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Morning 9: LIV’s first-ever trade | Bryson on OWGR | Rahm not in Am-Ex field

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans, as a mixed event highlights this week’s golf action.

1. Ranking the Grant Thornton teams

Golfweek’s Todd Kelly…”The highest-ranked PGA Tour golfers are Ludvig Aberg at No. 7, Rickie Fowler at No. 8 and Tony Finau at No. 16.”

  • “Meanwhile, four of the top 10 LPGA players will be there: No. 3 Ruoning Yin, No. 8 Nelly Korda, No. 9 Megan Khang and No. 10 Celine Boutier.”
  • “Who has the best combined ranking?
  • “Here’s a look at the highest-ranked combos for the mixed-team event:
  • “Nelly Korda (8) and Tony Finau (16) = 24
  • “Megan Khang (9) and Denny McCarthy (29) = 38
  • “Brooke Henderson (22) and Corey Conners (22) = 44”
Full piece.

2. ShotLink bugs swarm

AP report…”Those tiny clips all but a few players wore on the back of their belts at Albany is what the PGA Tour refers to as “ShotLink bugs,” enabling the tour to gather most data it typically gets at domestic PGA Tour events.”

  • “It’s part of a massive upgrade in the tour’s scoring and data collection that has reshaped the game from a statistical standpoint, providing more data for the media, invaluable statistical analysis for players and more information for fans.”
  • “They have been tested on the Korn Ferry Tour for the past 18 months.”
  • “Ken Lovell, the tour’s senior vice president of golf technologies, said the devices players wore were accompanied by employees carrying a carbon fiber pole with GPS that can localize data within seconds.”
  • “ShotLink is now handled remotely out of PGA Tour headquarters.”
Full piece.

3. LPGA player complains: “Why can’t men just have different driver heads?”

Our Matt Vincenzi…”On Monday, LPGA Tour player Jenny Shin took to X to express frustration with the expected announcements of the golf balls universally being rolled back.”

  • “The issue has been a hot topic of discussion over the last few days, but most players and fans seem to be against the idea.”
  • “Shin’s sentiment is similar to that of former Masters Champion Adam Scott, who argued the driver head was the real problem, not the golf ball.”
  • “The biggest fundamental change in the game since I’ve been a pro, is traditionally the driver has been the hardest club to hit in the bag, and now it’s the most forgiving.”
Full piece.

4. Glover to host radio show

Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…”In his social media profile, PGA Tour veteran Lucas Glover lists the Oscar Wilde quote as a mantra of sorts: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”

  • “Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion who had a resurgence this season with two victories in consecutive weeks on the PGA Tour, lives up to Wilde’s words.”
  • “In his latest effort to be himself, Glover is joining the SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio channel. The six-time Tour winner will host The Lucas Glover Show, which will premiere December 6 at 8 pm ET. The hour-long program will air regularly throughout the year exclusively on SiriusXM.”
Full piece.

5. On John Smoltz: Champions Q-School participant

Jeff Babineau for PGATour.com…“Few possess a passion for the game that even approaches anything in the same ZIP code as Smoltz. Though at varied times he has been limited physically by bad hands, bad shoulders, a bad back and bad hips – hey, at least he has two new hips – 18 holes a day, even while playing hurt, has seldom been enough. Smoltz goes around golf courses the way a spry greyhound wants to sprint around a racetrack, rarely stopping at 36 holes.”

  • “As he tries to make his way through the arduous gauntlet that is Champions Tour Q-School – only five players will earn full-time cards this week – Smoltz said he does not attempt to fool himself regarding the difficulty of his assignment.”
  • “I don’t live in a false reality,” he said. “This sport is really difficult. I’m not trying to think that this is something that I could do for a whole year or not … but it’s fun to attempt it.”
  • “Many of his fellow athletes from outside golf will be watching closely. Former Major Leaguer Kevin Millar, who jokingly refers to Smoltz as his “swing coach,” said he’ll be exchanging frequent texts to keep up with Smoltz all week, as will many others. (“It’s been crazy,” said Smoltz, who acknowledges he is playing for something bigger than himself this week.)”
Full Piece.

