Welcome to the new age

The Open is (not?) canceled, the Tour closes in on a fall slate, and we split today’s young stars into two camps: bombers and all-rounders


Did you know that Captain Crunch’s full name is Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch? Oh, and his ship is called the S.S. Guppy! You all are having like six bowls of cereal a day too, right?

News and updates

  • Citing unnamed sources, Golf Digest reported on Wednesday that July’s Open Championship at Royal St. George’s would be canceled. In a press release yesterday, however, R&A chief Martin Slumbers indicated that while postponement is on the table, the body has made no final decision.
  • According to a report from Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch, the PGA Tour is close to finalizing an updated fall schedule. As with everything these days, all of these dates are subject to change, but possibilities include a November Masters, an August PGA Championship, and a September U.S. Open at Winged Foot. The Tour is awaiting clarity from the R&A on the status of the Open.

Newsletter Notes

The bombers vs. the all-rounders

One of the most intriguing storylines in golf today is the rise of early-20-somethings on the PGA Tour. We’re used to seeing young players win on the LPGA Tour, but the young ’uns are really starting to emerge as a force on the men’s side as well.

Here’s a fun Sean Martin tweet from a month ago:

Four players age 22 or younger won on the PGA TOUR from 1985-2000.

Five players age 22 or younger have won on the PGA TOUR since July.

This trend could be an anomaly, but more likely it’s just the new normal in pro golf. To understand better how the landscape is changing, let’s focus two very different models for youthful success on today’s PGA Tour: Cameron Champ and Sungjae Im.

Champ is the epitome of a new-school bomber. He has elite skills off the tee but not much else. The good news for him is that many venues on the PGA Tour cater to his style of play. At courses like the Country Club of Jackson—where Champ won in 2018 and which, as Data Golf’s “course fit” tool reveals, places an unusual emphasis on distance off the tee—his length will always give him an opportunity to contend. And when his putter gets hot, he tends to win.

Im has a far more balanced game. Strong with his driver, irons, wedges, and putter, Im ranked 17th in Strokes Gained: Total in 2018-19 and 12th after 14 events in 2019-20. Last season, he finished 39th or better in five of the six strokes gained categories. His versatility has resulted in a torrent of top 10s and 20s, and finally a win at the Honda Classic a month ago. The Korean is one of the world’s most well-rounded golfers—and he just turned 22 this week.

Today’s other young stars tend to fall on one end or the other of the Champ-to-Im spectrum. In Sungjae’s camp of all-rounders are Collin Morikawa, Joaquín Niemann, and Scottie Scheffler, whereas Aaron Wise, Matt Wolff, and Viktor Hovland are bombers roughly in the mold of Champ.

Of course, if any of them want to be truly elite, they’ll have to combine impressive length with at least a couple of other first-rate skills. That’s what Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, and Dustin Johnson—at their best—have done in recent years.

Right now, Sungjae Im seems the closest of his peers to that profile. He’s not as long as Rory, but he’s longer than average. That said, if Champ or Hovland develop some consistency into or around the greens, watch out. As the 2020s unfold, it should be fascinating to see which skill sets yield the most (and most prestigious) trophies.

The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America

Spring Valley Country Club (Salem, Wisconsin)


For $20 on a Saturday morning, golfers can play an almost untouched Langford & Moreau design. Spring Valley sits on a rolling property and has the unmistakable bold shaping of the famed Midwest architectural firm. While tree overgrowth and shrunken greens are major issues, it’s easy to see what Spring Valley could be. Along with Kankakee Elks in Illinois, it is one of the best restoration opportunities in the country. It has great pedigree, untouched contouring, and proximity to major cities, with both Chicago and Milwaukee less than an hour away.

Insider tip: Spring Valley is just north of the Illinois-Wisconsin border, so for Illinois residents, one of the side benefits of a trip to Spring Valley is a convenient opportunity to snag some New Glarus Spotted Cow, which is sold only in Wisconsin. -Andy Johnson

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Credit Hours: University of Texas Men’s Golf – The second edition of our college golf series focuses on the Texas Longhorns. After falling one match short of an NCAA Championship last year, UT had its ups and downs this season.

The Shotgun Start: New makeshift schedule plans and Spotlight on the great redass Curtis Strange

This portly Friday episode begins with the latest news on what may come of a 2020 men’s golf schedule. We cover Golf Digest’s report that the Open will be canceled, and then review Eamon Lynch’s wide-ranging report on the initial plans for shuffling around the Masters, FedEx Cup, Ryder Cup preparations, and a potential West Coast U.S. Open. Paddy Harrington’s plea for 12 captain’s picks and a Ryder Cup committed to 2020 is also discussed. Then we get to our SGS Spotlight subject, Curtis Strange. Is he the player of the 80s on the PGA Tour? We proffer some nuts-and-bolts facts on a great career, hit on his outrageous title winning moment in college, and then his rise up the money lists and at the majors. We relay some legendary stories about his redass instincts and hot-tempered outbursts that got him in trouble even with Arnold Palmer early in his career. The back-to-back U.S. Opens are discussed in detail—the playoff win over Faldo and that “Soak Hill” Sunday run to put him in company with Hogan. The ’85 Masters he nearly (or should have) won after shooting an 80 in the opening round is also covered in detail. The Ryder Cup pressure and ignominy of 1995, which resulted in heckles about choking for years is recalled via some vicious Rick Reilly columns. Reilly also humorously pops Strange for his mishandling of Sunday singles as captain in 2002. *That* Tiger Woods interview is also debated before a closing discussion on his legacy and HOF credentials. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

We haven’t been able to use our Fried Egg towels on the golf course in awhile, but we’ve found plenty of other uses for them. They’re great for cleaning up beverages, perfect for drying tears of Fried Egg writers who miss golf, and really comfy as a pillow substitute for your afternoon nap while shirking work. Get yours today!