Ah The Group Texts These Days: Patrick Suggests To Ryder Cup Peers That He Was Misquoted

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And one hopes not a soul believed Captain America after he complained Sunday night of the Ryder Cup to Karen Crouse of the New York Times. Comments which he has never suggested were taken out of context or a direct misquote.

Still, according to Brooks Koepka while talking on the Boomer and Gio show as part of PGA Championship—in February!?—media duties, Reed insinuated to a team group text that the New York Times printed lies.

Will Gray summarized the appearance for GolfChannel.com, including this:

"Obviously the things with Patrick, it just kind of took on a life of its own," Koepka said. "We've got a group text, and there were some texts that were sent. He kind of apologized."

According to Koepka, Reed also included a message to his teammates: "Don't believe everything you read."

Except, everyone does believe what was said and your teammates did too because, well, who could make up a story that a golfer was unhappy about a Tiger Woods pairing and suggesting others were to blame for simply awful golf?

Some Top Female Am's Picking The ANA Over The ANWA

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Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols reports on the decision faced for some female amateur golfers between the LPGA’s first major, the ANA Inspiration, and playing the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur the same week.

While World No. 1 Jennifer Kupcho initially turned down Augusta National because of a Wake Forest obligation, she’s since added the ANWA after that event cancelled. Others have chosen to go to Rancho Mirage.

Kupcho decided to stick with the ANWA (she couldn’t possibly tell Augusta no twice), but four players ranked inside the top 11 chose the desert over Augusta green.

Sweden’s Frida Kinhult, a freshman at Florida State, leads the way as the No. 2-ranked amateur in the world. She’s joined by the ultra-talented UCLA sophomore Patty Tavatanakit (No. 3), who tied for fifth at last year’s U.S. Women’s Open, Stanford’s Albane Valenzuela (6th) and 17-year-old American Rachel Heck (11th).

Paspalum Dynasty: Players Acknowledge Sergio's "Not Normal" "Tantrum"

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Brian Keogh unearths additional details for The Independent and in a separate piece, offers a very PG-rated translation of Sergio Garcia’s rantings from the Royal Greens bunker.

There was an apology told to Spanish news agency EFE “shortly after his disqualification” reports Keogh.

“What happened this week is not something I am proud of,” Garcia told the Spanish news agency EFE shortly after his disqualification.

“We are all human, and we all make mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from them. The mistake is not learning from mistakes.”

So there is a chance you could make a mistake on top of the mistake you’ve already made if you don’t learn from this mistake. Got it.

Of more interest are the details filling in names of some players and caddies who turned Garcia in for vandalizing Royal Greens’ “Paspalum Dynasty” greens on top of names like Robert Rock and Patrick Reed who already acknowledged they saw the Spaniard’s efforts to deface the greens.

His antics in round three included leaving scuff marks and a divot on five greens as he played alongside the young Italian Renato Paratore, whose caddie felt Garcia’s tantrum was excessively prolonged.

According to EFE, Paratore’s Spanish caddie Javier Erviti said: “We are used to shows of character because we are Latinos, but we had the impression this tantrum was a bit over the top.”

Compatriot Jorge Campillo and his caddie Borja Simo, who were two groups behind Garcia and Paratore, called rules officials when they spotted deliberate damage to several greens.

“We knew it could affect us and the groups behind us,” Simo told EFE.

Campillo added: “It could happen once to any of us but several times is not normal.”

At the end of the round, tournament director David Phillips was waiting for Garcia, armed with an electronic tablet and showed him the photos.

So we have more confirmation that the European Tour has a file documenting the damage but it seems the chances are slim we’ll ever see them.

We discussed the situation on Morning Drive:

 

Turnberry Is In The News A Lot These Days!

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Unfortunately, as wonderful as the reimagined golf courses and hotel look, the Trump Organization-owned resort and current (glaring) outcast from Open Championship rota is the subject of interest from multiple parties.

A Times of London story, summarized by Business Insider’s Alexandra Ma, says U.S. prosecutors have issues subpoenas to DJT Holdings LLC, a company that owns President Donald Trump's golf courses in Scotland. The investigation centers around possible violation of the emoluments clause in the Constitution and financing of Turnberry.

