You smell that? The artificial drama, the manufactured prestige, the apathy, the stench of a large DFL paycheck… it must be WGC season!

In today’s newsletter… 

  • Mickey Wright, one of the greatest and purest-swinging golfers of all time, passed away on Tuesday.
  • In spite of a $10.25-million purse and no cut, the WGC-Mexico Championship fails to draw several of the world’s best players.
  • Brooks Koepka and Peter Kostis offer up some entertainingly unvarnished takes.

The Storylines

RIP Mickey Wright

Golf lost one of the GOATs on Tuesday as Mickey Wright died at the age of 85. Wright won 82 LPGA titles and 13 women’s major championships, but her impact off the course was just as impressive. She was an avid promoter of women’s golf, an inspiration to many, and she even served as LPGA president while still competing. Our thoughts are with Wright’s family and friends.

Golf Digest’s Guy Yocom did a sit-down interview with Mickey Wright in 2017. We can’t recommend it enough.

Thanks, but no thanks

While it boasts the highest strength-of-field rating of the 2019-20 PGA Tour season, the WGC-Mexico Championship is missing several high-profile names. Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Jason Day, and Henrik Stenson are all out in spite of the guaranteed money and FedEx Cup points. Patrick Cantlay is skipping the event to have surgery on his deviated septum.

This is a big deal. Faced with the choice of a no-cut cash grab or a week off, all of these guys headed for the couch. Today’s stars don’t rely on frequent play to earn their millions, and unless you’re Sungjae Im, having plenty of weeks off is a good thing. Now that it’s facing pressure from the upstart Premier Golf League, the PGA Tour might be in real trouble if it can’t figure out how to make its flagship tournaments more appealing to its top players.

Routing along the River: Milwaukee Country Club

In our latest video, Andy profiles the beautiful, strategic river holes at Milwaukee Country Club, site of this year’s WSGA State Amateur.

The Roundup

WGC-Mexico Championship

  • Tee Times
  • TV coverage:
    • Thursday, February 20: 2-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
    • Friday, February 21: 2-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
    • Saturday, February 22: 12-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2:30-6 p.m. (NBC)
    • Sunday, February 23: 1-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2:30-7 p.m. (NBC)
  • Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson headline the field at Club de Golf Chapultepec after finishing 1-2 at the 2019 event.
    • Only DJ has won all four WGCs, but Rory could join him this week. Is this the new career grand slam? We’ll let you decide.
  • Collin Morikawa, Scottie Scheffler, and Matthew Wolff make their WGC debuts at Chappy.

The ball flies pretty far in the Mexico City area. See how that factors into Paulie’s Picks for One-and-Done and DraftKings fantasy leagues.

The opposite-field Puerto Rico Open will feature Viktor Hovland alongside sizzling hot up-and-comers like Daniel Chopra, Carlos Franco, and Dicky Pride. Tee Times

The R&A and the ANNIKA Foundation will host the first Women’s Amateur Latin America Championship in September. The winner will earn a spot in the AIG Women’s British Open. Very cool. Full Story

Brooks Kopeka, big Robin Sparkles fan, gave his thoughts on the Patrick Reed cheating incident during a SiriusXM Radio interview on Tuesday: “Yeah, I don’t know what he was doing, building sand castles in the sand. But you know where your club is. I took three months off, and I can promise you I know if I touch sand. If you look at the video, obviously he grazes the sand twice and then he still chops down on it.” Whew! Full Story

Also laying into Pat Reed? Peter Kostis! Late last night, No Laying Up an interview with the former CBS golf commentator. Kostis takes a blowtorch not only to Reed but also to CBS, the PGA Tour, and televised golf in general. It’s spicy and rather satisfying. Full Pod

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Episode 171: Mike DeVries – Designing affordable golf, Maxwell and MacKenzie, and working on difficult sites

For the first time since Episode 46, golf course architect Mike DeVries joins Andy on the podcast. DeVries was introduced to the game at Crystal Downs Golf Club in Michigan, and he worked for Tom Doak and Tom Fazio before starting his own design business. His best-known work is Cape Wickham Links on King Island in Tasmania, but he has also built several excellent, affordable public courses in his home state of Michigan. Mike and Andy discuss two of his accessible designs in the Grand Rapids area, Diamond Springs and The Mines, before speaking more broadly about the dual influences of Perry Maxwell and Alister MacKenzie, the joys of walking, and the challenges of routing courses on severe sites, such as the one where Mike’s stunning Greywalls course sits. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

JupScoop on MJ’s paradise, Rory’s “WGC Slam” chase, and PR Open field delights

Finally, it’s World Golf Championship week. But first, on the occasion of Michael Jordan’s birthday, we provide some amusing details on Grove XXIII, MJ’s own newish club down in South Florida. Back on the WGC-Mexico Championship, we dive into the field at Chapultepec this week and discuss some of the names who aren’t there and those who are, including Rory McIlroy and his chase for the venerable WGC Slam. That prompts a trip down memory lane on Tiger Woods and his ridiculous run at this event winning at venues all over the planet. Andy offers a new appreciation for the Mexico City course that admittedly “offends his sensibilities.” The oppo field event in Puerto Rico is then discussed, or more appropriately, a list of the sponsor’s exemptions and alternates is read aloud. We close with a news segment that revels in Brooksy calling out Pat Reed’s sandcastle architecture and compare it to the current run of MLB players lambasting the Astros in the absence of real discipline from their league. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

This week, the PGA Tour moves from quarter-zip weather in Los Angeles to the bright sunshine of Mexico City. In an act of solidarity, we will be wearing exclusively short-sleeve shirts for the next five days. Pick up your Fried Egg t-shirt in grey or blue! (Tip: club up half a size.)