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12 players to follow in 2022: (6) Ricardo Gouveia

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Over the next 12 days, the two presenters on our new ‘Across The Pond’ podcast, Matt Vincenzi and Jason Daniels give their 12 players to follow for 2022 to coincide with the 12 days of Christmas.

None so far have won on their respective tours, so here’s to a long-term watch and investment!

6. Ricardo Gouveia (DP World Tour)

Ok, I’ve had a soft spot for Ricardo Gouveia for several years now but there’s enough there to think he can finally make his mark on the new DP World Tour in 2022.

The former University of Florida graduate has been playing in the upper echelons for a while but never really clicked at the top level despite much expected of him after his appearance in the 2014 Palmer Cup side, where he contributed two wins from two singles matches and one from two in the pairs.

A regular winner on the Algarve Tour (where he first caught my eye) his transition to the Challenge Tour was seamless, winning the overall money list after a stellar 2015 season of 18 starts which constituted a couple of victories (including the concluding Grand Final), three runner-up finishes, two third-places and a handful of top-10s. Finishing the year with two top-20s in higher grade looked the perfect catalyst to kick on but it rarely works that way.

Despite managing to keep his card for the next few years, the Portuguese star never managed to find a consistent level of form, the odd-top-10 or 20 interspersed with too many bad tournaments. After a progressive decline in form, the inevitable happened and Gouveia lost his card.

Speaking in his blog on the European/DP Tour site the former top-100 ranked player admitted that he lost his appetite for the game after several personal problems and that even fairly recently he was ”really struggling: I was hitting it all over the place, I didn’t know where the ball was going, and I felt like I didn’t want to be there.”

Back with his old mental coach, the 30-year-old bounced back to top form on the Challenge Tour last season with two wins and seven top-10s, the highlight of those being a one-shot loss to eventual rankings champion, Marcus Helligkilde, after a second-round 74 knocked him back from fourth to 19th place.

We often laud the youngsters that come through and with the likes of the Hojgaard twins, Schmid, Helligkilde etc. often forget the importance of experience and, indeed, failure.

Whilst the latter-named Dane is certainly one to watch, Gouveia may well take inspiration from the likes of J.B Hansen, who he beat into fifth in the end-of-year table in 2015.

Almost exactly one year older, Hansen took a while to get to the top of his game and after several years grinding away has finally made his mark, winning the Joburg Open and the high-class Dubai Championship in a twelve month period.

Gouveia has only sporadically demonstrated his talents on the big stage and should be the type that thrives on a course demanding accuracy – keep him in your notebooks, I can see a Kristoffer Broberg-type victory coming his way.

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19th Hole

Korn Ferry Tour pro leaves clubs on airport carousel in incredible chase to make tee time

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It’s your job, so I guess you have to do it.

Most golf fans will be used to the tales of the struggles of the end of year Q-school and the plight of mini-tour players, even maybe the list of reserves for each tournament.

But the 18th alternate!?

Korn Ferry Tour player James Nicholas had something of an interesting journey on Wednesday, when late at night he received a call letting him know he was now the first alternate for the AdventHealth Championship starting less than 24 hours later.

When receiving the call, the Yale graduate was sitting in Westchester County, New York, some 1000 miles away from the tournament location in Kansas City, Missouri. Starting the event as a reserve was a possibility, but first he needed to get there on time.

In what was an almost impossible chase, Nicholas got the first flight he could but found his plane delayed by 90 minutes – this was becoming an  increasingly impossible journey.

“Why would I go when I know it will take a miracle for me to get in?” Nicholas shared on Instagram. “Because it’s my job, and I’ll do anything for just a chance.”

Miracles happen and from 18th alternate on May 13th to first on May 18th, at 9:52am on May 19th Nicholas was now informed he was in the tournament!

Having finally landed in the Midwest, the 25-year-old found he had no time to wait for his luggage at the baggage carousel and had to rush to the Blue Hills Country Club without clubs, shoes or glove!

Fortunately the head club pro lent Nicholas all the equipment he needed, allowing him to compete and finish the round in four-over par 76 – some way behind the leaders.

