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Adam Scott believes the new rules have made the sport a “laughingstock;” Happy to be a martyr in the fight against slow play

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The modernized rules of golf have come under fire from a number of Tour professionals already this year, and Adam Scott is the latest man to join the list of disgruntled pros unhappy with the changes.

Speaking to the New York Times, Scott criticized the USGA and R&A’s rule changes, saying “They’ve just written more gray areas into the game that were not necessary.” The Australian singled out the new drop rule which forces players to drop from knee height as opposed to shoulder height, a rule which will make Scott think twice before taking a drop in 2019 without the consultation of his caddie or a rules official, in fear of violating the new regulation.

Another rule change which Scott discussed was the ability that players now have of leaving the flag-stick in the hole while putting – a rule which Scott believes will change the art of putting entirely.

“To be honest it almost changes the whole aim of the game. It’s to hit the pin, not hole the putt. It takes speed out of your head so much. It even takes some reading of the green out.”

For Scott, officials are changing too much too fast causing detriment to the sport which he believes is now becoming the object of ridicule.

“We haven’t had a lot of changes in golf in the history of the game, and we’ve had a lot recently — rules changing weekly in some cases — and it’s crazy. I think we’re becoming the laughingstock.”

The former Masters champ recently spoke to the PGA Tour’s chief of tournaments and competitions Andy Pazder, who he told that he was willing to be penalized for slow play if it would help fellow professionals speed up. Concerning slow play, Scott believes the lack of penalties enforced, as well as the absence of financial ramifications, is at the core of one of golfs biggest issues.

“Make me the victim. I’ll take the penalty. The only way it’s going to work is if you enforce it. There’s a big media fuss, a big feeling that we play slow, and we do, but the tour is an entertainment business and a big money maker for a lot of people. Until sponsors and TV tell the commissioner you guys play too slow and we’re not putting money up, it’s a waste of time talking about because it’s not going to change.”

Scott, who is in the field this week at the Genesis Open, further emphasised his frustration at the lack of action concerning slow play in the game, stating

“We’ve seen too many years, too much complaining about it. And zero action about it.”

 

 

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Gianni is a freelance writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Diploma in Sports Journalism. He can be contacted at gmagliocco@outlook.com. Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Grizz01

    Feb 16, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    I concur to some degree. I think tournament play they should have to take the pin out. For everyday players, especially on the weekends. If you want to leave the pin in, leave it in with no penalty. Speed up play, and use that score for your handicap.

    • Scott Ivlow

      Feb 22, 2019 at 11:48 am

      The problem with your tournament play argument is what qualifies as a tournament? But a dumb rule change having 2 different rules makes make no sense. If a a pro player wants to leave it in they should be allowed to do it under the USGA rule. There is no single advantage to making a putt with the pin the hole. Just because a player might aim at the flag there is no guarantee that the ball will go into the hole anyway. Leaving it a golfer will still be making a risk of hitting it and not go in the whole.

  2. Greg Marthaler

    Feb 15, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Dropping from the knee and putting with the flagstick in don’t improve pace of play. The way to speed up play is to institute ready golf, ban the yardage/green books, use lasers. Eliminate pros calling in rules officials simply to make a drop. If a player is slow (JB Holmes, Ben Crane) assess them a 2 shot penalty. The warning comes on the 1st tee, before the round starts.

  3. Sparky

    Feb 15, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    Where were all the complainers during the rule review period? USGA gave us a ton of time and explicitly invited comments. Quityer bitchin.

    In a year everyone will be used to it and we’ll be fine. Jeez.

  4. YouAreWrong

    Feb 15, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    100% spot on.

    Church!

  5. John Barrett

    Feb 15, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Watching reruns of the wonderful world of golf, I noticed way back during those times that the pros like Byron Nelson on longer puts, putt with the pin in. So I don’t know what the big hoopala is regarding the USGA going back to this rule. Dropping from the height of the knee, means that the ball will less likely move more than the allotted distance from the point of contact with the ground and therefore eliminating multiple drops plus dropping from the knee will less likely result in a bad lie because a ball will drop with less speed and more likely quickly come to rest.

