The first tee ball this season was struck more than 250 days ago. The last shot was struck more than 75 days ago. Since then … well, you may have heard what happened. But now the PGA TOUR is ready to crank back up with the resumption of the 2019-20 season, albeit with some scheduling adjustments that has the Charles Schwab Challenge as the first tournament of the restart. Before we look ahead, though, let’s look back at what’s transpired this season. You know, just to jog your memory. Remember when... CHAPPELL SHOT 59 Sidelined for 10 months after back surgery, Kevin Chappell returned to action in spectacular fashion in the second round at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier. In becoming just the 10th player to break 60 on the PGA TOUR, Chappell tied a TOUR record by making nine consecutive birdies. “I wanted to shoot 57,” he said after his round. NA'S PUTTER WAS ON FIRE In winning the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Kevin Na leaned on his Toulon Madison putter to make 558 feet, 11 inches of putts – a TOUR record for most feet of putts made since those statistics were kept starting in 2003. “I should have kissed it after I won,” Na said. “I’ll give it a kiss when I get home.” TODD OWNED THE FALL Ball-striking yips cost Brendon Todd three years, but a new swing coach and a new outlook fueled Todd’s incredible return to the winner’s circle … twice. He won in Bermuda, then followed up with another win in his next start in Mexico at Mayakoba. He nearly made it three straight wins at The RSM Classic before settling for fourth and ending the fall atop the FedExCup standings. “I’m sort of flying high,” he said. THE AUSSIES WERE RED-HOT The drought of Australian winners on the PGA TOUR had lasted more than a year. But then Cameron Smith beating Brendan Steele in a playoff to win the Sony Open in Hawaii. Two weeks later, Marc Leishman won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Three weeks after that, Adam Scott claimed The Genesis Invitational at Riviera. Three Aussie winners in six weeks. “It's certainly motivation for me seeing Cam and Marc win to come out and make sure I'm not the one lagging behind,” Scott said, before adding, “so over to Jason (Day).” BRYSON TURNED INTO SCHWARZENEGGER In early October, Bryson DeChambeau told reporters to expect “big changes” in his body. Thanks to new and intensified training techniques, he planned to become “bigger, way bigger” during the offseason in order to improve his strength. And so he’s packed on roughly 40 pounds of muscle and now leads the PGA TOUR in driving distance (he was T-34 last season). No truth to the rumor he’ll appear in the next Terminator sequel. WAGNER RECORDS AN ALBATROSS... AGAIN It’s the rarest of shots on TOUR … unless you’re Johnson Wagner. By holing his second shot at the par-5 15th during the first round of The RSM Classic in November, Wagner recorded the third albatross of his career, tying Tim Petrovic for the most of any player since at least 1983. “It’s luck more than anything else,” said Wagner, who used a 3-wood from 255 yards. IM DIDN'T PLAY Sungjae Im is the PGA TOUR’s Iron Man, rarely taking a week off. But he did so in February, opting not to play the AT&T Pebble Beach – his only off-week in the last 10 weeks before the season was put on hold. All those starts had Im in top form, as he posted his first TOUR win at The Honda Classic, then a solo third at Bay Hill to climb atop the FedExCup standings. MORIKAWA HAD 3 EAGLES... IN A ROUND TPC Scottsdale has three par 5s on the scorecard, and Collin Morikawa eagled each one during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He holed out from the greenside bunker for the first one, then rolled in eagle putts on the other two, becoming the first player to make three eagles in one round at TPC Scottsdale since 1987, the first year the course was the tournament venue. Morikawa, by the way, was making just his 19th career start on TOUR. TAYLOR WENT WIRE-TO-WIRE Nick Taylor won his first PGA TOUR event in 2015, then went 146 starts before getting win No. 2. It was a memorable one, as he became the first (and thus far, only) wire-to-wire winner this season, claiming the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Taylor built a big lead over Phil Mickelson, his playing partner in the final round, and then stood strong despite 40 mph wind conditions on the back nine. “That was amazing," he said. HATTON PLANNED A PARTY Englishman Tyrrell Hatton didn’t offer specific details as to how he would celebrate his first PGA TOUR victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. But