If fortune follows the brave, then he will make the cut later today.

If not, nobody can blame a trier!

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19th Hole

Multiple PGA champ says ‘Phil was not missed’ at Champions Dinner

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The PGA Championship’s past champions’ dinner on Tuesday was a bit different than usual. Phil Mickelson, the tournament’s defending champion was nowhere to be found.

At a typical PGA Championship, Mickelson would have hosted the past champions’ dinner. The duties would include picking the menu and giving gifts to those in attendance. This year, those duties fell to the PGA of America due to Phil’s absence.

According to former champion Dave Stockton, Mickelson was “not missed”.

“It was a fun evening. Phil was not missed,” said Dave Stockton, who won the 1970 and ’76 PGA Championships. “I think Phil would have been a big distraction. The story here this week is the PGA.”

Stockton is partly responsible for having the champions’ dinner at the PGA Championship include only past winners, which is something that started last year at Kiawah Island.

“At Kiawah last year we had I think six or seven people in the room besides just players, and like we did last night, we sat around and they can’t separate us out because there’s so many players, former champions, that it was unbelievable,” Stockton said. “We ended the night, and everybody stayed. I think it blew the PGA officers away.”

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19th Hole

Major champ calls for audio release of bombshell Mickelson interview

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On Wednesday, GolfWRX reported on an excerpt of 2002 PGA Champion Rich Beem’s interview with Golf Magic and Boylesports Latest Golf Betting, in which he doesn’t hold back his view on Alan Shipnuck, author of the recently published biography of Phil Mickelson.

Put simply, Beem said, “I don’t trust Alan. It’s nothing personal, I just don’t trust what he writes,” and the theme has continued today with more details of the interview that he had with the bookmaker’s blog.

Whilst accepting the subject of the book, Phil Mickelson, has made errors and will need to ask for a deal of forgiveness to be allowed back on the PGA Tour, Beem has doubts about the context of the controversial comments that have turned the golf world upside down over the last couple of months.

Mickelson has become a (self?) exiled player since calling LIV Golf’s Saudi backers “scary…to deal with” and advising that they were a way of leveraging with the PGA Tour and their “obnoxious greed.”

Having been unhappy with the way Shipnuck handled the coverage of his rookie year in his 2003 publication, ‘Bud, Sweat & Tees’ – “I think that he tries to sensationalist everything,” – Beem wants some clearance on the circumstances of the controversial comments that appeared in the latest tome.

“What was printed by Alan Shipnuk, I want to be clear on this, I want to hear the audio,” Beem told the bookmaker site. “I want to hear exactly what Phil said and I want to hear the context of what he said because the written word is so different than the spoken word that you can take it in any context you want.”

“If you write me a letter, I can read that letter in so many different ways trying to figure out the way you wrote it. I want to hear what he said and how he said it before I really determine how I feel because I look at the source with a little disdain – I’m not a fan. ”

“Once I hear the context, I could probably make a better determination, but it’s hard for me to comment much more on Phil. He’s always been a unique character on the PGA Tour, and there’s a thousand stories out there as we all probably know.”

With nobody knowing for sure where we will see Mickelson next tee it up, Beemer has some advice for the 2021 PGA Champion should he wish to come back to the main tour.

“To go out and to try and redeem yourself, then what you need to do is become a model citizen. You need to come back, hat in hand at the PGA Tour if that’s where your allegiance is, and you need to apologise to every single player on the range.”

“You know, ‘Hey, listen, sorry for having this controversy, didn’t mean it to distract from you and this great tour that we’re part of’, because there are a lot more things to the PGA Tour that, besides the money they play for, are funnelled in.”

“You can give me a cheque for $5 million for winning a tournament, but the things that I get from the PGA Tour are so much more valuable in some respects. And there’s a laundry list of them.”

The current PGA champion is the first non-injured player of the modern era to miss the defence of his title, and with just three weeks to go before the first LIV event in London, we are still in the dark  as to where he next tees it up.

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