We may be in the dog days of summer, but the golf world is abuzz this week. Jon Rahm leads the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, Paula Creamer sits atop the Evian Championship, and David Lingmerth has unexpectedly taken the lead at the Barracuda Championship. Oh, and the Senior Open Championship is underway.
Only ten I see
The WGC-FedEx St. Jude got off to a surprisingly moderate start in the temperature department, but Jon Rahm turned up the heat on Thursday. The Thumb fired a bogey-free 62 at TPC Southwind, three shots clear of the rest of the field. Leaderboard
Jon Rahm has played great golf this summer. He has finished T-3, T-2, first, and T-11 in his last four events. He led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting on Thursday and was seventh in SG: Approach, two stats that will almost always lead to success. He made every putt he faced between 15 and 25 feet. The mental side of golf has always been the issue for Jon Rahm, so we will see how he handles trying to win wire-to-wire.
Three back – Hideki Matsuyama, Bubba Watson, Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Smith, and Shugo Imahira all shot 65 on Thursday. Cantlay had the best statistical day of the bunch, but struggled with his irons on Thursday. Known as one of the best ball-strikers on tour, he could very well put up a low round on Friday.
The Rocket Man – Still riding high from his Rocket Mortgage victory, Nate Lashley got off to a great start in Memphis. He was fourth in Strokes Gained: Approach on Thursday, gaining more than two shots on the field. Lashley played in his first two major championships this summer, and this is his first World Golf Championship.
King of TPC Southwind – Dustin Johnson got off to a rocky start on Thursday but was able to salvage his round with a back-nine 31 to shoot 69. DJ has been in a bit of a funk over the last month. Still, his strong history at TPC Southwind and WGCs suggests he could pop off this weekend.
Newbie – Similar to Nate Lashley, Matthew Wolff earned his way to Memphis via his first PGA Tour victory this summer. The NCAA champion got off to a rough start on Thursday, shooting 72. Still, Wolff is set to make a lot of money in this no-cut event, a nice perk for a 20-year-old.
Print of the Week
Pasatiempo Golf Club’s par-3 18th hole is our Print of the Week. Get yours now!
20% of the proceeds will go to Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund, an organization that gives scholarships and educational support to economically disadvantaged Chicago high school students who demonstrate outstanding academic potential, leadership skills, and strong character.
Paula Creamer has not finished inside the top 10 of a major championship in five years. In her past eight majors, she has not done better than T-54. Luckily, this is golf, and sometimes past performance just doesn’t matter. In the first round of the Evian Championship in France, Creamer shot 64 and will take a one-shot lead into Friday.
Four players—Brittany Altomare, Inbee Park, Jin Young Ko, and Mi Hyang Lee—are one back of Creamer. Augusta National Women’s Amateur champion Jennifer Kupcho and world No. 1 Sung Hyun Park are also in the top 10. Leaderboard
As everyone knows, the Swedish love Lake Tahoe. David Lingmerth currently leads the Barracuda Championship after earning 18 points in the Stableford format. It has been more than a year since Lingmerth has finished better than T-41 on the PGA Tour, and it has been more than four years since his last win. Needless to say, this could be a big week for the Swede.
Grant Hirschman and Conrad Shindler are tied atop the Price Cutter Charity Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour. Both players shot 63 on Thursday. Leaderboard
Scott Parel and Ken Duke are among five players tied for the lead at the Senior Open Championship. Round 1 was suspended due to darkness and will be completed Friday morning. Leaderboard
Adare Manor will be the 2026 Ryder Cup site. Okay!
The fraught origins of the World Golf Championships
Taking up this week’s Flashback Friday topic, Garrett Morrison dives into the origins of the World Golf Championships. He finds not only a story about how the PGA Tour took control of international tournament golf but also an explanation for why today’s WGCs are tough to distinguish from normal Tour events. Full story
Shotgun Start: Flashback to the WGC origin story, Senior Open absentees, and the Wyndham dilemma
This Friday episode is recorded with Brendan on a beach house porch with beer in hand and Andy stowed away in a remote location working through some red wine. It’s a predictably winding road that begins with a late declaration for Event of the Week. They discuss early scores from across the world of golf, beginning in Memphis. News that this WGC Swampass event may be scheduled opposite the Irish Open is given a review. Andy provides some amusing intel on Westy’s whereabouts in lieu of playing the WGC Swampass. They get to Brooksy’s troubling quotes that he might play the Wyndham, and then discuss the viability of this entire side pot of cash really drawing the top players to that historic Greensboro stop. Then they take a closer look at the Senior British Open, where a handful of Americans at the top of the Schwab Cup Standings did not show up, which they find disgusting. Flashback Friday gets into the origin story of the WGCs coming into existence, featuring an anecdote with Greg Norman cussing out Tim Finchem. They wrap with news of a new Ryder Cup venue, the Walker Cup roster, and Andy’s soft spot for Tony Romo, who got another PGA Tour exemption. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify.