How about a mixed bag of tricks for this week’s Tour Rundown? For starters, we watched a European Tour event in Germany, a Canadian event in Montreal, a Walker Cup in England, and a World Long Drive championship in Oklahoma. Football may be back, but GOLF NEVER LEFT! You’ll need a speedy pair of kicks to touch down in all these spots, and we’ve got just the slorps do get the job done.
Casey’s mom has got it going on…at European Open in Germany
It’s just Paul Casey, but, you know, that song thing… Paul Casey showed the young’uns how its done at the European Tour’s European Open in Germany. What started out as a potential coronation for either Bernd Ritthammer (home-country hero) or Robert MacIntyre (media darling of 2019) finished as a reminder of how good Paul Casey can be. Casey tossed 3 birdies on each side at the competition, resulting in no-bogey 66 and a 1-stroke win over Bernd, Bobby, and Mattias Schwab.
In truth, Schwab was never “in it,” as he needed a 72nd-hole eagle to reach 13 deep. Both Ritthammer and MacIntyre arrived at the 18th green on Sunday with putts to tie Casey. MacIntyre was 45 feet below the hole for eagle … and left it short, dead in the jaws. Ritthammer stood 20 feet above the hole for birdie … and left it short, dead in the jaws. As they say, don’t fall in love with the line and forget to hit it. But you can fall in love with Casey’s mom’s son, and his 14th Euro Tour title, first since 2014.
Pendrith angling for the big stage
This writer first saw Taylor Pendrith punish a golf ball at the 2013 Porter Cup. This week, on the Mackenzie PGA Tour Canada, Pendrith put his entire game on display. Pendrith offset his bogies with eagles (4 of the former against 2 soaring birds) on the week, and chipped in 28 birdies over the remaining 68 holes. He began Sunday with a 5-shot cushion, thanks to consecutive 62 in the middle rounds. Sunday wasn’t nearly as explosive, as the Ontario native signed for 67. Playing partner Kyle Mueller knew the odds were long as round 4 began. His 2-under 70 was enough to hold off David Pastore (67 for -19) and secure 2nd place at 20 under par.
The victory moved Pendrith into 2nd spot on the tour’s Order of Merit, heading into next week’s Canada Life Championship in London, Ontario. He needs a little more than $5G differential to overtake leader Paul Barjon. The top 5 members of the Order of Merit receive the coolest promotional item on record: a hockey sweater (not called a jersey up here!) and receive Korn Ferry Tour cards. Hayden Buckley has a $28K lead over Dawson Armstrong for the 5th card, but that $40Large first prize will go a long way toward closing that gap for 6 potential upstarts.
Walker Cup shimmies back to states after Sunday near-sweep
Tyros will look at Sunday’s 8-2 singles dusting of the GB&I squad by Team USA, and consider that set the exigent one of the 2019 matches. In truth, it looks good, but it came about because of Saturday and Sunday mornings. Eschewing four-ball for two braces of foursomes, the strategy backfired on the host country at Hoylake, when Team USA more than held its own in the alternate-shot format. On day one, the colonists tied Team Brexit, 2-2. On day the second, they went a wee bit better, winning 2 and tying 1 for a 2.5-1.5 advantage. Ryder Cup aficionados know exactly how badly the professional team plays, well, team formats. Perhaps they could learn a bit from their amateur counterparts, except for the Sunday pants part.
Brandon Wu and John Smalley each went 3-1 for team USA. Wu and John Pak were the heroes that only history and this writer will remember. On Saturday, as the Brits and Celts were handing the USA its collective sombrero in singles, Wu got out front early, and Pak came through late. Although the Americans lost that round by a total of 3-5, it should have been 1-7. Only John Augenstein, US Amateur runner-up, was in control of his match the entire day. In 2021, the Walker Cup returns to the shores of America, where it will be held in the springtime, due to fabled Seminole’s role as host club. Note to my editor: I plan to be there. Save up for my plane ticket.
Samson wins World Long Drive championship, refuses to cut hair
You can keep your Matthew Wolff; I’ll take a Kyle Berkshire swing, at least this week, anyway. The shifting sands of Berkshire, who rocks forward with a right-foot lift, backward with a left-foot rise, then unleashes a perfect swing, found a way to beat the odds, as the man to beat. He won his 1st-round match on his VERY LAST SWING, having gone 0 for 7, against Tommy Hug. So that you know, it’s not like Hug was 290 off the tee, and Berky needed a hybrid to beat him. Hug ripped it 413, but He of the Flowing Locks annihilated that effort with a 420-plus bomb. Phil, you think you hit bombs? Lefty, por favor. After sneaking past Hug, Berkshire dispatched Texan Mark Costello, then sent England’s Jordan Brooks home with a 423-yard effort. In the finals, Berkshire’s rise to #1 in the world was validated beyond any doubt. He overcame former champion and 2nd seed Tim Burke of Florida, thanks to a 2nd-ball launch of 407 yards.
The women’s bracket featured a bit of an upset. Crowd favorites Troy Mullins and Alexis Belton were sent packing by New Zealand’s Phillis Meti, the world number one, and South Africa’s Chloe Garner. Meti had won the belt 2 of the past 3 years, but Garner connected on a 347-yard rocket to upset the reigning champion.
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
Report: 2020 U.S. Open to be rescheduled due to Coronavirus pandemic
This year’s U.S. Open will not go ahead as planned in June and will be rescheduled for a later date, according to a report from the New York Post.
Per the report, the plan is for the tournament to be played “later in the summer”, with the location of the event remaining at Winged Foot Golf Club.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Winged Foot Golf Club would be closing its doors indefinitely. The news came after New York governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order telling non-essential businesses to suspend trading immediately due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The New York area currently has 37,200 confirmed cases of Coronavirus as of Thursday 26 March.
Both The Masters and the PGA Championship have already been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic with plans in place to play both majors at a later date.
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