Category Archives: Opinion

LACC to Host 2032 Women’s Open, 2039 U.S. Open


The Los Angeles (Calif.) Country Club will continue its relationship with the USGA when it serves as the host site for the 2032 U.S. Women’s Open Presented by ProMedica and 2039 U.S. Open Championships. The club has previously hosted three USGA championships, most recently the 2017 Walker Cup Match, and will stage the 123rd U.S. Open next June.

“We could not be more excited to bring our two biggest national championships to The Los Angeles Country Club and extend our relationship with the club that dates back more than 90 years,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA chief championships officer. “This is a tremendous sports town, an enthusiastic golf community and home to a great venue for championship golf. We’re very much looking forward to next year’s U.S. Open and thrilled to be returning twice more in the future.”

Situated on the edge of Beverly Hills and established in 1897, The Los Angeles Country Club spans 320 acres and features two 18-hole courses overlooked by nearby cityscape. A 2010 restoration project led by Gil Hanse returned the club’s famed North Course, where the Opens will be contested, to its original George C. Thomas Jr. design.

“With the countdown to next year’s U.S. Open underway, we are excited to welcome the USGA back to The Los Angeles Country Club for not only another U.S. Open in 2039 but also the U.S. Women’s Open in 2032,” said Dick Shortz and John Chulick, co-chairs of LACC’s U.S. Open Committee. “The Los Angeles community embraces major sporting events, and our membership is honored to host the game’s best women and men on our iconic North Course in the years to come.”

The North Course has hosted three USGA championships, starting with the 1930 U.S. Women’s Amateur, when Glenna Collett Vare captured the fifth of her record six titles. In 1954, Foster Bradley Jr. defeated Al Geiberger to claim the U.S. Amateur title, and most recently, it was the site of the 2017 Walker Cup Match, which was claimed decisively by the United States, 19-7. The North Course also hosted the Los Angeles Open, now the Genesis Invitational, five times between 1926 and 1940.

In June, The Los Angeles Country Club will become just the third U.S. Open venue in Southern California, joining The Riviera Country Club in nearby Pacific Palisades (1948) and Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego (2008, 2021). The 87th playing of the U.S. Women’s Open will mark the third time the championship will be played in Southern California after San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista hosted the event in 1964, when the legendary Mickey Wright earned the last of her four victories, with The Riviera Country Club scheduled to host in 2026.

Earlier this year, Australian Minjee Lee claimed the U.S. Women’s Open title with a record-setting four-stroke victory at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C., joining a Hall-of-Fame group of players to have won both the U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Women’s Open. The championship is open to female professionals and amateurs with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 2.4.

Matt Fitzpatrick hoisted the U.S. Open Trophy in June after completing a one-stroke victory at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., where he also triumphed in the U.S. Amateur nine years prior. The Englishman joined 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers to have won the USGA’s two oldest championships at the same venue. To be eligible for U.S. Open qualifying, a player must have a Handicap Index® not exceeding 1.4, or be a professional.


By: PGA Tour

Typically, a career year for any professional athlete isn’t identifiable until there’s agreement that the glory days have passed. For the best talent at any time, evidence suggesting future greater achievement is filed regularly, so it’s a fool’s errand to argue that a career year already has been cemented. Yet, there are exceptions.

In professional golf, winning a major constitutes candidacy for a career year, but Hideki Matsuyama is only 30 years old, so classifying his career year as 2021 when he became Japan’s first male major champion at the Masters, could be rushing to judgment despite the historic accomplishment. However, the year also included his participation in the Olympics in his native Japan where he was edged for a medal, and it ended with victory at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, also in his homeland. It was a lot, and it was great.

The moral of the matter is that it would be unfair to expect any golfer to convert on a combination of those successes when the stars align like that. So, while it may prove not to be Matsuyama’s career year in the context of an overall body of work, it likely will be the most special year of his career personally, so it demands this moment to appreciate it because he defends the last of those highlights at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba this week.


15 Viktor Hovland Viktor Hovland
After finishing T15 at the TOUR Championship, the stripe show returned to his native Europe for two starts, the more impressive of which a T5 at the BMW PGA Championship.
14 Cameron Young Cameron Young
Season debut for the standout of the 2021-22 PGA TOUR rookie class. En route to seven podiums, he led in distance of all drives and he was third in converting GIR into par breakers.
13 Maverick McNealy Maverick McNealy
Closed out his tournament debut last year with a 65 for a T25. Regained form last week with a T10 at TPC Summerlin where he paced the field in numerous putting categories.
12 Tommy Fleetwood Tommy Fleetwood
First PGA TOUR action since recording T4s at the Genesis Scottish Open and The Open Championship. The Englishman has finished T22 (2019) and T7 (2021) at Narashino.
11 Tom Hoge Tom Hoge
The 33-year-old has reignited in recent weeks. After placing 10th in the FedExCup, he’s hung up a T12 (Fortinet) and a T4 (Shriners). Debuted at Narashino with a 17th-place finish last year.
10 Mito Pereira Mito Pereira
Effectively turned the page after a sour Presidents Cup with a T4 at TPC Summerlin where he put on a clinic with his irons. It’s the kind of dialed-in form that covers for inconsistency.
9 Sepp Straka Sepp Straka
When he recorded a T66 in his tournament debut last year, he slotted 183rd in the Official World Golf Ranking. Today, he’s 26th with a pair of playoff losses in his last four starts.
8 Collin Morikawa Collin Morikawa
Already his third start at Narashino. He debuted with T22 in 2019 and added a T7 last year. Ranked second in par-5 scoring here last year. Rested since Presidents Cup victory (2-1-0).
7 Mackenzie Hughes Mackenzie Hughes

Rested after emerging from the playoff to win the Sanderson Farms two weeks ago. Placed T4 here last year with a balanced attack and a vintage performance on the greens.

6 Tyrrell Hatton Tyrrell Hatton
Arrives having connected top 10s on the DP World Tour. His brilliant short game plays up on courses with lower GIR percentages like Narashino where he’s making his debut.
5 Keegan Bradley Keegan Bradley
The long-hitting ball-striker is among the course co-record-holders with a 63 en route to a T13 in 2019. Added a T7 last year. Opened this season with a T5 at the Sanderson Farms.
4 Xander Schauffele Xander Schauffele
Thrice a winner in last six months and fresh off finishing the Playoffs T3-4th and contributing a 3-1-0 record at the Presidents Cup. The bonus is that this trip is a family reunion.
3 Hideki Matsuyama Hideki Matsuyama
The defending champion leads an intriguing Japanese contingent. In two editions of the tournament in his native Japan, the only golfer who’s beaten him is Tiger Woods in 2019.
2 Tom Kim Tom Kim
He’s pretty good, huh? The success despite his youth is inspiring, especially given his humility for the situation. It’s absurd to think that a 20-year-old is slump-proof, but there’s NO proof!
1 Sungjae Im Sungjae Im
He’s been one of the hottest performers on the planet since late July, but he now has gone a year since his last victory. Also opened the ZOZO with an end-loaded T3 in 2019.

Corey Conners, Cam Davis and Shriners co-runner-up Matthew NeSmith will be among the notables reviewed in Draws and Fades.

