Before we get into the latest news from the golf world, we have to address Tuesday night’s horrific automobile crash involving the University of the Southwest men’s and women’s golf teams. Six USW students and their coach died, as did the driver and passenger in the other vehicle. Two students were seriously injured but, as of Thursday night, were reportedly making progress in their recovery. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy.
Fundraising pages have been set up for the families of the victims as well as for the two injured students, Dayton Price and Hayden Underhill.
Not so super
What comes first, the golfer or the course? For LIV Golf, the Saudi-funded disruptor, it’s the course. While no players have been announced for this product, a league which will now go by LIV Golf Invitational, there is officially an eight-event schedule with chosen venues, and it starts… checks watch… in June?
The schedule came via multiple select media reports on Wednesday afternoon. The events will be 54 holes and utilize shotgun starts. There are four U.S.-based courses and four international spots.
- June 9-11: Centurion Golf Club – London area
- July 1-3: Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club – Portland area
- July 29-31: Trump National Golf Club Bedminster – New Jersey
- Sept 2-4: The International – Boston area
- Sept 16-18: Rich Harvest Farms – Chicago area
- Oct 7-9: Stonehill Golf Club – Bangkok
- Oct 14-16: Royal Greens Golf Club – Jeddah
- Oct 28-30: Team Championship – TBC
The four American choices are quite calculated, opting for markets the PGA Tour will not visit this year (unless you count the non-tour-controlled U.S. Open in Boston) and dates opposite some of the Tour’s weaker events—the Canadian Open, John Deere, and Rocket Mortgage Classic. What they aren’t is architecturally interesting. “It’s a dumpster fire,” wrote Andy Johnson in our quick roundtable of reactions to the schedule announcement.
Pumpkin Ridge and the International are managed by the same firm, Escalante Golf, and there had been months of rumors and reports, first from No Laying Up, on the Trump properties being involved. Rich Harvest Farms found itself in our crosshairs ahead of the 2017 NCAAs.
In addition to the schedule, the reports included some information about the purses, and it’s staggering to read. Each event, per Bob Harig, will have a $25-million purse—$20 million for the individual tournament and $5 million for a concurrent team contest. It’s quite an arrangement, with $250 million spread across only eight events that will already feature small fields. And these numbers don’t even include the upfront cash rumored to pour into the bank accounts of players who sign on for this sportswashing effort. We don’t know which players those will be, officially, but presumably their names are coming soon, and probably some lawsuits, too.
Rolling toward a rollback
On Wednesday, the USGA and R&A updated their areas of interest and research topics in their ongoing assessment of hitting distance in golf. There are a couple of key takeaways for golfers: 1) slower, spinnier golf balls and less forgiving drivers will probably be the central components of a future rollback; 2) the amateur game will almost certainly not be affected. The governing bodies appear likely to use “Model Local Rules”—like the one pertaining to driver-shaft length that the PGA Tour adopted last year—to bring about the bifurcation of professional and amateur equipment regulations.
Geoff Shackelford has a detailed breakdown of the update on his newsletter The Quadrilateral.
The Latest from The Fried Egg
TFE Events – Registration for the Scraper at Prairie Dunes Country Club will open on Monday, 3/21, at noon ET! Visit the event page for more information about this October event.
After news broke about the 2022 LIV Golf Invitational schedule, we had to get some takes out of our system. Andy, Brendan, and Garrett convened on The Fried Egg website to discuss the structure of the schedule, the selection of venues, and more.
ICYMI – Our new series Fried Egg Guides kicks off with a roundtable discussion of Pacific Dunes. Check out the video on our YouTube page.
The Fried Egg Podcast – In a lively (and in-person!) mailbag pod, Andy and Garrett run through listener questions about shot-shaping on the PGA Tour, the state of golf telecasts, what they would change about Augusta National, and more. Listen on iTunes and Spotify.
The Shotgun Start – Andy and Brendan do their best to summarize a hectic week in the golf world. Listen on iTunes and Spotify.
There’s a four-way tie at the top after a day of low scoring at the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship.
James Hart du Preez, all six feet and nine inches of him, towered over the field both literally and figuratively as he took the first-round lead with a 63 at the Steyn City Championship on the DP World Tour.
The sportswashing continues with the Aramco Saudi Ladies International, where Georgia Hall and Sophie Witt jumped out to the 18-hole lead.
So hot right now: letters. On Tuesday, Greg Norman penned yet another melodramatic missive to PGA Tour players. Not to be outdone, the Premier Golf League—once the Saudis’ ally, now their rival—sent an information-rich epistle to Rory McIlroy. If these breakaway leagues keep up their literary efforts, we’re going to run out of synonyms for “letter”!
Impeccable technique from Charl Schwartzel.