Sunday, May 19, 2024
HomeGolfPhil's spicy take, one professional's million-dollar dilemma, one other professional's pricey 8

Phil’s spicy take, one professional’s million-dollar dilemma, one other professional’s pricey 8


Phil Mickelson, Céline Boutier, Alex Cejka, Lee Hodges and J.T. Poston (clockwise from prime left).

Getty Pictures

Welcome again to the Monday End, the place we’re beginning to suppose we would not qualify for this yr’s FedEx Cup Playoffs. Let’s get to it!

FIRST OFF THE TEE

When successful’s sufficient.

After we rejoice golfers successful tournaments there’s all the time an inclination to undertaking ahead. The win itself isn’t sufficient; our intuition is to make it the start of a pattern. One win will quickly change into three, there’s loads extra to return, that is simply the beginning, and so forth.

So it’s good when a win is so clearly significant sufficient that it could possibly stand totally and utterly by itself. Enter Céline Boutier at this week’s Amundi Evian Championship. The 29-year-old grew to become the primary French participant to win the game’s solely French main championship, fulfilling a longtime dream. So in her winner’s interview, when the inevitable query got here — what does this imply for the remainder of your season — Boutier was proper to close it down.

“Oh, I feel nothing else issues, now that I’ve this trophy,” she mentioned. “So I’m actually good for the remainder of the yr.”

WINNERS

Who gained the week?

French Golf

For the second consecutive week we noticed a runaway golfer win a serious championship by six strokes. However not like in Brian Harman‘s victory at Royal Liverpool, Boutier had the house crowd on her aspect.

“I used to be positively very nervous going into the primary tee, however I attempted to border it in a optimistic approach,” Boutier mentioned. “I really feel like I’ve performed this event seven occasions already and I’ve by no means been in a position to deal with the stress nicely.”

She birdied No. 1. Then she birdied No. 2. She birdied No. 5. And he or she by no means appeared again.

Welsh Climate

The weekend climate at Royal Porthcawl — arguably Wales’ finest course — made issues additional spicy for the lads’s Senior Open Championship. Discovering the golf green appeared laborious. Discovering the opening appeared even more durable. Scores ballooned; Alex Cejka and Padraig Harrington wound up in a playoff at 5 over par. His take reminded us why hyperlinks golf guidelines (at the very least, guidelines to observe from residence):

“I performed on the European Tour for a lot of, many, a few years over right here, however I forgot how tough and the way totally different the golf sport is,” he mentioned. “Being 20 years within the States and taking part in in sunshine and on simple programs when it’s good climate — then you definitely come right here, all people’s struggling.

“I’m simply glad — I feel all of us are glad that it’s over. It was a brutal week. Even the caddies, all people is drained. All people is sore. However I’m glad it’s over and I’m right here.”

Alabama Golf

What higher technique to reply a six-shot win from a College of Georgia Tour professional than a seven-shot win from a professional from the College of Alabama? Okay, no one goes to mistake the 3M Open for the Open Championship, nor Lee Hodges‘ win for Brian Harman’s. However man, what a win it was! Hodges led wire-to-wire and, when pressed ever so barely on Sunday, responded by striping two separate fairway woods to arrange eagles.

He capped issues off with a wedge to kick-in vary, ending off a spherical of four-under 67, seven strokes away from the sector. Respect.

(Additionally shoutout to Alabama alum Davis Shore, who gained PGA Tour Canada’s Osprey Valley Open!)

ALMOST-WINNERS

Almost their week.

J.T. Poston’s nightmare 8

The closest golfer to Lee Hodges on Sunday was J.T. Poston. That was true geographically — the 2 comprised the ultimate pairing — but additionally on the leaderboard, the place Poston did greater than anybody else to push Hodges to the end. Actually, Poston stepped to the 18th tee simply three pictures off the lead. Given the unstable nature of the watery finisher, loads of eventualities had been nonetheless in play. We simply didn’t see this one coming.

Poston’s tee shot settled on the financial institution down the correct aspect, safely above the water’s floor however nicely under his toes. His solely likelihood on the win was a miraculous eagle and he had a snug cushion to play with; third place was nonetheless three pictures additional again. Why not give it a strive?

