It’s kind of nice to skip the commute, huh? We hope you’re all adjusting well to work-from-home life; we know your dogs appreciate it. Let’s distract ourselves with some golf, shall we?
News and updates
- PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is forgoing his salary during the PGA Tour shutdown. The rest of the Tour’s top executives will take a 25% pay cut while play is suspended. Full Story from Eamon Lynch
- The IOC announced that it set a deadline of four weeks to decide whether to stage the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Cancellation seems to be out of the question, but a postponement or a scaling down of the Games are on the table. Full Story from Dan Roan
Jason Day’s under-the-radar career season
No one would dispute that Jason Day has had a strong career. Eleven PGA Tour wins, more than $45 million in career earnings, and, of course, back-to-back Franklin Templeton Shootouts. What we seem to forget, though, is that Day’s 2015 was arguably the second best season any player put together in the past decade.
Between 2010 and ’14, Day proved himself as one of the best players on and around the greens. In 2013, he worked hard on his driver, jumping from 78th to 18th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. Still, he knew he had to improve his ball-striking to contend more often. So from 2013 to 2015, the Australian went from 102nd to 72nd to 25th in SG: Approach. Like many elite players before him, Day recognized his weaknesses and turned them into strengths.
That brings us to 2015, when Jason Day won five times. After missing the cut at the Memorial, he finished no worse than T-12 in his last nine tournaments, including a T-9 at the U.S. Open and a T-4 at the Open. Oh, and he won the PGA Championship and two playoff events. That’s one hell of a run. (Yet somehow he finished third in the FedEx Cup?)
Day kept up his strong ball-striking in 2016 and won three more times. Since then, however, his approach stats have taken a dive. He hasn’t done better than 96th in SG: Approach in the past three seasons, and despite driving and putting it well, he hasn’t contended at nearly the same rate. Clearly, injuries are a big reason for his regression. But it’s curious that his struggles have manifested themselves primarily in one category.
Jason Day’s 2015 will always be overshadowed by Jordan Spieth’s historic dominance during the same season. But from June 2015 to May 2016—when he won eight times, including a PGA and a Players—Day played as well as anyone did in the 2010s.
The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America
For an introduction to this ongoing list, check out its home on our website.
Paxon Hollow Golf Club (Media, Pennsylvania)
Paxon Hollow has seen many changes since it opened in 1926. The most recent have come at the hands of local resident Jim Wagner, Gil Hanse’s design partner, who has spent years brushing up this Philly gem. The scorecard will not wow anyone; it shows a total yardage of 5700 yards. But Paxon Hollow is packed with charm, quirk, and fun golf holes. The abundance of short par 4s and par 3s makes fast rounds feasible, and Wagner’s brush-up of the J. Franklin Meehan design has kept it relevant today. The stretch from 11 to 13 is a high point, featuring a fun short par 5 and excellent back-to-back par 4s.
Insider tip: A short drive from Paxon Hollow is Llanerch Country Club, where Brian Schneider has been doing a renovation. The shaping, executed with the help of Blake Conant, seems to be highly original and exciting. -Andy Johnson
Paxon Hollow on a rainy day. Photo credit: Andy Johnson
The Latest from The Fried Egg
Natural Landforms and Wind: The 8th at Prairie Dunes Country Club
New video! This entry in our On the Skillet series tackles the brutish 8th hole at Prairie Dunes. Discover how Perry Maxwell used the site’s rolling terrain to create different ways to attack one of the best par 4s in the world.
The Fried Egg Podcast: Superintendent Series – Episode 6: Josh Lewis
Josh Lewis, superintendent at Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club, joins Andy for the latest installment of our Superintendent Series, brought to you by the Toro Company. They talk about the impact COVID-19 has had on the turf industry before digging into Josh’s early days at Coos Bay, Bandon Dunes, Pasatiempo, and Chambers Bay. Follow Josh on Twitter @theturfyoda. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
The Shotgun Start: The commish works for free, TV programming wishes, and Mark O’Meara Spotlight
A Monday episode begins with news that PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan will forfeit his salary as golf is suspended. We briefly discuss this and also some of the numbers of positive tests coming out of Florida about 10 days after The Players went on at TPC Sawgrass. One person reportedly likely positive for COVID-19 is Pete Cowen, world-renowned coach who was on the range at TPC Sawgrass and undoubtedly interacting with a number of players and staff. We also hit on the uncertain future of the Olympics despite organizers saying it’s not postponed or canceled yet. The new USGA rules adjusted for the new realities of playing golf are also mentioned before we transition to some angst about the lack of classic programming during these golf-less days. The SGS Spotlight for this episode focuses on Mark O’Meara. We highlight his U.S. Amateur win as an underdog, his penchant for winning “B” events, his Tiger friendship that went south, and his amazing late career run at the majors in 1998. Some amusing anecdotes about Johnny Miller playing at Cypress in the Bing Crosby, ‘98 Open runner-up Brian Watts losing it on the Japan Tour, and the Mark-it-Nearer nickname are also included. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.