The end of June brought heartbreak for a few golfers. Leads were given away in the final swings at more than one event. In one instance, the end was immediate. In others, the loss was delayed a bit, but still gut-wrenching. This is competitive golf, played under the searing sun of summer, a sun that always burns hottest when the stakes are highest. It’s best to remember that, as we welcome the cauldron of important events, held each July and August. For this week, we’ve five events to feature in our Tour Rundown.
PGA TOUR: Molinari scampers off with Quicken Loans
Francesco Molinari makes certain of things these days. He has a rotten playoff record (0-3) on the European Tour, where he also has 5 victories. Last month’s European PGA was followed by his 1st stateside win, at the TPC at Avenel Farms. On Sunday, Molinari found himself paired with Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, a former Web.Com Tour darling. Ancer posted 62 on Saturday, but needed something similar to separate from Molinari and the field. The pro from Mexico struggled to 72 in round 4, but stood near to Molinari’s magnificent, 4th round 62. The 6 birdie, 1 eagle performance included a run of 6-under through five holes at the back nine’s opening.
I had predicted on Twitter that Tiger Woods would shoot 61 on Sunday and win his first event of 2018. I wasn’t far off, despite being far off. Woods did shoot 66 and move into a 4th-place tie with Ancer. Problem was, only Molinari shot 62 and no one could catch him. His 8-shot victory was the tour’s widest winning margin of this campaign, and certainly pencils him in as a candidate for both a major title this summer, and a spot on the European Ryder Cup team in the fall. Bravo, Francesco!
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 2, 2018
LPGA TOUR: 2-hole, 3-way playoff decides Women’s PGA
Ryu So-yeon made double bogey on Sunday’s 2nd hole. The Korean golfer, twice a major champion in her young career, shook off the misstep with four birdies against a single bogey over the next 14 holes. With a 2-shot advantage coming to the par-3 17th hole, the Colonel again reared her devious head, and a 2nd double brought the leader back to the field. Unable to birdie the 18th, Ryu went into a playoff with Park Sung-hyun, another young Korean of immeasurable talent, and Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, author of five birdies and two eagles in her Sunday 64.
As a proper introduction to Independence Day in the USA, fireworks ensued in Illinois. Both Korean golfers birdied the 18th hole, eliminating Hataoka. Play moved to the 16th hole, where each remaining competitor reached the green in regulation. With impending birdie putts, bad weather moved in and forced a delay. When play resumed, Ryu missed her effort, but Park was unerring. Her second overtime birdie brought her a fourth LPGA Tour win and second major in as many seasons. In 2017, Park debuted with a marvelous performance at the US Open. She leaves Kemper Lakes golf club as owner of the two most coveted titles in the USA.
— LPGA (@LPGA) July 2, 2018
CHAMPIONS TOUR: USGA Senior Open a battle of survival
Not nearly as traumatic as the Ryu collapse, Jerry Kelly’s finish at The Broadmoor in Colorado was slower and more painful. The affable Wisconsinite held a two-shot advantage as the race turned down the home stretch. Miguel Angel Jimenez had lost his momentum, and no one else offered the guise of worthwhile challenger. Kelly made the tournament a tournament by challenging himself, with back-to-back bogeys at 11 and 12. Unable to summon a birdie on the road in, he watched as David Toms dropped a birdie at 16, moving to -3, alone at the top. Kelly finished tied for runner-up with Jimenez and Tim Petrovic at -2. Paired with the magnificent Spaniard on Sunday, Kelly watched helplessly as his putts failed to fall, and the Iberian sank 2 birdies of his own on the closing holes. As for Petrovic, he also birdied the final hole on Sunday, for his best-ever finish in a senior major championship.
— USGA (@USGA) July 2, 2018
EUROPEAN TOUR: French Open to Noren, unexpectedly
Remember the name Julian Suri. The USA-born product of Duke University may go down in professional golf history as a one-off winner. If that is the case, he will remember Sunday as the day his train derailed. Suri stood proudly at the 15th tee, owner of a three-shot lead on the field. Bogey there dropped him to a 2-shot margin. Closing quickly was Sweden’s Alex Noren. The certain Ryder Cup member for Europe birdied 16 and 17 to teach -7, one back of Suri as the American reached the final tee. He hooked his tee ball left, then dunked his approach in Lake Le Nacional, sinking his victory hopes with the little white orb. Suri finished in a 2nd-place tie with Scotland’s Russell Knox and England’s Chris Wood, one behind the two-time champion at Le Golf Nacional, site of this fall’s Ryder Cup matches.
