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19th Hole

Season opener comprehensively debunks idea that scratch golfers can compete with LPGA pros

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The sentiment that male low handicappers or scratch golfers would be able to compete on the LPGA has long frequented beer leagues and internet comment sections.

The LPGA plays from forward tees, which has mislead many keyboard warriors to believe that if they had the opportunity to play from the same tees, they could theoretically compete with the best female golfers on the planet.

As the vast majority of the population has already figured out by now, those people are dead wrong.

We saw proof of that this past weekend at the Hilton Vacations Tournament of Champions. The event featured some excellent amateur golfers playing with top-tier LPGA professionals.

Golf Channel’s Tom Abbott pointed out that the amateurs and LPGA pro’s played under the same circumstances: “They played in the same groups, from the same tees, in the same conditions. The celebs had the advantage of playing a stableford format, which is slightly more freeing than straight stroke play, but as far as head-to-head tournament play goes, this was a pretty good comparison.”

Much to the dismay of the “A” player in the local men’s league, the professionals unsurprisingly came out on top. While the tournament’s champion, Danielle Kang, shot four consecutive rounds in the 60s, the amateurs in the event combined for a grand total of zero.

Additionally, former Red Sox pitcher and 0.2 handicap Derek Lowe, posted rounds of 76-72-75-72, the best of any celeb. It was an impressive performance from Lowe and resulted in a final score of +7, which was still 23 shots worse than Kang.

In regards to the talent gap, Lowe stated: “You’re seeing the best players in the world. I don’t think people understand how good they are until you get inside the ropes, watch the quality of the shots.

“I’ve been very fortunate, have been for three days, to play with Nelly Korda. She outdrove me probably 90% of the time. They don’t understand the talent. Watching Annika today, it’s just a true honor to play, and people need to come watch them play because they are extremely talented and great.”

Mardy Fish, who plays off an impressive +2.8 handicap, was the only celebrity to shoot a round under par at the event, and finished sixth on the celebrity side of things after rounds of 81-70-73-82…34 strokes worse off than Kang.

Moral of the story: As good as scratch golfers are, competing at the professional level is another story entirely.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. William Davis

    Jan 26, 2022 at 11:57 am

    I know who I would rather watch.

  2. Villi Manilli

    Jan 25, 2022 at 12:56 pm

    Half of golfwrx thinks they could hang with the pros. Maybe more.

    You might as well try to tell a T*** cultist that he lost in 2020…

  3. Man is man

    Jan 24, 2022 at 11:02 pm

    Can you simp any harder. All you proved is why we only complete in strength oriented sports not technical.

  4. Not convinced

    Jan 24, 2022 at 9:34 pm

    Not really. Move the ladies back to the tee the guys play off of. Then find real traveling scratch players. Not these celebrities.

  5. Jimmy

    Jan 24, 2022 at 9:32 pm

    Derek Lowe posted rounds of 76-72-75-72. Michelle Wie West finished with 71 – 78 – 78 – 81.

    If the question is whether a male scratch golfer can compete with an LPGA pro, seems like they can.

    • Geo

      Feb 27, 2022 at 7:50 pm

      Michelle We was just returning from a two year retirement. Nice try though.

  6. Bob like's to boast...

    Jan 24, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    Hack “writer” using click bait terms to try and make a point, priceless…

  7. Ty

    Jan 24, 2022 at 6:18 pm

    I have long been in the camp that male scratch golfers could no way compete on the LPGA tour (I still feel that way for sure). This article however raises more eyebrows IMO. It fails to mention that at +7 the top celeb finisher would have tied or beaten 6 golfers in the 28 woman field chosen from previous years champions. This blew me away. I would have expected it to be zero. Now im interested how a scratch or close male golfer would do in a regular tournament with a full field. Am I missing something?

  8. fire gianni yesterday

    Jan 24, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    its a complete joke that people are really stupid enough to think that in the first place…..

  9. SoonerBob

    Jan 24, 2022 at 1:39 pm

    The +7 score would have earned the scratch golfer about $19k in this tournament. He wouldn’t have been in the zip code of the cut at a PGA tourney. Granted he wasn’t in contention, but he was surely competitive with the tour pros. I’m not sure these results mean what you think they mean.

  10. Tyler Durden

    Jan 24, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    The people who post affirmative in the “can a 4 handicap beat a LPGA pro” are idiots

  11. g daddy

    Jan 24, 2022 at 11:17 am

    Totally agree. And Lake Nona is not an easy track. The scary part is some of the LPGA players, don’t hit the ball as far as most scratch male players and they still tear these courses to shreds – courses that are 6400 to 6800 yards. Scary good short games – ie Inbee Park, Lizette Salas and others.

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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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