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Morning 9: DJ wins again | COVID-19: Champ negative, Frittelli postive, J. Day scare | W for Fassi

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1. DJ returns…now a winner in 13 straight seasons 
…and owner of a new blue blazer for the wardrobe! AP report…”Dustin Johnson won the Travelers Championship on Sunday to end a long drought and extend his career-long season victory streak to 13.”
  • “Johnson closed with a 3-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over Kevin Streelman at TPC River Highlands. Johnson last won in March 2019.”
2. You may have missed: Day’s situation…further protocol changes
Nick Pietruszkiewicz for ESPN.com…”On Saturday morning, Jason Day asked to be tested again. He had an 8:19 a.m. tee time. Clearly, he wasn’t going to get a result in time. So his tee time was pushed back. He didn’t play with Rafa Cabrera Bello and Rogan Sloan, as scheduled. Instead, as the tournament leader Mickelson teed off on the first hole with Will Gordon and MacKenzie Hughes, a few hundred yards away at the 10th tee, at the exact same time, Day was started his round all by himself, not knowing whether he was positive or negative.”
  • “The result came in a few holes later. He was negative; had he been positive, he would have been removed from the course midround and put into isolation.”
  • “Shortly after the PGA Tour announced his negative result, it announced another change to the protocols, their second such announcement in four days. Going forward, beginning at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, players would not be allowed on site at an event until they got back a negative test result.”
3. Cam Champ tests negative for COVID-19 3X
Adam Woodard for Golfweek…“After three tests over the last 72 hours all came back negative, the 25-year-old took to Twitter to announce the good news on Saturday afternoon.”
  • “Subsequent to my positive test result for COVID-19, I am fortunate to say that I had three consecutive negative test results in the 72 hours which immediately followed. I’ve felt great the whole time and experienced no symptoms. I am pleased to be on my way home in accordance with the CDC Guidelines,” said Champ via a statement.
  • “He continued: “I would like to thank my team, all the medical advisors, and everyone at the Travelers Championship, as well as the player relations team at the PGA Tour, for their advice, care, and attention during this process. A special thanks goes out to my fiancee, our family, my partners, and all of you out there for the outpouring of love and support that I’ve received this week. Stay safe and see you soon!”
4. Dylan Frittelli tests positive 
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker…“Dylan Frittelli has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the fourth player to do so since the PGA Tour resumed its season three weeks ago.”
  • “The tour announced the test result in a statement on Sunday night. “I am experiencing no issues and feel great physically and was surprised and disappointed to learn of the positive test today,” Frittelli said in the statement. “I look forward to getting back on tour once it’s safe to do so.”
  • “Frittelli, who missed the cut at the Travelers Championship after playing the first two rounds with Ian Poulter and J.T. Poston, has withdrawn from next week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.”
5. McIlroy on T12 finish: Decision making “terrible”
PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister…“he will definitely take next week off in Detroit at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and may not return to action until the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, the second of two consecutive TOUR events at Muirfield Village.”
  • “The way I’m feeling right now,” McIlroy said, “I feel like a couple weeks off … just reset and start again.”
  • …”McIlroy was playing the Travelers for the third time in the last four years, having finished inside the top 20 in his previous two times. He has another top-20 this week, but the lasting feeling for McIlroy is frustration.”
  • “Decision-making was terrible the last few days,” McIlroy said. “Just some stupid shots and trying to take too much on at times. I think probably playing a little bit and just being a little more thoughtful on the course. Yeah, it’s just sort of dumb mistakes in there that I don’t usually make.”
6. For Phil: Progress-despite weekend fade (and joggers)
…kidding, I’m bullish on joggers! Always! Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”It wasn’t the weekend finish he envisioned, but Phil Mickelson still viewed his stint at the Travelers Championship as a step in the right direction.”
  • “Mickelson made the most of his first start as a 50-year-old, shooting rounds of 64-63 to take a one-shot lead into the weekend as he looked to win for the third time at TPC River Highlands.” “But he couldn’t keep pace from there, closing with two straight rounds of 1-over 71. Mickelson finished the week at 11 under in a tie for 24th place.”
  • …”I’m looking at this week as progress,” Mickelson said. “Certainly the goal is to win tournaments, but keep in mind I’ve missed a bunch of cuts. I haven’t played to the level I’ve wanted to, and this week I came in and had a lot of great finds. I hit a lot of good shots, hit a lot of good tee shots. My misses were much better.”
7. Meanwhile, on the KFT…
Trevor Allen at KSL Sports…“Baylor alum golfer Kyle Jones knocked off two others in a playoff round to win the Korn Ferry Tour Utah Championship on Sunday.”
  • “Jones, Paul Haley II and Utah native Daniel Summerhays all finished the final round at -20 for the tournament and went on to play in a playoff at Oakridge Country Club.”
  • “…Jones scored a birdie on the second hole to claim the Utah Championship.”
 
