Wanna Augusta National? Here are some options.
Watching golf inherently makes you want to play golf, which makes Masters week equal parts pleasure and pain.
From the sounds of birds chirping and Jim Nantz on the call to the breathtaking drone aerials of the undulating fairways, golf viewers spend all week drooling over the mere thought of driving down Magnolia Lane for a round at Augusta National Golf Club, ranked No. 3 among Golfweek’s Best classic courses.
So how does one go about scoring a round on one of golf’s most famous courses? Here are a few ways you can pull off the seemingly impossible (but it certainly won’t be easy).
- Be invited by a member- Augusta National’s exclusivity is one of the many aspects that sets it apart from other clubs, so getting an invite from a member just might be the easiest way to get a round. You either need to meet some new friends in high places, or maybe try your hand at college golf? College teams are sometimes invited to play by members, like when Notre Dame played a handful bucket-list courses to prepare for the 2020 season.
- Augusta National Women’s Amateur -The ANWA runs the week before the Masters and features a loaded field of the best women’s amateur players in the world. In the fourth edition this year, Rose Zhang beat Jenny Bae on the second playoff hole.
- Qualify for the Masters -We’ll let our friends at Augusta.com field this one. (Tip: Seeing as you’re probably not a professional golfer if you’re reading this, you might want to focus on the amateur events.)
- Report on the Masters-There’s an annual media lottery for a Monday round after the Masters, and a few Golfweek writers have won over the years. All media who travel to the course to cover the event can choose to enter the drawing. The lucky media winners are typically announced during the second round.
- Work as a volunteer at the Masters or for Augusta National -Volunteers get to play a round, but vacancies rarely occur, and when they do, there’s a wait. You know you’re doing something right when there’s a line of people waiting to work for you for free (with a round of golf on the side). Augusta National staff also get to play a round.
- Work as a caddie at Augusta National- If you work as a caddie for the golf club, you might gain access to play 18 holes, as one day is set aside for caddies to play.
Taylor Moore gets his first career Tour win!
Taylor Moore outlasts Jordan Spieth, Adam Schenk at Valspar for first Tour win
PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Taylor Moore was never really the star attraction Sunday at the Valspar Championship until he had finished hitting all the right shots and posed with the trophy for his first PGA Tour title that sends him to the Masters.
Adam Schenk and Jordan Spieth provided enough compelling theater for so much of the day, locked in a battle on the back nine of the Copperhead course at Innisbrook.
When it was over, all they shared was misfortune.
Moore surged into the mix with a 9-iron to 5 feet for birdie on the 15th hole and a 25-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole, followed by two tough pars for a 4-under 67.
That turned out to be a winner when Spieth hit his tee shot into the water on the 16th and Schenk, going for his first PGA Tour victory, hit a drive on the final hole that settled next to a large pine tree. He made bogey and finished one shot behind.
Moore, who grew up outside Oklahoma City, was on the practice range anticipating a playoff when he realized he had won at 10-under 274.
“I might have been under the radar to some people watching, but I felt like I was in the golf tournament from the time I teed off today and was just excited to control what I could control and get it done,” Moore said.
The victory sends him to the Masters in three weeks, a welcome addition to his schedule.
Spieth was tied for the lead when he sent his tee shot into the water on the 16th and managed to stay in the game by getting up-and-down from 163 yards to salvage bogey. On the par-3 17th, which yielded only two birdies all day, Spieth hit 4-iron to 6 feet — only to miss the birdie putt.
Tommy Fleetwood was part of a three-way tie early on the back nine until he took bogey on the par-5 14th. Spieth didn’t realize anyone else was in the mix.
“I thought it was me and Adam. I thought it was down to us two,” Spieth said. “I was thinking it was Tommy one back of us with a few holes to go and so I thought we could still kind of control it from the last group. Then I saw 10 (under) was posted walking off 16 green.”
The real heartbreak belonged to Schenk, whose wife flew down to Florida for the final round a month before she is due with their first child. Schenk holed a 70-foot birdie putt on the 12th hole. He made tough par saves on the 16th and 17th holes to stay tied.
On the 18th, however, he pulled his tee shot to the left. It was roughly the same line as Moore had hit his tee shot earlier, only Schenk’s ball rolled through the gallery and stopped next to a pine tree.
“Wish I could have lightly hit somebody and stayed where I had a chance to get to the green, but it did not, and I didn’t deserve it,” Schenk said.
His only shot was hitting an inverted gap wedge left-handed, and it was a dandy, shooting across the fairway into the rough. His third shot came up just short of a ridge and rolled onto the fringe 40 feet away. The par putt to force a playoff hit the hole, but had too much pace and hopped out.
Schenk, playing for the 10th consecutive week so he can take time off when his son is born, closed with a 70.
“It stinks to get so close,” he said.
Spieth missed a par putt on the 18th that was worth FedEx Cup points and money, signed for a 70 and tied for third with Fleetwood.
No one was paying all that much attention to Moore until the 29-year-old who played at Arkansas started hitting one quality shot after another. He stuffed his approach to 2 feet on No. 12 for a birdie. He effectively won the tournament with a great swing with a 9-iron on the 15th and his big putt on the next hole.
Moore got up-and-down for par with a long bunker shot on the 17th, and he two-putted from about 70 feet just off the green at the 18th.
The victory for Moore was worth $1,458,000 and moved him to No. 9 in the FedEx Cup standings. Along with the Masters, he gets in the PGA Championship. He moved from No. 103 to just inside the top 50 in the world.
Scottie Scheffler shows why he's #2 in the WORLD!
Scottie Scheffler on top of golf world after dominant Players Championship win
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Scottie Scheffler was going to win the golf tournament.
No drama remained in this 49th Players Championship. Scheffler, like a surgeon, had drained every ounce of drama out of the final round before he made the turn. The thing was all over but the trophy ceremony and the $4.5 million winner’s check being handed to him.
Yet there Scheffler was standing in the middle of the 18th fairway alongside his caddie Ted Scott holding a five-shot lead and he was still as stone-faced as he’d been all day around TPC Sawgrass.
It wasn’t until Scheffler, who had to punch out from the pine straw to the fairway after an errant drive on the last, hit his third shot onto the 18th green that he exhaled. He took his hat off, crouched over and had some words with Scott, smiling for the first time all day.
“Let’s win this thing by five,’’ Scheffler told Scott.
So, he did.
Scheffler calmly got up-and-down from the fairway for par and finished 17-under par, five shots clear of runner-up Tyrrell Hatton and seven-shots better than Viktor Hovland and Tom Hoge. His 3-under-par 69 bettered his final-round playing partner, Min Woo Lee, by seven shots.
