Wrapping A Wacky Weekend In Golf
In Gee Chun captures the Women's PGA, Schauffele holds off Theegala and a bunch of other news as The 150th nears.
May we LIV in totally bizarre times.
While the Saudis amped up their disruption efforts with signings and full page newspaper ads—because U.S. circulation numbers are massive—pro golfers put on some spectacular shows this weekend. Unfortunately this included a few of Lexi’s y*^^y shots and Sahith’s disastrous decision on 18. The various dramas throughout set a high bar for the Majesticks and Crushers to match in Portland.
In Gee Wins Not Long After Wanting To Quit
Despite weekend 75’s, In Gee Chun parred the 18th to hold off Lexi Thompson and U.S. Women’s Open Champion Minjee Lee. As Beth Ann Nichols notes in her game story, Chun opened with 64 and seemed headed for a runaway before the weekend letdown. Chun also revealed she considered quitting LPGA Tour life just a few weeks ago. So there was that.
After taking the lead, Thompson’s short game collapsed over the final nine, including a missed short putt at 14 and bogey at the par-5 16th after finishing nearly pin high in two. Yet she battled to the 18th, hitting an incredible second shot before missing the birdie putt.
Adding to the indignity for Thompson, she was hit with a slow play fine of $2000 for Sunday’s pace. Justin Thomas took to Twitter to question what the point was of putting the last group on the clock following 16th hole struggles. Highlights:
It was another bizarre weekend for NBC, as Awful Announcing reports several affiliates cut to commercial before Lexi’s 18th hole birdie putt. Others slapped a weird graphic on the screen.
The trophy ceremony took place mere seconds after Chun’s winning putt so the network could get to Track & Field trials (deja vu all over again!). This meant the ceremony took place before the final scorecards were signed.
On Saturday with the last threesome taking 5:40 NBC signed off to show the final two holes on CNBC. The PGA put the field out early and in always-languid threesomes to fit NBC’s schedule.
Congo Has Character!
The PGA of America quietly moved Congressional from its previously announced 2031 PGA Championship date to 2030.
Thanks to some GolfCourseGurus images posted from the pre-renovation version of the course, we get an idea how radical the redo was. Just like we’ve seen in recent sweeping redos focused on reclaiming character at places like Inverness (Green) and Southern Hills (Hanse), Congo went from clunky looking stuff built in a hurry to timeless design touches that should only get better with age and super Pete Wendt’s care. They went from Gap to Tom Ford, Domino’s to Gino’s East, and cassette to Dolby Atmos. May the Golf Gods never let Rees Jones on a classic course again.
The par-3 13th:
The 15th tee shot:
Schauffele, Li, Harrington And Coody Win
Holding off charging Pepperdine Wave great Sahith Theegala, Xander Schauffele birdied the 18th to win the Travelers Championship by two. He claimed his sixth career PGA Tour title and first individual stroke-play title since the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Theegala doubled the 72nd hole after trying a fairway bunker shot very close to the lip. The lip won. He finished T2. Almost as impressive was 20-year-old amateur Michael Thorbjornsen finishing solo-fourth in a noble effort to become the first amateur to win since Phil Mickelson at the 1991 Northern Telecom.
Patrick Cantlay posted a final round 76 that included a chunk almost not reaching the lake:
Elsewhere, Padraig Harrington held off Steve Stricker to win the U.S. Senior Open at Saucon Valley. But Tim Petrovic’s Happy Gilmore putt Saturday stole the show:
Days after revealing he rejected LIV Golf’s offer, Pierceson Coody won the Korn Ferry Tour’s Live and Work In Maine Open. Yes that’s what it’s called.
😡 Nick Faldo blasted Brooks Koepka for going against his initial stance on LIV because someone “met his number.”
😢 Steve Duin tells the story of Fallon Smart’s death not far from Pumpkin Ridge. A young Saudi national who was ushered out of the United States to avoid prosecution. Senator Ron Wyden is trying to get the killer brought back for prosecution. Like all things in the United States-Saudi Arabia relationship, it’s complicated and beyond troubling.
🐺 Matthew Wolff has signed with LIV, reports Ryan Lavner. In 2022, Wolff has made 4 cuts in 11 PGA Tour starts with T25 being his best finish.
🇸🇦 Jason Kokrak stormed off Friday at the Travelers after not finishing his last hole, fueling speculation he’s departing for LIV. He’s been a longtime ambassador for Golf Saudi.
🇪🇸 Brentley Romine summarizes the Spanish newspaper Marca’s reporting the departure of Oklahoma State standout Eugenio Chacarra who says he’s “already achieved everything as an amateur, and now I will be able to gain experience as a professional.” He counts Sergio Garcia as a mentor.
To leave you on a non-Saudi note and the only thing that matters, the late evening view from Rusacks’s…