Why Mickelson could be in for a very awkward surprise at this week’s LIV Golf opener
The LIV Golf series has it plastered all over their publicity – “Golf, but louder” – and it could get very loud (or indeed, quiet) if Alan Shipnuck goes ahead with his promise to travel to the Centurion Club in a day or so.
The journalist and author was the man that broke the news of Phil Mickelson’s views on the original Saudi Golf League, reporting that Lefty was using the rebel tour as ‘leverage against the PGA Tour’. That, plus Mickelson’s view on his prospective employers – “scary motherf***ers” – ended badly, with the 51-year-old taking a hiatus from the game and going nowhere near Southern Hills to defend his PGA Championship last month.
- Related: The likely reason why some LIV players are resigning their PGA Tour membership and Mickelson has not
With stories of his fading relationship with caddie ‘Bones’ Mackay, along with gambling issues and much more, the association between player and writer would seem broken.
It might also be safe to assume that the rumpus caused within the group of investors and (the now) LIV Golf Series has meant they would hardly hold their arms wide to welcome Shipnuck at any of the three-round events. But he’s still going.
Shipnuck tweeted yesterday that, “the folks at LIV haven’t responded to my credentials request” and, of course, Twitter went a tad crazy with the replies.
Strangely, the folks at LIV haven’t responded to my credential request. But I’m still gonna fly to London, buy a ticket and cover the tournament. https://t.co/Wa8rFNYfTz
— Alan Shipnuck (@AlanShipnuck) June 7, 2022
Many of the responses hinted at the prevalence of free tickets offered by many of the players on their social media feeds, with @darcyrossiter advising “Westwood25 for free tix, Alan. Or any players surname and 25 for that matter.”
Given the obvious circus that may surround his attendance, Shipnuck was also asked, “Why go and cover it? All that does is give them what they want, legitimacy and free publicity.”
Never short of a story for the Fire Pit Collective, the response was typically measured:
I have some misgivings but this is a monumental moment for the business of professional golf and it requires some scrutiny. https://t.co/qgWcoq0RZr
— Alan Shipnuck (@AlanShipnuck) June 7, 2022
That’s it in a nutshell. Golfers golf, reporters report.
Should one reporter meet a certain golfer, though, it will definitely be golf. But louder.
More from the 19th Hole
- 86-year-old Gary Player shows off remarkable club head and ball speed numbers
- ‘Absolutely disgusting’ – LPGA pro blasts Augusta National for its role in major venue change
- ‘Get it out of my face, man!’ – Brooks Koepka snatches phone from fan during tense exchange
Tour Rundown: Cricket chirps, Stricker family victory
The word grillo means cricket in Spanish and Italian. The Jiminy type, not the sport. So it goes with language; one word in one language has multiple manifestations in another. After a birdie at the 70th hole, Emiliano Grillo had a tournament sewn up, until he made double at the last. More on that later.
The ladies of the LPGA took to match play, and in the land of American excess, not a single American made it past the quarterfinals. The seniors christened the PGA of America’s new golf heaven in Frisco, Texas, with their Senior PGA Championship. The DP World Tour saw Spain’s version of a late-career, Ben-Hogan surge continue, and the Korn Ferry Tour had a thrilling stretch run in Knoxville, Tennessee.
In other words, just another week around the tours. Let’s run it all down in this week’s Tour Rundown.
'Coolest week of my life'@IzziStricker on being on the bag for her dad @stevestricker's major championship win at the @seniorpgachamp ? https://t.co/GfEpAzDhq1 pic.twitter.com/E5zWK2rfsK
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) May 29, 2023
PGA Tour @ Charles Schwab Challenge: Cricket chirps to second tour title
If there was one silver element to Emiliano Grillo’s finish, it was that he had made birdie at the par-three 16th hole in regulation. This mattered when the Argentine showed the nerves that all of us face when we compete at golf. With a two-shot advantage and 435 yards between him and a regulation victory, Grillo bailed right, way right. So far right, in fact, that the tour’s website labelled it unknown. From there, Grillo took a penalty drop, pitched back to the fairway, pitched to the green, and missed the bogey putt for the win. Oh, he was also fortunate that, moments later, Adam Schenk missed a 15-feet putt for the win.