Prosecutors in Maryland in December subpoenaed documents related to properties controlled by DJT Holdings LLC, a company that owns Trump's hotel in Washington, DC, and resorts in places like Turnberry, Scotland. You can read the full filing at the bottom of this article.

The documents are part of an investigation into whether Trump still profits from his businesses. It focuses on Trump International Washington, an old post office building in the US capital that Trump converted into a luxury hotel in 2016.

Meanwhile David Enrich, Jesse Drucker and Ben Protess of the New York Times reported last weekend that Trump was turned down by longtime lender Deutsche Bank for a loan during early 2016 when the work at Turnberry was wrapping up prior to its summer, 2016 re-opening (which I reviewed here for GolfDigest.com).

Two of the people familiar with the loan request said the Trump Organization had been seeking to borrow against its Miami resort to pay for work on a golf property in Turnberry, Scotland.

A Trump Organization spokeswoman, Amanda Miller, denied that the company had needed outside funding for Turnberry.

“This story is absolutely false,” Ms. Miller said. “We bought Trump Turnberry without any financing and put tens of millions of dollars of our own money into the renovation, which began in 2014. At no time was any money needed to finance the purchase or the refurbishment of Trump Turnberry.”

This may not be the ideal time to pitch Turnberry for the next Open rota spot in 2022.

First World Crisis! Could The Bloated, Dated Tour Bag Finally Be Doomed?

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Reading Jonathan Wall’s gear notes at Golf.com and his explanation of the Waste Management Phoenix Open debut of lighter stand bags from Puma, Titleist and Taylor Made be the beginning of the end for a traditional tour bag.

Fowler’s Puma-Vessel collaboration was limited to only 10 bags, while Titleist and TaylorMade unveiled versions — TaylorMade’s all-green FlexTech was specially made for the “The Greenest Show on Grass” — that are currently available to consumers.

As for Fowler, he reportedly plans to unveil other custom stand bags over the course of the season. If you’re Joe Skovron, Fowler’s caddie, it’s impossible to complain about additional light loops in the future.

It’s fascinating that Phoenix was seen as a natural unveiling spot, suggesting a younger crowd would be more accepting of a lighter stand bag. And just seeing some of the newer stand bags it’s clear they accomplish the same goal as the classic tour player bag, only streamlined, modernized and more user friendly.

While there is undoubtedly great satisfaction for a player in pulling or returning a club without any resistance—huge perk of the tour pro!—those days seem headed to the trash bit. Especially when a well-designed stand bag actually looks like a better piece of advertising.

Wall’s Tweet of Fowler bag:

"Behind the scenes of Johnny Miller's broadcast farewell"

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Ryan Lavner of GolfChannel.com tagged along with Johnny Miller for his final days with NBC Sports, and besides the still horrifying revelation of Johnny’s love for cheese whiz, there is plenty to enjoy.

This was fun:

The provocative commentary turned off some fans at home and didn’t endear Miller to those in the locker room, many of whom thought he was a bitter know-it-all lobbing grenades from above. Televised sports is rife with pros-turned-broadcasters who offer platitudes and coddle the athletes they cover. Miller never intended to be malicious; his mantra was accuracy, truth and honesty will always prevail.

“I like to say that I take off their clothes, but I leave their underwear on,” Miller says.  

If he ever thought he crossed the line on-air, he took two fingers and zipped his mouth shut. That was his cue to change the subject, even if a stunned Hicks sometimes needed 15 seconds of silence to recover.

Early in this farewell telecast, Hicks tries to goad Miller into a few more golf spike-in-mouth moments – “We know you’ve been holding back for 29 years, so have at it!” – but the opportunity for some vintage Johnny candor never presents itself. This is a day of celebration, after all, and sprinkled throughout the broadcast are tributes from Tour legends and past commissioners, NBC colleagues and other notable broadcasters, even a taped message from President Trump

For those who missed it, Roger Maltbie’s live farewell was incredible:

 

Canada Course To Become Cannibis-Friendly, Change Name To Rolling Greens

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Bob Weeks with the details on the creation of Canada’s first cannibis-friendly course, the current Lombard Glen Golf & Country Club.

