If you’re trying to squeeze this newsletter in before your next meeting, you’re going to want to remember your place. It was a big weekend in golf and we’ve got it all covered for you. Let’s dig in.
Programming note: Because of this newsletter’s thicc-ness, we’re saving this week’s entry in our “Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America” series for Friday.
Expect anything different?
You’ll never believe what we’re about to tell you. Twenty-four great golfers went to a great golf course and faced off in the world’s greatest golf format, and the results were… great!
After winning the opening session of foursomes on Saturday 3.5 to 0.5, Team Europe kept its foot on the accelerator at the Solheim Cup. Yet the contest was still close on Monday afternoon at Inverness Club, with the Americans rallying in the singles matches. But at 4:24 p.m. local time, Matilda Castren completed an up-and-down on the 18th hole to ensure that the Europeans would retain the cup. The final score was 15-13. The U.S. still has more overall Solheim Cups (10-7), but Europe has won four of the past six. Results
The breakout star of the weekend was Europe’s Leona Maguire, who went 4-0-1 in her matches. Maguire had a stellar amateur career, but since turning pro in 2018, she has struggled to break into the upper echelon of the LPGA Tour. At Inverness Club, though, she walked, talked, and played like a superstar. The 26-year-old Solheim Cup rookie was a stalwart in foursomes and four-ball, earning three-and-a-half points with partners Mel Reid and Georgia Hall, and she dusted Jennifer Kupcho in singles 5 and 4. Maguire’s crisp approaches, clutch putts, and visceral fist pumps earned her a lot of fans this weekend, including us.
But to paraphrase a press-conference cliché, the real winner was the Solheim Cup itself. The venue was first-rate, the play was outstanding, and the players were fiery and charismatic. For the upcoming Ryder Cup, the 2021 Solheim Cup will be a tough act to follow.
A celebratory drink
Team USA may not have won the Solheim Cup, but they have plenty to celebrate, and Journeyman Distillery has what you need to celebrate with them!
Located in Three Oaks, Michigan, Journeyman Distillery teams up with local farmers to create high-quality, certified-organic spirits. Journeyman’s award-winning lineup includes bourbon, rye, whiskey, rum, and even brandy! Plus, they’re golf nuts. Founder Bill Welter even went as far as to build a public putting green, Welter’s Folly, behind their distillery.
Journeyman spirits can be found in 25 states right now, and within the next year they will be in 41 states. Visit Journeyman’s Find Your Spirit page to locate the distributor closest to you, and if you’re in Michigan, swing by Three Oaks and check out the facility for yourself. The distillery is hosting two upcoming events: the “World’s Best Putter” Competition on October 9 and the Barrel Aged Brew Fest on October 16.
A shadow of a doubt
While the Solheim Cup was a success, a rules controversy on Saturday left a bit of a sour taste in our mouths. During afternoon four-ball, Nelly Korda narrowly missed an eagle putt on the par-5 13th hole. As the American sank to her knees, the ball settled just off the edge of the cup. About six seconds later, Europe’s Madelene Sagström scooped it up and tossed it back to Korda, conceding the tap-in that would have tied the hole.
That’s when rules official Missy Jones stepped in. As she later explained on Twitter, Jones had not been summoned by the players, but she was sure she had witnessed an infraction. She ruled that Korda’s ball was overhanging the lip and that Sagström had violated Rule 13.3 by not waiting to see if it would fall in. The ruling gave the hole to Korda and her partner Ally Ewing, who moved 1 up with five to play. The Americans went on to win by the same margin.
Was Korda’s ball actually overhanging? Hard to tell. If it was, Sagström broke the rule. At the same time, most everyone agrees that the ball was not going to fall uphill into the hole. So the big question is not whether Rule 13.3 was breached; it’s whether officials should enforce the rules strictly and assertively in match play rather than giving players space to work things out themselves. Either way, you can be certain that Ryder Cup captains Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington will be telling their teams to stay the hell away from the opponent’s ball.
Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm separated themselves from the rest of the Tour Championship field on Friday afternoon and never looked back. Rahm started the tournament four behind Cantlay but posted two rounds of 65 to narrow the gap, and he arrived at the 72nd hole on Sunday one back off of Cantlay’s lead. Both hit their approaches within 15 feet on the par 5… and two-putted for birdie. Patrick Cantlay is your 2021 FedEx Cup champion. Results
No doubt he deserves it. Cantlay finished T-11 in the first playoff event and outdueled Bryson DeChambeau to win the second. While he didn’t have the lowest 72-hole score at East Lake, he finished a respectable T-3 on the shadow leaderboard. Over the past three weeks, Cantlay was pushed hard by DeChambeau and Rahm, and he played beautifully when the lights were brightest purses were biggest.
As for Jon Rahm, this weekend provided further confirmation that he’s the best player in men’s golf today. He tied Kevin Na for lowest score of the week, and the Official World Golf Ranking will count it as a win. That makes 31 top 10s in the past 26 months for Rahm and five straight seasons of multiple worldwide victories. Going into the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, he is the undisputed top dog on the European roster.
Through the ringer
The final 2021-22 PGA Tour cards were handed out at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship on Sunday. Joseph Bramlett’s weekend 130 (65-65) at Victoria National earned him the victory, and Trey Mullinax, Hayden Buckley, Sahith Theegala, Josh Creel, and Patrick Rodgers also secured their roles in the Big Show. Story of the week goes to Justin Lower, who needed a back-nine 33 and an up-and-down on the 72nd hole to finish No. 25 in the KFT Finals points list. Results
One week after twin brother Rasmus won in Switzerland, Nicolai Højgaard claimed the DS Automobiles Italian Open. The 20-year-old Højgaards are the first brothers to win back to back on the European Tour. Results
Want to hear something infuriating? In June, Taylor Montgomery skipped the Korn Ferry Tour’s Wichita Open to play in the U.S. Open. He made the cut, which was great for him, but there was a catch: he didn’t earn any KFT points that week. Well, fast forward to this week, and Montgomery is 26th in the points race, one spot short of a PGA Tour membership. Granted, there’s no guarantee he would have made up the gap if he had played in the Wichita Open. It just stinks that he had to choose between a major championship and his pursuit of a card.
The Latest from The Fried Egg
The Shotgun Start: Solheim grading, match play rules drama, and Net Tour Champ flops
This Monday episode comes out late reacting to the holiday finish of the Solheim Cup, where Europe cruised to a victory at Inverness. Andy and Brendan discuss the captains’ strategies and misjudgements, breakout stars, the established stars who came up short, and the Inverness setup and routing. Then they have a separate discussion on the rules drama from Saturday night—who was at fault, what should have happened—and if it impacted the competition the rest of the way. The Net Tour Championship is reviewed, including a sidebar about media criticism and not falling into the trap of advocacy or becoming the boy who cried good. The larger points are made that this season-ender sucked and they elaborate on why it sucked. A Ryder Cup captain’s picks analysis ensues, with Kevin Na, and even the Baton Boy, getting some love. The Korn Ferry Finals 25 qualifiers are called out and given their due, even Dawie Van Der Walt who catches a drive-by. They briefly chat about the Euro Tour delivering back-to-back twin winners, and some underwhelming comments about the Italian host venue of the next Ryder Cup. The episode closes by circling back to the Solheim with a segment on possible future venues they’d like to see. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.