Happy Friday, sports fans! We are officially in the final seven days of February and spring is rounding into form. Speaking of rounding into form, Rory McIlroy seems to be putting everything together on the golf course. The Northern Irishman holds a 1-shot lead at the WGC Mexico after round one with a crowded group of world-class players close behind. WGC Mexico Championship Leaderboard
McIlroy got off to a hot start on Thursday with an opening round of 63. He made an eagle and 7 birdies in Mexico while leading the field in strokes gained approach. His eagle 2 on the 1st hole was his most impressive as he hit iron 307 yards to just six feet.
Rory’s strong play has been a trend in early 2019. He has finished in the top 5 of all three PGA Tour events he has played this season and was in contention down the stretch last week at Riviera. His last win was at Bay Hill last fall so he is approaching a full year without a victory.
Dust 1 Back
World #3 Dustin Johnson is just one shot behind Rory after a bogey-free 64. DJ seems to somehow be under the radar in the golf world but has played very well recently. His unwavering demeanor makes his play seem uninspiring, but here he is near the top of the leaderboard yet again. Dustin has three top 10s on the year, including the win in Saudi Arabia.
Other Leaderboard Notes
Justin Thomas sits in a tie for 3rd despite a cold putter on Thursday. JT has three top 3s in his last four events and is due to close one out soon. He was 2nd in strokes gained off the tee and 1st in strokes gained around the greens on Thursday.
In his triumphant return to Mexico, Matt Kuchar is right back in the mix. Kuchar shot a first round 66 and sits just three shots back of Rory. Winning this event would certainly lead to questions for his regular caddie, John Wood, who is on the bag this week in Mexico.
Jordan Spieth bucked his recent trend of great first rounds with an opening 75. Spieth collapsed at Riviera last Sunday and seems to have some leftover stink in Mexico.
As with most WGCs, we have a very international leaderboard. Nine countries are currently represented in the top 20 and many more are nearing in. Abraham Ancer, the lone Mexican in the field, currently sits in a tie for 25th after an opening round of 71.
The first opposite field of 2019 is underway in Puerto Rico. It was a breezy first day outside of San Juan, but more than 50 players were still able to shoot under par. Andres Romero leads after a bogey-free 66. Former Georgia Bulldog Sepp Straka sits 1 shot back while a host of players sit 2 shots back. Among that group is Ollie Schniederjans, Roberto Castro, and Roberto Diaz. Clemson senior Bryson Nimmer shot an opening round of 69 and sits just 3 off the lead. Puerto Rico Open Leaderboard
Honda LPGA Thailand
The world’s best LPGA players are all underway in Thailand for the Honda LPGA Thailand. Round 2 is underway as we write this, but the leaderboard is stacked. Eun-Hee Ji, Danielle Kang, Minjee Lee, Brooke Henderson, Nelly Korda, both Jutanugarn sisters, Michelle Wie, and Mo Martin are ALL inside the top 20. Leaderboard
For the second week in a row, Bryson DeChambeau takes out his frustration on the golf course.
Tiger confirmed that he will be skipping next week’s Honda Classic and then returning for Bay Hill and The PLAYERS.
The USGA released the sites for the 2021-2026 U.S. Amateur sites. They include Oakmont, Merion, and Cherry Hills.
The Latest Podcasts and Articles
Episode 122: Geoff Ogilvy – The Players, Majors and The Vic Open
In part two of our most recent podcast with Geoff Ogilvy, we discuss the PGA Tour’s developing classes of events. Geoff talks about what he likes about invitationals and bigger events as a player. Andy and Geoff also talk about the PLAYERS and its attempt to become a major. The conversation wraps up talking about Geoff’s most recent tournament, the Vic Open, a congruent event with the European and LPGA Tours. Listen to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify.
Shotgun Start: Rory goes low in Mexico, more Bryson vandalism, and future U.S. Amateur sites
It’s Friday and after a diversion discussing the career achievements of Daniel Chopra and the use of exclamation points in emails, Brendan and Andy get to the matters at hand in Mexico. They discuss Rory McIlroy’s opening 63, his current run of contention, and whether or not he has to win to validate anything. They also discuss the drivable par-4s on the Chapultepec setup, Tiger’s opening round, and another Bryson temper tantrum that led to more course damage just a week after he took a chunk out of a Riviera bunker edge. The occasion of Zion Williamson’s high-profile shoe blowout also has them trying to recall some of the most notorious equipment failures in golf. Then they get to the news of future U.S. Amateur sites, some wrinkles from the Steve Stricker Ryder Cup announcement, and Tiger’s decision to skip the Honda Classic. We wrap with Flashback Friday on some beefs from old WGC Doral days that included Sergio vs. Brandel and Poulter vs. Hideki as well as Michael Bradley’s Puerto Rico Open dominance. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify
Fried Egg Feature
Warning: This long sleeve t-shirt is extremely comfortable.