Congratulations to the Los Angeles Rams, but the real winners were any millennials who watched the halftime show.
Compliments to the Schef
Following Joel Dahmen and Harry Higgs’s lead, Scottie Scheffler took the top off the defense this weekend at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Tied for 44th after Friday’s action, he shot 62-67 and defeated Patrick Cantlay in a three-hole playoff. It was Scheffler’s first professional victory.
If you’ve been following pro golf for the past couple of years, you saw this one coming. Scheffler topped the Korn Ferry Tour points list in 2019 and went on to collect 15 top 10s in his first 63 PGA Tour starts. He is now No. 9 in the Official World Golf Ranking. (Fun fact: three of the top 10 players in the world—Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, and Viktor Hovland—are now 25 years old or younger.)
Scheffler’s comeback was an appropriate complement to the electricity that permeated TPC Scottsdale this past week. From the star-studded leaderboard to the hole-in-one-related hysterics on the weekend, this edition of the WM Phoenix Open felt like more than a golf tournament. As we said in Wednesday’s newsletter, the WMPO is a reminder that unique, well-run events can and should be the PGA Tour’s bread and butter—and its best defense against potential rival leagues.
Did you bring protection?
Charley Hoffman has #takes, apparently. After receiving an unfortunate penalty on Friday at the WMPO, Hoffman called out PGA Tour rules officials and insinuated that such disappointments may drive players into the arms of the Saudi Golf League. “No accountability at any level here,” whined Hoffman, who is chairman of the PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Council. “No protection for the players at all. You wonder why guys are wanting to jump ship and go play on another tour.”
The reaction to Hoffman’s comments was largely negative, though Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson, both of whom have made no secret of their interest in the SGL, voiced their support.
No doubt the PGA Tour has its issues. As a competitive arena and an entertainment product, it often falls woefully short. But the idea that the players aren’t protected is absurd, as is the notion that minor (if annoying) rules issues will lead to the Tour’s demise. Charley needs to get a grip, and Bryson and Phil need to stop trying to convince everyone that there’s a virtuous justification for their Saudi adventures. As Eamon Lynch put it, “Let them go, if they really have the stomach for the gamble. The Tour will be no poorer for their departure.”
The Latest from The Fried Egg
The Shotgun Start – Andy and Brendan discuss all of this past weekend’s exciting sporting contests—chief among them, the battle between Justin “Thirstbucket” Thomas and Martin “Desert Fox” Laird. Listen on iTunes and Spotify.
Patrick Cantlay registered his sixth straight top 10 with his runner-up at the WM Phoenix Open, while Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele finished T-3.
Ryan Fox went wire to wire at the Ras Al Khaimah Classic.
Brandon Matthews finished birdie-birdie-eagle to take the Korn Ferry Tour’s Astara Golf Championship.
Playing on a sponsor exemption, Sahith Theegala led for most of the weekend at TPC Scottsdale. He was in contention until the 71st hole, when his tee shot ran through the green and into a pond on the drivable par 4. Still, the up-and-comer has an invite to the Genesis Invitational next week, and he earned a lot of fans with his exciting style of play and openhearted personality.
The Georgia and Oklahoma men’s golf teams are in the mix early at the Puerto Rico Classic.
Oklahoma State’s women’s golf team leads the Columbia Classic through one round.