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Morning 9: Nice headline | Opinion: Tour pros’ Rules whining is a bad look| “Unknown” champions

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

March 5, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans
1. TW WD
Owing to a neck strain that’s been bothering him “for a few weeks,” Tiger Woods announced today he is withdrawing from this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, while stressing that his surgically repaired back is “fine” and that he has “no long-term concerns.”
  • The 14-time major champion posted the following to Twitter
  • @TigerWoods….1) Unfortunately due to a neck strain that I’ve had for a few weeks, I’m forced to withdraw from the API. I’ve been receiving treatment, but it hasn’t improved enough to play. My lower back is fine, and I have no long-term concerns, and I hope to be ready for The Players.
  • 2) I’d like to send my regrets to the Palmer family and the Orlando fans. Its connection to Arnold makes it one of my favorite tournaments and I’m disappointed to miss it.
The 43-year-old hasn’t missed a tournament due to injury since returning to competition following his April, 2017 spinal fusion surgery at the Hero World Challenge in December of that year.
2. Not a good look?
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch with some thoughts on PGA Tour pros voicing their (largely negative) opinions on the changes to the Rules of Golf.
  • To be fair, the moaning isn’t entirely without merit. Golf’s rule book is infamously Byzantine and often the source of uncertainty in high-stakes situations on Tour. A long overdue process began Jan. 1 when the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient introduced more than three dozen changes designed to simplify things. The chorus of complaints by Tour players began almost immediately and strengthens by the week.”
  • The revisions made golf “a laughingstock,” said Adam Scott….”I think they’re terrible,” Justin Thomas added before getting into it with the USGA.”
  • “Rickie Fowler made his opinion clear at PGA National during the Honda Classic when he took a ‘dump drop,’ reaching around to drop his ball from behind while squatting. Fowler was probably still smarting from the penalty he received a week earlier in Mexico for dropping from shoulder height in the old, outlawed manner. “It’s not doing any favors for our sport,” he said.”
3. Feinstein: Celebrate the “unknowns”
John Feinstein, penning a piece for Golf Digest, praises both the “unknowns” who have won in professional golf and the possibility of, say, the 200th best player in the world beating the best players, which he finds to be unique to the game.
  • “But golf history is littered with stories even more surprising and dramatic than Mitchell’s and Long’s. Frances Ouimet comes to mind and, no, I didn’t cover the 1913 U.S. Open, though I suspect Dan Jenkins did. Jack Fleck over Ben Hogan in 1955 at Olympic is another example.”
  • “Fast forward to 2003 when Ben Curtis, a PGA Tour rookie ranked 396th in the world, won the Open Championship, outdueling Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Davis Love III and Thomas Bjorn down the stretch. A month later, Shaun Micheel-who had never won before on the PGA Tour and would never win again-hit one of the great shots in golf history on the 18th hole at Oak Hill (a 7-iron to a foot) to clinch the PGA Championship.”
  • “A year after that, Todd Hamilton beat Ernie Els in a playoff in the Open Championship. Hamilton, however, had won 11 times in Japan and had won the Honda Classic-how about that?-earlier in the year. But, after that victory in Scotland, he never won again.”
4. Along those lines…
How about the Palm Beach Post’s sports sections’ front page following Keith Mitchell’s win (below)? The paper has since apologized, but one wonders how many parties signed off on the angle, and then, seeing the mock up, said, “Yes! Let’s go with this.” (Image via Peter Robbins on Twitter)

 