The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP opens a fortnight reserved for 78-man invitationals. THE CJ CUP in South Carolina is on deck. Both are rewards to the top 60 in the previous season’s FedExCup standings and neither has a cut. (Each field reserves space for the top 60 eligible among those who qualified for the Playoffs.)

The event’s location in Japan is a giveaway that the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP is conducted in conjunction with the Japan Golf Tour, although it’s not an official event for the latter. Fifteen JGTO members are in the field, the majority of whom can be found at the top of their money list. Another is Keita Nakajima, who is making just his third start as a professional after an extended stretch atop the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

Narashino is a par 70 with five par 3s and three par 5s. The nines are respective pars of 34 and 36. After debuting in 2019 with a scoring average of about one-half stroke under par, it returned in 2021 standing taller at 70.484. (Because of the pandemic, the 2020 edition was held at Sherwood Country Club in California.) After Matsuyama grabbed outright possession of the 36-hole lead, he sprinted through the finish line and posted 15-under 265 to win by five.

The composite routing of the King and Queen Courses is 38 yards longer this year at 7,079 yards. The extensions occurred at the par-3 fifth that now can play as long as 205 yards after an increase of 14 yards, and at the par-4 10th that’s an even 400 yards with 24 yards of added length.

Thursday’s opening round almost certainly will be a wet one, but dry conditions are expected for most of the remainder. Wind won’t trouble much and daytime temperatures will climb into the mid-70s, eventually, so scoring projects not to be harder than it was a year ago, but asking for another field average that’s a red number might be aggressive.

Weather permitting, bentgrass greens are poised to crank at 12½ feet on the Stimpmeter. The first two editions were prepped for 11½ and 12 feet, respectively. Members of the JGTO typically aren’t tested as often on this kind of pace. Also, because the tournament is scheduled a couple of weeks earlier than its first two spins in Japan, the thickest of the 3½-inch rough figures to be lusher than how returning entrants remember it.

Course management is the priority, but now that there’s experience on the greens, ball-strikers aren’t benefited as much as they are on a new track. They’re going to need to roll in some putts, too. Matsuyama wasn’t going to be denied, so citing the fact that he led the field in greens in regulation and ranked second in scrambling presents and unrealistic benchmark for all. (ShotLink isn’t utilized at Narashino.)

Speaking of hitting greens, the layout at Narashino serves as living history of golf in Japan. Each of the 18 holes has two greens. It was designed that way to extend playability across seasons of the year. The local rule is that when a golfer lands on the wrong green, he is allowed a free drop off the shortest of grass and no nearer the hole. For deeper detail on the possibilities this week, read this.

Last year’s ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP began at 8:30 a.m. local time on Thursday. Chiba is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Time in the United States, so it teed off at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Wednesday. Consider this adjustment for how you monitor the action.

Chez Reavie wins Barracuda Championship for third PGA TOUR title


TRUCKEE, Calif. — Chez Reavie won the Barracuda Championship on Sunday, holding on in the breezy final round of the PGA TOUR’s lone modified Stableford scoring event for his third TOUR title.

Six points ahead entering the day, Reavie had a six-point round for a one-point victory over Alex Noren on Tahoe Mountain Club’s Old Greenwood layout.

The 40-year-old Reavie became the first PGA TOUR winner aged 40 or over since Lucas Glover a year ago in the 2021 John Deere Classic. The Arizona player finished with 43 points.

“I’ve been working hard,” Reavie said. “I’ve been hitting the ball and I knew I could do it. I just kept grinding, and here we are.”

With the event also sanctioned by the DP World Tour, Reavie earned spots on both the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour through the 2024 seasons.

“I’ll get over there,” Reavie said. “I had no idea that that was on the table until I finished. I’m excited. I would love to go to Europe and play and maybe go play in the BMW or something. I’d enjoy that a lot.

He also won the 2008 RBC Canadian Open and 2019 Travelers Championship.

Reavie had four birdies and two bogeys Sunday. Players get five points for eagle and two for birdie, while a point is deducted for bogey and three taken away for double bogey or worse.

“It was stressful out there today with the wind and missing some putts early,” Reavie said. “Was fortunate to make some good putts coming in and pull it off.”

Reavie birdied the par-5 12th and made his last birdie on the par-4 16th, holing a 15-footer after his flop approach hit a seam in the grass and shot forward. He got up-and-down for par from a greenside bunker on the par-3 17th, holing a 5-footer, and tapped in for par on the par-4 18th.

“I just stayed patient,” Reavie said. “I knew I was going to have to. I knew some guys were going to make a lot of birdies early. I was hoping to be one of those guys, but the putter was kind of letting me down early. Just tried to keep it as close as I could to the hole and give myself some good looks.”

Noren had a 14-point round. The Swede is a 10-time winner on the DP World Tour who joined the PGA TOUR in 2018.

“I love this course,” Noren said. “It was pretty tricky today with the wind. It’s been a roller-coaster of a week, obviously, but when you make the cut, you think, well, this is a great week anyway, and then I played good on the weekend and had a blast today.”

Martin Laird was third at 38 after a seven-point day.

“Really tough out there in the wind.,” Laird said. “It was gusting all over the place. I think I started six back of Chez, so I knew he was obviously playing really well. I’d have to play a pretty special round today to catch him.”

Mark Hubbard finished fourth at 37, and Scott Gutschewski was fifth at 35.

Rory McIlroy returns to RBC Canadian Open to face strong field

By: PGA Tour

TORONTO, Ont. – Rory McIlroy marked his ball with a Canadian $1 coin, nicknamed a ‘Loonie,’ the last time he played the RBC Canadian Open. He received one from his pro-am partner in 2019 and that extra luck worked. He won.

This year, tournament organizers came prepared.

“I turned up to the locker room and there was already one in my locker,” said McIlroy with a smile. “And then one of my pro-am partners gave me one this morning on the first green as well.

“I’m loaded with loonies this week.”

McIlroy will (finally) defend his title this week in Canada, three years after he won by seven shots at Hamilton Golf and Country Club. He flirted with 59 much of the final day before shooting a thrilling 61 that separated him from the field.

He comes to St. George’s Golf and Country Club looking to go back-to-back for the first time on the PGA TOUR, but to do it he’ll have to top one of the strongest fields north of the border in recent memory.

McIlroy is one of five golfers ranked in the top 10 in the world who are teeing it up this week in Toronto, including Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns. The top two players in the FedExCup are making their Canadian Open debuts. Scheffler, who also sits atop the world ranking, has won four times this year, including the Masters, while Burns earned his third win of the season by beating Scheffler in a playoff at the recent Charles Schwab Challenge.

PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas and THE PLAYERS champion Cameron Smith are the other two top-10 players in the field this week. There are 20 Canadians teeing it up in their national open as well, including Corey Conners, the top-ranked Canadian in the FedExCup standings.

“It’s really exciting to have those guys here,” Conners said of the stout field. “I think national championships, wherever they’re played, have a little bit more prestige and guys think really highly of this event. There are so many historic names on the trophy, and it would be awesome to be added to that and I think a lot of those guys feel the same way. It’s a good part of your legacy to be able to call yourself a Canadian Open champion and national open champion.”

