Major(s) News & Notes, November 17th, 2022
More OWGR bickering! Plus, The Shark is hunted, Cam's still talking bans that aren't on the table, the '23 USA's Walker Cup practice squad, Tweets, This & That and Reads.
Days to the 2023 Masters first tee shot: 140
Days to the 2023 PGA Championship 182
Days to the 2023 U.S. Open first tee shot: 204
Days to the 2023 Open Championship first tee shot: 246
Days to the 2023 Ryder Cup first tee shot: 316
I’m well aware that most of you would rather whap your shins with a Hogan 1-iron than read more kvetching over the Official World Golf Ranking. But in the major championship world we have to pay attention until the governing bodies use something else as the prime entry point into the biggest championships.
This week’s quibbling in a nutshell: the DP World Tour is wrapping up its season before an exhaustive four-day break kicks off the 2023 schedule. A field of 50 will settle the Race to Dubai in, it so happens, Dubai. Despite having ten players inside the world top 50 to the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic welcoming seven top-50 jocks, the DP will see far fewer OWGR points dolled out.
“I’m going to be as blunt as I can," Jon Rahm said. “I think the OWGR is laughable.”
He was referring to the DP’s smaller gather taking a hit as the member-guest on Sea Island rolls out a lot of dead weight to round out a field. At least 85 players playing there currently reside outside of the top 200. World No. 26 Brian Harman is the top-ranked headliner, words no tournament director ever wants to see.
The day prior to Rahm’s criticisms, Rory McIlroy discussed the issue and explained this first world problem primarily of concern to those reliant on rankings for major access.
“Yeah, so when you look at two different fields, you’ve got a 50-man field (in Dubai) versus a 144-man field (in Georgia). So just in terms of how the strengths of field is calculated, they have 90 more players to contribute to their strength of field,” McIlroy said. “So the reason that this has got 21 points and the RSM has got 39 is the person that wins the RSM has to beat 139 other guys. You only have to beat 49 other guys here. It’s a much fairer system.”
If you want to understand the nuances of the two fields this week and the difficulty in making everyone less whiny, Data Golf has a helpful Twitter thread to explain the difficulty of finding a points-giving sweet spot.
The Great White Shark hunt is on!
First, a Telegraph exclusive by James Corrigan said the Saudis are talking to former Hack Golf visionary and Taylormade CEO Mark King, now selling low grade tacos. Presumably LIV’s interest in King is not as a food vendor unless the theme is shifting to “Golf, But Runnier.” Either way, as Corrigan reports, King has been talked to about taking Greg Norman’s job leading the upstart league. LIV’s “Biggest Mediocres” his ownself, Majed Al Sorour, called the report patently false. (It should be noted that Corrigan has broken nearly all of the major LIV stories.)
And since whales do get eaten by sharks, Rory McIlroy joined the feeding frenzy by suggesting any hope of a PGA Tour-LIV truce rests with a leadership change.
From Iain Carter’s report on McIlroy’s remarks ahead of the DP World Tour finale in Dubai:
“Greg needs to go. He needs to exit stage left,” said the 33-year-old.
“He's made his mark but I think now is the right time to say you've got this thing off the ground but no one's going to talk unless there's an adult in the room that can actually try to mend fences.”
McIlroy also suggested LIV needs to drop its lawsuits for any meaningful discussion to take place between tours. To quote Jake after learning that Elwood trade a Cadillac for a microphone, “okay I could see that.”
Meanwhile, Down Under the shirtless one actually set foot in Australia to promote the first LIV event there and of course, it’s with government assistance. Oh the irony as the Norman and the South Australian Premier touted a four-year contract to play at Grange Golf Club.
Not everyone is thrilled at providing handout for the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.
April 2023’s Adelaide event will be played 12 days after The Masters final round and 21 days before the start of PGA Championship week at Oak Hill.
Presumably LIV will have another overseas LIV event in Australia or Asia in between. It’s quite a way to play into a major. But this is the kind of sacrifice necessary to grow the game.
Smith Talks Major Ban (Again)
Also in Adelaide to pimp some LIV, 2022’s Champion Golfer of the World Cameron Smith was asked about majors and future player eligibility.
“I think the majors really have to stand above all the politics,” Smith said.
“If they really want the best product and the best players playing against each other in the world, they have to let us play. There's no reason other than playing another tour that should suggest we shouldn't play.
“We're definitely good enough players. We should have those spots.”
It’s not clear if he heard R&A Chief Martin Slumbers’ recent remarks about looking forward to welcoming Smith at Hoylake next year. Slumbers even tipped off what time Smith’ll be teeing off Thursday morning.
Walker Cup Practice Session Invites 16
The USGA’s International Team Selection Committee has invited 16 players to attend the traditional year-prior Walker Cup practice session Dec. 15-18th. The three days of young male bonding and NIL notes exchanging will be held in Jupiter, Fla. The following 16 accepted invites include a Cole, a Dylan and a Palmer but sadly no Cody’s, Dansby’s or Reagan’s.
