Good morning to everyone, especially Green Bay Packer fans! I mean, they need all the cheer they can get this morning, right? Anywho, let’s see what us bitter Bears fans have to say about this past weekend of golf.
In today’s newsletter…
- Real estate skyrockets on Westy Island.
- Andrew Landry fumbles for the clutch in the desert.
- The playoff in the LPGA Tour’s season opener might keep going forever!
Welcome to Westy Island! The sun is shining, the waves are crashing, and the piña coladas are flowing. Lee Westwood captured the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this weekend for his 44th worldwide win and 25th European Tour victory. Over the weekend, he shot rounds of 65-67 to close out the first Rolex Series event of 2020. Leaderboard
Only one active non-senior player has won in four different decades: Lee Westwood. The 46-year-old veteran has had his ups and downs, especially with the putter, but he still has a world-class A game. He’s employing the claw grip on the greens these days, and… well, let’s just say Westy has a habit of making unexpected appearances on the Masters leaderboard.
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship—other notes
- Two Westwood tidbits to savor:
- He was using a Ping Fetch, which allows old folks with bad backs to retrieve the ball from the hole with the putter head—a feature that was amusingly on display when Westwood celebrated on the 18th green.
- According to John Huggan, Westy is going for a “dry January” (clearly a Shotgun Start fan), but he admitted that the post-victory celebration might end the attempt.
- Victor Perez and Tommy Fleetwood both fired final-round 63s in Abu Dhabi to finish T-2 alongside Matthew Fitzpatrick.
- Louis Oosthuizen finished fifth, his fifth consecutive top-six finish. Solid day for Team UPS.
- Also showing good form was Sergio García, who has split with Callaway.
- Despite a strong opening round of 66, world No. 1 Brooks Koepka slipped to a T-34 this weekend. (Bryson DeChambeau missed the cut.)
The American Express
- Andrew Landry won his second career PGA Tour event on Sunday, but it wasn’t without drama. Six shots up with six holes to play, Landry made three straight bogeys and got run down by a red-hot Abe Ancer. All was forgiven, though, when Landry birdied his final two, hitting both approaches inside seven feet.
- Rookie of the Year frontrunner Scottie Scheffler (solo 3rd) notched his fourth top-10 finish of the young season.
After 72 holes of the LPGA season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, Nasa Hataoka, Gaby López, and Inbee Park were tied for the lead. A tremendously repetitive playoff ensued in which Park was eliminated after the third time around the par-3 18th hole. Hataoka and Lopez matched pars twice more before play was suspended because of darkness. The playoff will resume on Monday morning. Leaderboard
Abel Gallegos of Argentina won the Latin America Amateur Championship in Mexico over the weekend. The 17 year-old shot a final-round 67 to win by four shots and earn an invitation to the Masters. He’s a big, strong kid with a fun backstory. Leaderboard
Matt Kuchar shot 66-68-62-70 to collect his appearance fee first win of 2020 at the SMBC Singapore Open. Leaderboard
During the second round of The American Express, Kevin Na tossed some red meat to the anti-backstopping constituency by shouting for a Russell Knox bunker shot to “hit my ball.”
Remember the genocidal Indonesian leader who, as the late Deadspin reported last year, played as an amateur in the 2019 Desert Classic? He was back at this year’s American Express. Evidently there’s something about him that the Tour likes! (Money. It’s his money.)
John Smoltz has apparently been taking putting tips from Golf Channel infomercials.
In retrospect, it seems inevitable that Hosung Choi’s post-swing antics would become hazardous.
The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America
For an introduction to this ongoing list, check out its home on our website.
The Mines Golf Course (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
Minutes from downtown Grand Rapids, The Mines is a stellar example of a high-quality course on a difficult site. Power lines and a road divide the property into three sections, creating a few big gaps between holes. This isn’t ideal for walkers, but considering the constraints of the site, you have to admire what Mike DeVries accomplished with his design. The course has sandy soil, wide corridors, well-placed hazards, and thought-provoking green contours—all key ingredients for fun golf. With a peak green fee under $40, The Mines has to be on America’s all-value team.
Insider tip: The Mines is closed on Sundays, so don’t try to go then! -Andy Johnson
Photo credit: Andy Johnson
The Latest from The Fried Egg
Shotgun Start: Boom times on Westy Island, FIGJAM’s plummet, and never-ending LPGA Playoff
This holiday Monday episode of the Shotgun Start begins with a jubilant Andy shouting about the Packers loss and Lee Westwood’s win. We dissect Westy’s new approach to life and practice, his ball-retrieving putter celebration, his “dry January” likely coming to an end, and his potentially lukewarm desire to make a Ryder Cup team. This leads to a semi-serious discussion on all the different approaches to the game and life before a discussion on one approach that does not appear to be working: hitting bombs. We proffer some data that might indicate Phil’s chase to hit nothing but bombs has tanked his chances to win more often, contrasting that with Westy’s contentment. At the LPGA’s Tournament of Champions, we express dismay at the playoff continuing to go to the same hole and the two competitors parring us into darkness. John Smoltz’s self-standing putter is also reviewed. We relay some nuggets on the awesome backstory of the Latin America Am winner and how this 17 year old husky boy from Argentina is exactly what these Am events should be promoting at the Masters. Hosung’s dangerous club throw has Andy doubting his commitment to the four-fingered fisherman but Ernie’s arrival on the senior circuit prompts a different, more startling admission. Finally, we wrap with Woody Austin’s bag sponsor and ponder how much that costs. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
PGA West is full of photogenic golf holes—as is Southern California in general. A few of our favorites from SoCal’s Rustic Canyon are available in our pro shop. Shop Rustic Canyon photos as well as shots from other great courses around the country! Fried Egg Photography
Photo credit: Andy Johnson