Monthly Archives: May 2021

The First Look: the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide

A stout field led by the top five in the FedExCup standings will all head to Jack Nicklaus’ renovated Muirfield Village for the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.

Jon Rahm, whose victory pushed the young Spaniard to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time, is back to defend. The Memorial was the first of two wins last season, marking Rahm’s first multi-win campaign on TOUR.

FIELD NOTES: Bryson DeChambeau, who leads the FedExCup standings and won the 2018 Memorial, will be teeing it up … Other past winners at Jack’s Place who will be in the field include Patrick Cantlay, Jason Dufner, William McGirt and, of course, Rahm. Overall there are six former Memorial winners in the field… Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy, a pair of past FedExCup and PLAYERS champions, head to Muirfield looking for their first titles at the Memorial … Tyler Strafaci and Joe Long earned spots in the field after winning last year’s U.S. Amateur and British Amateur, respectively. Pepperdine alum Sahith Theegala is in the field as last year’s Jack Nicklaus Award winner, given to the top player in college golf … Sponsor exemptions include Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington, who is coming off a fourth-place finish at the PGA Championship; fellow major champions Vijay Singh and Danny Willett; and Bo Hoag who, like Nicklaus himself, played golf at Ohio State and has a deep connection to the Golden Bear.

FEDEXCUPWinner gets 550 FedExCup points.

COURSEMuirfield Village Golf Club, par 72, 7,543 yards. The House That Jack Built hosted two consecutive PGA TOUR events in 2020 prior to getting a renovation (Collin Morikawa beat Justin Thomas in a playoff to win the Workday Charity Open in the week preceding the Memorial). The renovation efforts started during the final round of last year’s Memorial Tournament. Turf was being lifted as the leaders were on the back nine. Changes included irrigation work, the addition of a PrecisionAire system, rebuilt fairway and greenside bunkers, reconstruction of the greens, over 140 trees added in various spots (for example, the fairway width on No.13 was reduced), plus resurfaced tee boxes. The course can also play up to 100 yards longer now.

STORYLINES: What will a renovated Muirfield Village look like? Last year, the course played the toughest it had in more than 40 years as the crew let the golf course get firm and fast before being torn up for the renovation. The renovations will challenge the players in a new way … Rahm is looking to become the first man to defend his title at the Memorial since Tiger Woods in 2001 (that was actually Woods’ third consecutive title) … Seven of the top-10 golfers in the world will be teeing it up at the Memorial… A limited number of spectators will be allowed to attend. The tournament is also taking the unprecedented step of offering COVID-19 vaccinations to on-site spectators June 4-6… With the Memorial Day weekend in the rear-view mirror, the FedExCup race is heating up. And with 550 FedExCup points available to the winner at the Memorial, it’s a fine opportunity for someone to make a big-time jump.

72-HOLE RECORD: 268, Tom Lehman (1994)

18-HOLE RECORD: 61, John Huston (2nd round, 1996)

LAST YEAR: Despite shooting 75 in the final round, Jon Rahm captured the 2020 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide and in the process got to No. 1 in the world. Rahm had an eight-shot lead as he made the turn Sunday in 2020, but he came home in 5-over 41. The highlight for Rahm came on the par-3 16th as he flopped in a pitch for birdie and unleashed a big fist pump… until it was revealed the ball moved slightly when he placed his wedge behind it, and he was assessed a two-shot penalty. It was no matter, however, as he notched his fifth TOUR title. Rahm’s 9-under 279 was good for a three-shot victory over Ryan Palmer. It was the highest winning score at Memorial since Woods shot the same number in 2012. Rahm and Palmer paired to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans a year earlier. Matthew Fitzpatrick finished 5 under and alone in third place; his 68 was the only sub-70 score in the final round. Matt Wallace and Muirfield Village member Jason Day rounded out the top five. Only nine players finished under par. Tiger Woods, in his first start back after the COVID-19 break, finished T40.      


Television: Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2:30 p.m.-6 p.m. (CBS).

PGA TOUR LIVEThursday-Friday 7:15 a.m.-7 p.m. (Featured Groups). Saturday, 7:45 a.m.-3 p.m. (Featured Groups), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Holes). Sunday, 7:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Featured Groups), 2:30 p.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Holes).

Radio: Thursday-Friday, 12 p.m.-6:30 p.m ET. Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. ET. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and

TOURCast: Get shot-by-shot info in real time with shot tracks and video with TOURCast.

TOUR Pulse: Get the PGA TOUR app to utilize TOUR Pulse, which provides users the ability to experience a mix of content, such as video highlights, written hole summaries and stat graphics on every player after every hole they complete.


Match play is officially back on the LPGA Tour with Wednesday’s Day One matches at the inaugural Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play Hosted by Shadow Creek. As always, the format brought excitement and extreme highs and lows to the day’s competition.

Perhaps the biggest upset came in Group 4, where No. 61 Jenny Coleman knocked off No. 4 Brooke Henderson, 1 up. Coleman, playing in just her second match-play event and first since the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur, carded only four birdies, but they all came at opportune moments. After dropping the first three holes to Henderson, who was runner-up at that same Women’s Amateur, Coleman’s birdie at No. 5 cut the deficit to two holes. She tied the match with a birdie at No. 11 and took her first lead with a third birdie at No. 16. Her final birdie at No. 18 sealed the big win.

