For the record, Aaron Rodgers does not own us. And no, we’re not mad about the Packers beating the Bears (again).

Are we doing this, Rory?

The CJ Cup wasn’t originally on Rory McIlroy’s fall schedule, but he must be glad he made the trip to the desert. After benign opening rounds of 68-67, McIlroy fired a Saturday 62 to vault into contention in Las Vegas. On Sunday, he quickly erased the three-shot gap between himself and Rickie Fowler, recorded a 66, and won for the second time in 2021. CJ Cup Results

McIlroy’s last victory came in May, at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. After that one, he was a bit dismissive of the accomplishment, crediting it to a one-off hot week. His CJ Cup win feels more like a promising indicator for his overall game. At the Summit Club, he seemed supremely in control of both his golf swing and his mental state. “The last few months, I was trying to be someone else to try to get better,” he said afterwards. “I sort of realized that being me is enough and being me; I can do things like this.”

We’ve seen epiphanies like this from McIlroy before. Sometimes they’ve been short-lived. But if he actually found some sustainable confidence in the desert, 2022 could be an exciting year for the Northern Irishman—and for golf.

A quick coverage rant

The finish at the CJ Cup was star-studded, but for a while, we were worried it was going to happen off-air. With Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, and Collin Morikawa battling down the stretch in Las Vegas, Golf Channel had eyes only for the SAS Championship on the Champions Tour. And what about the stream, you say? Also dedicated to the seniors!

Two of the top 15 players in the world were piling up birdies and Rickie Fowler was angling for a comeback win, but they had to stand aside while a Lee Janzen-Miguel Ángel Jiménez playoff finished up. No offense to Lee and Miguel, but maybe golf television contracts shouldn’t work this way?

This Rose has no thorns

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Rose Zhang is very good at golf. The Stanford freshman shot 65-65-67 in her home tournament, won by four, and is now three-for-three in her collegiate career. Just two players in the field finished within 10 shots of Zhang, and two thirds of the field ended up more than 20 shots back.

Is it too early to start asking if Rose Zhang could become the best collegiate women’s golfer of all time? Maybe. She could turn pro early and not accumulate the record of a Juli Inkster or a Leona Maguire. But it’s clear that Zhang, who has won both the U.S. Women’s Amateur and the U.S. Girls’ Junior, is the best women’s amateur golfer in the world right now.


Oh, right: Lee Janzen won that playoff over Miguel Ángel Jiménez. SAS Championship Results

Just weeks after visiting his former coaches at Northwestern University, the men who shaped him into the golfer he is today, Matt Fitzpatrick came from three shots back to win the Andalucía Masters on the European Tour. Results

Jonathan Byrd, Luke Guthrie, Erik Compton, Tee-k Kelly, and Brandon Stone got through the Second Stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School in Florida this weekend. Results

Quick Hooks

The guys and gals who set the pins at the Ohio Division II Boys State Golf Tournament either made a mistake or intentionally caused chaos this weekend.

Oregon men’s golf coach Casey Martin had most of his right leg amputated this weekend. Born with a rare circulatory condition in his right leg, Martin broke the leg a couple years back and has had complications ever since. Cameron Martin, Casey’s brother, told Golf Digest that the doctors think Casey has a good chance of fitting into a prosthetic leg. Full Story from Brentley Romine

Rickie Fowler came up short in Las Vegas this weekend, but his T-3 at the CJ Cup is his best PGA Tour finish since he won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2019. The result moves him to No. 82 in the Official World Golf Ranking, a 40-spot jump.

The Latest from The Fried Egg

The Shotgun Start – Are medals, ribbons, or plaques the best? Find out on the Shotgun Start. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

The warm season is on the ropes, and so is this new navy Shotgun Start rope hat. Get yours today!