The PGA Tour heads to South Korea for the second edition of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. This is the third straight week that South Korean fans have been able to watch either the LPGA or PGA Tours as the ladies played the last two weeks. This week is headlined by POY Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Paul Casey, and Tyrrell Hatton. Tee Times
Last season, Justin Thomas notched his third Asian swing victory of his career with a playoff win over Marc Leishman. JT opened the event with a smooth 63 but needed to grind down the stretch to eventually hold off the big Aussie. The win capped a remarkable 2017 for Thomas that included 5 victories and his first major championship.
See Above – The Club at Nine Bridges is right in JT’s wheelhouse. It is as green as can be and favors his high ball flight. His game has been there in pieces the last few weeks so don’t be surprised if he makes another run this week.
Local Gents – A total of twelve Koreans are in the field this week with hopes of bringing a win to the Korean fans. The leader of the bunch is newcomer Sungjae Im. Im was the dominating force on the Web.com Tour in 2018 and started his PGA Tour career with a T4 at the Safeway. Other Koreans to watch include Ben An and SiWoo Kim.
$$$$$$$– There is an insane amount of money up for grabs this week. It is the only real way to ensure players make the trip across the globe to come play, but it is a little obnoxious. The purse for this no cut event is $9.5M with the winners’ share at $1.7. For comparison, this week’s purse is $400,000 more than the total purses of the first 15 2018 Web.com Tour events combined.
With a small field and a big pile of cash up for grabs, here’s who Paulie likes at Nine Bridges.
The Bowling Alley Invitational
The Europeans are heading to Spain this week for the Valderrama Masters. Sergio Garcia and his foundation headline the field that also includes European icons Padraig Harrington, Thomas Bjorn, and José María Olazábal. Valderrama is one of the tightest and most heavily tree-lined courses you will see in professional golf. I mean, what the hell is going on here?
Shotgun Start: The CJ “Plaque,” Johnny says goodbye, and picks with Paulie
Andy and Brendan discuss what feels both wrong and appropriate about the CJ Cup. Is it a soulless contrivance or just the kind of thing that pro tours should be experimenting with during this slower part of the golf calendar? Then they get to the big news of the week: Johnny Miller is retiring from the head analyst chair at NBC. They discuss Johnny’s contributions to the game as an analyst and assess the report that Paul Azinger will be the replacement. Finally, Twitter’s top golf handicapper, @GolfmanPaulie joins for a couple quick tips on the CJ Cup. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify
Theeeeeerrrrree Goes Johnny
After a long and illustrious career, Johnny Miller is hanging up his microphone. Whether you liked him or not, you had to respect the passion and acumen that Miller brought to the booth. He was never afraid to speak his mind, and that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. In the largely PC world that golf lives in, Johnny was always a funny break from the norm.
The LPGA Tour moves over to China this week for the Buick LPGA Shanghai event. Tee Times
The USGA and R&A unveiled their final plan for the greens books. Bottom line, they are allowed and the average person won’t notice a difference. Story
Steven Bowditch is undergoing the same fusion surgery that Tiger undertook in 2017. Story