McIlroy comes into the week after a T18 at the Memorial. He notched three consecutive top-10 finishes in his previous three starts, including a runner-up at the Masters and an eighth-place finish at the PGA Championship. He sits 15th on the FedExCup standings.

So far, he’s “loved” St. George’s Golf and Country Club, which is hosting its sixth RBC Canadian Open. He said it’s a “really good” traditional layout – built in 1929 – that will serve as a strong place to compete before next week’s U.S. Open.

McIlroy will be grouped with Conners and Thomas for the first two rounds.

Thomas said he took a few days off after he missed the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge and celebrated his PGA Championship victory with some high-school friends back home in Louisville. Playing the week before the PGA Championship paid off with his win at Southern Hills and he’s hoping it will do the trick again with the U.S. Open coming next week. But Thomas is quick to recognize the legacy of the Canadian Open, as well. This is the 111th playing of the tournament.

“You look at the history of this event, it kind of speaks for itself,’ says Thomas. “The opportunity to come to a place and a tournament that’s so historic … definitely makes it a little bit more special.”

Scheffler said “it was easy” for him to include the Canadian Open in his schedule with a comparable set-up at St. George’s to The Country Club at Brookline. With seven of the top 25 in the world (Matt Fitzpatrick, Tony Finau, Tyrell Hatton and Shane Lowry are the others) all playing this week, it’ll be a solid challenge.

“I’m preparing for next week’s U.S. Open, but I really want to win this week. I really want to win every time I tee it up and play,” says Scheffler. “We (drew) a really good field this week and so definitely looking forward to competing against these guys.”

While Scheffler is on top of the FedExCup standings with his excellent play so far this season, it’s two-time FedExCup winner McIlroy who has quickly become the top draw in Canada.

This is, of course, attributed to winning in his debut in 2019 – “It would be nice to keep that percentage up this week, for sure,” he said – and the fact that he acted as the ‘defending’ champion for two extra seasons. His group drew the biggest crowds in Wednesday’s pro-am at St. George’s.

“I’ve worked hard to get to this position,” he says. “I mean if I didn’t like the attention I would go and I would play another sport or I would get another job or whatever. But there’s a lot of things that come along with being one of the top players in the game and yeah, I do relish it. I like that, I like being in that position.”

Another position McIlroy enjoys being in is first place on PGA TOUR leaderboards, something he’ll try to do again this week in Canada.

And he’s got a good-luck coin ready to go.

RBC Canadian Open makes long-awaited return

By: PGA Staff

The population of Toronto is higher than that of Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia. In fact, Toronto is the fourth-most populous city in the whole of North America.

And its mayor, John Tory, is a big fan of golf.

Count Tory as just one person who is thrilled to see the RBC Canadian Open return to the PGA TOUR schedule after a two-season hiatus due to complications from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a big event,” Tory, who has been Toronto’s mayor since 2014, told “It creates a lot of activity in the city for people to come and visit… and it’s just one more sign of a return to more normal life after a dismal period during the pandemic.”

The RBC Canadian Open is the only North American event on the TOUR’s schedule not to have been contested in both 2020 and 2021. The membership of St. George’s Golf and Country Club voted in favor of keeping the event at its course after the cancellation of 2020 and again in 2021, and the championship will return to the club – 11 miles from the CN Tower – for the sixth time.

In his Canadian Open debut, Rory McIlroy shot a 9-under 61 to win the 2019 Canadian Open by seven shots. The crowd was abuzz. McIlroy was the most notable entrant in that year’s field, and the Toronto Raptors were in the midst of their NBA Championship run.

So how do tournament organizers top that effort?

By going as big as possible.

“You take the bad and make the best out of it,” said Tournament Director Bryan Crawford. “When it was time to come back, we were going to come back in a big way, and that’s what is about to happen.”

John Sibley, Golf Canada’s Chief Commercial Officer, called this year’s Canadian Open the “largest operational undertaking” in the organization’s history. There will be approximately 210,000 square feet of hospitality – 92,000 more than at Hamilton Golf and Country Club three years ago.

The Rink will also make its return. It’s a somewhat Canadian cliché, but the par-3 16th hole will have hockey boards set up around it along with hospitality suites dubbed “penalty boxes.” But even Corey Conners, Canada’s top-ranked male golfer, enjoys The Rink’s buzz. He says he plans on giving away “a jersey or two” during tournament week.

“The atmosphere is really cool,” said Conners. “It’s something new and a little extra special about the event and hopefully we can hit some good shots.”

RBC Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Mary DePaoli has had a hard time containing her excitement with the return of the bank’s home-country event. RBC and AT&T are the only title sponsors on the TOUR schedule that operate two separate tournaments.

DePaoli said her team has learned a lot from operating the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head the last two years and is keen to put some of those lessons into practice at St. George’s. She said she’s excited for the support from the hometown fans, as well as PGA TOUR commissioner Jay Monahan and PGA TOUR Chief Tournaments & Competitions Officer Andy Pazder.

“They cannot wait to see this tournament come back online and mark the return of it back to Canada,” DePaoli said. “They know from their players there is a lot of enthusiasm for this tournament. They’re very proud of this tournament.”

Golf in Canada, despite its shortened season, has experienced a boom similar to most cities in North America. Between the pent-up excitement for the event and golf’s never-before-seen popularity, it should be a thrilling week for Canadian fans.

 It’s also shaping up to be an excellent field.

McIlroy returns to defend his title from 2019. FedExCup leader Scottie Scheffler also will be there, as will PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas, and PLAYERS champion Cam Smith.

There’s also a plethora of Canadians looking to win their national championship; there hasn’t been a homegrown winner since Pat Fletcher in 1954. Led by Conners and buoyed by fellow Presidents Cup hopefuls Mackenzie Hughes and Adam Hadwin, the Canadian contingent is strong. In fact, this could be the best year in recent memory for Canadian hopefuls.

Hadwin was low Canadian in 2019, finishing sixth at Hamilton. Mackenzie Hughes finished T14. Four Canadians made the cut.

“It’s a really special week for me… it’s right up there with the majors on my schedule,” said Conners. “I’m looking forward to trying to get myself in contention and I know it’ll be a great event. I’ve been telling lots of people: The Canadian fans are sure going to be excited that the PGA TOUR is coming back north of the border.”

Even the mayor thinks someone from the Canadian contingent has a good shot this year at St. George’s. Tory, 67, remembers George Knudson and Moe Norman and Mike Weir, but their successes came as singular stars. Now, he said, Canada has strength in numbers.

“I’m very proud of that as a golfer and as a Canadian,” he said. “We still have that one elusive victory – to have a Canadian win the Canadian Open. But given the performance of some of our players on the TOUR, this may well be the time that happens and that would be a wonderful thing.”

The mere return of the RBC Canadian Open itself is already a wonderful thing.

Updates from The Match: Tom Brady/Aaron Rodgers def. Josh Allen/Patrick Mahomes, 1 up

By: PGA Staff

For the first time, Capital One’s The Match did not include any professional golfers, as NFL quarterbacks took the stage for Wednesday evening’s competition at the Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas.

