Morning 9: Tiger plays 9 holes at Pro-Am | Goodbye PIP bonuses? | Morikawa on coach split

By Fly Pin High |
November 30, 2023
By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

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Good Thursday morning, golf fans, as day one of the Hero World Challenge gets underway.

1. Woods (only) plays 9-hole pro-am (but don’t assume that’s a bad thing)

Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…”What Tiger Woods says goes at the Hero World Challenge.”

  • “And Wednesday morning, Woods determined that nine holes – not the 18 that the rest of the field played – was sufficient for him at the pro-am portion at Albany Golf Club.”
  • “Don’t read too much into it. His latest comeback isn’t being derailed by another setback – although with Tiger you can never know for sure. Rather, to borrow a phrase from the pandemic, Woods is taking an abundance of caution and “wants to save himself for the next four days,” business manager Rob McNamara, who will serve as his caddie this week, said.”

Full piece.

2. Goodbye, PIP bonuses?

Adam Wells for Bleacher Report…”Jordan Spieth thinks one of the key changes the PGA Tour made in an attempt to prevent players from joining LIV Golf will go away if the merger between the two companies goes through.”

  • “Speaking to reporters on Wednesday from the site of the Hero World Challenge, Spieth explained the Player Impact Program will likely go away at some point.”
  • “I think that its goal was to help prevent players from accepting high-dollar Saudi offers, LIV offers,” Spieth said. “I think that’s the goal. If you’re going to see numbers that are thrown out at players now, a couple specific players, it doesn’t really do that.”

Full piece.

3. Morikawa on coach split

Our Matt Vincenzi…”Collin Morikawa has parted ways with his longtime coach. Rick Sessinghaus, who he had worked with for over 18 years.”

  • “The 26-year-old revealed the news on Tuesday at the Hero World Challenge, sharing with reporters that the split took place just before this year’s Ryder Cup in Rome.”
  • “Right before the Ryder Cup, I let go of my long-time coach, Rick Sessinghaus for — we’ve been working for just over 18 years, which wasn’t easy,” Morikawa shared for the first time publicly on Tuesday during a press conference ahead of the Hero World Challenge, a 20-man unofficial event held at the Albany Club. “He’s more than just a coach, he’s one of my really good friends. He’s someone I’ve always looked up to, someone that’s been there for every step of my life essentially, not just in golf but just kind of living life, right?
  • “It wasn’t easy, and sometimes things happen like that. But 18 years is a long time. Not many relationships that I can say with a lot of people that I’ve had relationships for 18 years, and real relationships where I’m talking to them every week, right? So that wasn’t easy at all.”
  • “As for the reasoning behind the decision, Morikawa stated that “what I saw kind of over the past two years wasn’t to my expectations.”

Full piece.

4. Zalatoris on surgery, recovery

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”A couple days after his Masters withdrawal, Zalatoris was undergoing a microdiscectomy…”

  • “Zalatoris makes his competitive return at this week’s Hero World Challenge, his first start since the WGC-Dell Match Play in March, after a long and prudent path back from the disabled list.”
  • “It’s been an interesting seven months,” Zalatoris said. “It’s been a patience game. It’s been a grind. You know, I had a lot of really good advice from guys that have had to go through the same thing, and all of them said take your time, no one’s ever come back from an injury taking too long.”
  • “Zalatoris believes his back troubles stem from a shot he hit from the thick fescue during his first round of the 2021 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, where he withdrew after 18 holes. His “hyperdynamic” golf swing – left heel coming off the ground, huge reverse-C, lots of X-factor – didn’t help matters, either. When Zalatoris re-injured his back at the BMW, though, Zalatoris’ surgeon, Michael Duffy at Texas Back Institute, didn’t recommended surgery at the time. Neither did the over 20 other specialists who reviewed Zalatoris’ MRI results.”

Full piece.

