If you’re reading this after 8:45 a.m. ET, the PGA Tour event of the week has already started. How dare you miss Wednesday mid-March action of a league with no off-season.

Light a match

Because of a pandemic-interrupted season in 2020, the PGA Tour hasn’t seen match play since the spring of 2019, not counting the Presidents Cup. That changes this week as Austin Country Club hosts the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Pod play gets underway this morning. Tee Times

Since it’s been a couple of years, it’s worth revisiting the structure of the WGC Match Play. The first three days feature 16 pods of four players contesting 18-hole matches in a round-robin format. After Friday, one player from each pod moves on to single-elimination match play.

The Match Play switched to this format five years ago in an effort to keep more top players around for more of the event. Inadvertently, though, the change has lowered the stakes of the first couple of days. Without single-elimination from the beginning, competitive tension doesn’t ramp up until Saturday.

If the PGA Tour schedule were richer with different formats, the exact structure of the WGC Match Play wouldn’t be much of an issue. But the reality is that this is our only chance to watch match play in a regular-season PGA Tour event on an annual basis, so having only two days of real match-play excitement is a bummer. The tournament has delivered fun moments and will continue to do so, but the current format is getting in the way.

Stars galore

In the words of Saturday Night Live favorite Stefon, this week’s LPGA Tour event has everything. Hosted at Aviara Golf Club in California, the Kia Classic boasts all of the top 14 players in the Rolex Rankings.

Adding to the star power is Michelle Wie West, who returns to professional golf after nearly two years off. Since her last appearance at the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Wie West has dealt with arthritis in both of her wrists, gotten married, and given birth to a baby girl. She’ll compete against the likes of Jin Young Ko, Sei Young Kim, and Nelly Korda. Tee Times

Quick Hooks

Davis Riley, Hayden Buckly, Roberto Díaz, and Curtis Luck are in the field at this weekend’s Club Car Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour. Tee Times

After exactly one day off, the European Tour started right back up again on Tuesday in Kenya. Last week’s champion Justin Harding is among those in the mix through one round of the second event, the Kenya Savannah Classic. Leaderboard

Opposite-field events are still a thing in 2021. The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship kicks off on Thursday. Top Korn Ferry Tour players Taylor Pendrith, Brandon Wu, and Greyson Sigg are in attendance. Tee Times

Rory McIlroy announced that he is now working with English swing coach Pete Cowen. The four-time major winner had previously been with coach Michael Bannon since he was in elementary school. Full Story from James Corrigan

According to the Guardian, Royal Portrush looks to be the likely host of the 2025 Open Championship. The Northern Irish club hosted the event in 2019 for the first time since 1951. In our opinion, it was one of the best Open venues in recent memory.

Bryson DeChambeau launched his own series of NFTs, which sold on Tuesday. Unconfirmed reports suggest that some of the auctions ended prematurely, much to the displeasure of at least one of the bidders. We don’t really have any idea what’s going on here, but we are not surprised that Bryson is in the middle of it.

The Latest from The Fried Egg

The Fried Egg Podcast: Jim Huntoon on Mowing Lines and Myrtle Beach

Jim Huntoon is the Golf Course Superintendent at the Heritage Club in the Myrtle Beach area and a contributor to the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association. For this installment of our Superintendent Series, Jim speaks with Andy Johnson about finding creativity in his daily routine, the impact of the pandemic on his operation, his memories of Mike Strantz, the best spots (for golf and other activities) in the Myrtle Beach area. The Superintendent Series is brought to you by the Toro Company. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

 Shotgun Start: Match Play beefs, Wie returns, and living in a treehouse

This Wednesday episode comes to you early with Andy needing to get to the beach, Brendan needing to clear out of his office, and most importantly, the WGC Match Play starting early. They immediately jump into laments on the Match Play round robin format and formulaic scheduling but also praise it as one of the great events of the season that always yields a controversy or two. They ponder if there will be a backboard at the drivable 13th and if Bryson will register a driver over 500 yards that’s immediately turned into an NFT. Also, the legend of “motormouth Billy” is born. The LPGA is also back this week and finally out of the Sunshine state, heading to a venerable Arnold Palmer design in California. They express excitement over the return of Michelle Wie West and this appetizer for the first major of the year. The field at the Punta Cana Championship is combed through with the usual enjoyment. The one-syllable crew at the Kenya Savannah Classic is also highlighted, which leads to a conversation on Toby Tree’s preferred accommodations. News hits on Bryson’s hamfisted NFT rollout, JT’s discussions with Tiger, and Jordan Spieth disclosing he was literally taped up during the past few rough years because of a hand injury we hadn’t heard about. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.


As we noted in our Monday newsletter, our merchandise shipper has the week off, but you can still visit our pro shop and sign up for our events! Registrations are open and available for the Boomerang at Soule Park (4/24), the Stalemate at Meadowbrook (6/7), and the Cheesesteak at Rolling Green (6/28). Spots are going quickly so sign up today!