To Poston’s credit score, give it a strive is precisely what he did. He unsheathed his hybrid, assumed a squatting stance and took a rip. Sadly the ball got here out low, because it tends to when it’s that far under your toes. Poston rooted for it to go. Each assembled fan did, too. However then one thing unusual occurred: the ball didn’t fairly have the peak to hold to the inexperienced and as a substitute ricocheted off the stone wall guarding its entrance. The carom despatched it hovering within the sky, perplexing each Poston and the broadcasters. However a pant from the gang redirected their consideration: it had truly landed on the huge floating 3M signal within the water earlier than sliding off the sting to its watery grave.

Any likelihood on the win was gone. That was okay; it’d been a protracted shot anyway. Now it was time to concentrate on securing solo second. Poston dropped within the fairway, laid as much as 100 yards and settled in to hit the inexperienced, two-putt and be on his approach.

You may already predict what occurred as a substitute. Poston’s method got here up quick and left, leaving him within the fairway some 30 toes from the opening. He drew putter from there however his effort got here up 5 toes quick. After which, nicely, yeah. He tapped in for 8 and a three-way tie for second. Poston hadn’t made a bogey in 55 holes, and technically he nonetheless hadn’t made bogey. However now he was strolling off with a pricey triple.

J.T. Poston’s 3M Open had a wierd end.

CBS

Simply what did it price? Solo second would have earned him $850,200, whereas a three-way tie for second made him $590,200. No person is weeping for Poston clearing over half 1,000,000 for per week’s work, nevertheless it’s nonetheless $260,000 lower than he would have made with double bogey or higher. Arguably extra necessary, although, are the factors he sacrificed. Poston would have earned 300 FedEx Cup factors for solo second. As a substitute, with the break up factors, he earned 208.3.

Why is {that a} large deal? As a result of Poston, like a lot of his friends, is combating for a spot within the prime 50 within the year-end FedEx Cup standings, a cutoff that might earn him a spot in subsequent yr’s designated occasions. He entered 3M Open week in sixtieth place. Now he’s forty ninth. However solo second would have yielded 91.7 extra factors, leaving him thirty eighth as a substitute, nicely inside the highest 50 cutoff. From there he might have set his sights on the the highest 30 and the Tour Championship moderately than specializing in who was nipping at his heels.

Once more, credit score to Poston for going for the win! We love that. Nevertheless it damage to observe what occurred subsequent and I had neither emotional nor monetary funding in his displaying. It simply felt like he deserved higher.

(Martin Laird and Kevin Streelman, then again, will need to have relished the possibility at just a few dozen additional factors as their T3s improved to T2s…)

Brooke Henderson’s title protection

A yr in the past Brooke Henderson gained the Evian to earn the second main title of her profession. This yr? She didn’t repeat however did the subsequent smartest thing, triumphing over everybody besides Boutier. Had been it not for Boutier, the truth is, we’d have witnessed an thrilling end with a dozen golfers inside three strokes of the lead and Henderson heroically on prime. As a substitute it’s the third runner-up end of her main championship profession and, remarkably, the fifteenth top-10. She’s additionally trending upward at majors this yr, going from T23 to T15 to twelfth to solo second. That solely leaves one spot for enchancment on the Girls’s British Open…

Padraig Harrington’s comeback

Padraig Harrington rallied with a two-putt birdie on the 72nd gap to drive a playoff towards Cejka however was finally let down by an ungainly lie, a poor chip and a runner-up end on the second playoff gap. He was left pondering two issues. The primary was some dismay about his eagle putt on the ultimate inexperienced, which lacked the tempo to problem the opening.

“I hit a tentative placed on the 72nd gap, which, look — you’ve acquired an opportunity to win the event. You’ve acquired to hit an amazing putt, and on the finish of the day, I used to be attempting to not hit a nasty putt and I ought to have been attempting to hit an amazing putt,” he mentioned.

The second factor? He was bummed about his chipping, which let him down all week however most acutely in additional time.

“I chipped actually poorly all week,” he mentioned. “All week, I had a horrible time. I don’t suppose I’ve ever performed a event the place I’ve chipped this badly. I took a number of double-bogeys the place I’d usually be taking pars. So it was a nasty week with the chipping. So disappointing there. It occurs.”