he did reveal he had big plans, admitting that “I don’t think I’ll be in any fit state, at least until Wednesday” when asked about the following week’s event, THE PLAYERS Championship. However it went down, Hatton shot a 3-under 69 on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass before the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. AND THIS... Tiger Woods: His season in six stages 1. MAKING HISTORY. The inaugural ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP in Japan produced one of the most memorable milestones in Tiger's career, as he won for the 82nd time on the PGA TOUR to join Sam Snead atop the all-time wins list. “It’s a lot,” Woods said. “I’ve been able to be consistent most of my career.” It took him just 359 starts, making his success rate just under 23%. And now the Chase for 83 is on. 2. CAPTAIN WOODS. For the first time, Woods captained the U.S. national team at the Presidents Cup. Well, he was actually a player/captain at Royal Melbourne – and he excelled in both roles. Woods led off the Americans’ rally on Sunday Singles with a win, then watched his teammates follow as the U.S. continued its dominance over the Internationals. “It was pretty awesome to play for the greatest player ever,” said Matt Kuchar. 3. SAD SUNDAY. During his back nine on Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open, Tiger kept hearing fans encouraging him to “Do it for Mamba.” Woods (who finished T-9) didn’t know why until walking off the 18th green when caddie Joe LaCava told him that Kobe Bryant had died earlier in the day in a helicopter accident. Woods, a huge Lakers fan and a former workout partner with Bryant, was still trying to digest the news when he told the media, “This is unbelievable.” 4. NEMESIS RIVIERA. No course on TOUR has treated Woods as rudely as his hometown Riviera. He’s made 13 starts at Riviera and has yet to win there. Not even hosting his own The Genesis Invitational for his foundation could make a difference this season, as Woods shot 76-77 on the weekend to finish last among all players who made the cut. “I was just off,” Tiger said. “It happens.” 5. NAGGING BACK PROBLEMS. Perhaps the real reason Woods faded at Riviera was his problematic back flaring up. That forced him to skip three events he normally would’ve played, including THE PLAYERS Championship. Then the suspended season gave him additional rest, allowing him to appear in … 6. THE MATCH II. Woods looked great, especially off the tee, as he and partner Peyton Manning grabbed the early lead, then held on to beat Phil Mickelson-Tom Brady in The Match: Champions for Charity, at Woods’ home course, Medalist. "I've been able to turn a negative into a positive and been able to train a lot and get my body to where I think it should be,” Woods said of the long layoff. Career wins list Twenty different players won PGA TOUR events in the 2019-20 season prior to the suspension of the schedule. Here’s how they rank in terms of career wins: 82 – Tiger Woods (ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP) 18 – Rory McIlroy (WGC-HSBC Champions) 14 – Adam Scott (The Genesis Invitational) 12 – Justin Thomas (THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES, Sentry Tournament of Champions) 8 – Patrick Reed (WGC-Mexico Championship) 6 – Webb Simpson (Waste Management Phoenix Open) 5 – Marc Leishman (Farmers Insurance Open) 4 – Kevin Na (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open) 3 – Brendon Todd (Bermuda Championship, Mayakoba Golf Classic) 2 – Cameron Champ (Safeway Open) 2 – Cameron Smith (Sony Open in Hawaii) 2 – Andrew Landry (The American Express) 2 – Nick Taylor (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am) 1 – Joaquin Niemann (A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier) 1 – Sebastian Munoz (Sanderson Farms Championship) 1 – Lanto Griffin (Houston Open) 1 – Tyler Duncan (The RSM Classic) 1 – Viktor Hovland (Puerto Rico Open) 1 – Sungjae Im (The Honda Classic) 1 – Tyrrell Hatton (Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard) Course records Five course records have been set this season: 62 (10 under) by Jhonattan Vegas in the final round of the Puerto Rico Open at Grand Reserve Country Club. 61 (10 under) by Jon Rahm in the third round of the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec. 63 (9 under) by Ricky Barnes in the second round of The RSM Classic at Sea Island Resort’s Plantation course. 62 (9 under) by Brendon Todd in the final round of the Bermuda Championship at Port Royal. 