Some weeks in the golf world are better than others. WGC money-grab weeks are not among the better ones. Luckily, there is a hilarious field in Bermuda, a smiling star in Taiwan, and a fundraiser in Cincinnati to balance the scales.
The third leg
The final event of the PGA Tour’s Asian swing takes us to China for the WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club. Rory McIlroy, defending champion Xander Schauffele, Justin Rose, and Hideki Matsuyama headline the field, while Haotong Li, Ashun Wu, and Xinjun Zhang head up the Chinese contingent. Tee Times
At last year’s WGC-HSBC Champions, Xander Schauffele birdied his final two holes in regulation before disposing of Tony Finau with a birdie on the first playoff hole. Schauffele went on to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions two months later and has been a top-10 player in the world for the better part of 2019.
International presence – In contrast to most PGA Tour events, just 15 of the 78 players in the WGC-HSBC Champions field are of American descent (excluding Rory). Six players on the International Presidents Cup team will tee it up this week, while Schauffele will be the only American representative.
Only a matter of tIMe – Sungjae Im has been in contention more times than we can count, partially because he doesn’t skip tournaments. The 22-year-old South Korean already has three top-20 finishes on the 2019-2020 season, including a T-3 last week at the Zozo.
The gap – With no cut at WGC events, these tournaments tend to really separate the players on the top and bottom of the leaderboard. Players in DFL have been known to end up 30+ shots behind the champion. The guaranteed money tends to take the sting out of that kind of result.
When making your fantasy lineup for the week, keep in mind that Sheshan International tends to be a comfortable stop for players with big drivers and shaky putters. See Paulie’s full DraftKings picks HERE.
A truly “alternate” field
There’s also a new event on the PGA Tour this weekend! The inaugural Bermuda Championship gets underway in, well, Bermuda on Thursday. The field is dotted with players who possess PGA Tour cards, but the bulk of entrants will require identification upon reaching the first tee. The alternate list was dipped into more than a few times to fill the event, and it should result in a… unique leaderboard. Tee Times
Strong Like Stella
Sometimes the internet can do things for good. This weekend, golf fans from all over the country are convening in Cincinnati for a day of golf and fundraising. What started as a harmless duel between two members of No Laying Up’s Refuge message board has blossomed into an opportunity for the golf world to make a real difference.
Let’s start with some backstory. Stella Lackey is a six-month old who lives in Arizona with her parents, Jeremy and Samantha. One month after she was born, Stella was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, a disease that affects one in every 10,000 births. SMA is a terrible disease that slowly takes away a person’s physical strength (walking, eating, and even breathing). In July, Stella became the first child in Arizona to receive Zolgensma gene therapy, a one-time infusion that delivered her missing SMN1 gene, which will hopefully help her maintain motor skills and grow muscle. Stella still has a long road ahead of her, but she has shown gradual improvements since her treatment. Now the kicker. Zolgensma gene therapy is incredibly expensive. Without insurance, it would be borderline impossible to afford. Luckily, Stella has already received a ton of support, and her GoFundMe page has raised more than $20,000. These funds help are going towards continued medical treatment, as well as other expenses that arise due to the complexity of this disease.
The “Duel to the Death: Strong like Stella Cincinnati Open” as it has become affectionately known, has already raised an additional $5,000 for Stella’s care. PGA Tour winner Jim Herman, Callaway Golf, and many others have pledged auction items, and other prizes are being awarded this weekend. The golfing internet gets argumentative, petty, and stuck up almost every day. This weekend is comes together to raise money for a little girl who desperately needs our help.
The women continue their trek through Asia with a trip to Taiwan this weekend. The Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA kicks off Thursday morning with all the usual suspects in the field. “Smiling Cinderella” Hinako Shibuno, the AIG Women’s British Open champion, also makes her second LPGA Tour start this week. Tee Times
There is a changing of the guard in the CBS golf team. Gary McCord and Peter Kostis will not return to the booth in 2020, and Davis Love III has been announced as a new member of the broadcast crew. Full Story from Geoff Shackelford
Apparently the USGA needs a bit more time to digest how far players are hitting the golf ball. They announced that their Distance Insights Project Report will be released on February 4th. Based on their last few reports, we aren’t holding our breath for groundbreaking revelations. Statement from USGA.
Eclectic 18 UK – Hole No. 15, Swinley Forest Golf Club – The 15th hole of our Eclectic 18 UK series heads to Harry Colt’s “least bad” course. Discover what makes this long par 4 one of the best Mr. Colt ever designed.
The Fried Egg Podcast – Superintendent Series, Episode 1: Alex Beson-Crone
Blue Mound Golf and Country Club’s Superintendent Alex Beson-Crone joins the podcast. Andy and Alex discuss how Alex got into the turf industry and his early career at Erin Hills. The conversation then centers on Alex’s transition from Erin Hills to the Seth Raynor-designed Blue Mound. Our Superintendent Series is brought to you by Toro Golf. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Shotgun Start: WGC Party goes to China, calling out the ugly Bermuda field, golf costume ideas
A Wednesday episode begins with a rundown of the schedule for the week. Brendan and Andy start with the WGC in China, which has a deep-ish field despite the current best player in the world playing the opposite-field event. They discuss why this WGC feels low stakes and some of the issues with the host course. Then the opposite-field event in Bermuda is put squarely in the crosshairs. The list of journeymen, brake-pad salesmen, and odd collection of misfit toys in the field is discussed, provoking a larger point about the WGC system and questioning the existence of this Bermuda event. The episode wraps with the second annual Shotgun Start Halloween costume brainstorm session, producing some truly inane and unique golf costume ideas that almost no one on the planet will get. Listen on iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher.
Snow, winds, and low temperatures are going to be the theme of Halloween for much of the country. While you’re out schlepping the kids around the neighborhood, you’ll definitely need something to “keep you warm.” We suggest putting that something into one of our Fried Egg tumblers. Get yours today!