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This week, the Tour heads to the nation’s capital for the Quicken Loans National. This annual soiree benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation and includes headliners Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas. They are the only players ranked in the top 15 of the world, a disappointing turnout for an "invitational." In fact, more of the world's best are teeing it up on the European Tour at the Open de France. It's the second event of the new Rolex Series, an idea created to attract more of golf’s top names. So far, it looks like it's working as the Quicken Loans has its worst field in recent memory.
Emergence of Jon Rahm
Playing in front of his hometown crowd, Billy Hurley won the 2016 Quicken Loans by three shots. Despite Hurley's win, the big story was the professional debut of Jon Rahm. Rahm battled into contention on Sunday, settling for a t3rd finish. Rahm has been able to ride the momentum to stardom and now ranks 11th in the world. Unfortunately, Rahm isn't in this week's field, opting to make his premier on the European Tour. A decision that the Quicken Loans officials who gave Rahm his first chance can't be happy with.
Revisiting TPC Potomac
The long time host of the Kemper Open, TPC Potomac was loathed by players for it’s contrived and tricked up design. Greg Norman went as far as suggesting that the par 3 ninth hole be "blown up with dynamite." This statement is especially ironic considering Norman’s design career.
In 2007, TPC Potomac underwent extensive changes to the tune of a $32 million renovation. The PGA Tour’s Steve Wenzloff and many player consultants made sure all remnants were gone. Since the renovation, the course has hosted two Web Tour events and the Senior Players Championship. Reviews from players are positive and the conditioning is superb. Fairways reportedly are firm and fast and the course places an emphasis on precision.
The Open Qualifying Series
This week’s event gives players who are not in the field for the Open Championship a chance to qualify. The top four finishers who are not already in the Open’s field will earn a spot at Royal Birkdale.
Bust a move
Only nine weeks remain in the regular season, making it crunch time for players around the 125th spot in the FedEx Cup standings. The Quicken Loans presents an excellent event to make a move because of it's smaller and weaker field.
Jupiter, Florida residents Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler headline the event and are the only players inside the top 15 of the world. Thomas comes in fresh off a missed cut at the Travelers. Meanwhile, Fowler will make his first start since the U.S. Open where he finished t5th.
With a weak field and new golf course, Paulie has some lesser-known names to look at for your fantasy leagues. Check out who he likes for DFS, one and done and longshot bets here.
Fisher’s Island: Raynor’s Final Symphony
Last week, I ventured east to New York to play Fishers Island Club. It was fantastic. The Seth Raynor courses which I had previously seen were all situated on flat, inland properties. Fishers Island gave Raynor a world class setting and he delivered a masterpiece. The views of Long Island Sound are jaw dropping but his nuance and design skills come to the forefront. Read my full thoughts on the world class golf course here.
Parle Vou Frances
Needing to address the problem of Europe's star players defecting to the PGA Tour, Keith Pelley created the Rolex Series. Two events into the eight event series it looks like a smashing success. This week's Open de France field includes young stars Jon Rahm, Thomas Pieters, Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton. The event host is Paris' Le Golf National, which will also host the 2018 Ryder Cup.
Scott Fawcett joined the podcast to talk about golf course strategy. Scott has developed a system called DECADE used by 25 Tour professionals and many elite amateurs. Scott and I discuss his system as well as the strokes gained metrics, what made Tiger so good, Phil and much more. Listen to the podcast on our website, iTunes or Stitcher and if you enjoy please leave a review!
The LPGA Tour is in Chicago for this year's KPMG LPGA Championship. The LPGA's second major of the year is being held at two-time U.S. Open venue Olympia Fields CC. The storyline to watch is the battle for world number one between So Yeon Ryu, Ariya Jutanugarn and Lydia Ko. I wrote about Olympia Fields North Course last fall, check it out here.
Meanwhile, the Senior Tour will host its third major of the year, the U.S. Senior Open. This year's host is Boston's historic Salem Country Club. 2016 Champion Gene Sauers will look to defend his title at the Donald Ross design. His competition will be stiff as German Stalwart Bernhard Langer, Steve Stricker, Fred Couples and Colin Montgomerie are all in field.
Nashvegas! The Web Tour heads to the Music City.