63 (7 under) by Rory McIlroy in the third round of the inaugural ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP at Accordia Golf Narashino. Oh, and in case you wondering about Kevin Chappell's 59? That merely tied the course record at Greenbrier's The Old White TPC. Did you know? • Of the 28 courses played thus far, Bay Hill has been the toughest test, with the field averaging 2.106 strokes over par during the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. The next most difficult courses were: PGA National (1.904 over par), Spyglass Hill (0.877 over par) and Torrey Pines South (0.534 over par). • On the flip side, the easiest course has been La Quinta (2.824 under par) followed by the Nicklaus Tournament Course (2.766 under par), both in the rotation at The American Express. • The hardest hole thus far is the par-4 18th at the Golf Club of Houston (0.501 strokes over par). • Sebastian Munoz is the only player who has ranked inside the top 10 in the FedExCup standings in all 20 weeks this season (he’s currently ninth). • Hideki Matsuyama is the highest-ranked player in the FedExCup standings without a win (he’s currently 10th). • Nine players have made five or more starts without missing a cut this season. Of those nine, Collin Morikawa is the active cuts leader, having made 21 straight. By the numbers 6 – Number of starts for Rory McIlroy this season. Also, number of top-5 finishes for McIlroy, including his win at the WGC-HSBC Champions. 213 – Brooks Koepka’s ranking in the current FedExCup standings. He was No. 1 at the end of the regular season in 2018-19. 382 – Consecutive holes played by Scott Piercy without a 3-putt, the longest active streak on TOUR. 109 – Number of both attempts and successful putts Chad Campbell has made inside 5 feet. He’s the only player with an 100% conversion rate at that distance this season. 30 – Number of 350-yard drives by Bubba Watson, most of any player this season. 26 – Andrew Landry’s score under par in winning The American Express. It’s the lowest score relative to par among any player this season. 24 – Aces made thus far on TOUR. Martin Laird and Grayson Murray have two each. 4 – Most strokes made up on the leader in the final round to win a tournament this year (Marc Leishman at Farmers Insurance Open, Tyler Duncan at The RSM Classic) 24 – Consecutive rounds of par or better by Daniel Berger, the longest active streak. 17 – Number of putts beyond 25 feet made by Denny McCarthy, most of any player this season. 12 – Average strokes under par for Webb Simpson’s five starts, the best average under par of any player this season. Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are right behind him, averaging 11 under per start.
29 May 2020
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Citing ongoing local and state-related challenges related to gathering restrictions, the John Deere Classic, title sponsor John Deere and the PGA TOUR announced today that the 2020 tournament, scheduled for July 9-12, has been canceled. It is set to return to the PGA TOUR schedule in 2021 with its 50th playing. As a result of this decision, the PGA TOUR announced that it will fill the week vacated by the John Deere Classic with a new tournament. The TOUR will provide details in the near future on the venue and location. “Because of the ongoing health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, the difficult decision was made to cancel the 2020 John Deere Classic,” said tournament director Clair Peterson. “While we considered several alternatives for the Classic, this was the choice that made the most sense for our guests, the players and the Quad City community at large.” “We understand and respect that the Quad Cities market has dynamics and challenges that prevent the playing of the John Deere Classic in 2020,” said Andy Pazder, PGA TOUR Chief Tournaments and Competitions Officer. “As we’ve seen through the years, the community support for the John Deere Classic is unwavering and I have no doubt the event will return stronger than ever in its 50th playing in 2021.” Despite the cancellation, the John Deere Classic will continue its Birdies for Charity fundraiser for 2020. Last year, $13.8 million was generated in support of 543 local and regional charity organizations, bringing the tournament’s all-time total to $120 million since the first playing in 1971. Ninety-nine percent of that has come since John Deere assumed title sponsorship in 1998. This year’s John Deere Classic would have been the Quad Cities’ 50th PGA TOUR event and the 21st played at TPC Deere Run. Dylan Frittelli is the defending champion.
