Happy Friday, folks! It’s summer and we have golf. Things are looking up.
Follow the rules
According to various sources in the industry and on the ground at the Charles Schwab Challenge, some PGA Tour players are acting as though nothing has changed in the pandemic era. The PGA Tour set out very specific procedural guidelines before play resumed. But at least a few of the pros are reportedly being cavalier with the new rules, whether failing to observe social distancing on the course, staying at unapproved hotels, or going out to eat.
It’s worth noting, however, that no one on site at the Charles Schwab Challenge has tested positive for COVID-19. On the Korn Ferry Tour, one player and three caddies received positive at-home tests. So none of this has become a big issue yet, but keep an eye on this storyline going forward.
After dropping Honma like a bad habit, Justin Rose came out firing at the Charles Schwab Challenge. The former world No. 1 looked like his old self as he shot a bogey-free 63, good enough for a tie with Harold Varner III at the top of the leaderboard.
Rose signed with Honma early in 2019 but split with the Japanese manufacturer after falling to No. 14 in the Official World Golf Ranking. It’s just the latest high-profile example of a pro signing a big equipment contract before figuring out he’d rather play good golf. (Cf. Bubba Watson, Volvik.) On the other hand, players like Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed have thrived without full-bag equipment contracts, prioritizing the freedom to play whatever works for them.
We’ve followed—and incessantly joked about—his social media content during quarantine, but Bryson DeChambeau’s weight gain seems to be paying dividends. On Thursday, he led the field in driving distance and Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (2.08) on his way to a 65. In fact, Bryson has gained more than two shots off the tee in five of his past eight rounds, something that happens in about one percent of PGA Tour rounds (Lou Stanger).
While gaining distance is the quickest way to improve in the modern game, it’s also difficult to do. Over 26 measured rounds this season, Bryson leads the Tour in driving distance and is third in SG: Off-the-Tee. Many players—Luke Donald and Jim Furyk, to name a couple—have chased distance unsuccessfully, but Bryson seems to have found a formula that works for him. He is an elite driver of the golf ball, no two ways about it.
Harold Varner III tied Justin Rose’s clubhouse lead with an afternoon 63 at Colonial. If you missed HV3’s sit down with PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, we recommend pausing this newsletter and taking a listen. Full Video
Camilo Villegas announced that his 20-month-old daughter is suffering from tumors on her brain and spine. She is undergoing chemotherapy, and the family remains hopeful, but these are trying times for the Villegases. Keep them in your thoughts. Full Story from Joel Beall
Paul Barjon leads the Korn Ferry Challenge at TPC Sawgrass following his first-round 64 at Dye’s Valley Course. Villegas opened with a 67 and sits T-10. Leaderboard
If you missed Bryson’s Instagram b-roll footage of his quarantine exploits, take a second out of your day to watch. It’s truly inspiring.
Steve Stricker announced that he will make six captain’s picks for the 2020 Ryder Cup instead of the usual four. Not only does this mean that just six players will automatically qualify for Team USA, but it also indicates that the event will take place in 2020, not ’21. Full Story from Ryan Lavner
The Latest from The Fried Egg
Yolk with Doak, Episode 22: Confidential Guide and the Maha project
In the latest edition of the Yolk with Doak, Tom discusses the ideology behind the Confidential Guide, randomness in design, and a unique new project near Napa Valley he is working on. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Shotgun Start: Thicc golf back, Spieth golf back, and Flashback to a Colonial hothead
It’s Friday and PGA Tour golf is back. This episode begins with Brendan and Andy soaking in a joyous and eventful first round at Colonial. First, Andy, in the tradition of the show, issues an apology to a certain Dockers khakis enthusiast. Then they transition to the topic of the day: Thicc Boi Bryson, his booming drives, and his incredibly bizarre quarantine chronicles video posted to Instagram. There is a request to get it submitted to a low-level film festival. Jordan Spieth’s 65 provoked hope and enthusiasm on Twitter, but there is a call for equanimity on assessments of the three-time major winner. The trimmed-down broadcast is reviewed, as are Phil’s sunglasses, the Darren Rovell streamcast, and Kevin Na’s new logo. News focuses on the new Ryder Cup selection process for the USA and Tiger’s boat reportedly headed for Harbour Town. A more traditional Flashback Friday segment focuses on the 1993 winner at Colonial, a legendary outspoken redass, South African cusser, and holder of bad opinions about Annika Sorenstam. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
If you, like Bryson, are in need of a new belt, you’re in luck! The Fried Egg has a brand-new belt available for presale in our pro shop. We’re also restocked on tees, hats, and headcovers. Shop today!