Spooky season is officially over, and we aren’t talking about Halloween. Brendan Todd, one year after nearly giving up the game for good, shot a final-round 62 to win the Bermuda Championship. Not to be outdone, Rory McIlroy won for the fourth time this year and Nelly Korda defended her title in Taiwan.

You can’t spell “which player is the best at their best?” without HSBC

It may have happened while we were all sleeping, but that doesn’t make the WGC-HSBC Champions a complete simulation. (Or… does it?) Rory McIlroy defeated defending champion Xander Schauffele in a one-hole playoff to win his fourth event of 2019. McIlroy played his final 38 holes bogey-free on his way to the title. Leaderboard

There isn’t much left to say about Mr. McIlroy. Currently ranked second in the Official World Golf Rankings, Rory has had his best year since 2016 and one of the best statistical seasons in the past decade. He won the Players, the RBC Canadian Open, the Tour Championship, and now a WGC. He also had 12 other PGA Tour top-10 finishes, led the tour in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, Tee-to-Green, and Total. 

The Rory vs. Brooks debate for Player of the Year has run its course, but Carson Daly’s co-host deserves recognition for a remarkable season.

Leaderboard notes

  • Xander Schauffele nearly pulled off a comeback in the WGC-HSBC Champions for the second straight year. During his final-round charge, Xander made seven birdies, but he came up short in the playoff. Already ranked ninth in the world, he has now gone 2, T-10, 2 in his past three events.
  • The international makeup of this WGC was a big part of the story this weekend. Seven nations were represented in the top 10, including Mexico (Abe Ancer), France (Victor Perez), and Austria (Matthias Schwab).
  • Phil Mickelson finished an uninspired T-28 this weekend, dropping him out of the top 50 in the world rankings for the first time in 26 years, a mark that will be nearly impossible for anyone in the next generation of players to beat.

Para, para, paradise

No one knows the wilderness like Brendon Todd. After getting to the top 60 in the world rankings in 2014, Todd dropped outside of the top 2000 last season. At one point he missed 37 of 40 cuts. But all of that is behind him now: Brendon Todd is your 2019 Bermuda Championship champion. Todd was on 59 watch on Sunday after birdieing nine of the first 11 holes but “settled” for a 62 and a four-shot victory. The 34-year-old vet now has an opportunity to reinvigorate his career, and a fan club to support him.

Rookies Harry Higgs (second) and Scottie Scheffler (T-3) were among the young guys in the top 10 in Bermuda. Also, Hank Lebioda notched his best PGA Tour finish this weekend, shooting a final-round 63 on his way to a T-3. Leaderboard

The Scale of Yale

Yale Golf Course, built in 1923 by C. B. Macdonald, Seth Raynor, and Charles Banks, is one of the greatest feats of Golden Age golf architecture and one of the most dramatic courses in the country. Check out our VIDEO paying tribute to its scale (with commentary by Tom Doak, Gil Hanse, and Riley Johns) and Andy’s accompanying ARTICLE.

Country Grammar

Nelly Korda defeated Minjee Lee and Caroline Masson to defend her title at the Swinging Skirts LPGA this weekend. Korda stumbled down the stretch, making three bogeys over her final five holes, but she recovered to win the playoff. This is her third LPGA Tour victory and second of 2019. Nelly is a star, plain and simple. She kills it at the Solheim Cup, has a crazy good lefty swing, and is a serious competitor on the course. Already inside the top 10 in the Rolex Rankings, Korda is set for superstardom in 2020. Leaderboard

Quick Hooks

Thank you to everyone who showed up at Avon Fields to support Strong Like Stella this Saturday. The No Laying Up Refuge community put on quite the event, and more than $8,000 has been raised for Stella’s treatment. “The Duel at Dawn” was a truly unique happening, and our own Will Knights was thrilled to have been in attendance.

The two-week, eight-round Tough Mudder known as the LPGA Q-Series wrapped up at Pinehurst Resort on Sunday. Twenty-year-old Muni He, often referred to in media reports as an “Instagram star” (and yeah, she has a ton of followers), took first-place honors with eight straight rounds between 65 and 71. Sheesh. Rising stars Yealimi Noh, Albane Valenzuela, and Haley Moore also earned their cards with top-10 finishes. Leaderboard

Christina Kim also had a solid week at Pinehurst, but it wasn’t without controversy. During Round 6, Kim’s playing partner Kendall Dye, an experienced pro who should have known better, broke a rule by asking the caddie of the third member of their group, Dewi Weber, about a club selection on a par 3. Kim notified the two about the infraction after the round, and Dye and Weber were penalized two strokes. Since this is 2019, Kim went on to subtweet the whole situation. That seems not to have pleased Dye. Full STORY from Beth Ann Nichols

Oklahoma emerged victorious at the Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic this weekend. Led by Quade Cummins and his final-round 62, OU defeated Washington by five shots to claim the team title. Georgia’s Trent Phillips took individual honors after defeating Cummins in a playoff. Leaderboard

The Latest

Shotgun Start: Rory completes the LUP Slam, #ToddWatch peaks, LPGA rules drama

After an extended break, Brendan and Andy return to discuss a joyous weekend of winners in the world of golf. They begin with Rory McIlroy’s WGC victory in China, crediting him with winning the first ever (and newly created) LUP Slam, a more prestigious offshoot of the Grand Slam or Tiger Slam. This also provokes a discussion on if this win, or any non-major win, matters anymore for a talent like Rory. Then the celebration of Brendon Todd occurs, as well as a calling onto the carpet of the haters and doubters. Todd’s wander in the wilderness and return from the full-blown yips is explained and appreciated. On the LPGA, they discuss the awkward situation of a caddie looping against his fiancée in a Sunday final pairing and playoff. On the Champions Tour, they applaud Monty’s Mountain Dew-fueled tournament course record and proclaim an increased interest in the Schwab Cup finale. In news, the controversy over Christina Kim calling a penalty on two playing partners at LPGA Q-Series is reviewed and debated. The episode ends with a lengthy and angry dissection of the two horrible football teams that made an otherwise good Sunday in golf maddening at the end. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

Snow season is officially upon us. You always hear those stories of snow weighing down tree limbs that fall on cars. Don’t let that happen to you. Grab one of our tree management t-shirts and avoid conversations with your insurance company. Get yours today!