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‘Total bullsh*t’ – Major champ sounds off on new PGA Tour fall season

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This year, the PGA Tour fall series has a new look. The Fortinet Championship was the first event in a seven-event series that will end at the RSM Classic November 16-19. Unlike years past, the events will not give golfers FedEx Cup points, but instead players will be battling it out for exemptions into next season’s “signature events”, where they’ll join the top-50 from last season’s FedEx Cup playoffs.

Additionally, only the top-70 from last season’s standings will be guaranteed PGA Tour status, which is a stark difference from the top-125 that were guaranteed in years past.

Jimmy Walker, who sits at 124th in the standings, is not a fan of the new format. While speaking with Golfweek after his third round at the Fortinet Championship over the weekend, the former PGA Championship winner expressed his concerns.

“They changed the rules. It’s been 125 forever. Then it’s like, no, it’s 50, or is it 70? It’s definitely not 125. It’s total bulls–t, that’s what I think of it. I’ve been working for 11 months to finish 124 and it’s like, nope, keep playing. So, I’m going to give it all I’ve got. That’s all I can do.”

Walker feels as if the top-125 last season should have been enough to allow him to continue playing into 2024, and thinks everybody “freaked out” as a reaction to LIV and the Saudi’s.

“I can’t tell you how many people texted me saying congrats on making the 125. I’m like, ‘No man, it’s different.’ I had to explain. They’ve done such a bad job communicating what is happening, partly because I don’t think they knew what was happening, honestly, it’s been one way forever. LIV and the Saudis happen, and a lot of things change, and everybody freaks out and we sign an agreement that stops litigation. I don’t know what’s going on. They’re talking about a big payout for the players that have stayed. All of it is blowing my mind. The tour is doing everything they can to take care of themselves and not for the players. I’m just out here grinding, giving it all I’ve got. I’ve given them 20-some-odd years out here, you know.”

Walker will have to play some very good golf this fall if he wants to get a spot into tournaments in 2024.

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19th Hole

Vincenzi’s 2023 Ryder Cup betting preview: Justin Thomas ready to silence doubters in Rome

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After a long, five-year wait, the 2023 Ryder Cup is back on European soil.

In 2021, the United States team won in dominating fashion, 19-9. The win marked the first time that the U.S. won in back-to-back home Ryder Cups since 1979 and 1983.

The last time the Europeans hosted the Ryder Cup was 2018, where they won convincingly 17.5-10.5 at Le Golf National in France.

Europe has won seven of the last ten editions of the premier golfing showcase. However, the U.S. has won two of the past three competitions and entire this latest affair as the favorite. 

Marco Simone is a par-71, measuring at 7,268 yards and features Bentgrass greens. The fairways are comprised of paspalum and the rough is fescue. The course was designed by Jim Fazio and David Mezzacane and is located 10 miles from the center of the Rome and is surrounded by the green of the Roman countryside. The course has hosted the last three Italian Open’s on the DP World Tour. 

Prediction

I bet Europe to win the Ryder Cup at +185 on multiple occasions between October of 2021 and April of 2023, but the line has plummeted over the past few weeks. The United States are -160 and Europe is +130 as it stands now.

The last extremely close Ryder Cup we’ve seen was in 2012 when the European Team came back to stun the United States at Medinah by a score of 14.5 to 13.5. I believe 2023 is the year we finally get another excruciatingly close finish on Sunday at the Ryder Cup and it will come down to the last few matches.

Therefore, I still believe the value lies with Europe and would bet it at any number better than +120.

Top European Point Scorer: Ludvig Aberg +1800 (Caesars)

Prior to Ludvig Aberg’s victory at the Omega European Masters, there was some debate as to whether or not Ludvig Aberg was deserving of a captain’s pick with such little experience in professional golf. However, I believe Aberg’s spot was long secured whether or not he won at Crans. Donald was paired with Aberg at Detroit Golf Club for the Rocket Mortgage Classic and was awestruck by his talent. From then on, it was a foregone conclusion that the young Swede would be in Rome, for better or worse.

Given his skill set and recent play, I strongly believe Aberg will be paired with either Viktor Hovland or Rory McIlroy over the first few days of the Ryder Cup. Marco Simone is a difficult course off the tee, and Aberg is already one of the best in the world in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. He should set up perfectly for the golf course.

Playing with one of Europe’s strongest players will increase the likelihood of Aberg accruing points over the fourball and foursome portion of the event, so the pairing is crucial. In the team’s scouting trip to Rome, Aberg played with Hovland in a match against McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood, so that could give a sneak peak into Donald’s plans for Rome.

Aberg will have to compete with his playing companions for top scorer, but at more than three times the odds, I believe Aberg carries significant value in this market.

Top United States Point Scorer: Justin Thomas (+1200 via BetRivers), Top Captain’s Pick (+450 via DraftKings)

The inclusion of Justin Thomas in this year’s Ryder Cup was controversial. The two-time major champion had arguably the worst season of his career, failing to make the FedEx Cup playoffs and missing the cut in five of his last eight starts to end the season.

Despite the struggles all year, JT has seemed to turn a corner this fall, and should thrive in the format that he’s been so successful at throughout his career.

At the Fortinet Championship, Thomas finished in 5th place and gained 6.7 strokes on the field on approach, which was his best performance in that category since last year. He has worked tirelessly over the past few months to get ready for the Ryder Cup, and I believe he will perform well.

JT is a combined 16-5-2 in Ryder Cup’s and President’s Cups and the format undoubtedly brings out the best in the fiery competitor. Like it or not, Thomas is the heart and soul of the American side. For that reason, I strongly believe Thomas will play a minimum of four times on the week, with five being a real possibility. The most important aspect of betting this market is identifying the players who will play the most, and his track record with Jordan Spieth and relationship with Zach Johnson would indicate he’ll be out there for much of the competition.

