We made it, everyone. The PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour pick back up tomorrow morning, signaling the return of big-time professional golf in the United States. When players tee off Thursday morning, 91 days will have passed since we saw live PGA Tour action.

I know you, and you, and you, and you…

The big story is the strength of the field at the PGA Tour’s Charles Schwab Challenge. The top five in the Official World Golf Ranking are all at Colonial Country Club this week, as are 37 of the top 50. It’s an unprecedented boon for a tournament that ran without a title sponsor in 2018 and was bordering on extinction. As Justin Ray pointed out, since the creation of the ranking system in 1986, the Colonial event has never featured both of the top two in the OWGR, let alone the top five. Tee Times

While we’re excited to see all the big names tomorrow, we can’t help but think about how rare this is on the PGA Tour. Today’s stars play selective schedules, and many events struggle to attract them. If the Tour wants weeks like this more often (which it maybe doesn’t particularly?), it will have to reduce the number of events or require players to vary their schedules more often.

… but what are you doing here?

The Charles Schwab Challenge has plenty of headliners, but it also has Olin Browne, Chad Campbell, Keith Clearwater, David Frost, Tom Lehman, and Steve Stricker. These players received past-champion exemptions for this week.

Now, normally this wouldn’t be a huge deal. Allowing winners to return is one of Colonial’s many long-running traditions. Considering the typically weakish field, that’s all well and good. But this year it’s an issue. Players are coming off a three-month hiatus, and lots of young guys are desperate for starts. Letting the old guard in the door instead of guys like Joseph Bramlett, Sam Burns, and Hank Lebioda—all alternates for the event—seems like a drastic misstep coming out of the COVID hiatus.


As discussed in Monday’s newsletter, Jon Rahm is in the midst of his best-ever stretch of golf. He has 10 top-three finishes in his past 18 worldwide starts with three victories. With a win this week, the Spaniard would overtake Rory McIlroy at No. 1 in the world. Rahm finished T-2 at Colonial in 2017 and T-5 in 2018 before missing the cut last year. Don’t be surprised if he continues his hot streak this week.

Paulie’s Picks

Need help sorting through the top dogs and the strays? Check out Paulie’s Picks!

Quick Hooks

CBS Sports is planning a few additions to its post-pandemic golf broadcasts. According to a report from Golf Digest, the network wants to supplement the fanless events with mic’d-up players (who are not named Justin Thomas), a “confession booth” (like The Real World?), and various “audio enhancements.” This could very well fall apart over the next two weeks… should be fun!

The PGA Tour is partnering with Twitter to perform what they’re calling a “global live content execution” during the Charles Schwab Challenge. We do not know what that is. See if you can figure it out.

There will be moments of silence to honor George Floyd at the Charles Schwab Challenge and the Korn Ferry Tour’s Challenge at Sawgrass. Each day, the 8:46 AM tee time will be left empty. Full Story from Rex Hoggard

The Korn Ferry Tour returns at the Dye Valley course at TPC Sawgrass this week. Tee Times

The LPGA has canceled the Evian Championship, one of its five major championships, over international travel concerns. Full Story from Randall Mell

Tiger Woods may be playing the RBC Heritage next weekend. That hasn’t been officially confirmed, but as Barstool Riggs alerted everyone, Tiger’s yacht seems to be on its way to St. Simons Island. Cat at Harbour Town would be a must-watch.

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Shotgun Start: Return

Golf is back and so is the normal, or approximately normal, Wednesday episode of the Shotgun Start. Brendan and Andy express their excitement, concerns, and amusements as the Tour gets underway at Colonial. They have some of their usual fun with the field, which includes a Senior division, Anchormen division, Mr. 300 division, Friends-of-Colonial division, and perhaps a new husky boy division. Andy hands out his event of the week, which leads to a discussion on why the other Sawgrass course is called the Valley. Featured groups are announced, as is a potential descent into autocracy for the Rickie Tour Live operation. The slimmed down broadcast operations and some of the experiments like mic’d players and a confessional are reviewed (so too is the Twitter multi-cast with various celebrities offering their insights). The no-fans impact is pondered and the lack of testing (CT driver) is lamented. They close with some thoughts on how this will work from a health operation perspective, reflection on the last few months, and gratitude for the return. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

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