We have a sneaking suspicion that this whole GameStop thing is just noise to fill the silence left by the PGA Show. More to come on that developing story.

Within one club length

Plenty of players got off to a torrid start at the Farmers Insurance Open, but most of the scoring came at the North Course at Torrey Pines. Fifteen players shot 66 or better in the first round, and 13 of those players were at the North on Thursday. The South Course played nearly four shots harder. Patrick Reed and Alex Noren lead the way after their 64s on the North Course. Leaderboard

It was a brisk yet gorgeous day at Torrey Pines. Temperatures ranged from the low 50s to the high 60s with minimal wind on the coast. However, rains were predicted for Thursday night into Friday morning in La Jolla, California. Since two courses are used for the first two rounds of the Farmers, and since those courses tend to have drastically different scoring averages, the PGA Tour felt it best to keep things “fair” and institute lift, clean, and place on both days.

Picture this: it’s the middle of July, and you wake up at 4 a.m. to watch the Open Championship. It’s dark, the coffee pot is filling up, and you discover that the R&A has permitted lift, clean, and place on Thursday because Zeus is going to wreak havoc on Friday’s early tee times before calming down in the afternoon.

Having a hard time imagining that? Yeah, that’s because IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN. At many Open Championships, a certain wave of tee times gets an advantage because of weather. That’s golf. Players deal with it, and some even overcome a poor draw to contend on the weekend.

We get the need to play lift, clean, and place after a torrential downpour. If as much rain fell on San Diego last night as meteorologists expected, suspending the “play it as it lies” principle makes sense for today. But doing so preemptively, in an attempt to make an inherently unfair sport fair, is ridiculous. Heaven forbid we let the best players in the world face some adversity and show what they can do in less-than-ideal conditions.

Thank you for coming to our talk. *Steps down from soapbox*

Quick Hooks

Richard Sterne, Kurt Kitayama, Justin Harding, and Sergio García are among those in the mix at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Last week’s champion Tyrrell Hatton stumbled to an opening 76 on Thursday. Leaderboard

Rory McIlroy shot 68 on the South Course at Torrey Pines on Thursday. He hit 17 of 18 greens but struggled to make birdies on the back nine. Don’t be surprised if he goes low at the North Course on Friday.

After testing positive for Covid-19 and having to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open, Kamaiu Johnson received a sponsor exemption from the Honda Classic. A story as good as his deserves at least one PGA Tour start. If you have some time today, read Kamaiu’s story in the Players’ Tribune.

Rory McIlroy, Russell Knox, and Kevin Streelman have been nominated to run for chairman of the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council. Full Story from Rex Hoggard

Matthew Wolff withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open with a hand injury. “It’s become clear that I need to make the tough but right decision to properly address the pain,” he said on Instagram. Wolff is one of the most exciting young players in the game, so let’s hope he isn’t out long.

If Bryson DeChambeau plays at Bay Hill in March, he says he is going to try and drive the green on the par-5 6th hole. That’s a 330+ yard carry over water. According to Bryson, if the hole plays a little down wind, it’s a “100-percent go.” Full Story from Luke Kerr-Dineen

Greg Norman’s Florida home just hit the market with an eye-popping $59.9-million price tag.

San Diego State came from seven shots back to beat Arizona State at the Southwestern Invitational this week. ASU’s David Puig won the individual title by nine shots! Results

The Latest from The Fried Egg

No Longer Your Typical Muni – Charleston Municipal Golf Course underwent a Seth Raynor-inspired renovation over the past year. Andy Johnson took a loop around the new design to see the changes.

Shotgun Start: Preemptive Pampering, Poofer Power Rankings, and a “Global Home”

This Friday episode begins with some business matters on merch re-stocking and news that the Westy Island Blend is now live and available for purchase. Then Brendan and Andy relay a fun stock market analogy for two wayward pros from a friend of the program. At the Farmers, they lament the preemptive ball-in-hand declaration under perfect conditions for inclement weather coming the next day. When did this become a thing? Why is it a thing? Is it a ridiculous slippery slope toward always playing it up? With Patrick Reed on top of the leaderboard, they debate the current top ranked “poofer” and what defines a poofer. They also lament the missed chance for Reed to be a populist hero given his game. On the Euro Tour, they pillory an egregious backboard setup in Dubai. A memory-jogging Flashback Friday focuses on two legends battling without their A games at Torrey at the turn of the century. News turns into a live reading of an article outlining the specifics of the PGA Tour’s new 187,000 square foot Global Home at TPC Sawgrass. How many meeting spaces is too many? Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

Much like Rickie Fowler insurance commercials, our Shotgun Start merchandise is fully stocked! Hoodies, t-shirts, hats, belts, and tees have all been reloaded for the new year. Grab some new SGS merch today!