Some weekends in the golf world are busier than others. Correspondingly, some Fried Egg newsletters are longer than others.
This was one of the most hyped U.S. Women’s Opens in recent memory: there was a storied venue and a compelling cast of characters. And the event delivered. In the end, Yuka Saso, a 19-year-old phenom, bested Nasa Hataoka in a three-hole playoff at the Olympic Club. This is Saso’s first LPGA Tour victory, moving the teenager inside the top 30 of the Rolex Rankings for the first time in her career. U.S. Women’s Open Results
But the story of how Saso and Hataoka ended up in a playoff is a little more complex.
By Saturday, Lexi Thompson had emerged as the clear favorite at the Olympic Club. She fired a third-round 66, the round of the week, to take the 54-hole lead. On Sunday, she birdied the opening hole while Yuka Saso, her closest challenger, bogeyed two of her first three. When they made the turn, Lexi was five shots clear. She was hitting 300-yard drives with ease and seemed unbeatable.
But then Thompson started missing fairways. On No. 11, she flat-out flubbed a chip and made double, a sign of troubles to come. Meanwhile, Nasa Hataoka, Shanshan Feng, Megan Khang, and Yuka Saso were inching their way toward the lead. Hataoka birdied three of her final six holes to take the clubhouse lead at -4. Saso recovered from her early stumbles to birdie Nos. 16 and 17, and she watched as Lexi Thompson missed putt after putt. On the 18th hole, Thompson dumped her approach in the deep bunker short of the green, recorded another bogey, and finished at -3.
Shocking as it was to watch, Thompson’s collapse was nothing new for championships at the Olympic Club. Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Payne Stewart, Tom Watson, and Jim Furyk all faltered after holding 54-hole leads at the Lake Course.
While most will remember the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open as the one Lexi let slip away, Yuka Saso and Nasa Hataoka deserve a ton of credit for fighting to the finish. Saso in particular overcame a Sunday start that would have caused most players to check out. At only 19 years old, she has a sound, Rory McIlroy-like golf swing, and an unflappable demeanor. She plays most of her golf in Japan, but we hope to see a lot more of her on the LPGA Tour. We may have just witnessed a future superstar’s first big win.
Dress like a champion
Yuka Saso would likely say she looks best with the U.S. Women’s Open trophy in her hands. Most of us will never raise a major championship trophy, but we can still look our best with B. Draddy!
From Peruvian pima cotton and ultra-lightweight Sport polos to vests and light layers, B. Draddy has everything you need for the summer. Recently, B. Draddy has teamed up with artist Lee Wybranski to create a limited-edition U.S. Open lineup ahead of Torrey Pines. Also, any B. Draddy item would make a great Father’s Day gift!
An unprecedented Memorial
Patrick Cantlay defeated Collin Morikawa in a playoff to win the Memorial Tournament on Sunday. While that sentence is accurate, it doesn’t tell you anything important about what occurred at Muirfield Village this weekend. Memorial Tournament Results
After a series of storm delays on Thursday and Friday, Jon Rahm played some of the best golf we’ve seen on the PGA Tour this year. Rahm shot 65-64 in his second and third rounds to get himself six shots clear through 54 holes. As he walked off the 18th green on Saturday, however, Rahm was alerted by tour officials that he had tested positive for Covid-19 and would need to withdraw from the event. Rahm put his head in his hands and crouched in agony as the CBS commentary team tried to figure out what was going on. It was an odd and unforgettable scene.
With two of the season’s best rounds erased, Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, and Scottie Scheffler were suddenly the top three heading into the final round.
Tour officials have been clear about their pandemic protocols from the start: test positive and you’re out. Earlier this week, Rahm learned he had been in close contact with someone who had Covid-19. Presumably because he had not been fully vaccinated, he had been getting tested every day. PGA Tour official Andy Levinson addressed the details of the situation in a press conference on Saturday afternoon. Rahm himself put out a statement on Saturday night.
Barring any further setbacks, the world No. 2 should be able to return to action at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
On a lighter note…
Another week, another installment in the Brookson Chronicles.
During the second round of the Memorial Tournament, members of Bryson DeChambeau’s gallery were reportedly ejected for daring to utter the name “Brooksy”—as in, “Let’s go, Brooksy!” DeChambeau’s dislike for hearing his rival Brooks Koepka’s name is well established and apparently reached a head on Friday at Muirfield Village. Multiple sources on the grounds, including Golf.com reporter James Colgan, reported seeing security escort away individuals who had invoked the forbidden name.
Afterwards, Bryson sort of tried to deny that fans had been booted for merely saying “Brooksy,” or that he had been involved, or that he even found the heckles distressing. But come on.
As he is wont to do, Brooksy pounced. On Friday evening, he released a video on social media in which he offered free beer from his sponsor Michelob Ultra to anyone whose “time was cut short” at the Memorial. The #brands have officially entered the feud.
We’d like to say something insightful here about the changing relationship between athletes and fans in the social media age, but frankly this is all pretty stupid.
Mito Pereira denied Stephen Jaeger the battlefield promotion by edging him at the Rex Hospital Open on the Korn Ferry Tour. The win puts him one victory short of a battlefield exemption that could earn him his PGA Tour status immediately. Results
Maverick Antcliff and Matthew Southgate lead after 36 holes at the Porsche European Open. Due to some pandemic-related travel delays, the event ends on Monday. Leaderboard
It was Canadian-on-Canadian crime on the PGA Tour Champions this weekend as Stephen Ames came from behind to beat Mike Weir at the Principles Charity Classic. Call the Mounties! Results
Megha Ganne, a 17-year-old amateur, gained a ton of fans at the U.S. Women’s Open. The 18-hole and 36-hole co-leader, Ganne played in the final group on Sunday and earned low-amateur honors. She was also impressively relaxed, candid, and funny in interviews. Just a junior in high school, Ganne is committed to join Stanford University’s team in 2022. For now, she will head back home after the week of her life and presumably do some makeup work for Calculus.
After the first two holes of the U.S. Women’s Open playoff, NBC tossed the commercial-free coverage over to Golf Channel. We understand that gymnastics stans were PISSED, but not airing the finale of the biggest women’s golf event of the year on cable television was unfortunate, to say the least. How’s that “Women Worth Watching” slogan going these days?
Many U.S. Open Final Qualifying events take place on Monday. Follow along live!
The Latest from The Fried Egg
Shotgun Start: Yuka’s starpower, Using the “choke” word, Rahm’s WD, and Broosky-gate
This is a packed Monday episode that begins with praise for Yuka Saso’s playoff victory to become the youngest U.S. Women’s Open champion. Her early double bogey run, her late comeback, her playoff tightrope walk, and her emotional interview are all discussed. Then Brendan and Andy get to Lexi Thompson, discussing the appropriate use of the word “choke,” which was not heard on the broadcast with Johnny Miller off enjoying retirement. Brendan recalls the inevitability of the collapse that felt so brutal, while Andy has a theory on why it started to unravel on the back nine. They discuss NBC’s coverage of both Lexi’s collapse and the move to Golf Channel for the end of the playoff. The Memorial discussion largely focuses on Jon Rahm’s positive COVID test and WD, as well as another round of Brooks-Bryson feuding that may have led to the Tour getting involved. Is it bullying or crossing some sort of line? They wrap with a shoutout to a couple Canucks, the KFT GOAT, and sectional qualifying. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.