Thumbs Up

The anchors have been hoisted, the yachts have all left the Albany Marina and Jon Rahm is your 2018 Hero World Challenge champion. Rahm hit cruise control on Sunday and fired a bogey-free 65 to win by five shots. Leaderboard

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At just 24 years old, Jon Rahm had a phenomenal 2018 season. He had two top 5s at majors, won three events, played a big role in Europe’s victory at the Ryder Cup, and will end the year ranked 6th in the world. Not too shabby.

The Spaniard actually got off to a very slow start in the Bahamas this weekend. He opened the event with a 71 and found himself six shots behind the leaders on Thursday evening. Friday was a different story as he went out in 32 and came home in 31 for the lowest round of the event. While the Hero is far from a full-field event, Rahm put on a dazzling performance and is a deserving champion.

Always the Bridesmaid

Tony Finau birdied the 72nd hole this weekend to finish in solo second to Rahm. This runner-up finish is the FIFTH in his last 32 events and was his thirteenth top 10 during that same span. He ran into a buzzsaw with Rahm this weekend, but you have to believe that Finau is due for a victory in the very near future.

Other Leaderboard Notes

While Xander Schauffele did not have a great week, his t-8 finish moves him inside the top 10 in the world for the first time in his career. X had a sneaky good season this year and is poised to be a serious contender for many years to come.

Henrik Stenson finished fourth in his first event back from a minor wrist surgery. The big Swede finished outside the top 50 in the FedExCup for the first time since 2014. He also became the first player since Calvin Peete to lead the Tour in both driving accuracy and greens in regulation.

Tournament host Tiger Woods had a rough weekend, finishing 17th (out of 18). Outside his double-hit rules controversy, his only real relevance this weekend was during Jon Rahm’s interviews, where Rahm was continually asked about his singles match with Tiger in the Ryder Cup.

Teammate Battle

Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman were teammates at the World Cup of Golf last week but battled each other down the stretch this weekend. Paired together in the final round, Smith outlasted Big Leish and won the Australian PGA Championship by two shots on Sunday. Cam successfully defended this title from 2017 and captured his third career professional victory. Smith finished 12th in the FedExCup last year and has set himself up for a great 2019. Leaderboard

Shotgun Start: Rahm wins motorbike world challenge, Tiger’s double-hit drama, and Reed pops off again

Brendan returns from the most magical place on Earth to catch up with Andy and discuss an eventful weekend at the Hero World Challenge. They review Jon Rahm’s win and ponder who from the under-30 and Euro sets will win more in the coming years. An Andy divergence on Henrik Stenson goes down the path to providing a valuable history lesson on Calvin Peete. They examine the Tiger double-hit penalty exoneration from late Friday afternoon that had the golf world frenzied. Back from the fantasyland of Disney, Brendan provides his breakdown of Pat Reed’s continued fantasy world assessment of the U.S. Ryder Cup experience. They wrap with some Sunday scaries and the best thing from the weekend before providing a few details on December plans for the Shotgun Start. Listen on iTunesStitcher or Spotify

Quick Hooks

Satoshi Kodaira shot a final-round 64 to win on the Japan Tour this weekend. Our friend Hosung finished in a tie for 10th.

Kurt Kitayama won the AfrAsia Mauritius Open.