  6. James Flynn

    Feb 15, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    When a stroke difference could be worth 500k, I’d take my time too.

  7. Matt

    Feb 14, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    Adam Scott is my favorite golfer and he is way off the mark on this.

  8. JohnnyNight

    Feb 14, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    OMG..!! LOL..!! For Adam Scott, the golferwho used a telephone pole for a putter to call anything in golf a disgrace is THE JOKE OF THE CENTURY..!! The guy made the sport look like an activity for the weak and weak minded as he attempted to hole out 6 inch putts with his TELEPHONE POLE..!! And this from what appeared to be the most physically fit man on the tour…

    • Deano

      Feb 14, 2019 at 5:05 pm

      “Telephone pole for a putter” – nailed it.

      And couldn’t agree more. I laughed out loud reading his comments. He’s an embarrassment.

    • Travis

      Feb 14, 2019 at 5:07 pm

      You’re an idiot please never post again.

  9. ChipNRun

    Feb 14, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    ——————
    Quoting OBESITY
    “Golf is the perfect vehicle to fight obesity by making everybody walk who can, except for those who are truly handicapped and have a license indicating so.”
    ——————

    Some golf courses are set up so most people use pull carts; only a handful of riding carts.

    But, you must realize that for some golf is a sport among others. One guy I know also works out at the gym and runs in charity 10Ks. He says that golf is recreation – he takes a cart because he gets his workout elsewhere.

    And licensing the old and handicapped? That is great optics for a sport which talks about being “more inclusive.” It’s bad enough golf has done away for anchored putting, which a lot of seniors with back trouble sorely miss.

    As for LAUGHINGSTOCK? Let’s not forget about learning curve. Whenever you change the processes of an activity like golf, it takes people awhile to get used to it.

    Here in the Midwest, traffic circles – as opposed to t-crossing streets with stop signs – have been around more than a decade. But, some people claim they still find them confusing.

    When things change, even if you can show benefits of the change, you always encounter some who oppose it. After a year or two, I suspect we’ll see a retweak of new golf rules points that didn’t work out well. We’ll have to wait and see.

  10. Brian

    Feb 14, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    Please educate me, but I thought the drop rule meant you could drop it from as low as knee height…not that you had to drop it from knee height.

    • Travis

      Feb 14, 2019 at 5:08 pm

      I’m 99% sure it’s knee height and dropping it from higher can result in a penalty. The rule SHOULD be drop it from minimum knee height to maximum shoulder height and be done with it.

      • KS

        Feb 14, 2019 at 9:48 pm

        Gee i too thought the new meant to lessen the penalty of dropping, where the knee height is the minimum.

    • Tartan Golf Travel

      Feb 14, 2019 at 11:14 pm

      It’s at knee height. Not above or below. Another silly rule brought to you by the morons at the USGA

      • Scott Ivlow

        Feb 22, 2019 at 12:07 pm

        I get why people on here hate new knee height ball drop. Like they never seen a golf tournament where a pro drops a ball at shoulder height and the ball rolls from the drop spot both times and then watch the player place the ball. So from knee height the ball has a far less chance of rolling from the drop and still has a random placement than a player’s preffered position like say your standing next a divet or anything doesn’t offer the best lie. Having a placement of a golf ball just gives the golfer the potential to a spot that offers the best lie.

  11. Jordan

    Feb 14, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Crossfield recently played with a few of the euro pros. Some tested leaving pin in and felt that it penalized you more than taking it out.

    So unless Adam has done testing to back his claim, or some independent body proves that flag in really is statistically a benefit. There isn’t a problem with it.

