January Mailbag – Part 2

What player island I am buying next to what will be the drama in the 2019 U.S. Open, here's part two of our January Mailbag


Back at ya with Part II of our January Mailbag – if you missed Part I, check it out here. We will be rolling out Part III later this week. Thanks for all the great questions. If you have more, send ‘em in here.

The players, media and fans head into every U.S. Open looking for something to yell about. At Chambers it was the greens, at Erin Hills it was the low scores and at Shinnecock it was the setup. This year the U.S. Open will head to perhaps its most iconic venue, Pebble Beach. Mike Davis is gone, John Bodenhamer is in as setup guy. I don’t think that’s going to make much a difference, but who knows. My prediction for what sets everyone off is fairway width. We saw the preparation at last year’s U.S. Amateur and will get a full look at it in a couple of weeks during the Pebble Pro-Am.

As much as I want to say Alvaro Ortiz, I have to go with the reigning U.S. Amateur Champion Viktor Hovland due to professional experience. Hovland has played a few more professional events, notching a T-13th at the Australian Open this winter. The Oklahoma State star also ranks third in Golfstat’s collegiate rankings behind only Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa.

Two of my favorite vacation spots! Westy Island is beautifully situated just outside of the Bahamas. This area offers wonderful beaches and tropical weather. The downside, it’s one of the most susceptible to hurricanes and microstorms. The hurricane season coincides with major championships and often leaves the island devastated. Squalls can pop up on weekends from time to time. Thankfully after years of these smaller storms, most residents have made the necessary adjustments to their homes.

Hosung Island sits in the Asian-Pacific, and it has the benefit of not being as affected by tropical storms. It’s a beautiful place and offers warm weather but recently has become overrun with tourists. Mr. Choi’s recent endorsement of Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers has me liquidating assets on the island. One downside to ownership on Hosung Island is the looming threat of tsunami which could wipe the island out as quickly as it grew in popularity.

Tanking? Prices are at all time highs on Hosung Island! I am going to take my mega return and invest in a few islands that I see poised for growth in 2019. I am going to pour resources into former Illinois stars Tom Detry and Nick Hardy. I might be investing a little bit too much with my heart here but I believe Detry will win an individual event in 2019. He paired with Thomas Pieters to win the World Cup in the winter and notched five top 10 finishes on the Euro Tour in 2018. Hardy’s a good buy, after missing getting out of 2nd stage by a shot, you will never get the three time All-American at this price again. Hardy is your prototypical modern PGA Tour pro – he bombs it and makes a ton of putts. He won the 2016 Illinois State Am by ten shots after shooting 65-66-64-65. If you were wondering through two rounds I was 17 shots back, notching a MC Hammer. I am fairly confident that I would have kept the margin below 40 had I made the cut. While he doesn’t have status on the Web or PGA Tour he should get a fair share of sponsor’s exemptions, one of which is this week at the Farmers.

Nope. Ernie was the far superior player when both were in their prime. Just because Phil has managed to stay relevant and win one time in the last five years, it doesn’t change either players’ legacy. Don’t fall for recency bias -, Ernie Els was the real deal and the player most impacted by Tiger Woods. Full story

In an era where golfers are looking, swinging and acting more an more similar, the little I have seen of Harry Higgs is a breath of fresh air. I am looking forward to watching more of the 27-year-old SMU grad and hope that someday I can pick his brain on former teammate Bryson DeChambeau’s collegiate lifestyle.

While I am tempted to take the quaint bungalow that the Thatcher Family owns outside of Augusta National, I am going with a lower priced option. I love Chicagoland and I love Shoreacres. I noticed this year that this beautiful home was for sale, situated right on the 10th hole, arguably America’s greatest Road Hole. Six bedrooms will be plenty for me and the Mrs.

10th hole at Shoreacres, house on the far right of the photo.

I’m a big fan of barbacoa, it’s wildly underrated. But the best burrito that I had this year at the Burrito Challenge was from Publican. The ingredients were farm chicken, frites, summer sausage refried beans, bbq pickled carrots, little gem and creamy herb dressing.

Where is one part of the world you most want to visit to play golf?
– @jwreader

I am dying to go a few places, the area that intrigues me the most is the London Heathland. This area was responsible for bringing golf to the masses and is where golf architecture transformed. It offers a plethora of top notch courses such as Swinley Forest, Sunningdale, St. George’s Hil and Woodhall Spa to name a few.

I foresee more and more public play at private clubs across America. To me, outside of the greatest clubs in each city, every other club should be looking at the Pasatiempo/UK model. Pasatiempo’s membership pays a flat monthly fee and are never assessed thanks to the revenue the club brings in by allowing daily public play. In today’s society, parents are spending more time than ever before with their children. That means less time for golf and less ability to justify large club membership dues and assessment bills.

Big Cat says it best, you just need more “reps”. Getting comfortable in tournament golf takes time and experience. There are a few things I do before tournaments that have really helped me over the years. When you are uncomfortable, you typically move faster than normal. It leads to a quick tempo and lots of horrendous shots. The morning of a tournament I try and do everything extremely slowly. I wake up slowly, I take my time eating breakfast, I take a leisurely drive to the course, all with the intention of counteracting the discomfort of tournament golf.

Another thing that has helped me is at the end of my range session I simulate playing the first few holes that I will see. I am a habitually slow starter in tournaments so this helps me get a little rhythm before the round.

The final thing that has helped me more than anything is an odd one, during my pre-shot routine, I sing Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb to myself. I just find it gets me relaxed, usually by the time David Gilmour gets to “is there anyone home” I feel my shoulders drop into a relaxed feeling and I am ready to go.

I’m a window seat guy and prefer to be near the front of the plane.

There are a number of golf podcasts producing incredible material, but I would like to think of this as the Golden Age of The Fried Egg podcast. The guests are phenomenal. I’ve also had more practice with interviewing and audio production compared to when I started knowing nothing about the process. Always good to get into more of a groove and feel more comfortable.

How much does the average Tour pro care about course architecture?

Very little. There are a few outliers who love the topic but most don’t think about it.

Favorite game formats outside of traditional match play or alternate shot (which we know you love)?

I always enjoy a good scotch game. Also for foursomes, I enjoy playing Vegas or banker. My favorite game to play with three is Calvin Peete, everyone needs to be a good sport though.
How to play Vegas
How to play Banker
How to play Calvin Peete

I would say that the worst decision in golf was allowing equipment to get to the point where the Old Course needed to be lengthened. Technology has led to a marginal improvement in playing ability of the masses and has come with an exorbitant end cost to the consumer. Sad that business runs the game rather than the governing bodies.

What was the favorite shot you hit in 2018?

I played at Bob-O-Link towards the end of the summer with Vince India who plays on the Web.com Tour. I was flying the drone up until a few minutes before we teed and hadn’t hit a golf ball in over two weeks. Vince ripped a driver about 320 down the middle and then I got up on the tee and almost missed the ball. It went about 150 yards, got about 3 feet off the ground and almost hit the bench on the tee box in front. I then proceeded to top my next two shots. In a weird way, the near top off the tee was my favorite because it reminds you of how dumb the game is. The challenge of it is what makes you come back.

Can we get an overview of your amateur golf career?
– @jackmcg2010


When are you doing an annual fried egg invitational?

We will be doing a few events in 2019, details coming soon.