5. Strokes gained/lost
Gianni Magliocco returns with his weekly look at where the winner and other top players gained and lost strokes as the tournament that was.
  • HOT…”There is only one man to begin this section with, and that’s the winner himself, Keith Mitchell. Mitchell came into the event with three missed cuts in his last four tournaments, and unlike many breakthrough winners on Tour, Mitchell didn’t claim victory due to an exceptionally hot putter in Florida. Mitchell gained less than a stroke with the flat-stick for the four days of action at PGA National, which was less than any other player who finished in the top-six, and significantly less than every other winner on the PGA Tour so far in 2019.”
  • “What Mitchell did was produce the performance of his career tee to green. The American led the field in strokes gained tee to green for the four days with a total of 11.9 strokes. Sergio Garcia was the only other player in the event to gain double digits over the field in this department.”
  • COLD…”Justin Thomas failed to get himself into contention at the Honda Classic settling in the end for a T30 finish. One area of Thomas’ game which was off all week was his approach play. Thomas lost 3.2 strokes to the field with his irons at PGA National, and incredibly, it is the first time Thomas has lost strokes for his approach shots since the WGC-Mexico in March of last year.”
6. Crunchy Pete!
If you STILL haven’t familiarized yourself with Keith Mitchell’s caddie after my prompting yesterday, here’s a little bit on “Crunchy Pete” from Golf Digest’s Christopher Powers.
  • “…many golf fans who may have not even heard of Mitchell before were also introduced to his caddie Pete Persolja, whose appearance alone instantly grabs your attention. But there was another reason fans on social media were intrigued by his presence, and it was because he was using a compass as he and Mitchell navigated “The Bear Trap.”…
And this…”His Twitter account is full of quotes that belong on plaques. Seriously, some of these would look great on my desk at work”
  • While I appreciate the gesture of the @pgatour giving me a health insurance stipend I assure you that won’t be necessary. I have never had so much as a hang nail. I cleanse my body by drinking from natural springs and hanging upside down from tree limbs.”
7. New No. 1
Interesting note from LPGA.com‘s Kent Paisley on Sung Hyun Park retaking the No. 1 spot in the world.
  • “Calling her shot like Babe Ruth, three weeks ago Park’s team put out a press release saying that Park “will soon reclaim the world number 1 spot.” She backed that up, with the spot claimed following her win in Singapore. Park credited her victory to a former world number one golfer in Tiger Woods, who she met at a TaylorMade commercial shoot roughly three weeks ago as well.”
  • Park last held the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings top spot in October 2018, when Ariya Jutanugarn finished in second place at the Buick LPGA Shanghai.  Jutanugarn relinquishes the number one spot after an 18-week reign. Park previously held the world number one spot for ten weeks, from August to October of last year, which began when she won the Indy Women in Tech Championship.”
8. The Arnold Palmer Award
Hard to argue with this move by the Tour.
  • Via PGATour.com staff…”Today at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, the PGA TOUR announced that as a tribute to the late Arnold Palmer, the PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year – as voted upon by the TOUR’s membership — will now receive the Arnold Palmer Award.”
  • “The PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year dates back to 1990, with the inaugural winner Robert Gamez compiling a season that included two wins, perhaps most notably the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he holed out from the fairway on the 72nd hole at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge to defeat Greg Norman by one shot. A marble plaque on the right side of the 18th fairway remains in place today, commemorating one of the PGA TOUR’s most memorable finishes.”
  • “Arnold Palmer was golf’s greatest ambassador with his go-for-broke style of play, his charitable endeavors and his true passion and respect for the game and its fans,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “A thumbs up, a wink, a carefully signed autograph, a thank you – simple gestures like these passed on by Mr. Palmer to countless young players helped shape their character, on and off the golf course. The Arnold Palmer Award will now reflect those contributions in honoring the TOUR’s most outstanding rookie. Our thanks to the Palmer family and the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation for their support with this initiative.”
9. Monahan’s memo
Per Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard, the PGA Tour commissioner sent a lengthy memo to Tour players following rules pushback.
  • Hoggard writesFollowing weeks of growing discord between Tour pros and the USGA and R&A, the memo points out that the rules makeover that has sparked so much debate this year has been a “collaborative process” that the Tour has “been a part of from the beginning.”
  • From the memo…“[The Tour] put forward a lengthy list of recommendations to improve the rules in many ways, including the removal of numerous penalties, and virtually all our suggestions were incorporated,” the memo from Monahan read. “We also had the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed rules prior to implementation, which resulted in modifications for the final version.”
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Morning 9: Feinstein: Why Tiger shouldn’t pick Tiger | JT the game’s best closer? | Praising Fall golf

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram and golfwrxEIC on Twitter.