6. DeChambeau discusses OWGR

Joshua Lees for The Mirror… “…the former U.S. Open champion believes those in charge are attempting to usher the Saudi-backed series away from the top of professional golf. “I know their agenda,” DeChambeau told The Rick Shiels Golf Show.”

  • “We know their whole playbook, we see exactly what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to hold us out long enough to where we’re irrelevant. ‘Oh we’ll give you points now, we’re gonna play nice in the sandbox’. But then we’re all irrelevant, we don’t have enough points to even fill a field.”
  • “DeChambeau did however insist he had no bitterness towards the OWGR, and appeared content with relying on golf’s four major championships to improve his place in the rankings. “This last half of the season, yes, I feel like I’ve played way better golf.”
  • “And that’s because the last three Majors I made the cut and played somewhat decent in them, 4th at the PGA, British Open I didn’t do very well, the US Open I did ok. That’s what’s really holding me at [152]. If I didn’t have those this year, I’d be 500-and-something, probably.”
  • “And you know what, it’s OK, I don’t hold myself to that level. I’m not bitter, I don’t care. What I do care about is the people that aren’t being ranked right that don’t have a chance to be in the majors.” DeChambeau went on to highlight former top-20 golfer Joaquin Niemann as one of those who he believes should be at the four flagship events, but is not thanks to his fall in the rankings.”
Full Piece.

7. Bryson on the path back to PGA Tour

Our Matt Vincenzi…”While appearing on the Rick Shiels Golf Show, LIV Golf superstar Bryson DeChambeau discussed what path back to the PGA Tour may look like for LIV players if a “merger” indeed takes place.”

  • The former U.S. Open champion speculated that team golf could be the key to LIV players integrating into the signature event series on Tour.
  • “What I could see is LIV integrating into the signature series on the PGA Tour in some capacity and having two championships in one, where you have the individual component in the signature series, and you have the team side of it,” DeChambeau said.
  • “You have the teams you’re playing for, so no matter what on that final day that guy that’s playing really bad still matters, it’s still a big deal on the team championship aspect of the tournament.
  • “Then you guys have the individual side that’s still competing for that individual title the way it is currently.”
  • “We want to be mainstream. We believe we should be mainstream, we have some of the best golfers in the world that should be highlighted at these events.
  • “That would be my blue-sky scenario where we integrate, we figure out how to make it all mutually be beneficial, and we play for the legacy that’s there with a new idea and concept on top.”
Full Piece.

8. LIV’s first-ever trade

Adam Woodard for Golfweek…”Two teams have completed the LIV Golf League’s first-ever trade.”

  • “David Puig, who competed for Joaquin Niemann’s Torque GC and finished 31st out of 50 players in LIV’s season-long standings in 2023, has been dealt to Sergio Garcia’s Fireballs GC for Carlos Ortiz, who placed 15th last season.”
  • “The move will make the Fireballs a majority-Spanish team with Garcia, Puig, Eugenio Chacarra and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer. Torque is now fully comprised of Latin American talent with Chileans Niemann and Mito Periera, Ortiz, also from Mexico, and Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz.”
Full Piece.

9. Rahm not in Am-Ex field

Sky Sports report…”Speculation that Jon Rahm is weighing a lucrative offer to sign with LIV Golf received additional fuel on Wednesday as the Spaniard was not included among the notable names listed as committed to the PGA Tour’s American Express field next month.”

  • “Rahm has regularly played the tournament in La Quinta, California as part of his West Coast swing schedule, with one of his two wins at the event coming earlier this year.”
Full Piece.
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Tour Rundown: Six-pack of tourneys follows Masters

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Brazil and Texas were kindred souls this week, at least when it came to weather. Both regions experienced torrential delays, and three tournaments were held up. The LPGA, PGA Tour Americas, and PGA Tour Champions were compelled to reduce play or work extra holes into Sunday. As if that weren’t enough, South Carolina and the PGA Tour fell victim to nature’s wrath, with lightning postponing the conclusion of the event to Monday.

