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Ex-mentor of Zalatoris explains why he believes Justin Thomas holds a grudge against him

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The FedEx Cup Playoffs began with a bang a couple of weeks ago, with Will Zalatoris outlasting Sepp Straka in an engrossing finish to claim his first win on the PGA Tour.

While Zalatoris was delivering the goods down the stretch at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, a mini-storm broke out on social media involving Will’s ex-mentor Scott Fawcett, analyst Brad Faxon and Justin Thomas.

Taking exception to comments from Dan Hicks and Brad Faxon on NBC regarding Zalatoris’ putting stroke in Memphis, Fawcett blasted the duo on Twitter, causing Justin Thomas to weigh in and snap at the creator of DECADE Golf, calling his comments “egregious and aggressive.”

The fallout from the exchange caused Zalatoris to issue a statement where the 26-year-old condemned Fawcett’s actions, saying:

“Scott Fawcett is not a paid member of my team. I in no way condone or support anything that was said in those tweets. I personally reached out to Dan Hicks and Brad Faxon and echoed that I don’t condone what he said. Any interviews he’s given have been unauthorized.

“He has tried to reach out to me and I have not spoken to him. I’m thankful to him for everything he helped me with in the ups and downs in junior golf but those statements are not a reflection of my values or me.”

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and Fawcett has shed some light on the exchange, publishing a lengthy video with his view on what went down and why.

After explaining the history and bad blood between himself and Brad Faxon, Fawcett delved into why he believes Justin Thomas decided to chime in, alleging that it goes back to a feisty incident involving Fawcett and another pro from Q-School in 2019.

According to Fawcett, at TPC Craig Ranch three years ago he was on the bag for an unnamed player. On the second hole, his player snap hooked a drive, with his ball landing in an area where trash and debris had piled up following a microburst tornado that had hit the area a few days before.

While walking towards the ball, Fawcett explains how he stepped on a piece of wood containing a nail that ripped through his shoe and right into his foot. Understandably, needing some time to get himself together following the shock, the player and caddie took a few minutes before starting the search for the ball, at which stage Fawcett explains how “it appeared they’d been searching forever for the ball” in the view of the group behind them on the tee.

One player in the group behind began yelling from the tee, before hitting into them, and while walking down the fairway, the player shouted “cheaters” at the pair, alleges Fawcett.

Admitting that at this stage he snapped, Fawcett explains how “he went off on this guy,” saying he’d be about as embarrassed about what he was saying to the player as he was about what he tweeted to Hicks and Faxon.

“I wanted to ruin his day at this point” continues Fawcett saying the player’s actions were totally out of line.

The following day, Fawcett decided to time the entire round to prove that what happened on the second hole of the opening day “wasn’t an egregious thing” and to completely document the time in case this incident was ever brought up again.

Jumping ahead to last week, Fawcett appeared on The Loop podcast, where he was quoted as saying: “Find me a single tour player that has met me in person that says I’m not a good guy and does all I can to help them. Go find me one, I’ll give you $1 million.” A comment which provoked tour pro Tom Lovelady, the man who had the bust up with Fawcett that day at Q-School, to post a hand-up and wink emoji on social media reacting to the quote.

Saying that “he definitely hates me,”, Fawcett responded to the comment by telling him that he did offer to help him and do anything he could for him, which takes us back to TPC Craig Ranch.

In the parking lot on day two of 2019 Q-School, Fawcett allegedly apologized to Lovelady for what happened the previous day, an apology which Fawcett claims was not accepted.

Per Fawcett, Lovelady was Justin Thomas’ roommate at the time.

While breaking down Zalatoris’ statement condemning his tweets, Fawcett explained that he doesn’t condone his tweets either, saying it was a “hyperbolic joke that did not land” (citing the opening tweet, which says he’s joking) and revealed that he personally reached out to Dan Hicks by email to apologize to him and his family.

As for Faxon and JT? Fawcett said: “Faxon? Nu-uh, not going to apologize to him. JT? Definitely not going to apologize to him.”

Watch the video in full from Fawcett below.

