Happy Wednesday! A week of intriguing golf lies ahead and there is daylight after 5 PM in Chicago. Things are looking up.
In today’s newsletter…
- A stacked field rolls into Riviera Country Club for the Tournament Formerly Known as the L.A. Open.
- The LPGA Tour stays another week in Australia before going on an unplanned hiatus.
One look at the field list for the Genesis Invitational and you know it’s a special event. Nine of the top 10 in the Official World Golf Rankings are in attendance, including tournament host Tiger Woods. Tee Times
What’s still known locally as the L.A. Open has always drawn strong fields, and it’s held at one of the best courses in the world. For years it came by its aura of prestige honestly. But now the PGA Tour has seen fit to grant the event “elevated status,” meaning the field is limited to 120 players and the winner will receive a three-year exemption. Add in Tiger as the host, and the Genesis Invitational is all but guaranteed to have one of the best fields in golf year in and year out.
The downside is that spots are invitation-only, and fewer players than normal will get to tee it up this week. Considering the L.A. Open’s long history as, well, an Open, the Genesis Invitational’s exclusivity feels like an unfortunate departure from tradition. Still, we’re certain to see some compelling golf this weekend.
Genesis Invitational—other notes
- TV coverage:
- Thursday: 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
- Friday: 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
- Saturday: 1-2:45 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); 3-6 p.m. ET (CBS)
- Sunday: 1-2:45 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); 3-6:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
- Brooks Koepka makes his 2020 PGA Tour debut after gallivanting through Asia and the Middle East during the first month of the season.
- Out of the top 10 in the world rankings, only Webb Simpson isn’t at Riviera this week.
- Last year at Riv, J.B. Holmes plumb-bobbed his way to a one-shot victory over Justin Thomas, and Tiger slapped together a T-15 at a course that hasn’t ever really fit his eye.
- Need some fantasy help? Check out Paulie’s Picks!
The ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open has a world-class field and kicks off on Thursday with Nelly Korda looking to defend her title. Korda is joined by Minjee Lee, Jeongeun Lee6, Hannah Green, and Lydia Ko down unda. Tee Times
The LPGA Tour has now canceled its entire three-tournament Asian swing because of the coronavirus. After this week, the LPGA will be off for a full month before returning with the Founders Cup in mid-March. Full AP Story
The Korn Ferry Tour hits the mainland for the first time in 2020 with the LECOM Suncoast Classic in Florida. Tee Times
At his Genesis Invitational press conference, Tiger Woods confirmed that representatives from the upstart Premier Golf League have approached him. “Just like everybody else,” he said, “we’re looking into it.” Doesn’t sound like a no!
Geoff Shackelford created a mock Premier Golf League schedule based on what he has heard from his sources. We’re sure there’s more news to come on this front.
PGATour.com’s Sean Martin has a poignant meditation on Westlake Golf Course, the small yet mighty Southern California facility where he learned the game, where Danielle Kang holds the course record, and where George Gankas currently plies his trade. Full Story
The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America
For an introduction to this ongoing list, check out its (freshly updated!) home on our website.
Old Macdonald (Bandon, Oregon)
For the fourth 18-hole course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, developer Mike Keiser wanted to build a replica of the Lido Golf Club, the C. B. Macdonald masterpiece that closed during World War II. But the concept didn’t fit the site, so Tom Doak and co-designer Jim Urbina opted for a looser tribute to Macdonald: a gallery of “ideal holes,” from a Double Plateau (No. 1) to a Biarritz (No. 8) to a Punchbowl (No. 18). Wisely, Doak and Urbina weren’t too faithful to their source material, just as Macdonald wasn’t to his. Old Mac’s shaping bears little resemblance to that of National Golf Links, and several of its best holes derive from either relatively obscure precedents (No. 10, “Bottle”; No. 17, “Littlestone”) or none at all (No. 7, “Ocean,” which is an original; No. 14, “Maiden,” which is not a Maiden). The result is a fun, fiery course that doesn’t so much bow to the greats of the Golden Age as converse with them.
Insider tip: Old Macdonald has the least tricked-out facilities of the four 18-hole Bandon courses, but the breakfast sandwich from the pro shop is one of the more satisfying food items at the resort. -Garrett Morrison
Photo credit: Garrett Morrison
The Latest from The Fried Egg
The Shotgun Start: Riv’s No. 1, Tiger on the PGL, and the return of Dick Johnson
The best week on the PGA Tour schedule is here and we spend the first chunk of this Wednesday episode covering all that makes it No. 1. We go into some of the defining characteristics of Riviera, how it could be better, and the “Black Swan” ownership structure that may be limiting its potential. We lament the new “invitational” status and check in on some of the highly rated courier cup players that are on the outside looking in this week. Some one-and-done picks are made in between a long diversion on Craig Hodges and a past NBA All Star weekend scandal. Then we get to Tiger’s press conference, notably his comments on the distance report and an equivocation that certainly does not close the door on his interest in the Premier Golf League concept. In other schedule news, we discuss the LPGA cancelling two more events because of the coronavirus, the nature of a Champions Tour Monday qualifier, and the emergence of a long lost Dick Johnson back on the KFT Tour. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Here’s a question that the 10th at Riviera asks: “Lay up or to go for it?” And here’s a question we get a lot: “Where did you get that putter cover?” In our pro shop, of course! Our Fried Egg Winston Collection covers add unique flair to any golf bag. Grab yours today!