October 23, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans. Friendliest of PSAs here to tell you we’re looking for advertisers for 2020. Drop me a line if you’d like to talk about getting your message in front of the 30,000+ daily M9 readers.
 
Also, it’s still astonishes me that 3 people, let alone 30,000 choose to read my roundup every day. Sincere thanks! (and 99% of the credit goes to the writers whose work I feature daily)

 

1. Feinstein: Why Tiger shouldn’t pick Tiger
On the subject of Tiger Woods picking Tiger Woods for the Presidents Cup team, John Feinstein would rather he didn’t.
  • “There’s no doubt the tour would love to see Woods play, and so would the TV networks that will televise the matches in the middle of the night because of the 16-hour time difference between Melbourne and the East Coast of the United States.”
  • “But there are a myriad of reasons Woods shouldn’t name himself. Let’s start with his health-which is always an issue. The week before the matches, Woods is going to play four rounds in the exhibition he and his foundation run in the Bahamas. Then he has to fly across the world to Australia and, if he’s playing, will need to play practice rounds and tee it up as early as Thursday, if he puts himself in the lineup on the first day.”
  • “…There’s also this: If Woods picks Woods, he will have to jump himself over someone who finished ahead of him in the Presidents Cup points standings. Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed finished ninth through 12th. Woods was 13th.”

Full piece.

2. Is Justin Thomas golf’s best closer? 
A bold claim, indeed, but what does the data say?
  • Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker…”Leading by three helps of course. Justin Thomas had no such advantage at the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges in South Korea after making a mess of the par-5 18th hole at Nine Bridges Golf Club on Saturday. He entered the final round tied with Danny Lee but shot a five-under 67 to win by two.”
  • “The victory was the 11th of the 26-year-old’s career on the PGA Tour and it put him in rare company. Only Tiger and Jack Nicklaus have compiled more Ws by age 27, with 34 (!) and 20, respectively. Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are next, also with 11.”
  • “…Not lost in Thomas’ latest triumph: He’s now eight for 11 when leading or tied for the lead after 54 holes, which brings to mind a question: Is Thomas the best closer in golf?”

Full piece.

3. LPGA $ up (PGA still 6x richer)
A look at the dollars and cents of it all…
  • AAP report…”Every week brings a sobering reminder of how much more money the men play for on the PGA Tour than the women do on the LPGA Tour….With four tournaments left in the LPGA Tour season, Danielle Kang became the 11th player to break the US$1 million (AU$1.46m) mark.”
  • “The PGA Tour had 112 players earn at least US$1m last season…Already nine players have made at least US$1m through six PGA Tour events this season.”
  • Speaketh the commish…“Not sure if we have closed the gap, even though we are playing for dramatically more money,” Whan said…”When I started, we were playing for just over US$40m (AU$58.4m) and now we’re playing for over US$70m (AU$102.1m).

Full piece.