NOT-WINNERS

Not fairly their week.

Justin Thomas’ Cup probabilities

I’m not saying he doesn’t have an opportunity at making the Ryder Cup group; Justin Thomas actually has the good thing about the doubt on the subject of his presence on the U.S. aspect. However he did himself no additional favors with a missed minimize on the 3M Open. (Fellow Ryder Cup hopeful Cameron Younger MC’d at two underneath par alongside him.) Now he must work simply to earn a spot within the FedEx Cup playoffs; he’s sitting 79th within the standings and solely the highest 70 make it to Memphis. Meaning we’ll be seeing a decided Thomas in North Carolina this week.

Unhealthy-weather beatdowns

It’s one factor to undergo by means of the weather once you’re, say, Cejka, successful the third senior main of your profession, and even Harrington, combating to the end. It’s an entire different factor when your sport deserts you within the distress, like beloved Scotsman Colin Montgomerie, who made three doubles and a triple on Sunday en path to an 88 that despatched him from T20 to 68th. Patrik Sjöland nonetheless scored one stroke greater, making simply three pars en path to 89.

WHAT WE’RE READING

Phil’s ideas.

You gained’t be shocked to listen to that Phil Mickelson has an opinion on a improvement within the golf world. You may be mildly shocked to listen to the specifics of this one, although. Mickelson took to Twitter (Now referred to as X, I suppose? No matter.) in response to returning commissioner Jay Monahan‘s memo to PGA Tour gamers. Let’s break every of the 4 sentences in Mickelson’s tweet for correct comprehension.

1. “What a colossal waste of time.”

Yowza! Them’s combating phrases. And so they’re phrases that sign a pointy distinction to Mickelson’s suggestions on the day the PGA Tour/Saudi PIF settlement was first introduced, when he took to the identical app to proclaim it an “superior day” with a smiley face. One thing’s modified!

2. “Not a single participant on LIV needs to play PGA Tour.”

Additionally combating phrases! And a reasonably vital improvement. I’m unsure that is 100% true — Patrick Reed is amongst those that has just lately expressed curiosity in taking part in Tour occasions — nevertheless it’s attention-grabbing perspective. Jon Rahm mentioned one thing comparable forward of the Open, suggesting that LIV professionals might not truly need to return. So what occurs if a pathway again to the Tour opens up and no LIV guys need to take it?

3. “It will require a public apology and restitution to LIV gamers for paying tens of millions to Clout media to disparage all of us.”

That is the place Mickelson loses me. Is he truthful to name out the hypocrisy of the Tour condemning LIV’s Saudi funding solely to strike a cope with the identical funding supply a yr later? Completely! However I’m unsure what the “tens of millions to clout media” refers to, precisely. There’s a way of persecution from a lot of LIV’s prime stars — they really feel like they’ve been criticized too harshly for leaving — and that frustration tends to get redirected in the direction of the media. I’m unsure who Mickelson is referring to right here; maybe his remark is aimed on the most vocal LIV critics within the media, people like Eamon Lynch and Brandel Chamblee. However there’s nothing conspiratorial occurring and people guys aren’t being paid tens of millions to disparage LIV. They’re simply saying and writing what they consider. I suppose I’d like some extra specifics from Mr. Mickelson right here as a result of this feels disingenuous.

4. “A greater matter is future sanctions for the various gamers who now come to LIV”

Now we’re again to an attention-grabbing hypothetical. It’s nonetheless not clear if the PGA Tour and the PIF will attain the subsequent stage of their settlement. However whether or not they discover decision or not, it feels more and more seemingly with each passing day that LIV will at the very least proceed into 2024. And since some LIV professionals’ contracts finish at this season’s conclusion, there shall be spots obtainable. Will PGA Tour professionals be lining as much as fill them? In that case, who will they be?

MONEY TALK

1,000,000-dollar dilemma.

Within the LIV period it feels virtually quaint to speak in regards to the paltry sum of 1 million {dollars}, however let me be the primary to remind you {that a} seven-figure test is definitely nonetheless fairly some huge cash! For 1,000,000 bucks you could possibly purchase a foursome at Pebble Seashore daily for a complete yr. Alternatively you could possibly simply purchase a golf course; we discovered listings for nicely underneath 1,000,000 in a half-dozen states right here. 1,000,000 {dollars} nonetheless travels.