  12. Obesity

    Feb 14, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Obesity.
    The USGA and the PGA and all the Tours around the world should get together to fight obesity and get rid of carts/buggies.
    Know why they won’t?
    They’re afraid the courses will lose money and the industry will shrink to half what it is, because they know people are lazy.
    Carts slow down play more often than people think, as bad, lazy players don’t even know etiquette.
    So that’s another problem they should add to the slow play list, if they want to get serious about making it faster for the amateurs.
    Golf is the perfect vehicle to fight obesity by making everybody walk who can, except for those who are truly handicapped and have a license indicating so.

    • Tom

      Feb 14, 2019 at 1:19 pm

      I grew up walking 18 holes and playing in less than 2 and a half hours, (with nobody holding us up)….I now often play in a cart (due to bad knees) and play in less than 2 and a half hours (if not held up)….it has nothing to do with carts, it has everything to do with the player!

      • Obesity

        Feb 14, 2019 at 1:22 pm

        Your course must be really short and have nobody playing on it.

      • Liar

        Feb 14, 2019 at 11:10 pm

        You never walked 18 holes and played in 2.5 hours. NEVER. IF you did, you were playing a par 3 course. I hate idiots that exaggerate for the sake of I’m not sure why. My group is as fast as any players around. All sub par handicaps and we can play in just under 3 hours, RIDING…and that’s flying! I bet people that know you don’t like you.

        • 84425

          Feb 15, 2019 at 1:59 pm

          Nonsense! I’ve played/walked 18 in under two hours (ok, by myself), but even a three ball should be able to play/walk in less than 3 hours.

    • Brian

      Feb 14, 2019 at 1:31 pm

      A round of golf already takes 4+ hours to play when riding a cart. That’s just want I want to do every Saturday and Sunday in the dead middle of 90+ July days…stand in the middle of a golf course for 6+ hours.

      If Carts slow the game down, why is my foursome constantly playing through groups of walkers on the weekends?

      • Steve Shapard

        Feb 15, 2019 at 1:22 pm

        Agreed. It is the golfer, not the cart. Same golfers in carts can play a much faster round than walking if speed of play is the point. The point being, the same golfers and same level of play. That is also assuming that the cart riders do so correctly and efficiently.
        Drives me CRAZY to see guys in their carts sit on their butts, drive from one guys ball, hit it, and then drive to the other players ball, find and hit it.
        Not THAT truly does slow the game down and is slower than walking. Unfortunately you see that happen all the time,

    • Brian

      Feb 14, 2019 at 3:08 pm

      If I show up to a course and it’s CPO, I almost always get back in the car and go somewhere else.

      I walk all the time and frequently play in groups that have carts. I keep up just fine. Straight lines are the fastest way from A to B.

    • tgk

      Feb 15, 2019 at 2:02 pm

      77 years old, would love to walk a course but spinal arthritis forces me to ride. Also, the majority of higher end public and semi private courses are designed to use power carts as walking from greens to tees can take 5-10 minutes and many courses need the revenue from cart fees to survive.

    • Grizz01

      Feb 16, 2019 at 7:43 pm

      If you can out bench me and out squat me, I’ll start walking. (I know you can’t, I’m in the 99.5%.)

      So get to the gym and start strength training… be a real man.

  13. MacAttack

    Feb 14, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    Watching the guys bend over for a “drop” is a complete joke and if you let these guys putt with the flags in you’re going to see 56-57 in the near future. It’s too easy to make the average pro putt like Tiger from 6-8 feet for par. I find the changes disgraceful.

  14. GARYT

    Feb 14, 2019 at 11:36 am

    So putting with the flag in is a bad thing yet Adam putts with the flag in

    • Travis

      Feb 14, 2019 at 5:10 pm

      Because he knows it’s a distinct advantage that can make him more money. He’s admitting it makes the game easier so when millions upon millions of dollars are on the line then why would he not take advantage of it? He’s just also pointing out that it makes the game look stupid as an aside.

