We take a short break from college basketball to look at how the world of golf shook out this week.
Need a recap on the WOWgr rules?
No. 1 – Rose Zhang (no change from last week) – The Stanford sophomore officially owns the record for most consecutive weeks as the top-ranked amateur in the world (131), overtaking the mark held by Lydia Ko. I’ve decided she will be No. 1 for the foreseeable future.
No. 2 – Scottie Scheffler (up 3) – Earlier this year, I wrote that Jon Rahm wins felt inevitable when he’s in contention. Scheffler is in the inevitable class now. I’m not sure there is a better compliment you can give a golfer.
No. 3 – Sam Burns at Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course (no change from last year) – The back-to-back Valspar Championship winner got off to another strong start on Thursday. He’ll look to join Tiger Woods (six times), Stuart Appleby, and Steve Stricker as players to win the same event three years in a row. This ranking is not reflective of his apples-to-oranges comparison on the rollback.
No. 6 – Peter Kostis (Up 842) – The guy wants golf clubs to explode if players swing too hard! Sick! It’s maybe the worst take I’ve ever heard, but it’s so bad it’s good.
I know this sounds simplistic but just require drivers and 3 woods to "face collapse" or have a breakable part that breaks(becoming non-conforming) when the club head hits the ball at more than (pick a number) 125 MPH. No bifurcation. Just a cap on max CHS.
— Peter Kostis (@peterjkostis) March 14, 2023
No. 9 – PGA Tour Live Range Talks (Up 3) – If you haven’t seen any of these yet this year, I would highly recommend finding some of the old ones. This week Sam Burns joined the bit after past editions featuring Camilo Villegas and Billy Horschel.
No. 46 – Akshay Bhatia (Up 40) – Expectations are really difficult to deal with as a young professional golfer, yet Bhatia has worked his way to special temporary membership on the PGA Tour after four years of expectations. We got our first look at Akshay at the 2019 Valspar when he was just 17 years old, and he’s back this year to work on locking up a 2024 PGA Tour card. Good stuff, Akshay.
No. 1,341 – Keegan Bradley (Down 849) – This isn’t because he’s anti-rollback, it’s because the analogy he used to explain his position makes absolutely no sense. In case you missed it, while explaining why professional and amateur golf rules should stay the same, Keegan said,“One of the coolest things about golf is that you can have a PGA Tour player play with a 30 handicap and we’re playing the same sport. I can’t go play football with Tom Brady with pads on, I’ll get killed.”
Aside from Formula 1 or Nascar or IndyCar, amateurs can play literally every other sport the professionals can. I can go to the park and play football with my friends, join a local rec league and play pickup basketball, or find an organized ice hockey league. You’re not playing with a professional, but Keegan’s analogy is largely theoretical. If you play four tee boxes behind an amateur, have specialized “tour only” heads on your clubs, and have access to PGA Tour level data and treatment, are you playing the same game as the amateur? No, you’re playing the professional version of the sport. Yes, golf has a handicap system that technically allows you to compete with anyone, but you’re still not playing the same version of the game.
If Keegan wants to be anti-rollback and protect his place in professional golf, that’s fine. I would probably be equally selfish (shoutout JT) if I were in his shoes. But the whole argument that all golfers are playing the same sport, unlike the guys playing football in the park, is such a farce.
No. 1,342 – Justin Thomas (Down 1,333) – His rollback arguments were pretty bad, too, but at least they were clearly Titleist talking points and therefore predictable.
No. 1,561 – Virginia Basketball (Down 5) – You cannot lose like this. You just can’t.
ARE YOU SERIOUS?! 😨
FURMAN WITH THE STEAL AND 3 TO TAKE THE LEAD WITH 2.2 SECONDS REMAINING #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/fSCNKUzboq
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 16, 2023