5. Spieth on joining policy board

Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”Spieth understood that position – he has two children under the age of 3, while also trying to return to the top 10 in the world rankings – but was eager to step up. On a phone call, he said he told fellow board member Patrick Cantlay that he could fill the role, if the others supported that.”

  • “I think this is a pivotal moment in time for professional golf and the PGA Tour,” Spieth said, “and I felt like I could be of help.”
  • “Since officially joining as the sixth board member, Spieth said he’s been “playing a bit of catch-up on what I’ve missed,” with the Tour not only negotiating with the PIF ahead of the Dec. 31 deadline, but also engaging with private equity firms looking to invest in the Tour.”
  • “There’s nothing but optimism among the player directors,” he said. “Collectively, we feel that we’re going to get something done that’s great for our Tour, and hopefully done by the same deadline that we’ve been trying to.”

Full Piece.

6. Shane Ryan: Appreciate Tiger while you can

Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan…”Point being, I spent a large part of Tiger’s prime missing the point of what I was seeing and was forced to spend his resurgence in the digital fetal position. Now, in his state of fading, I have to clutch what I can clutch, here at the last minute, and though I never quite grasped what we had in him, I can now see clearly what we’re going to lose. It’s a thing you can’t replace, and that makes everyone in his shadow look like a pretender.”

  • “It’s a thing called human greatness. Divorced from the complications of personality, behavior, culture, and capital. Plain, undeniable, and human greatness. The time may be coming when technology strips human greatness of its place atop the hierarchy, when we’re no longer, even in our own minds, the most important beings in the universe. The time is definitely coming when the greatest golfer of all time will have lost the last glow of his prime, and we can no longer credibly claim even a wisp of athletic relevancy on his behalf. We will be forced to interact with younger sports fans who know him only as a name, the way you and I might know someone like Bjorn Borg today. He is fading, and there’s nothing we can do about it because we’re fading too.”
  • “With Tiger Woods, we’re standing on the edge of permanence. The ephemeral part was his glory; the eternal part is its absence. This week, and whatever weeks are left, hold on.”

Full Piece.

7. Primer: LPGA Q-Series

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”An abbreviated LPGA Q-Series gets underway on Thursday at Robert Trent Jones’ Magnolia Grove Golf Course in Mobile, Alabama. The event, which has been shortened from 144 holes to 108 holes, concludes on Dec. 5.”

  • “A field of 104 players will compete over the Falls and Crossings courses, with a cut after Round 4 to low 65 and ties. Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Hae Ran Ryu medaled at the 2022 Q-Series.”
  • “Players who finish in the top 45 and ties will earn 2024 LPGA cards. Those who finish in the top 20 and ties will earn the Category 14 status while those who are 21-45 and ties will fall into Category 15.”
  • “Any player who completes 72 holes will receive Epson Tour status.”

Full Piece.

8. Inbee Park in line to represent athletes at Olympics

AP report…”Seven-time Olympic champion sprinter Allyson Felix and seven-time golf major winner Inbee Park are candidates in elections at the Paris Games to represent their fellow athletes at the IOC.”

  • “The International Olympic Committee announced a list of 32 candidates Wednesday for elections to be held during the Paris Games from July 26-Aug. 11, when about 10,500 athletes are eligible to vote.”
  • “Felix, the now-retired American track great, and Park, who took gold for South Korea when golf returned to the Olympics in 2016 at Rio de Janeiro, are among a slew of Olympic champions competing for four places in the 100-strong IOC membership.”

Full Piece.

9. Tiger Woods WITB: Hero World Challenge

Driver: TaylorMade Qi10 LS

Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD VF 6 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Titanium (15 degrees @14.25)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 70 TX

5-wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees @18.25)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX

Irons: 2023 TaylorMade P770 (3-iron), TaylorMade P7TW (4-PW)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: TaylorMade MG4 Raw (56-12TW, 60-11TW)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS prototype

Grip: Ping PP58

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B X

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord 58R


Full WITB.

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