4. Hideki key?
The International side has been as bad as the Europeans have been good in the other biennial competition. Can Hideki Matsuyama change that?
PGATour.com’s Ben Everill poses an interesting question…”How can you create the best team effort with a partner who you cannot fully understand?”
  • “I don’t know how I would do that. I’ve never thought of that before and would think that is very, very difficult, especially on a tough day,” U.S. team member Justin Thomas said. “On a good day it’s easy because you just stay out of each other’s way and keep making birdies, but when stuff’s going tough, I would have to imagine that’s very difficult.
  • “It would be a lot harder because for me in particular, I kind of feed off of being able to boost my partner up and especially when things aren’t going well, kind of say things to try to motivate him or kind of get together and try to motivate us or get the good momentum going.”
  • “That begs the question: Should one of Ernie Els’ four captains picks be specifically geared towards Matsuyama? Would looking at a Japanese-speaking partner help ensure much-needed points in Foursomes and Four-ball?”
5. Berger battling for Prez Cup spot
A resurgent Daniel Berger has his eyes on catching the eye of the (captain) Tiger.
  • Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”The Man Out Front remembers Berger’s most recent Tour victory at the 2017 FedEx St. Jude Invitational. He had won in each of his first two years on the PGA Tour before his injury. Berger has set his sights on making the U.S. team for the Presidents Cup as a captain’s pick. He played on the victorious 2017 U.S. squad and is convinced (as is TMOF) he can still make a good impression with captain Tiger Woods.”
  • “I’m going to do everything I can,” he said. “I’m playing well. It’s hard to perform when you’re thinking about trying to retain your status. My first few years out here I just didn’t care. I just went and played. Next thing you know, shoot 12 under and you have a chance to win.”
  • “But every week for the last eight months I was going into it thinking, ‘Oh man, if I don’t play well I’m not going to keep my card.'” added Berger. “It’s a terrible place to be in. I feel like a million-pound weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”

Full piece.

6. LPGA Q-Series
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”Stanford senior Andrea Lee, No. 1 in Golfweek’s Women’s Collegiate Rankings, is in the field with fellow senior and teammate Albane Valenzuela, who is No. 4. They are among four of the top nine in the collegiate rankings who will be in Pinehurst, N.C., vying for LPGA tour cards over the next two weeks.”
  • “USC junior Jennifer Chang (No. 3) and University of Florida senior Sierra Brooks (No. 9) are also among the 98 players in the field. So is Florida State sophomore Frida Kinhult (No. 35).”
  • “A minimum of the top 45 and ties will earn LPGA status, with everyone else at Pinehurst Resort earning Symetra Tour status.”
  • “The 144-hole event begins Wednesday at Pinehurst No. 6 and continues next week (Oct. 30-Nov. 2) at Pinehurst No. 9 with $150,000 in total prize money at stake.”

Full piece.

7. The King on a stamp
Arnold Palmer will soon be coming to your mail. 
  • Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker...”Given the electronic world we live in, trips to the post office have become less frequent in recent years. But the United States Postal Service is giving us a good reason to make a visit: Arnold Palmer.”
  • “On Tuesday, the USPS announced that it will honor Palmer with a commemorative stamp in 2020…The Forever stamp will feature James Drake’s action photo of Palmer from the 1964 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club.”

Full piece.

8. Trash talk, please? 
Two takes from Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner on the Japan Skins…
  • “Japan Skins (+3%): Back from a decade-long absence, the skins-game format definitely can be improved – we’ll get to that in a minute – but the fourball was more watchable than last year’s dreadful Tiger-Phil duel. To this observer, at least, there’s still an appetite for these starry, made-for-TV exhibitions, especially on a Monday-Wednesday night during a sleepy part of the season.”
  • “Needling” (-3%): Ah, yes, it’s the most coveted aspect of these exhibitions – the precious moments when buttoned-up pros can start jawing at their opponents, like other jocks. But until these mic’d-up events include Phil Mickelson (he deserves more opportunities), Kevin Kisner, Pat Perez or other famed trash talkers – guys who don’t necessarily have a brand to protect – they’ll continue to be filled with corny one-liners that leave us rolling our eyes.”

Full piece.

9. In praise of autumn golf
To close, our Ryan Barath on the joys of fall golf…
  • “The sun’s orbit, paired with Mother Nature, allows you to stay in your warm bed just that little extra, since you can’t play golf when it’s still dark at 6:30 a.m. The warm, but not too warm, temperatures allow you to pull out your favorite classic cotton golf shirts without fear of the uncomfortable sweaty pits. We can’t forget that it’s also the season for every golfer’s favorite piece of apparel: the quarter zip  (#1/4zipSZN).”
  • “Courses in the fall are often in the best shape (or at least they should be), since player traffic and corporate tournaments are done for the season. As long as warm afternoons are still the norm, firm and fast conditions can be expected.”
  • “Last but not least, the colors-reds, oranges, and yellows-frame the green fairways and dark sand to make them pop in the landscape. Fall is the final chance to get in those last few rounds and create happy thoughts and mental images before the clubs go away for the inevitably cold, dark days of winter.”
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Morning 9: Perspectives on the Japan Skins | Tiger talks knee surgery/issues | Rory: Brooks is right

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram and golfwrxEIC on Twitter.

