Drops of Jupiter

The Florida swing begins with Swamp Week at PGA National, and Brooks wears a tank-top that costs twice as much as a new driver


Bear Trap. Bear Trap. Bear Trap. Bear Trap. Bear Trap. Just a little preview of the Honda Classic telecast. Hope you’re ready!

In today’s newsletter…

  • The Florida swing seems to have lost a little of its… swing.
  • A weaker-than-usual field reports for duty at PGA National while a surprisingly not-terrible one makes its way to Oman.

The Storylines

Ain’t got that swing

The start of the Florida swing has us feeling nostalgic. On today’s PGA Tour, it’s not the best stretch of golf venues, nor is it the best stretch of fields, but it does have history. It has events where all of the big names used to show up and ball out. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

The strength of field at this week’s Honda Classic is about half of that at the 2014 event. There are big names; there just aren’t nearly as many. In the new, condensed schedule, January to April is very busy, and top players are looking to stay fresh for the Players and the majors. It’s a shame that a few of (what used to be) the buzziest early-season stops are hurting, but the WGCs, most of them light on history and character, take priority in today’s courier-service world.

The Roundup

Honda Classic—other notes

  • Tee Times
  • TV coverage:
    • Thursday-Friday: 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
    • Saturday-Sunday: 1-3 p.m. ET (Golf Channel), 3-6 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose, Gary Woodland, and Rickie Fowler headline the field in The Swamp.
  • With the WGC Match Play cut-off looming, players at the Honda Classic are looking to stay inside the top 64 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Keegan Bradley is currently the bubble boy, while Max Homa, J.T. Poston, and Nate Lashley are within striking distance.
  • LPGA star Cristie Kerr will be joining the Golf Channel team at PGA National. Kerr has not been known to mince words, so this should actually be interesting!
  • Lions, no Tiger, but Bear Traps, oh my! Jack Nicklaus’s Champion Course can be a scary place, but Paulie’s Picks will help you through with one-and-done and DraftKings help.

The European Tour cobbled together a decent field for the Oman Open even though many big names were in Mexico City just this past weekend. Thomas Pieters, Min Woo Lee, Andy Sullivan, Thomas Detry, and Alexander Levy headline the field in the Middle East. Tee Times

After a week off, the Korn Ferry Tour resumes with the El Bosque Mexico Championship. Tee Times

The R&A announced on Tuesday that Royal Troon will be the site of the 2023 Open Championship. Troon last hosted the Open in 2016, which featured an epic duel between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson. Full Press Release via BBC

Tiger Woods revealed that the 2020 Masters Champions Dinner menu will include steak and chicken fajitas, sushi and sashimi, and potentially milkshakes. Apparently he’s taking his cues from an old Mark O’Meara menu.

Brooks Koepka appeared in a GQ profile this week. Most of the stories and opinions in the piece are repeats, but there are photos of the four-time major winner sporting a $990 tank-top, if you’re into that sort of thing. Full Profile

Golf Magazine recently released a ranking of North America’s top 50 clubfitters and awarded the top spot to True Spec… which happens to be owned by the company 8AM Golf… which happens also to own Golf Magazine. The ranking failed to disclose this fact. Brendan Porath has been on top of this story since last week, but on Monday a letter from Cool Clubs CEO Mark Timms made the rounds. Timms is displeased with Golf Magazine’s apparent lapse in editorial judgment, and he doesn’t hold back. It’s a satisfying read, but the whole situation is unfortunate. Golf Magazine has several of the best writers in the game, and this nonsense isn’t their fault. The owners and managers need to do better.

The Must-Sees in Public Golf Architecture in America

For an introduction to this ongoing list, check out its home on our website.

Manakiki Golf Course (Willoughby, Ohio)


Cleveland Metroparks has two absolute gems. One of them, Stanley Thompson’s Sleepy Hollow, we’ve already profiled for this series. The other, Manakiki Golf Course, began its life in 1929 as a Donald Ross design called Willowick Country Club. It has seen some changes over the years—tree plantings, shrinking greens, unfortunate cart path placements—but the wonderful, rolling Ohio property and the Ross routing, which frequently uses the land as a natural hazard, remain intact. Like Sleepy Hollow, Manakiki presents an extraordinary restoration opportunity and has the potential to be one of the finest public courses in the Midwest. If Cleveland Metroparks somehow manages to follow through on that potential, the Cleveland area could become America’s premier urban golf destination. Until then, its two classic municipal courses will remain diamonds in the rough.

Insider tip: The Tufts Archives in Pinehurst, North Carolina, has Ross’s original notes and sketches for Manakiki. A lack of documentation is not among the hurdles to restoration! -Andy Johnson

Photo credit: Cleveland Metroparks

The Latest from The Fried Egg

The Fried Egg Podcast, Episode 172: Barrett Stover – Golf Fitness

Revolution Sports Performance founder Barrett Stover joins Andy to discuss golf fitness. The two talk about the common misconceptions and easy ways golfers can stay more active and improve their golf games. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

The Shotgun Start: The Swamp classic, Dump-in-a-Box classic, and Muscat classic

It’s Swamp Week on the PGA Tour and we dive right in on this Wednesday episode. We begin with some earnest discussion of PGA National and how you can’t fake it around the hazardous bear-infested layout. Then we transition to a less-serious discussion on the mid-life-crisis party scene both at the course and around town the week of the Honda. We lament the weakening of the field as the Honda fights for room on a crowded, “elevated” part of the schedule. Andy then proposes a GoFundMe to get Geronimo out to every event to become a season-long storyline (and maybe slowly drive JT mad). The Cologuard Classic is given a full account, with news of each player getting a free box kit in his locker as well as a tip about continued anchored putting strife among not only the players, but also their significant others. News focuses on Pat Reed’s Mother-in-Law’s Facebook activity and the quotes, and contradictions, from Brooks Koepka’s GQ profile. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

It’s about to get swampy on the PGA Tour. Whether you use it to dab sweat off your forehead or hold it over your head so Bryson can see his laser, our Fried Egg towel will come in handy during the Florida swing. Get yours today!