Congratulations to the Cleveland Browns. But enough small talk.
The 2022 PGA Championship will not be held at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, the PGA of America announced yesterday. The PGA’s Board of Directors voted on Sunday night to terminate its agreement with the club. No replacement venue has been selected, but Alan Shipnuck of Golf dot com reported that Southern Hills, Liberty National, and Shoal Creek are in the running.
Ever since choosing Trump Bedminster as host in 2014, the PGA of America has faced criticism. Back then, Donald Trump had not yet announced his candidacy for President, but he had inserted himself into politics by pushing conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama’s citizenship. Over the next several years, pressure on the PGA to spurn Bedminster intensified, and it reached a breaking point last week, after President Trump’s involvement with the insurrection at the Capitol.
“We find ourselves in a political situation not of our making,” PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said on Sunday. “Our feeling was given the tragic events of Wednesday that we could no longer hold it at Bedminster. The damage could have been irreparable. The only real course of action was to leave.”
The move is the latest in a number of attempts by major golf organizations to distance themselves from Donald Trump. The R&A has not taken the Open Championship to Turnberry ever since the Trump Organization purchased the property in 2014; the PGA of America canceled the 2015 Grand Slam of Golf, which was set to be held at Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles; and the PGA Tour moved one of its World Golf Championships from Trump Doral to Mexico City after 2016.
A different kind of Sea Island
It wasn’t a 26-year-old drought like the one the Browns overcame, but Harris English’s winless streak was substantial enough, and it came to an end on Sunday. The tour veteran won the Sentry Tournament of Champions this weekend for his first PGA Tour victory in nearly eight years. English birdied the 72nd hole at Kapalua to tie Joaquín Niemann’s clubhouse lead and birdied the first playoff hole to close out the win. Sentry Tournament of Champions Results
After barely keeping his membership in 2017 and 2018, Harris English finished No. 149 in the 2018-19 FedEx Cup standings, losing his PGA Tour card for the first time in his career. He failed to get through Korn Ferry Tour Finals and dropped outside the top 350 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Since then, however, English has had 11 top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour and is up to No. 17 in the OWGR, the highest ranking of his career. He joins Stewart Cink, Brian Gay, Robert Streb, and Martin Laird as players who have ended winless droughts of six years or longer this season.
“I screwed up”
Justin Thomas finished third at the Sentry TOC, but few will remember him for his play this weekend. On Saturday, microphones caught Thomas uttering a homophobic slur after missing a short putt. “I screwed up,” Thomas told Golf Digest after his round. “I have to be better. I will be better. I deeply apologize to everybody and anybody who was offended.” Golf Digest followed up with the PGA Tour, which issued this statement: “As he expressed after his round, we agree that Justin’s comment was unacceptable.”
Thomas isn’t the only PGA Tour player to use this kind of hateful slur in recent years. Patrick Reed made a similar comment in a similar situation in 2014, and Scott Piercy shared a homophobic post on Instagram last year. Speech like this has no place in our society, so it should go without saying that it has no place in golf. Thomas seemed sincere in his post-round apologies on both Saturday and Sunday, and he appeared to understand the gravity of the situation, so hopefully he continues to do his best to make amends.
Joaquín Niemann ultimately came up short, but he put up an impressive fight with a final-round 64.The 22-year-old continues to play for his infant cousin Rafita, who is battling a diagnosis of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Niemann’s runner-up check of $782,000 should go a long way toward getting Rafita the treatment he needs.
Over his last 27 events, Xander Schauffele has had just three finishes worse than T-25. He eagled the final hole of the Sentry to place T-5 and is now the No. 4 player in the world.
Bryson DeChambeau put up negative Strokes Gained stats in SG: Approach, SG: Around-the-Green, and SG: Putting. However, he was +6.5 in SG: Off-the-Tee and notched a T-7. Ominous.
Last week, rumors swirled that Jordan Spieth had recently paid some visits to swing coach Butch Harmon, but Harmon himself, from his oddly unlabeled Instagram account, denied everything. Spieth has worked with Cameron McCormick his entire career.
Jon Rahm started 2021 quite Rahm-ishly, unleashing an expletive-ridden rant about metal spikes on Saturday afternoon.
The 2021 PGA Tour China season has been canceled because of pandemic concerns.
The Latest from The Fried Egg
Shotgun Start: Harris (and Hudson) breaks through, JT apologizes, and most famous Butches
This Monday episode came on the heels of a dispiriting Bears loss and in the middle of a Browns first quarter beatdown so it may bounce around a bit as Brendan and Andy recap the 2021 PGA Tour opener. First they hit on Harris English and his first win after some early career success and then an almost eight-year drought. This leads to more concern about the new FedExCup top 30 now getting invites to a Tournament of Mostly Champions. They also discuss the broadcast dismay at Joaquín Niemann not warming up before the playoff, Rahm’s outburst about metal spike marks all over the green, and Hideki’s abominable putting. A separate segment addresses Justin Thomas using a homophobic slur, his apology, and the Tour’s secretive discipline policy that does it no favors in this instance. News hits on Jordan Spieth going to see Butch, the misinterpretation of a “report” that the PGA is already moving in 2022, and reports that the WGC Mexico may be leaving Geronimo behind. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.