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19th Hole

Patrick Cantlay makes surprising admission regarding hiring of caddie Joe LaCava



Ahead of this week’s Wells Fargo Championship, Patrick Cantlay explained just how he tempted Joe LaCava onto his bag for this week’s Wells Fargo and the foreseeable future.

After Tiger Woods had revealed he once again returned to the surgeon’s table and confided he was likely to play very few tournaments this year, he told the veteran looper to “feel free to do something,” should another offer arrive.

Both LaCava and his new boss were speaking to reporters ahead of this week’s Wells Fargo Championship, where Cantlay goes off as one of the most-fancied players in the field following a season containing four top-four finishes and three top-20s from 10 starts.

“Tiger’s not going to play much going forwards,” LaCava revealed. “Obviously he’s not retiring. But he’s going to play two to six tournaments a year. Tiger and I have talked about if something were to come up, feel free to do something. ‘I know how much you miss it, how much you love caddying.’ And when this opportunity arose, I checked with Tiger. And he said, ‘You’re crazy not to take the job, go forward, go win some tournaments, go have a great time.'”

The winner of 30-plus tournaments admitted, “I missed it and I wanted to work more,” before saying, “(Cantlay) knows me well enough, and I know him well enough, that we know it’s hopefully-slash-probably going to work.”

Cantlay took to the mic to explain how the relationship came about, highlighting his friendship with Fred Couples, the winner of the 1992 Masters with LaCava on his bag.

“Yeah, I’ve been friend with Fred Couples a long time,” Cantlay said. “He’s been in Newport Beach for a number of years now and we’ve played a lot of golf together, so I’ve heard a number of great things about Joe. You know, when I reached out to Joe, he said it was possible and ended up working out and I’m really happy about it.”

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly though, Cantlay also revealed that he did not reach out to Tiger Woods before approaching LaCava.

Although Cantlay admitted he hadn’t spoken to LaCava’s former boss about the move, he said the split with former caddie Matt Minister was amicable.

“We accomplished a lot together and I’m really proud of all we accomplished,” Cantlay said. “He’s a great friend of mine and we had a lot of good finishes together and a lot of wins. I’m incredibly grateful to him, just needed a change.”

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19th Hole

The 2023 PIP results are in…and one PGA Tour pro is not happy



The PGA Tour’s 2023 Player Impact Program results have been published, and there is a new man on top taking home the $15 million first prize.

On Wednesday evening, PGA Tour pro Nate Lashley took to Instagram to share a memo sent to players by executive vice president and chief player officer Jason Gore.

The memo shows that Rory McIlroy is this year’s big winner, taking the top spot and pushing last year’s victor, Tiger Woods, down to second place.

Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Scottie Scheffler make up the rest of the top five, with all three pocketing over $5 million from the program.


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A post shared by Nathan Lashley (@nlashley001)

While posting the image of the memo, Lashley sounded off on social media, declaring that the world’s top player’s receiving the big bonuses is “an absolute kick in the face to the rest of the PGA Tour players.”

The 2024 program will see $50 million paid to the top 10 players, as opposed to this year’s $100 million to the top 20 players.

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19th Hole

Phil Mickelson slams ‘pathetic human’ Alan Shipnuck over journalist’s shock claim involving Jon Rahm



On Wednesday, rumors of PGA Tour superstar Jon Rahm joining LIV Golf once again resurfaced.

The rumors stemmed from a Spanish speaking podcast called “Ten Golf” who indicated that talk of Rahm joining LIV was rampant at last week’s DP World Tour Championship.

Rahm has long been discussed as a potential fit for LIV due to his relationship with Sergio Garcia and his desire to play global golf.

The afternoon saw X ablaze with speculation, and Alan Shipnuck, who’s the author of “LIV and Let Die”, shared that he’d been told Phil Mickelson was telling people that Rahm to LIV was a “done deal”.

“In recent days Phil has been telling folks that Rahm signing with LIV is a done deal. (They share the same agent.) But we all know Mickelson is a relentless salesman/bullshit artist, so take that for what it’s worth.”

It would make sense that Mickelson might be in the loop regarding Rahm’s future. Phil’s brother Tim used to be Rahm’s coach at Arizona State University and was also his agent early in his career.

However, Phil responded to a tweet from Nuclr Golf saying that Shipnuck is the “worst liar” and a “pathetic human.”

“This isn’t true and I don’t know anything. I don’t want to know anything and I haven’t said anything. Alan is the worst liar and a pathetic human.”

Shipnuck posted a response, although it wasn’t directly in reply to Mickelson because he’s “blocked” by the six-time major champion.

Despite the fact that both the PGA Tour and LIV Golf have entered a brief off-season, the drama doesn’t show any signs of taking time off.

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19th Hole

The reason behind Azinger’s NBC exit as his replacement for Hero World Challenge is revealed



Over the weekend, it was announced that NBC has not renewed the contract for lead golf analyst, Paul Azinger.

“With the golf and media landscapes now in a more challenging environment, Azinger and NBC will part ways as their current contract ends,” said Azinger’s agent Rich Braund in a statement.

Sports Illustrated learned that the negotiations reportedly fell apart between Azinger and NBC when the one-year extension Azinger received was for less than he was making previously.

NBC also released a statement about Azinger.

“We want to thank Paul for his work with us over the last five years. His insights, work ethic and relationships in the golf industry are well known, and we appreciate what he brought to our team. We wish Paul the best in his future endeavors.”

On Monday, Sports Illustrated shared that Azinger will be replaced at next week’s Hero World Challenge by Curt Byrum. Byrum is a former PGA Tour player and has been an analyst for the Golf Channel since 2001.

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