We interrupt this silly season coverage for some serious golf!
Totally kidding. The Hero World Challenge begins on Wednesday. Most of the U.S. Presidents Cup team will tee it up in the Bahamas while the Internationals prepare at the Australian Open.
Hero World Challenge
It’s time for everyone’s favorite world ranking point grab! The Tiger Woods-hosted Hero World Challenge kicks off at Albany Golf Course today. The 21st edition of this hit-and-giggle features many of the world’s best, as well as others like Jordan Spieth (*wink*). Tee Times
At last year’s HWC, the leaderboard was crowded heading into Sunday, but Jon Rahm quickly separated himself. The Spaniard shot a final-round 65 to cruise past Tony Finau to a four-shot victory. It was Rahm’s third win of the year, coming just a few months after his singles victory over Tiger at the Ryder Cup. Rahm has won four times since the Hero and enters the week No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Squad – Given that 11 of the 12 U.S. Presidents Cup team members are playing this week, and that we have the U.S. captain running the show in the Bahamas, first-round pairings at the Hero World Challenge may offer insight into what Tiger has in mind for foursomes and four-ball in Australia. Reed-Cantlay, Tiger-JT, and Woodland-Schauffele are all looking likely, but we’ll see how things play out.
The champ is here – Not only is Rahm coming into the Hero as the defending champion, he’s also on a hot streak. The 25 year-old won his last two starts in spite of taking six weeks off between them, and he seems primed for a huge year in 2020.
One more try – The trials and tribulations of Jordan Spieth lasted for the entirety of 2019. The three-time major winner heads to the Bahamas with one last chance to gain momentum before the new year. He will miss an international team event for the first time since 2012—maybe that’s the kick in the rear he needs. Or it could just discourage him further. You never know with Jordan!
What the hell is a gymnast influencer? – We don’t know, but our man Bryson “Flex” DeChambeau has been taking inspiration from them. According to Dylan Dethier’s story for Golf.com, Bryson is pretty stoked about his new training regimen and the ball-speed gainz he’s been seeing.
Men at Work
While the American Presidents Cup team sips mimosas in paradise, some of the Internationals are down unda for the Emirates Australian Open. International team members Marc Leishman, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, C.T. Pan, and Cam Smith—along with captain Ernie Els and assistant captains Geoff Ogilvy, K.J. Choi, and Mike Weir—will all tee it up at the Australian Golf Club this weekend. The event will also feature highly touted younger players Min Woo Lee, Takumi Kanaya (a), Chun-An Yu (a), and U.S. Mid-Am champion Lukas Michel. Tee Times
CBS continued its busy offseason with a spate of changes on Tuesday. The Eye Network is bringing in Frank Nobilo from Golf Channel and Trevor Immelman from TNT. Mark Immelman and Andrew Catalon will have more substantial roles, and Michelle Wie will be involved in Masters coverage. We like all of these people and hope their talent is allowed to shine. Full Story from Geoff Shackelford
Phil Mickelson will end his 30-year run at the Phoenix Open in order to play in the Saudi International this February. Lefty joins Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Sergio García, and Bryson DeChambeau in the desert. Frankly, it’s a real bummer so many top players are choosing to support this event, but money talks (unlike the victims of the Saudi regime). For what it’s worth, Tiger reportedly turned down $3 million to play in the same event.
Nearly half the Hero World Challenge field (six players) kicked off the week with a gussied-up pitching contest over a swimming pool. The broadcast came via Periscope on Twitter… well, that about sums it up. The production was horrendous. But Tiger won, so of course the whole thing was a rousing success. We did enjoy this one clip!
The Fried Egg Podcast, Episode 163: Keith Rhebb
Golf course architect Keith Rhebb joins Andy at Winter Park for a chat about his recent work. The two start by discussing the continued success of Winter Park, which was slammed early on a Thursday afternoon. The conversation moves to some of Keith and Riley Johns’s new work, their short course at Forest Dunes, and their continued restoration efforts at Rolling Green. Keith also opens up about what it’s like to juggle his growing independent design business with his shaping work at Coore & Crenshaw, and about what he learned from Bill Coore during the restoration of Old Town Club. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Shotgun Start: Bryson loves “gymnast influencers,” Lefty in the Kingdom, Decade in Review Part 2
The content cup runneth over for this Wednesday episode, which begins with the schedule for the week around the world of golf. This tests the geography knowledge of both Brendan and Andy with events spotlighted from the Bahamas to Australia to Mauritius to Kenya. They highlight the tee times at the Hero and how Tiger gets to basically put on a week of Presidents Cup prep and still somehow hand out OWGR points for it. News covers the latest utterances from the overcomplicated mind of Bryson DeChambeau and whether a workout can ever just be a workout in his head. Phil Mickelson’s decision to take the money and run to Saudi Arabia is also panned. The continued shakeup of the CBS golf team is discussed and the lineup for the PNC Father Son is briefly reviewed before transitioning to part II of the Decade in Review with PGA Tour Senior Editor Sean Martin. This section focuses on the back half of the decade, some amateur golf, the “season of the decade,” and the post-major funk trend. Listen on iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher.
The Hero World Challenge may be a cynical money grab of an event, but you can’t deny that the views are stunning. Want stunning golf-course views year-round? In the comfort of your home? Check out the new photography section in our pro shop! Whether you want Sand Valley, Pasatiempo, Old Town Club, or Yale, you’ll find extensive options in our store. Get your print today!