This week feels different, doesn’t it? It feels real. We have star-studded fields on the PGA and European tours, and the LPGA has its first full-field event of the season. Golf is completely back!
In today’s newsletter…
- Promising young players mix with established headliners at the Farmers Insurance Open.
- The “Big Oo-Oo” sends his love to Fried Egg Andy.
- Jaeger Kovich profiles the rarest of unicorns: a public Seth Raynor design.
Now for real this time
The Hawaiian events are fun and all, but we always feel like the PGA Tour season doesn’t really start until Torrey Pines. This week’s Farmers Insurance Open has the best field of 2020 so far, with Tiger and Rory making their first starts of the year. Also in the mix are Jordan Spieth, who’s trying to kickstart a comeback (but still seems to be floundering in technical minutiae), and J.B. Holmes, who’s always a threat to ice a potential winner. Tee Times
While there are scads of world-class players at the Farmers this week, a group of lesser-known—but no less exciting—young guys have drawn our attention. Collin Morikawa (Cal), Brandon Wu (Stanford), Justin Suh (USC), Isaiah Salinda (Stanford), and K.K. Limbhasut (Cal) were all Pac 12 golfers last year, and all five will be teeing it up at Torrey Pines. Morikawa has been a star since graduating, while his former teammate Limbhasut earned his start through the Monday qualifier. The other three were recipients of well-deserved sponsor exemptions. Sometimes in this newsletter we report on unearned, nepotistic exemptions, but we have to give it up to the folks at Farmers. They nailed these ones.
Need some fantasy help for Torrey? Check out Paulie’s Picks for daily fantasy and one-and-some picks!
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Farmers Insurance Open (PGA Tour)
- Tee Times
- TV coverage:
- Thursday-Friday, 3-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
- Saturday, 1-2:45 p.m. ET (Golf Channel) and 3-6 p.m. ET (CBS)
- Sunday, 1-2:45 p.m. ET (Golf Channel) and 3-6:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
- Justin Rose returns to defend his title at the Farmers after going winless in the year since. He has finished in the top 10 at Torrey in each of the past three years.
- After missing the Sony Open because of illness, Jordan Spieth makes his first start of the year at Torrey Pines. He has fallen to 45th in the world rankings and hasn’t won since 2017.
Omega Dubai Desert Classic (European Tour)
- Tee Times
- TV coverage:
- Wednesday, 11 p.m.-4 a.m. ET (Golf Channel)
- Friday, 2:30-8:30 a.m. ET (Golf Channel)
- Saturday-Sunday, 3:30-8 a.m. ET (Golf Channel)
- Sergio García, Shane Lowry, Eddie Pepperell, Viktor Hovland, Danny Willett, and Bryson DeChambeau headline the field.
The LPGA Tour heads to Boca Raton for the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio. Tee Times
Jared Wolfe shot a third-round 65 to take the 54-hole lead on the Korn Ferry Tour. He has a one-shot edge on Brandon Harkins heading into the final round in the Bahamas. Leaderboard
The World Golf Hall of Fame lowered its minimum age to 45 on Tuesday, meaning that Tiger Woods will be eligible in 2021. Golf Twitter seemed to be interested in that, so maybe you are, too?
Ryan French—of the “Monday Q Info” Twitter account—has started writing weekly columns about Monday qualifiers for PGATour.com. Check out his latest.
Jack Nicklaus turned 80 (80!) on Tuesday, which occasioned a number of touching reminiscences, including John Feinstein’s for Golf World.
Si Woo Kim, a.k.a. The Big Woo-Woo, a.k.a. The Big Oo-Oo, had a special Cameo message for his number-one fan, our own Andy Johnson. Clearly the most important news of the day. (Cameo is a website through which you can book personalized shout-outs from celebrities. Apparently Si Woo is on there. Many thanks to Some Guys Backyard!)
We’re just about two months away from our first event of 2020! The Boomerang will take place at the charming, beautiful Soule Park Golf Course on Saturday, March 28, in Ojai, California. Registration includes breakfast at the Bixby Bus, a big lunch, tee gifts from B. Draddy and Imperial Headwear, raffles, prizes, and heavy post-golf hors d’oeuvres. The event is a two-man team format, and any singles who register will be paired up with a fellow golf nut. Reserve your spot today! And enjoy our very silly promo video.
The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America
Rock Spring Golf Club (West Orange, New Jersey)
2019 was a great year for the NY/NJ public golf scene, as Rock Spring Golf Club, a 1925 Seth Raynor design that has gone through troubled times, re-opened for public play. Set on top of the first big rise west of New York City and offering stellar skyline views, the course features a number of the classic MacRaynor templates. The Double Plateau and Bottle Hole are particularly good, as is the Road Hole Green and a duo of Leven/Cape-like holes, which fit in nicely with the steep, rocky terrain. While the future of Rock Spring has yet to be determined, we are hopeful it will remain intact. Make sure you check out the seriously bold Redan 3rd, which is perched on a cliff with the Empire State Building on the horizon.
Insider tip: Rock Spring is one of only two publicly accessible Seth Raynor courses in the country. -Jaeger Kovich
Photo credit: Jaeger Kovich
The Latest from The Fried Egg
The Fried Egg Podcast, Episode 167: Bill Coore – Sheep Ranch, Pete Dye, and under-appreciated holes
For the first time since May 2018, we welcome Bill Coore back to the podcast. Andy and Bill discuss the lack of sand bunkers and the tight, intricate routing at Sheep Ranch, Coore & Crenshaw’s upcoming course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. In addition, they talk about the late Pete Dye, Bill’s mentor, and Bill’s own Dye-like willingness to hire associates who have little to no golf experience. Andy and Bill cover various other topics, including the recent removal of Trinity Forest, a Coore & Crenshaw design, from the PGA Tour rota; what Bill learned from watching the pros at his recently renovated Plantation Course at Kapalua; and his thoughts on some of golf’s most under-appreciated holes. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
The Shotgun Start: Torrey changes, Tiger changes woods, and PGA Show angst
This Wednesday episode begins with a mix of anticipation and anxiety about some PGA Show travel. Then we get to the schedule for the week, starting with the leaderboard for the Wednesday finish on the KFT. We learn some new things about the life and times of Jared Wolfe and ponder why the PGA Tour can’t seem to provide more coverage and archival footage for their subscription video service. Andy relays a “hunch” about a sizable purse increase coming for The Gold Standard and also gloats about some new Rickie endorsement news that he foretold. The annual stop at Torrey Pines gets a preview, with a startling name making his way onto the ballot for Fan Vote Friday. We run down the possibilities for Tiger’s season, from best to worst to realistic cases and we also rant about having the context of career benchmarks always crowbarred into the narrative every time we watch him. Lastly, we finish with some PGA Show whimsy on five extremely expensive inventions/products at the show targeted towards fixing the intractable problem of getting around a golf course. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.