Happy Monday, ladies and gentlemen. We didn’t have a playoff this weekend, but Muirfield Village delivered a second straight nail-biter finish, with a little rules drama mixed in for good measure.
Jon Rahm stood on the 9th tee at the Memorial Tournament with an eight-shot lead. Five holes later, his lead was down to three. But a clutch chip-in on 16 gave him a four-shot cushion (or so we thought), and the Spaniard defeated Ryan Palmer for his fourth PGA Tour victory. Memorial Tournament Results
We’ll dive into the details of that chip-in in a second, but first let’s give Rahm his due. With the win, he ascended to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He’s just 25 years old, and he has 11 worldwide wins, four PGA Tour wins, and four top 10s in major championships in his last eight tries. In short, he’s a dominant player. It seems that he’ll always have to battle some mental demons, but he has too much talent to be held down by a temper. Rahm’s next step is a major, and he’ll have seven chances in the next 11 months.
While it didn’t matter in the end, Jon Rahm received a two-shot penalty on the 16th hole before he chipped in for birdie. Setting up to his shot, Rahm accidentally caused his ball to move slightly. He was unaware of that fact until he finished out on 18, but since he won by five, the penalty did not change the result.
It’s bizarre, however, that Rahm and playing partner Ryan Palmer were not informed of the situation as soon as the Tour made a decision. If the gap had been one shot instead of five, would the pair have been briefed? We may never know. Anyway, it was a fun moment on Golf Twitter—one that even Slugger White leaned into.
The winning pair
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On his back nine on Friday afternoon, Bryson DeChambeau seemed a safe bet to play the weekend. But then came the par-5 15th hole at Muirfield Village. Bryson hit his drive into a hazard and two consecutive 3-woods out of bounds. He had an argument with a rules official, and another argument with another rules official after rejecting what the first one said. Of course, if Bryson, a professional golfer, had just known the rule, he could have skipped the public embarrassment. He ended up with a quintuple-bogey 10.
After he hit a less-than-perfect tee shot on the next hole, his caddie ran in front of a camera, shielding Bryson from the prying eyes of the viewers at home. Gotta protect the “brand.”
Give the man a promotion
It was a battle of heavyweights on the Korn Ferry Tour this weekend. Derek Ernst, Taylor Pendrith, Paul Barjon, and Austin Smotherman were all in the mix, but Davis Riley ultimately separated himself in San Antonio. The former Alabama All-American birdied three of his final four holes to secure his second win of the season. TPC San Antonio Championship Results
There is only one way for Korn Ferry Tour members to earn full PGA Tour membership this year: win three events. Davis Riley is now two thirds of the way to this so-called “battlefield promotion.” He and his roommate Will Zalatoris have dominated the Korn Ferry Tour this year and currently hold the top two spots on the points list. Wesley Bryan was the last to earn the battlefield promotion back in 2016, but don’t be surprised if Riley and Zalatoris repeat the feat soon.
It was a profitable Sunday for Matthew Fitzpatrick at the Memorial Tournament. The 25-year-old Englishman shot a bogey-free 68 to jump 15 spots and into third place. Jim “Bones” Mackay, Phil Mickelson’s ex-caddie, filled in on Fitzpatrick’s bag this week.
After holding a share of the 36-hole lead, Tony Finau fell to an 8th-place finish at Muirfield Village. Finau shot 73-78 on the weekend and opened Sunday’s final round with a 42 on the front nine. He’s still in search of his first non-opposite-field PGA Tour win.
Ryan Palmer may not have won the Memorial, but he did earn an exemption into the U.S. Open. Joining Palmer at Winged Foot is Mackenzie Hughes, who benefited from a 72nd-hole bogey by Henrik Norlander. Norlander was in line for the second spot available this week, but a sloppy final hole cost the Swede a trip to New York.
He came up two shots short of Davis Riley, but Taylor Pendrith still had a great showing in San Antonio. The big Canadian now has three straight top-three finishes and sits third in the season-long points race.
Joël Stalter recorded four rounds in the 60s to win the Challenge Tour’s Euram Bank Open over the weekend. It was the Frenchman’s first professional victory since 2016. Results
Jack Nicklaus revealed that both he and his wife Barbara contracted Covid-19 back in mid-March. Both tested negative multiple times before flying to Ohio.
In lighter Jack-related news, Nicklaus Designs (or more specifically, the contractor that the firm employs) began tearing up Muirfield Village for a renovation before the tournament was even over on Sunday.
Phil Mickelson continues to do Phil Mickelson things.
DID YOU KNOW THAT JON RAHM IS FROM SPAIN AND SO WAS SEVE BALLESTEROS?
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Shotgun Start: Gentleman Jon gets a W, Jack rips up his course, and Bryson’s OB-gate
Much like Bryson on Friday, this Monday episode is a re-load after some computer troubles resulted in another lost tape. Andy and Brendan begin with the strange ending to a fun weekend at Muirfield Village, namely the ruling on Jon Rahm’s ball moving. They dismiss the notion that Rahm was trying to gain some sort of illicit fluffy Reed advantage but do wonder if 1) he should have been penalized at all and 2) the Tour would have done it if the two strokes changed the outcome. Slugger’s quote that Rahm took the ruling as a gentleman is praised as a great troll. They also discuss Dylan Fritelli somehow, for reasons still unclear, becoming a Sunday final round feature in the coverage. Also discussed are Phil deciding to layup on a par 3, what kind of circus a Phil-hosted event might look like someday, Tiger’s health, and Jack refusing to wait to tear up his course so he could get the photo-op on Sunday night. Bryson’s behavior toward the rules officials on Friday is panned in a lengthy segment at the end and then there are a few parting notes on Sunny Abacoa padding his all-time MLGT money list lead and a Mountain Dew-less Monty dropping a bunch of weight. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.