8. Fassi wins first pro title
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“Two eagles in the span of three holes vaulted Maria Fassi to her first professional title. The former Arkansas standout went wire-to-wire at the Cooper Communities NWA Classic on the Women’s All Pro Tour in Bella Vista, Arkansas, about 30 minutes from the Razorbacks’ home course, the Blessings Golf Club. Fassi won the individual NCAA Championship there last spring.”
  • “Fassi, who began her career on the LPGA just over one year ago, closed with a 68 in the final round to post a 14-under 274, finishing four shots ahead of amateur hotshot Alexa Pano.”
9. Two birdie bombs = $210K
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta..”Playing in the afternoon’s second-to-last group alongside runner-up Kevin Streelman, Mac Hughes poured in a pair of birdie bombs late Sunday to vault himself into a backdoor tie for third at the Travelers Championship with a final-round 67.”
  • “…A pair of routine two-putts would have left Hughes in a six-way tie for sixth at 15 under, with Ryan Armour, Brendan Steele, Patton Kizzire, Scott Stallings and Bryson DeChambeau.”
  • “Instead, he locked up a tie for third with Will Gordon at 17 under….The difference between the respective finishes ($225,700 vs. $436,600): $210,900.”
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  1. Dr Williams

    Jun 29, 2020 at 9:42 am

    This is why covid is joke. What is the test looking for? Medical tests are designed to look for instances of the virus, thus they cannot have false positives. They can have false negatives if there is not enough of the virus to detect, but they should never have false positives.

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Photos from the 2021 Palmetto Championship at Congaree

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GolfWRX is live from Congaree Golf Club for the Palmetto Championship. This one-time replacement for the RBC Canadian Open is the third PGA Tour event contested in South Carolina this season.

Palmetto State native Dustin Johnson headlines the field (and has been doing plenty of putter testing). Brooks Koepka and Jason Dufner will be teeing it up as well. John Pak and Davis Thompson will both be making their professional debuts.

General galleries

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John Pak, college golf’s top player, signs with TaylorMade

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Editor’s note: We filed this piece for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report.

With a buddy on the bag and fresh off receiving the Jack Nicklaus Award in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday, celebrated amateur and Florida State standout John Pak is making his professional debut at this week’s Palmetto Championship at Congaree — and he’ll do so as a TaylorMade staffer, the company announced today.

College golf’s top player, Pak has played TaylorMade gear and a Titleist ball since his amateur days. And as we found out from Ryan Ressa, TaylorMade’s player development manager, who has worked with Pak since he was in his early teens, it’s not surprising Pak will continue with the same bag setup and ball combination as he joins the professional ranks.

The Scotch Plains, New Jersey, native is an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of guy when it comes to his equipment, which is a trait Ressa sees among many of the game’s best. (Another TaylorMade staffer Tiger Woods, for one, comes to mind).

Ressa and TaylorMade have had a relationship with Pak for nearly a decade, and it’s Ressa’s job to not only make sure Pak is in the right equipment for his game but is also navigating the matrix of amateur competitions, college, and the decision to turn pro successfully.

According to Ressa, Pak, and other junior standouts, need new equipment, or at least a fitting, roughly every six months as their bodies and swings change.

Even so, while he’s transitioned into new fairway wood models as they’ve become available, the DNA of Pak’s bag has stayed largely the same.

“Jon is a very simple guy when it comes to equipment, and he doesn’t do a lot of tinkering outside of driver shafts,” Ressa said. “Deep down, he’s a great competitor. He just loves to compete and is focused on getting the ball in the hole. He’s stayed really, really consistent with the look of his irons, the loft of his wedges, and his bag setup. He’s been easy to work with and only needs one or two visits per year to get squared away.”

Read the full piece here.

Check out the full WITB here. 

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Morning 9: Fowler’s U.S. Open qualifying bid | Qualifying scores | Bryson: Rivalries good for golf