In other, odd news, only Justin Thomas (t8) of the USA saw fit to play the course in competition. Are the Yanks overconfident? Are they over-scheduled? Do they see the French course as too similar to their own, and not worthy of a trial run? Don’t be surprised if Thomas is the USA’s shining light come September, and if the Red, White and Blue is unable to follow its 2016 triumph with a needed win on European soil.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 1, 2018
WEB.COM TOUR: Lincoln Land Championship ablaze in birdies
When, if ever, did a golfer need to finish -20 to secure a spot IN THE TOP 10? It happened this weekend in the land of Lincoln, on the Web.Com tour. 19-under got you a tie for 11th and a decent check, but wow! Anders Albertson strung 66-66-64-63 together for -25 and a two-shot margin of victory over Adam Long and Kramer Hickok. Long had 63 of his own on day four, but pars at the last five holes must have felt like bogeys on a day when everyone went low. Hickok had the lead on Saturday evening, and didn’t play poorly on Sunday. His first dozen holes featured 1 birdie against all pars, as race car after race car sped past. Awakening at the next, he birdied four consecutive holes to move within a stroke of the leader. Needing more magic over the final 2 fairways, Hickok bogeyed the 17th to drop away from the chase. As the Web.Com Tour moves into my backyard this week at the LECOM Health Challenge, I hope that the supply of birdies has not been exhausted. We’re due for some 4th of July fireworks at the Peek’N Peak Resort.
"I'm better than I thought." ????
— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) July 2, 2018
Morning 9: More on the dollars and sense of TW’s win | Don’t forget Mr. Hogan | Masters ticket scheme
By Ben Alberstadt (email@example.com)
April 23, 2019
Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. More perspective on the financial impact of Tiger’s win
ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren collected some interesting (and wide-ranging) data points related to the financial impact of Tiger Woods’ Masters win
Wisely, Bridgestone is launching a commemorative edition of the Tour B XS with Woods’ image on the box cover and “thank you for letting us be part of your 15th major” printed on the bottom. A source at the company told me that ALL Bridgestone Tour B XS balls are currently sold old.
2. A refresher on Ben Hogan’s comeback
Geoff Shackelford, rightly, quotes Tiger Woods at the 2018 Masters and reminds us that when we call Woods’ comeback the greatest ever in golf, we do a disservice to the legacy of one William Ben Hogan.
3. Masters ticket scheme
Digest’s Stephen Hennessey with the story…
4. Bullish or bearish on Zurich Classic format?
A pair of Golf Digest staffers discuss the merits of the Zurich Classic’s team format.
5. More Williams on Woods
Per ESPN’s Bob Harig, who spoke with Tiger’s former bag man, Steve Williams…
6. Gainers and losers
Strokes gained. Probably the easiest way to see what ailed those who suffered and why those who prospered did so. I’d like to call attention to our Gianni Magliocco’s weekly roundup of the gainers/losers, this week from the RBC Heritage.
7. More on the “Nantz 2.5”
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers (quoting a Sports Business Journal report)
8. Showman Jimenez
Peter Wallace at Golf Australia talked to the Most Interesting Golfer in the World…
Stephen Hennessey on Doug Coupe’s cracking collection of golf balls.
Tour Rundown: Pan finds Neverland, Henderson hammers the field, and more
There was strange golf to be played, the week after Augusta 2019. Vijay dunked three consecutive wedge shots on Saturday. DJ gave seven shots away in a five-hole span on Sunday’s second nine. All of Brooke Henderson’s third-round chasers played like five-handicaps on day four. Scott McCarron tried to give the MEC away on PGA Tour Champions, but no one would take it. Perhaps April Fools came late, or maybe the golf world needed a bit of macabre humor before returning to the major-championship season. No matter the rationale, we found some unique ways to win on this day, and are happy to offer another week of Tour
Pan finds Neverland on Hilton Head Island, wins RBC Heritage
CT Pan had no business winning the 2019 RBC Heritage Classis at Harbour Town. Matt Kuchar had won the tournament before, posted four rounds in the 60s, and improved each day. Dustin Johnson looked for all the world as the guy most likely to finally find his birdie wand and run away with his home-state event. Patrick Cantlay and Shane Lowry had each won on the PGA Tour, poised to add a second title to their shelves. And then came Pan, not yet putting on the par-5 16th after four shots, with the temerity to stand alone after 72 holes at 12 under, one shot clear of Kuchar.
Day four was a space oddity of Bowie-esque proportions. Johnson, the top-ranked golfer in the world, turned for home at 10-under par, where he began his day. Beginning at the 11th, Johnson made three consecutive bogeys, followed by twin double bogeys, to tumble out of the top 10, outside the top 20 to a tie for 28th. That is what tree-lined golf courses, unlike any other on tour, can do to today’s longest hitters. Kuchar won’t ever be mistaken for a long hitter, but he did do one thing Sunday that Pan did not: make two bogeys. One behind the former UWashington golfer at day’s open, Kuchar bogeyed the short 17th to fall two behind. Even a final-hole birdie was not enough to catch the young titleist. Few golfers were able to survive the back nine without a blemish. If they did, as in the case of J.T. Poston, Seamus Power and Kevin Streelman, they shot into the top 10.
