Hello! It was a lovely weekend across the world of golf. Isn’t it nice when big events live up to their reputations?
In today’s newsletter…
- Adam Scott returns to the winner’s circle at a deliciously firm Riviera Country Club.
- 2016 gold medalist Inbee Park has her eye on a Tokyo berth after dominating the Women’s Australian Open.
Poetry in motion
The Genesis Invitational boasted the best PGA Tour field of the season so far, and it more than lived up to expectations. With rounds of 67-70 on the weekend, Adam Scott outlasted a strong group of contenders. Results
While Scott’s win was his first on the PGA Tour since 2016, the Australian vet has played excellent golf over the past 18 months. He finished third in Strokes Gained: Total in 2019 and won the Australian PGA Championship in December. Scott’s putting has been his Achilles’ heel, but his ball-striking has been world-class for two decades. If the broomstick continues to behave, we could very well hear more from the 2013 Masters champion in 2020.
But the real star of the week in Los Angeles was Riviera Country Club. One of the best Tour stops—if not the best—Riviera delivered firm turf and continual strategic dilemmas. Players had to work the ball both ways, and the best were able to separate themselves. Adam Scott called Riv his favorite course on the schedule, and it’s hard not to agree with him.
Walk in the Park
Inbee Park won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open by three shots, her first LPGA Tour victory in more than two years. At a tough, par-73 Royal Adelaide Golf Club, she struggled slightly in her final round, but she still led by as many as seven on Sunday. Results
Park started her season earlier than usual this year in hopes of qualifying for the South Korean Olympic team and defending her 2016 gold medal in Tokyo this summer. Fourteen of the top 30 women in the world hail from South Korea, so making the team is no mean feat. At 31 years old, Inbee Park is a veteran among her compatriots, but the former world No. 1 still has plenty of game.
Genesis Invitational—leaderboard notes
- Sung Kang, Scott Brown, and Matt Kuchar tied for second at Riviera, two shots back of Adam Scott. Kang relied on ball-striking to ascend the leaderboard, while Brown and Kuchar each gained more than seven strokes putting.
- Despite starting the day tied for the lead, Rory McIlroy fell to T-5 with a 73 on Sunday. We tend to expect more out of Rory, but remember: since last year’s Open Championship, he has finished outside the top 10 in a total of two events.
- Hideki Matsuyama led the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green but lost more than three shots putting (63rd in the field) on his way to a tie for fifth.
- Tournament host Tiger Woods finished DFL after 76-77 on the weekend. “Good news,” he said afterwards, “I hit every ball forward, not backwards. A couple sideways.”
Riviera demands savvy, subtle play, so experience tends to predict success. Scott is 39, and runners-up Kang, Brown, and Kuchar are 32, 36, and 41, respectively. The previous five champions in Los Angeles were 36, 39, 32, 37, and 33. Random fact: the youngest player to earn a winner’s check at the L.A. Open this century was… a 24-year-old Adam Scott in 2005! Since that event was rained out after 36 holes, however, the victory is unofficial.
Sunday was not a day to remember for the CBS team, and social media was (even more) ablaze with complaints about coverage (than usual). The telecast’s low point came when Harold Varner III, the leader at the time, topped his tee shot on the famed 10th hole, and CBS didn’t show the shot until more than an hour later.
There’s one thing we can all probably agree that CBS did well, however. During an interview with buzzword-spouting Genesis CEO, cameras zoomed in to crop out his bizarrely revealing shirt.
It was a wild Sunday on the Korn Ferry Tour as more than a dozen players had a shot at the LECOM Suncoast Classic. In the end, Wofford graduate Andrew Novak emerged from the pack. Novak birdied his final two holes for the win. Results
A Pair of IOUs…
The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America: We’re now 10 weeks and 30 courses into our public golf must-sees list, and we’ve decided to take the week to generate some new entries. We’ll resume next Monday, February 24. In the meantime, you can review our first 30 picks on our website. Thanks for following along!
The Shotgun Start: Andy had NBA All-Star Game tickets last night, and Brendan has 17 kids (pretty sure that’s right?). As a result, your Monday episode of The Shotgun Start won’t be in your feeds in the morning but should appear around midday.
Riviera is as good as it gets on the PGA Tour. George Thomas’s design stands the test of time—as does our classic Fried Egg logo hat! Snag yours today!