The Match delivered a drama worthy of playoff football, coming down to the final green on the final hole.

AFC rising star quarterbacks Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes faced off against NFC veterans Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers in a topsy-turvy 12-hole match on the Las Vegas Strip. Brady/Rodgers won the first two holes before Allen/Mahomes went on a mid-evening run, taking a 1-up lead with three holes to play.

Brady/Rodgers responded to square The Match with a win on No. 10, and the competition remained tied into its final hole, the par-3 12th.

In captivating fashion, Rodgers delivered a winning birdie on the final green, punctuated with a dramatic fist pump and celebration with his partner Brady.

“We’ve played together maybe three times competitively,” said Brady of Rodgers, “and every time, he’s made a 15-foot putt to win. That was amazing, and it didn’t surprise me when it went in.”

Here’s a hole-by-hole look at how the action unfolded in the sixth iteration of The Match.

No. 12 (par 3, 167 yards)

Brady takes the tee first on the serene par 3. He takes his time, soaking in the moment. He makes clean contact and stares the ball down; it sails a bit past the flag, into a strip of rough approximately 30 feet past the hole.

Rodgers plays a crisp cut on an aggressive line and delivers, the ball settling pin-high just left of the hole, leaving a tasty birdie look of approximately 12 feet.

Brady opts to take his mulligan (he hits the Charles Barkley cutout head with a football to earn his mulligan). With the sun setting, he plays a draw that turns a bit too much, finding the greenside hazard.

Allen perhaps overclubs, playing a cut that settles long and right of the green, in an area of rough near the water’s edge.

Mahomes starts his ball on a line over the water and plays for a cut, but the ball doesn’t cut enough. It splashes. He opts for his mulligan and hits the Charles Barkley cutout head with a football to earn a second swing.

The Kansas City Chiefs star again plays a cut and asks for it to go. It does, but leaving a lengthy birdie try from the front of the green to a back-left hole location. Advantage Brady/Rodgers on the final hole of The Match.

Allen plays first from the front of the green and hits a beautiful putt, the ball tracking toward the cup before stopping on the right edge of the cup, oh-so-close to a dramatic birdie. With nothing to lose, Mahomes’ birdie try has plenty of pace, but it narrowly slides by. Team Allen/Mahomes is in with par.

Two looks at a winning birdie for Brady/Rodgers. Brady goes first from 12 feet, but the putt slides by on the right side. He groans in disbelief.

The stage is set for Rodgers. The Green Bay Packers quarterback assesses the situation, steps over the ball and takes a few looks.

The putt breaks left-to-right, and Rodgers judges it exquisitely. He drains it, right in the heart, for the walk-off victory.

Brady/Rodgers WIN The Match, 1 up 

No. 11 (par 4)

Brady pulls hybrid off the tee and plays a crisp cut that splits the center of the fairway. Rodgers takes driver and plays a slithery cut that rides the dogleg-right shape of the hole, perfectly positioned. A crafty play from a crafty veteran.

After Allen fails to get his tee shot in play, the pressure is on Mahomes. The Kansas City Chiefs signal-caller responds, producing a low cut with a driver. He asks for it to land softly, and it does, finding the left rough with a good angle to the hole location.

Playing from Mahomes’ position off the tee, Allen takes a short iron and immediately asks for it to get down. The ball flies over the green and briefly holds up in the rough, amidst a contingent of patrons, before trickling back onto the putting surface. An apparent missed green is suddenly a 20-foot birdie try.

“That’s Bills Mafia right there,” remarks Allen.

Mahomes plays a low skipper that creeps onto the back portion of the green, the same level as the hole location, before catching the ridge and rolling down onto the front level, leaving a lengthy birdie proposition.

From Rodgers’ pinpoint tee shot, Brady plays his second shot from 50 or so yards, taking it high and controlling the spin to leave a birdie look of approximately 10 feet. Rodgers tries a similar play but catches the ball too cleanly; it sails past the flag and doesn’t spin too much, leaving a 25-footer for birdie.

Mahomes’ birdie try scares the hole but slides by on the left side.

Rodgers’ birdie look runs out of steam a few inches short and right; the par is conceded. Mahomes attempts to clean up his 4-footer for par to take the pressure off Allen, but he cannot do so.

Allen’s birdie try trails off a couple feet short and right; the par is conceded.

The stage is cleared for Brady, who faces a mid-length birdie try to win the hole and give his team a 1-up lead with one hole to play. The putt breaks left-to-right, and the putt tails off just to the right.

The hole is tied with pars, setting the stage for a winner-take-all final hole on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Match TIED thru 11

No. 10 (par 4, 306 yards)

Allen takes driver and rips a low cut straight at the flag; it carries just too much, though, and finds a back greenside bunker. Mahomes immediately exclaims “Oh no!” upon impact, as his ball sails well right of the green, finding an area of wood chips and shrubbery.

“I didn’t see it,” Mahomes remarks, “but it’s not good.”

Brady takes driver, takes a few moments upon address, and produces a low cut that finds the right greenside bunker. Rodgers takes aim left of the green and plays a cut that lands in the front fringe and bounces onto the green, leaving an eagle attempt from 60 feet or so.

Allen makes clean contact from the back bunker but cannot get the ball to check in time; it releases to 12 feet past the hole. Mahomes experiences a similar issue, the ball coming to rest just outside that of Allen.

Playing from Rodgers’ position, Brady’s eagle putt rolls long and right, settling 6 feet away. He is audibly dissatisfied with his effort. Rodgers has the proper line but can’t produce quite enough pace; his eagle try settles 5 feet short-right of the hole.

Neither Mahomes nor Allen can get their birdie putt to fall, clearing the stage for Brady/Rodgers to make birdie and square the competition into the final two holes.

First to play, Brady’s birdie try is center-cut.

No. 9 (par 4, 415 yards)

Allen rips driver off the tee and wastes no time in picking up his tee, the ball not traveling quite as far as some of his efforts, but leaving a mid-length approach from the left rough. Mahomes plays a cut and expounds, “Fore way right.”

Still sporting his backwards cap, Brady takes driver and plays a cut right down the center of the fairway, easily his best tee shot of the day to this point. Rodgers follows suit with a well-struck, well-placed tee shot.

Allen starts his approach at the tree line but gets plenty of height; it sails over the trees with a slight cut, the ball landing on the back-left portion of the green, 30 feet or so from the flag.

From Allen’s position, Mahomes plays perhaps his shot of the day to this point, a high cut that takes aim directly at the flag. The ball releases to the back of the green but catches the slope and feeds continually closer to the hole, settling inside 5 feet for a tasty birdie look.

After Brady’s approach fails to reach the green, Rodgers steps up with a deft wedge that lands past the hole and spins back to within 12 feet.

With neither Brady nor Allen managing to save par from their respective position, the stage is set for the birdie looks of Rodgers and Mahomes.

At a critical juncture of the match, Rodgers steps up with a beautiful stroke; the ball finds the center of the cup for a crucial birdie. Mahomes answers with a matching birdie, a smooth stroke from short range to tie the hole.

