Friday the 13ths should really come along less often if they want to maintain their spooky image. Maybe stick to fall and winter, too. August 13th just doesn’t sound all that frightening.
Rain, rain, go away
Turns out August is a tough time to avoid thunderstorms in western Pennsylvania. On Thursday, for the third straight day, the U.S. Amateur was delayed, pushing the finish of the round of 32 to Friday morning. Scoring
While we wait on full results from the first two rounds of match play at Oakmont Country Club, here are a few notes on the action we’ve seen so far:
- Jensen Castle survived a 12-for-2 playoff to get into match play before going on to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur last week, and David Nyfjall is attempting the same feat. Nyfjall got through a 12-for-1 playoff to earn the 64-seed in match play, won the last four holes of his first match to beat No. 1 Mark Goetz 1-up, and is tied with Walker Cupper Ricky Castillo through 20 holes in the round of 32.
- Western Amateur champion Michael Thorbjornsen birdied five holes in a row to flip his match against Harrison Ott and move on to the round of 32. He is now 2-down with two to play against Nick Gabrelcik.
- After falling victim to Thorbjornsen in a semifinal match at the Western Am, Austin Greaser is safely into the Sweet 16 at Oakmont. A member of the Tar Heels golf team, Greaser knocked off reinstated amateur Bo Andrews and Rutgers junior Xavier Marcoux on Thursday.
- Michigan State Spartan James Piot has been impressive through two rounds of match play. Winner of the Golf Association of Michigan Championship earlier this month, Piot beat Cameron Sisk and Eddy Lai to advance.
- At 6’8″, Florida Gulf Coast’s Van Holmgren is an imposing figure out among the church pews. He cruised through his first two matches—over Southern Amateur champion Maxwell Moldovan and TCU’s Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira, respectively.
Time for an update
The Governing Board of the Official World Golf Ranking announced that the OWGR will be receiving a makeover in 2022. Expected to go into place in August of next year, the updated system will feature a number of adjustments to the ranking formula. The changes include making use of strokes gained data and rating fields based on all players instead of just those ranked in the top 200. The new system, like the current one, will work on a two-year rolling basis. Full details
The overhaul has been a long time coming. Mark Broadie’s strokes gained metrics have revolutionized golf statistics over the past 15 years, so the main surprise is that the OWGR hasn’t incorporated them until now. Also, taking the entire field into consideration when weighting a tournament will temper the ranking’s relative undervaluing of PGA Tour events.
The new ranking won’t be a drastic departure—in fact, the top 10 likely won’t change at all—but there will be some reshuffling in the top 100, and strong performances against strong fields will be more consistently rewarded. All in all, the changes appear to be smart ones.
Russell Henley leads the Wyndham Championship after a first-round 62. Close behind him are Sung Kang, Ted Potter Jr., and Michael Thompson, all of whom need high finishes to earn their way into the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Leaderboard
Scotland’s own Michele Thomson holds a two-shot lead through 18 holes at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open. No. 559 in the Rolex Rankings, Thomson has a two-shot edge on Anne van Dam, Yuka Saso, and Jasmine Suwannapura. (In our Wednesday newsletter, we said that the Women’s Scottish Open was being held at Renaissance Club. That was incorrect. The venue is Dumbarnie Links in Fife.) Leaderboard
Andrew Novak, Davis Riley, Patrick Flavin, and Kevin Lucas are in the mix at the Pinnacle Bank Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour. Leaderboard
As expected, the USGA announced Oakmont Country Club and Merion Golf Club as the latest U.S. Open “anchor sites.” Many championships will be held at the two Pennsylvania clubs over the next (*checks notes*) 29 years. Yeah, 29 years! Oakmont will get four U.S. Opens, two U.S. Women’s Opens, a Walker Cup, and a U.S. Women’s Amateur between 2025 and 2049. Merion will host two U.S. Opens, two U.S. Women’s Opens, and a Curtis Cup between 2022 and 2050. Full List
The PGA Tour added a new animated grid to its TOURCast feature on PGATour.com. Fans can now see green contours to get a better sense of the putts players are facing. The overall website is still a disgrace, but we love to see improvement!
Now on the tee… J.R. Smith? The two-time NBA champion says he’s headed to North Carolina A&T, where he intends to pursue a degree in liberal studies and play on the golf team. Full Story
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A Single Tier: The 13th at Medinah Course No. 1 – The 13th hole at Medinah Country Club’s Course 1 is a short, gettable par 4, but Tom Doak’s design tempts players to take greater risks than they probably should.
The Fried Egg Podcast: Olympic Golf Is Great (But Could Be Better)
The men’s and women’s golf competitions at the Olympic Games took place over the past couple of weeks, with Xander Schauffele and Nelly Korda earning gold medals for the United States. The action from Tokyo was fun to watch, but we couldn’t help but wonder if it could be even more exciting. So Andy Johnson called up Kevin Van Valkenburg (@KVanValkenburg), a senior writer for ESPN, and talked with him about what Olympic golf gets right and what it could do better. They also commiserate about the Chicago Bears’ quarterback woes, if you’re into that kind of thing. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Shotgun Start: U.S. Am reactions, OWGR Reform, golf’s field of dreams, and Flashback Friday.
This summer hours Friday episode wanders around, starting with some thoughts on the early bracket matches at the U.S. Amateur. Chicago may have a new favorite son, Mike Holmgren’s son is a big boy, Thorbjornsen is a rallying killer, and more on Oakmont. Andy and Brendan then bounce around on some of the early stories from across the tours, hitting on Wyndham, the Women’s Scottish, and the KFT. They discuss the OWGR reforms and also ponder what golf’s answer to MLB’s “Field of Dreams” game would be. J.R. Smith’s attempt to play college golf is also praised. Flashback Friday throws it way back to another U.S. Amateur at Oakmont, the 1925 edition, which featured two members from the same club and one notorious party boy playing in the finals. The episode closes with some quick thoughts on Merion and Oakmont getting USGA championships all the way out to 2050 and what larger impacts that might signal. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
It may feel like summer will never end, but we can assure you that the temperature drop is coming. Make sure you’re stocked up for fall with a Fried Egg alternate logo hoodie. Get yours in grey or navy today!