf Channel expire at the end of 2021. This sets in motion the likelihood of negotiations beginning in earnest with prospective bidders.

Wie: "I’m not entirely sure how much more I have left in me"

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Attempting to play on a bum wrist, things did not go well for Michelle Wie in the KPMG LPGA Championship first round (84) and after she suggested her career may have hit a wall.

From Beth Ann Nichols’ Golfweek story on Wie’s comments and player reaction to the possible career ending appearance:

“It’s just one of those situations where I’m not, you know, I’m not entirely sure how much more I have left in me,” said Wie, “so even on the bad days I’m just like trying to take time to enjoy it. But it’s tough.”

Like many I was surprised to see her turn up at Hazeltine after she signaled likely taking the summer off, so kudos to Wie for trying to play.

Classic Sports TV's Count Of 2019 U.S. Open Shots Shown By Fox

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As he always does, Jeff Haggar at Classic TV Sports tracked all of the shots shown by Fox during the 2019 U.S. Open final round coverage.

He started about 30 minutes before the leaders teed off to maintain some consistency with other major telecasts. Fox showed 1.17 shots per minute, down a touch from the 1.24 shown at Shinnecock Hills. But Fox appeared to do the leaders justice and also show a good number of players contending.

He also tracked holes shown the most. Check it out here.

For comparison to prior majors, see this table with links to all of Haggar’s charts since 2014.

From Ben Hogan To The Korn Ferry Tour...

A 24-handicapper follow-through…but he’s got a white belt because that’s what the kids wear!

A 24-handicapper follow-through…but he’s got a white belt because that’s what the kids wear!

There is so much to marvel at in the mid-season naming of Korn Ferry Consulting as the title sponsor of the Web.com Tour.

The firm signed a ten-year deal as Web.com did in 2012, but a new buyer of Web, Siris Capital, clearly wanted out and got their wish. The transition mid-season is showing, as PGATour.com is still sporting the old sponsor’s name.

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Anyway, Web.com joins Ben Hogan, Nike, Nationwide and Buy.com as former tour sponsors since the inception in 1989.

The firm specializes in high-priced job searches, and besides widespread social media mocking of the peculiar name and timing, already got its name up-front in a news story by Golf World’s Joel Beall. Impressions!

The lede:

Evan H. Vollerthum, a caddie on the Korn Ferry Tour, was arrested Monday for human trafficking and attempting to sexually exploit a child.

Vollerthum was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations in Topeka, Kansas, according to an ICE news release. Topeka is about two hours away from this week's Wichita Open.

Jerry, I have Jay Monahan on line one, he’s saying something about a game of cornhole on a ferry. You want me to send it to voicemail?

For Immediate Release:

PGA TOUR announces Korn Ferry as umbrella
sponsor of newly named Korn Ferry Tour

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida – The PGA TOUR and Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY) announced today a 10-year agreement making the Los Angeles-based, global organizational consulting firm the Umbrella Sponsor of the newly named Korn Ferry Tour. 

In replacing Web.com, Korn Ferry’s sponsorship takes effect June 19 and extends through the 2028 season. The Korn Ferry Tour will continue to award PGA TOUR membership to the Tour’s 50 leading players, including the top 25 from the Regular Season points list and the top 25 from the three-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals points list.

The announcement was made jointly by PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan, Korn Ferry Chief Executive Officer Gary Burnison, and Korn Ferry Tour President Alex Baldwin on Wednesday morning in New York City.

“We welcome Korn Ferry to the PGA TOUR family with today’s announcement,” said Monahan. “Our thanks to Gary Burnison and his team for a partnership that will promote Korn Ferry’s mission of helping people and organizations exceed their potential, collaborating with a Tour that has proven to identify the next generation of PGA TOUR talent over the last 30 years.”

Korn Ferry also becomes a PGA TOUR Official Marketing Partner as the “Official Leadership Development Firm” of the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, and Korn Ferry Tour. Additionally, Korn Ferry will assume sponsorship of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance in Evansville, Indiana – the third and final event in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. 

That’s right, the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.

“We’re excited to partner with the PGA TOUR. Our organizations are both all about talent – getting players and people to that next level and advancing their careers. People will never discover their full potential until they are provided an abundance of opportunity. Korn Ferry and the Korn Ferry Tour provide that opportunity,” said Burnison. “This sponsorship will further elevate our brand as a global organizational consultancy and extend awareness of our firm to new audiences around the world.”

No where to go but up!

Korn Ferry develops and coaches 1.2 million people a year, puts someone in a new job every three minutes and has worked with companies to evaluate and assess nearly 70 million professionals. The firm has offices in more than 50 countries and 8,500 employees.

Korn Ferry works with clients to design their organizational structures, roles and responsibilities. The firm helps them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward, develop and motivate their workforce. Korn Ferry also helps professionals at all levels navigate and advance their careers. 

“This is a tremendous day for our organization, and we are eager to work with Gary and his team as we continue to build the Korn Ferry Tour from the strong foundation already in place,” said Baldwin, the first female to be named president of one of the PGA TOUR’s six global Tours earlier this year. “Korn Ferry has an impassioned desire to enhance the careers and brands of our players through this incredibly competitive Tour. This partnership will allow us to further those goals while elevating the Tour and our tournaments for our partners and fans.”

With 50 available PGA TOUR cards for the following season (since 2013), the Korn Ferry Tour is the path to the PGA TOUR. Twenty-five TOUR cards are reserved for the leading points earners at the end of the 24-event Regular Season. Another 25 are up for grabs at the three-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals that follow the Regular Season in August and September.

