Fun fact: Phil Mickelson has made 11 scores of 9 or more on a hole in his PGA Tour career, including one yesterday. He’s also the reigning PGA champion, somehow.

WOWgr, Vol. 2022.3

(What’s WOWgr? Will’s Official Weekly Golf Ranking, obviously. What’s that? Here’s the rundown.)

No. 1 – Bold teenagers (Up 82 from last week) – In his first start of 2022, Akshay Bhatia shot a final-round 65 to win the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour. Bhatia is just 19 years old, but he has been well known for several years, and there was even more buzz around him this week. Before the tournament, the KFT social media team put out a slightly uncomfortable video featuring Akshay and his caddie/girlfriend Presleigh discussing how their relationship started with an Instagram direct message. The internet handled the video poorly, as it always does, but Akshay and Presleigh seemed to be having fun. Good for them. Anyway, Bhatia won $135,000 playing golf in the Bahamas, and he turns 20 next week. Life is good.

No. 4 – Philadelphia public golfers (Up 221) – After many years of hard work and advocacy by Joe Bausch, Mike Cirba, and others, Cobbs Creek Golf Course, a Hugh Wilson design outside  of Philadelphia, is set to receive a $65-million restoration. The project will involve improvements to the golf course as well as the construction of a community center and public outdoor space to serve golfers and non-golfers alike. For more on Cobbs Creek and the Cobbs Creek Foundation, listen to our podcast with Joe and Mike from 2018.

No. 27 – Anyone without a hat sponsor (Up 987) – We still don’t know why Rory Sabbatini wore a hat with KT tape placed over a sponsor’s logo during the first two rounds of the Sony Open. Moral of the story, don’t be good enough at golf so that you have to wear stupid hats.

No. 565 – Annika Sörenstam (Down 208) – Through one round of the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, Annika leads the celebrity division by one point in the Stableford format. If she’s going to play as a “celebrity” on her home course, I need her to boat race these folks.

No. 831 – Benches (Down 184) – It’s a sad day for benches, specifically for the bench next to the 13th tee at Augusta National. Ian Woosnam, “Woosie” to his many admirers, announced that he will not play the Masters this April. The 1991 Masters champion entertained the internet last spring with his devotion to bench-sitting, no matter how close he was to his playing partners. This is just one man’s opinion, but there should be a “reserved” sign placed where Woosnam routinely rested. Related, hot dogs and wine have dropped significantly in WOWgr. They are in big trouble with Woosie on the loose.

No. 832 – Golfers who are 5’10” or shorter (Down 601) – If you listen to the Shotgun Start podcast, you know this is a tough admission for me. I’ve taken attacks from every direction, yet my fellow 5’10” brethren and I have persevered. But this week, I admit, has been tough. First the Wee Welshman retired from the Masters. Then James Hart du Preez, all 6’10” of him, became this week’s media darling at the American Express. Images of Hart du Preez’s hulking frame and 400-yard bombs have battered social media feeds, continually reminding everyone that he’s a full foot taller than us. In all seriousness, it’s been a treat watching the guy’s swing. Talk about lag.

DFL – Saudi International (No Change) – This tournament can’t go any lower in WOWgr, but it tried this week. On Wednesday, Golf Saudi distributed an official press release letting the world know that they had “erected a fence at the rear of the range to prevent [Bryson DeChambeau’s] monster warm-up tee-shots.” A press release announcing a driving-range fence! You can’t make it up.

The Latest from The Fried Egg

How to Assemble a Great Set of Used Golf Clubs – On a recent episode of The Fried Egg Podcast, Garrett Morrison and Ryan Barath (@RDSBarath) assembled a set of used golf clubs on a limited budget. Here’s a breakdown of their efforts.

The Fried Egg Podcast: Yolk with Doak, Episode 33 – Tom Doak returns for another episode. He and Andy discuss updates to the Sedge Valley project at Sand Valley, working overseas during the pandemic, and more. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

The Shotgun Start – Andy is in Scottsdale, so the boys recorded late last night. We’re pretty sure the episode is coming out. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Boards and Results

Scott Jamieson (63) leads Viktor Hovland (64) and Thomas Pieters (65) through one round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the DP World Tour.

Gaby López (67) is at the top of a bunched leaderboard at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, with Nelly Korda (68), Yuka Saso (68), Danielle Kang (68) , and Jessica Korda (69) close behind.

Paul Haley II, Corey Shaun, Michael Gellerman, and Carl Yuan rounded out the top five at the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic.

With a berth in the Masters on the line, Roberto Nieves and Oliva Pinto lead through one round of the Latin America Amateur Championship at Casa de Campo. TV coverage of the event continues this weekend on ESPNews and ESPN2.

Quick Hooks

Bob Goalby, 1968 Masters champion and 14-time PGA Tour winner, passed away yesterday at the age of 92. If you’d like to learn more about Goalby and the famously bizarre Masters he won, we highly recommend Curt Sampson’s book The Lost Masters: Grace and Disgrace in ’68.