Happy Monday, everyone! We got a taste of normalcy yesterday with TaylorMade Driving Relief. Boy did it feel good to be joking about live golf again. Hope you enjoyed it—or better yet, got to play some golf of your own over the weekend.
News and updates
- On Sunday, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, and Matthew Wolff played the first live televised golf in two months. The TaylorMade Driving Relief skins match at Seminole Golf Club made for a fun afternoon in the golf world. There were both great moments and incredibly awkward ones. Rory and DJ prevailed in the end, but the important thing was that the match raised $5.5 million for COVID-19 relief. Huge props to everyone involved in making this event happen.
- Hyun Kyung Park won the Korean LPGA Championship with a 67 on Sunday. No. 92 in the Rolex Rankings, Park closed 2019 with three top 10s on the KLPGA Tour. This was her first start of 2020. Results
- No doubt you’ve seen the comments Rory McIlroy made about President Trump on the McKellar Podcast. Aggregation Nation has squeezed them dry. But don’t let that stop you from listening to the full episode, which features Lawrence Donegan and John Huggan asking intelligent questions and Rory giving intelligent answers for 90 minutes. Give it a listen.
What we liked/disliked: TaylorMade Driving Relief
First off, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson were the winners at Seminole—technically. After 18 holes, six skins were unclaimed, so it all came down to a closest-to-the-pin contest on the par-3 17th hole. Rory went last and hit it closest. With that shot, he and DJ won $1.1 million for the American Nurses Association, bringing their total contribution to $1.85 million. Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff raised $1.1 million for the CDC Foundation, and Wolff won both long-drive competitions, netting another $450,000.
Rory and Rickie carried their respective teams for much of the day. DJ said he hadn’t played during his time off until last Sunday, and his game was noticeably rusty. Wolff was okay, if clearly nervous as a freshman among upperclassmen. Based on our own generous scorekeeping, all four players shot between -4 and +1 on the day.
Liked: Dustin Johnson’s pace of play
Yes, DJ appeared to be playing without a care in the world. Still, he was remarkably quick to hit when it was his turn, and he’s more or less the same way in real tournaments. NBC could barely get to the right camera before his club made impact with the ball. Did he get a little cavalier with the rules at points? Sure. But he was a joy to watch.
Disliked: Guest appearances
Seriously, why? On a slightly delayed Skype call, Mike Tirico tried and mostly failed to make conversation with a bemused Bill Murray. It was an excruciating 10 minutes. Later, President Donald Trump and world No. 2 Jon Rahm called in for briefer segments. These interviews, whatever the merits of their content, relegated the golf to the background, and we’d just prefer them to be skipped next time.
Liked: Players lugging their own bags
Such a simple image but such a rare and cool one: four pro golfers walking down the fairway with bags strapped to their backs. Matt Wolff looked the most comfortable. No surprise, considering he was playing college golf at this point last year. But the other guys did fine, too! Well, DJ put his bag on backwards when he walked off the first tee.
Liked: Comparisons and analysis of the participants’ very different swings
Throughout the round, Paul Azinger and Gary Koch did an excellent job breaking down the players’ unique moves in an engaging way.
Disliked: Ratio of commentary to player banter
Admittedly, these four guys were never going to be awesome at banter, but after the first couple of holes, they didn’t really get a chance. We have them mic’d up; let’s hear what they have to say!
Liked… nay, loved: Seminole on TV
Seminole is never going to show its most interesting side when players are driving it 350+, but we saw plenty of fun dynamics on and around the greens. All in all, Donald Ross’s 90-year-old design held its own, giving up few birdies outside of the par 5s. We’re looking forward to seeing the course again when the Walker Cup goes there next fall.
More than two inches of rain on Saturday softened Seminole’s fairways and made the run-off areas less threatening. The greens were still decently firm, but Mother Nature didn’t fully come through for us. It could have been a lot more fiery out there.
Liked: Golf Twitter
As our own Garrett Morrison put it: the pros were rusty, but Golf Twitter was not. Special shoutouts to Brian Phillips (@BPhillips_SB) for a vintage ESPN pull, Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) for another installment in a remarkably durable running gag, Jay Rigdon (@jayrigdon5) and deepfriedegg (@deep_fried_egg) for their suggestions for additional call-in guests, Brendan Porath (@BrendanPorath) for a reminder of the concert of the century, and Big Randy (@BigRandyNLU) for his insight into DJ’s mental approach.
The Latest from The Fried Egg
Shotgun Start: Reactions to golf’s return and grading the Seminole match
Andy and Brendan get together shortly after the conclusion of the Driving Relief match at Seminole to reflect on the return of televised golf. It starts with some gratitude for this effort and undertaking to bring golf back, and in such a prime venue. Then they get to some quick reactions on the day—what they liked, did not like, and the aesthetic of the world’s best carrying their own bags through this world class course on the ocean. Grades are handed out for the different players, the course, the broadcast, and the overall coverage. They also settle their bet on who has to wear the apparel from the Kaboom Line. There are a few laments in there about Bill Murray, needless tweets, and distractions from the core product. But that leads to a debate on who this event was really for—a larger audience or the golf addicts—and whether a permanent program like this (best players, best courses, variety of match formats on tv) should emerge after the pandemic ends. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Seminole Golf Club and its seaside location were stunning on TV. If you want some cool golf photography of your own, check out our pro shop! Our collection includes shots of Old Town Club, Mammoth Dunes, Pasatiempo, and many more. Get yours today!
Photo credit: Andy Johnson