And that’s what Stephan Jaeger practically secured on Sunday.

For those who don’t know Jaeger, he’s a 34-year-old German professional with $4.5 million in profession PGA Tour earnings. He’s by no means completed within the prime 30 in a serious however has spent the final couple years as a aggressive member of the PGA Tour. He entered this week at No. 61 within the FedEx Cup standings. However he additionally entered this week at No. 1 within the Aon Threat-Reward standings.

What’s that and why is it necessary? Listed below are the fundamentals: Each event the Aon Threat-Reward Problem picks one gap. Each participant robotically submits his two finest scores from the week on that gap and people are put in the direction of a season-long common. On the finish of the season the professional with the bottom common takes residence a cool million. The remainder of the highest 5 getting into this week — Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay — are all securely contained in the FedEx Cup’s prime 25 within the FedEx Cup. However Jaeger was an outlier on the prime, getting into the 3M at -.889 strokes underneath par, taking part in 45 “problem holes” in 40 underneath par. Speak about choosing your spots! Over 4 days he wanted two birdies on the par-5 18th at TPC Twin Cities to keep up his lead.

When he made birdie on 18 within the first spherical it put him on the precipice of an attention-grabbing dilemma: If he made one other birdie, ought to he skip the Wyndham Championship and accumulate the $1 million prize?

Hatton, his closest competitor, wasn’t slated to play Wyndham anyway. No person else within the area was shut sufficient to have a practical statistical likelihood of catching him. And at No. 61 within the FedEx Cup, he’d be unlikely to slip all the best way exterior the highest 70…

He’d need to at the very least give it some thought, proper?!

However then Jaeger made par on Friday. He made bogey on Saturday. And on Sunday, regardless of leaving himself simply 227 yards left from the golf green, he discovered the greenside bunker and didn’t rise up and down, strolling away with a disappointing par and robbing us of a weird risk-reward calculation about whether or not or to not play the ultimate occasion of the Tour’ common season.

Now Jaeger is right down to No. 64 within the FedEx Cup, which suggests he’s acquired loads to play for at Sedgefield Nation Membership. A berth within the playoffs, for one factor. However he’ll be searching an eagle and a birdie at No. 15*, too, which by my unofficial calculation could be sufficient to get him that million {dollars} anyway.

*Assuming they use No. 15 once more, like they did final yr

NEWS FROM SEATTLE

Monday End HQ.

I ended residence in Massachusetts for a pair days following the Open. I acquired out for a sweltering 18 at Taconic with my brother and two buddies, ending as darkness fell. This isn’t information from Seattle a lot as it’s information from residence: some issues are timeless, and taking part in golf with my brother and my buddies ’til it’s darkish? That connects me at 31 to me at 13. Right here’s to extra.

WHAT’S NEXT

3 issues to observe this week.

1. Phil Mickelson speaks?

I’m unsure he’ll say something in any respect however LIV is again in motion on the Greenbrier. Meaning a number of extra probabilities for LIV’s highest-profile participant to increase on his newest PGA Tour-PIF musings. The identical goes for his friends and for his boss, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who has been a fixture at LIV occasions and holds some vital particulars on any deal’s progress.

2. LPGA Hyperlinks Szn

That’s proper, gang: This week is the Girls’s Scottish Open at Dundonald Hyperlinks. Subsequent week’s the Girls’s British Open at Walton Heath. The week after that the LPGA heads to Northern Eire to play Castlerock. Your morning links-golf-watching routine continues.

3. Viktor Hovland.

Golf’s happiest professional, Viktor Hovland, is again on trip in northern Norway. Watch the second video with out grinning. Simply strive.

We’ll see you subsequent week!

Dylan Dethier

Dylan Dethier

Golf.com Editor

Dylan Dethier is a senior author for GOLF Journal/GOLF.com. The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a graduate of Williams Faculty, the place he majored in English, and he’s the creator of 18 in America, which particulars the yr he spent as an 18-year-old dwelling from his automotive and taking part in a spherical of golf in each state.



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