      People forget PGA Tour players are only out there to make money. Their lives are not guaranteed. It’s week to week. They have opinions on how the game should be run but priority #1 is their own paycheck and livelihood.

  15. Billy B

    Feb 14, 2019 at 10:39 am

    The guy that needed the crutch of an anchored putter is complaining about a flag stick “changing the art of putting”. Funny

  16. John O

    Feb 14, 2019 at 10:31 am

    The exactly knee high drop thing is stupid. Obviously it should have been “no lower than knee height” or just place the damn thing. Pro golfers should still be putting with the flag out – leaving it in should be a shortcut to simplify and speed things up for amateurs.

    • 15th Club

      Feb 14, 2019 at 11:18 am

      Do you not understand why “no lower than knee height” wouldn’t work? I can tell you. It would allow players to game the process by dropping from as high as they could reach, to cause a dropped ball to bounce and possibly roll to a place were a re-drop, and then a second re-drop, would ultimately lead to the player being able to place it.

      The knee height is an easy, sensible compromise to (1) arrange a drop that has some randomness to it, to create a natural lie and (2) reduce (while admittedly not eliminate) the necessity of re-drops when a ball bounds away from the drop point in an unallowable direction or to an unallowable location.

      Thanks for asking.

      Now; as to golf being made a “laughingstock.” I don’t think so; but nobody is contributing more to golf’s problems than the Tours and touring professionals. The Tour pros on the Ladies tours were the ones going psychopathic with caddies lining them up. The Tour pros were teaching all television viewers what golf looks like at a glacial pace. The Tour pros created the business of green-reading books.

      Tour pros: You want to see a “laughingstock”? Look in a mirror. Or just turn on Golf Channel.

      • Troysii

        Feb 15, 2019 at 4:59 am

        Why not just make it hip height. Stand up straight, hold arm slightly away from body

        • 15th Club

          Feb 15, 2019 at 8:27 am

          Because they wanted it lower; for the reasons I suggested. To make drops from a lower height, so as to reduce the number of times that balls drop and bounce or roll into impermissible positions.

          What I cannot understand is what is the problem with knee height, in a game where you place a ball on a tee 18 times, and pick a ball up out of the hole 18 times?

          I’ve seen the videos where people are trying to mock the Rule, and I don’t get it. They all seem completely ignorant of the point of the Rule change. (They most likely never understood it to begin with; they would have created very different kinds of video demonstrations if they had been serious about attempting to rebut the USGA’s reasoning.)

          • Doug

            Feb 18, 2019 at 9:01 am

            Agreed.

            Dropping is an art in my opinion. With the old rule, whenever possible, I would try to drop in a spot that would purposely roll too far outside the required area so as to get to place the ball after two failed drop attempts. Of course, it was not always possible to achieve success if the drop area was not ideal. Flat areas made it less likely to happen. So, I would then look for the most ideal place to drop so that the bounce gave me a good chance to get a better lie. But dropping from shoulder height made that outcome more difficult. Now, dropping from knee height can make your chances of getting a decent lie better, but there are still no guarantees, while at the same time, limiting the chances the ball will roll outside the drop zone. The rule is written to address both situations. And it does, regardless of how some people think it looks.

            If it were the reverse and the rule had always been as it is now and was then changed to drop from shoulder height, the whole golfing world would be up in arms over that. Everyone would be whining that they can’t get decent lies without getting lucky, or that it takes too long to drop twice, when you know full well that the ball won’t stay where you drop it, giving you the option to place it.

            Nobody likes change. Me neither. However, in this case, the drop rule may not initially seem better for pace of play or benefit to a player’s lie, but it is. No matter how funny and awkward it may look.

            And when the USGA changes the rule to allow for removing the ball from old divots in the fairway with free relief, I will support that one too. Bet you won’t see too many complaints about that one, except from those who just like to complain for the sake of complaining.

