Welcome again to the Monday End, the place our drives already go 12-15 yards shorter than we predict they need to. Let’s get to it!
Seven of ’em.
7. Tiger Woods followers
It was a great week for Tiger Woods optimists as a result of, of us, Tiger Woods is one in every of you! He walked 4 days (four-and-a-half, when you depend the pro-am) and his physique held up at “sport velocity,” which seems to be the most recent phrase in his distinctive lexicon. Woods started the week saying he hoped to have the ability to play as soon as a month, which might optimistically imply the Genesis, the Gamers, the 4 majors and perhaps 1-2 others earlier than we’re again at subsequent 12 months’s Hero. On the finish of the week? Wooden nonetheless felt like that’s a sensible schedule. That’s an encouraging signal.
“I believe that I can get into the rhythm of it. I believe that having a few weeks off to recuperate, every week to construct up, there’s no motive why I can’t get into that rhythm,” he mentioned on Sunday afternoon. “It’s only a matter of getting in higher form, mainly. I really feel like my sport’s not that far off, however I must get in higher form.”
There are additionally causes for warning, in fact. Woods’ driving seemed sharp all week, however the remainder of his sport? Some nice, some bizarre. Woods putted right into a bunker. He doinked some chips. His famously crisp iron play included some uncharacteristic misses. And he completed 20 pictures off the tempo. However he stiffed some, too, and he hit some intelligent quick sport pictures, and he made a bunch of putts. Come 2024 we are able to parse out what his expectations might realistically be. For now we are able to admire the power to have that dialog.
6. Golf’s rumor mill
I’m unsure whether or not this makes us winners or losers however the truth that renewed rumors and reviews of Jon Rahm going to LIV sparked loads of dialog on the Hero — however very actually nothing concrete. I’d say issues had been greatest typified by the response of Jordan Spieth, who labored his approach into and out of a nook like this:
“I do know there’s been some guys which have talked to [Rahm],” Spieth mentioned. “I do know he’s perhaps weighing some choices, (ed. word: that is the place he caught himself) perhaps not. I actually don’t know, so I don’t need to insult him and say he’s weighing choices if he already is aware of he’s not or he’s. You already know, that’s considerably out of my management, in a approach.
“Clearly I might communicate most likely on behalf of 200-plus PGA TOUR gamers in saying that we actually hope that he’s persevering with with us.”
Up to now Rahm’s crew has not responded to requests for remark from the Monday End, like each different media outlet. So let’s sort out this one additional after we get one thing concrete.
5. Aussies in Aussie
Tis the season for prime professionals to descend on Australia and for Aussie golf followers to have a good time their very own. They received excellent news final week when Min Woo Lee received the Australian PGA Championship. They practically received extra excellent news this week when he cooked his approach into the 36-hole lead on the Australian Open with a 67-64 begin. He ran out of gasoline on the weekend, however Lee’s 12 below par end left him in solo third, two pictures exterior a playoff.
What made the weekend notably cool was that Min Woo’s sister Minjee Lee practically received the occasion on the ladies’s aspect, making eight birdies (plus three bogeys and a double) in her first 14 holes to chop into the lead of defending champ Ashleigh Buhai. However Lee parred the ultimate 4 holes and settled for second, the very best results of her profession right here — if additionally her most bittersweet.
Karrie Webb was the final Aussie girl to win her house Open in 2014.
In all, seven Aussie girls completed inside the highest 10 together with LPGA professionals Hannah Inexperienced and Stephanie Kyriacou (T5) and rising star Gabi Ruffels (ninth). 5 Aussies cracked the highest 10 on the lads’s aspect together with Adam Scott (T4) who made a fierce Sunday cost earlier than he was undone by a late triple bogey. Lucas Herbert (seventh), Sam Brazel (T8) and Jason Scrivener (T8) rounded out the contending contingent, whereas Cameron Smith completed T17.
4. LIV golfers in DP World occasions
Smith could not have received, however the next-best LIV professional within the Aussie Open discipline did: Joaquin Niemann got here out on prime. It’s been an up-and-down couple years for the Chilean expertise, who was inside the highest 20 on the planet when he left for LIV within the fall of 2022. His T16-MC-T32-MC main season fell in need of the lofty expectations we nonetheless have for the 25-year-old, however an eagle on the second playoff gap towards Rikuya Hoshino completed off a stellar Aussie fortnight (fifth, 1st) and reminded the world he nonetheless has loads of sport.
In South Africa, in the meantime, the DP World Tour performed its second consecutive week — and Dean Burmester received for the second consecutive week, this time by three pictures over a contingent of countrymen. He’s now as much as No. 77 on the planet.