October 22, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Perspective on the Japan Skins
Golfweek staff writers Roxanna Scott and Adam Woodard…”Novelty is a good thing…Our favorite moment came on the 7th when the main cast was joined by world-class rugby players for a two-man scramble. (Tokyo is hosting the Rugby World Cup this month.) Hideki Matsuyama drained a 35-foot putt for birdie and was hoisted off the ground by his partner, former South African player Bryan Habana. “He’s my partner. I’m with him,” Habana yelled.”
  • “Low-level stakes, lackluster golf…So the GOLFTV production wasn’t what we are used to week to week, but the on-course interviews were a good diversion. (We heard Tiger really wants to play in the Olympics next year. Rory wasn’t offended by Brooks Koepka’s comments on their non-rivalry last week.)…But the quality of golf by the four big names wasn’t enough to carry our interest through the middle of the night. Perhaps it was the lack of big-time stakes for these guys (McIlroy won $23 million last season, which included his $15 million from the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup title) or the lackluster golf, particularly those first few holes.”

Full piece.

2. …and more perspective…
A few quality takes from the Golf.com crew in Tour Confidential…
  • Sean Zak, senior editor (@sean_zak): It was going to be difficult to live up to the hype, but I was genuinely entertained. This was much better than The Match, and probably always was going to be. The course was a highlight as we watched elite pros play shots for the first time. Tiger was a lowlight on the first four holes (rust, perhaps) and then started flagging it. Rory wilted after putting on a ball-striking display, and Day’s putter reigned supreme. The only lowlight was the man unmentioned thus far. Hideki really never got it going.
  • Josh Sens, contributor (@JoshSens): Well, that was one weird show. The production itself was almost local cable access quality – you could hear the players talking and then you couldn’t; the shot tracer worked and then it didn’t; the images glitched and jumped then steadied. It was like the Skins game version of Between Two Ferns. In that way it was almost endearingly bad. I kind of liked how unslick it was. Full disclosure: I nodded off after the first nine. In that time the golf itself was a long way from spectacular and the conversations the mics did pick up were a long way from interesting. But there were some high points, including a goofy moment where each guy got paired with a rugby legend and they played a two-man scramble. The rugby players themselves seemed genuinely thrilled to be there and there was a funny scene when Matsuyama drained a long putt and his hulking partner jumped into his arms in celebration. Matsuyama caught him and it looked like he might slip a disc. Bottom line: It was strange and pretty awful but it also sort of worked.

Full piece.

3. Tiger talks knee surgery 
In addition to revealing he originally planned his arthroscopy for post-2018 Hero World Challenge, but ultimately decided to soldier on through the season, Woods let on just how much the creaky joint was bothering him as the year wore on.
  • Per Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Woods’ left knee held up well for half the year, highlighted by his victory at the Masters, but he struggled late in the season and failed to advance to the Tour Championship, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it allowed him to have the surgery a week earlier than he’d planned.”
  • “It got to where it was affecting the way I read putts. You could see it towards the end of the year I wasn’t getting down on my putts well,” he said. “Unfortunately, I’ve been down this road before and I knew the protocols.”

Full piece.

