How many of you are secretly in the Beyhive? How many of you have no idea what we’re talking about? Either way, we’ll keep the focus on golf from here on out.
The ladies are back! The LPGA Drive On Championship starts Friday morning, marking the tour’s return from the Covid-19 shutdown. We last saw LPGA Tour action in mid-February, when Inbee Park won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang, Lexi Thompson, and Minjee Lee headline the field in Toledo, Ohio.
It has been a long break for many women in professional golf. The LPGA shut down about a month before the PGA Tour did; the ladies were scheduled to swing through Asia right as that part of the world came to a halt in February. As a result, many female pros haven’t played a competitive event in five months.
A bunch of the world’s top players are in Ohio for the Drive On Championship, but notably not in the field are world No. 1 Jin Young Ko and No. 3 Sung Hyun Park. Both live in South Korea and have been making starts on the Korean Tour, but neither wants to travel internationally right now. Understandably so. As of today, Ko and Park plan on skipping at least the first four events on the LPGA Tour schedule, including the AIG Women’s Open Championship.
While the Drive On won’t boast all of the world’s best, it will have a star of a different sort: Inverness Club. Host of four U.S. Opens and two PGA Championships, this 1919 Donald Ross design has a proud history. It was recently restored by Andrew Green and should prove an excellent test.
Much like this week’s WGC hands out free FedEx Cup points, we’ve teamed up with FootJoy to give away some free FootJoy products! Five winners of the FootJoy x Fried Egg Giveaway will win a pair of FJ golf shoes, six pairs of StaSof golf gloves, and six pairs of ProDry socks. Enter our FootJoy Giveaway here!
Must be 18 years old or older and a U.S. resident to enter. No purchase necessary.
The real gamble
Gambling and pro golf have a long history, but the PGA Tour’s partnership with DraftKings is a recent development. Last year, DraftKings became the “Official Daily Fantasy Game of the PGA Tour.” On Tuesday, it was promoted to “Official Betting Operator of the PGA Tour.”
This does raise some questions. For years, the PGA Tour has balked at rigorous equipment testing, but it may not shouldn’t have a choice now. If the Tour is going to embrace gambling (and the resulting revenue), it should take measures to ensure that players are on a level playing field. A fair number of drivers failed CT tests last season; this summer, the exams seem to have stopped. More than a few pros could be—probably are!—playing illegal equipment, gaining an advantage over the field. No matter how slight and unintentional this advantage is, it should be eliminated, especially now that the Tour is in bed with Big Online Gambling. It’s time for Ponte Vedra to act.
Camilo Villegas announced that his 22-month-old daughter Mia has passed away. Earlier this year, doctors found tumors on her brain and spine. We can’t begin to understand the Villegas family’s pain. Camilo and his wife Maria are in our thoughts.
Despite the free money, world ranking points, and FedEx Cup points on offer this week, six of the top 50 players are skipping the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Among them is Tiger Woods. Next week’s PGA Championship will be his second start of the summer. WGC FedEx St. Jude Championship Tee Times
Through one round of stroke-play qualifying at the Western Amateur, five players are tied for the lead. Three rounds of stroke play remain, and two marathon days of match play will determine the champion. The winner and runner-up at Crooked Stick Golf Club will receive exemptions into the U.S. Amateur at Bandon Dunes. Leaderboard
The PGA Tour Champions makes its return—because who isn’t thirsting for Champions Tour golf?—at the Ally Challenge. Tee Times
The opposite-field Barracuda Championship is full of players who don’t play professional golf. Instead of deserving Korn Ferry Tour players, guys like Charlie Wi have been called up to fill in the field. No offense to Mr. Stack-and-Tilt. Barracuda Championship Tee Times
Davis Love III announced on Tuesday night that he will no longer be a part of the CBS broadcast team. He said he is going to try to focus on playing instead.
The Latest from The Fried Egg
Paulie’s Picks: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational – It’s going to be hot and sweaty around TPC Southwind. See who fantasy genius Paulie thinks will be able to push through the perspiration at this weekend’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Fried Egg Podcast, Episode 185: Kerry Haigh
Kerry Haigh, the Chief Championships Officer of the PGA of America, joins Andy to discuss next week’s PGA Championship at Harding Park. The conversation centers on Kerry’s approach to setting up major championship golf. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Shotgun Start: LPGA is back, WGC Swampass, and the PGA Tour “expands” gambling relationship
This is a shorter Wednesday episode, with Brendan nursing multiple injuries and in concussion protocol while on vacation. The golf schedule this week, however, is full, with a lengthy roster of events to choose from for Event of the Week. Andy settles on the LPGA’s return at Inverness for the honor and explains why it should be a great watch. The alternates list at the ’Cuda, as you might expect, is also highlighted. Andy does some “investigative reporting” on the expected weather for the WGC Swampass, and Brendan makes sure not to run afoul of Memphis while trying to explain why this event has become a punching bag of sorts. News focuses on the Tour getting even cozier with DraftKings and the conflicts that presents, as well as the possibility for a more “open” Tour. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.