During the PGA TOUR’s 2017-18 season, eight players from the Korn Ferry Tour Class of 2017 won titles, including Aaron Wise, whose victory at the 2018 AT&T Byron Nelson was the 500th by a former Korn Ferry Tour player – a list which includes 24 major championships and eight PLAYERS Championships, including Gary Woodland’s win on Sunday at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Four players from the Class of 2018 have won on the PGA TOUR this season – Cameron Champ (Sanderson Farms Championship), Adam Long (The Desert Classic), Martin Trainer (Puerto Rico Open) and Max Homa (Wells Fargo Championship).

Other notable PGA TOUR players who got their start on the Korn Ferry Tour include major champions Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Bubba Watson and Zach Johnson.

The release mentions no dollar figures, but the announcement prompted some to point out stagnant purses on the Korn Ferry Tour.

And then there were the reactions to the name…

And somehow, poor Tiger got dragged into the sell:


Will Matthew Wolff's Game Prove Disruptive?

That’s certainly an underlying question as you read Sean Martin’s introductory piece for PGATour.com on Matthew Wolff, one of four college stars debuting this week who are getting the John, Paul, George and Ringo treatment, writes Ryan Herrington. All four—Viktor Hovland, Wolff, Colin Morikawa and Justin Suh are playing on sponsor’s invites.

The product of instructor George Gankas, Martin says Wolff’s distance and approach to golf courses is backed by the numbers, but his college coach says he’s ultimately more than just a long hitter.

Oklahoma State head coach Alan Bratton points to two shots from the NCAA Championship to illustrate Wolff’s shotmaking versatility. In the same round, Wolff used an 8-iron to hit approach shots from 150 and 208 yards.

“Everyone talks about his driver, but his biggest asset is his iron play and putting,” Bratton said.

Length has always been an asset. Mark Broadie’s Strokes Gained statistics helped quantify the advantage, though. Players can ride a hot putter to victory one week, but long hitters have an advantage week-in and week-out. The scoring advantage of having a 120-yard approach versus a 140-yarder may be small, but those incremental advantages add up over the course of weeks, months and years.

As for Hovland, coming off a record scoring performance by an amateur in the U.S. Open, he debuts having signed with Ping. David Dusek reports for Golfweek.

Brooks: I Care That People Said I Could Care Less

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Having shown little interest in regular PGA Tour events, Brooks Koepka enters this week’s Travelers Championship with his major championship mindset.

But he’s also using the media as motivation, suggesting his comment about about not caring where he finished in Canada was run with by media and not to be believed.

Nick Menta at the Travelers writes for GolfChannel.com:

Speaking with the media ahead of the Travelers Championship, Koepka was asked about his level of focus this week. The preamble to that question included a reference to comments Koepka made two weeks ago, prior the RBC Canadian Open, when he said he “could care less what happens” in his tune-up start for the U.S. Open.

“Let me set the record straight,” Koepka said Wednesday at TPC River Highlands. “It's not that I don't care about the event. … Some people took that and ran with it. … Can't believe everything you read.”

Pssst…it’s on video too.

Phil: "Come to the realization I'm not going to win the U.S. Open"

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Pretty stunning admission from Phil Mickelson Wednesday at the Travelers.

From Brian Wacker’s GolfDigest.com report:

“I really don’t have many more chances,” Mickelson said Wednesday from the Travelers Championship, where he is playing for the first time in 16 years. “I probably have to come to the realization that I’m not going to win a U.S. Open.”

The U.S. Open returns to Winged Foot next year, where Mickelson nearly won in 2006.

"Will Cool Clothes Make Young People Love Golf?"

In an NY Times Style piece, Sheila Marikar attends (with photos!) a Malbon Golf party at last week where the theme was to show how golf and fashion can make the sport more accessible to the hip-hop generation.

“Kids that are into fashion, hip-hop and music, they’re not into golf,” said Mr. Malbon. “It’s in danger of going where baseball is. Or think about bowling — bowling used to be lit.”

That might be a bit strong, but we get the point.

Rusacks, Marine Hotels Will Be Coming On The Market (Again)

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Tom Ramage reports that major losses in their hotel empire will prompt the Macdonald Hotels group to sell most of their hotels.

In golf, that means two of the most storied properties possible will be available: Rusacks on the 18th hole of St. Andrews and the Marine hotel overlooking the 16th at North Berwick.

Hey rich golf guys, make sure these land in the right hands, please.

How Gary Woodland's Incredible Wedge Shot Was Influenced By (Restored) Golf Architecture

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You may have heard…Chandler Egan and friends remodeled Pebble Beach for the 1929 U.S. Amateur into the Pebble Beach we’ve come to know. Over time, many features have been lost to the point of dysfunction in U.S. Open conditions. The boiling point was reached in the 2010 U.S. Open when the 17th green could not be held. As we detailed in the above link, a remodeled 17th hole was an opportunity to see if Pebble Beach would play better in the 2019 edition.

I’d say it did.

Since that U.S. Open, the green was expanded and the bunker faces reduced. The neck of the “hourglass” green created by Egan had been reduced to a sliver, the green unpinnable anywhere near the surrounds. The square footage restoration estimate was over 1000 square feet and while the green was still not as large as the original, the remodel made the 17th was made functional again.

But more important than the reclamation of architectural roots or reminding us of this wonderfully bizarre vision by Egan, the expansion gave Gary Woodland the opportunity to hit a shot for the ages, requiring him to clip the ball and land in a very small area and join Pebble Beach’s other 17th hole classic moments by Nicklaus and Watson.

The shot reminds how important golf course design is to giving us golf-watching thrills, and the vitality of caring for architectural gems.

Phil Transitions To The Bathroom Humor Phase Of His Social Media Career

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I’m sure Arnold Palmer wishes he could have have taken to Twitter in his World Golf Hall Of Fame jacket, simulating a toilet sitting position and making his first story one with scatological roots.

What will Phil do next…