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19th Hole

Hot & Cold: Where strokes were won and lost at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational

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In “Hot & Cold,” we’ll be focusing each week on what specific areas of the game players excelled and disappointed in throughout the previous tournament. On Sunday, Brooks Koepka dominated Rory McIlroy to win his first WGC Championship, and here’s a look at where some of the most notable players gained and lost strokes over the four days of action at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

Hot

Brooks Koepka won his first WGC last week, and the 29-year-old did so due to a red-hot putter. Koepka gained almost ten strokes over the field on the greens last week in Memphis, leading the field in this area. Check out the clubs Koepka used on his way to victory last week in our WITB piece here.

Justin Thomas’ iron play has been superb as of late, and at last week’s WGC the 26-year-old gained 5.2 strokes over the field for his approach play. Also a major positive for Thomas last week was his return to form on the greens. Thomas gained strokes with the flat-stick at an event for the first time since February.

Rory McIlroy will have been disappointed not to get the job done on Sunday, but the Ulsterman’s impressive performance with his short game should give him good vibes heading into the playoffs. McIlroy gained a combined 7.9 strokes on and around the greens in Memphis for the four days of action. The 30-year old was, however, the only player to finish in the top-10 who lost strokes for his approach play.

Cold

For the third straight event, Jason Day lost strokes on the greens, and the Australian also struggled once again with his irons. Day lost over two strokes for his approach play last week in Memphis as he continues to strive for form.

Fellow Australian Adam Scott’s revival with the flat-stick has hit a brick wall in recent times, and after a dismal display with the putter at Royal Portrush, Scott dropped a further 3.7 strokes to the field on the greens at last week’s WGC.

Bryson DeChambeau’s T2 finish at the 3M Open looked to set the 25-year-old up for a big summer, but in the last two events, DeChambeau’s form has regressed. The American lost strokes with his irons at Royal Portrush, and last week lost a whopping 5.4 strokes in the same department.

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

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19th Hole

Golf’s ‘Spring Break’ crew reunite at Predators-Lightning NHL game

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Golf’s famous foursome – Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Smylie Kaufman – entertained us all on their Spring Break adventure in 2016, and the crew were spotted reunited last night at an NHL game in Nashville.

The guys were chilling in a suite at the game (which the Preds won 7-2), with the snap of the group amusing for a multitude of reasons, but none more so than Rickie Fowler and his wife Alisson Stokke, who seemed unimpressed by what they were watching.

JT and Smylie Kaufman looked to be the most fired up for the game, while one of our Instagram followers hilariously suggested that “Jordan looks like he’s hanging on for dear life.”

 

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The glory days of Spring Break 2016 may be a thing of the past, but it’s still cool to see the four guys hanging out and enjoying themselves, if for nothing more than refreshing the epic memories they gave us five years ago.

@rickiefowler

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19th Hole

This rookie’s exit from Augusta National is sure to make you smile

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Will Zalatoris led the way of this year’s rookies at the Masters, but another man making his first appearance at Augusta went about his business under the radar and also very effectively.

Robert Macintyre had already finished T6 on his major debut at the 2019 Open Championship, and when he drove down Magnolia Lane last week, the Scot made sure it was an experience shared with his native land. As you can see from the following video.

Rounds of 74,70, and 70 followed as Macintyre adjusted quickly to the test, and with the top-12 and ties receiving an invite to the 2022 Masters, all was to play for on the final day.

The 24-year-old made bogeys on 16 and 17 on Sunday at the Masters, meaning he needed a birdie on the last for a T12 finish. Macintyre knocked his approach to 12 feet and poured in his putt to ensure he’d be back next year.

Was he pleased? I think the following video from Macintyre driving out of the Augusta National premises tells you everything you need to know!

 

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19th Hole

Gary Player’s son ‘banned from the Masters’ for perceived guerrilla marketing

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As the cameras focused on Lee Elder during last week’s honorary starter’s ceremony at Augusta, Gary Player’s son, Wayne, stood directly behind the 86-year-old displaying a sleeve of OnCore golf balls.

Golf fans on social media were outraged by what they had seen and accused Wayne Player of deliberate guerrilla marketing during a moment where the focus was on the first black man to play in the Masters.

According to Wayne’s estranged brother, Marc, Augusta National has since taken action and banned Player, Jr. for the incident.

During Thursday’s opening ceremony, Wayne Player was seen holding the OnCore balls, a company which his father Gary has been an ambassador for since 2018, in several shots during Elder’s introduction.

In response to the criticism, Wayne told Golf Digest that there was “zero intent” in his actions during the ceremony, saying:

“The only thought from that point was that it would be cool for fans to know what ball my dad was teeing off with. That’s where it ends. If I’ve hurt people’s feelings then I’m truly sorry and hope they will forgive me.”

OnCore also told the publication that they did not ask or instruct Wayne Player to visibly display a sleeve of balls next to Lee Elder.

Per Wayne’s brother, Marc Player, his sibling has since been banned from Augusta National and the Masters, who responded to a tweet from CBS’ Kyle Porter on social media saying:

“Agreed. Wayne has since correctly been banned from Augusta National and The Masters tournament. What a shame. What an embarrassment. What a bad decision to allow him on the first tee after years of similar shenanigans. My apologies to all.”

It’s yet another controversy for Wayne Player, who was arrested in 2019 on fraud charges surrounding a rental agreement for a house at the 2018 Masters.

 

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