            Generally, I think the USGA can be a bit dictatorial and/or overbearing. They may be necessary for high-level amateur and Pro competition, but are certainly not in touch with the average public golfer. I’d characterize them as oblivious to our needs most of the time. So, I am not a big supporter of them. But somebody has to make rules, whether we agree or not. In this case though, I am happy with the new drop rule.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the Honda Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2020 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,125 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Louis Oosthuizen and more.

Last year, Keith Mitchell canned a 15-footer on the 72nd hole, outlasting Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka.

Check out all our galleries below, along with highlights from PGA National.

General galleries

Special galleries

Vijay Singh using custom Mizuno MP-20 irons with lofts modified enough they had to stamp new numbers. Link to his full WITB

Camilo Villegas with old-school Air Jordans

Close up of Tommy Fleetwood’s putting grip

Luke Donald with a new putting training aid

LA Golf has a couple of new shafts

Brooks Kopeka with his pink and white Nike Air Zoom Infinity Tour shoes

Odyssey Stroke Lab Ten with new sightlines.  Link to galleries and discussion

Kevin Streelman is a huge Chicago Cubs fan, so he went to a spring training game and had the players sign his staff bag (to be fair, he probably took just the panel and not the whole bag)

Jim Furyk has gone back to his standard length putter and cross-handed after trying the arm-lock style for a while.

Kyle Stanley’s coach is taking a worm’s-eye view of Kyle’s alignment and stroke.

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Morning 9: Koepka talks golf | Tiger’s Champions Dinner menu | Tour caddies and hot seats

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1. Koepka talks golf
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…The former World No. 1 – who now sits third behind Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm – opened up in great detail in a profile in GQ about what he would change about the game of golf, a sport that he truly loves despite some outside perception.
  • “One thing I’d change is maybe the stuffiness,” said Koepka, who’s never viewed himself as just a golfer. “Golf has always had this persona of the triple-pleated khaki pants, the button-up shirt, very country club atmosphere, where it doesn’t always have to be that way. That’s part of the problem.”
  • ...”Everybody always says, ‘You need to grow the game.’ Well, why do you need to be so buttoned-up? ‘You have to take your hat off when you get in here.’ ‘You’re not allowed in here unless you’re a member – or unless the member’s here.’…
  • …”I just think people confuse all this for me not loving the game. I love the game. I absolutely love the game,” said Koepka. “I don’t love the stuffy atmosphere that comes along with it. That, to me, isn’t enjoyable.”

Full piece.

2. Fajitas and sushi
“Being born and raised in SoCal, having fajitas and sushi was a part of my entire childhood, and I’m going back to what I had in 2006,” Woods said. “So, we’ll have steak and chicken fajitas, and we’ll have sushi and sashimi out on the deck, and I hope the guys will enjoy it.”
  • “Woods also said he’s considering serving milkshakes for desert like he did during the 1998 dinner.”
  • “That was one of the most great memories to see Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead having milkshakes that night in ’98,” he said.”

Full piece.

3. Why a tour caddie is always on the hot seat 
The Undercover Tour Caddie writeth again…“I’ve been lucky to partner with 18 players on the PGA and developmental tours, four of which were longtime appointments. I’ve also been fired 17 times-and among my friends, that’s on the low end of the spectrum…”
  • “The majority of the time, the breakups are amicable and done in person. I consider myself friends with almost all the players I’ve worked for, and though there were some strong emotions from both sides when it came time to disband, I get it. This is a business, and they’re making a business decision. Plus, you don’t want to burn any bridges. I’ve had two guys toss me aside after a month’s work, only for them to circle back within the year, one of which ended up sticking for five seasons.”
  • “There have been callous splits. In the early 2000s, I was trying to get my guy to hit an 8-iron on an approach at the 71st hole. He was adamant that 9 was the play. I strongly, but respectfully, said he needed to club up. He went with the 9; his ball came up short of the green, and he couldn’t get up and down. That bogey dropped us out of the top 10. He fired me after signing his card, claiming he needed someone “who has faith in me.” Hey, I had faith-faith that his 9 was the wrong club.”