One fascinating little bit of fallout from these couple weeks? LIV’s pecking order. Whereas the OWGR hasn’t given factors to LIV competitions, unbiased fashions have continued to trace LIV play. DataGolf has LIV’s prime professional as Bryson DeChambeau at No. 28 and two stunning names as the highest two LIV professionals behind him: Niemann (No. 30) and Burmester (No. 33) earlier than attending to Smith at No. 40. Even the TUGR, LIV’s adopted rating system for the aim of its qualifying match, has DeChambeau because the top-ranked LIV professional at No. 22, with Smith second at No. 25.
I’m not arguing that these guys have misplaced their sport. We’ve seen them compete and win around the globe! We’re working with an odd medley of samples, too. However the energy rankings of prime LIV guys shall be an more and more fascinating factor to observe of as golf’s murky geopolitics stay in limbo and these guys pop up in varied worldwide occasions.
3. A South African in Australia
To enhance our Aussies in Australia and a South African in South Africa we’ve got South African professional Ashleigh Buhai, who defended her title on the Australian Open regardless of a birdie-free ultimate spherical. Buhai held onto her lead by taking part in stop protection with 15 pars and three bogeys.
Buhai held off Lee regardless of a partisan house crowd to earn her third worldwide win of the 12 months and leap to No. 22 within the Rolex Rankings.
2. Justin Thomas’ native pizza place
After months of voicing his need for a diet-forbidden slice of pizza, Justin Thomas lastly relented late this summer season.
“After capturing about 400 the primary two days on the Open Championship, after I received to Minnesota [for the next week’s 3M Open] I received a gluten-free pizza, like, on Monday or Tuesday and I swear I might have cried, it was so good,” Thomas mentioned on the Hero. “And actually, I simply slowly applied dairy once more the following two weeks and I didn’t really feel any completely different, which I used to be shocked, to be trustworthy. I used to be pleasantly stunned.”
Any regrets on the six-month dietary overhaul?
“It wasn’t precisely throughout my greatest stretch of golf, so I’d say if I had it over, I’d not do it,” he mentioned. “It’s a kind of issues, I don’t actually give 50 % an excessive amount of. I really feel like if I’m going to do one thing, I’m going to do it. I’m going to need to know the way it’s. For those who guys hear of me doing that once more, inform me to cease.”
So, yeah, some regrets. A 3rd-place Hero end looks as if motive sufficient to seize a slice of pepperoni to have a good time. I would get one to match him.
1. Scottie Scheffler’s placing observe
Within the days main as much as the Ryder Cup I used to be in full disbelief at how a lot time Scottie Scheffler was spending on the observe inexperienced, a lot of it below the cautious research of guru Phil Kenyon.
Within the days main as much as final week’s Hero World Problem I additionally couldn’t imagine how a lot time Scottie Scheffler was spending on the observe inexperienced, both, as soon as once more below Kenyon’s research, this time in a small-field offseason occasion within the Bahamas.
One thing else has modified within the meantime, too: Scheffler put a putter from boutique model Olson into play after it received varied rounds of testing.
Our Jonathan Wall has the main points on the wand right here. All I’ll add is that Scheffler was sixth out of 20 gamers in strokes gained placing for the week, an amazing signal for a man who struggled on the greens and nowhere else in a preposterously constant 2023. His ball-striking was characteristically wonderful. It’s solely becoming that he completed off the 12 months with a three-shot victory.
Another mind-blowing Scheffler ball-striking stat for the highway:
Okay, not their week.
3. Monahan’s ‘merger’ regrets
In an look on the New York Instances‘ Dealbook summit, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan relived the occasions of June sixth and every little thing after. However I believed one change was notably telling was interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin difficult him on the framework settlement’s rollout. He then laid out an alternate type of messaging that may have averted the preliminary “merger” messaging confusion.
“When this was first described to the general public it was described as a merger,” Sorkin mentioned. “Lots of people checked out it and thought there was a merger occurring. Sports activities Illustrated mentioned that every one of this is able to have been completely different if the next had occurred — when you had mentioned to the gamers, ‘I’ve some stunning information and I need you all to listen to it first. First, all of LIV Golf’s lawsuits have been dismissed, they can’t be introduced again. Second, the Saudi Arabian authorities wish to give us full management over the way forward for LIV Golf, make investments billions in our tour as a substitute of our rival, we might in fact retain full management over the PGA Tour and our enterprise operations as nicely, all they need is one seat on our coverage board and a minority stake in our enterprise. Don’t fear, I haven’t dedicated to something.’”
“The rollout was a failure on my half,” he mentioned. “I’ve owned it and I proceed to personal it.”
He supplied an optimistic imaginative and prescient for the longer term, going as far as to say that down the highway gamers and public will see the deserves of his actions main as much as June sixth. Nonetheless…
“Going again to your query, if I had come out and mentioned it that approach, yeah, I believe that … if I might do it otherwise I used to be in New York Metropolis and I’d have flown to Toronto and had that dialog with our gamers. I didn’t do it. However I believe we’ve taken plenty of steps to rectify that and gamers perceive what it’s we’re doing.”