28 May 2020
In 2000, Wyn Morton (known by everyone as “Morty”) had his first glimpse of what it would be like to volunteer at a PGA TOUR tournament. His neighbor had just finished volunteering at a tournament and told Morty his story on the experience. “The best part that he told me was that his duty was to stand on the 18th tee box as a marshal,” said Morty. Morty thought about how incredible it would be to do what his neighbor did, but he did not think he had the connections to be able to join in on the opportunity. Then, he took it upon himself to sign up as a volunteer at his first tournament at TPC Boston in 2009. When he received the email to volunteer, he became both eager to start, but humbled while reminding himself to have low expectations for his first time. He knew he had to keep the crowds quiet and from moving while a player was taking a shot, but his first experience ultimately exceeded any expectations. “I just found it incredible to be inside the ropes with the TOUR professionals just a few feet from you. My duties grew to becoming a walking marshal. At the FedExCup Playoffs, I was able to be with the top 125 players who needed extra help handling the crowds. Becoming a walking marshal was a dream come true,” said Morty. For Morty, it was about being a part of an entire entity and a four-day competition that really helped him feel that he was a part of something bigger than himself. Over the years, he realized how crucial it was to have each and every one of the more than 2,000 volunteers out on-site at the tournament. Everyone plays an incredibly significant role. “We always get feedback from the officials and representatives that they absolutely love the job we are doing to help run the tournament,” said Morty. Through his tenure as a volunteer, there have been so many people who have had the privilege to meet him and hear his stories. “I normally use him as one of the group leaders because I can trust him with the bigger named golfers. Morty is very good at teaching the rookies how we do things and he is someone I don’t have to worry about,” said chairman David from THE NORTHERN TRUST. Over the past 10 years, Morty has volunteered at the Presidents Cup, the Travelers Championship, four U.S. Open events and several other TOUR tournaments, 16 in all. Once his son, Brian, became old enough to volunteer, Morty brought him to THE NORTHERN TRUST to take advantage of the opportunity. Brian enjoyed the experience so much that he ended up marshaling alongside Morty at the Travelers Championship last year. Morty’s dedication to volunteer goes far beyond just showing up for his shift. “TPC Boston is about 70 miles from my hometown and since we have a marshal meeting in the morning for crew assignment, I leave at 4:30 A.M. for my morning drive. For me, it’s helping my fellow marshals that keeps me coming back, and more, like the friendships I’ve developed with everyone who I get to see every year,” said Morty. Many fans continuously questioned Morty on what his job as a marshal was. He noticed that those who have not been to a tournament before didn’t really give attention to the marshals or knew what their role entailed. What he did know was that each of those volunteers had an important job to do and he wanted to share his perspective on it with the world. “I had a handwritten journal for 30 years, but I thought more people needed to know about our job. Five years ago, I heard about blogging and decided I wanted to share my stories with anyone who wanted to read them. I began taking memories from my personal journal and writing them into the online journal. After that, the blog just started to grow from there,” said Morty. Over the years, Morty has written stories from his favorite memories to his best experiences. Some of those memories include standing next to Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson autographing after his round, to standing next to Sergio Garcia and commentator Roger Maltbie on the course. What an average fan might think of a marshal is that they only quiet crowds, but Morty has an entirely different perspective, one that may alter one’s thoughts of volunteering. We thank Morty endlessly for his dedication and all of our other volunteers who have stories to tell. More About Walking Marshals The position of a walking marshal is important both inside and outside the ropes. Inside the ropes, they can assist the tee, landing area and green marshals with their duties. Outside the ropes, they can control the additional gallery noise that accompanies certain groups. Walking marshals go ahead of the player to fill-in the next area to allow for greater coverage and help ensure galleries do not break rope lines behind the final group of each day. Spectators must remain behind the rope until the final group has completed play. To learn more about Morty and his journey of being a walking marshal for the PGA TOUR, read his blog here. Disclaimer: The views and opinions in the blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company, such as the PGA TOUR.