It’s been 392 days since Scheffler broke through for his first PGA Tour victory, at the 2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Sunday marked his sixth win in that dizzying span, last April’s Masters being one of them.
Not only did the win elevate Scheffler back to No. 1 in the world rankings, but he now owns the impressive distinction as only one of three players to hold a Masters green jacket and a Players Championship title at the same time.
The other two?
Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
“He’s had an amazing 15-month stretch of golf,’’ Hatton said. “He’s very impressive, incredibly consistent. [I] played with him last Sunday [at Bay Hill] and it was clear like he didn’t have his best that day, but he still hung around and had a chance there right at the end (Scheffler finished tied for fourth). It’s a pretty tough thing to do to be up there when you don’t have your best golf and still give yourself a chance to win.’’
Scheffler on Sunday made his move on Lee and the rest of the field, separating himself when he chipped in for birdie on No. 8 to move to 14-under par, good for a four-shot lead at the moment.
He has a running bet with Scott for an undisclosed sum of cash on how many chip-ins he’ll have this year. The agreed-upon number was 10. Scheffler’s chip-in on No. 8 on Sunday was his 11th already.
And it’s only March.
“I think he chipped in three times this week and when he got his 11th, he was like, ‘Do I get a bonus for this?’ ’’ Scott said. “I’m like, ‘No, you are. You met your quota.’ ’’
It was a chip-in on the third hole at Augusta last April that propelled Scheffler to win his first career major championship.
“It definitely got me going,’’ Scheffler said. “I played great after that. It definitely kick-started me a little bit. I mean, this chip-in was a little bit easier than the one at Augusta.’’
Jordan Spieth, one of the game’s best short-game wizards, said, “He’s got great hands. He’s got every shot. I think that Teddy made a very bad bet. I think Teddy will probably reevaluate considering we’re not even midway through March.’’
Scheffler, who’s remarkably unaffected by any and all chaos around him, has the perfect disposition to handle what he went through Sunday and to handle the No. 1 ranking. As the decibels rise, he’ll carry on as he always does — unaffected.
“He’s obviously used to being in this position now, he’s done it so many times already,’’ Aussie Cam Davis, who finished tied for sixth, said. “I think he’s just got the attitude for it. It just looks like he’s calm, just doing his business, not really worrying what everyone else is doing and churning out birdies, which is what you need to do out here.
“Obviously, he’s got his system down and figured out and I think the closer everyone else can get to finding theirs and sticking to it regardless of what’s going on the better chance we’ll have of keeping up with him.’’
Perhaps the only thing that was more impressive than what Scheffler did on the golf course Sunday was the fact that his 87-year-old grandmother, Mary DeLorenzo, kept up with him walking the golf course with a walker.
“I mean, it’s pretty impressive she’s walking so many holes out here,’’ Scheffler said. “She’s a trooper. I really don’t know what to say. She’s had a rough last year with Grandpa passing away, and we have an uncle that’s pretty sick. I’m just happy that we’re able to kind of enjoy all this together.’’
Kitayama Surges to victory!
Wild finish as 30-year-old underdog stuns McIlroy in maiden PGA win
30-year-old Kurt Kitayama has claimed his first-ever PGA Tour win with a stunning victory at the $20m USD Arnold Palmer Invitational, beating Rory McIlroy by one shot in a stunning boil over.
Kitayama turned professional in 2015, but in his 50th tournament the American finally claimed his maiden victory in sensational fashion, with a host of the world’s top players breathing down his neck throughout the final round.
A clutch 14-foot birdie putt on 17 gave him a one-shot lead entering the final hole at Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando Florida.
From 191 yards in the rough, Kitayama landed a sensational approach shot onto the green.
He only needed to two-putt for victory, but his 47-foot attempt was almost perfectly struck – ending up teetering on the edge of the cup.
Even McIlroy was left in disbelief as he watched on, shaking his head that the ball didn’t fall.
Remarkably, Kitayama had suffered a triple bogey on the ninth hole while leading, before fighting back to win, making him the first player since 1983 to win despite a triple bogey or worse in the final round.
His even-par final round saw him finish nine-under overall.
The victory earns him $3.6m USD, nearly as much as his previous career earnings of $4,194,548 USD. It also rockets him up 33 spots on the FedExCup hunt into sixth place ahead of the Players Championship this week.
Harris English was tied with McIlroy one shot back on eight under, with world number two and defending champion Scottie Scheffler, 2020 champion Tyrrell Hatton, Jordan Spieth, and Patrick Cantlay all one shot further back. Australia’s Jason Day was equal tenth on five under overall.
“It was really hard. I’m going to sleep really well tonight. It’s everything I kind of mentally prepared myself for,” said Kitayama.
“I’ve always dreamed of winning on the Tour and to finally do it, it’s pretty amazing.”
McIlroy said: “Disappointment, obviously. I feel like I gave myself a great chance … It was a battle all day, I felt like I hung in there really well but just came up one short.”
Chris Kirk returns to Glory at the Honda Classic
Chris Kirk wins Honda Classic in playoff; 1st title since 2015
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Chris Kirk waited nearly eight years to win a PGA Tour event again. Waiting one more hole on Sunday was no problem.
Kirk stuck his approach to the par-5 18th to tap-in range, and his birdie on the first hole of a playoff lifted him past Eric Cole for the victory at the Honda Classic on Sunday.
Cole had a chance, playing his third shot from the sand to just outside of 10 feet for a birdie that would have extended the playoff. But it lipped out, and Kirk nudged his ball in for his fifth career win -- his first since prevailing at Colonial in 2015.
"I was obviously very, very nervous today having not won in so long," Kirk said. "Coming down the stretch, I felt good."
And he'll be the last Honda winner. The car company is ending its title sponsorship of the event after 42 years, with a new sponsor set to be in place -- the PGA Tour hopes, anyway -- in the coming weeks.
They finished 72 holes tied at 14-under 266, Kirk shooting 69 on Sunday, Cole shooting 67.
Kirk earned $1,512,000 for the win, and is now eligible to play the Masters again for the first time since 2016. Cole earned $915,600 for the runner-up finish, a check that more than doubles what the 34-year-old has earned in 14 previous tour starts.
"I loved it. It was a lot of fun," Cole said. "I can't wait to get back and do it again. I didn't have my best stuff today, and I was proud of how hard I fought."
Kirk went to the par-5 18th with a one-shot lead. His tee shot found the fairway. His second shot found the water, leading to bogey. Cole made par, giving Kirk new life in the playoff.
"Bad swing at the wrong time. ... Thank God it worked out," Kirk said.
Kirk hadn't held a trophy since 2015. That's not to say he hasn't done any winning in that span.