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Gianni is the Managing Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected]

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Retired Cart Boy

    Aug 23, 2022 at 9:13 am

    I’ve listened to Fawcett on a bunch of podcasts over the last couple of years, and I’ve reached the conclusion that he has no idea just how abrasive he can be. There is no doubt that he’s a very smart guy and that his strategy analysis is fantastic. However, being right isn’t an excuse for being a jerk. If someone doesn’t agree with your data, you’ll have a much better chance winning them over if you’re nice about it.

    • Bob

      Aug 23, 2022 at 12:21 pm

      Scott would go further if he just stopped using the f word.

      All the same, anybody who doesn’t agree that 2+2=4 just because the guy who said it was abrasive is living in fairytale land and pretty much a useless eater.

      We live in clownworld because people want gentle PC and noble lies. That’s changing fast.

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19th Hole

Immelman: McGinley apologized to me after saying Presidents Cup should be mixed event

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With the Americans ballooning to a -900 favorite prior to this year’s competition at Quail Hollow, most analysts believed the current version of the bi-annual event must be tweaked in order to remain relevant.

All year, Trevor Immelman has been listening.

“Blow this thing up,” he said. “They got to change the format. They got to cut the points. We got to bring the women golfers in.”

“I’ve had to listen to that crap for two years now,” The International team captain said.

Despite losing 17.5-12.5, most would agree that the Internationals did as good of a job as they could have in keeping the match competitive throughout the week. A Saturday surge kept what could have been a historic blowout from taking place.

On Claude Harmon III’s podcast this week, Immelman said that Paul McGinley of Golf Channel has apologized to him for helping drive the narrative that the current Presidents Cup doesn’t work as is, with the Irishman last week touting the idea that women should be included in the event.

“I appreciate the fact that they may be trying to think outside of the box,” he said. “But they need to come up with something else. And I hope Paul doesn’t get offended by me saying this, but he texted me on Monday. And he apologized for saying that on Live From.

“Because he realized what playing for the shield means to us. What having the opportunity to compete in the Presidents Cup against the Americans means to us. And he realized that, and he realized that his take was incorrect and he texted me to apologize. And I thanked him for having the guts to text me and to apologize and I thanked him for realizing how much that event means to us.”

Despite the International team making it somewhat competitive, there’s no denying that the American team has absolutely dominated the Presidents Cup since it’s inception.

The Americans are 14-1-1 all time in the Presidents Cup. This year, the International team looked to have arguably their strongest roster yet before Cameron Smith, Joaquin Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen, Abraham Ancer and Marc Leishman joined LIV Golf. With those players now ineligible, it’s hard to see a path for the Internationals to get markedly better by the time the event heads to Canada in 2024.

However, Immelman still believes no tweaks to the format are necessary.

“I find it disrespectful on all accounts, to be extremely honest with you,” he said. “I find it disrespectful to us as international golfers that are professional athletes that compete at the highest level week in and week out. We’re not scrubs. Are we as strong as the Americans? Doesn’t quite look like it right now. Have they kicked our butts in this event? They sure have. But there’s been some close calls. And so I find it disrespectful to us.”

The former Masters Champion also addressed the suggestion that the event should become mixed with men and women golfers in detail.

“I find it equally disrespectful to the women golfers. And here’s why. I don’t think women golfers need men to make them and their competitions relevant. Their competitions are already relevant. I sit down and watch every single shot of the Solheim Cup. Every single shot. It’s one of my favorite times of the year when that event goes on. I watched the U.S. Women’s Open. I watched the Women’s British Open a few weeks ago when South African Ashleigh Buhai came down the stretch, almost coughed it up and won in the playoff at Muirfield, matching Ernie Els’ win at the Open at Muirfield. Women don’t need men to make them relevant in sport. My family and I were glued to the TV when Serena Williams played her last match at the U.S. Open. She’s one of the greatest athletes to ever walk on the planet. So I find it disrespectful on all accounts when people come with that opinion.”

“Let’s leave the Presidents Cup and the International team alone, for now,” he said on the podcast. “And let us compete. And allow youngsters from Thailand and China and Japan and Korea and Australia and South Africa and Canada and all over South America, allow them to grow up with this as their goal, to be able to compete on this level.

“Because we are eventually going to win this event, I promise you.”