We are being offered a discounted price on Thomas for his poor 2023, but he will have every opportunity to turn it around at Marco Simone.

Props

Correct Score: Europe 14.5, USA 13.5 (+1300 via DraftKings)

Correct Score: USA 14.5, Europe 13.5 (+1000 via DraftKings)

Last week, we saw the Solheim Cup come down to the wire, and I believe a similar scenario will unfold at the Ryder Cup. There hasn’t been a down-to-the-wire Ryder Cup since Medinah and 2012, but that will change this year. These teams are as evenly matched as I can remember, and the home soil advantage will help neutralize the U.S. team’s slightly superior depth. These odds are long enough to sprinkle and hope for a spectacular finish down the stretch.

 

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19th Hole

5 examples of how Lexi Thompson has been treated harsher than any of her peers

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Following Lexi Thompson’s Solheim Cup post-round presser on Friday evening, the 28-year-old has been the topic of much discussion.

Golf pundits and fans alike have been weighing in with their takes after this exchange with a reporter surrounding an untimely shank on Friday afternoon went viral:

After the incident, LPGA Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez said that Lexi has “been picked on and drug through negative comments. She is tired of it”

So has the criticism of Lexi Thompson been justified, or is this yet another example of her being unfairly treated?

Well, here are five times, in my opinion, that Lexi has been scrutinized far differently over the years than her peers.

2022 KPMG PGA Championship

At the 2022 KPMG PGA Championship, Lexi Thompson held a two-stroke lead with three holes to play. She couldn’t close the deal and lost the tournament.

Afterwards, she was fined $2k (as were the rest of the group) for slow play.

Lexi declined to speak to the media and got hammered on social media for doing so…

Almost every golfer at some point has skipped a media session following disappointment on the course, and nobody has really batted an eyelid.

Tiger skipped back-to-back post-round media briefings at the 2019 WGC Mexico after being frustrated with his putting. Remember the backlash over that? Nah, me neither.

Donald Trump

@TheWhiteHouse

Every (or nearly every) big-name golfer under the sun has played golf with Donald Trump. Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy etc. Nobody really cared.

For whatever reason, when Lexi Thompson did, it was a story, and she took herself off social media soon after the photo was posted.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi)

2021 U.S. Women’s Open

In the final round of the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open, Lexi Thompson had a 6-foot eagle on her opening hole. She missed and made birdie to lead by five.

She then lost the tournament.

Following the round, Brandel Chamblee said on ‘Live From’:

“She’s got 6 feet away. Now professional golfers don’t miss the center of the face by a pinhead. Look where she hits this putt on the very 1st hole. Look where this putt comes off the face. She would have missed the center of the putter there by a half an inch. I have never — I have never — seen a professional golfer miss the center of the putter by a wider margin than that. That was at the 1st hole. “

Honest? Absolutely. Correct? Brandel usually is. Has any other LPGA golfer been handed the full-on Chamblee treatment? Not to my knowledge.

2023 Solheim Cup

Lexi Thompson spoke the words, “I don’t need to comment on that” when a reporter asked her about a failed shot, and the golf community collectively lost their minds.

Lost on many people is the fact that she literally answered the question instantly after.

Jessica Korda described the reporting of the awkward exchange with the media member as yet another example of the golf media shredding Lexi, but in reality, it was really just golf media covering the furore created by golf fans reacting to the viral clip.

Lexi then won her next two matches, collecting 3 points from 4 for the U.S. team. But nobody seems to care about that.

Instagram

‘yOu ShoUlD PrAcTIce puTTinG’

There’s very few golfers that have been plagued with such inane posts on their Instagram page as Lexi Thompson has.

I’ve tracked golfer’s social media accounts over the past few years (job requirement, sort of?). I can categorically say that Lexi gets some of the angriest and most aggressive responses to her posts of any golfer. Male or female. (She also gets some very nice ones too).

Despite countless posts of Thompson relentlessly practising her putting, the number of comments from dummies accusing her of neglecting that area of her game is both bizarre and alarming. Notice how the comments have been disabled on the post below? Probably not a coincidence.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi)

Go on any other golfer’s social account, and it will be hard to find the same dynamic.

Throw in the scandalous rules decision at the 2017 ANA Inspiration that cost her a second major title and spawned the “Lexi rule,” and it’s hard not to think Lexi has had a bit of a raw deal at times.

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Bryson DeChambeau had a message for Zach Johnson over Ryder Cup snub following latest LIV win

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Bryson DeChambeau’s top form continued at the latest LIV Golf event in Chicago, with the 30-year-old claiming his second individual win on the new tour over the weekend.

The victory comes after DeChambeau fired an incredible 58 earlier this summer, and his subsequent ommission from the U.S. Ryder Cup side raised some eyebrows.

Following his victory in Chicago, Bryson told media that “it would have been nice to at least just have a call” as he opened up on being snubbed for Ryder Cup consideration by captain Zach Johnson.

“If you look at it, it would have been nice to at least just have a call. There are numerous people that I think Zach should have called out here, and we didn’t get that.

“I understand, I get it, but we’re nothing different. We’re still competing. We’re still working super hard to be the best we possibly can be.
“I don’t know if it was back ended or whatnot. I’m not up to make that discussion available.

“I have no idea what it was or who made that decision, but it would have been nice for them to consider us more because we’re pretty damn good out here.”

Bryson added:

“Brooks is obviously going to kill it for Team USA next week and excited for the team, but yeah, it definitely does sting a little bit.

“Say what you want, we’re still golfers, and I personally think that given the way I played this week, I could have definitely racked up some points for Team USA.”

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