He walked away from the game in May 2019 because of alcoholism and depression. He dealt with anxiety and struggled with handling pressure, even though he had a penchant for making it seem like no big deal on the golf course -- he was a four-time winner, plus made a big putt to help the U.S. win the Presidents Cup at South Korea in 2015.
The tour gave him a major medical extension for the time he missed, meaning he had a set number of tournaments to do well enough to regain his full status. He got it back by the slimmest of margins at the Sony Open in 2021.
And now he's a champion again.
"I just have so much to be thankful for," Kirk said. "I'm so grateful for my sobriety, I'm so grateful for my family, I'm so grateful for everyone that has supported throughout the past three or four years."
Tyler Duncan, ranked No. 360 in the world coming into the week, shot 66 on Sunday and was third at 12 under. Monday qualifier Ryan Gerard, playing the weekend for the first time on the PGA Tour, shot 67 and finished fourth at 10 under.
Gerard's career earnings on tour went from $0 to $411,600. His plans for the next few weeks might be changing based on this finish.
"I've got to go book some flights and hotel rooms, swipe the credit card," said Gerard, who came into the week ranked 472nd in the world. "We'll see what happens."
Defending champion Sepp Straka (68) was in a group tied for ninth at 9 under, with all four of his rounds in the 60's. Also in that group: Shane Lowry, who had a chance to win the Honda last year and finished with an even-par 70.
"I played lovely, and I just couldn't get it going," Lowry said.
Justin Rose Wins Pebble, BUT will he continue on this winning track?
Justin Rose ends four-year drought with win at 2023 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Justin Rose is starting to make an early case for the 2023 Ryder Cup.
The former World No. 1 ended a four-year winless drought Monday with his three-shot win at the 2023 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am after a wild week of the weather delayed the PGA Tour’s annual stop on the Monterey Peninsula.
Rose completed his final-round front nine before play was called due to darkness Sunday night and began Monday morning with a two-shot lead at 15 under. The 42-year-old Englishman cruised to three birdies over his final nine to sign for a 6-under 66 and finish at 18 under for the tournament, three clear of Brendon Todd (65) and Brandon Wu (66), who finished T-2 at 15 under. Keith Mitchell (68) and Peter Malnati (69) finished T-4 at 14 under.
“I think overall, if I had to think about one thing it was just knowing I’m trending, just sometimes when you’re trending you kind of try a little too hard,” said Rose of the win, the 11th of his PGA Tour career. “I let my good golf come forward.”
A five-time member of Team Europe at the Ryder Cup, Rose has struggled to get in the mix over the last few years. Before Monday his last victory came at the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open, but Rose has been rounding back into form so far in the early goings of the 2022-23 PGA Tour season. The 2013 U.S. Open champion has finished inside the top 30 in five of six starts but did post a T-9 at the Cadence Bank Houston Open. With the European squad fractured due to key members joining LIV Golf, the re-emergence of Rose could be key come time for the matches this fall in Italy.
“One thing I have realized is obviously I haven’t been playing enough great golf,” he explained, “but when I do play half decent I do give myself chances to win.”
This Players Success has gone unmatched & continues on for more!
Bernhard Langer hoping to continue making history at Chubb Classic
Bernhard Langer has already amazed the golfing world with an extended run of success unmatched on the PGA Tour Champions.
And he doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon.
“I believe I have a few more wins in me,” Langer said.
With 44 career victories on the senior circuit, the 65-year-old needs just one to tie Hale Irwin’s mark. Considering Langer’s won at least two Champions tournaments in 10 consecutive seasons, it’s likely only a matter of time before the record changes hands.
It also wouldn’t be much of a stretch to circle next month’s Chubb Classic as a likely setting for Langer to make history. He’s won the Naples, Florida, event a record four times at three different courses, including last year’s wire-to-wire victory at Tiburon Golf Club’s Black Course, which also allowed Langer, then 64, to break his own mark for the oldest tour champion. He did so again in November after turning 65 when he captured the TimberTech Championship in Boca Raton.
While the prospect of unseating Irwin atop the all-time victory list is “very much on the radar screen now,” Langer said he doesn’t feel any additional pressure being on the precipice of achieving that goal.
“I just try to be the best I can be and play the best golf every day that I can,” he said. “…Deep down, I think I know I can still win tournaments, even though there’s a lot of younger guys.”
Langer said when he first joined the Champions tour, he regularly finished among the top 10 in driving distance; last year he was 63rd. Now he tries to make up for that shortcoming with accuracy, putting, and course strategy, strengths that give him an advantage at a venue like Tiburón’s Black Course, which Langer said is one of the tightest on the Champions Tour.
“Tiburon is not a golf course necessarily for the big bombers that spray it around because if you hit it offline you’re going to be in the jungle and you’re going to take a penalty drop,” Langer said.
Langer opened the 2023 Champions season at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii. Tied for fourth place entering the final round, he ran into trouble on the 5th hole after hitting a shot into the water and finished tied for 10th.
“Top 10 is not bad but I’m always hoping for better,” he said.
Langer will play next at the Trophy Hassan II, set for Feb. 9-11 in Morocco, giving him one opportunity to tie Irwin’s record before the Chubb Classic.
A longtime resident of Boca Raton, Langer said playing at the Chubb feels like a home game for him, one that he can drive to and have family and friends on hand to support him.
“There you usually play on wonderful golf courses at a good time of the year and the field is always strong as well,” he said. “When you win there, you know you’ve beaten the best.”
As for the future, Langer said as long as he’s healthy, has fun playing, and can remain competitive, he’ll remain a full-time participant on the Champions tour.
“As long as those three things are there, I’m going to probably continue,” he said. “If one or two of those have gone missing, then it’s probably time to pack it up.”
Making arguments with another win!
Best in the world? Jon Rahm makes argument with another win at 2023 American Express
Is Jon Rahm the best golfer in the world?
The computers at the Official World Golf Ranking may say no, but it’s difficult to argue for anyone other than Rahm at the moment. With four wins in his last six worldwide starts, including a one-shot victory at The American Express on Sunday, Rahm seems to be moving from a great player to a dominant one.
Chased all day by rookie Davis Thompson and a flock of other players, Rahm managed to steady a shaky back nine with a birdie on the 16th hole to regain sole possession of the lead on the Pete Dye Stadium Course at PGA West. Solid pars on the final two holes gave Rahm a 27-under winning score for his second win in The American Express in the last six years. It also was the Spanish star’s second victory on the PGA Tour in three weeks and his ninth overall PGA Tour title following his win at the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions.