The jokes have been flying fast since Gordon Weiske and his partners purchased the 160-acre layout from longtime owners Dave and Jean Sherman, with plans to gain traction in the cannabis tourism market.

For instance, a local media outlet suggested that instead of yelling “Fore” after an errant shot, players might now yell “Fore-20,” a shout-out to April 20, known among pot smokers as a celebratory date.

And the groaners just keep coming.

“Golf,” he stated, “is really a natural fit for this as golfers have been having a beer or two on the course for years and now then can enjoy smoking and still play the game.”

Weiske and his group hope to turn the local facility into a destination, adding to the golf with other activities such as a themed resort. He’s also hoping to bring golfers from Toronto via plane and has been working with a small airline to set up charter flights.

These people need to move to LA. Every course is cannibis-friendly and has been since the 70s. At least.

While We're Reviewing Dysfunctional New Rules: The Grace Drop Technique And Green Reading Books Need Revisiting

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Now that the governing bodies are working overtime to deal with the alignment rule after conceding a lack of success, the navy and grey slack set needs to clear more space on their emergency meeting agenda.

I’ll start with the drop problem spotted by readers John A and June who correctly noted Branden Grace’s incorrect drop on 17 of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Or was it incorrect? After all, he’s almost around knee height as his knee is positioned! (See above.)

The rule changed was explained this way:

  • How a ball may be dropped is simplified; the only requirement is that the ball be let go from knee height so that it falls through the air and does not touch any part of the player’s body or equipment before it hits the ground.

The overall absurd look of the knee height concept can go any day now. It will not speed up the game. Or grow it.

Meanwhile, the Forecaddie explains why you saw players consulting green books seemingly as much as ever at the WMPO. Because the change in spec allowances are not working according to Adam Scott.

“I think the rule has not done anything to change their impact,” Scott said.

But hey, the flagstick rule we definitely can keep!

Rickie Says What We All Understand In Winning The Wasted: "I hope I never have to go through that again"

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It was another wild and wacky finale in Scottsdale, with yet another rules of golf issue helping unravel Rickie Fowler’s lead before the regrouped and claimed the 2019 Waste Management Open title.

He hit some stellar shots down the stretch but we all know there is only one moment worth revisiting:

Dan Kilbridge at Golfweek with the written explanation for those not agonizing with Fowler as things unraveled in surreal fashion.

He was still comfortably in the lead when his pitch shot at 11 rolled over the green and into the water. Fowler took a routine drop behind the green, but his ball rolled back into the water after he walked up to take a look at the green.

That led to multiple conversations with Slugger White, PGA Tour vice president of rules and competition, behind the green. They were still trying to figure out what he scored on the hole after Fowler rolled in a 16-foot putt for a 7 on the par 4.

As it played out, Fowler made the triple bogey because he was given a penalty when his ball – which was deemed to have been at rest – rolled back into the water, the same as if he had hit it into the lake.

As the rules of golf receive greater scrutiny this week, pro golfer Bob Estes noted what appears to be another strange difference between the green and elsewhere on the course. In this case, a ball moving without a player causing it to do so and how the new rules treat such moments:

"Keith Pelley defended the Saudi event, saying it was 'transformational.' But then a bone saw and a vat of acid can be pretty transformational too."

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Nice line among many gems from Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch summing up the week “grow the game” was used to hide behind a deplorable all-around showing by the European Tour in going to Saudi Arabia, where no fans showed up, media was almost non-existent and players grabbed the Crown Prince’s dirty money.

This was nice too:

Conscientious objecting is a fraught business, of course. Is a golfer who can’t countenance competing in Saudi Arabia because of human rights abuses then obliged to skip the PGA Tour stop in China? How current or egregious or well-publicized must violations be to warrant a boycott? And what about events staged in countries that arm evil regimes? It’s a fine, blurred line between conscience and compromise.