28 May 2020
Positivity and perseverance have always been revered characteristics. This seems true now more than ever before. For most, regular day-to-day routines were flipped completely upside down during the COVID-19 pandemic. And it was a rapid change to the norm. As the global health crisis took shape, most children saw their schools closed and their sports and after-school activities canceled. This inevitably included First Tee’s in-person programs, which were suspended for the unforeseeable future. Many parents created a virtual learning environment for their children at home. While the lucky ones worked remotely, many faced layoffs as businesses closed their doors and unemployment rates skyrocketed. Our work-life balance shifted and even regular interactions with family and friends changed drastically almost overnight. While some states begin to slowly reopen, the future is still unclear. Around the world, people and businesses are doing their part: helping others, spreading good news and simply reassuring each other with signs or messages of positivity that we WILL get through this. We will persevere. Examples of golfers using perseverance and positivity are also plentiful, but the name that sticks out to us is one that we’ve heard frequently over the past year. She is not a professional golfer (at least not yet), but Amy Bockerstette, along with her iconic self-assurance and her “I got this” mentality, is a player who knows first-hand what it takes to persevere against all odds. If you are one of the few who have not heard of ‘Amazing Amy’ yet, don’t worry. We got you. Watch this video released by the PGA TOUR about Amy and her viral moment with Gary Woodland in 2019 on the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale. So, what can we learn from Amy? Well, her story is one that truly shows just how powerful positive attitude and self-talk can be. “Amy’s energy, her love, her attitude was so contagious,” four-time PGA TOUR winner Woodland said. “I need more of that, and I think the world needs more of that. Her positive self-talk is stuff I’m still using to this day.” Woodland credited Amy’s positivity and perseverance as a driving force to his U.S. Open victory that came a few months after he met her. So if it works for Gary and Amy, it can work for all of us. POSITIVE SELF-TALK IS AN ESSENTIAL TOOL IN PERSEVERANCE Positive self-talk helps boost your confidence. This seems like a no-brainer, but studies have shown that positive self-talk is among the most efficient and effective means of increasing a person’s self-confidence. Many psychologists believe confidence is one of the primary prerequisites to personal and professional success. In addition, it helps eliminates stress. According to the American Heart Association, positive self-talk can aid in controlling stress. As a result, it makes you feel calmer and less anxious, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and other physical ailments brought on by stress. How can you practice positive self-talk? • Create a positive outcome in your head: Imagine a goal and how you will accomplish it. Once you keep this intent in mind, it becomes easier for you to accomplish and set out steps to achieve it. • Build on your accomplishments: This can be done in two parts. First, remember your previous accomplishments. These memories will make you feel good about yourself. Then, praise yourself when you achieve your new goals. • Repeated affirmations: Focus on regularly saying optimistic statements about yourself, your present endeavors or what goals you intend to accomplish. By repeating these affirmations, a person has a higher chance of recalling positive thoughts instead of negative ones. One of the goals of First Tee is to better equip our children for whatever comes their way. With that in mind, we have provided a vision board activity to complete with your child at home. A vision board is a physical representation of a goal or set of goals that you’re aiming to achieve. It is a collage of items that are meant to kick start their imagination and help visualize those goals with words of positivity and affirmation. Check out the project linked here on our new Links to Learning website. With positive self-talk, we CAN persevere even through the most uncertain and trying of times. Remember, you’ve got this. (Now, just repeat that to yourself as often as it takes!)