“Body’s been feeling great. My swing’s been feeling really, really good. And it shows, right?” said Rahm, who is expected to move from fourth to third in the new world ranking on Monday. “Even when I’m saying I may not be as comfortable as I would like, I’m shooting 64s because everything is just firing when it needs to.”
Rahm, who started the day tied with Thompson, shot 68 on Sunday to earn the $1,440,000 first-prize check from the $8 million purse. Rahm also moved to No. 1 in the year-long FedEx Cup points race, the first time he has ever led that race at any time during a year.
Rahm was so happy and comfortable with the win that he could even take a jab at himself.
“I’m just going to say that I’m glad I came back and won the putting contest this year. That’s all I can say,” Rahm laughed, a reference to a viral comment he made at the 2022 American Express that the event was nothing but a putting contest.
As low as Rahm’s scoring was with rounds of 64, 64, 65 and 68, he still finished one shot off the tournament scoring record for a 72-hole event that Patrick Reed set in 2014.
Thompson, the first- and second-round leader, fought his driver much of the day but was tied with Rahm on the back nine. A critical missed birdie putt on the 14th hole and an 8-foot Rahm par putt stopped Thompson from taking the lead outright. When Thompson parred the 16th after a poor drive into a bunker and Rahm birdied the hole, Thompson fell one shot behind.
“I had a great week. Competing against the best in the world is my dream, and I did that today and proved that I can hang with them. It was a lot of fun,” the 23-year-old Thompson said. “A lot of nerves and I hit a lot of quality golf shots under pressure, which was really cool.”
Rahm was impressed with the rookie who played college golf at the University of Georgia.
“First time in this situation, teeing off with the lead on Sunday in a PGA Tour event, I think he did a great job,” Rahm said. “He played good golf. It was just, I would say, two bad swings at the wrong time. And that was 5 and 16.
“One could say it was two holes where he was maybe trying to hit it a little bit hard, trying to get some extra distance,” he said. “One cost him at least one shot and the one on 16 cost him half a shot. And that was the difference at the end.”
Rahm and Thompson added some drama in the closing holes. Thompson’s 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole hit the pin and bounced a few inches away.
“I usually always leave the stick in from a long distance. I feel like it helps me with my speed,” Thompson said. “I’ll probably play the “what if” game in my head for a long time, unfortunately.”
Rahm then hit his drive into a fairway bunker on the par-4 18th, but when his next shot found the middle of the green, with Thompson already over the green, Rahm pumped his fist in victory.
Xander Schauffele had the round of the day among the leaders, a 10-under 62 that included a rare albatross on the par-5 fifth hole. Schauffele finished tied for third at 25-under with Chris Kirk, who like other chasers on the day made his move early but couldn’t seem to make a critical putt down the stretch in a round of 64.
A final-hole birdie for a 66 allowed Taylor Montgomery to finish alone in fifth at 24-under.
Rahm jumped to a quick lead Sunday with kick-in birdies on the first and second holes, but then made six straight pars, showcasing a wedge game he said was as good as he’s had in a tournament.
“The amount of tap-ins that I’ve had these four days is unlike anything I’ve ever had,” Rahm said. “If I had to put a MVP to something, it’s that 56 and that 52 degree wedges were key.”
Thompson made a birdie on the fourth hole but then started a day-long battle with his driver by hitting a lake on the par-5 fifth hole on the way to a bogey.
“I had a few tee shots off line. I mean, didn’t really give myself a chance to go for it on 5 and 16 due to poor tee shots. As well as I played the par-5s all week, I kind of didn’t really do that well today,” said Thompson, who had five eagles on par-5s in the first two rounds combined.
Rahm then started making par after par despite hitting good putts.
“I can tell you there’s a few, I mean, on 5, 7, 8, 10, 15, 17 and 18, all of those putts were good,” Rahm said. “All of them looked like they were dead center with two feet to go and just at the end they just missed.”
The par for Thompson on the 16th after a drive into a bunker hurt more because Rahm was short of the green in two, chipped up to 8 feet and then made the birdie putt that gave him the lead for good. The birdie on the 16th came moments after another big 8-foot putt, this one for par on the 14th hole. Rahm missed the green long and chipped onto the green, then watched Thompson miss a 10-foot birdie putt for the lead before making his own clutch putt for par.
For Schauffele, the third-place finish was important coming off a withdrawal from the Sentry Tournament of Champions two weeks ago with back pain.
“It’s a good week back. I’ve never had to withdraw from a tournament,” Schauffele said. “Bit scary for me and my team. Fortunately, I have a really good team that put me back into playing shape pretty quickly. So a lot to build on this week. Definitely looking forward to the next few events.”
Schauffele’s albatross on the fifth came on a 4-iron from 226 yards and sparked his rise up the leaderboard.
For Rahm, the win was the continuation of a great stretch of golf. But it isn’t where he hopes he can take his golf in the coming months or coming years.
“In my mind I feel like I can get a lot better,” Rahm said. “I feel like that’s the mentality I should have. Again, I work very hard to do what I do. I could find mistakes in every single round I’ve played. Very few times I would say I’ve played a flawless round.”
LPGA season off to a rocky start — no locker room access, practice facilities restricted at TOC
ORLANDO, Florida – There’s no locker room for players here at the LPGA’s season-opener, an event designed to celebrate those who have hoisted trophies over the past two years. Don’t be surprised to see players at the Hilton Grand Vacation Tournament of Champions changing their shoes in the parking lot.
Lake Nona Golf and Country Club has a men’s locker room that would’ve been more than suitable for the 29 players in the field. LPGA players can use the bathrooms and showers in the women’s facility, but there’s no place for them to store anything while they’re on the course. That area is also not private.
Matilda Castren can’t imagine something like this playing out on the PGA Tour. Grant Waite, a former winner on the PGA Tour, was on the range at Lake Nona on Tuesday working with his student, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, and confirmed that he never played in a PGA Tour event that didn’t have access to a locker room.
Castren was as shocked about the locker room situation as she was about the player fact sheet that came out on Jan. 14, laying out restrictions for when players had access to practice facilities at Nona. In the memo, players were informed that they “may not use the practice facilities more than one hour prior to their practice tee times. Use of the practice facilities is not available unless playing a practice round.”
Castren inquired with an LPGA rules official about the situation on Monday and was told that it was non-negotiable with the tournament, but that the LPGA wouldn’t be strictly policing it.
“The guys would never agree to an hour of practice each day,” Castren said.
Published By: Golf Week USA
Date Published: 1/17/2023
Jon Rahm wins 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions after Collin Morikawa's historic collapse
KAPALUA, Hawaii – Like a raging bull, Jon Rahm charged from behind to steal the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Rahm made nine birdies and an eagle on Sunday to shoot 10-under 63 at Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course and rally from as many as nine strokes behind during the final round to edge 54-hole leader Collin Morikawa by two strokes.
