It’s July? How did that happen?
Paying his dues
It was a long, wet Thursday at Detroit Golf Club. Rain interfered with the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, but most players were able to finish before nightfall. Teeing off in the morning, new pro Davis Thompson made nine birdies en route to a 63 and a two-shot lead. Leaderboard
Thompson is a graduate of the PGA Tour University program, an initiative that guarantees Korn Ferry Tour starts to the top five players in the NCAA. While Thompson hasn’t played any KFT events in 2021, he has tried his hand at the PGA Tour via sponsor exemptions. He took full advantage on Thursday and is poised for a big week.
While PGA Tour University is not the reason Davis Thompson is at Detroit Golf Club this week, his play shows why the program exists: these guys are very, very good. Kevin Yu, another member of PGA Tour U’s 2021 class, nearly won the Wichita Open and already has three top 25s on the Korn Ferry Tour. Fellow grad Austin Eckroat has two top 15s on the KFT and a made cut at the Travelers Championship. Add in Thompson’s T-35 at the Palmetto Championship and early success in Detroit, and there’s no doubt that top collegiate players can compete immediately at the highest level. Anything that helps elevate the best players, not just members who have “paid their dues,” is a great thing in our book.
How ’bout a little something for the effort?
It’s been two weeks since Bryson DeChambeau shot 44 on the final nine of the U.S. Open, and aside from blaming that meltdown on “luck,” the big man hasn’t made many headlines. We were due for some Bryson drama, and boy did he deliver.
Before the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, DeChambeau and longtime caddie Tim Tucker suddenly split. According to No Laying Up, Tucker had been with Bryson for every practice round in Detroit but quit on Wednesday afternoon. NLU added that, while DeChambeau and Tucker took a short-lived break in 2017, they are now “unlikely to work together again.” Tucker has been on the bag for all eight of Bryson’s PGA Tour wins.
In his first round without Tucker, the defending Rocket Mortgage Classic champion looked flat and recorded an even-par 72, but obviously one round isn’t enough to know how a player will fare without his usual looper. It takes a very specific kind of person to handle DeChambeau’s demands and—let’s just call them what they are—antics on the golf course and the driving range. Our guess is that Bryson’s search for a new caddie will be nearly as dramatic as his breakup with his old one.
Jin Young Ko came into this week’s Volunteers of America Classic on the heels of two uncharacteristically poor finishes, but on Thursday she fired a bogey-free 63 to grab a two-shot lead. On that note, what are we doing having an event in Texas in early July? Leaderboard
The leaderboard is a bit of a mess at the Irish Open on the European Tour. Fifty-six players broke 70 and three dozen are within four shots of the lead. Lucas Herbert (64), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (67), Tommy Fleetwood (67), Martin Kaymer (67), Sean Crocker (67), and Min Woo Lee (68) are all in the mix. Leaderboard
Playing in the Rocket Mortgage Classic for the first time, Phil Mickelson was frank after round one: he doesn’t see himself returning. The reason? Three days ago, the Detroit News reported on a 2007 gambling allegation against Mickelson. Lefty called the article “selfish and opportunistic” in his post-round press conference. In spite of feeling upset about journalism, he managed a 69 in his first round and is currently in the top 30.
Brooks Koepka isn’t one to turn down an opportunity to clown on Bryson DeChambeau. Shortly after the caddie news hit the mainstream, Koepka tweeted a caddie-appreciation post about Ricky Elliott, his longtime looper.
The Latest from The Fried Egg
The Fried Egg Podcast: Shane Ryan on His New Ryder Cup Project and the State of Golf Media
Shane Ryan is a contributor for GolfDigest.com and the author of Slaying the Tiger, an account of the 2014 PGA Tour season. He sits down with Garrett Morrison to talk about the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, which he covered last week; his new book project and podcast series on the Ryder Cup; and how the golf world has changed since he went out on tour in 2014. They also touch on the current discourse around athletes’ mental-health struggles, the reasons Team Europe kicks Team USA’s butt in three out of every four Ryder Cups, and the decline of traditional golf journalism. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Shotgun Start: The boys dig into Bryson’s caddie drama, Brooks’s taunts, Davis Thompson’s excellent play, Phil’s anger at the Detroit News, and a brand-new Flashback Friday. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
While Bryson is switching things up, he should really consider a new hat style. A Fried Egg performance hat would suit him (and you) nicely!