It’s a curious week in the world of golf. Phil Mickelson is set to tee it up in a final round this afternoon, but the PGA Tour doesn’t get underway until tomorrow. Oh, and the Korn Ferry Tour guys have their hands full.
According to our friends at Data Golf, there are only about seven spots at the Tour Championship actually available at this weekend’s BMW Championship. The Data Golf team ran 50,000 simulations of the BMW, and the top 20 players advanced 100% of the time, whereas Nos. 21-23 had greater than a 99.95% chance of advancing.
We here at The Fried Egg have varying opinions on the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Andy thinks they are a complete disgrace. The rest of us are more or less indifferent. But if there’s one thing we agree on, it’s that this is not a real playoff.
For any player not near the top of standings already, there is very little room to move up. Of course, that’s kind of the point. The FedEx Cup is a system designed to hand out bonus checks to top players, so it makes sense for the PGA Tour to do everything in its power to ferry those players to the Tour Championship. In doing so, however, the Tour sacrifices the sense of tension and legitimacy that an “Ultimate Prize” should presumably have. Hell, Webb Simpson, No. 3 in the FedEx Cup standings, is skipping the BMW Championship to rest. That says just about everything you need to know about the stakes of these “playoffs.”
What did you expect?
After missing the cut at TPC Boston last week, Phil Mickelson made the decision to fly to Branson, Missouri, for the PGA Tour Champions event at Ozarks National. He jumped out to the first-round lead with a 61 on Monday and backed it up with a 64 on Tuesday. The 50-year-old lefty has a four-shot cushion heading into Wednesday’s final round. Leaderboard
Not only does he stand a good chance of winning the first senior event he has played, but on Monday Phil posted the second lowest 36-hole score in Champions Tour history. OF COURSE. Nothing is more up Mickelson’s alley than catching a last-minute plane to Missouri for the purpose of beating up on a bunch of old guys (and maybe activating a new brand). Keep doing you, Phil.
A plea for chaos
The Korn Ferry Tour heads to Victoria National this weekend for the Korn Ferry Tour Championship. Typically, this final event determines which players graduate to the PGA Tour. This year, because of pandemic-influenced changes to the eligibility criteria, only a few competitors will earn spots in alternate-field PGA Tour events, and others will get U.S. Open berths. On the plus side, no one will lose his job this week.
So considering all of that, why not put the pedal to the metal and see how fast Victoria National can go? Tuck the pins, grow the rough, play the back tees everywhere, and see what happens! From 2016 to 2018, Vic was either the most difficult or second most difficult course on the KFT; last year, it was softer and easier. Let’s turn up the crazy this year! Korn Ferry Tour Championship Tee Times
Many of the LPGA’s big names are heading straight from the AIG Women’s Open to Arkansas this week. Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang, Minjee Lee, and Sei Young Kim headline the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Field
The CJ Cup, one of the PGA Tour’s money grabs on the Asian swing, will move to Shadow Creek in Las Vegas this October. Typically held in South Korea, the tournament will temporarily switch locations because of Covid-19 concerns.
James Sugrue, winner of the 2019 Amateur Championship, is unable to defend his title this week because of travel restrictions. The limits placed on international travel mean that just four of the top 50 players in the World Amateur Golf Rankings will be present at Royal Birkdale. Full Story from Brentley Romine
All players who qualify for the Tour Championship will earn spots in next year’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. These spots are typically reserved for… well, champions. Because the PGA Tour missed so many events in 2020, it needs other ways to fill the Maui field. We look forward to the “2021 Tournament of Champions plus some other guys.”
Don’t fall for false dog narratives or exploit a Good Boy for likes.
The Latest from The Fried Egg
Hit and Run vs. Home Run Derby – The contrast between Sophia Popov’s win at the AIG Women’s Open and Dustin Johnson’s romp at the Northern Trust was eye-opening. Andy Johnson makes the case that women’s golf will be a more entertaining product for golf fans moving forward.
The Rainbow Road of the Korn Ferry Tour – Last year, Will Knights contemplated the beast that is Victoria National, host of this weekend’s Korn Ferry Tour Championship. Perhaps this year Vic will be its true beastly self.
Paulie’s Picks: BMW Championship – A long and challenging championship test awaits the PGA Tour’s top 70. See who Paulie likes for your DraftKings and one-and-done picks!
Shotgun Start: Bryson’s fake dog content scandal, the second-stop appeal, and Bombs in the Ozarks
It’s BMW Championship week and the Shotgun Start would typically begin with a preview lamenting the PGA Tour erasing the history of the great Western Open. That comes, eventually, but first Brendan and Andy begin with outrage over both the PGA Tour and Bryson DeChambeau promoting a completely fake fuzzy story about a good luck dog at Olympia Fields. What will be the fallout and is it indicative of a larger, more serious, authenticity problem on the Tour? Then they discuss who they’d like to see make it to Atlanta and earn major invites and a host of other perks for next year. They elaborate on why that game-within-the-game makes the BMW the most compelling “playoffs” event. There’s also a great deal of intel on Olympia Fields, rumors that it might play firm, and why the top pros could carve it up much like Medinah last year. The 7-club challenge is also previewed and hailed as a nice pre-tournament innovation. The schedule for the week focuses on the LPGA making the quick trip from Troon to NW Arkansas, the Web Tour playing for five U.S. Open spots, and a debate over what gives an event the right to call itself a “Classic.” On the Euro Tour, the inclusion of Brendan Lawlor in the field at UK Championship is highlighted. Phil’s bombs in the Ozarks are also reviewed but Andy still seems wholly uninterested in watching mid-week Senior tour golf. News closes it out with Charles Howell III’s commendable actions and Shadow Creek getting the CJ Plaque. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
It’s going to be sweltering across the Midwest this week. That means sweat, sweat, and more sweat. Stay dry with the Shotgun Start x B. Draddy sport polo! It’s our favorite shirt for summer heat, hands down. Get yours today!