Yet sometimes a decision is deceptively simple. Like when a golf tournament is manufactured purely as a public-relations fig leaf for an abhorrent government.  Last week’s Saudi International was just such a situation, no matter how much ‘Whataboutery’ was trafficked by slavish lickspittles in their attempt to justify enjoying Saudi hospitality.

The Guardian’s Marina Hyde offered this look at the player’s grabbing the Crown Prince’s money and:

Still, let’s play out with arguably my favourite take on it all, which emanated from the American Patrick Reed. Asked if he had any safety concerns about visiting Saudi Arabia, last year’s Masters champion dismissed the idea. “No,” breezed Reed, “because the European Tour has us covered.” On the one hand, yes. It feels vanishingly unlikely that anything unpleasant would happen to golfers paid to burnish Saudi Arabia’s dismal image. On the other, if the chips do go down, and you want a really crack unit to have your back covered, who you gonna call? The SAS, Delta Force, Seal Team Six, or … hang on, what was it again? … ah yes. The European Tour. Veteran of zero deadly missions, but several increasingly daring sorties into enemy coffers.

And Club Pro Guy with the Tweet of the week:

One other noteworthy item was this column from Morning Read’s Alex Miceli taking issue with Brandel Chamblee highlighting just some of the host’s more deplorable acts while Golf Channel did not treat this inaugural event as something of great importance (nor did any fans!).

He fell back on grow the game to justify his and the player’s appearance there.

At the same time, touring pros understand that golf’s future could be in jeopardy without trying to expand the game’s base and expose a country such as Saudi Arabia to world-class tournament golf.

Can we all at least agree that, based on a tournament with no fans and cash merely being grabbed, the game was not “grown”?

Keith Pelley's Awful Week Concludes With No Plans To Further Penalize Sergio Garcia

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As we begin a week of discussion about the Rules of Golf and professionals declare how they need to make their own rules, just consider what took place with Sergio Garcia in Saudi Arabia. At least in the European Tour’s case, I’m not sure they are the best judges of their players.

To review, Garcia is turned in by his peers for intentionally vandalizing greens at Royal Greens in the inaugural event where the tournament host likely ordered a journalist’s murder and dismemberment. There were no fans on site and few media, so the antics could only be noticed by his peers. The Scotsman’s Martin Dempster quoted a few of the witnesses who, amazingly, chalk the behavior up to a mistake even as they watched a player vandalize the playing surfaces.

Worse, the European Tour intends no further action:

However, according to the European Tour’s chief executive, Keith Pelley, the matter is now closed. “The incident is over,” he said, speaking at the event in King Abdullah Economic City. “We have dealt with it. Sergio has apologised to the players and we move on.”

While no video has surfaced of Garcia dragging his feet, Dempster posted this image shared with him of Garcia having taken a divot out of a green. Conduct unbecoming, needless to say.

The day prior, Garcia threw this hissy fit in a bunker:

As I noted here, Garcia needs a long suspension. He previously took a six month break from the game and it did wonders for his attitude. A longer break would serve him and the game well at this point.

That Keith Pelley is unwilling to recognize this in an obvious effort to protect a star is both sad and irresponsible. Ultimately the European Tour’s credibility hinges on a sense that a fair playing field is paramount, as is the upholding of basic etiquette in a sport where sponsors pay handsomely to be associated with the quality sportsmanship so consistently demonstrated by most professional golfers.

Statement from PGA TOUR on Rule 10.2b(4): No Penalties Until The Rule Can Be Changed

This one is certainly unprecedented: a rule of golf suspended and just a month into its implementation.

Furthermore, we have a retroactive rescinding of a penalty, admission that the wording of a simplified rule has confused people, and even the possibility of multiple recent past situations being brought up to the point that the PGA Tour referees are spending their days reviewing video.

Here is the statement issued at 3:02 pm ET, with interruptions:

Statement from PGA TOUR on Rule 10.2b(4)

Since the situation during Round 2 of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which resulted in PGA TOUR player Denny McCarthy receiving a two-stroke penalty under Rule 10.2b(4), the PGA TOUR has been in constant contact with the USGA about how the new rule should be interpreted. 

Oh to see that Slack!