Allen/Mahomes 1 up thru 9

No. 8 (par 3, 170 yards)

On a scenic par 3 with water guarding the front and right sides of the green, Allen plays first and takes an aggressive line with a cut shape. The ball lands on the right side of the green and settles on the fringe, just 20 or so feet for birdie.

Mahomes starts his tee shot at the left side of the green and asks for it to cut. It does indeed. The ball feeds off a slope and continues to move closer to the hole, settling just 6 feet away. Mahomes shimmies his shoulders in appreciation, before pointing to the camera with a look of determination and appreciation.

Brady turns his hat backwards before playing a draw toward the back-left portion of the green, the ball feeding off the slope and creeping toward the hole, settling some 15 feet away for birdie.

Rodgers plays a fade and immediately leans anxiously, the ball finding a watery grave.

With both teams eyeing a birdie look, Brady plays first; he judges the speed well but plays the ball slightly too much outside left. The par is conceded.

Facing a nothing-to-lose birdie proposition, Rodgers gives the putt plenty of pace, but it slides by on the left side. Brady/Rodgers records par, leaving the door open for Allen/Mahomes to take its first lead of the evening.

Mahomes takes advantage with a center-cut birdie and a fist pump of authority.

Allen/Mahomes 1 up thru 8

No. 7 (par 5, 520 yards)

Allen pulls driver and plays a high cut; he knows immediately that it has cut too much. The ball sails into a patch of shrubbery to the right of the fairway.

Mahomes takes driver and produces a low stinger that splits the right side of the fairway, well positioned.

After a series of tee shots to the left, Brady perhaps overcompensates; his ball follows that of Allen, well right of the fairway.

Rodgers takes driver and hits a low cut that fades well right of the fairway, bounding off a cart path and settling on the cart path.

Rodgers takes relief from the cart path but is still blocked out by a tree line; he confers with his teammate and strategizes to play a conservative layup shot with a wedge. Brady lays up into the rough just left of the fairway; Rodgers finds a fairway bunker on his layup.

After Mahomes’ scintillating drive, Allen/Mahomes has a chance to give the green a go in two. Mahomes plays first and plays a high cut with a long iron, the ball missing the green just to the right, in an area of light rough. Allen tugs his second shot well to the left of the green; he is immediately displeased.

From a tricky spot in the fairway bunker, Rodgers is unable to advance his third shot all the way to the green; it settles in the front fringe, some 50 feet from the hole. Brady plays his third to the center of the green, leaving 25 feet up the hill for birdie.

On his third shot, Allen plays a punch shot through some trouble and judges it beautifully; the ball bounces through the rough, onto the green and releases just 10 feet past the hole.

Rodgers’ pitch from the front of the green carries too much zip; the ball races some 20 feet past the hole, leaving a lengthy par-saving try.

Mahomes takes a line well right of the hole on his eagle chip, attempting to utilize a ridge. The ball rides the ridge and settles 10 feet past the hole, joining his teammate Allen with a reasonable birdie look.

Brady’s right-to-left birdie try tracks toward the cup but runs out of gas just inches shy. His par is conceded, leaving Allen/Mahomes with two chances to win the hole and hold a Match lead for the first time.

Neither can convert. Allen’s birdie try misses well left; Mahomes’ birdie try narrowly misses on the right edge.

After a wild hole, the net result is even.

The Match TIED thru 7

No. 6 (par 3, 190 yards)

Allen pulls a mid-iron and produces a high cut off the tee; the ball over-cuts, though, as he yells out a “Fore right!” The ball finds a section of fans short-right of the green.

Perhaps in fear of a pond guarding the front-left portion of the green, Mahomes pushes his tee shot to the right as well.

Allen opts to take his one allotted mulligan — to earn it, though, he needs to hit a target (a cutout of Charles Barkley’s head) with a football. He succeeds to earn his mulligan. This time, though, the ball sails well left of the green.

Undeterred by the struggles of Allen/Mahomes, Brady takes the tee and produces a crisp draw that finds the center of the green, about 25 feet for birdie. Rodgers plays a slight fade that flies past the flag but settles safely on the green, leaving a 30-foot downhill birdie try.

From the spot of Mahomes’ tee shot, about 50 feet right of the flag, Allen plays a deft pitch that settles within 6 feet of the hole. Mahomes’ pitch releases 8 or so feet past the cup, leaving the team with two testers for par.

Brady’s birdie putt is well struck, but it releases 3 feet past the hole on the right side. Rodgers judges the speed perfectly but the ball curls just left, leaving a conceded par.

Mahomes produces a confident strike on his left-to-right par saver, and it finds the right-center of the cup. A fist pump ensues, as well as a high-five with his teammate. The proceedings remain tied at the midway point.

The Match TIED thru 6 

No. 5 (par 5, 533 yards)

Allen pulls driver and takes an aggressive line near a creek left of the fairway, but the ball hangs on just enough, settling in the left side of the fairway with an ideal angle of attack. Mahomes pulls driver and immediately points in dismay, as the ball sails into the trees.

Brady’s case of the duck-hooks continues, as it sails left of the fairway-guarding creek and into the forest of wood chips. Rodgers plays a fade that flirts with the creek more than he might have liked, but the ball stays dry and settles in a line of rough between the creek and fairway.

Playing from Rodgers’ tee shot, Brady pushes an iron well right of the fairway; he quickly sighs in dismay. Rodgers’ second shot sails right as well, into a region of fans short-right of the green.

Allen pulls iron for his second shot and continues the foursome’s trend, quickly exhaling a “Fore right!” as the ball sails right of the fairway, settling into a patch of wood chips.

From the position of Allen’s tee shot, Mahomes starts the ball left and watches it cut back toward the green. On perhaps the team’s shot of the day to this point, the ball comfortably lands on the front portion of the green, leaving a 20-footer for eagle.

After finding an adjacent fairway with his second shot, Brady hoists a short iron high above the tree line; the ball finds the back of the green, leaving 35 feet or so for birdie.

With the tree line blocking his angle to the flag, Allen plays a low punch that settles on the front fringe, about 25 feet away for his birdie look.

From just a few feet behind a tree, Rodgers is faced with a blind third shot, and he finds an opening. The low runner chases through the green and into the back fringe, leaving a 45-foot birdie look.

Rodgers’ birdie try races 12 or so feet past the hole. Brady’s left-to-right breaker cuts across the hole on the right side, releasing 6 feet past.

Needing two putts to win the hole, Mahomes lags his eagle try just inches short of the cup, on a perfect line. He taps in for birdie to win the hole, bringing the match back to tied, a swift shift for a team that had lost the opening two holes.

The Match TIED thru 5

No. 4 (par 3, 155 yards)

Allen takes a short iron for his tee shot and is immediately displeased; the ball sails left and finds a greenside pond, making a distinct splash. Mahomes plays a high cut and is slightly off-balance on his follow-through; he stares it down and the ball maintains a direct line to the hole, but flies the green into the back fringe, about 30 feet from the hole.

Brady plays a high draw and finds the front-middle portion of the green, settling on a level below the hole, approximately 35 feet away for birdie. Rodgers plays a high fade that is pushed well right of the green; yells of ‘Fore!’ are cried immediately, and the ball finds a collection of wood chips and shrubs.

