Happy Muesdenursday, everyone! To paraphrase Drew Carey, every day feels the same and the points don’t matter. Still, let’s try to make the most of the situation, yeah?
News and updates
- The LPGA released an updated schedule for their 2020 season. As of today, the tour hopes to return on June 19 for the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, but it will update as necessary. Press Release and Schedule
- The USGA announced that the U.S. Women’s Open has been rescheduled from June to December. As of now, Champions Golf Club in Houston will remain the host course. Press Release
- The PGA Championship has been rescheduled for August 6-9 at TPC Harding Park. This move lines up with past reports and would likely make it the first men’s major of 2020.
One of our favorite Twitter follows is Nosferatu (@VC606), the self-designated “Official World Golf Ranking guru.” Yesterday, Nosferatu tweeted out a chart of the top 50 OWGR point earners so far in 2020. Some are obvious, like WGC-Mexico winner Patrick Reed (No. 1) and top-25 machine Sungjae Im (No. 3), but there are a few others we want to highlight—for better or worse.
Marc Leishman (No. 2) – The big Australian has been world-class for many years, but in 2020 he was on the verge of climbing higher on the OWGR list than he had ever been. A win at Torrey Pines and a runner-up at Bay Hill moved him to No. 15 in the world, just three spots back of his career-best position of 12th. Leishman is one of the most skilled players on the planet and may well break into the top 10 in the world by year’s end.
Bryson DeChambeau (No. 4) – After struggling in his first few events out of the gym, Bryson came into his own starting in late January. He has four top 10s in his past five events and, credit where credit’s due, is legitimately pummeling it off the tee. The thicc one ranks 1st in driving distance and 3rd in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee this season.
Rory McIlory (No. 14) – This one took us by surprise. Rory has been a factor at every event he’s played in 2020. He is second in SG: Tee-to-Green and second in SG: Total, and he hasn’t finished worse than T-5 since the new year. Yet somehow he’s No. 14 in OWGR points? Part of the story is that he has had only four starts in 2020. (Reed has played in seven events, Sungjae in eight.) The other part is that he hasn’t been closing out events. His ranks by round so far in 2020: 1st-T-19th-3rd-79th. It’s simple—Rory needs to start performing on Sunday. And given how he’s spending the COVID-19 hiatus, at least we know that endurance won’t be an issue.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (No. 16) – A common complaint about the OWGR is that it overrates strength of field for non-PGA Tour events and therefore overrates those who play primarily outside of the United States. While Bezuidenhout may benefit from that dynamic, he is definitely operating at a high level this year. He finished runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and T-18 at Bay Hill. That said, his victory at the Dimension Data Pro-Am on the Sunshine Tour earned him some OWGR points, too. We’re excited to see more of Bezuidenhout on the biggest stages.
Max Homa (No. 26) – Last but most certainly not least, the resurgent Homa was in the middle of one of the best stretches of golf in his professional career before the COVID-19 crisis halted play. The Cal alum and podcaster had three top 10s and two other top 25s in his past five events.
Of course, majors and additional WGCs tend to shake up such early-season standings very quickly. Still, it’s fun to look at Mr. Nosferatu’s chart and consider how each player got where he is. Some, like Lee Westwood (No. 11), prop up their entire seasons with one or two sensational weeks. Others, like Max Homa, have simply posted a lot of solid finishes. Should Westy’s win in Dubai and T-4 at the Honda beat Homa’s week-in, week-out consistency? Let us know what you think!
The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America
Bandon Preserve (Bandon, Oregon)
One of the great discoveries in recent golf architecture is that short courses can play by their own rules and go places that 18-hole par-72 courses cannot. Consider the property that Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw’s Bandon Preserve occupies. The terrain is too severe and the landforms too crowded to accommodate fairways for par 4s and 5s. But par 3s—13 of them, ranging from 63 to 150 yards—fit perfectly. Another advantage that short courses have is the freedom to be extreme. Perhaps because most of the holes at Bandon Preserve are under 135 yards, or because players tend to be more relaxed and open-minded while toting a Sunday bag, Coore & Crenshaw really let loose with their green designs. The shelf-like 6th, the mini-punchbowl (teacup?) 8th, and the rippling expanse that serves both 4 and 7 are all fun and distinctive. They might, however, be called “gimmicky” if they had the misfortune of appearing on a regulation golf course.
Insider tips: 1) This is no secret, but from the 13th tee, the only play is putter; 2) All net proceeds from Preserve green fees go to the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance—a good reason to play 26. -Garrett Morrison
Photo credit: Garrett Morrison
The Latest from The Fried Egg
ICYMI last week…
Andy Johnson on how the coronavirus pandemic could lead the PGA Tour to rethink its televised product.
Will Knights on a young, talented University of Texas men’s golf team and its abbreviated 2020 season.
Garrett Morrison on a neighborhood nine that was doing everything right before COVID-19 hit.
Brett Hochstein on a subtle greenside contour that creates more than its share of fun and challenge.
Shotgun Start: Have you ever been to the zoo? AMA Part 1
A break from the SGS Spotlight pace of the past couple weeks to follow up on a call for Ask Me Anything questions from the end of February. We tried this back around the holidays of 2018 with relative success and had planned one even before golf went on hiatus. We pore through your questions, in part 1 of what will be an attempt to answer every single one even if it is dodgy reply. We discuss mostly golf, our ideal major rota, what the Tour will look like after this crisis, our favorite fruits, the origins of this podcast, 5-year-olds saying the f-word, the best time zone, our past occupations, and if Andy has ever been to the zoo. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
We might not be in Augusta this week, but that doesn’t mean we can’t wear the right colors. Check out our green series Fried Egg polos from B. Draddy in our pro shop today!