During the course of these discussions, this morning a similar situation from yesterday’s round involving Justin Thomas was also brought to our attention. 

Big names involved, this is getting too dangerous!

It is clear that there is a great deal of confusion among players and caddies on the practical application of the new rule during competition, as well as questions surrounding the language of the rule itself and how it should be interpreted. 

So at least one thing is clear in this.

As a result, with the full support of the USGA and The R&A, the rule will be interpreted whereby the two aforementioned situations as well as future similar situations will not result in a penalty.  McCarthy’s score has been updated accordingly. 

Good thing he made the cut.

We will be working vigorously with the USGA and The R&A over the coming days to further analyze and improve the situation with this rule.  The USGA and The R&A will be making an announcement shortly.

And here is the USGA’s statement issued to Golfweek:

Following an ongoing dialogue with players and in cooperation with the PGA TOUR rules team, the USGA and The R&A revisited the penalty assessed to Denny McCarthy during round 2 of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. After an additional review of available video this morning, it was determined that the penalty would not apply in this instance nor in a similar instance involving Justin Thomas. In each of these cases, when the caddie was standing behind the player, the player had not yet begun taking the stance for the stroke, nor could useful guidance on aiming be given because the player was still in the process of determining how to play the stroke. The same would be true for any similar situation that might occur.

The USGA and The R&A recognize that further clarity on how to appropriately apply this Rule is needed. We are committed to assessing its impact and will provide the necessary clarifications in the coming days.

This would seem to be a new interpretation of the rule given that the language I’ve read and the instructions players received said that any kind of caddie involvement behind the player as they began their stance taking was a violation.

Now it would seem a “useful guidance” element has been added. Wow.

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Sergio Garcia Probably Needs To Be Given The Year Off, For Starters

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I’ve quizzed longtime observers and no one can come up with anything in the history of professional golf comparable to Sergio Garcia’s disqualification under Rule 1.2a for purposely damaging the Royal Greens.

For a player who lowered the bar when he spit into a Doral cup during the 2007 CA WGC event, the notion of altering the playing field is an entirely different beast. Worse, in his statement he mentions damaging a “couple” of greens, but Martin Dempster, reporting on site for The Scotsman, says it was five greens.

Garcia’s statement:

The incident Saturday culminated a week of bad behavior from Garcia. Alistair Tait noted for Golfweek that “Garcia is alleged to have complained about the greens earlier in the week. The decision came a day after he slammed a club in a bunker in anger.”

James Corrigan also noted the weeklong antics.

Struggling at around level par, Garcia’s renowned rage got the better of him as he slammed his club into the putting surfaces on multiple occasions. Observers at the Royal Greens Country Club revealed that he was heard criticisng the greens earlier in the week and on Friday was seen taking out his dislike of the bunkers by smashing down his sand-wedge.

The American Patrick Reed was involved as he was in the group immediately behind Garcia that first drew the officials’ attention to the gouges on the greens. The three groups following Reed also complained to the referees and it was then that Tour chief executive, Keith Pelley, confronted Garcia.

Ewan Murray noted this about the incident for The Guardian:

Sky Sports curiously reserved little attention for this newsworthy situation at the conclusion of their live broadcast, with the 62 produced by China’s Li Haotong deemed worthy of far more coverage.

Pelley could have done without these antics by one of his tour’s most high-profile players. The European Tour’s decision to visit Saudi Arabia for the first time has been subject of widespread criticism on the basis of human rights infringements by the country.

Here is the meeting with Pelley after play:

The dreadful incident is a fitting black eye for a tournament that should not have been played. But beyond the optics, given the weeklong behavior, the career of etiquette breaches and the absurdity of damaging the host course, Garcia should be suspended for the remainder of the 2019 season.

Consider the last penalty for a rule 1.2a violation from Corrigan’s account:

The last high-profile pro to be hit with a misconduct charge was Simon Dyson in 2013. The Yorkshireman was disqualified from the BMW Masters and was forced to pay a £30,000 fine and received a two-month suspended ban. Dyson's crime was to tap down a spike mark, an act that was then against the rules, but which is now allowed.

