12/12/18

Honorable mention

The European Tour tees it up in South Africa while Brooks gets snubbed again.

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For the first time since last December, there is no golf tournament on the PGA Tour or Web.com Tour. The whirlwind schedule will take a break until this 2019’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. Having said that, there is golf this week on the European Tour with the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Not to be confused with the popular Dunhill Links, the Alfred Dunhill Championship is hosted in South Africa. The Dunhill Championship is back after a year off due to the host course, Leopard Creek, undergoing a renovation.

In 2016, Brandon Stone captured the title by six shots and notched the sixth consecutive win from a South African. Stone will be present at this year’s event along with last week’s winner Louis Oosthuizen, former Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els and Dylan Frittelli. Full field and tee times

News and notes

Snubbed
ESPN put together a list of the most dominant 20 athletes from 2018. The list included the likes of the LPGA’s Ariya Jutanugarn, Olympians Simone Biles, Daniel Cormier and Katie Ledecky, LeBron James, Drew Brees and even a horse, Justify. One person the list left off was two-time major winner and PGA Tour Player of the Year, Brooks Koepka. It was the latest snub of the star golfer, who has felt slighted by the lack of media attention over the course of his career. Koepka took to Twitter, drawing attention to his glaring omission from ESPN’s list. Koepka on Twitter is a rarity, as our Will Knights pointed out.

The ball does not go further!
Despite “regulations”, distance continues to explode on the PGA Tour, with driving distance up 4 yards in 2018 according to Mike Johnson of Golf Digest. The average on Tour moved from 292.1 to 296.1 in 2018. The number of players averaging over 310 doubled from seven to fourteen, and the number of players averaging over 300 went from 40 to 60. The number has been on the rise for the last decade despite regulations from the governing bodies. Equipment, instruction, agronomy and fitness all factor into this number, but it’s a new era on the Tour. Young stars are hitting it longer than ever and as the Tour continues to get younger, it should get longer. Don’t be surprised to see that number continue to increase and pass 300 in 2019. As a frame of reference, in 1997, the average driving distance on Tour was 268 yards.

The Shotgun Start: Brooks Koepka starts getting real on Twitter and golf in a South African bestiary

With just three events this week, one of which Andy vehemently proclaims “doesn’t count,” we look to the ends of the earth for the distinguished “event of the week” honor. This leads to longer-than-expected but delightful discussions on the Dunhill Championship and the Indonesian Masters, aka the Westy Invitational on the Asian Tour. For the Dunhill in South Africa, we review Gary Player’s Leopard Creek redesign, with a spotlight on some of its curious finishing holes and what the content makers at the PGA Tour would do with all the animals that roam near its grounds. We also examine the purse size and field makeup of the Indonesian event. Andy makes a plea for no John Daly Jr. coverage at the Father-Son. We then discuss Brooks Koepka taking umbrage with an arbitrary end-of-year list and how that relates to an interesting Golfweek article on players working with the PGA Tour to try to grow their brands on social media (we argue to stop taking the Tour’s suggestions as gospel and just be authentic, among other things). Listen on iTunesSpotify and Stitcher.

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Quick hooks

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