The year’s first women’s major championship was celebrated in Texas. The Chevron is gaining a bit of tradition in its second year after relocation. This year’s event culminated in the continued coronation of the game’s current best. The Korn Ferry Tour saw a top-twenty performance from a 15-year old amateur, while the second event of the week on the big tour found a winner in the Dominican Republic. Six events is more than a handful, so let’s get right to it, with this week’s (delayed) Tour Rundown.

LPGA @ Chevron Championship: Korda corrals second major title

The winter of 2022-2023 seems so distant for current Nelly Korda. A mysterious ailment sapped all of her energy, just as the world appeared to have finally emerged from the pandemic. We never quite secured the complete information that we desired, but no one can say that any of us deserved to know more than Nelly wished to share. One thing is for certain: Nelly Korda has returned to top form, and the world number one golfer is at least one level above anyone else on tour.

Korda began her 2024 campaign with a January victory in the Drive One Championship. In her next start, in March, she continued her assault on the record books, with a win at the Se Ri Pak. She won again the following week, at the Ford, then defeated Leona Maguire in the final match at the T-Mobile Match Play, for a fourth consecutive victory. Would the increased hype around a major championship have an impact on her game? Well, no.

Korda began play at the Chevron Championship with a score of 68. She trailed Lauren Coughlin by two after 18 holes, but caught her with a second-round 69. Coughlin would ultimately tie for third spot with Brooke Henderson. Henderson played with Korda on day four, but the middle third of the round was her undoing. Making a late move was Maja Stark. House Stark closed with birdies at 17 and 18 to reach 11 under par. Both Korda and Strak played the final three days in identical numbers: 69 each day.

Korda held a firm hand on the tournament over the course of the final day. She stood minus-four for the round through ten holes, before a bit of sloppy play made things competitive again. Bogeys at 11 and 15 opened the door a wee bit for Stark. Korda was equal to the test, however, and closed stylishly with birdie at 18.

PGA Tour 1 @ RBC: Scottie, so hottie!

Nelly isn’t the only golfer on fire, although Scottie Scheffler still has a ways to go to match her. Scheffler proved this week that he has a game for all courses. After winning comfortably at lengthy Augusta National, Scheffler shifted gears and game to the wee Sea Pines course, and won again. That’s two weeks in a row for the man from New Jersey/Texas, so let’s learn how he did it.

Scheffler totaled 69 on day one, and found himself six shots behind leader J.T. Poston. Scheffler revealed that his teacher, Randy Smith, would tell him that he didn’t need to be the best 15 year-old; just the best 25 year-old. It was easy, then, to play the long game and consider all 72 holes, instead of just 18. Scheffler improved to 65 on Friday, and then went even lower on Saturday. His 63 moved him to the top of the board, and caused the golfverse to wonder if Scheffler would win for a second consecutive week.

Sunday saw all the chasers fall away. Scores between 70 and 72 from Patrick Rodgers, Collin Morikawa, and Sepp Straka meant that others would need to seize the day, if Scheffler were to do more than coast. Wyndham Clark and Justin Thomas each moved inside the top five with fourth-round 65s, but no one ever got close enough to the world number one. The win was Scheffler’s 10th on tour, and made him the betting favorite for next month’s PGA Championship at Valhalla.

PGA Tour 2 @ Corales Puntacana: Baton Boy claims 8th Tour triumph

If you’ve ever seen Billy Horschel toss a club, you know that he doesn’t do so in anger. More likely is a calculated, soaring arc, paired with a look of fractured disbelief, followed by a quick catch of the cudgel. Ergo, Baton Boy. This week on the island of Hispaniola, the native of Grant, Florida, outworked and outhustled everyone else on Sunday. Horschel gathered seven birdies and an eagle, on the way to a 63 and a 23-under par total.

