There’s something therapeutic about watching golf in paradise as winter knocks on your door. After all, denial is a coping mechanism. The PGA Tour goes south of the border after an off week, the Euros camp out in Gary Player’s backyard, and Billy Mayfair has some explaining to do.

In the criminal justice system…

Like any good procedural-drama perp, the PGA Tour returns to the scene of the crime this weekend. Matt Kuchar headlines the field at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, where he will defend his title (and possibly his actions). Tee Times

Pay the man

Let’s start with the golf. Kuchar’s victory at the Mayakoba originally seemed like a heart-warming story for one of the “good guys” on the PGA Tour. Kuch held off Danny Lee, J. J. Spaun, and Richy Werenski to win his first event in five years. A fixture on U.S. teams, the tops of leaderboards, and Golf Digest “nice guy” lists, Kuchar had earned widespread affection in the golf world.

But a couple of months after Kuchar’s victory, rumors started to trickle out about what transpired between the Mayakoba victor and his temporary caddie Giral (“El Tucan”) Ortiz that week. Despite winning more than $1 million, Kuchar stuck to his original deal with El Tucan and paid him $5,000. A public relations storm ensued raised, and the 41-year-old veteran came off as out of touch in addressing—or more accurately, dismissing—the situation. Eventually he apologized and made things right with El Tucan. Still, the damage was done, and months later Kuchar continues to answer questions about the fiasco, as Golf Channel’s Will Gray outlines in this piece.

Storylines (not named Matt Kuchar)

Tick, tock Just two events remain in the calendar year. The big names tend to stay away between now and January, meaning there are, for the moment, a few extra spots available to Korn Ferry Tour graduates and players low on the priority list. We’ll see who makes the most of the Mayakoba and RSM events before the holidays arrive.

Return of Kirk Chris Kirk returns to the PGA Tour after taking some time away to battle his issues with alcohol abuse. Kirk hasn’t played since April but had already missed eight of 11 cuts in 2019. Here’s hoping he ends the year on a high note.

The NorwegiansFormer Oklahoma State golfers and Norweigan countrymen Viktor Hovland and Kristoffer Ventura are paired together this weekend. Both players earned PGA Tour cards in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals this fall and are looking for a breakthrough on the big tour.

Paulie’s Picks

At the relatively short (and often windy) El Camaleon Golf Club, Paulie is putting a premium on ball-strikers. See which players he likes for your DraftKings lineups. FULL ARTICLE

Turkey to South Africa

If you think professional golf in the United States is tough, consider for a moment the European Tour travel schedule. The second of three final Rolex Series events takes the Euros from Turkey to South Africa this weekend for the Nedbank Golf Challenge. Of the top five in the year-long chase, only Bernd Wiesberger and Matthew Fitzpatrick are in the field, as Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Shane Lowry all passed on the trip. Other notables in the field include Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Matt Wallace, and Jorge Campillo. Tee Times

Quick Hooks

Billy Mayfair is in hot water over his DQ at a recent PGA Tour Champions event. Multiple rules infractions, jumbled explanations to rules officials, and video evidence combined to disqualify Mayfair from the Invesco QQQ Championship. Michael Bamberger untangles this ball of yarn in his story for HERE.

We don’t know how you could have missed it, but the QBE Shootout pairings were released on Tuesday. Most are the typical vanilla duos, but the Oklahoma State pair of Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland should provide a splash of color. The event will, however, battle the Presidents Cup for viewers. Pairings

Go Aces!

The Latest

Eclectic 18 UK – Hole No. 17, Woodhall Spa – The penultimate entry in our Eclectic 18 UK series brings us to Woodhall Spa. See what makes this short par 4 stand out.

The Fried Egg Podcast, Episode 162: Nick Hardy

Former University of Illinois standout Nick Hardy joins Andy on the podcast to discuss his experience making the transition from college to the professional game. Nick talks about building structure into his practice sessions, dealing with early disappointments, playing in his third U.S. Open, and breaking through Second Stage of Q-School. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Shotgun Start: Fan-less south of the border, the design of Gary Player CC, and the purse suit

This Wednesday episode previews one of Andy’s favorite weeks on Tour, the event with no fans, the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Brendan and Andy have a more-extensive-than-is-warranted conversation on the annual fall event in Mexico, reliving the glory of some past random champions, debating the course design, and receiving an education on mangroves. A short digression on Aaron Wise and Joaquín Niemann leads to a larger discussion about the skills needed to jump up a level on Tour. On the European Tour, the Nedbank Challenge is previewed mostly with a dive into the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City. They also discuss the accompanying Lost City design with the famed “Crocodile Hole” and green in the shape of the African continent. With the year winding down, there’s a look at the OWGR Top 50 and the bubble boys who could claim a Masters spot, and some names prompt pondering about driver testing machines on every tee at Augusta. In news, they discuss the Chainsmokers playing a concert at The Players and an OWGR stat that illuminates the greatness and consistency of Rory McIlroy. They wrap with some fun about the lawsuit at Alpine CC over a waiter spilling wine on a $30,000 purse, recalling some of the more stupidly expensive purchases they made in their past. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

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Things are pretty uncomfortable for Billy Mayfair these days. Lots of questions, lots of stories, lots to unpack. Don’t be like Billy. Stay as comfortable as possible with our Fried Egg logo t-shirts. Get yours in blue or grey!