A Big Win
Hometown Jordan Spieth entered the Dean & DeLuca Invitational on Sunday holding his first final-round lead since his Masters collapse. Spieth had a lot riding on the round, playing for his first PGA Tour title in his hometown of Texas and trying to put to rest any lingering doubts. His round got off to a shaky start, losing the lead to playing partner Ryan Palmer and young gun Harris English after an even par front-nine 35. But things changed quickly on the back-nine as Spieth closed the door on the field and his doubters, hitting precise approach shots and making everything on and off the green. Spieth capped off his back-nine 30 (-5) with birdies on 16, 17 and 18. It was a Spieth-like finish, featuring a 20’ birdie putt on 16, a short-sided chip-in on 17 and a 34’ birdie putt on 18.
There’s nothing wrong with Jordan Spieth. Some of today’s golf analysts (most of whom have never sniffed shooting in the 60’s) like to stir up drama by overanalyzing golf’s biggest stars such as Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day. Winning a golf tournament requires 3 things: a solid tee-to-green game, making a few timely putts and a bit of good fortune. This week, the ball bounced Spieth’s way and the putts found the bottom of the hole at the right time, leading him to win the tournament. Social media has led to an era of “hot takes”, so here is ours. Finishing in the top 10 on the PGA Tour is really hard and winning is even harder, so let's relax the next time Spieth, McIlroy or Day fall a little short.
Something to look forward to...
Next week’s Memorial will have world number 1, 2 and 3 (Day, Spieth and McIlroy) all coming in off a win in their past start.
The putter switch
Last season, in anticipation of this year’s anchored putting ban, former U.S. Open Champion Webb Simpson made the switch from his belly putter to a conventional putter. With his once reliable weapon gone, Simpson’s game plummeted along with his world ranking (falling from 43rd to 94th heading into the week). The reason for the slip? Look no further than the flatstick. While using his belly putter in 2014, Simpson finished 34th on tour in the strokes gained-putting statistic. Since the switch, Simpson finished 174th in 2015 and ranked 167th heading into last week’s tournament.
Finally, Simpson decided to make a change, employing the arm-lock method of putting made famous by Matt Kuchar. Sure enough, with the new flatstick in his bag, Simpson regained his Ryder Cup form, finishing t3rd and ranking a respectable 17th in strokes gained-putting. Looks like the arm-lock method has found another believer.
Not a good decision
In what should be a story about PGA Tour rookie Kyle Reifers turning heads after a 5th place finish at this week’s Dean & Deluca, instead the big story was... his pants. Reifers elected to go with a dark pair of non-moisture wicking pants for Sunday’s final round in the Texas heat. The pants showed all the world what not to do. Maybe with his $268,000 check he can upgrade….
Dapper or Damper?
Reifers clearly fell into the damper category. Check out who else made waves with their style this week as we review the best and worst dressed of the Dean & DeLuca here.
Real sturdy...made of Wood
Playing in front of his home crowd, Englishman Chris Wood surged to the top of the European PGA Championship leaderboard with a front-nine 29 on Sunday. Wood closed with an even-par back-9 36 to hold on to the lead and a signature win. It’s the European Tour vet’s 3rd career win, edging out Rikard Karlson by 1 shot and Danny Willett by 2. Overnight leader Scotty Hend struggled mightily, shooting a final-round 78 to fade into a tie for 15th.
There were a couple funny moments at the championship as recent champion Andrew “Beef” Johnston had his name butchered by tournament officials not once but twice before they finally settled for BEEF. Another large Euro Star, Kiradech Aphibarnrat or “The Barn Rat”, had a nice celebration after sinking a short putt.
The nation’s top collegiates are in the Pacific Northwest taking on Eugene C.C. for this year’s NCAA Championship. Yesterday saw the 30-team field cut to the top 15 for today’s final round. What’s on the line? The chance to finish in the top 8 and qualify for the match-play portion of the championship, which starts on Tuesday.
Number 1-ranked Stanford surprised everyone by failing to make the cut. Heading into today’s action, Vanderbilt holds a narrow advantage over juggernaut Texas. Follow along with live scoring here or catch live coverage on the Golf Channel.
A rival to Ko emerges
3 weeks ago, Ariya Jutanugarn was a promising young player searching for her first career win with a history of Sunday collapses. Now, Jutanugarn has 3 titles and looks poised to become a formidable adversary to LPGA Tour star Lydia Ko. Jutanugarn dominated on Sunday at the LPGA Volvik Championship, shooting a final round 67 to pull away from Christina Kim and cap off her 3rd consecutive LPGA title.
A 3-peat bid falls short
Colin Montgomerie took on the Senior PGA Championship looking to win the event for a 3rd consecutive year. Unfortunately, Rocco Mediate stood in the way. Mediate scorched the Harbor Shores setup, shooting a tournament record 265 (-19) and breaking the former record set by Sam Snead in 1967. Mediate puffed stogies and rolled in putts, shooting rounds of 62-66-71-65 to win in wire-to-wire fashion by 3 strokes over Colin Montgomerie (2nd) and Bernhard Langer (3rd).
Despite booking accommodations for the week in Columbus, injured star Tiger Woods will not tee it up at this week’s event. A few weeks earlier, it looked as though his return would be imminent, but given recent events like his disaster at Congressional, it appears that 2016 might not be his season.
Course Tour: Muirfield Village Golf Club
Designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus, Muirfield Village is the annual host of Jack’s Memorial Tournament. While Nicklaus’ reputation isn’t glowing when it comes to golf course architecture per se, Muirfield is heralded as the legend’s best design and one of the best courses in America. The par-72, 7,300+ yard layout in Columbus, OH is known for its immaculate conditioning, challenging tee shots and tremendous collection of par 3s. Click here to see the Golden Bear’s legendary design.