The former Florida Gator zipped past the four golfers in front of him, and left the remaining field in the rear-view mirror. Horschel’s round was two shots better than anyone else, and moved him two shots ahead of third-round leader Wesley Bryan. One of the famed Bryan Brothers, Wes closed with birdie at the last to post a 68 that would have won the week on any other day.

Korn Ferry Tour @ LeCom Suncoast: It’s Widing in extra holes

Miles Russell probably won’t have to serve detention for ditching class on Thursday and Friday. The high school freshman made his KFT debut, survived the 36-hole cut, and toyed with a top-ten finish. He ultimately tied for 20th at 14-under par, six shots behind the three co-leaders. My guess is that Epstein’s Mom will write him a note, and he’ll get a pass. By finishing top-25, Russell earned a spot in next week’s event. Yikes!

Back to the top of the board. Patrick Cover, Steven Fisk, and Tim Widing all found their way to the magic number of -20. Fisk made birdie at the last, after bogeys at 16 and 17. Cover had three bogeys on the back nine, but a birdie at 14 was enough to get him to overtime. Widing was plus-one on the day through four, but played interstellar golf over the final 14. Six birdies moved him from Russell-ville to extra time.

The trio scurried to the 18th tee, where Cover drove into a fairway bunker. He was unable to reach the green with his approach, made bogey, and exited the overtime session. Widing and Fisk returned to the final deck once more, and matters were resolved. Fisk was unable to convert a long par putt, and Widing (pronounced VEE-ding) tapped in for his first KFT title.

PGA Tour Americas @ Brasil Open: Mr. Anderson finds a way

Golf is a funny game. Matthew Anderson held a lead with one round to play. He made six pars on Sunday, and sprinkled the rest of his card with birdies and bogeys. In complete contrast, Ollie Osborne played consistently on the day, posting four birdies and zero bogeys. Connor Godsey was not far off Osborne’s pace, with seven birdies and but two bogeys on the scorecard. So, of course, Matthew Anderson won by a stroke over Osborne and Godsey.

Not how, but how many, is another one of those platitudes that we all learn early on. Despite five bogeys through his first 14 holes, Anderson summoned the defiant grit to make birdie at the 71st and 72nd holes. After making deuce at the penultimat hole, Anderson’s swerving effort at the last looked as if it should miss low, but it had enough pace to stay inside the hole and fall for a closing four at the par-five finisher.

PGA Tour Champions @ Invited Celebrity: Broadhurst stands tall

What do you call a tournament that begins on Friday, takes Saturday off, and finishes on Sunday? Fortunate is one adjective to use. A weather system moved through Texas this weekend, and made a mess of things in Irving. After Thomas Bjorn signed for 64 on day one, rain and all things counter-productive moved through the Las Colinas resort, ensuring that Saturday would be nothing more than a rest day. When Sunday arrived, conditions had improved, and the game was on. Bjorn was unable to preserve his Friday magic, although he did record a 70 for -8. He finished in a third-place tie with Y.E. Yang.

David Toms, the 2001 PGA Championship victor, presented Sunday’s low round, and moved to 10-under par. Toms made one mistake on the day. He lived in the rough on the 9th hole, ultimately making bogey. The rest of the day was immaculate, as seven birdies came his way, resulting in a six-under par 65. Only one golfer was able to surpass Toms, and that was Paul Broadhurst.

Broadhurst nearly matched Toms for daily honors. His mistake came early, with bogey at the second. He bounced back with eagle at the third, and added three more birdies for 66 and 11-under par. Over his first three seasons on the Tour Champions, Broadhurst won five times, including two major titles. His fifth win came in 2018, making this win his first in six years. A long time coming, for sure, but well earned.

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Morning 9: Rory: I’m not joining LIV | Masters ratings | Nelly: We just need a stage

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans, as we gear up to this week’s RBC Heritage.