Remember Pan’s struggles on the 15th? He survived with bogey, then bounced back with birdie at the next. He closed with two strong pars to finish an even dozen below par, where a tartan jacket and trophy awaited, emblematic of the tournament victor.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 21, 2019
Henderson hammers field for second-consecutive Lotte Championship
Brooke Henderson, like so many snowbirds before her, is developing quite an affinity for warm-weather locales. Learning to flight her ball through trade winds, and roll her ball across tropical grasses, is now second nature to the Ontario native. Henderson and fellow wunderkind Nelly Korda were matched at 14 under through three rounds. While Korda encountered all sorts of messes, en route to a closing 77 and an 8th-place finish, Henderson rebounded from an opening bogey six with three birdies. Her blase 70 was more than enough to distance her from the field. When the final flag stick was replaced, Henderson stood four shots clear of Eun-Hee Ji, with her 8th career trophy in her embrace.
The toughest task of the week was Korda’s. She bolted to a two-shot lead with 63 on Wednesday, thanks to a 50-50 split of nine birdies and nine pars. Korda maintained a two-shot lead over Henderson through 36 holes, despite a pair of Thursday bogeys. On Friday, Korda posted three bogeys on her card, yet still preserved a tie at the top spot, thanks to four birdies on the card. On Sunday, the young Floridian continued trending downward, lowlighted by a double-bogey six at the ninth hole, and wet, quadruple-bogey eight at the finisher. The nearest threat came from Ariya Jutanugarn, who stood at 14-under par with four holes remaining. At precisely the time when she needed a big finish, the former No. 1 closed with a bogey and a double over the final four holes. She tied for third, one stroke behind Ji.
HIGHLIGHTS ?? pic.twitter.com/eWZFQggt9s
— LPGA (@LPGA) April 21, 2019
Lanto Calrissian claims 2nd career Web.Com in Alabama
He’s no spice runner, but Lanto Griffin might be mistaken for the suave, Baron Administrator of Cloud City. Why, you ask? Well, the Californian-turned-Virginian held off Alabama son Robby Shelton in a dramatic, four-hole playoff, to claim his second career, Web.Com Tour event. In the first year of the RTJ Golf Trail Championship, Griffin birdied 4 holes in his outward nine to seize the lead, then bogeyed the 12th to lose it. Playing Cat and Mouse with him was Shelton, who interrupted a run of birdies with a pair of bogeys, then birdied the 16th to take over the top spot. With everything on the line, Griffin made 3 at the par-four finishing hole to join Shelton atop the leader board. The pair played the 18th hole twice in extra time, matching the other’s pars. They moved to the ninth, also a par 4, before returning to the 18th once more. There, Griffin ended matters with an exquisite birdie from 14 inches, his 2nd of the day at the closing hole. The victory moved the winner from 93rd to 9th in the chase for a PGA Tour card. Shelton moved from 46th to 12th with his runner-up finish.
— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) April 21, 2019
McCarron wins first title of 2019 at Mitsubushi Electric Classic
Scott McCarron won three times on the regular PGA Tour, with two of those wins coming at TPC Sugarloaf, near Atlanta. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that he won this week’s PGA Tour Champions event at the same course, but that it took him four attempts to do so. With wet weather wreaking havoc on golfers’ psyches, McCarron needed all of his concentrative abilities to stay the course. On Saturday, within one stroke of the lead, Vijay Singh dumped three wedges into the pond fronting the final green. His 10 dropped him from contention, leading to a T14 finish overall. McCarron made a clutch birdie at the same hole to expand his overnight lead to three shots. He would need all of them.
Jerry Kelly mounted an early Sunday charge, with birdies at his first three holes and fourth on the sixth. He added a lone bogey on the 13th, then closed with shot-savers at the final two holes. McCarron, meanwhile, played topsy-turvy over his opening four holes. Birdies at two and four did not compensate for bogey at No. 1 and double bogey at three. In little more than an hour, his lead was nearly gone. Kirk Triplett, Kent Jones, and Joe Durant also joined the fray. Each would match Kelly, coming up short of the winner’s effort.
As noted, Kelly cooled off after his hot start, while McCarron found stability. His final 14 holes consisted of 12 pars and two birdies, enough to force a desperate field to give chase, something it failed to do. McCarron won four times on tour in 2017, but tapered off to 2 victories and a handful of missed chances in 2018. Will 2019 be the year that he becomes THE elite winner? Atlanta was a good start.
