Some newsletters are written with more attitude than others. Keep that in mind. Anyway, the PGA and LPGA Tours head to Asia, Tiger writes a book, the Euros return to Le Golf National, and the Korn Ferry Tour reorganizes its schedule.
The PGA Tour’s
money grab Asian swing begins at the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges this weekend. It’s a limited field at this money grab no-cut event as only 78 players will tee it up in Korea. Defending champion Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, and Tommy Fleetwood headline the money grab field. Tee Times
You know that’s not a major, right?
Last year’s CJ Cup featured a surprisingly engaged non-major performance from Brooks Koepka. Brooks entered the week having racked up three of the past seven majors, including two in 2018. To that point, however, he had won only one regular PGA Tour event: the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2015. At Nine Bridges, he shot a final-round 64 to win by four shots. Koepka returns this week ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
The good and the bad
The good – We’ll get to the issues with the CJ Cup, but first, the positives. It’s a great opportunity for Korean golf fans to see the best in the world up close. They get to watch not only major champions like Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth but also the top Asian players in the game. Hideki Matsuyama, Si Woo Kim, and Sungjae Im are all in prominent groups this weekend and will be featured heavily in Asian markets. The event also shines a spotlight on lesser-known Asian players having good years around the world. Sanghyun Park, Jung-gon Hwang, and Yi Keun Chang all got spots via OWGR rankings, while Jazz Janewattananond and Tae Hee Lee earned their berths because of excellent play on the Asian Tour.
The bad – The CJ Cup is a sham. A sponsor paid millions to bring players to Korea, and a few dozen guys are going to earn easy FedEx Cup points and insane amounts of money. The event sets rookies back while propping up under-performing veterans.
Just consider how last year’s CJ Cup influenced the season-long FedEx Cup rankings. Pat Perez accumulated a bunch of points from his T-5 at Nine Bridges. It was a big reason he ended up No. 125 in the FedEx Cup rankings at the end of the season. Now, he likely would have been fine this year no matter what (a winner’s exemption plus major-medical starts), but guess who he pushed to 126th? Richy Werenski, a worthy young player who really could have used the fully exempt status that would have come from finishing one spot higher. Conversely, the 2018 CJ Cup preserved a card that probably should have been lost. Kelly Kraft’s T-44 earned him 10 FedEx Cup points, buoying him up just enough to finish No. 124 in the rankings. Should a limited-field fall-series money grab really have this much influence on who keeps their card and who doesn’t?
We understand it’s a business, but the CJ Cup promotes many of the issues we have with the PGA Tour model.
You know who actually kind of likes the CJ Cup, though? Paulie! In this top-heavy field, our fantasy guru is looking at the big hitters. See all of Paulie’s DraftKings picks HERE.
Shield your eyes
Meanwhile, the European Tour heads to a place where we all have happy memories: Le Golf National! A bunch of Euros with unique names take on the 2018 Ryder Cup host as the European Tour regular season winds down. Notables in the field include Alex Noren, Martin Kaymer, Andy Sullivan, Thomas Pieters, Stewart Cink, and Paul Dunne. Tee Times
After a week off to allow for some travel, the LPGA kicks off an Asian swing of its own this weekend. Danielle Kang returns to defend her title at the Buick LPGA Shanghai Championship as the ladies play their first of four straight events in Asia. Tee Times
Henrik Stenson and Annika Sorenstam are teaming up to host a joint European Tour-Ladies European Tour event in 2020. The event will feature 78 men and 78 women competing on the same course for the same trophy. Full Story from Randall Mell
Tiger Woods is partnering with HarperCollins Publishers to release a memoir titled Back. The book will cover everything from Tiger’s childhood to his 2019 Masters win. Press Release
Cardinals pitching coach Mike Maddux made two holes-in-one in the same round on Monday. That means Maddux has two more aces this week than the Cardinals have wins against the Nationals in the NLCS. That’s a real shame.
The Korn Ferry Tour announced its 2020 schedule on Tuesday.
Eclectic 18 UK – Hole No. 13: “Pit,” North Berwick Golf Club – If you’re familiar with UK golf, you probably saw this one coming. For the 13th hole of the Eclectic 18 UK, Jaeger Kovich and Clyde Johnson choose the famous “Pit” hole—you know, the one with the wall in front of the green.
Shotgun Start: Hammers in the sand at Nine Bridges, Brooksy’s Saudi enthusiasm, and a new KFT schedule
This Wednesday episode begins with an Andy conspiracy theory that the NFL is fixing games for the Packers. After a needless digression on some daunting yardwork, the CJ Cup—or CJ Plaque—is previewed with a look at the field, the lucrative purse, and the course, which has received a dubiously high ranking thanks to some rumored quid-pro-quo schemes. There’s also a brief and amusing story on the unorthodox “Hammer Drill” that K. J. Choi has taught so many proteges. On the European Tour, they discuss the fall of the French Open and how past Ryder Cup venues move to the back of the line after the matches come through. In a new segment, Worst for the Wednesday, they ask for the worst possible sports slogan or marketing phrase after watching the MLB’s We Play Loud campaign this month. Then there’s a “cross-sport cacophony” segment, where they touch on issues from the four major North American sports that also confront golf, most notably the ongoing NBA x China controversy and the European Tour event in Saudi Arabia. In news, they discuss some positive developments as well as some outrages from the new Korn Ferry Tour schedule, the new mixed event, and the title of Tiger’s memoir. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.
This newsletter got us fired up (clearly). We’re going to go grab a cold drink in one of our Fried Egg tumblers. And if you’re not fired up, feel free to put a hot drink in there. Works just as well! Grab yours at our pro shop now.