A year ago, Rahm shot 33-under but was pipped by a stroke by Cameron Smith, his second runner-up finish at the TOC, and this time his birdie count was almost as plentiful as the pineapples that used to grow on the hillside layout. He signed for a 72-hole aggregate of 27-under 265.
“To come back this year and shoot a very low score again, I mean, I’m what, 60-under par in these last two tournaments?” he said. “It would have been tough to shoot that low twice and not win it. So I’m glad I had the chance and I’m glad I did it.”
The 28-year-old Spaniard took advantage of Morikawa’s series of back-nine blunders to earn his eighth PGA Tour win. Morikawa, a two-time major winner who was bidding for his first win since the 2021 British Open, tied the largest 54-hole collapse in PGA Tour history after he entered the final round with a six-shot advantage. It was a shocking turn of events as Morikawa played the first 67 holes bogey-free and tacked on three front-nine birdies on Sunday to extend his lead to as many as nine. But he bladed a bunker shot over the green at 14 that led to his first bogey of the tournament, chunked a pitch at 15 and added a third straight bogey at 16.
“The game felt so easy for so long and now no matter what he does it seem like it doesn’t work out,” said PGA Tour Radio’s Mark Wilson.
Morikawa joined a dubious list of nine players who have squandered a 54-hole six-shot lead in Tour history: the first to do so was Bobby Cruickshank at the 1928 Florida Open, while the most-recent was Scottie Scheffler at last year’s Tour Championship.
“Sadness,” Morikawa said of how felt after shooting a final-round 72. “I don’t know. It sucks. You work so hard and you give yourself these opportunities and just bad timing on bad shots and kind of added up really quickly.”
Rahm held a share of the first-round lead with Morikawa after carding a 64 but shot himself in the foot on Friday, shooting 71 and was mad enough with his putting performance that he kicked a trash can on his way to scoring. He was being left in the dust on Saturday, making just one birdie on the front nine when his caddie Adam Hayes stepped in and gave him a pep talk.
“He had hit a real poor shot for him on nine,” Hayes said. “I could tell he wasn’t that focused. I said to him whatever you do on the next 27 holes be uber committed and really clear on picking your start lines, picking your finish lines and be really committed to a number and that’s what he did. He hardly missed a shot after that.”
Rahm reeled off five birdies to shoot 67, but trailed by seven and figured, “we’re going to need a small miracle.”
Then he made a bogey at the first hole on Sunday. “I was going to need somewhat of a larger miracle,” he said.
The epic comeback began with a birdie at the second as Rahm’s putter heated up — he ranked first in Strokes Gained: putting for the week — and made five birdies in all on the front. Still, he trailed by six at the turn before what looked to be a walk in the park for Morikawa turned into a Stephen King horror movie. Rahm’s rally was aided by a 5-under stretch thanks to three consecutive birdies starting at No. 12 and an eagle at 15.
“You need a combination of both. Me having a really good day, which I did, and Collin not having his best,” Rahm said.
Counting his success on the DP World Tour, Rahm has registered three wins in his last four official starts, and the victory in Maui could be the launching pad to a big year.
“I feel like since August I’ve been the best player in the world,” Rahm said. “Earlier in the year clearly Scottie was that player, then Rory was that player, and I feel like right now it’s been me.”178
Article By: Golf Week
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Max Homa 'came out of retirement' to rate golf swings on Twitter on Christmas, and it was hilarious
For golf fans, Max Homa is arguably the best follow-on Twitter.
He interacts with his fans often and is quite funny. He also opens up on his life, talking about his experiences as a husband, as a father and as a player on the PGA Tour.
On Christmas Day, he provided a treat to the golf world, coming “out of retirement” to rate his followers’ golf swings. He asked whether anyone wanted him to roast their swing on Christmas Day. Thousands of fans responded to the tweet, and Homa, a five-time winner on Tour, got to work.
Here’s a look at some of the best responses.(Click here)
Article By: Golfweek USA.Today
Lynch: Greg Norman would rather run his mouth than run the numbers, and it’s easy to see why
With his carefully curated image of a man swaggering across the global stage disrupting industries, dictating terms and settling scores, Greg Norman exhibits a delusion common among courtiers who imagine themselves in the vein of those for whom they labor. But far from earning comparison to MBS, or even with Yasir al-Rumayyan, the Crown Prince’s bagman at Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Norman increasingly calls to mind another legendary figure from the region: Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf.
Al-Sahhaf is better remembered as “Comical Ali,” a derisive moniker he acquired while serving as Saddam Hussein’s spokesman during the Iraq War two decades ago. His every utterance defied ample evidence to the contrary, most memorably his insistence that American troops had been slaughtered outside Baghdad, even as U.S. tanks rolled through the very neighborhood in which he stood. The hapless shilling for middle eastern autocrats and a refusal to acknowledge reality seems eerily familiar today, although Norman lacks the levity provided by Al-Sahhaf’s obvious lunacy.
After a year during which it made a splash, LIV’s novelty value is diminished and the time is nearing when it will sink or swim. Thus Norman is grasping for positives with the same determination he did on many a Sunday night at major championships.
This week, he gamely presented the fact that Justin Thomas took a meeting with LIV—and didn’t immediately squat on the concept—as evidence of the league’s success, while omitting that the conversation took place some time ago and that Thomas has since been vocally loyal to the PGA Tour. The contortions continued when Norman said that Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy “have no idea what they’re talking about” and accused them of being childish for saying he had to be replaced as CEO, before adding that the door to LIV remains open for them, much as a drowning man’s arms are open to anyone who wishes to toss him a life vest.
Despite reports that he could be replaced by former TaylorMade CEO, Mark King, Norman insists his position is secure. “I have got the full support from my chairman. One hundred percent. One thousand percent. There has never been one thing to suggest otherwise. I’m totally confident,” he said, with the blithe assurance he often displayed on Saturdays. But security is scarce in LIV’s well-fed food chain, and Norman knows it.
At the league’s recent season finale in Miami, the chief operating officer, Atul Khosla, was wheeled out to talk about plans for a broadcast rights deal and corporate sponsorship of teams. This week, he was shown the door, leaving a business landscape largely unchanged from when Sean Bratches quit as chief commercial officer seven months ago: no TV deal, no traction with fans, no audience for live streams, no sign of mass player defections, no sponsor interest. Still, Norman’s perfunctory statement confirming Khosla’s departure took care to trumpet LIV’s “successful inaugural season.”
Article By: Golfweek USA.Today
LIV Golf planned for all-star board members such as Michael Jordan, Condoleezza Rice and top-level business executives
LIV Golf doesn’t just want big names on the course.
