The PGA Tour heads to Akron for the last WGC Bridgestone, the women take on Royal Lytham & St. Annes for the Women’s British Open, and the governing bodies of golf have a new proposal to limit green reading books.
First Things First
Jarrod Lyle has been one of the most admirable and remarkable players on the planet over the last couple years, and he hasn’t touched a club. His three battles with leukemia have been hard fought, and yet he has continued to be one of the best guys the golfing world has seen.
For those who don’t know, Jarrod’s Instagram posted the following message on Tuesday morning announcing he would begin palliative care this week.
His body has gone through hell over the last few years, and the Lyle family has decided to spend whatever time he has left outside of the hospital. Doctors have agreed that a positive outcome of continued treatment is unattainable. This news hits hard, and all we can do now is appreciate what time he has left.
The whole Fried Egg team sends nothing but the best to the Lyle family. He was one of the most genuine guys on tour, and our thoughts are with them through this trying time. Quintessential Jarrod Lyle
On to Akron
Firestone Country Club gets set to host its final WGC Bridgestone Invitational this week and as always, the field is loaded. Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, etc., etc. are all in the field this week. It is a tournament that every player seems to enjoy, regardless of how we may feel about the course itself. Tee Times
Hideki’s Last Stand
People forget that Hideki Matsuyama had an insane 2017 season. He won three times and finished runner-up twice in his first eight events, nearly won the PGA Championship, and shot a final-round 61 to win at Firestone. His course record-tying score gave him a 5-stroke victory, but he is yet to win since. He returns this year in more pedestrian form, looking to recapture his magic from last season.
I mean, who else. Tiger’s T-6 at the Open Championship got him to exactly 50th in the world rankings and made him eligible to return for the final hosting at Firestone. Tiger has won this event 8 times but hasn’t been able to participate since 2014. He is coming in with good form after his run at Carnoustie, but Firestone is a different ballpark. He will need to hit drivers and three woods off tees, something we did not see across the pond. As much as I would love to see him in contention one last time here, it seems like a long shot.
Only three events are left on the schedule for folks to earn FedEx Cup points, and this week is pretty much a freebie. Most notably, Sergio Garcia is 132nd on the points list and could use a good couple weeks.
Many players who are on the bubble are not in the field this week. The FedEx Cup system is designed to give the top players an advantage, and boy do they get one this week. No cut, points galore, small field. Only about 70 players are at Firestone, and the rest are fighting it out at the Barracuda Championship in Reno. The PGA Championship and Wyndham Championship are their last chances at glory.
With a great deal of course history to work off of, here’s who Paulie likes this week at Firestone.
Walking to Memphis
This tournament will be moving south next year and will be hosted in Memphis (FedEx’s headquarters) at TPC Southwind, yawn. While clearly this move is a business decision, just the idea of going to Memphis in August to slog around a golf course in the sun is already making my ass sweat.
The USGA and R&A announced on Tuesday that they will be instituting limits on green reading books starting January 1, 2019. This includes limits on slope markings and the dimensions with which companies can depict the course.
Some people are not going to like this, I get that. However, it is the right move. Green reading is a distinct skill that is rendered less valuable by these types of books. Players who have a great grasp on a green are losing an advantage because lesser green readers have books that tell them where to aim. Yes, it is going to cost a few people their jobs… but I’m here to argue that those jobs should have never existed in the first place.
Speaking of changes
ESPN’s Kevin Van Valkenburg joined Andy on the podcast to discuss the changes each would make to the game of golf. Changes included tournament formats, the Olympics and much more. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or the website.
Women’s British Open
The ladies take their crack at the links as they take on Royal Lytham and St. Annes this week. Defending champion I-K Kim is in the field along with just about every other top-ranked player. New world #1 Ariya Jutanugarn also looks to continue her incredible season after winning at the Scottish Open last week. Tee Times
The Western Amateur gets started outside of Chicago this week. Three players are tied for the lead through one round of stroke play. Leaderboard
The rest of the PGA Tour plays a little stableford at the Barracuda Championship. Tee Times
The Web.com Tour heads to Kansas City. Tee Times
Steph Curry will make his second appearance at the Ellie Mae Classic. Full story