Good morning, sports fans. We would like you all to know that the Fried Egg team is on the up-and-up. One of us got a sparkling review from his dentist, one conquered E. coli, and the others are about to take their first days off in years. If you don’t care about any of that, there’s some takes on the RBC Heritage below.

Keep hope alive

Jordan Spieth’s recent travails have been well documented, as have his weekend fizzles—like the one last week at Colonial.

During his struggles over the past three years, Spieth’s iron play has maybe let him down the most. Whereas he was an elite ball-striker in 2015 and 2017, he finished 167th in Strokes Gained: Approach last year. He hasn’t fared well off the tee either, but it’s more surprising to see his formerly stellar iron game fall off. Even last week, Spieth relied heavily on his putter to get near the top of the leaderboard; he was 56th (out of 67) in SG: Approach.

Yesterday was a different story, though. Spieth led the field in SG: Approach in the first round of the RBC Heritage, gaining nearly four shots on the field. He was terrible off the tee, but approaching the greens, he looked like the Spieth of old. He birdied seven of his final nine holes, needing just one make outside of 10 feet to do so. Despite an early four-putt, he shot a 66 (-5) and sits two shots off the lead.

If Jordan Spieth is going to morph back into the phenom we saw five years ago, his irons are going to take him most of the way there. Of course, in order to start winning again, he’ll need to figure it out at least a little with the driver.

A diverse board

Traditionally held one week after the Masters, the RBC Heritage is not used to the kind of field that descended on Hilton Head this week. Harbour Town is one of few courses on the PGA Tour that doesn’t place a big emphasis on length off the tee, but it also doesn’t completely negate the advantage of distance. Ian Poulter (64), Mark Hubbard (64), and Michael Thompson (65)—all relatively short hitters—are in the hunt, and they are joined by bombers like Viktor Hovland (66), Tony Finau (65), and Brooks Koepka (67). (And Big Ern is hanging around at -4!)

It’s a fun mix of styles that you won’t find at many events on the schedule, and we’re glad to see so many big names taking on the Pete Dye design this year (even if Bryson can’t “unleash the Kraken”). RBC Heritage Leaderboard

Who’s exempt?

The USGA announced exemption categories for the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur on Wednesday. Both events will rely heavily on the World Amateur Golf Rankings and recent winners of other high-profile amateur tournaments. While the COVID-19 pandemic made qualifying unworkable this year, the resulting events will have some of the strongest amateur fields we’ve seen.

Quick Hooks

Brett Coletta and friend of the program Vince India lead the Korn Ferry Tour event at the World Golf Village. FOR THE LOVE OF GOLF, GO (VINCE)! Leaderboard

Charley Hull claimed the first one-day event of the Rose Ladies Series in Hampshire, England, with a birdie on the first playoff hole. Justin Rose and his wife Kate started this series in order to give LET members some reps during the pandemic. Full Story

The Pebble Beach Company and TGR Design released details of the new Tiger Woods-designed short course at the former Peter Hay site on Thursday. Plans call for a replica of the 7th hole at Pebble as well as a putting course.

Brooks Koepka doesn’t think player mics would be necessary if the announcers would just “shut up and listen.” Full Story from Dylan Dethier

This tweet from Chris Chaney was so good we had to give it a spot here.

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Landmand Golf Club, an in-construction King-Collins project in Nebraska, is starting to take shape. Check out the latest photos from Andy’s recent trip to the Great Plains.

Shotgun Start: Kraken leashed, impediments loosened, and Flashback on Boo 

This Friday episode begins with a discussion on grapes and where they fall in the fruit rankings. There’s also a brief announcement about another run of polos available Friday at Noon CDT. Brendan and Andy are trying their best to stock wisely, but they’re also idiots. As for the golf, they dive into the scorable first day at Harbour Town and the impressive showing from Jordan Spieth in a metric that matters much more than a hot putter. Bryson’s antics are covered in detail, from hitting over the range net to his putting green apparatuses to his quote that he can’t “unleash the Kraken” on this tighter setup. Also, a listener-submitted question on how much luggage is needed for Thicc Boi’s travels is pondered. Then they turn to the subject of mics and loose impediments, which cost Adam Hadwin two shots and Daniel Berger his time in order to laser in on Patrick Reed. On the lower tours, the Pauper of Ponte Vedra concept is introduced. Flashback Friday features a quick addendum to Wednesday’s Bubba discussion on his “extreme value” clothing line in 2007 before a meatier focus on Boo Weekley, the two-time Heritage winner who once thought golf was invented in Florida. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

We may not have any seersucker or pastels for you to wear around Harbour Town, but we do have another limited run of Shotgun Start polos! They will be in our pro shop at 12 p.m. Central on Friday.