Brady plays first on the birdie try; he displays deft touch as the ball makes its way up the slope and nestles within 3 feet of the hole. The par is not conceded. Perhaps having attained a teach, Rodgers does even better, lagging his putt up to within gimme range. The team is in with a par.

From Mahomes’ spot on the back fringe, Allen pulls wedge; he bumps the ball into the slope to take off some speed, leaving a manageable par putt from inside 6 feet. Mahomes also opts for wedge from 10 or so feet off the green; the ball tracks toward the hole and checks a bit, but it releases to leave a par putt from 5 feet or so.

With two looks at par to tie the hole, Allen/Mahomes needs just one, as Allen drains his par-saver, center cut.

For the first time this evening, a hole is tied.

Brady/Rodgers 1 up thru 4

No. 3 (par 4, 325 yards)

Rodgers plays firsrt, pulling driver on the short par 4. He plays a banana-type cut that lands in the right rough but bounces back into the fairway. Brady takes driver and pulls it left for the third consecutive hole, the ball finding trouble well left of the fairway.

Allen pulls driver and plays a fierce cut that splits the fairway. Mahomes plays a similar shot shape with a low bullet that nearly reaches the green, leaving a short eagle pitch from short-left of the flag.

Playing a 40-yard eagle chip from the spot of Rodgers’ tee shot, Brady opts for a bump-and-run with a hybrid. The ball skips and races 25 feet past the hole — “that’s not bad, but that’s not good,” remarks commentator Charles Barkley.

Rodgers moves his ball into the rough (still within a club length of his tee shot) and plays a higher pitch, the ball landing short of the green, into the upslope, and failing to release on.

Mahomes pulls putter for his eagle try; the ball starts out left and breaks back toward the hole, settling within tap-in range, the team’s first birdie of the evening. Freed up to be aggressive with his eagle try, Allen also pulls putter; the ball quickly sails to the right of the hole.

Needing heroics from long range to match Mahomes’ natural birdie, neither Rodgers nor Brady can deliver. Rodgers’ birdie putt from the fringe nestles to within a foot, and Brady pushes his 25-footer to the right.

Allen/Mahomes wins its first hole of the night.

No. 2 (par 5, 494 yards)

After warning fans to move back from the tree line, Brady’s concern proves justified, as he hooks a low liner into the left tree line.

Rodgers picks up his partner for the second consecutive hole, a butter fade that finds the center of the fairway.

Allen pulls driver and perhaps overcompensates for his opening tee shot that found the left tree line; he plays a high fade that sails into the right rough.

Mahomes pulls driver and the ball flies right immediately, more so than Allen’s ball, deep into the right rough.

Team Allen/Mahomes selects Allen’s tee shot from the right rough, and Allen plays first with an iron, the ball precariously flirting with the spectator line. Mahomes pulls iron and produces a high fade; he appears to flush it and displays buoyant body language on the follow-through. The ball sails past the green into the wood chips.

Well positioned after Rodgers’ drive, Brady dials up a short iron that tracks toward the hole the entire way, landing soft to leave a 15-foot eagle look. Rodgers leans immediately as his iron sails to the right; it flirts with the edge of a creek but settles in greenside rough.

From wood chips behind the green, Mahomes plays a deft pitch that lands in the rough and bounces up onto the green, releasing down a ridge to within 10 feet. With Allen out of the hole, it’s a key effort for the Kansas City Chiefs star.

Rodgers catches his 40-foot eagle chip perhaps a bit heavy; it settles nearly 10 feet short of the hole. No harm, though, as his partner is looking good for birdie at worst.

After taking a long look at his eagle effort, Brady starts his putt on a line right of the hole and it breaks back to miss the hole on the left edge. “Sugar,” he reacts after the putt fails to drop. After brief deliberation, the birdie is conceded.

Needing his 10-foot birdie to tie the hole, Mahomes pulls it left; he knew it immediately.

For the second consecutive hole, Brady/Rodgers wins with a birdie.

Brady/Rodgers 2 up thru 2

No. 1 (par 4)

Sporting a man bun, Aaron Rodgers takes the tee first on the opening hole. He waves to the camera and pulls driver, waiting for a few minutes on the tee as Brady “takes his sweet time” before traversing to the tee box. He doesn’t hesitate in making a confident swing; the ball sails down the middle of the fairway.

Brady also takes driver and pulls his shot into the left tree line, settling in wood chips near the rough’s edge. No trouble, though, as his teammate Rodgers is in prime position.

Allen takes driver and hooks the ball into the left tree line, also settling in wood chips. “We’re alright,” he quips after the ball settles.

Mahomes picks up his partner immediately, taking driver and following Rodgers in piercing the center of the fairway. He picks up his tee quickly and without hesitation.

From the spot of Mahomes’ tee shot, Allen pulls a short iron from approximately 120 yards. The ball finds the fringe just left of the green. Mahomes plays a pretty fade that lands past the hole and spins back, settling within 15 feet for an early birdie look.

From the spot of Rodgers’ tee shot, Brady pulls a wedge slightly, but it settles on the left portion of the green to leave a birdie look of 35 feet or so. Rodgers takes it a step further, playing a soft fade that hits on the back of the green and spins back to within 12 feet.

Allen pulls putter from the fringe, the famed Texas wedge, and judges the speed well; the ball releases to leave a 4-foot par look. Allen inquires as to whether the putt is a gimme, but Brady declines.

Next up, Brady does not make clean contact on his birdie look; the ball settles 6 feet short-right of the hole.

Mahomes’ 12-foot birdie look slides by on the right side, but the par is conceded. Brady then drains his par putt to open things up for Rodgers’ birdie effort.

Rodgers maximizes his birdie opportunity, as the right-to-left curler finds the left side of the cup. He pumps his fist in celebration, as the NFC quarterbacks take the early advantage in Las Vegas.

Brady/Rodgers 1 up thru 1

Jon Rahm returns to site of win, bizarre WD at the Memorial

By: PGA Tour

DUBLIN, Ohio – He won in 2020.

He led by six but had to withdraw with a positive COVID test in 2021.

Jon Rahm comes into the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday having seen the highest highs and the lowest lows at Muirfield Village – or so it seems. The truth, he says, is more complicated. Yes, he wanted to become the first player since Tiger Woods to successfully defend his Memorial title (2000-01), but not getting to do so wasn’t going to define his year.

“Yes, I walked off the course, I was told I couldn’t play, and I was mad for about 10 minutes,” he said. “I allowed myself to be upset. But instantly my switched flipped and I called my wife and I made sure that she was OK, and my son was OK.

“Once I knew they were okay,” he continued, “I was in my little trailer, that little COVID hut we had, and me and my caddie were laughing. We ordered milkshakes and we were laughing at the funny part of everything, right. I mean, the fact that that happened; that I had a six-shot lead and it’s gone, I can’t even play, right. I mean, it’s just – the irony of it all …”

Much has been said of Rahm’s maturation on the PGA TOUR, but perhaps no vignette better captures his equanimity than the Memorial a year ago. He had just completed his third round when he was told of the positive test, and while he was clearly aghast at the news, the image of him laughing about it soon after, milkshake in hand, speaks volumes.

