A Dark Cloud…
News broke late Sunday evening of the passing of 87-year-old golf legend Arnold Palmer (September 10, 1929 – September 25, 2016). “The King” made professional golf cool when he burst onto the scene in the 50’s. As his star power rose, new fans flocked to the game and tournament purses rose too, leading the way for the modern day golf professional. After his stellar career that included 95 professional wins, 7 of which were major championships, Palmer became a force in the golf business becoming a prolific course designer, helping to launch the Golf Channel, and running the Bay Hill Resort and its annual Bay Hill Invitational. Needless to say, golf wouldn’t be where it was today without the contributions of The King. Rest in peace, Arnold Palmer.
Check out Golf Magazine's feature on Arnie written by Michael Bamberger here.
An Instant Classic
The weekend wasn’t all gloom as golf fans were treated to an excellent finish at the Tour Championship. Heading into Sunday, Kevin Chappell led Dustin Johnson by 1 shot, and Ryan Moore and Rory McIlroy lurked 2 behind. After a hot start, Johnson faded, leaving Chappell, who held the lead much of the day, to fend off Ryan Moore who fired a front-9 31.
McIlroy wasn’t done, however. On the par 4 16th hole, he sunk his wedge approach for an eagle 2, which pulled him from 3 shots back to just 1. Moore was able to answer McIlroy’s eagle with a birdie on 17 to pull to 12-under, while Chappell’s bogey on the 17th dropped him to a tie with Moore at 12-under heading into the 18th hole.
All 3 players hit wayward tee shots. Rory recovered to make birdie and finish at 12-under, and Moore narrowly missed his chance to win. Chappell shakily made par, forcing a 3-man playoff.
They headed back to the 18th where once again Chappell and Moore found trouble off the tee, but McIlroy hit a 350-yard bomb that ran through the fairway. The long drive set up a mid-iron approach to the par 5, which McIlroy stuck within 10 ft.
The tournament looked over, but Moore stayed the course, wedging his layup close and sinking the putt for birdie. McIlroy’s eagle then lipped out and Chappell two-putted for par, leaving Moore and McIlroy to play for $11.5 million.
The pair traded pars on the next two playoff holes (18 & 15) before heading to the 16th, the hole McIlroy eagled to vault into contention. This time, McIlroy settled for birdie enough to win the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.
Maligned no more…
The first ¾’s of the 2016 campaign were a disappointment for superstar McIlroy, but after a putting overhaul that included a new coach and putter, McIlroy was able to pull it all together for the FedEx Cup. McIlroy won 2 of the last 3 events to claim the FedEx Cup title, one of the few remaining career accomplishments for the 28-year-old.
Speculation ran rampant on Sunday with Captain Davis Love’s remaining Captain’s Pick slated for Sunday night. Heading into the day, it seemed that Love would be picking Bubba Watson or Justin Thomas, despite Ryan Moore’s spectacular recent form. In the end, Moore did enough to get the nod and make his first Ryder Cup. Moore was the hottest player of the available choices and the right pick to make. While the 33-year-old Moore may be short on Ryder Cup experience, he is hardly short on match play experience as Moore holds one of the most impressive amateur match play records having won the U.S. Public Links, U.S. Amateur and the Western Amateur.
Let the games begin
It’s Ryder Cup week, and the teams already began exchanging barbs over the weekend after Davis Love declared the U.S. Team as “possibly the greatest team ever assembled.” His statement drew a quick reaction from Rory McIlroy who stated, “Definitely assembled the best task force ever, that's for sure.”
To give you an early look at each player in the Ryder Cup, I put together a hot or not article that you can read here.
A rising star
With PGA Tour cards on the line at the Web.com Tour’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, a man that had already earned his card stole the show. Grayson Murray was able to capture the victory by 1 shot and move himself up the priority rankings for next year in the process. The future is bright for Murray, who earned his card after an excellent regular season on the Web.com and looks like a star in the making with his long drives and ability to make birdies in bunches.
While Murray already had his 2016-2017 PGA Tour card locked up heading into the Web.com Tour Finals, many others didn’t, and a few secured them with their play this week. Leading the way was Cameron Smith, who finished runner-up to Murray in Columbus, earning him enough money to gain back his status on the PGA Tour. Along with Smith, Ryan Blaum, Kevin Tway (son of Bob), and Steven Alker all earned enough dough to punch their tickets to the PGA Tour. The Web.com Tour Finals will be off this week before next week’s final event, The Tour Championship where the final cards will be handed out.
Shaking the stigma, Kevin Na plays a sub 2 hour final round.
Levy wins the Porsche European Championship.
Phil is not happy about the course setup at East Lake.