Anyone willing to put a hold on Rob Manfred’s Augusta National membership until the MLB figures things out?
WOWgr, Vol. 2022.9
No. 1 – Tiger Woods (Up 128 spots from last week) – Despite hitting exactly zero golf shots in official PGA Tour events last year, Tiger Woods took the $8-million top prize in the 2021 Player Impact Program. On Wednesday, the Tour released a detailed scorecard of the standing, showing Woods at the top, followed by Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, and Bryson DeChambeau. Tiger took the opportunity to remind everyone that Phil had claimed victory in December. Whoops.
Nos. 2a & 2b – Rachel Heck & Rose Zhang – Following a horrific runner-up finish at the Lamkin Invitational, the nearly undefeated Stanford women’s golf team got themselves together this week at the Gunrock Invitational. The Cardinal shot 50 under par as a team and won the event by 35 shots, setting an NCAA record for lowest team score to par and a program record for largest margin of victory. Rachel Heck collected the individual title at 18 under while Rose Zhang finished second at 14 under. The duo has combined for six top-two finishes and five victories this season. Zhang, a freshman, has started her collegiate career with five top fours and three wins. Pretty good.
No. 5 – Jessica Korda (Up 21) – She didn’t make the trip for the LPGA Tour’s Asian swing, but Korda took care of business at the Seminole Pro-Member on Monday. Korda reportedly shot 29 on her own ball on the back nine to win the net division with partner Mark Troy. Nelly Korda may have the better world ranking of the sisters, but Jessica clearly has the advantage in the “Exclusive Pro-Member Net Rankings” that I just made up. And in this week’s WOWgr, of course.
No. 8 – Rory McIlroy (Up 4) – McIlroy has been in the news a lot recently for the quality of his interviews, but it was his play that vaulted him into the top 10 this week. The 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational champion got off to a blistering start at Bay Hill, shooting 65 for a two-shot lead through 18 holes. He gained a whopping 2.29 shots on the field off the tee on Thursday, so his swing appears to be dialed in. With major season looming, McIlroy appears ready to either win long-awaited No. 5 or break all of our hearts once again.
No. 899 – People who thought they understood the PIP (Down 600) – The PIP results caused a fair amount of consternation. Some pointed out that Meltwater mentions were only tracked in America; others lamented that neither Max Homa nor Jim Herman made the top 10 despite their renowned social-media prowess. More than a few called the whole thing a predetermined sham. For our part, the apparent U.S. bias was most confusing. Considering the international impact of Hideki Matsuyama’s 2021 Masters victory, we expected to see Japan’s greatest golfer outrank, say, Bubba Watson.
In the jackpot – Everyone – @useGolfFACTS, a Twitter burner account that has been persuasively linked with Patrick Reed’s camp, awoke from a three-month slumber this week. The account made efficient use of its time. It accused the PGA Tour of fudging Shotlink data to make Patrick Reed’s driving distance look worse than it actually is, said the PGA Tour has been covertly funneling money to Rory McIlroy, lashed out at CBS’s Kyle Porter for “twisting headlines to make money off players,” called for internet-law reform, and alleged that the tour created the PIP to publicly pay money to players that had been provided under the table in years past. The unhinged account that we’ve all come to love is back in action, but everyone’s ass is most certainly in the jackpot. Watch your back out there.
The Latest from The Fried Egg
TFE Events – Registrations for the Stalemate at Meadowbrook on September 12 open on Monday at noon ET! Spots in The Cheesesteak at Huntingdon Valley are also available. Visit the TFE Event Hub for more information.
The Fried Egg Podcast – Andy and Garrett talk about Phil Mickelson’s downfall, the reasons the backlash against him (especially from PGA Tour boosters) has been so severe, and the ways that healthy competition can and should improve the Tour’s product. Listen on iTunes and Spotify.
The Shotgun Start – Andy and Brendan are joined by ESPN’s Kevin Van Valkenburg for a discussion of the PIP, an update from Bay Hill, and an instant-classic Flashback Friday recounting Phil Mickelson’s short-lived attempt to be a AAA pitcher. Listen on iTunes and Spotify.
Rory McIlroy was the day-one star at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but Adam Scott, Will Zalatoris, Sungjae Im, Talor Gooch, and Max Homa are in pursuit.
Patty Tavatanakit, Inbee Park, Danielle Kang, and A Lim Kim top the leaderboard after 18 holes at the HSBC Women’s World Championship.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Chase Seiffert, Michael Kim, and Aaron Baddeley are in the mix early at the Puerto Rico Open
Nearly two dozen players shot 68 or better in the first round of the Magical Kenya Open on the DP World Tour.
Joel Beall tells the story of Mykhailo Golod, a 15-year-old Ukrainian golfer currently trapped in Kyiv. “We hear, it seems like, 50 explosions a day,” Golod told Beall. A must-read.
Billy Horschel recently started volunteering as an assistant coach for the University of Florida’s men’s golf team. Brentley Romine has more on Coach Billy’s new gig.
Following a strong opening round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Graeme McDowell said he “isn’t quite ready” to captain the European Ryder Cup team. That’s clearly code for “I’m considering the Super Golf League.”
Ian Poulter wore Ukrainian flag colors during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Jon Rahm came up nine inches short on a 10-inch putt on Thursday. He’s literally the best golfer in the world.