Pat Perez won his first PGA Tournament title conquering gusty winds and his own temper with remarkably steady play. After leading for three of the first four rounds Mr. Perez started Sunday three shots behind Steve Stricker. His steady three under par 69 resulted in a three shot victory over third year pro John Merrick.
“I just tried to stay pretty even-keeled,” he said. “I figured if I could just play solid and hit some good shots and kind of stay calm and think about what I’m doing out there, I was going to be fine.” Even-keeled is not a term much ascribed to Mr. Perez, whose past meltdowns under windy conditions are well documented. When asked what motivated his attitudinal change he said, “I just got tired of getting upset all the time. It’s a lot of energy. I learned how the best guys do it.” Results confirm he learned a valuable lesson.
Not that he didn’t have some help, most notably from Mr. Stricker. Having played the first 78 holes in 34 under par with only a single bogey, Mr. Stricker played the 79th thru 82nd holes of the tournament in 7 over par. Oops. A tee shot into the water on the 7th hole resulting in a triple bogey. Then on the 10th tee he played army golf…Right Left Right with a tee shot out of bounds right, a hook into the water after that, and finally a tee shot to the right into a fairway bunker which led to a smooth quadruple bogey 8. All I could think of was " Ouch" that’s gotta hurt. As any player knows, golf is a cruel mistress, and we’ve all been beaten senseless at times. “We would feel it in our face on one hole, and the same hole it would feel downwind. So it was all over the place and difficult to pick a correct club,” Stricker said. “It was hard for me to feel comfortable with anything, and it showed for me a couple of times today.” Not surprising that lack of comfort displayed itself most with the driver in his hands. Driver has always been his nemesis.
Mr. Merrick played his way into contention on the back 9 but finished three shots behind after a bogey on the par 3 17th hole and a par on the par 5 18th hole. It all could have been over at the 16th hole had he not gotten “…. probably one of the luckiest breaks I’ve ever seen,”, His tee shot on the short par 4 was headed right, as in right into the canal down the right side of the fairway. It was so far right that it hit the concrete embankment over the water on the right and bounced left back over the water and through the rough into the fairway. From there a pitch and a two putt kept him tied for the lead. On the 17th his tee shot went just long and his chip came out hot leaving him a tough par putt, which he missed.
Mr. Perez eagled the 18th hole, stuffing a 6 iron from about 200 yards to kick in distance for an eagle three and his final three shot margin. A nice ending to a very nicely played tournament.
It was nice to see Arnold Palmer as the host of this 50th annual Hope Classic. However the treatment the tournament organizers meted out to previous host George Lopez was shameful. I wondered when I learned that Mr. Lopez was not hosted this years event what had happened. He had been an enthusiastic host the previous two years, attending events, making phone calls and generating a lot of support for this event. He was let go over the phone, which lacks a certain class. Why a man who loves golf as much as Mr. Lopez and worked so hard to promote this event was cashiered over the phone makes no sense to me. But then, these days not much does.
Schedule postponements and cancellations on the PGA Tour, European Tour plus the four majors: What we know so far
With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the PGA Tour and European Tour have taken steps to cancel or postpone several events. Action has also been taken on some of golf’s major championships, and here we’ll summarize what decisions have been made so far altering the 2020 calendar.
Both The Masters (April 9-12) and PGA Championship (May 14-17) have been officially postponed with hopes of rescheduling both events for later in the year. According to the NY Post, the US Open is also set to be postponed and rescheduled for “later in the summer”, though as of Tuesday, March 31 the USGA has made no formal announcement confirming this news.
The R&A has of yet made no announcement on this year’s Open Championship which is due to take place from 16-19 of July.
- April 9-12: The Masters – Postponed
- May 14-17: PGA Championship – Postponed
- June 18-21: US Open – NY Post reporting postponed; not yet confirmed by USGA
- July 16-19: Open Championship – On Schedule
Since cancelling the Players Championship mid-event, the PGA Tour decided to cancel several subsequent tournaments. As of now, the earliest return date for the PGA Tour is May 21 at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship which is played the same week as the WGC-Match Play was postponed with plans to reschedule the event.