Evan Beck, 32, of Virginia Beach, Va. (Wake Forest, class of 2013)
Michael Brennan, 20, of Leesburg, Va. (Wake Forest, junior)
David Ford, 20, of Peachtree Corners, Ga. (North Carolina, sophomore)
Nicholas Gabrelcik, 20, of Trinity, Fla. (North Florida, junior)
Stewart Hagestad, 31, of Newport Beach, Calif. (USC, class of 2013)
Derek Hitchner, 23, of Minneapolis, Minn. (Pepperdine, grad student)
Palmer Jackson, 21, of Murrysville, Pa. (Notre Dame, senior)
Benjamin James, 17, of Milford, Conn. (Virginia, freshman)
Bryce Lewis, 22, of Hendersonville, Tenn. (Tennessee, junior)
Dylan Menante, 21, of Carlsbad, Calif. (North Carolina, senior)
Maxwell Moldovan, 20, of Uniontown, Ohio (Ohio State, junior)
Gordon Sargent, 19, of Birmingham, Ala. (Vanderbilt, sophomore)
Cole Sherwood, 20, of Austin, Texas (Vanderbilt, senior)
Ross Steelman, 21, of Atlanta, Ga. (Georgia Tech, senior)
Caleb Surratt, 18, of Indian Trail, N.C. (Tennessee, freshman)
Michael Thorbjornsen, 21, of Wellesley, Mass. (Stanford, junior)
Former U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion and 2015 Walker Cup participant Mike McCoy will captain the 2023 USA Team and likes what he sees.
“The young golf talent in this country is impressive, and I’m thrilled to gather with this group for a practice session next month,” said McCoy. “We have a strong list of young men attending; a mixture of seasoned veterans as well as up-and-coming stalwarts of the amateur game.”
While the invites do not guarantee a spot on the team, seven of 16 invited to 2018’s practice squad and ten of 16 in 2020 eventually made the eventual USA squad of ten.
The 49th match against Great Britain & Ireland is scheduled for the Old Course at St Andrews, September 2-3, 2023.
This & That
❶ Beth Ann Nichols on Nelly Korda’s win Sunday and comeback from blood clot surgery. The victory elevated Korda to the Rolex Rankings No. 1 player in the world heading into this week’s season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.
👩🏻⚖️ Alexandra Koch on a conservation easement court win for Champions Retreat, home of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
🏌️♀️ Tickets are on sale for the 2023 AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath where Ashleigh Butai will defend. Prices start at £30 a day, with a £110.00 per person weekly ticket that drops to £55.00 per person for those 16-24 years old. A weekend pass goes for £60.00.
🎙 Jim Nantz reiterated to Dan Patrick that his goal is to work 51 Masters to take him to the 100th playing. You can watch the full interview here.
🏌🏼♂️Jimmy Dunne has been named to the PGA Tour Policy Board, replacing the retiring Victor Ganzi.
☘️ Michael Bamberger drops a meaty Fire Pit Collective profile of Dunne with quotes about the current state of play. Jimmy won’t be vacationing in Riyadh any time soon.
💩 Marco Monteverde explains why Scott Hend is passing on an Australian Open qualifying attempt out of concern for a new format combining the men’s and women’s national championships. Besides the shock of learning that Scott Hend is someone who plays golf for a living, you’ll be even more stunned to learn he’s hoping to qualify for LIV events. As they say, he’s “on brand”!
👨🏻⚖️ Josh Sens on lawsuits and accusations halting completion of the second course at Corica Park.
🎲 Alan Bastable on the PGA Tour’s updated app incorporating more betting information to engage
degenerates the youths.
🎰 Mark Saxon says that California voters have been “asked to decide 1,291 ballot propositions since 1910,” with 2022’s sports betting Proposition 27 delivering the sixth worst defeat in that time.
👨🏻⚕️ Maxwell Strachan on the FTX “company therapist” who is turning out to be no Wendy Rhoades.
🏡 Emma James with details and photos of Sam Bankman-Fried’s Albany condo already listed at $39,950,000.00, Hero World Challenge tix not included.
🏀 Sam Farmer on Steve Ballmer’s quest to reinvent the modern basketball arena and keep people in their seats. Good luck with that Steve!
🧢 Craig Marks looks back at Elton John’s epic 1975 Dodger Stadium concerts as the sun goes down on the rocket man’s North American farewell tour in L.A.
🎶 David Owen with a New Yorker profile on composer Carter Burwell and an inside look at film scoring in Abbey Road Studios.
Have a great one,
Thanks Geoff. Is there a reason why reigning US Amateur Champion, Sam Bennett, is not among those on the Walker Cup list? I believe he is still an amateur; in his senior year at Texas A&M.
Geoff, I am asking you to address the discrepancies between the Men’s and Women’s tours TV coverage in Majors and Tour Championships!?! The women are pushed to the bottom, even below Men’s regular events. The LET this week gets an hour & a half between DP & Sunshine events that are only beginning their seasons on Golf Channel. You’d think they could at least stream a live coverage with the oncoming fabulous and attractive women golfers emerging. We old guys actually learn from their power and skill through rhythm, tempo and presence of mind!