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19th Hole

The wild story involving John Daly’s secret room inside Jon Gruden’s office at Hooters HQ

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Most people who encounter golf legend John Daly walk away with a story to tell about him.

On the most recent episode of Theo Von’s “This Past Weekend” podcast, both Von and his guest Caleb Pressley of Barstool Sports shared a John Daly story.

According to Von, he once saw Daly carried out of a restaurant in downtown Nashville.

“I saw John Daly overdose on gin one night and had to get carried out of a restaurant. Not even a bar.”

Pressley came back with a Daly anecdote of his own. In his early days of working for Barstool Sports, Caleb was in search of some fresh content and decided to track down Jon Gruden, who’s always good for a quote.

After doing some digging, he discovered Gruden’s office was located at the Hooter’s corporate office. Upon visiting Hooters corporate, Presley stumbled upon something even better: John Daly’s secret hiding spot.

“I went into the corporate office, and I was like ‘I’m here to see Jon Gruden.’ By the way the corporate office of Hooters… So I go in there and was like ‘I wanna go see Jon Gruden,’ and they just take me back to his office.”

“He wasn’t there, but his assistant gave me a tour… And they were like ‘This is John Daly’s room.’ And I was like ‘What do you mean John Daly’s room?’ And they open it up and it was like, you know ‘Chronicles of Narnia,’ the wall has a bunch of books that you can open?”

“It was literally that and you push it open, and it was a very small room smaller than this room, and it had a mattress on the floor, and a little putting thing, and I guess John Daly lives in there, in Jon Gruden’s office inside the Hooter’s headquarters.”

Daly has been affiliated with Hooters unofficially for decades, but he just inked an official sponsorship with them in 2022.

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19th Hole

‘Petty, cheap, childish shot’ – Greg Norman slams R&A over Open Celebration of Champions snub

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Earlier this year, the R&A decided not to permit special exemption to Greg Norman, that would have allowed him to take part at the 150th Open at St. Andrews.

Whilst the LIV CEO maintained he was “disappointed with their decision, particularly given it is the 150th Open,” and that he had “been a staunch proponent of the R&A since 1977 and a proud Champion Golfer of the Year–twice,” the committee were insistent they were not altering any exemption rules.

Then, a few days before the historic major, the R&A informed Norman he was not welcome at the Celebration of Champions, insisting the event was to focus on, “celebrating the Championship and its heritage. Unfortunately, we do not believe that would be the case if Greg were to attend.”

Now, in October, that episode is still rankling with the two-time winner of the Claret Jug.

Norman appeared on Piers Morgan Uncensored recently to discuss much about the split in golf, and how the status quo have treated him since LIV started getting momentum and huge media coverage, and he still regards the actions of the R&A as a “petty, cheap, childish shot.”

Norman believes he has the good of golf at heart, and his record proves it:

“I’ll be honest with you, at times, my heat shield gets a little bit weak because I am a human being. I’ve done a lot for the game of golf. I was number one player in the world for six years. I’ve done things in the game of golf, I promoted the game of golf, I’ve grown the game of golf globally.”

He continued, “I took a mission on myself as an individual player to fly all around the world. I was the first guy to do an exhibition match in mainland China. I was one of the first guys to go into the Middle East and, through my golf and business at the same time, I continue to do that. So, when they do these… What happened in the R&A was a petty, cheap, childish shot, to be honest with you. If you can’t rise above it all then shame on you.”

That was one of the many topics openly discussed, and as the title of the programme suggests, there were no holds barred.

About the PGA Tour’s attitude to LIV, Norman insisted there was much duplicity surrounding the opposition:

Norman expanded, “For you not to sit down and have a discussion and to understand what the LIV business model is and to see how it sits within the ecosystem, shame on you. In business, remember we’re a commercial entity, in business, you understand what your opponent’s got, you understand what your competitor’s got, unpack it all to see if you can actually work together within the system to make both entities better for each other, not try and destroy us. We haven’t tried to destroy the PGA Tour.”

Norman insists that he has lost friends over his involvement with the Saudi backed tour – “If they want to judge me on lack of information, they’re the ones with the small mind,” and asks one of LIV’s most fervent opponents, Rory McIlroy not to “begrudge other players.”

The full interview can be viewed on PMU’s YouTube channel,.

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