There is a spooky amount of golf news for October (so sorry). We have an unusual disciplinary action on the Korean Tour, driver testing off to a “hot” start, the PGA Tour heading to Vegas, and The Thoroughbred just a week away!
Our streak of strong fall season events continues this week with the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Brooks Koepka, defending champion Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Tony Finau, Matthew Wolff, and Collin Morikawa headline the field. Tee Times
Last year’s Shriners marked Bryson DeChambeau’s fourth win of 2019, which propelled him into the top five of the Official World Golf Rankings. The ultra-deliberate lightning rod shot a final-round 66 to clip Patrick Cantlay by one. Bryson would go on to finish in the top 10 in four of his next five events, including an additional victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
The haves and the have-nots – There is a curious dichotomy in the field this week. On the one hand, we have top-10 stars in Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, and Patrick Cantlay. On the other, we have Smylie Kaufman and Michael Kim, neither of whom has had a top-50 finish in a full-field event in more than a year. Both could use a decent week to jump-start their 2019-20 seasons.
How young is too young? – The amount of 23-or-younger talent in this field is staggering. Matthew Wolff, Collin Morikawa, Joaquín Niemann, Doc Redman, John Oda, Dylan Wu, and Akshay Bhatia will all tee it up this weekend. Bhatia, the only teenager, is seeking his first made cut on the PGA Tour.
A week off for Sungjae Ripken – The biggest news of all may be that Sungjae Im is taking the week off. How can this be a story, you ask? Well, this is the first week of 2019 in which Im was eligible for an event but chose not to take part. He has played in 31 events in 2019, missing only the Masters, the U.S. Open, and the WGCs.
With the Tour in Sin City, Paulie is looking at players who have Las Vegas ties. Check out his DraftKings picks HERE.
Last call for The Thoroughbred
Our second event, The Thoroughbred, is just one week away! We have a couple of spots remaining for any procrastinators who would like to join us on Saturday, October 11, at Aiken Golf Club. The event includes 36 holes of golf, breakfast, a big lunch, post-round appetizers, tee gifts from Zero Restriction and Imperial Headwear, and major prizes like two custom Bettinardi putters, two full headcover sets (driver, fairway, and hybrid) from Winston Collection, and a Shapland golf bag! Grab one of the last spots today!
Kick him off the tour, Doug
It’s not every week that we get news from the Korean Tour. Bio Kim, the leader of the Korean Tour money list, received a three-year ban from the Korean PGA on Tuesday. This past Sunday, Kim flipped off a member of the crowd on the 16th hole after the fan’s cell-phone camera went off in Kim’s backswing. He went on to win the event, and he even apologized for the obscene gesture afterwards, but his actions ended up costing him dearly. While we do not know the full details of Kim’s history of on-course behavior, three years does seem excessive for a spur-of-the-moment reaction. Fans were also quick to note that the Korean Tour’s severity stands in stark contrast to the seeming unwillingness of the major men’s tours to take action against players who have done far more outrageous things during tournaments. As for Bio Kim, perhaps now is the time to serve those mandatory two years of military service. Full video and story from Ryan Lavner
According to a report from Reuters, five drivers out of 30 randomly selected for testing were deemed non-conforming at the Safeway Open this past weekend. The report states that Corey Conners, Robert Streb, Jason Dufner, Michael Thompson, and Mark Hubbard all received red marks and had to use back-up drivers in Napa. The testing procedures are new on the PGA Tour this season. The PGA Tour’s VP of Communications Joel Schuchmann declined comment on the matter.
Tour players and club reps continue to maintain that this is a non-story, yet one out of six players failed this past week. At that rate, you could assume that 20 to 30 players are using illegal drivers on a week-to-week basis. You tell us if that’s a non-story.
The LPGA heads to Texas this weekend for the Volunteers of America Classic. World No. 2 Sung Hyun Park returns to defend her title at the Old American Golf Club. Tee Times
It’s no Dunhill Links, but the Mutuactivos Open de España does have a decent field on the European Tour this week. Jon Rahm and Sergio García headline the field in Spain. Tee Times
Brooks Koepka would like you to know that he is NOT A GOLF NERD. The world’s top-ranked player continued to push his “I’m an athlete” narrative with bizarre insistence in a Golfweek profile with Steve DiMeglio:
“I’m not going to be someone else just to be more popular,” Koepka said. “I’m not your typical golfer, definitely not a golf nerd. I have an athlete’s mentality, a true athlete, and if that rubs people the wrong way, tough.”
Eclectic 18 UK – Hole No. 11, Notts (Hollinwell) Golf Club – The 11th hole of our series takes us to inland England and Notts Golf Club, better known as Hollinwell. Clyde Johnson discusses how this par 4 is anything but your typical transition hole.
The Fried Egg Podcast, Episode 157: Kevin Moore – Tournament Course Setup and Analytics-Driven Strategy
Kevin Moore joins Andy and Garrett to discuss Rory McIlroy’s surprising and intriguing comments about soft course setups on the European Tour. Kevin is a former Division 1 college golfer, a professor of Mathematics Education, and the founder of a golf course analysis company called Squares2Circles, so he has some keen insights into what McIlroy means when he talks about “playing with strategy.” Kevin, Andy, and Garrett also discuss how equipment technology has changed the way the best players interact with golf architecture, and they dig into whether Kevin himself senses a conflict between his rational, competitive side and his romantic, architecture-loving side. They close with a brief discussion of Aiken Golf Club, the venue for the upcoming Fried Egg event The Thoroughbred. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevcmoore and his company Squares2Circles at @Squares2Circles. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify.
Shotgun Start: A non-conforming “non-story,” the Korean Bird suspension, and a U.S. Open rota
The usual Wednesday segment running down the week’s schedule is promptly de-railed by discussion of the news that five players failed the new PGA Tour driver testing at the Safeway Open. Brendan and Andy react to the news being broken by a non-golf entity like Reuters and posit that it might be time for more outside voices to get involved in the regulation of this issue. They react to the player reaction that it’s a “non-story” and the Tour holding the line that this is simply a club issue and not a player problem. How did names leak already, just three weeks into the new season? Will anything come of it as we get further into the season? Then they move to the schedule for the week, introduce the nickname “Tommy Tables,” crown an event of the week, and hand out a few random names to research for Friday. In news, they hit on the three-year suspension for the Korean Tour money leader flipping the bird to fans and ponder what kind of action it would take to get a 3-year ban on the PGA Tour. Physical harm to another player or a Jeff Gillooly style hit on a fellow competitor? They wrap with a discussion on the idea of a U.S. Open rota based off some Mike Davis comments to Golf Digest. iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.
Brooks is clearly bursting with testosterone and wants you to know he is not your typical golfer. After one of his intense, manly workouts, he should definitely use one of our Fried Egg towels to clean up all that virile sweat. You can, too. Get yours today!