1. Rory: I’m not going to LIV

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach…McIlroy said neither he nor his agents have ever discussed a potential deal to lure him to the LIV Golf League, which is being financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

  • “I honestly don’t know how these things get started,” McIlroy told Golf Channel while on the practice range at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina, the site of this week’s RBC Heritage. “I’ve never been offered a number from LIV, and I’ve never contemplated going to LIV. Again, I think I’ve made it clear over the past two years that I don’t think it’s something for me.
  • “It doesn’t mean that I judge people who have went and played over there. I think one of the things that I have realized over the past two years is that people can make their own decisions for whatever they think is best for themselves, and who are we to judge them for that? But personally, for me, my future is here on the PGA Tour, and it’s never been any different.”
Full piece.

2. Masters ratings down

Yahoo’s Jay Busbee…”Ratings for the full Masters week are now out, and 2024’s version ranks as the lowest since the COVID-impacted years of 2020 and 2021. There was a brief moment when four players shared the lead at the 2024 Masters, but Scottie Scheffler took care of business quickly enough and strolled to what qualifies as an “easy” Masters victory — a four-stroke triumph that wasn’t in doubt for most of the second nine.”

  • “Perhaps as a result, Sunday’s final round averaged 9.59 million viewers on CBS, according to Sports Media Watch, a 22.8% decline from last year’s 12.06 million. Scheffler’s win two years ago averaged 10.17 million viewers. Worth noting: Sunday’s final round was down 20 percent against last year’s victory by Jon Rahm, but last year’s final round fell on Easter Sunday, which created a significantly higher out-of-home percentage of viewers — 21 percent in 2023, as opposed to 9 percent this year.”
Full piece.

3. Chevron gets purse boost

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“Chevron’s commitment to the LPGA went a step higher on Tuesday with the announcement of a purse increase to $7.9 million in 2024. The move brings the tour’s first major in line with the purses of other championships. The U.S. Women’s Open purse of $12 million paces the tour, with the KPMG Women’s PGA second at $10 million. The AIG Women’s British Open purse checks in at $9 million while Amundi Evian is $6.5 million.”

  • “Chevron, which moved the event away from Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California, to Texas, last year, has increased the purse by $4.8 million since assuming title sponsorship in 2022. The company has committed to title sponsor the event through 2029.”
Full piece.

4. Shipley on “notegate”

Alex Myers for Golf Digest…”So what was up with “notegate”? During his hilarious spot with McAfee, Shipley reiterated there was no note from Woods, and that he was only looking at the moderator because he was so confused where the question was coming from:

  • “I looked over at the moderator like ‘Who the hell is this guy?'” Shipley says in the clip. “Because it just didn’t happen. I was so confused and so shocked in the moment.”
Full piece.

5. Nelly: We just need a stage

Iain Carter for the BBC…”Korda is the first American to win four consecutive tournaments on the LPGA since Lopez won five straight 46 years ago. This astonishing streak made the then rookie front page material for Sports Illustrated.

  • “Korda’s feats have yet to transcend the golfing village, and perhaps that suits her as she “tries to stay in my bubble”. But the American Solheim Cup player does recognise that more could be done to tell the increasingly compelling story of women’s golf.”
  • “I feel like we just need a stage,” she told reporters here at Carlton Woods just north of Houston. “We need to be put on TV.
  • “I feel like when it’s tape delay, or anything like that, that hurts our game. Women’s sports just needs a stage. If we have a stage we can show up and perform and show people what we’re all about.”
Full piece.

6. Photos from the 2024 RBC Heritage

  • Check out all of our galleries from this week’s event!
Full piece.
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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2024 RBC Heritage

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GolfWRX is on site this week at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island for the RBC Heritage. Plenty of golfers who competed in the Masters last week will be making the quick turnaround in the Lowcountry of South Carolina as the Heritage is again one of the Tour’s Signature Events.

We have general albums for you to check out, as well as plenty of WITBs — including Justin Thomas and Justin Rose.

We’ll continue to update as more photos flow in from SC.

Check out links to all our photos, below.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying and join the discussion in the forums.

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