It’s true what they say. Golf is super boring.
During Saturday’s third round at the BMW Championship, Jon Rahm added to his growing list of unusual rules incidents. Eyeing a birdie putt on the 4th hole, he picked up his ball before putting down his poker chip. He was assessed a one-stroke penalty. “I really can’t give you an explanation,” he said afterwards. “It’s just one of those things that happen in golf.”
“I just hope I don’t lose by one,” he added.
He probably should have knocked on wood or something, but all’s well that ends well. Playing in the third-to-last pairing on Sunday at Olympia Fields, Rahm fired a 64, the lowest round of the week at one of the toughest venues the PGA Tour has seen this year. He held the clubhouse lead and was staying warm on the range when Dustin Johnson jarred an impossible-looking putt on 18 to force a playoff. On the first extra hole, Rahm one-upped DJ with an absolute bomb to seal the victory. BMW Championship Results
The numbers are piling up for Jon Rahm. Per Justin Ray, he is tied with Justin Thomas for the most worldwide victories since 2017 (11). Per Sean Martin, his wins this season have come at two of this season’s four most difficult courses (Muirfield Village and Olympia Fields). Per, well, us, he has 52 top 10s in 104 career starts at professional events. It’s time for the Spaniard to win his first major. He does everything well—he was top 13 in every strokes gained category at the BMW Championship—and Winged Foot is a great place for someone who does everything well. Just saying.
In the meantime, Rahm heads into the Tour Championship in second place in the FedEx Cup standings. He will start the staggered event at -8, two strokes behind Dustin Johnson.
At the ISPS Handa UK Championship, 19-year-old Rasmus Højgaard notched his second European Tour victory with a final-round 65 and a par on the second playoff hole to defeat Justin Walters. The UK Championship concluded the European Tour’s post-shutdown “UK Swing,” which Højgaard narrowly won over Sam Horsfield. Next week, the tour heads to Spain for the Andalucía Masters. Results
It’s hard to fathom why there isn’t more hype stateside about Højgaard. His swing is a silky, powerful thing of beauty, and he’s averaging 325 yards off the tee this season. After four straight great results on the UK Swing (2, T-6, 3, 1), the Danish teen will move to fourth in the Race to Dubai and approximately 60th in the Official World Golf Ranking. He has qualified for the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, and if he performs well there, the buzz will build. But whatever happens, the future of the European Ryder Cup team is looking bright.
Fresh off a fifth-place finish at the Women’s Open, Austin Ernst captured the LPGA Tour’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship with a blazing final round of 63. This is the South Caroninian’s first victory since she won the Portland Classic in 2014 at the age of 22. Finishing two strokes behind Ernst was Anna Nordqvist, who had a three-shot lead going into Sunday. Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Results
Brandon Wu, who graduated from Stanford last year, claimed the Korn Ferry Tour Championship with a Sunday 65 at Victoria National. Wu started his KFT season with conditional status in late July. His T-2 in Boise two weeks ago improved his status, and this win earned him exemptions into the U.S. Open and next season’s opposite-field events on the PGA Tour. Korn Ferry Tour Championship Results
The men’s and women’s Amateur Championships wrapped up in England over the weekend. On the men’s side, Englishman Joe Long defeated countryman and first-name buddy Joe Harvey in a 36-hole final at Royal Birkdale. On Saturday, Germany’s Aline Krauter took the Women’s Amateur at West Lancashire. Men’s Results / Women’s Results
With a sand save on the 72nd hole at the BMW Championship, Mackenzie Hughes slid into the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings and will play at East Lake next week. Also qualifying for the Tour Championship from outside the top 30 was Joaquín Niemann, whose T-3 at Olympia Fields lifted him from No. 31 to No. 18. Hughes and Niemann displaced Adam Long and Kevin Streelman. We wish these “playoffs” created more opportunities for players to gain or lose the right to move on, but that’s another topic for another day.
Tiger Woods’s 2019-20 season is over. At Olympia Fields, he did not equal or break par in any of his rounds, finishing at 11 over. As Ryan Lavner summed it up, Woods’s season consisted of seven events, one win (at last year’s Zozo Championship), and one other top 35. Maybe he’s saving it for the fall majors. Maybe his body really, really hurts. Probably both.
As Steve Sands first reported during the BMW Championship telecast, Rory McIlroy and his wife Erica Stoll are expecting their first child “very soon.” McIlroy acknowledged that the impending birth has affected his focus recently: “My mind has been wandering the last few weeks,” he told the press, “and now you guys sort of know the reason why.” Understandable!
The Latest from The Fried Egg
Beautiful and Scary: The Greens at Winged Foot – In our latest video, we discuss what makes the greens at the West Course at Winged Foot Golf Club among the best in the world. We talk to Geoff Ogilvy, who won the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, and Gil Hanse, who led a recent renovation of the course, about the complexity and difficulty of the A.W. Tillinghast-designed putting surfaces, which will take center stage at the 2020 U.S. Open.
The Shotgun Start: Playoffs fever, Overpraising trees, and the Leishman problem
The FedExCup is on a roll. Andy and Brendan start the week recapping the dramatic Jon Rahm vs. DJ playoff after a fantastic championship on a firm and fast Olympia Fields. After watching it, they propose one potential way that this playoffs system really could take hold with the hardcore golf fans that so often mock it. There’s also a panning of the constant temperament talk regarding Rahm and if he needs to change a single thing about how he’s gone about his career. Andy has an issue with all the praise that trees received over the weekend, but is jubilant over the firm conditions and the interesting golf it produced. They review who took a dump in the cup this weekend by missing out on the Net Championship, as well as the one player who took a dump *on* the cup by *making* the Net Club Championship. There is also a quick rundown of other action from the golf world, including discussion of the young phenom Rasmus, Sei Young Kim’s fascinating new approach to pace of play, and Brandon Wu earning a spot in the U.S. Open with his KFT victory. News hits on Rory expecting and Matt Kuchar getting fired by his caddie. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
In the Midwest, where three-quarters of The Fried Egg is based, morning lows are creeping into the 50s. That can mean only one thing: autumn is coming. Time to sort out your layering options. May we suggest our Fairway & Greene quarter-zip pullover? It’s perfect for those fall morning walks—in the Midwest and elsewhere. Get yours!