Dyson’s act was a selfish, split-second mistake that might have improved the playing surface for himself. Garcia intentionally damaged a host venue and left behind poor conditions for those playing after him. It’s an unprecedented breach that calls for an unprecedented penalty.

"It’s no insult to Pete Dye to say that Alice was literally his better half."

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Ron Whitten on the passing of his friend and one of golf’s great characters, not to mention wildly influential figures, Alice Dye:

Alice Dye was always in charge, from the day she told Pete it was time to get married to many times she walked a construction site with Pete and told him he was doing it all wrong. Alice was in charge of their family, of their business, of their image, their reputation and massive influence on the game of golf. If you consider Pete Dye a genius, as I do, then you absolutely must concur that Alice Dye was the genius behind the genius.

Another Day, Another Alignment Penalty Prompt's Calls For New Re-Write Of New Rule

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Lots to chew on in the latest dust-up under the new rules and while Haotong Li’s was debatable because of the split second nature, it was a violation.

Denny McCarthy’s infraction in the Waste Management Phoenix Open may be debatable enough from all points of view that a rules re-write is already necessary, as Ryan Lavner writes for GolfChannel.com. Because while there is little question his caddie was directly behind him and where no caddy should be these days under the new rules, McCarthy had technically not taken a stance and was a bit too far from the ball to reasonably hit a shot. He also then backs off and goes through his routine, something that would absolve his caddie on the greens, but not in a fairway. Oy.

He was immediately deemed to have been in a “golf posture” and therefore guilty of a violation under 10.2b (4).

Here goes:

The rule is destined to fail because of the difference between green and tee/fairway situations. Lavner offers a solution that I know the folks in Far Hills and St. Andrews will be grateful for.

So here’s what the governing bodies should do, as soon as possible:

1. Allow players to back away and reset anywhere on the course, not just the greens;

2. Remove the phrase “begins taking a stance”  – because even they admit that there is “no set procedure” for determining when that begins – and replace it with “takes a final stance”;

3. Reinforce that only “deliberate” intent to align should be subject to a two-shot penalty.

I do hate to take this opportunity to point out that the issues with this rule are only partially a product of wording. The lack of serious beta testing, particularly on a stage as large and bizarre as professional golf, is really doing a disservice to what are mostly simplified and improved rules.

The other danger for the governing bodies if they don’t act fast: pro tours adopting a local rule workaround that damages their credibility.

Reed Joins "Jack, Arnold and Tom" In Receiving European Tour Honorary Lifetime Membership, Vows Repeatedly To Grow The Game With It

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It’s customary for the European Tour to give Honorary Lifetime Memberships to players who win majors and like to turn up their events, even when they go to places where they conduct public beheadings.

Patrick Reed joins the club and can’t wait to grow the game. Good stuff here for those playing the GTG drinking game. From the European Tour release:

Reed said: “Words can’t really describe how proud I am right now. It’s always been a dream of mine to be a worldwide player and play on both Tours. Now, to be able to fulfil that on the European Tour, and to travel the world and grow the game means so much to me.

“For the European Tour to have faith in me and give me this opportunity means everything. I hope to show everyone and show the Tour how proud I am and represent the Tour really well in the game of golf.

“It’s such an honour to be named alongside Jack, Arnold and Tom. They are legends of the game of golf, not just because of what they’ve done on the golf course, but because what they’ve done off the golf course. They have helped grow the game and grow their communities. That’s something I’m trying to do, to follow in their footsteps and grow the game of golf. I want to do it worldwide like those guys. To be part of such a small group is unbelievable and it’s hard to even talk about.”

TaylorMade And PXG Settle Suits With Promises Of Patent "Cross-licenses"

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Fascinating to see the two manufacturers settle and essentially announce they are both using the same technology, at least in the eyes of the patent world.

What would Old Tom make of this from David Dusek’s Golfweek.com item:

First released in 2015, the original PXG 0311 irons are hollow with thermoplastic elastomer injected into the empty chamber behind the hitting area.  The company says the TPE increases the durability of the thin face while enhancing feel and sound. PXG irons also have tungsten in the toe to lower the center of gravity and shift it to the center of the face. The company’s new 0311 GEN2 irons are designed in the same way.