Still intense, but possessed of plenty of perspective, Rahm, 27, has found a gear that is serving him well. When he was asked about his putting struggles earlier this season, he shrugged it off, said the flatstick would come around, and won the Mexico Open at Vidanta a month ago, his seventh TOUR win. He’s 11th in the FedExCup, second on the Official World Golf Ranking.

Now the husband and father of one, with another on the way, is headed into a two-week stretch in which he’ll be a big favorite (Memorial) and the defending champion (U.S. Open). He admits his game isn’t at its absolute peak, but it’s not far off.

“I’m comfortable and confident it could be getting better,” he said.

“I can tell you the first time I played here in 2017, I believe, for some reason, I absolutely hated it,” he added. “… I think it was my first missed cut as a pro (it was his second), and I was just like, ‘I’m done. Never going back.’ And Adam (Hayes), my caddie, kept telling me, ‘Man, I’m telling you, this place is great for you. You just need to learn … certain holes and certain shots.’”

Winning here in 2020 changed everything, and he has called the golf he played at last year’s Memorial some of the best of his career. Then he won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. He’s a popular pick to capture his second Memorial this week.

Despite everything, he said, he won’t be playing with a chip on his shoulder.

“It’s a whole new tournament,” Rahm said. “I can’t be playing, let’s say, mad at what happened last year. Is it motivation? Yes. But you know, it’s not much more added to what I already had.”

Beau Hossler rides experience at Colonial to a share of the lead

By: PGA Tour

FORT WORTH, Texas — Beau Hossler earned a share of the lead Thursday while almost no one watched. He kept it Friday in front of thousands.

Hossler shot 9-under 66-65 at the Charles Schwab Challenge on two wildly different days at Colonial Country Club. His first round included eagles on two par-4 holes, both of them so late in the day that nearly everyone had vacated the property. His second round was an easier quest — five birdies, no bogeys, barely a sweat on his visored brow — down fairways lined with plentiful spectators getting a head start on the holiday weekend.

And that’s exactly what Hossler got, too. He and Scott Stallings took the early lead of the $8.4-million tournament, one of the oldest on the PGA TOUR.

“Today felt, frankly, never really stress-free, but as stress-free as it’s going to get,” Hossler said. “It felt like I was in play. I never was that out of position. Yesterday I was kind of grinding more.”

Through 36 holes, Hossler gained more than nine strokes on the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and nearly six in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green. He ranked first in both categories. He ranked second in scrambling, converting 10 of 11 attempts in the first two rounds.

With considerable wind in the forecast for Saturday, Hossler said he hoped his experience at Colonial — the former University of Texas Longhorn estimated he’d played the course more than 20 times since moving to Texas from California — would help his campaign to win for the first time in his five years on the TOUR. In fact, Hossler said, he welcomed menacing conditions.

“To be honest, from my perspective, the harder the golf course plays, I think it favors me,” he said. “I’ve never been a player that thrives on shooting 30-under par in a tournament.”

Hossler has made two cuts in four starts at the Charles Schwab. His best finish was a tie for 40th in 2019.

His current season includes a third-place finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and two Top 10s, the most recent at the Valero Texas Open. Hossler had his chances last month in San Antonio, but shot even-par 72 in the final round. He finished in a tie for fourth.

May is a different month. Colonial is a different course.

“Hopefully it plays difficult,” Hossler said, “and smart strategy and good commitment and good execution is what will come out on top.”

Power Rankings: Charles Schwab Challenge


Ages and number of appearances for each of the 15 projected contenders ranked open the capsules. (You’ll see the same leadoffs in Sleepers and Draws and Fades.) It’s definitely different, but if it seems silly, what transpired last year proved the point of the exercise. Detail on that, how Colonial Country Club tests and more below.


15 Davis Riley Davis Riley
Age 25; first appearance. Proof that the Power Rankings isn’t beholden to the trend among winners, the PGA TOUR rookie has finished a respective fifth, T9 and T13 in his last three starts.
14 Tommy Fleetwood Tommy Fleetwood
Age 31; first appearance. Not a rookie like Riley but a debutant, nonetheless. The Brit improved in every round of the PGA Championship and co-led the finale with a 67 to place T5.
13 Patton Kizzire Patton Kizzire
Age 36; seventh appearance. He’s the closest to the statistical center in the field. What’s eerie is that he finished T3 last year; the 2021 champion, Jason Kokrak, finished T3 in 2020.
12 Justin Rose Justin Rose
Age 41; ninth appearance. He’s part of the trend at Colonial. He was 37 and in his fifth start when he took the title in 2018, but he’s gone for four top 20s and hasn’t missed a cut.
11 Gary Woodland Gary Woodland
Age 38; fourth appearance. Placed ninth in 2020, T14 in 2021, recorded a scoring average of 67.875 in those eight rounds and has authored numerous examples of impressive form in 2022.
10 Abraham Ancer Abraham Ancer
Age 31; fifth appearance. Fresh off a T9 at the PGA Championship where he regained form tee to green. Hasn’t missed a cut at Colonial and finished T14 in each of the last two editions.
9 Max Homa Max Homa
Age 31; fourth appearance. Unfazed. In a zone. Perspective as a soon-to-be father that he’s acknowledged has influence, but his talent rules the day. Added a T13 at the PGA Championship.
8 Sungjae Im Sungjae Im
Age 24; fourth appearance. The positive spin of him missing the PGA Championship due to COVID-19 is that he’s rested and didn’t experience the rigors of last week’s major. T10 here in 2020.
7 Brian Harman Brian Harman
Age 35; 10th appearance. A recent surge lifted him into the bubble to qualify for the U.S. Open, but his confidence already should be high what with six top 25s at Colonial since 2015.
6 Sam Burns Sam Burns
Age 25; third appearance. He’s part of the small contingent for which the learning curve hasn’t applied. He’s so balanced. Just two months removed from defending his title at Copperhead.
5 Collin Morikawa Collin Morikawa
Age 25; third appearance. Leading the PGA TOUR in final-round scoring average (67) with eight rounds contributing. Still out to avenge his playoff loss here in 2020. T14 last year.
4 Justin Thomas Justin Thomas
Age 29; third appearance. Yes, it will be a challenge to amp back up after the emotional turmoil on Sunday at Southern Hills, but his floor is highest than most. He’s soared all season.
3 Will Zalatoris Will Zalatoris
Age 25; second appearance. He’s evolved from Zalatoris: God of the Non-members to Zalatoris: God of the Non-winners. Tops on TOUR in SG: Approach-the-Green and SG: Tee-to-Green.
2 Scottie Scheffler Scottie Scheffler
Age 25; third appearance. His missed cut at Southern Hills is evidence that he’s human, but he’s also rested for two more days in advance of his return home to the DFW metroplex.
1 Jordan Spieth Jordan Spieth
Age 28; 10th appearance. Bummed about a T34 at the PGA, but there’s no place like home. The former winner at Colonial (2016) also has a trio of runner-up finishes among eight top 15s.