Full piece.

4. The best part of Tiger’s Masters win…
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski…”Last April at Augusta National Golf Club, behind the 18th green, after tapping in for a one-stroke victory and fifth Masters triumph, there were hugs all around, none sweeter than those from his daughter and son.”
  • “I think what made it so special is that they saw me fail the year before at the British Open. I had gotten the lead there and made bogey, double, and ended up losing to Francesco,” Woods said. “To have them experience what it feels like to be part of a major championship and watch their dad fail and not get it done, and now to be a part of it when I did get it done, I think it’s two memories that they will never forget. And the embraces and the hugs and the excitement, because they know how I felt and what it felt like when I lost at Carnoustie … to have the complete flip with them in less than a year, it was very fresh in their minds.”
  • “It’s a long and rambling thought, and totally justified in the context of all the emotion woven into the two experiences. Some things are just difficult to express cogently, and the struggle with doing so only underscores their impact.”
5. Dream of Coul is dead
Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”Coul Links was supposed to be Scotland’s next great links golf course. Envisioned to be built by Coore-Crenshaw on a protected wildlife site in Embo on dunes near Dornoch, those hopes took a serious blow on Feb. 21, when the Scottish government denied planning permission for a project spearheaded by golf course developer Mike Keiser.”
  • “I’m moving on. I have so many other projects,” Keiser tells The Forecaddie. “God bless Dornoch.”
  • “In its decision notice, Scottish Ministers determined that the proposed development would adversely affect the local environment, stating in their findings that the “likely detriment to natural heritage is not outweighed by the socio-economic benefits of the proposal.”
6. Koepka: Great round of golf with Trump
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard…“In a profile in GQ, Koepka…talked about a recent round with President Trump…Koepka, his father, younger brother Chase and President Trump “had a blast” at Trump’s course in West Palm Beach.”
  • “It was nice to have my family there, my dad, my brother. Anytime it’s with a president, it’s pretty cool,” said Koepka. “I don’t care what your political beliefs are, it’s the President of the United States. It’s an honor that he even wanted to play with me.”
  • “I respect the office, I don’t care who it is,” added Koepka. “Still probably the most powerful man in the entire world. It’s a respect thing.”

Full piece.

7. Tiger on lengthening Augusta National 
Golf Digest’s Daniel Rapaport…”Augusta National has been at the forefront of trying to keep it competitive, keep it fair, keep it fun, and they’ve been at the forefront of lengthening the golf course,” Woods said. “Granted, they have the property and they can do virtually whatever they want. They have complete autonomy. It’s kind of nice.
  • “But also they’ve been at the forefront of trying to keep it exciting as the game has evolved. We have gotten longer, equipment changed, but they’ve been trying to keep it so the winning score is right around the 12- to 18-under-par mark, and they have.”
8. Inside the Bear Trap
Golf Channel Digital team…“Here’s a look at some of the notable Bear Trap stats according to the PGA Tour (all figures since 2007, when the tournament moved to PGA National):”
  • “Among non-majors, the Bear Trap ranks as the third-toughest three-hole stretch on Tour at 0.644 over par on average. It’s behind only Nos. 16-18 at Quail Hollow (+0.873) and Nos. 8-10 at Pebble Beach (+0.673).”
  • “The Honda Classic field is a combined 3,629 over par across the Bear Trap and 4,934 over par across the other 15 holes at PGA National.”
  • “543 different players have played at least one competitive round at the Honda since 2007, with 76 percent (415) of them hitting at least one ball in the water on the Bear Trap.”

Full piece.

