Hello again! We didn’t have enough time since our last newsletter to come up with a funny quip for this intro, so let’s just move on.

Heating up

It’s been a long two weeks since we’ve had major championship golf! Luckily the ANA Inspiration kicks off tomorrow at Mission Hills Country Club. Typically played in late March and early April, this week’s event will give you an idea of what the Coachella Valley is like in August. Hot. It’s super hot. Temperatures are expected to hit triple digits consistently, so don’t be surprised if more than one player takes a dip in Poppie’s Pond this weekend. ANA Inspiration Tee Times

As befits a major, the ANA field is loaded. Danielle Kang and Nelly Korda lead the way for the Americans while Sung Hyun Park, Minjee Lee, and Sei Young Kim highlight the international contingent. The event will be Park’s first LPGA appearance in 2020 and just her second event of the season. Until now, she has been waiting out the pandemic in South Korea. Past ANA champions Lydia Ko, Brittany Lincicome, Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis, Morgan Pressel, and Pernilla Lindberg will also be in attendance.

A few notables will be absent, though. Current No. 1 in the world and 2019 ANA champion Jin Young Ko tops that list. Ko, along with Hyo Joo Kim, are the lone top-10 players who will not appear at Mission Hills. 2020 AIG Women’s Open champion Sophia Popov will also not be in the field, for reasons that LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan explained last week.

Golf Channel will cover the ANA all four days, including 2-6 p.m. ET on both Saturday and Sunday.

U.S. Open Victory Club

Folks, we’re entering a busy stretch of golf. We have an LPGA major championship this week, and next week, the U.S. Open at Winged Foot! So now is the perfect time to prepare for the year’s second men’s major by signing up for the U.S. Open Victory Club. This free membership gets you exclusive access to U.S. Open content, discounts on U.S. Open merchandise, and virtual experiences with players during the event. Four winners will also receive two tickets for either Saturday or Sunday at the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines! Sign up today

No rest for the weary

Ever since the PGA Tour switched to a wraparound season, fans and players have poked fun at the length of the “offseason.” The joke hits especially hard this year, as there will be about 64 hours between the end of the 2019-20 season at East Lake and the beginning of the 2020-21 season at the Safeway Open. Phil Mickelson, fresh off his victory on the PGA Tour Champions, Jordan Spieth, and Jim Furyk headline a relatively weak field. Most top players are resting up for Winged Foot, but the Safeway will feature plenty of intriguing up-and-comers, including Sahith Theegala, Bryson Nimmer, Isaiah Salinda, Peter Kuest, and Will Gordon. Safeway Open Tee Times

Split decision?

The PGA of America announced Justin Thomas as its Player of the Year on Tuesday morning, less than 12 hours after Dustin Johnson completed his dominant run through the FedEx Cup Playoffs. While it’s not surprising that JT won the award—he did rack up three victories in the shortened 2019-20 PGA Tour season—it was a bit of a shock that DJ finished fifth. The PGA of America ranks players based on victory points, money points, and scoring points. Unfortunately for Johnson, his FedEx Cup bonus money and net victory at the Tour Championship were not recognized. He will likely be the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year, however.

In the time-honored Vardon Trophy race, Webb Simpson won the award for lowest scoring average (68.978).

Quick Hooks

Charley Hull had to pull out of the ANA Inspiration after testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday morning. No. 28 in the Rolex Rankings, Hull was the only player in the field to receive a positive test.

The second half of the Korn Ferry Tour’s Illinois Swing gets underway Thursday morning at Chicago Highlands. A reminder that all points earned this fall will count toward the KFT’s mega 2020-21 season, which will determine PGA Tour cards. Evans Scholars Invitational Tee Times

Portions of the USGA operation—including its museum, ball testing, and green section—are relocating to Pinehurst. Full Story from the Winston-Salem Journal

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Fried Egg Stories, Episode 9: Jackie Robinson the Golfer

In 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first Black man to play Major League Baseball in the 20th century. You’re probably familiar with that story. What you may not know is that the baseball diamond was not the only playing field where Robinson advocated for racial equality. He also did so on the golf course. In this edition of our audio documentary series, we tell the complicated, sad, even inconvenient story of Jackie Robinson the golfer. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Shotgun Start: Poppy’s Hot Tub, Grocer Open field notes, PGA Tour (and Browns/Bears) over-unders

After an interminable offseason, Andy and Brendan return in the best shape of their lives for this episode. But first, Andy has to get off one more quibble on the coverage and framing of the final round of the prior season at East Lake. Then they get to the event of the week, the ANA Inspiration, providing some field highlights and course reports at the second women’s major of the year. For the Euro Tour’s event, the subject of going to Portugal, generally, is discussed, as is Alvaro Quiros’ underwhelming short game. Andy has some skyline insights for this week’s KFT event in Chicago and there are a few comments on the return of fans at this week’s Champions Tour stop in South Dakota, which leads to an extended digression on the geography of the area. The Safeway Open field is previewed at length, from the young stars given exemptions to the Major Medicals to the Career Money listers to our Duct Taped King. The second half of the podcast is devoted to the second annual over-unders competition. Major totals for some stars, a PR Curse prop, some OWGR thresholds, the Thicc Boi becoming the Stickboi are just a few debated before a transition to a few Bears and Browns over-unders that reveal a stunning level of optimism for the NFL season ahead. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.