- March 12-15: The Players Championship – Cancelled
- March 19-22: Valspar Championship – Cancelled
- April 16-19: RBC Heritage – Cancelled
- April 23-26: Zurich Classic of New Orleans – Cancelled
- April 30-May 3: Wells Fargo Championship – Cancelled
- May 7-10: AT&T Byron Nelson – Cancelled
Along with the cancelled WGC-Match Play and confirmed postponed major championships, the European Tour has postponed a further seven events. Unlike the PGA Tour, the European Tour has chosen to postpone almost every upcoming event for the time being instead of cancelling. The GolfSixes Cascais is the only confirmed cancellation as of now.
On Monday, the Dubai Duty-Free Irish Open became the latest tournament to be postponed meaning the earliest possible return date for action on the European Tour is now June 4 at the Trophee Hassan II.
- March 12-15: Magical Kenya Open – Postponed
- March 19-22: Hero Indian Open – Postponed
- April 16-19: Maybank Championship – Postponed
- April 23-26: Volvo China Open – Postponed
- April 30-May 3: Andalucia Masters – Postponed
- May 9-10: GolfSixes Cascais – Cancelled
- May 21-24: Made in Denmark – Postponed
- May 28-31: Irish Open – Postponed
PGA Tour to provide financial assistance to players and caddies during Coronavirus pandemic
The PGA Tour has announced plans to compensate both players and caddies after several Tour events were cancelled due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
In a memo sent to players on Friday, it was explained that due to IRS regulations, the Tour is not allowed distribute un-earned financial benefits to members, but that the organization has developed some programs to help its players during the ongoing pandemic. Players and caddies will receive financial assistance from the PGA Tour with one of the primary programs to help players based on their current FedEx Cup standing.
Players can receive up to $100,000 in bonus earnings during this period which will subsequently be removed from their season-ending bonus after play has been restarted.
Tour pros will also be entitled to request advance payments (up to $30k) for future Monday pro-am spots and advances on future earnings, while the Tour also plans on allowing players to withdraw funds from their retirement plans based on financial need.
“Playing opportunities equate to financial opportunities, and we are concerned about the toll that canceled tournaments are having on some of our members” – Tyler Dennis, a senior vice president and the Tour’s chief of operations.
Included in the memo were caddies, who are entitled to a partial mid-season distribution of an endorsement program and who can also request financial support from the Caddie Benevolent Fund.
Play is not set to resume on the PGA Tour until May 21 at the earliest.
GolfWRX AUA (Ask Us Anything): TaylorMade fitters are answering YOUR questions!
With the downtime, #teamtaylormade are ready to talk golf!
Go to the link below to ask any TM specific questions you may have. TaylorMade fitters from across the US will be diving in the forums to answer questions, talk golf and get you dialed. Take this opportunity to go TM crazy.
Team TaylorMade fitters that will be participating:
- Chris Clegg, Georgia
- John Junkin, Pennsylvania
- Lewis Schnauble, Maryland
- John Tabor, Michigan
- Freddy Villarta, California
- Matt Zerishnek, Pennsylvania
- James Albright, Arizona
Paige Spiranac blasts golf culture: “A big boys club” that is “elitist, stuffy and exclusive”
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Byeong Hun An WITB 2020
Equipment accurate as of the Farmers Insurance Open Driver: Titleist TS3 (8.5 degrees, B2 SureFit setting) Shaft: Accra TZ5 M5...
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Equipment accurate as of the Farmers Insurance Open. Driver: PXG 0811X Gen 2 (9 degrees) Shaft: Aldila Rogue Black 130...
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Equipment accurate as of the 2020 Players Championship. Driver: TaylorMade SIM Max (9 degrees) Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green...
WITB Time Machine: Ian Poulter WITB 2014
Equipment accurate as of Franklin Templeton Shootout (12/10/14). Driver: Titleist 915 D2 (9.5 degrees @ 10.25, D3 SureFit setting) Shaft:...
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