4. Jimenez storms to victory
Golf Digest’s John Strege…”One of those occasions was Monday’s final round of the first Charles Schwab Cup playoff event, the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, which he won with his best round of the year, a nine-under-par 63 at the Country Club of Virginia in Richmond.”
  • “Jimenez began the rain-delayed final round in a tie for fourth, three shots off the lead shared by Tommy Tolles and Scott Parel, then went out and played a bogey-free round that included nine birdies on a water-logged course.”
5. Rory: Brooks wasn’t wrong
Steve DiMeglio for Golfweek...”Those weren’t fightin’ words….That was Rory McIlroy’s summation when asked about Brooks Koepka’s blunt response about a rivalry between the two top players in the world.”
  • “…”What Brooks said wasn’t wrong. He has been the best player in the world for the last couple of years, four majors,” McIlroy told GolfTV during Monday’s The Challenge: Japan Skins at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, the site of this week’s Zozo Championship. “Don’t think he had to remind me that I haven’t won (a major) in a while. I love Brooks, he’s a great guy. Obviously, super competitive like we all are. I can see where he’s coming from.”

Full piece.

6. Don’t expect much from Tiger this week
So writes ESPN’s Bob Harig…”expectations should be tempered this week at the Zozo Championship. Woods admitted as much in a brief interview Monday after the event with Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama. Woods looked rusty on his way to earning five skins in the competition won by Day.”
  • It’s always been that way whenever I’ve had one of these layoffs,” Woods said. “It was nice to get out there and compete. To get back in the flow of things. My range of motion, my strength, is there again. I just have to work my way back and hope I find a feel for the round quickly.”
  • “There was a time when long breaks hardly impacted Woods. He’d take weeks off, and come back and win again. He’d show up at Torrey Pines following a lengthy break and perform like he’d been playing and practicing all along.”
  • “Physical woes in recent years have made that extremely difficult. The demands that come with being Tiger Woods — father, golf course designer, endorser, foundation head, golfer — add more diversions. And Woods, at 43, is simply at a point where he can’t give his peers such a head start and be competitive.”

Full piece.

7. Captain Woods gets a look at potential Presidents Cup squad member Woods
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard on TW looking at TW as a captain’s pick..”Tiger Woods admitted on Monday that he’s been “consumed” by his duties as captain of this year’s Presidents Cup team in recent weeks.”
  • “Since undergoing surgery on his left knee in August, Woods’ practice has been limited, leaving little for him to focus on beyond this year’s matches in Australia.”
  • “It’s been a fun process to be a part of,” Woods said. “I’ve been part of it the last couple years as a vice captain and now having three great vice captains and being able to communicate with all eight guys, who they want on the team and who they think that will fit on the team.”

Full piece.

8. ANGC job fair
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker…”the most prestigious golf club on the planet, is holding a job fair for the 2020 Masters.”
  • “The club, according to an ad, is looking to fill temporary tournament positions in concessions, culinary/kitchen, housekeeping, food and beverage, restrooms, and retail. Applicants are asked to bring multiple copies of updated resumes and should be available to work Saturday, April 4 through Sunday, April 12, 2020.”

Full piece.

9. Beat him in his own sweater vest! 
Funny tidbit from the skins match that you might have missed.…”Tiger Woods began play at the MGM Resorts The Challenge: Japan Skins wearing a navy blue sweater vest over a light blue-and-white striped shirt. Jason Day, meanwhile, was just in his shirt sleeves.”
  • “By the sixth hole, Woods has taken off the vest in favor of a full-length sweater…By the seventh hole, Day was wearing Tiger’s sweater vest.”

 

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Tour Rundown: JT the CJ Cup collector, Colsaerts closes the door, Kang the boss

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With ghouls and goblins on the horizon across much of the world, professional golf marched into the deep autumn with resolve. The European Tour revisited the site of last year’s Ryder Cup, while the PGA Tour Champions took up residence along the James River in Virginia. The LPGA and PGA Tours logged serious flier miles, hosting events in China and Korea.

We said it last week, but we’ll never tire of repeating it: fall professional golf is AWESOME because it means something. No more silly season events with more commercials than golf. No more Tom Watson complaining about Gary Player and a grass leaf, in an exhibition. Run run Run it down with us in this week’s Tour Rundown.