The pair returned to that challenging closer, and each made par. The second playoff hole was … yup, the par-three 16th. Schenk blew his shot some five feet into the post-green rough, while Grillo accepted a lucky bounce off the front bunker’s shoulder tucking within five feet. Schenk’s pitch narrowly missed, settling inside three feet. With a second shot at victory, the cricket did not flinch. The thirty-year old Grillo read the right-breaking slider just right, made the putt for birdie, and claimed a second career title, eight years after his 2015 win in Las Vegas.
What a shot from @GrilloEmiliano!
It’s the second closest shot of the day on 16 @CSChallengeFW ? pic.twitter.com/zD7MoIkycL
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 28, 2023
PGA Tour Champions @ Senior PGA: Playoff blesses Stricker with victory
A friend of mine was on a clubhouse patio, back in the day. Approaching the age of 50 and a decent stick, he mentioned that he might consider trying to qualify for a few senior events. A fellow to the side tuned in and, desperate to put the victim out of his misery, asked a simple question: how many times have you shot 64? My pal, taken aback, replied “never.” The interloper finished with “these guys you see out there, they shoot 64 for lunch, any day of the week.”
Is it coincidence that the two playoff contestants, Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington, each posted a 64? Probably, but it helps my story line. Through the first three rounds at PGA Frisco’s Fields Ranch East course, low was the way to go. Stricker and Harrington looked to be the show ponies, although a few other names craved inclusion. Day four was really about the duo of former Ryder Cup captains, as Stewart Cink’s birdie-eagle finish elevated him to solo third position, looking way closer than he actually was.
The overtime stretch was brief. The hole that Harrington had birdie in regulation, became his nemesis. He struggled from tee to green, and was unable to manage better than bogey. Stricker was able to negotiate his second par of the day over the long closer, and became once again the poster boy for the PGA of America. The 2023 Senior PGA Championship is Stricker’s third different, senior major title, and the 6th of his career second season.
Stricker's wedge game @seniorpgachamp ? pic.twitter.com/219Vwehnlq
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) May 28, 2023
LPGA @ Bank of Hope Match Play: Pajaree outlasts Ayaka in final match
As my Twitter friends love to say, match play is the finest form of competition that exists. It is certainly different from medal play, in spades. It’s no longer you and the ball. Instead, it’s you, the ball, and the direct opponent. No one else matters. No one with whom to concern yourself. On this final weekend in May, Pajaree Anannarukam announced herself to the world as one heck of a head-to-head competitor.
The 23-year old from Thailand survived a playoff with Karis Davidson in the round-robin qualifying segment. Moments before, Davidson had bested PA by 4 and 3, a healthy margin, to say the least. The Aussie Davidson stumbled in the extra time with bogey, and Anannarukam was on to the knockout rounds. In the round of 16, she eliminated the USA’s Cheyenne Knight, and in the quarterfinals, sent Spain’s perennial Solheim Cup stalwart, Carlota Ciganda, packing.
In the semifinals, Pajaree came up against Sweden’s Linn Grant, who had one tie against four wins to her credit. Gaining strength, the pride of Thailand eaked out a 3 and 1 win to move into the final match. There, she would face the undefeated Ayaka Furue, who had taken down formerly-undefeated Leona Maguire of Ireland.
The championship match was close, through 11 holes, as neither player was able to seize momentum. That situation changed in a heartbeat. Anannarukam posted birdies at 12, 14, and 17, against just one by Furue. For the second consecutive match, PA came out on top with another 3 & 1 decision. Bank of Hope was her second career title on the LPGA, after winning at the age of 21 at the Handa World Invitational.
You know she meant for that to happen!@MeawPajaree has birdied hole-14 three matches in a row! pic.twitter.com/W4XAwGiuWX
— LPGA (@LPGA) May 29, 2023
DP World Tour @ KLM Open: Larrazábal continues late-career run
Pablo Larrazábal collected a quintet of tour titles between 2008 and 2019. His average of a title every two years was enviable, and enough to keep his tour card safe and secure. During the height of the pandemic, Larrazábal’s victory run subsided, and he endured a 27-month dry stretch. In March of 2022, Larrazábal won in South Africa (where he had won in 2019, coincidentally.) From the moment, the Spaniard’s game flipped and his average became two wins a year, instead of a win every two years. Nice move to make at the age of 39.
This week, Larrazábal and countryman Adrián Otaegui battled to the final green. Otaegui birdied 16 and 18 to finish on 11-under par. Larrazábal was too strong, with birdies of his own at 15, 17, and 18, to win by two. Is there a limit for the fisherman-turned-golfer? Hard to say. Was there a limit for Hogan?