TaylorMade’s P790 irons are hollow, then filled a proprietary material the company calls SpeedFoam. They also have tungsten added to the toe.

The statements from PXG and TaylorMade:

Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG) and TaylorMade Golf Company jointly announced today that they have reached a settlement of the pending patent litigation and related patent disputes between the parties. Under the terms of the agreement, each company will have specified rights to make club products under patent cross-licenses.

David Abeles, TaylorMade Golf’s CEO, said, “I’m pleased that we were able to reach an acceptable and amicable resolution to put this this case behind us so we can continue focusing on bringing industry leading equipment innovations to the golfer.” 

Bob Parsons, PXG’s CEO, said, “As a golf equipment innovator, PXG will continue to pursue research and development and obtain patents for our novel club designs in the iron technology space. We will not hesitate to assert those patents in the future.” 

Details of the settlement are confidential.

Parsons wins 2&1?

Roundup: Farewell's To Johnny Miller As He Gets Ready For His Final Broadcast

After nearly 30 years in the booth, Johnny Miller will call his final NBC broadcast on Saturday while working part of Friday’s Waste Management Open telecast on Golf Channel.

The broadcast, with NBC filling in for Super Bowl broadcaster CBS, will represent the 20th consecutive year of Miller and Dan Hicks making them the longest-tenured 18th tower tandem in broadcast golf history.

The farewells are flowing and the takes have all been a bit different.

David Feherty’s reflections as only Feherty can summarize a career.

Eamon Lynch points out how players came around to respecting Johnny after some rough days early on. Winning at Pebble Beach in 1994 delivered another level of street cred for those who forgot how incredible he was in the mid-1970s.

Speaking of that, Jim McCabe looks back at Johnny’s special relationship with desert golf.

Jerry Tarde recalls various Johnny stories for Golf Digest.

Josh Sens recaps Johnny’s 14 most memorable moments.

Tom Hoffarth reminds us how much we’ll miss Miller.

Of course the late Dick Enberg is gone but another sidekick of Johnny’s remembered him on this week’s Real Sports. The video here, the text of Bryant Gumbel’s remarks below:

After 29 years as golf’s preeminent analyst, Johnny is calling it quits, leaving his seat in the tower on the 18th hole, and leaving a television void that is irreplaceable. 

I had the pleasure of being Johnny’s TV partner on his very first broadcast back in 1990. That’s when he famously used the word ‘choke’ as a player stood over an important shot. In subsequent tournaments, he raised hackles by saying one player ‘should’ve just stayed home,’ and that another had a swing ‘that would make a great player puke.’

That such remarks often caused a raucous speaks well of Johnny, and less so of the sad lack of candor in televised sports. In a business that is too often bland, Miller’s honesty has been unusual, his insights blunt, and his assessments smart.

That’s been his stock and trade since Day 1, so on his last day there’s no telling just what he might say from the PGA Tour stop in Phoenix this weekend. 

Look – televised golf may not be your thing, but if you never caught Johnny Miller’s work, you should try it, because there’s no one quite like him in all of live sports broadcasting. 

Given the increasing coddling of modern athletes in general, and touring pros in particular, I doubt there ever will be.

Mike O’Malley compiles the best of Johnny wisdom through the years.

Skratch put together this tribute of Johnny being Johnny moments:

67: Matthew Wolff Makes Impressive PGA Tour Debut

The southern California native and Oklahoma State standout with the eye-opening swing used a sponsor’s invite opened the Waste Management Phoenix Open with a 68.

Cameron Morfit revisits Matthew Wolff’s story for PGATour.com and the swing “issues” he’s faced (translation: others taking issue with an unorthodox move).

“It was awesome,” Wolff said after going 1 over for his first five holes before making five birdies the rest of the way. “It’s probably more than I hoped for, especially at this tournament, which is unlike any other tournament. … I was really nervous at first but settled in and played nice.”

Known for his clubhead speed, Wolff averaged 328.1 on the measuring holes and 318.9 yards on all holes.

Love this action: