In this week’s edition, Jon Rahm finds some much-needed form in Mexico, Tiger Woods keeps us guessing, and Phil Mickelson is still hesitant about his future with the PGA Tour or LIV Golf.
Reset. From a decent start to 2022 with a second place finish at the Sentry Championships and a tied for third at Torrey Pines, Jon Ram wasn’t quite like Jon Ram.
Finished with 74 runs over the weekend at Bay Hill, tied at 55y At The Players, it was his worst finish on the PGA Tour since last May, and he’s never been involved in the Masters’ conversation.
Along the way, he’s also lost the world’s top rankings and the momentum heading into the crowded part of the Grand Slam season, but rounds like Thursday at the Mexico Open are why he will remain one of the game’s most exciting players.
After he started his day at number 10, he grouped the numbers 12, 13 and 14 and added another at number 18y Hole before driving green at level 7 and rolling in at 41 feet for an eagle and 7 under 64.
Getting back to the chase is a good move. Playing ghost-free golf is encouraging. But picking up shots on the greens (he was in addition to his 1.48 shots in earned strokes: his placement on day one) is every reason needed for optimism.
tiger watch. At the very small sample size of Tiger Woods’ recent comeback, visiting the site is the closest thing to ensuring we’ll get it from the main champ 15 times.
Woods flew to Tulsa, Oklahoma, Thursday for a practice round in the South Hills ahead of next month’s PGA Championship. He made a similar trip to Augusta National before playing the Masters, his first official tour tour in over 18 months.
There has been no official word from Woods’ camp, but barring any setbacks, he appears set to play in the South Hills, where he won the 2007 PGA Championship. He has also signed up to play the US Open and has committed to playing the Open Championship in July, which will likely be For Tiger it is as close to the full schedule as he will ever have.
Making unfinished pieces (MDF)
Frequency. No matter what oblivion Phil Mickelson finds himself in, whether it’s commissioned by the PGA Tour or his competitive watch, it’s time to make a choice.
Last week, Mickelson signed to play in both the US Open and next month’s PGA Championship, where he is the defending champion, and his manager also announced that Lefty has requested a conflicting event release to play the first LIV Golf Invitational Series event in London. This is all noteworthy because it was the Tour and LIV Golf that Lefty grilled in an interview late last year with Fire Pit Collective that started to fall apart.
Soon after Mickelson’s “reckless” comments were published, he announced he was walking away from the game in a statement full of mixed messages: “Golf is in dire need of change and real change always precedes turmoil,” he wrote.
After the curious choice to do battle with both Tour and LIV Golf, it seems Mickelson still doesn’t know which side he wants to land on.
Tweet of the week:
DeChambeau underwent bone surgery in his left hand earlier this month, which according to multiple Tour coaches is a 10- to 12-week recovery period. Let’s hope the right time is when his body is finally all right.
The Great White Puzzle. Earlier this year, Rory McIlroy took what was largely a business conversation about LIV Golf and made it personal: “I don’t think they put in the right leadership team from the start,” he said.
As CEO of LIV Golf, Greg Norman was a curious figure throughout the process as pitfalls were added. LIV Golf’s original idea for a schedule of 18 events and Formula 1 teams has been scaled down to an invitation series of eight events starting in June.
Even this truncated version has some weird elements. After the first event in London, the next four tournaments are scheduled to take place in the United States, a move that would directly challenge tour regulation that bans conflicting event versions of events played in North America.
It may be that tipping point and the legal battle that is sure to follow what Norman hopes, but with the Great White Enigma, there always seems to be a fine line between strategy and faltering.
Scrimmage. Unlike the feud that occurred on Twitter last year between Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, this one seemed secondary and self-indulgent.
It started on Twitter, as most things do these days, when Grayson Murray went to Kevin Na (playing slow) via a quote tweet and Na responded to Murray (he’s playing poorly).
This week at the Mexico Open, the two reconsidered the dispute. Murray told The Stripe Show Podcast that Na summoned him in a profanity-ridden challenge.
“I went straight up to his face and grabbed my floor, and I told him, ‘If I wasn’t going to hang right now, I’d just drop his voice on the range,'” Murray told the podcast.
Na later told Todd Lewis of the Golf Channel, “It wasn’t exactly like that, but I got over it and just keep going.”
Marital things: 1) You are adult men, act like this. 2) You are a professional golfer, leave the rough stuff for the NHL, MLB and NFL. And 3) It’s Twitter, if violence is your reaction to 280 characters, you’re exactly the kind of person who shouldn’t be on Twitter.