Every once in a while

PGA Tour University sounds genuinely cool, and while Matt Every loves Arnie’s event, no one has greater respect for it than Honma


Since the PGA Tour is close to the happiest place on earth, fun fact Friday has to be about Disney World! In an effort to maintain cleanliness, the parks are organized so that no trash can is more than 30 steps away. They also have an underground trash system that moves garbage at more than 60 mph.

Now, golf.

In today’s newsletter…

  • The PGA Tour has a good idea!
  • Death, taxes, and Matt Every playing incongruously well at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
  • In these uncertain times, we look to you, Fred Ridley, for reassurance.

The Storylines

Stay in school, kids

According to Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard, the PGA Tour is launching a new initiative called PGA Tour University. Geared toward graduating seniors, PGA Tour University will grant Korn Ferry Tour status to the top five NCAA golfers after the NCAA Championship in May. If players earn enough points to move into the year-long top 25 on the KFT, they will earn their PGA Tour cards.

This. Is. Awesome. Many collegiate golfers have elite talent before graduation, and this program gives them a direct route to the big show. It will be particularly beneficial to players like Theo Humphrey, a talented but lesser-known Vanderbilt senior who missed out on the sponsor exemptions that went to Viktor Hovland, Matthew Wolff, and Collin Morikawa. PGA Tour University will also give players outside the top five an opportunity to earn status on Mackenzie Tour, PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour Latinoamérica, and PGA Tour China.

Good on the PGA Tour. This seems like an excellent idea.

Home sweet home

Matt Every holds the first-round lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational after a 65. Should he go wire-to-wire, Every would have three career PGA Tour victories—all at Bay Hill. Leaderboard

After his round, Matt Every was asked about his recent three-month suspension for testing positive for cannabis. (He has a legal prescription for marijuana in Florida.) “Anxiety is a real thing,” he said, “and the way I treat it is the healthiest way possible for my body. But WADA doesn’t think so and the Tour goes by what WADA says. It’s really silly, to be honest.”

Yesterday, incidentally, reports emerged that under the proposed new NFL collective bargaining agreement, players would not be suspended for positive tests for any drug of abuse. If this version of the CBA is ratified, perhaps WADA and the PGA Tour will take a hard look at their policies.

The Roundup

Arnold Palmer Invitational—other notes

  • One shot back of Matt Every sits Rory McIlroy, who hasn’t finished worse than fifth since August. Frankly, we’d be somewhat surprised not to be writing about a McIlroy victory in the Monday edition of this newsletter.
  • Defending champion Francesco Molinari withdrew on Thursday morning with back pain. The 2018 Open champion hasn’t been the same since his final-round flop in the 2019 Masters (as every golf publication shall be required to mention at least once today).

Eighteen-year-old Nicolai Højgaard shot an opening-round 64 for a one-shot lead over Joost Luiten at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Andy Sullivan, Thomas Pieters, and Jorge Campillo are among the group tied for third. Leaderboard

Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley released a statement on the coronavirus Wednesday afternoon. The club is monitoring the situation, but the Augusta National Women’s Amateur; Drive, Chip, and Putt; and the Masters are all a go. Phew.

In a post-round interview on Golf Central, Rory McIlroy reiterated his anti-Premier Golf League stance. “You are going to play 18 events,” he said, “they’re going to tell you where and when you should be there, and as a golfer and independent contractor, I didn’t like the sound of that…. I didn’t really like where the money was coming from, either.” These two things can coexist: 1) Rory is speaking his truth, and 2) Rory is the undisputed Prince of Ponte Vedra. Full Story from Rex Hoggard

Justin Rose showed up at Bay Hill with TaylorMade clubs in his bag, spurring questions about the state of his endorsement deal with Honma. Per Jonathan Wall, Honma declined to comment “out of respect for Arnie’s event.” Calling all churlish teenagers, lazy parents, and disgruntled employees: anytime you just don’t want to do something, this is your go-to excuse.

Acushnet and J. Lindberg both dropped Scott Piercy after he posted homophobic content on Instagram over the weekend. Full Story from Jessica Marksbury

The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America

Southern Pines Golf Club (Southern Pines, North Carolina)

$$$—with $$ twilight and offseason rates

Built on what might be the most dramatic land in the Carolina Sandhills, Southern Pines is the best value in the Pinehurst area. Its Donald Ross design has seen some renovations over the years, and many of the original greens are gone. What remains, however, is affordable golf on thrilling land that makes you want to go around again and again. An investment group recently purchased the course, prompting hope that Southern Pines will soon return to the upper echelon of courses in North Carolina.

Insider tip: In the Pinehurst area, Southern Pines is your best bet for escaping the crowds and getting in a rapid afternoon loop. -Andy Johnson

Photo credit: Jaeger Kovich

The Latest from The Fried Egg

The Fried Egg Podcast: School of Golf Architecture, Part 1 – Place

New format! The School of Golf Architecture is The Fried Egg’s serialized introduction to golf course design. In the first installment, Garrett digs into the notion of place. He speaks with architect and builder Blake Conant about “place-based design” and the various ways in which a golf course can cultivate a strong sense of place. Toward the end of the discussion, Blake leads Garrett to a realization about the importance of building and preserving unique places in the modern world. Read the post (with the podcast embedded) HERE or just listen to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

The Shotgun Start: Honma’s respect for Arnie, The Every-man, and PGA Tour University curriculum

Out of respect for Arnold’s event this weekend, there will be no official comment or notes for this Friday episode. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

Amen Corner is right around the, well… corner. Anyway, make sure you have your green ready to go for April! Our Pro Shop is freshly stocked with polos from B. Draddy and Fairway and Greene. If you order this week, you’ll be guaranteed to have it before players roll down Magnolia Lane. Grab yours today!