Did you know that frogs can’t swallow with their eyes open? Just a little fun fact to begin your Friday. On with the newsletter!
In today’s newsletter…
- Behind bars to under par in fewer than 40 days
- The PGA Tour continues to chill Patrick Reed criticism.
- Brooks body-bags Bryson both on and off the course.
Live under parole*
There aren’t many people who can say they woke up in a jail cell one month and on a pile of Korn Ferry Tour dough the next. In fact, we’re pretty certain Tommy Gainey is the only one. On Wednesday, the 44-year-old veteran won the Bahamas Grand Exuma Classic, the KFT’s opening event. Gainey overcame a second-round 75 with a 67 and a 69 to close out the win. Leaderboard
While it’s odd that Gainey hasn’t faced consequences from the Tour for his arrest in a Florida prostitution sting last month, it’s even more puzzling that Golf Channel didn’t acknowledge the incident during the event’s broadcasts. Uncomfortable or not, a story this unusual deserves air time. But in the first weeks of 2020, Golf Channel telecasts have seemed unwilling to acknowledge facts that contradict pro golf’s squeaky-clean self-image.
*shout-out to ANTIFAldo
Am I Reeding this right?
The Patrick Reed cheating scandal added another layer on Thursday. Apparently, Cameron Smith’s criticism of Reed’s actions in the run-up to the Presidents Cup did not go over well in Ponte Vedra. According to a report by Brian Wacker, a PGA Tour official warned Smith that he could be fined for similar remarks in the future.
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that the Tour would wield its policy against member-on-member rhetorical crime this aggressively. Commissioner Jay Monahan has defended Reed; Golf Channel has created an alternate reality in which Reed, instead of disgracing himself, overcame the misfortune of bad PR; and now we learn that a player was threatened with a fine for calling out Reed’s rule-breaking. Everyone’s a gentleman. Everyone’s a class act.
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship (European Tour)
- Brooks Koepka fired an opening-round 66 in his first competition since knee surgery.
Following his round on Thursday, Koepka took to social media to clap back at Bryson DeChambeau’s comment that Brooks had “no abs.” Oh, and Bryson shot 72 to Brooks’s 66.
Michael McEwan reports that two “very high-profile American golfers” have refused to speak to Sky Sports in Abu Dhabi because of the network’s criticism of them. You may draw your own conclusions about which golfers they might be. Boy, lots of attempts to chill negative press in the golf world lately!
The American Express (PGA Tour)
- Zac Blair and Grayson Murray share the 18-hole lead after rounds of 64.
- Rickie Fowler (65), Hank Lebioda (65), Scottie Scheffler (65), and Russell Knox (66) are all in the top 10.
Amateur Laurent Hurtubise, who was born with one arm, made a hole-in-one on No. 4 at PGA West’s Stadium Course during The American Express. Pretty cool.
Golf’s best-known California resident (and tax-code critic) Phil Mickelson says he will soon enjoy the warm embrace of #JupLyfe.
Danielle Kang opened her LPGA Tour season with a 63 at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. Kang is picking up right where she left off in 2019; she finished last season with a win and two other top-three finishes. Leaderboard
There is a Masters invite up for grab this weekend! The Latin America Amateur Championship is underway in Mexico with Colombian Ivan Camilo Ramirez holding the 18-hole lead. Leaderboard
Sean Zak’s account of his experiment with Phil Mickelson’s patented six-day coffee-and-water fast is an entertaining lark.
The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America
For an introduction to this ongoing list, check out its home on our website.
Sleepy Hollow Golf Course (Cleveland, Ohio)
There are few places in the U.S. where the everyday golfer can see the work of Stanley Thompson, Canada’s greatest golf architect. One of those places is Sleepy Hollow, the prized possession of Cleveland Metroparks. Although Father Time and management gaffes have taken some of its original luster away, Sleepy remains a must-visit for any design aficionado. Thompson’s routing over the rolling terrain is outstanding, never fighting the land and producing 18 different, compelling holes. The GCA community likes to dream about sexier restorations, but this 1924 city course might have the most potential of all. With a smart investment from the Metroparks in a historically sensitive restoration, Sleepy Hollow could reveal itself as one of the finest municipal courses in the country—if not the finest. It might even become golf’s most talked about Sleepy Hollow. (Well, that would be a tall order.)
Insider tip: This course gets very crowded, so book an early tee time if you want to get around in under five hours. -Andy Johnson
Photo credit: Andy Johnson
The Latest from The Fried Egg
The Fried Egg Podcast, Episode 166: A Tribute to Pete Dye
In honor of the great golf architect Pete Dye, who passed away last week, Andy and Garrett play and discuss several clips from past podcast episodes in which the guests discussed their experiences with Dye. Anecdotes include how Dye’s work inspired Bill Coore to get into golf course design, how Tom Doak’s experience on Dye’s construction crew caused him to turn down an offer from Robert Trent Jones, and how an aerial photo of PGA West changed the direction of Brian Silva’s career. Also featured is a segment from a yet-to-be-released podcast with Kohler Co. (Blackwolf Run, Whistling Straits) Director of Grounds Mike Lee. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Shotgun Start: Brooks comes over the top, the Gainey in the room, and Sabbo Flashback
This Friday episode focuses on the off-course drama that seems to have sucked up all the oxygen in January. During a leaderboard check-in, Brendan and Andy get to Abu Dhabi and discuss the Bryson-Brooks beef that’s boiled again this week. Is Bryson a genius or really just an idiot? Is there a worse person to goad than Brooksy right now? This gets them into a quote from Jordan Spieth that he wouldn’t mind seeing more adversarial rivalries in the game and ideal beef pairings they’d like to see. This is interrupted by news that the PGA Tour threatened Cam Smith with a fine for speaking the truth on Pat Reed. This also dovetails with the alternate universe the Tour tried to create by ignoring Tommy Gainey’s recent indiscretions during a win and week when he was featured prominently and constantly on the broadcast. In other Euro Tour matters, Sergio saying the Saudi event will get to see the “real Sergio” and rumors of two American players boycotting Sky Sports are discussed. Flashback Friday highlights a near-miss at the Bob Hope by the then Boy from South Africa, who alleged a marshal wanted to “play soccer” with his golf ball and that Tiger was “ducking him.” Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
While Brooks is two short of a six-pack, he could cover up his midsection with one of our comfy quarter-zip vests from Fairway & Greene! You can as well!