One month down, folks. Just 11 to go until Christmas!

Do better

The LPGA Tour could not have asked for a better Sunday final group at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. Danielle Kang made zero bogeys in her first three rounds and led after 54 holes, with sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda nipping at her heels. Kang had a steady hand in her final round, finishing with a 68, but Jessica Korda caught her with a 66. On the first playoff hole, Korda buried a 30-foot birdie putt for the victory. Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions Results

The level of play at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions was astounding. Jessica Korda went 60-66 on the weekend. Danielle Kang made 25 birdies and one bogey in 72 holes yet somehow didn’t win. Nelly Korda birdied six out of seven in the middle of her final round to give herself a chance. They are three of the best Americans in the women’s game, and they put on a show.

Unfortunately, on NBC’s Sunday coverage, these three stars had to compete for airtime with the celebrities and amateurs in the event. There were just 25 professionals in the 90-player field, so the final round slowed to a crawl. At multiple points during the closing stretch, the leaders waited more than 10 minutes to play. Did the telecast take these opportunities to show other pros? Nope. Instead, we got a heavy load of Mardy Fish and Aaron Hicks. No offense to those guys, but when it’s Sunday and the top players in the women’s game are involved, the spotlight needs to be on them.

Angry golfer succeeds

Like the LPGA Tour, the European Tour opened the year with a Sunday showdown between a trio of marketable stars. Entering the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Rory McIlroy, Tyrrell Hatton, and Tommy Fleetwood were 1-2-3. McIlroy extended his lead early on Sunday, but four bogeys in the middle stretch doomed his chances. Fleetwood never built up much momentum and faltered late to finish with a 73. In the end, Tyrrell Hatton ran away with it. His 66 put him four shots clear. Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Results

And just like that, Tyrrell Hatton is No. 5 in the world. No. 5! In the past year, he has won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and two Rolex Series events. All he’s missing is a strong major championship résumé. While he has five career top 10s at majors, he has yet to finish better than five shots back. Time for the Mad Hatter to take the next step.

Shakin’ that ass

When the Stadium Course at PGA West opened in 1987, the pros hated it. “I’m sick and tired of these courses,” said Tom Watson at the time. “It requires you to execute shots that no sane golfer should be expected to play.”

A lot has changed in 34 years. In the final round of the American Express, two players shot 64 and one recorded a 61 at the Stadium Course. Patrick Cantlay’s 61 earned him the clubhouse lead, but Si Woo Kim birdied two of his final three to claim the one-shot victory. The American Express Results

Si Woo Kim won his first PGA Tour event, the 2016 Wyndham Championship, at 21 years old, and the next year he knocked off a Players Championship. Now, four years later, Kim has his third PGA Tour win. Only three players finished within seven shots of him at PGA West, but Patrick Cantlay and Cameron Davis forced Kim to play his best golf on Sunday. And did he ever. Playing in the final group, he finished in the top 10 in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, SG: Approach, and SG: Putting. Over his 54 holes at the Stadium Course, he made zero bogeys. A fantastic performance from the still-young South Korean.

Quick Hooks

Patrick Cantlay made the cut on the number at the American Express and ended up one shot behind Si Woo Kim. He accumulated 20 birdies over his final 36 holes.

Rory McIlroy won’t leave Abu Dhabi with a victory, but at least he’ll know he can contend without his best stuff. “I don’t feel like I played great this week,” McIlroy said. “I felt like I was managing my game a bit. It was nice to get a competitive week under my belt to see where my game is and what I need to do to keep on improving.” He’ll be at Torrey Pines this week.

Tony Finau is still searching for that elusive second PGA Tour victory. He started the final round tied for the lead, shot 68 on Sunday, and still lost by four shots. In the past, Finau has squandered opportunities, but this time he just got outplayed. How it goes sometimes.

Francesco Molinari (T-8 at Amex) registered his first top 10 since losing his 54-hole lead to Tiger Woods at the 2019 Masters.

The International Olympic Committee and Japanese government denied last week’s reporting that the Summer Olympics will be canceled. IOC president Thomas Bach said there is “no plan B” for the Tokyo Games and that, at the moment, there was “no reason whatsoever” to believe they wouldn’t be held as scheduled this year. Full Story from Golf Channel

Darren Clarke won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship on the PGA Tour Champions. Results

If you’re on social media, you’ve probably seen European Tour’s latest video; if not, get on it.

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Shotgun Start: A lifetime supply of Bloomin Onions, Si Woo’s Living Under Par, Hatton dusts Rory

It’s the first Monday of the year with a full golf plate to digest from the weekend. Brendan and Andy begin with the LPGA celebrity event in Orlando, where the pace of play was excruciating and the celebs featured way too prominently in the final round broadcast. They praise Jessica Korda’s weekend comeback charge and also delight in some of the hole-in-one prizes at the event. Then they swing out to PGA West for the victory lap with Si Woo Kim while also offering a couple alternative theories for his LUP apparel sponsorship. In Abu Dhabi, they convey their disappointment but not surprise with Rory McIlroy’s final round fade as Tyrrell Hatton cruised to a fourth Rolex Series event win. Lastly, the Saturday Night Champions Tour event is celebrated as perhaps being better than the PGA Tour for its mix of personalities and styles on display, including its cigarette-smoking cart-driving champion. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

Final-round coverage of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions made us so mad that we threw our hats. Good thing there are plenty of new ones in the Fried Egg Pro Shop. Get yours today!