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Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Fowler’s U.S. Open qualifying bid
AP report…”Already facing a long day, Rickie Fowler found the road even tougher Monday in 36-hole qualifying as he tried to avoid missing the U.S. Open for the first time in 11 years.”
  • “Fowler was among 685 players seeking 54 spots in nine qualifiers across eight states to fill the field for the U.S. Open, which starts June 17 at Torrey Pines in San Diego.”
  • “He played his opening round at Brookside in 1-over 73, which was halted for three hours because of heavy rain and thunder, meaning he likely would need at least a 65 at The Lakes to have any chance.”
  • “Fowler wasn’t going down without a fight. He was 4 under for his round — 3 under for the qualifier — through 13 holes when it was too dark to continue because of the rain delay.”
Full scores, qualifiers here...other notables include Patrick Rodgers, Branden Grace, Bo Hoag, Troy Merritt, John Huh, Sam Ryder, and Akshay Bhatia
2. Premier Golf League slated for 2023?
The BBC’s Ian Carter with the report on the UK-based upstart’s plants to, well, start up…”Detailed plans for a £250m Premier Golf League aimed at revolutionising the professional game are to be revealed later this week.”
  • “BBC Sport has learned that the Formula 1 style global competition is scheduled to begin in January 2023 and would include 18 tournaments targeting the top 48 male players in the world.”
  • “A dozen of those events would be staged in the United States with the others “chasing the sun” around the world. Each competition would be worth $20m (£14m) with $4m going to the winner and last place picking up $150,000.”
  • “By way of comparison, the biggest purse on the PGA Tour for a single event is $2.7m from a $15m prize fund at the Players Championship.”
3. Bryson: Rivalries good for golf
Carlos Monarrez reporting from Rocket Mortgage Classic media day for the Detroit Free Press…”Bryson DeChambeau, at the center of the golf world because of his white-hot rivalry with Brooks Koepka, didn’t want to spend too much time discussing that rivalry Monday when he returned to speak about defending his title at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, July 1-4, at Detroit Golf Club.”
  • “DeChambeau, who will defend his U.S. Open title next week at Torrey Pines in San Diego, said the feud is good for the sport.”
  • “I think a good jesting rivalry is good for the game of golf, nothing too extreme,” he told reporters on media day at Detroit Golf Club. “But at the same point and time that’s all outside of the spectrum of what we’re here for today, and I think the most important thing is to be talking about what Rocket Mortgage is doing for the 313 area and I think the change the course initiative is something that’s bigger than the game of golf, compared to a rivalry.”
4. Armitage!
EuropeanTour.com report…”An emotional Marcus Armitage claimed his maiden European Tour title at the Porsche European Open after a sensational final round at Green Eagle Golf Courses.”
  • “The 33-year-old from England made six birdies and an eagle to race to eight under for the day and nine under for the week.”
  • “At that stage Armitage was four shots clear but he bogeyed the 16th after a misjudged putt from over 100 feet and needed a remarkable chip to save par on the 17th following an overly cautious tee shot”
GolfWRX may earn a commission of “GolfWRX Recommends” products.
5. Costly
Rob Oller voices his opinion for the Columbus Dispatch…”If Rahm had been vaccinated ASAP after his home state of Arizona opened eligibility to all adults on March 24, the 26-year-old Spaniard almost certainly would have avoided testing positive for COVID-19 Saturday at the Memorial Tournament.”
  • “And had he not tested positive, he would not have withdrawn from the Memorial, which he led by six shots with 18 left to play.”
  • “And if he had not withdrawn, Rahm stood a strong chance of leaving Muirfield Village Golf Club with a crystal trophy and $1.675 million.”
  • “It does not take a Fortune 500 company accountant to connect those dots. Get a tiny prick in the arm, avoid the huge hole in the pocket that allowed a cool million-and-a-half to slip through.”
6. Big things ahead for Megha Ganne after impressive U.S. Open showing
Emilia Migliaccio for Golf Channel…”A true class act. Ganne didn’t get frustrated for shooting a higher score than she wanted. She knew the course was bound to get her like it did everyone, but she was composed and motivated to fight the entire day for some birdies, which she finally got on the par-5 17th. She also knew that regardless of the final round results, it would be the week of a lifetime.”
  • “I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life. It’s everything I’ve wanted since I was little, so it’s just the best feeling.”
  • “…I can’t thank all these fans enough. They’ve made my week so much better than it could have been. I just felt like there was so much love and so much support, and all of them are really excited to be out here, which is so great to see because I feel like in a small way, I’m making an impact on the game, which is really cool.”
7. The first major champion from the Philippines
Kent Paisley for Golf Digest…”It was 8 a.m. local time on Monday in the Philippines when Saso won the playoff to claim the title, her first LPGA Tour victory. You can rightfully say that Saso raised a new dawn for the game of golf in her home country. “I’m just thankful that there’s so many people in the Philippines cheering for me,” Saso said. “I don’t know how to thank them. They gave me so much energy. I want to say thank you to everyone.”
  • “Interestingly, too, San Francisco has one of the largest Filipina populations of any city in the U.S., with Saso attracting an impressive following during her week at Olympic Club.”
  • “Pagdanganan wasn’t in the field at Olympic Club but is playing in next week’s LPGA stop in San Francisco and arrived at Olympic Club on Sunday to watch Saso starting on the fifth hole.”
  • “I think it’s not only good for her, but I think it’s good for the Philippines,” Pagdanganan said. “She put us on the radar. What she did was absolutely a great thing, not only for golf but for our country.”
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