Hope your weekend was super! Get it? Super. Anyway, let’s talk some golf.
In today’s newsletter…
- The Waste Management Phoenix Open ends in a playoff—again.
- Graeme McDowell proves that a feel-good win can happen anywhere.
Webb and flow
Tony Finau had one hand on the trophy on Sunday before Webb Simpson took over. Webb birdied 17 and 18 in regulation as well as the 1st playoff hole to capture the Waste Management Phoenix Open title, and deny Finau yet another win. Results
This result is in keeping with Tony Finau’s career thus far. He has had a great run over the past five years, recording more than 30 top-10 finishes and seven runner-ups. But he has won only once—at the opposite-field Puerto Rico Open. It wasn’t that Finau played poorly at this year’s WMPO; he just didn’t go out there on Sunday and slam the door shut. Still, Tony Finau is an elite talent. We expect to see him win in convincing fashion soon.
In contrast, Webb Simpson is a proven big-stage closer. He has a U.S. Open and a Players to his name, and he hunted down the WMPO on Sunday like a guy who had been there before. Since the Masters, Simpson has finished in the top three six times and, perhaps more impressively, hasn’t placed outside the top 30 in any Tour event over that span. He now has four straight top-seven finishes in full-field events.
Graeme cracks through
Out in Saudi Arabia, Graeme McDowell shot a final-round 70 to win his first European Tour event in more than five seasons. Results
The 40-year-old Northern Irishman has had a resurgence over the past year. After falling outside the top 200 in the Official World Golf Ranking in 2018, he has won on both the PGA and European tours. There’s still a ways to go, but between McDowell’s excellent form and Lee Westwood’s win in Abu Dhabi, Europe’s old dudes seem to be making a run at one more Ryder Cup.
Macdonald’s Ideal Holes: The Biarritz
Our latest video introduces golf architecture’s equivalent of a roller coaster: C. B. Macdonald’s Biarritz template.
Waste Management Phoenix Open (PGA Tour)—other notes
- Justin Thomas birdied four of his final six holes to rack up a T-3, his second top-three finish of the year. After his round, he took a page from Tiger’s book and claimed not to have had his “best stuff.”
- After a first-round 72, Max Homa turned on the jets to finish T-6 at TPC Scottsdale. Homa closed 67-64-68 to earn his second straight top 10. It would appear that young Padawan is strong in the force.
Saudi International (European Tour)—other notes
- Dustin Johnson was runner-up at Royal Greens G&CC. After winning the inaugural Saudi International in 2019, DJ finished two shots back of McDowell this weekend.
- Phil Mickelson found himself inside the top 30 for the first time since his win at the 2019 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The aptness of Phil selling out to Saudi Arabia and promptly recovering him form is not lost on us.
Former Alabama star Davis Riley closed out his first Korn Ferry Tour victory at the Panama Championship. The 23 year-old now has two top-eight finishes on the young season and currently sits atop the KFT points list. Results
Colt Knost, who won the U.S. Amateur in 2007, retired after missing the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The 34 year-old is great with the flat stick but has consistently finished toward the bottom of the Tour in driving distance. “The game has just changed so much,” he told the press. “Guys hit it so far, and I don’t.”
According to an AP report, ESPN+ has secured PGA Tour Live streaming rights as part of the Tour’s new broadcast rights deal. Full Story
Remember, registration for The Dog Bowl, our June 22 event at Yale Golf Course, opens on Tuesday at 10 a.m. CT. Newsletter subscribers will be first to receive the registration links.
The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America
Pacific Dunes (Bandon, Oregon)
In describing his design at Mammoth Dunes, David McLay Kidd recalled a group of golfers telling him that “they were completely bemused” while playing the course. “They couldn’t decide where they were, or which way north was…. They were completely lost in the adventure.” That is exactly how I would characterize the experience of Tom Doak’s routing at Pacific Dunes. The course continually wheels, reverses, and revisits familiar landforms from unfamiliar angles. Eventually you lose your bearings; you get lost in the adventure. And a dazzling one it is, with its unpredictable dunescape, its surprise visits to the clifftops, and its array of intricately strategic holes. The inland short par 4s—Nos. 1, 2, 6, and 16, which all reward precise positioning off the tee—are particular highlights.
Insider tip: This is no secret, but you can’t leave Bandon Dunes Golf Resort before having a go at the Punchbowl, the pleasantly unhinged putting course next to the Pacific Dunes clubhouse. -Garrett Morrison
Photo credit: Garrett Morrison
The Latest from The Fried Egg
The Fried Egg Podcast: A new installment of our superintendent series drops today. At the Golf Industry Show in Orlando, Andy spoke with The Toro Company’s Edric Funk and Carolina Golf Club’s superintendent Matthew Wharton. Watch your feeds! Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
The Shotgun Start: Monday’s episode will be appearing midday. With Brendan recovering from a bout of the man flu and both hosts coming off Super Bowl Sunday, there will surely be plenty of worse-for-the-wear antics. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Like Webb Simpson on the 72nd hole at TPC Scottsdale, a good towel always comes through in the clutch. Keep your clubs clean and hands dry with our Fried Egg terrycloth towel. Grab yours today!