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As the coronavirus shuts down the golf world, ANGC postpones the Masters, and two top players spurn the PGL


Good morning, everyone! It’s a bizarre time to be alive, but we’re here to help you make the most of it. Be smart, stay safe, and know that we’ll still show up in your inbox three times a week.

In today’s newsletter…

  • Augusta National announces that the 2020 Masters will be canceled postponed.
  • Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm may have just killed the Premier Golf League.

The Storylines


As you’re no doubt aware, Augusta National announced the postponement of the 2020 Masters; the Augusta National Women’s Amateur; and the Drive, Chip, & Putt. The announcement came the day after the PGA Tour announced suspensions of their current seasons.

In an attempt to make lemonade out of lemons, Fred Ridley used the word “postponement” rather than “cancellation.” It appears that the club is holding out hope for the COVID-19 crisis to be resolved by fall, but many, including Jack Nicklaus, doubt that we’ll be returning to Augusta this year.

More major-championship dominoes may fall soon. On Sunday, the CDC recommended canceling or postponing events with 50 people or more for eight weeks. That window stretches to the start of PGA Championship week at TPC Harding Park.

The good news is that Augusta National has an extensive YouTube collection, ideal for self-quarantine binging.

No, no, and no

If the Premier Golf League is going to happen, it will have to do without the top three golfers in the world. On Sunday, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm followed Rory McIlroy in saying they would not participate in the PGL, a huge blow to the proposed world tour. Other players who have voiced opposition to the concept include Xander Schauffele, Bubba Watson, and Charley Hoffman.

At this point, it’s hard to imagine the Premier Golf League regaining traction. That’s not to say it can’t, but how do you negotiate a TV deal without any of the game’s biggest bargaining chips? It seems that the PGL’s only remaining hope is Tiger Woods, but that seems the longest of long shots.

The Roundup

The cancellation of PGA Tour events means that a lot of hard work will go to waste this month. Josh Berhow spoke with the tournament director of the Valspar Championship about her past few days of planning for an event that will never happen. Full Story

Mike Stachura asked an infectious-disease expert whether it was okay to keep playing golf during the COVID-19 crisis. The answer was a tentative yes, go ahead, but take precautions. But to us, the big question, which Stachura does not ask, is whether maintenance and pro-shop workers should continue to go to work. If they shouldn’t (and it really seems like they shouldn’t!), the issue of whether the physical act of playing golf is hazardous to the golfer strikes us as irrelevant. Full Story

There were no Tour pros at TPC Sawgrass this weekend, but Michael Bamberger still took in the sights. Here’s his piece on his walk through an empty Stadium Course.

The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America

Mammoth Dunes (Nekoosa, Wisconsin)


The second course at Sand Valley Golf Resort pushes the limits of width. By offering gargantuan fairways, architect David McLay Kidd ensures that golfers of all skill levels will spend little time searching for lost balls. The course’s user-friendliness extends to its greens, which gather shots from the edges toward the center. These greens contrast starkly with those at the resort’s first (self-titled) course, a Coore & Crenshaw design with puting surfaces that mostly repel. The routing of Mammoth is also worth studying. A massive ridge runs through the course, and Kidd found breaks in it that allowed him to route holes up and over, giving him a variety of landscapes to work with.

Insider tip: Mammoth Dunes is a burly walk. Pairing it with nine twilight holes at Sand Valley or a circuit of the Sandbox par-3 course will leave some gas in your tank for the rest of your trip. -Andy Johnson

Photo credit: Andy Johnson

The Latest from The Fried Egg

The Shotgun Start: Masters postponed, PGL popped, and the life and times of Monty

This Monday episode will be the first of many with no golf results to discuss or recap. So first, we begin by revisiting the conclusion of The Players, reviewing Jay Monahan’s last press conference of the week, and pushing back on some of the apologia touting how they made the “right” decision when in fact it was the only decision after a series of wrong ones. The Masters postponement and the new CDC recommendations leaves us wondering if this will be an entirely lost year. What would a fall Masters look like and what are the options? The Premier Golf League’s chances of getting off the ground took on another blow Sunday with Brooks Koepka coming out against it with some cogent remarks on the foundations and guts of the PGA Tour, before Jon Rahm then also joined him later in the night. We conclude with a lengthy new segment called the SGS Spotlight, in which we will pick an era and drill down on a handful of marquee names and characters from that era. First up is the OWGR era and Colin Montgomerie. We spend probably too much time reviewing Monty’s body of work, from the dominance on the European Tour, some majors he thought he’d won, his marital troubles, his troubles with American fans, and the Jakartagate incident that led to a feud with fellow Scot Sandy Lyle. We close with some discussion of the brutal missed opportunity at Winged Foot that has become overshadowed by Phil Mickelson’s choke job, and debate Monty’s legacy in the game. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

We may not have the Masters coming up, but we can still look forward to our morning coffee! Our friends at Bixby Coffee partnered with Andy and Brendan to create the delicious Shotgun Start Blend. Support the pod and order yours today!