According to a New York Times report, the Saudi Arabia-backed circuit “considered assembling an all-star board of business, sports, legal and political titans” including the likes of NBA legend Michael Jordan, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as well as business executives Ginni Rometty (former IBM chief executive), Randall Stephenson (former AT&T chairman) and Mark Parker (Nike executive chairman).
“I didn’t know I was on the list, and I have never been approached,” Stephenson said to the Times. A board member for the PGA Tour, Stephenson said he’d decline if LIV asked, noting that “it would be a quick conversation.”
A player handbook said a LIV board would include 10 members, but the Times reported nine of those identified as targets had never been approached.
The findings came from a larger Times article that analyzed hundreds of confidential documents from Project Wedge, a proposal conducted for Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. The PIF is governed by Yasir al-Rumayyan, who also serves as chairman of the Saudi Arabian Golf Federation, English Premier League team Newcastle United and Saudi Aramco, the state-owned petroleum company which serves as a sponsor for the Ladies European Tour.
With the PIF as its monetary backer, LIV Golf has long been criticized as a way for the Kingdom to sports wash its human rights record. Saudi Arabia has been accused of wide-ranging human rights abuses, including politically motivated killings, torture, forced disappearances and inhumane treatment of prisoners. Not to mention, members of the royal family and Saudi government were accused of involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist.
Experts told the Times that Saudi Arabia’s $2 billion investment shows the Kingdom “has aspirations beyond the financial.”
“The margins might be thin, but that doesn’t really matter,” Simon Chadwick, a professor of sport and geopolitical economy at Skema Business School in Paris, said to the Times. “Because subsequently you’re establishing the legitimacy of Saudi Arabia — not just as an event host or a sporting powerhouse, but legitimate in the eyes of decision makers and governments around the world.”
McKinsey & Company, a longtime Saudi adviser dating back to the 1970s, analyzed the finances of a new golf league and deemed LIV to be “a high-risk high-reward endeavor.” The Times also reported a McKinsey document that detailed 12 top players targeted by LIV. Only four – Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson – have signed so far.
A day after Tiger Woods unloaded on LIV’s leadership and called for CEO Greg Norman to lose his job, LIV recently announced part of its schedule for 2023, where 12 teams and 48 individuals will compete for a total of $405 million in prize purses. Rosters for the new season, the first as the re-branded LIV Golf League, have yet to be finalized.
Article By: Adam Woodard
Date Published: December 11, 2022
Steven Alker continues amazing PGA Tour Champions run, wins 2022 Charles Schwab Cup
To think it all started at a Monday qualifier 15 months ago.
Thirty-two events and $4,710,612 later, Steven Alker has reached new heights. On Sunday, he clinched his first PGA Tour Champions series title at Phoenix Country Club, punctuating his win with a big smile and a fist pump on the 18th green.
Alker shot a final-round 68 to finish solo third, which was a whopping eight shots back of tournament winner Padraig Harrington, but still good enough to clinch the series title for the first time. With a Harrington win, any finish inside the top five would have been good enough for Alker.
“Amazing. Honestly, just having friends and family and the support here this week has been amazing,” said Alker, who has lived in Arizona since 2002. “Playing with Padraig today, it was kind of difficult because ‘Do I chase him, do I protect?’ … I just tried to play my game as good as I could, but he played amazing and just glad to be champion.”
This moment is the culmination of a rapid-fire success rate for Alker since joining the senior circuit.
In 2021, 18 days after he turned 50 which made him eligible for the PGA Tour Champions, Alker flew to Seattle looking for an outside shot at getting into the Boeing Classic. He got in thanks a strong Monday qualifier score, a rout he had to take because he had no status on the tour.
He hasn’t played in a PGA Tour event since 2017 and he spent the majority of his pro career slogging through Korn Ferry Tour events. According to Harrington, Alker grinding on the Korn Ferry Tour into his late 40s is what most likely set the table for his amazing run now.
“The fact is he was always a nice player,” Harrington said Wednesday before the championship got started. “He’s probably as physically fit now as he was 20 years ago, so he hasn’t gone backwards. The players who tend to do nicely out here are the ones who are still trying to be competitive from 45 years of age to 50 years of age. Those are the ones. You can’t give the game up for five years or eight years or 10 years and hope to come out here and find it again, you know, unless you were a world-class player. You’ve got to keep being competitive and he did that. That’s why you’re seeing his good play now. He was still on the Korn Ferry Tour when he was 49 years of age. There’s not a lot of guys at 49 who could do that.”
Rounds of 67-73-67 in his first Champions event netted him a tie for seventh in the 2021 Boeing Classic, and that would be it for his Monday qualifying days as that top-10 finish earned him a spot in the field the next week at the Ally Challenge, where he finished solo third. From there, he kept getting into more Champions events because he kept stacking up top-10s.
In fact, he posted six straight top-10s and earned a spot in the 2021 Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs. In the second of the two playoff events last year, Alker found victory lane at the TimberTech Championship. A second-place finish at Phoenix Country Club the following week capped a whirlwind stretch and put $1,146,207 into his bank account.
The calendar change to 2022 didn’t slow him down. Alker won three times before June 1 and then won for a series-tying fourth time to open the Schwab playoffs.
By the time they got to Phoenix, Alker had a commanding lead in the points race. Even Harrington’s blistering weekend scores of 62 and 65 had no bearing on the steady Alker. He didn’t make a bogey until the 12th hole Sunday. He had another one on 13 but then birdied the 14th. A birdie on the 16th was his 21st of the week.
Alker’s third-place finish is worth $210,000, bringing his 2022 total $3,544,425 and career total to $4,710,632.
“Just a lot of hard yards. It’s just, you know, I’ve played everywhere, I’ve played everywhere and I think that kind of helped today in a way just playing the PGA Tour and Australasia and Asia and Korn Ferry,” he said. “I’ve played everywhere. It’s been an amazing journey and just to be here and to have this opportunity has been amazing.”
Now it’s time to celebrate, but how?
“I like red wine,” he said. “I don’t want to mix drinks tonight, won’t be a good idea, but we’ll have a couple. It will probably sink in a bit more tomorrow, but yeah, this is neat, it’s so cool.”
Alker will also collect $1 million in bonus money for winning the Schwab Cup series title, money that will be paid out as a lump sum deposit into a Schwab brokerage account.
Article By: Todd Kelly
Date Published: November 13th, 2022
Phil Mickelson among LIV golfers reacting to Rory McIlroy's comments on the PGA Tour, Ryder Cup ahead of finale in Miami
Phil Mickelson didn’t want to “detract from what’s happening this week” at LIV Golf’s Team Championship in Miami at Trump National Doral, but a recent Rory McIlroy interview with the Guardian was too juicy to avoid.