9. San Diego muni renovations (including Torrey)
Jason Lusk of Golfweek…“San Diego’s city council has allotted $15 million for upgrades and renovations to the city’s three municipally operated golf facilities including Torrey Pines’ South Course, site of the 2021 U.S. Open, according to a report Tuesday by the San Diego Union-Tribune.”
  • “…The $15 million approved Monday by the city council also will include contract work at San Diego’s other municipally operated golf facilities at Balboa Park and Mission Bay, the Union-Tribune reported. The courses will remain open during the jobs that include installing new irrigation systems and drainage, replacing and repairing cart paths, renovating bunkers and tree work.”

 

*featured image via Augusta National/the Masters

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Tour Rundown

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Only two of the world’s featured tours were in action this week, but the golf that they provided was memorable and historic. Not the type of historic that you find in school books, but certainly the type that golf aficionados point to, down the road. On the one hand, a prodigious yet poliarizing talent demonstrated complete control down the stretch, during his march to a 2nd World Golf Championship victory. On the other, a precocious competitor joined into a talented triumvirate with a marvelous birdie at the last, to secure an inaugural PGA Tour championship.Tuesday Tour Rundown is back, for this week only!

WGC-Mexico flies away in the hands of Patrick Reed 

Golf Twitter, depending on your perspective, is either entertaining or inflamatory. As happens in the world today, people take sides. In the case of Patrick Reed, that’s not difficult. One either forgives (or denies) Reed’s free interpretation (on multiple occasions) of the rules and their enforcement, or one preserves a disregard for a leading player who simply doesn’t act like one. What isn’t up for debate, is Reed’s seizure of this week’s World Golf Championship in Mexico. What looked for so long like a Bryson-DeChambaeau win, ultimately stowed away in Patrick Reed’s check-on pouch.

The tournament came down to the aforementioned duo. Both Jon Rahm and Erik Van Rooyen swam along the margin, but neither made enough of a Sunday move to figure in the outcome. Both, in fact, tied for 3rd place, 2 back of DeChambeau and 3 behind the champion. Bryson and his on-display muscles barged out of the 10th-hole gate like a man (and muscles) on a mission. Birdies at 4 of the first 5 holes on the inward half, staked him to a 2-shot advantage. Over the closing four, however, the magic went away, and a bogey at the penultimate hole brought him back to 17-under par.

Reed looked like a man playing for second. His long game was nothing exceptional, but his putter kept him afloat, time and again. And then, whatever DeChambeau had in his water bottle, came over to Reed. Birdies at 15, 16 and 17 suddenly brought the 2-shot advantage to the 2018 Masters champion. Even the cough of an expectorant fan, mid-backswing on the 18th, was not enough to convulse the champion. A closing bogey made the margin closer than it was, and Reed jumped from 33rd to 5th in the FedEx Cup standings.

PGA Tour Puerto Rico is Viktor Hovland’s debut decision

It wasn’t as mauling as Tyson Fury’s technical decision over Deontay Wilder, but Viktor Hovland and Josh Teater came down the stretch in Puerto Rico, like a pair of pugilists. The young Norwegian, Hovland, was pitted against the career grinder, Teater. First it was the veteran, with 3 birdies on the opening nine, to reach minus-19. Hovland chipped away, with a birdie at 5, and a 2nd at 10. And then, Teater hit Hovland with a right-cross (or Hovland hit himself with a sucker punch; you make the call.) Triple bogey! A startling six at the 11th, dropped Hovland into a tie with Teater (bogeys of his own on 10 and 11) who now had new life … and new pressure.

To his credit, Teater didn’t back down. He made birdies at 15 and 17, to recoup the lost shots at the turn. Unfortunately for him, tour victory the first would have to wait. Hovland, the Oklahoma State alumnus, made a sensational eagle at the 15th, to counter Teater’s birdie, and reclaim the advantage. The pair reached the 18th tee, a par five, all square, and it was there that Hovland dealt the final thrust. He took every bit of break out of a 25-feet birdie putt, and banged it into the hole. With the win, Hovland joined Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa as anticipated winners who actually won. Now comes the hard part: winning again and reaching a new echelon of champion.

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