Just look at what it means for @plarrazabal ?#KLMOpen pic.twitter.com/CjOpgJYfu6
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) May 28, 2023
Korn-Ferry Tour @ Visit Knoxville: Uncle Rico grabs the ring
Rico Hoey is 27 years old, yet doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry. That tells you enough about his journeyman career to this point, but after Sunday, that might change. Hoey closed 66-65, including birdie at the par-five 18th, to finish at 14-under par at Holston Hills country club. The elegant, Donald Ross-designed club in Knoxville was a fitting place for a breakout victory.
Norman Xiong was the 54-hole leader, but made 17 pars with just 1 birdie on Sunday, to finish in a runner-up tie with Chase Seiffert. With due respect to Hoey, Seiffert was the man on fire over the weekend in the Volunteer state. His 64 on Saturday was followed by a 65 on Sunday, making him two strokes better than the winner over the final 36 holes. It was a Thursday 71 that ultimately relegated Seiffert to second place.
With the win, Hoey moves to second place on the season-long points race, and puts himself in the driver’s seat for a year-end promotion to the PGA Tour. It’s nice when things go your way.
The moment @RicoHoey will never forget ? pic.twitter.com/N28GyU27bl
— Korn Ferry Tour (@KornFerryTour) May 28, 2023
Tour Photo Galleries
Photos from the 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge
GolfWRX was live at the Charles Schwab Challenge this week where Cinderella story Michael Block continues to steal the spotlight. To that end, you’re encouraged to check out Block’s full WITB, which we shot at last week’s PGA Championship, and take a look at our in-hand photos of his now-famous hole-in-one 7-iron.
In non-Block news from Colonial, we have seven general galleries for you and five WITB looks — including Vandy star Gordon Sargent.
In our pullout galleries, just as we did last year, we have photos of prototype and personal Ben Hogan golf clubs. Must-see stuff for any equipment junkie!
- 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge – Monday #1
- 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge – Monday #2
- 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge – Tuesday #1
- 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge – Tuesday #2
- 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge – Tuesday #3
- 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge – Tuesday #4
- 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge – Tuesday #5
- Gordon Sargent – Vanderbilt University – WITB – 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge
- Erik Compton – WITB – 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge
- Brendon Todd – WITB – 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge
- Cam Davis – WITB – 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge
- Henrik Norlander – WITB – 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge
- Ping PLD putters – 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge
- Odyssey/Toulon Palm Beach putter – 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge
- Michael Block’s “hole-in-one” TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC 7 iron – 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge
- Cameron putter – 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge
- Swag putter – 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge
- Hayden Buckley’s custom Cameron putters – 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge
- Ben Hogan’s old prototype clubs (including a 1-iron) – 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge
See what GolfWRXers are saying about the photos in the forums.
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David Duval WITB 2023 (April)
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Talor Gooch vents frustration at not seeing almost half of his LIV Golf Adelaide prize money
Emiliano Grillo’s winning WITB: 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge
Driver: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond (9 degrees) Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei 1K Blue 60 TX 3-wood: Callaway Rogue (13.5 degrees) Shaft:...
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Jun 8, 2022 at 10:02 pm
Better bring like 10 bodyguards.
Jun 8, 2022 at 7:05 pm
Phil looks like one of the villain’s in a John Wick movie.
Jun 8, 2022 at 3:22 pm
Phil has signed more autographs for kids than any PGA player ever. Phil is still a fan favorite. Shupnick? He sounds like another sleazy reporter who never one anything. One thing Phil needs to cut out is the stupid gambling. Gambling is for r**eta*rds andf degenerates. On the plus side, Phil is not a serial adulterer like the PGA’s favorite.
Jun 8, 2022 at 4:36 pm
That was then. This is now. He obviously signed so many autographs for publicity. In fact he doesn’t give a rip about them.
Now he’s auditioning as a Hunter Biden body double.
Jun 8, 2022 at 12:08 pm
Phil has the Hunter Biden look going. It’s all making sense now.
Jun 8, 2022 at 5:21 pm
More like Steve Bannon.
Jun 10, 2022 at 5:29 pm
or Jared Kushner; not yet bin laden. Phil wants sumathat Saudi cash at any cost.