At a press conference ahead of the upstart circuit’s season finale, Mickelson was complimentary of McIlroy, who said the “us versus them” dynamic between LIV Golf and players on the PGA and DP World tours has gotten out of control.
“You know, I think a lot of Rory. I really have the utmost respect for him, and I look at what he’s done in the game and how he’s played this year and his win last week and No. 1 in the world now, and I have a ton of respect for him,” said Mickelson. “We’ll have three months off after this event to talk about things like that and so forth, but this week something is happening that I don’t want to deflect focus on, which is we’ve never had a team event like this in professional golf.”
McIlroy also took exception to Mickelson’s recent comment that LIV Golf is trending upwards and the PGA Tour is trending downwards, calling that statement “propaganda.”
“But just — maybe I shouldn’t have said stuff like that, I don’t know,” responded Mickelson, “but if I’m just looking at LIV Golf and where we are today to where we were six, seven months ago and people are saying this is dead in the water, and we’re past that, and here we are today, a force in the game that’s not going away, that has players of this caliber that are moving professional golf throughout the world and the excitement level in the countries around the world of having some of the best players in the game of golf coming to their country and competing. It’s pretty remarkable how far LIV Golf has come in the last six, seven months. I don’t think anybody can disagree with that.”
The Greg Norman-led operation receives its financial backing from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, where no expense has been spared. Building a new golf series certainly isn’t easy, and LIV has done well to attract a few of golf’s biggest names like Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Cameron Smith. But the problems that come with building a startup become less challenging when you’ve got hundreds of millions of dollars to throw around. According to Sports Illustrated, LIV Golf’s first-year expenditure totaled upwards of $784 million, with another $1 billion committed for next year, when the series becomes a 14-event league.
As for excitement levels across the world, so far LIV has held seven events: Four in the United States, one in England, one in Thailand and one in Saudi Arabia.
McIlroy also said he felt “betrayal” in regards to LIV players putting their Ryder Cup futures in jeopardy, noting how Graeme McDowell had a chance to captain the Europeans in 2027 and the legacies of Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood are mainly based around the biennial bash against the Americans.
“A betrayal? We can still qualify for the team as far as I’m aware. Unless we’ve been told we can’t qualify, then I’m still ready to play as much as I possibly can and try to make that team,” said Poulter. “I mean, look, my commitment to the Ryder Cup I think goes before me. I don’t think that should ever come in question. I’ve always wanted to play Ryder Cups and have played with as much passion as anyone else that I’ve ever seen play a Ryder Cup.
“You know, I don’t know where that comment really has come from, to be honest.”
Article By: Adam Woodard
Date Published: October 26, 2022
Fred Couples has a case that he just played the best round in PGA Tour Champions history
There are any number of remarkable numbers that tell the story of the stunning round Fred Couples played on Sunday at the SAS Championship, but we’ll start with the most important: 60. The World Golf Hall of Famer had never shot a score that low in his 2,172 rounds on the PGA Tour or his 420 previous rounds on the PGA Tour Champions.
With a run of 12 birdies in his final 14 holes at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, N.C., Couples posted his career-best 18-hole score en route to a six-shot rout over Steven Alker, shooting a 20-under 196 for the week. And to think Couples made a double-bogey 6 on the first hole to start the tournament on Friday?
The victory was the 14th of Couples’ senior career, but his first since June 2017, a winless drought that totaled 1,939 days. And it came seemingly out of nowhere; in his seven previous PGA Tour Champions starts in 2022, Couples had had just one top-10 finish (T-2 at the Mitsubishi Electric). And in three previous starts in this tournament, he’d had just one top-10 (fifth in 2011).
Couples, who turned 63 earlier in the month and has spent a career making the game look easy, wrote down nothing higher than a 4 on his Sunday scorecard. Yet rather than any of his 2s or 3s, it was a 4 on the 10th hole that stood out to Couples. After making five straight birdies to finish his front nine and grab the lead, Couples found water off the tee on the 428-yard par 4. His third shot came up just short of the green, 30 feet from the hole, only for him to roll it in for the par save.
“Today was just an unreal day,” said Couples, who became the third oldest player ever to win on the Champions Tour behind Bernhard Langer and Scott Hoch. “The putt on 10, I knew was a huge boost.”
Given his score, it was no surprise Couples had it going with his putter. But he claimed it was his approach game that stood out. “I never hit it like that,” said Couples, whose previous best score was a 61 in the final round of the 2014 Shaw Charity Classic. “Yesterday, I didn’t feel well, and, today on the range … I'm really never hit it like that. Every shot, I hit and went on the golf and did really, really well.”
To call this the most remarkable round in PGA Tour Champions history isn’t overstating things. Kevin Sutherland shot a 59 back in 2014, but it was in the second round of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Classic, and he didn’t even win the tournament. Couples’ 60 was the lowest final-round score by a PGA Tour Champions’ winner in the tour’s 43-year history. He broke his age by three shots. He was trailing by three shots on the fifth tee only to claim the title by six.
“It’s easy to say because we’re standing here, but I think it’s the best round I’ve ever played,” Couples said. “I’ve shot 58 and 59 before, never in a tournament, but for a little bit of money and stuff, and you pay a lot of attention, but today I just was trying to stay two or three ahead of Jerry [Kelly] because I knew I could birdie at any given time.”
And he did it with a late replacement on his bag; Couples texted Griffin Flesch, son of fellow PGA Tour Champions player Steve Flesch, early in the week to see if he could help when his regular caddie, Mark Chaney, was at home with his mother. “I said just get to Raleigh on Tuesday and we'll have a good time, and we did.”
The disappointing part? While the three-event Charles Schwab Cup playoffs begin next week, Couples said this is his last start of 2022. He jumped to 34th in the rankings, easily qualifying for the post-season. But Couples knows his body can only handle so much golf, and despite the incredible day and week in North Carolina, he’s not going to push himself. However, the memory of Sunday will motivate him in 2023.
“My game can come and go. I’m done for the year. [But] my game on the Champions Tour is trending in the right direction.”
You could say that again.
Article By: Ryan Herrington
Date Published: October 16th, 2022
Nelly Korda, Lexi Thompson, Brooke Henderson among big names at Saudi-backed Aramco event at Trump Ferry Point
Nelly Korda, Lexi Thompson, Brooke Henderson among big names at Saudi-backed Aramco event at Trump Ferry Point
The stars will be out in New York this week as the Aramco Team Series heads to Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point. Nelly Korda, Jessica Korda, Lexi Thompson and Brooke Henderson headline the Ladies European Tour event on U.S. soil. The LPGA does not have a tournament this week and heads next to South Korea.
