Notes: Reed's cyberspace use; Malnati's love for baseball

By Doug FergusonJanuary 22, 2014, 12:52 am

HIGH-TECH ANALYSIS: Ben Hogan looked for answers in the dirt. Humana Challenge winner Patrick Reed has turned to cyberspace.

Reed uses ShotsToHole.com, a computer program co-founded by Australian teaching pro Stuart Leong, to help identify weaknesses and ways to save strokes. It was hard to argue with the results last week in La Quinta after Reed shot 9-under 63 in each of the first three rounds and held on for his second victory in his last nine tournaments.

''It tells you really what you need to work on and what will help you save the most shots,'' Reed said. ''That's key to us on being able to dial down our distances. Not only that, but also dial down what we need to work on to be successful.''

Reed takes notes during rounds and uses information from the PGA Tour's ShotLink database.

''We'll get home this afternoon and I'll type in this round and see what it is I need to work on,'' Reed said.

''You enter your stats and it kind of takes it to the next level. It's, 'OK, how far is the hole? What club did you hit?' You might hit the fairway, but did you feel like you hit your target? Did you hit left of your target? Right of your target? How far are you hitting into the green and what's your lie? Did you hit it past the hole, short of the hole, left of the hole, right? And putts, same thing. ... It gets very detailed.''


MALNATI AND MLB: As a PGA Tour rookie, Peter Malnati is taking a close look at the schedule.

The Major League Baseball schedule.

Malnati is part of a recent crop of players who have deals with MLB.com, one of the premier websites in sports. He has the logo on his golf bag, and one of the perks really caught his attention. Malnati says he gets two tickets to any game all year.

''I'm going to catch a lot of Kansas City Royals games,'' said Malnati, who wore Royals colors when he won a Web.com Tour event last year.

The Royals?

''That's exactly why I'm a fan,'' said Malnati, who grew up in Tennessee and played golf at Missouri. ''I was dating a girl from Kansas City and we got to a game and I thought, 'This is pathetic.' It's a great ballpark. This team needs fans and no one is here. So I'm a die-hard Kansas City fan.''

MLB.com spokesman Matt Gould said it also has deals with Shawn Stefani, former NCAA champion Max Homa and Zack Fisher, who was medalist at Q-school last month to earn his Web.com Tour card.

''The general thinking is twofold,'' Gould said. ''First and foremost, we're big fans of the PGA Tour in a general sense. Secondly, we think there is a great, smart crossover opportunity with a like-minded fan base for young and upcoming players. And a lot of these guys have friends who are baseball players.''

Prior to these limited endorsement deals, MLB.com had a strong golf presence that not many knew about - it powers Tiger Woods' website. In a deal that dates to 2006 and was expanded five years ago, MLB Advanced Media works with Woods' staff to produce the website, host it on their servers and update the content.


WESTWOOD ON BOARD: Lee Westwood feels he is settled in to his new life living in Florida and playing a majority of his events in America.

And on Tuesday, he had his first meeting as a member of the PGA Tour's Player Advisory Council. Westwood was among four players who were selected by the players serving on the policy board.

''I don't know what they're expecting,'' he said. ''I don't know what to expect. I think I'll just sit there for a while and listen. Obviously, 20 years on the tour, I've seen a few things, so I might be able to comment a little bit.''

Westwood, with 38 wins worldwide and a No. 1 ranking, never served on the tournament committee in all his years on the European Tour. He said he would have served on the committee, but he was never asked.

''I don't think I'm controversial or anything like that, but occasionally sensible,'' he said. ''Occasionally, I have a good idea.''


DIVOTS: Zach Johnson is taking a four-week break before the Match Play Championship. ''I know it's a necessity, I know it's good for me, it's good for my family, but I'm also hesitant because I'm playing well,'' Johnson said. ... The Senior British Open will be played at Sunningdale in 2015 and Carnoustie the following year. ... Maj. Dan Rooney, founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation and Patriot Golf Day, and majority owner of The Patriot Golf Club in Tulsa, Okla., has been selected by the American Society of Golf Course Architects as the 2014 Donald Ross Award recipient. ... Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand has received an exemption into the Phoenix Open next week.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods is the only FedEx Cup champion whose season earnings were more than the $10 million bonus. He won the money title with $10.5 million in 2009 and with $10.8 million in 2007.


FINAL WORD: ''I don't like not playing in big tournaments.'' – Jimmy Walker, on going 11 years without qualifying for the U.S. Open.

Vegas lists Woods at 20-1 to win a major in 2018

By Will GrayNovember 22, 2017, 12:53 pm

He hasn't hit a competitive shot in nearly a year, but that hasn't stopped one Las Vegas outlet from listing Tiger Woods among the favorites to win a major in 2018.

The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook published betting odds this week on dozens of players to win any of the four majors next year. Leading the pack were Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth at 3/2, with Rory McIlroy next. But not far behind was Woods, who has been sidelined since February because of a back injury but was listed at 20/1.

Woods will make his much-anticipated return next week at the Hero World Challenge, and next month he will turn 42. Next summer will mark the 10-year anniversary of his last major championship victory, a sudden-death playoff win over Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open.

Here's a look at the odds for several marquee players on winning any of the four biggest events in golf next year:

3/2: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth

5/2: Rory McIlroy

7/2: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day

9/2: Justin Rose

5/1: Brooks Koepka

15/2: Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey

10/1: Adam Scott

12/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Marc Leishman, Thomas Pieters, Patrick Reed

15/1: Daniel Berger, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Patrick Cantlay, Branden Grace, Kevin Kisner, Alex Noren, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson

20/1: Tiger Woods, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Tony Finau, Martin Kaymer

25/1: Ryan Moore, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Chappell, Bryson DeChambeau, Bill Haas, Jason Dufner, Charley Hoffman

30/1: Pat Perez, Gary Woodland, Bernd Wiesberger, Brian Harman, Padraig Harrington, Emiliano Grillo, Ross Fisher, Si Woo Kim, J.B. Holmes

Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


FALLING

J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

"Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

"The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

"Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.