Bryson DeChambeau, Viktor Hovland, Webb Simpson, Colonial CC member Ryan Palmer, defending champion Jason Kokrak and other previous winners of the Charles Schwab Challenge will be among the notables reviewed in Draws and Fades.

When considering which tournaments are the easiest to predict, the Charles Schwab Challenge is at the top beside the Masters. (However, given how the first major of the year has evolved in three spins since its November edition of 2020, it may no longer require the apprenticeship that generates expectations. More on that another time.) The construct of an invitational limited to 120 golfers helps, but next week’s Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, also host to 120 on the only course that’s ever hosted it (Muirfield Village), doesn’t follow a familiar script.

Get a load of this… The last 19 winners in advance of the 2021 Charles Schwab Challenge had an average age of 36 and had logged an average of six starts at Colonial prior to their first victory on the course. Last year, in what was his seventh appearance and within one week after his 36th birthday, Jason Kokrak prevailed. Remember, this Power Rankings already was citing both ages and total appearances. All Kokrak did was follow the instruction. (The specific time frame of the last 19 winners before Kokrak dates back to the year after Sergio Garcia broke through in 2001. He’s both the most recent first-time PGA TOUR winner at Colonial and the most recent to win his first appearance.)

Settling for finding the dartboard with a winner often defines the acceptable, but Kokrak split the arrow. Although there is a spectrum with two endpoints for just about everything, and despite how it shook out last year, no process of prognostication can rely solely on such basic variables, but the historic track in Fort Worth, Texas, caters to all skill sets, so attributes that underscore experience, like age and total appearances, are elevated.

Colonial is a stock par 70 that tips at 7,209 yards as it has since 2016. The 2021 scoring average of 70.208 landed within the cone of expectations, while it also reflected stronger winds in the first and final rounds.

Bentgrass greens average just 5,000 square feet, and they could reach 13 feet on the Stimpmeter, so approaches from bermuda rough, which could be as high as three inches, need to be precise. Last year’s field averaged 7.90 (of 14) fairways hit, about 11 greens in regulation per round and three par breakers after hitting GIR. That slotted Colonial within the third-hardest in all three of those measurements among all courses during the super season of 2020-21.

It’s never easy but Kokrak made it seem that way. He ranked eighth in distance of all drives, fourth in accuracy off the tee, first in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, second in GIR, 10th in proximity to the hole and second in SG: Tee-to-Green. He also checked up seventh in SG: Putting and fifth in putting: birdies-or-better.

Kokrak also finished T12 in par-5 scoring. The pair of par 5s – Nos. 1 and 11 – annually ranks among the toughest sets of all courses, but that’s primarily due to the 635-yard 11th hole. Just two years ago, it was the eighth-hardest in relation to par on the course. Last year, it was fourth-easiest and Kokrak played it in bogey-free 2-under. He won by two strokes.

Overall scoring this week also should align with history, at least until the weekend. Wet weather will give way to a dry opening round on what could be receptive turf for low scores. Winds also will be light until the machine starts cranking on Friday afternoon. Come Saturday and Sunday, daytime highs likely will eclipse 90 degrees and gusts could exceed 30 mph. It has the makings of how the 36-hole leader’s score in relation to par could stand up for victory. So, once again, wisdom and experience in the conditions should factor.

30 Additional Players Exempt for 122nd U.S. Open


Thirty additional golfers, including major champions Adam Scott and Keegan Bradley, have earned full exemptions into the 2022 U.S. Open Championship, to be played June 16-19 at The Country Club, in Brookline, Mass. These exemptions bring the number of fully exempt players to 79.

Exemptions were awarded to 27 players who earned a place in the top 60 of the Official World Golf Ranking® (OWGR) as of May 23, who were not otherwise exempt. Scott, who will compete in his 21st U.S. Open, won the 2013 Masters Tournament. He is ranked No. 42. Bradley, who won the 2011 PGA Championship, is ranked No. 46. It will be Bradley’s 10th U.S. Open.

At No. 14, Will Zalatoris is the highest-ranked player in the current OWGR who was not previously exempt into the U.S. Open. Zalatoris, who will play in his fourth U.S. Open, finished second in the PGA Championship on Sunday, losing to Justin Thomas in a playoff. Mito Pereira moved up 51 spots from his previous world ranking to No. 49 by tying for third in the PGA and will compete in his second U.S. Open.

The other players who earned full exemptions through the current Official World Golf Ranking are: Adri Arnaus, Richard Bland, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Talor Gooch, Brian Harman, Tyrrell Hatton, Russell Henley, Lucas Herbert, Tom Hoge, Kevin Kisner, Si Woo Kim, K.H. Lee, Min Woo Lee, Marc Leishman, Sebastian Munoz, Alex Noren, Thomas Pieters, Seamus Power, Sepp Straka, Cameron Tringale, Harold Varner III and Cameron Young.

Fitzpatrick, who will compete in the U.S. Open for the eighth time, won the U.S. Amateur in 2013 at The Country Club. Harman (No. 53) and Fleetwood (No. 41), who were U.S. Open runners-up in 2017 and 2018, respectively, also earned entry through the OWGR.

Three other players earned exemptions based on their performances on other professional tours. Joohyung Kim was the top finisher on the 2020-21 Asian Tour Final Order of Merit. Jed Morgan earned his spot as the top finisher on the 2021-22 ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Final Order of Merit. Shaun Norris is currently the leading player on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.

Max Homa gained a full exemption when he captured the Wells Fargo Championship on May 8, his second PGA Tour victory this season that awarded a full-point allocation. He is also currently No. 29 in the OWGR.

In addition, the top 10 aggregate point earners, who are otherwise not exempt, in the four-event U.S. Open 2022 European Qualifying Series (Betfred British Masters, Soudal Open, Dutch Open and Porsche European Open) will earn places in the U.S. Open. Any multiple winners of PGA Tour events that award a full-point allocation for the season-ending Tour Championship will also earn an exemption. The number of fully exempt golfers may increase with the addition of the top 60 players from the OWGR as of Monday, June 6.

The first of nine U.S. final qualifiers for the 2022 U.S. Open is being held today in Dallas. Japan completed their 36-hole international qualifier earlier today.

Other 36-hole final qualifiers will take place at nine additional sites on June 6: RattleSnake Point Golf Club (CopperHead Course), Milton, Ontario, Canada; The Olympic Club (Ocean Course), San Francisco; The Club at Admiral’s Cove (North and West Courses), Jupiter, Fla.; Ansley Golf Club (Settindown Creek Course), Roswell, Ga.; Woodmont Country Club (North Course), Rockville, Md.; Century Country Club & Old Oaks Country Club, Purchase, N.Y.; Kinsale Golf and Fitness Club & Wedgewood Golf and Country Club, Columbus, Ohio; Springfield (Ohio) Country Club; and Pronghorn Resort (Nicklaus Course), Bend, Ore.

The U.S. Open has previously been contested at The Country Club in 1913, 1963 and 1988 and each championship was decided in a playoff. One of the five founding member clubs of the USGA, the club will host its 17th USGA championship overall and first since the 2013 U.S. Amateur.

A list of the 79 golfers fully exempt into the 2022 U.S. Open as of May 23 (not including the final qualifiers from Texas and Japan) can be found by clicking here.