28 May 2020
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond is itching to get back onto the tee and reignite his PGA TOUR dream. Fuelled by an unprecedented sporting shutdown which saw him seek refuge in Orlando over the past two months, the 39th-ranked golfer in the world will be amongst the stars returning to action at the Charles Schwab Challenge when the TOUR resumes play June 11. Janewattananond, 24, is slated to feature in other tournaments including the RBC Heritage, the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide and World Golf Championships-FedEx St Jude Invitational, appearances he hopes will help him secure membership on the PGA TOUR. He can also look forward to starts in three of the four majors in the reimagined schedule. “These next few events, it’s going to be great,” Janewattananond said in a recent interview. “I won’t really care what I shoot honestly. I just want to play tournament golf again. … I’m lucky we get to play golf again as every tour around the world is closed.” Janewattananond has been away from his close-knit family since late February after opting to stay in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has been living in Orlando, Florida, with former PGA TOUR winner Daniel Chopra and his family. “I’ve tried to keep the spirit up. It feels like you’re in a tunnel and I’m trying to get to the end of the tunnel. It’s tough when you’re far away from home,” he said. While he misses his family dearly, Janewattananond has found comfort through his ‘adopted’ family. Janewattananond and his caddie, Camp Pulit, have been staying with the Chopras since March. “When the shutdown happened, I didn’t want to go back to Thailand as we weren’t sure how long the break would last,” Janewattananond said. “And then, our country shut down and it was too late to get home. We had a hotel room booked for two weeks but (Chopra) made us stay with him. It was good to have some familiar faces around. It felt like family.” Janewattananond has enjoyed staying with Daniel, his wife Samantha and their two children. Janewattananond says he has found renewed vigor for the game and has so enjoyed Bay Hill that he took up a club membership. If he secures his PGA TOUR card, Janewattananond will not hesitate to consider setting up base near the iconic club. He’s spent his time with the Chopras playing basketball and wakeboarding. When golf facilities reopened, Janewattananond and Chopra participated in one-day events on local mini-tours to get the adrenaline flowing again. “I just miss the travelling and going out to play, meeting new people,” Janewattananond said. “One day, we got up at 5 a.m., drove for two hours to the course and teed up. I shot 1 ynder in the first event and didn’t make my money back and in the second one, I shot 2 under and tied Daniel for third place.” The 46-year-old Chopra, who is of Indian-Swede parentage, won his first PGA TOUR event at the 2007 Ginn sur Mer Classic and two events later claimed the season-opening 2008 Sentry Tournament of Champions, beating Steve Stricker in a playoff. “Daniel has a golf net at home and I’ve been grinding,” Janewattananond said. “We’ve played golf almost every day together and Daniel’s a great guy and a great golfer. He loves a side game and when he needs to make a putt, it just comes up for him. I guess that’s why he’s a PGA TOUR winner. Casper, who is 10, is a good golfer too. I wasn’t as good as him when I was his age and he would hit balls all day long. I consider myself a range rat but he’s out-practicing all of us. It kind of gives us a boost for our love towards golf. It’s a good reminder.” With international travel and requirements differing from one country to another, Janewattananond is looking at extending his visa to remain in the U.S. beyond its current expiration in August. With the U.S. Open slated in September and Masters Tournament in November, he is keeping his options open to staying on in the country for remainder of the year. “If I go back to Thailand, I don’t know if we’ll have to go through quarantine or if it’ll be easy to return to the U.S. I’m happy here so maybe it’ll be better to stay on. No one expected this to happen in our lifetime. You’re just moving along and then this happens. A lot of people are more united and helping each other out and I think humanity will come out on the better side of this. “For Daniel and Samantha to open up their home to me and my caddie, they have helped me out so much. You see the nicer part of people and the best of people coming out to help one another.”
28 May 2020