Charley Hull, who recently won on the LPGA in Texas, clinched last year’s Aramco event in New York at Glen Oaks Club. The Englishwoman is among the field of 78 that includes fellow past and current Solheim Cup players such as Leona Maguire, Carlota Ciganda, Anna Nordqvist, Madelene Sagstrom, Catriona Matthew and Dame Laura Davies.
Also in the field is Sweden’s Maja Stark, the LPGA rookie who earned her card via victory at the ISPS Handa World Invitational. Stark has won three times on the LET this season.
The Aramco Series carries points for World Rankings and the Race to Costa del Sol, a season-long race that determines the LET’s top golfer.
Golf Saudi backs six of events on the LET schedule. The tournaments, backed by the Public Investment Fund, remain controversial given the wide-ranging human rights abuses Saudi Arabia has been accused of, especially toward women.
Former World No. 1 Nelly Korda won the Aramco Team Series event at Sotogrande in Spain in August while big sister Jessica won the team portion. The series consists of five events, with the final being held next month in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In New York, the 54-hole individual stroke play event will take place alongside the 36-hole team event, with each tournament having a purse of $500,000.
Golf Channel will air the event live on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It will also be streamed on GolfChannel.com and the NBC Sports app.
Article By: Beth Ann Nichols
Date Published: October 11, 2022
Dusek: LIV Golf is wreaking havoc on equipment endorsement deals.
Dusek: LIV Golf is wreaking havoc on equipment endorsement deals.
More than a century before Instagram Reels, Twitter takeovers and highly-polished YouTube videos started being made, Harry Vardon signed a deal with Spalding. The company paid him to tour the United States and play scores of exhibition matches using the brand new Vardon Flyer golf ball. That made Vardon, the winner of six British Opens, one of the first golf influencers.
In the years after he inked that deal in 1900, pros from Gene Sarazen to Jack Nicklaus to Joaquín Niemann have been signing lucrative sponsorship agreements with golf equipment companies.
The model for endorsement deals has not changed much since Vardon’s day. Companies pay players and supply them with equipment and technical assistance in exchange for the right to use their name, image and likeness in advertisements and commercials.
Players also agree to be involved in photo shoots, be available for a negotiated number of corporate functions and wear the brand’s logo on their bag, hat or shirt. Incentive clauses for things like winning a PGA Tour event, a major championship, finishing first on tour in driving distance and making a Ryder Cup team are also common.
Fulfilling the contracts is usually easy for pros because they just need to play golf, smile, shake a few hands and stay out of trouble, but with the emergence of the LIV Series, brands are being forced to reevaluate their marketing plans and reassess the value of players.
According to several brand insiders that Golfweek has spoken with, all of whom insisted on anonymity, golfers are typically obligated to compete in at least 15 to 18 PGA Tour events in a season to fulfill their endorsement contracts. If the player gets hurt, brands make accommodations and adjustments.
For elite players, reaching that threshold is easy. Last season, competing in the four major championships, the Players Championship, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship, then at Rivera, Bay Hill, the Memorial and the three FedEx Cup playoff events would get you to 12 tournaments. Sprinkle in a few events in preparation for the majors and you’re set.
However, the PGA Tour indefinitely suspended golfers who decided to play in LIV Series events. Many high-profile (and high-priced) players who participated in the first LIV Series failed to play in 15 PGA Tour events last season.
Kevin Na played 14 PGA Tour events last season, Sergio Garcia played 13 and Dustin Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen each played 12. Lee Westwood played in 10, Bryson DeChambeau (who was injured for part of the year) played in nine, while Phil Mickelson played six.
Now, imagine you are the CEO or the head of marketing for an equipment maker. What would you do if a player who was contractually obligated to compete in 15 PGA Tour events, and who did not sustain an injury, signed with LIV Golf, knowing he’d be suspended, and only played 11 or 12? Are you holding the player in breach of contract and not paying him, maybe pro-rating his payment based on how much he did play? Or just paying out the whole thing?
“If you pro-rate, you risk pissing off the player or the agent and creating some bad blood,” said one insider. “And if there is a deal struck between LIV and the PGA Tour and golfers get to do both at some point in the future, you may have burned a bridge with a star.”
Clubs, balls, and equipment have been flying off the shelves over the last few years, so as lucrative as some endorsement deals are for star players, brands may pay golfers their full contract payment even if they failed to play enough.
Scottie Scheffler voted 2022 PGA Tour Player of the Year over Rory McIlroy after four-win season
Well past the midway point of the 2022 season, Scottie Scheffler was on an absolute heater. While that victory pace may have cooled over the final couple months, Scheffler capped a dream season Saturday by capturing the 2022 PGA Tour Player of the Year award. Scheffler, 26, received the nod from his peers -- the award is voted on by other PGA Tour players -- over Rory McIlroy and Cameron Smith after picking up four wins at tournaments that ranked among the top 12 worldwide in strength of field.
Scheffler opened with wins at the Phoenix Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play before acquiring his first career major championship victory at the Masters. In winning four tournaments across six starts, Scheffler became the top-ranked golfer in the world and ended the season with more money earned on the PGA Tour across a single season than any golfer in history ($14.05 million). Among other earnings, he also picked up $5.75 million in FedEx Cup bonus funds and $4 million from the Comcast Business Tour Top 10 to capture a grand total of $24.8 million this season.
Receiving 89% of the votes over McIlroy and Smith, his award was announced Saturday on ESPN's "College GameDay." Scheffler, a former golfer at Texas, was honored ahead of the Longhorns' Week 2 college football game against No. 1 Alabama.
McIlroy, a three-time winner of this award, was also a three-time winner on the PGA Tour this season with his victories coming at the CJ Cup last fall and then over the summer at the RBC Canadian Open in June and in dramatic fashion to conclude the season at the Tour Championship where he topped Scheffler to pocket $18 million. That final win at a huge-money event felt like a culmination of McIlroy's incredible season, one in which he posted top-eight finishes at all four majors including the Masters (2nd), PGA Championship (8th), U.S. Open (T5) and Open Championship (3rd). He ended the year with $28 million more in his bank account between tournament earnings, FedEx Cup bonuses and the Comcast Business Top 10 payout.
"Scottie Scheffler is going to win the Player of the Year," said McIlroy after beating him at the Tour Championship. "There's no doubt about that. You know, it would have been fitting for him to end his breakout season with a FedEx Cup title. I think he ... deserves this maybe more than I deserve it. He played an unbelievable season. He didn't have his best stuff today, and I played well and took advantage of that.
Article By: By Kyle Porter
Date Published: Sep 10, 2022