PGA Tour   JT adds 2nd CJ Cup to home hardware shelf

Justin Thomas came into this week as a favorite of sorts. He plays very well in Asia, with 3 previous Tour wins, including the 2017 iteration of this event. After his 2-shot win over Danny Lee this week, 36% of JT’s tour wins have come in Malaysia and Korea. Thomas trailed first-round leader Byeong Hun An (known as “Ben”) by five strokes, but that differential was erased on day two. More than most on tour, Thomas pulls a 63 out of his bag when he needs it most, and he seized the lead after 36 holes. He cooled off on Saturday to a 70, but Byeong chilled to 73, and the lead on Saturday was shared by Thomas and Lee. Their Sunday duel went back and forth; each was -4 on the day through 14 holes. Lee stumbled with bogies at 15 and 16, then nearly banged an eagle putt in at the last. Lee settled for birdie, allowing Thomas the luxury of a two-putt from 6 feet for the win. The champion needed but one, and the two-shot margin of triumph was his.

LPGA Tour   Danielle Kang shows that she’s the boss in Shanghai

Danielle Kang won’t look back at Sunday in Shanghai, and recall a birdie fest. She made but two of the rare birds, managing 70 on the day. Across the remainder of the card were 16 pars, and that tally was enough to secure a 0ne-shot victory over Jessica Korda. Shanghai is now a favorite of the California-born golfer, as this victory was a defense of her 2018 win. She began the day a stroke behind Floridian Korda, and her mistake-free golf was the determining factor. Korda, in search of her 6th tour title (and first in 20 months) posted three birdies on her 4th day in Shanghai. To her dismay, each one came on the heels of a bogey. The putts that fell over the first 54 holes, the ones that saved par and preserved the lead, did not fall. It was Kang who rose up, Kang who kept the momentum going, on day four. And in a repeat performance, it was Kang who hoisted the winner’s sculpted trophy, symbolic of victory.

European Tour   Colsaerts closes door that Hansen left ajar in France

Two European golfers, of a similar generation, were cursed with the announcement of their length. Alvaro Quiros of Spain, and Belgium’s Nicholas Colsaerts, were both predicted to amass win after win after win. Shame on the sportswriters. For Colsaerts, it had been 7 years since his last tour win, at the 2012 World Match Play. On Sunday, outside Paris, the Belgian sealed his 3rd tour victory, by 1 stroke over Joachim B. Hansen. The final 90 minutes were as exciting as anything that happened in September of 2018, when Europe and the USA did battle in the storied team competition. Colsaerts notched an eagle at the 14th, only to follow it with a rinse at the 15th for double bogey. Like that he went from leader to pursuer. Hansen birdied 4 of his first 6 holes on Sunday’s inward nine, and was the beneficiary of the Belgian’s untimely swim. He returned the favor on dry land, banging a putt from shy of the 17th green over the 17th green, into the rough. Hansen made a double of his own, and gave the lead back. Colsaerts was able to negotiate the watery 18th in par figures, ensuring that he would lift a long-awaited trophy and put a few bad memories away in a box.

PGA Tour Champions   Jimenez lights more than a cigar in old Virginia

Poor Tommy Tolles. He picked a heckuva week to run into the smoldering Spaniard. Tolles bounced back from an early bogey on Monday (Sunday rainout) to shoot 4-under par and overtake Monty, Woody, Bernie, and everyone but … Miggy? Yup, Miguel Angel Jimenez, of the Malaga Jimenez, absolutely ignited on a wet, James River course at the Country Club of Virginia. The swashbuckling corsair had 9 birdies on the day and never so much as puffed a ring of smoke at a bogey (whatever that means.) The victory was MAJ’s 2nd of the season, and first since February. He won’t win the Schwab Cup, but he did jump into the top 10 in points. As for Tolles, his runner-up finish moved him 22 spots, from 59th to 37th. A nice finish after Halloween (the next event, in California) and Tolles might just sneak into the finale (and keep his card, too!)

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