The total interview was an fascinating peek into Monahan’s mindset then and now; he additionally delved into the components that led to his medical depart and why he thinks he’s nonetheless the person for the job.
2. Zalatoris’ broomstick debut
It’s harsh to place Willy Z. on this class; this week’s massive success was having him again! Like Woods, any wholesome completion of 4 rounds was going to mark some form of victory.
However when Zalatoris confirmed up rocking a broomstick putter all of us puzzled if he’d all of a sudden look completely different on the greens. As he mentioned, lengthy putts haven’t been a difficulty however on shorties he had an inclination to get somewhat bit … wiggly.
It’s protected to say the brand new putter will take some getting used to. In Thursday’s opening spherical Zalatoris misplaced six strokes to the sphere on the greens and shot 81, the day’s highest rating by 5.
Over the following three days the putter improved, although it was nonetheless a little bit of a rollercoaster journey; it’s protected to say Zalatoris was knocking the rust off in taking part in his first aggressive rounds since earlier than the Masters. His 81-68-79-71 was a show of unevenness that left him in final by 9 strokes however hopefully serves as a stepping stone for the 2024 season.
1. Guys who say they hit it 300
There’s a college of thought that when you ask males how tall they’re, no person will say 5-foot-11; when you’re that shut you simply spherical as much as six ft. I’ve received an analogous perception about amateurs who hit it a great distance — anyone who’s ever hit a drive 300 yards will simply say they hit it 300.
What about now? What if the alleged rollback involves move? What when you all of a sudden made each 5’11” fella 5’9″ as a substitute? And what in case your big-hitting buddy’s 275-yard drives begin going 260?
I’ll save my full ideas on the rollback for an additional deep dive; it’s clear from the passionate reactions to the announcement (and the reactions to the reactions, and the reactions to the reactions to the reactions…) that folks really feel very strongly about this and I admire that. However as somebody whose physician just lately informed me I used to be 5’11.75″, I need you to know that I really feel you. It’ll take a while to regulate our self-images. However we’ll endure.
NEWS FROM SEATTLE
Monday End HQ.
This time of 12 months it appears like we’ve received two choices: chilly and clear or reasonably much less chilly and drizzly. This week we’re leaning arduous into the latter — there’s one thing referred to as an “atmospheric river” coming to city, which sounds decidedly moist. Sigh. Recollections of the Bahamas are fading quick.
3 issues to observe this week.
1. A legit LPGA/PGA Tour crossover
This week’s Grant Thornton Invitational represents one thing genuinely new, completely different and intriguing within the golf world: a PGA/LPGA Tour crossover occasion that includes two-player groups going face to face. Longtime golf followers amongst you’ll level to previous iterations of blended crew occasions, however in my time protecting the game there’s been nothing prefer it — notably that includes among the prime gamers within the sport like we are able to anticipate this week.
The groups are additionally particularly enjoyable. Joel Dahmen taking part in with World No. 1 Lilia Vu is enjoyable. Rising star Ludvig Aberg taking part in with established star and fellow Swede Madelene Sagstrom is enjoyable. Aussies Jason Day and Lydia Ko! Canadians Corey Conners and Brooke Henderson! The mononymous Rickie and Lexi! Finau and Korda! Prime to backside, it’s an particularly enjoyable record of groups — all the best way right down to Sahith Theegala and Rose Zhang. Price your curiosity.
2. Q-College Szn
For the primary time in years, the PGA Tour’s Q-school system is offering direct entry to the highest circuit for a handful of professionals. And for the primary time in world historical past LIV Golf is holding a Q-school of its personal — and a handful of fascinating names (Jason Dufner, anyone?) have signed up.
The LPGA Tour’s 108-hole Q-Collection marathon is nearing its conclusion, too, with loads of new faces plus acquainted names like Mina Harigae in competition for coveted playing cards.
After which there’s the Champions Tour’s Q-College, which is able to conclude subsequent week with acquainted names like John Smoltz (yeah, the pitcher!) and Hosung Choi within the combine.
For the offseason, there’s an terrible lot happening to find out subsequent season’s form.
We’re launching a brand new sequence referred to as Breakthrough about crucial individuals in golf and the moments of their lives that catapulted them to the highest. Their breakthrough moments, if you’ll. First up? Jason Day! The previous World No. 1 took us from his brawling teenage days in Queensland all the best way to his stint on the prime of the sport — and thru his mindset now that he’s making an attempt to get again there.
You may subscribe to our YouTube channel to be sure to catch this when it drops Tuesday afternoon.
We’ll see you subsequent week!
Dylan (cautiously) welcomes your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.