We’ve got a doozy of a week ahead of us, folks. Stars are starting to make their way across the pond in preparation for the Open Championship, the PGA Tour heads to the Quad Cities for a tractor pull golf tournament, and the Korn Ferry Tour pushes 800 yards for a single hole (in Colorado, mind you).
She thinks my tractor’s sexy
Everyone’s favorite fifth major, the John Deere Classic, is officially here! The final event before the Open always draws weaker fields on paper, but this year is special. It has the lowest strength of field for any non-opposite field event since the 2014 Mayakoba Classic (h/t Will Gray). While that may sound bad, the silver lining is that young studs like Matthew Wolff, Collin Morikawa, and Viktor Hovland will have a chance to shine. Tee Times
Mike, Mike, Mike
Last year at the Deere saw a bizarrely dominant performance from former Cal Bear Michael Kim. Kim fired rounds of 63-63-63-66 (whoa) to break Steve Stricker’s tournament scoring record and win by eight shots. Here’s how good he was: not only was he No. 1 in proximity to the pin (24’ 11”), but he also holed 481 feet of putts and gained 13.51 shots on the field in putting. 13.51!
It was Kim’s first career PGA Tour victory, and the year since has been rough. He has missed 23 of his last 27 cuts, with his last made cut coming in October. Let’s hope he can find some good mojo in his return to TPC Deere Run.
The Newbs – Matthew Wolff, Collin Morikawa, and Viktor Hovland are more than a cute story this week; they’re the tournament favorites. Listed at 25/1, 20/1, and 18/1, respectively, they top the betting slips. Wolff and Morikawa are fresh off their battle at the 3M Open, and in a weak field, they could very well take home some hardware.
The Open – One final seat in the charter plane to Royal Portrush is up for grabs this week. Just 13 of the 156 players in the field are exempt for next week, leaving the door wide open. Matthew Wolff did not get an exemption for his win last week so he’ll need another win to earn a trip across the Atlantic.
The Top 125 – Time is running out for those on the top 125 bubble. After the Deere, just two opposite-field events and the Wyndham Championship remain for those who are not exempt for the Open or the WGC Memphis. Tick, tock….
Ho Sung – He’s back! Ho Sung Choi tees it up with Tom Lovelady and Brady Schnell for his second PGA Tour event of the season. He missed the cut at the AT&T Pro-Am after rounds of 72-75-77.
A lot of love out there for the Wolff-Morikawa-Hovland triumvirate at the moment, and Paulie is no exception. In the small pond that is the Deere field, he’s thinking the youngsters might suddenly be the big fish. All the picks here
Print of the Week
Alister MacKenzie’s Northwood Golf Club is on display in our second edition of Print of the Week. Redwoods tower over Northwood’s 7th green as the sun peaks through, lighting up this Northern California nine-holer. Proceeds will continue to go to the Daniel Murphy Fund Scholarship and help provide education to economically disadvantaged young people in the Chicago area. Purchase here!
It’s a little tartan
Many of the household PGA Tour names are in Europe this week for the Scottish Open. With just one week to go until the Open, players are getting a taste of links golf at the Tom Doak-designed Renaissance Club. Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Kevin Kisner, Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar, Eddie Pepperell, and Tyrell Hatton are all in the field. While these guys are exempt for Royal Portrush, plenty of players in the field are still looking for a way to Northern Ireland. Three spots are available to the top finishers not already eligible. Martin Kaymer currently sits as the second alternate after narrowly missing a spot at last week’s Irish Open. Tee Times
The Korn Ferry Tour heads west to TPC Colorado this week. This 7,991-yard course will be new to the players, as it was just completed in 2018. The 13th hole will play 773 yards, but the elevation of over 5,000 feet should help. Tee Times
The R&A announced on Monday that the 2019 AIG Women’s Open Championship’s purse will increase 40% from last year. The total purse will be $4.5M in AIG’s first year as the title sponsor of the event.
Firestone Country Club is back after losing its WGC this year. The Bridgestone Senior Players Championship gets underway in Akron on Thursday. Tee Times
The LPGA is also in Ohio for the Marathon Classic. Tee Times
Kevin Streelman found out that he had earned a spot in the Open in a charmingly low-key way.
Eclectic 18 UK
New series alert! Architects Jaeger Kovich (Proper Golf) and Clyde Johnson (Cunnin’ Golf) will take you on a tour of their favorite 18 holes in the United Kingdom. Jaeger and Clyde will present one hole a week and dive into what makes each so special. Read Jaeger’s Eclectic 18 Introduction.
Our second event is officially on the schedule! Aiken Golf Club in Aiken, South Carolina, will play host to The Thoroughbred on Saturday, October 12th. Mark your calendars for now, and be on the lookout for more details and registration.
Shotgun Start: Inside Monty’s major prep, Rocky Mountain KFC Tour, and John Deere dumpster diving
A rollicking Wednesday episode begins by immediately taking a hard left turn off the planned route to discuss the Senior Players Championship, specifically the major getting away from some recent excellent venue choices and intel on Monty’s prep at a local suburban Ohio retail store. We then get into the KFC Tour’s event in Colorado, which gives Andy an occasion to dispute claims from overhyped headline writers and tweeters about an event at elevation being on a “monster” course. We then whip overseas to the Scottish Open to discuss the background behind the Renaissance Club, the loaded field, and how they’ve made this proper prep for the Open. The John Deere field gets a full review, which provokes many questions and some harebrained theories on PGA Tour status and building fields and J. J. Henry. Fan Vote Friday remains the province of Cam Champ, while Fan Vote Friday Junior is decidedly not. In news, we hit on the odd sequence of events with John Daly ending up at the Barbasol and read an absolutely BRILLIANT theory from an SgS listener on how Brooks Koepka builds his schedule. We wrap with Paulie’s Picks for the Deere, diving in the dumpster to find some lesser-known options and maybe even a four-fingered fisherman from Korea. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify
The Fried Egg Podcast: Arron Oberholser
Andy is joined by Golf Channel analyst and former PGA Tour player Arron Oberholser. Arron and Andy discuss the young stars on the PGA Tour, the tools it takes to win these days, and the Open Championship. Listen on iTunes, Spotify, or our website.