Scott McCarron increases his lead. ????
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) April 21, 2019
Morning 9: Pantastic! | Henderson greatest in history of Canadian women’s golf? | Rough Sunday for DJ
By Ben Alberstadt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
April 21, 2019
Good Monday morning, golf fans.
Not the Dustin Johnson triumph we expected, true. Nevertheless, C.T. Pan’s W was compelling and steely down the stretch.
2. The (co-) winningest Canadian woman ever
Golf.com’s Pat Ralph…”Brooke Henderson captured her second straight Lotte Championship in Hawaii on Saturday to tie the Canadian record for LPGA Tour wins with eight thus far in her career. The 21-year-old Henderson now shares the record with former pro golfer Sandra Post.”
3. Rough Sunday for DJ…and viewers?
John Strege writes…”Johnson, 6-foot-4 and as athletic and talented as anyone in golf, shot a 77 (41 on the back nine) and tied for 28th. The tournament was won by C.T. Pan, a 5-foot-6 package of professional mediocrity prior to posting his first PGA Tour victory. In nine previous starts in the calendar year, he had not finished better than a tie for 42nd.”
Forgive the length of the excerpt, but Josh Vitale’s (of the Montgomery Advertiser, excerpted in Golfweek) use of Maya Brown, Lanto Griffin’s girlfriend, in his game story is superb.
5. …and Bhatia made the cut
Joel Beall writes…”Bhatia, the 17-year-old who made his PGA Tour debut last month at the Valspar Championship, was able to Monday qualify into the Web.com Tour’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Championship, and has made the most of his opportunity by making the cut at the rain-delayed event.”
A first-round 73 left Bhatia outside the top 100, but the homeschooler from North Carolina bounced back in Round 2 with a two-under 70, moving into a tie for 40th and good enough to advance to Saturday play.
Bhatia finished tied for 42nd.
6. McCarron gets it done
AP Report…”Scott McCarron completed a wire-to-wire victory in the Mitsubishi Electric Classic on Sunday for his third victory at TPC Sugarloaf on the PGA Tour Champions circuit.”
7. President Trump tees off with Lexi Thompson, Rush Limbaugh
Rachel Frazin of the Hill…
8. Every shot technology…almost
Golfweek’s Forecaddie on the Masters attempt to have every shot available to view online…
9. Recapping the Ventus Experience
A handful of GolfWRXers visited Fujikura HQ for a look at the company’s newest wares, fittings, and more. Check out their experiences (along with plenty of photos) in this forum thread.
Rory McIlroy’s Winning What’s in the Bag: 2019 Players Championship
Tiger Woods’ Winning WITB: 2019 Masters
The 22 players who can win the Masters
WRX Spotted: TaylorMade “Original One” Mini Driver
Francesco Molinari’s Winning What’s in the Bag: 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational
Kevin Kisner’s Winning What’s in the Bag: 2019 WGC-Dell Match Play
Paul Casey’s Winning WITB: 2019 Valspar Championship
Titleist TS4: It’s all about spin
Tour issue irons: A look behind the curtain
Line vs. speed: What’s really more important in putting?
The 6 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (4.23.19)
In this segment, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best #GolfWRX tagged photos on Instagram. In case...
Former caddie Steve Williams raves about Tiger Woods’ victory at the 2019 Masters
Tiger Woods’ ex-caddie, Steve Williams, has spoken in glowing terms concerning the 43-year-old’s latest victory at the Masters, a win...
Couple to name son after Tiger Woods after husband wins a bet with his wife
Tiger Woods’ victory at last week’s Masters had a significant impact in the sporting world, and its meaning will forever...
This incredible Tiger Woods supercut shows every shot of his 2019 Masters win
A major championship tradition unlike any other in its own right: Michael David Murphy has outdone himself with his final-round...
Whats in the Bag1 week ago
Tiger Woods’ Winning WITB: 2019 Masters
Opinion & Analysis2 weeks ago
The 22 players who can win the Masters
Whats in the Bag2 weeks ago
Jennifer Kupcho’s Winning WITB: Augusta National Women’s Amateur
Equipment3 weeks ago
Titleist CNCPT iron range, featuring the new CP-01 and CP-02 irons, coming to retail
Whats in the Bag2 weeks ago
Corey Conners’ Winning WITB: 2019 Valero Texas Open
Equipment2 weeks ago
TaylorMade P7TW irons: Designed for Tiger, built for you
Whats in the Bag2 days ago
C.T. Pan’s winning WITB: 2019 RBC Heritage
Whats in the Bag3 weeks ago
Alex Trevino WITB