Morning 9: Tiger’s Genesis prep | LPGA lands big sponsor | WMPO changes

Feb, 2024
By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

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Good Wednesday morning, golf fans, as we gear up for the return of Tiger at the Genesis Invitational.

1. Tiger plays quick Tuesday 9 in Genesis prep

Ryan Lavner for Golf Channel…”Woods played alone on the back nine, hitting a handful of shots on each hole and finishing his work before 11 a.m. local time in front of a few dozen media members, volunteers and equipment representatives. At the end of the year Woods said a reasonable goal was for him to play once a month, beginning this week in L.A., where he made his Tour debut in 1992 but has yet to win in 15 tries. The Genesis was his only regular-season Tour start last year; he made the cut at the Masters two months later and then underwent surgery to fuse his ankle. He finished 18th out of 20 players at his Hero World Challenge exhibition last December.

  • “Woods will play the opening round this week at 9:25 a.m. PST, with his second round slated for 11:54 a.m.”
Full piece.

2. Sun Day Red launch

Our Andrew Tursky…”On Monday evening, inside the swanky, second-story “Coach House” event center in the Palisades Village, just minutes down the road from the 2024 Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, Tiger Woods and TaylorMade officially announced their new apparel/footwear/accessory line, called “Sun Day Red.”

  • “The Sun Day Red website officially launched on Monday night during the event, and the products are set to go on sale starting May 1.”
  • “The “Sun Day Red,” or “SDR” name will be self-explanatory for most golf fans, since he’s been wearing a victory-red shirt on Sunday’s for his entire professional career, but Woods explained the meaning of Sun Day Red at the launch event:”
  • “It started with mom. Mom thought – being a Capricorn – that my power color was red, so I wore red as a junior golfer and I won some tournaments. Lo and behold, I go to a university that is red; Stanford is red. We wore red on the final day of every single tournament, and then every single tournament I’ve played as a professional I’ve worn red. It’s just become synonymous with me.”
  • “…As I learned at Monday’s launch event, the new Sun Day Red line includes much more than just clothing. To go along with a slew of different golf shirt designs and colorways, there were also windbreakers, hoodies, shoes, hats, headcovers, ball markers and gloves on display.”
Full piece.

3. Change coming to WM Phoenix Open?

Josh Weinfuss for ESPN…”Changes are coming to next year’s WM Phoenix Open in the wake of a series of incidents involving fans and golfers, overcrowding on the course and the suspension of both admissions and alcohol sales on Saturday.”

  • “Chance Cozby, the executive director of the Thunderbirds, the civic organization that hosts the Phoenix Open, told the Golf Channel on Monday that the tournament is already looking at ways to fix the issues that plagued the largest tournament on the PGA Tour this year.”
  • “I think that you will see a complete operational change of how we manage, really, our Friday and Saturday, but the entire week,” Cozby said. “We’re very proud of what we’ve built. I think, we’ve been tournament of the year on the PGA Tour five of the last seven years. But we don’t like what happened on Saturday. The players don’t like what happened on Saturday. Our fans don’t like what happened on Saturday, and, so, nothing is off the table.”
Full piece.

4. Zach Johnson: “Done” with WMPO

Our Matt Vincenzi…”After a WM Phoenix Open that didn’t go according to plan, former Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson opened up about his feelings on the event.”

  • “Theo Mackie of AZ Central spoke to ZJ about what went on at TPC Scottsdale over the weekend.”
  • “This tournament has been inappropriate and crossed the line since I’ve been on Tour and this is my 21st year.”
  • “Bottom line is I don’t have to play it if I don’t want to, but I keep coming back”.
Full piece.

5. Woods opting for veteran looper

Our Matt Vincenzi…”According to Golfweek, Tiger Woods has decided on a caddie for his return to professional golf at the Genesis Invitational this week.”

  • “Veteran caddie Lance Bennett is Woods’ choice to loop for him at historic Riviera Country Club. This season, Bennett has been on the bag talented rookie Adrien Dumont de Chassart, who isn’t in the field this week. As of now, Dumont de Chassart isn’t in the field of the PLAYERS Championship or The Masters, so he should be available for Woods then as well.”
  • “Previously, Bennett has been on the bags of Sungjae Im and Davis Riley on the PGA Tour as well as Matt Kuchar back in 2012. He also worked with a few LPGA players such as Juli Inkster, Paula Creamer and Lorena Ochoa.”
Full piece.

6. LPGA lands Ford as new sponsor

Beth Ann Nichols for Golfweek…”The LPGA has a new blue-chip title sponsor in Ford Motor Company, the tour announced on Tuesday. The upcoming Ford Championship will take place at Seville Golf and Country Club, March 28-31, in Gilbert, Arizona.

  • “Last year, the LPGA stop at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club, called the Drive On Championship, did not have a title sponsor.”
Full Piece.

7. Phoenix Open’s stark numbers

John Turnbull for Bunkered…”According to Aaron Bolin, a Scottsdale police spokesperson, officers arrested 54 people between February 5 and February 11.”

  • “That was compared to 18 last year, while no arrests were made at ‘the people’s open’ in 2022. The exact charges they were booked on is not immediately available.”
  • “Bolin added that 211 fans were ejected from the event, over twice as many as last year, and 73 people were removed for trespassing.”
  • “The figures, from the Arizona Department of Liquor License and Control, do not include arrests involving underage drinking violations, as 653 calls for service were made.”
Full Piece.

8. Tiger Woods’ Genesis WITB

Note: Woods’ 3-wood will be a game-time decision.

Driver: TaylorMade Qi10 LS (10.5 degrees @9.75)

Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD VF 6 X

3-wood: TaylorMade Qi10 Tour (15 degrees @13.5)

Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD VF 7 X

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Titanium (15 degrees @13)

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), TaylorMade P7TW (4-PW)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: TaylorMade MG4 Raw (56-12TW, 60-TW11)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS prototype

Grip: Ping PP58 Blackout

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B X (2024)

Full WITB.

9. Photos from the Genesis

GolfWRX is on site this week at famed Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California for the Genesis Invitational.

  • Tournament host Tiger Woods makes his 2024 debut — and speaking of debuts, GolfWRX already got a look at Woods’ new Sun Day Red apparel.
  • Beyond the 15-time major champion, there’s plenty to see in our photos this week from this Signature Event. Check out all our shots from Riv below, and see what GolfWRXers are saying in the forums.
Full Piece.

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