“I think we were both pretty even keeled,” said Coleman. “I just came off to a sloppy kind of start, and she kind of had a rough patch in the middle, and then I started capitalizing on it and kept moving all the way through the back nine pretty good. Just stayed patient, but also playing smart.”

No. 5 Danielle Kang cruised to a 7-and-6 victory over No. 60 Albane Valenzuela, Wednesday’s largest margin of victory. Her American Solheim Cup compatriots Lizette Salas and Stacy Lewis followed close behind, notching 5-and-4 wins over Madelene Sagstrom and Mi Hyang Lee, respectively. The win was particularly sweet for Lewis, who is chomping at the bit to get back onto Team USA after missing the 2019 competition with a back injury.

“I really want to be playing. I want to be a part of the team. I want to help the team win,” said Lewis. “Pat [Hurst, USA Captain] is out seems like almost every week right now watching, so just trying not to pay attention if she is hanging around, but I know she’s watching and paying attention.”

No. 1 Jin Young Ko, despite admitting no love for the match-play format, earned a 4-and-2 victory over No. 64 Natalie Gulbis. No. 2 Inbee Park went the distance with 2020/21 LPGA Tour rookie Jennifer Chang, who took a 1-up lead to the final hole. With a white ribbon on her hat in memory of her grandfather, who died on Monday, Park got up and down for birdie from the back of the green to tie the match.

“Just feels really weird playing in the hometown and waking up in your own bed and going to the tournament. I mean, it’s something I’ve never done before,” said Park, who has lived in Las Vegas since she was a teenager. “So today was how I kind of felt a little nervous and I wasn’t able to perform as well as I wanted to perform. Hopefully the rust is off today and the next few days I’ll be playing better.”

Phil Mickelson’s bag: How it compares to past wins at Colonial

Following his improbable PGA Championship triumph, Phil Mickelson is right back in the thick of the action. Twice a champion at Colonial Country Club, Mickelson returns for the Charles Schwab Challenge.

The 50-year-old’s current setup has certainly changed from the artillery he chose early in his career.

Indeed, the equipment landscape itself is entirely different than it was when Mickelson won his first of now 45 PGA TOUR events (as an amateur) in 1991! Titanium drivers were only beginning to show up on TOUR in Lefty’s early years, and Mickelson’s longtime sponsor, Callaway, didn’t release the Great Big Bertha until 1995.

The history of modern golf equipment has literally played out in Mickelson’s bag as a professional.

The differences in Mickelson’s current setup compared to 2000, when he won the first of his two Charles Schwab Challenges, are immediately apparent. His Yonex Super A.D.X. driver was a fraction of the size of his 450 cc Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond. Mickelson has been leaning on a TaylorMade Original One Mini Driver as his second fairway wood this season – the total amount of technology in his two Yonex fairway woods of 2000, or even his Callaway FT-5 driver and FT Tour 3-wood of 2008, is the difference between the Ford Model T and the Ford GT.

Interestingly, Mickelson played Ping Eye 2 wedges throughout his early years and had a 60-degree Eye 2 in the bag for his 2000 win at Colonial. One look at his current PM Grind wedges, and it’s clear the Eye 2 shaping was the original inspiration for the design Mickelson and Callaway engineers continue to refine.

Also notable on the similarities front: the 8802-style heel-shafted blade putter Mickelson has preferred throughout most of his career was present in the bag for both victories and will be in Phil’s hands this week as well. In 2000, Mickelson gamed a custom Bettinardi blade. In 2008, it was the same Odyssey “Phil Mickelson” blade shape that he won with at last week’s PGA Championship.

Check out Mickelson’s WITBs for his 2000 and 2008 wins at Colonial and what he has in the bag this week.


Driver: Yonex Super A.D.X. (8 degrees)
Shaft: Yonex PM Proto

3-wood: Yonex Super A.D.X. (13 degrees)
Shaft: Yonex PM Proto

Irons: Yonex Super A.D.X. Tour Forged (2-PW)
Shafts: Precision Rifle 7.0

Wedges: Yonex PM Forged (56), Ping Eye 2 (60)
Shafts: PM 7.0, Eye2 X100

Putter: Bettinardi PM Blade

Ball: Titleist Professional 100


Driver: Callaway FT-5 Tour (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana White Board Proto 73 X

3-wood: Callaway FT Tour (13 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 73 X

Irons: Callaway X Forged (2-4), Callaway X Proto MB (5-PW)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 7.0 Satin

Wedges: Callaway X Forged (52, 56, 60)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 7.0 Satin

Putter: Callaway White Hot XG PM Blade

Ball: Callaway TOURix


Driver: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond (6 degrees @5.5 , green dot cog)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (47.9 inches)

2-wood: TaylorMade Original One Mini Driver (11.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

Irons: Callaway X Forged UT (16), Callaway X21 UT Proto (19 degrees @20.5, 25), Callaway Apex MB ‘21 (small groove) (6-PW)
Shafts: (16) MCA MMT 105 TX, KBS Tour V 125 S+

Wedges: Callaway PM Grind ’19 “Raw” (52-12@50, 55-12, 60-10)
Shafts: KBS Tour V 125 S+

Putter: Odyssey Milled Blade “Phil Mickelson”
Grip: SuperStroke Pistol GT Tour

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X (Triple Track)

Grips: Golf Pride MCC



The first round of the Pure Silk Championship presented by Visit Williamsburg at Kingsmill Resort had a hole-in-one from Jane Park, the first in her 15-year LPGA Tour career. The #LPGAMom found the bottom of the cup on the par-3 5th from 148 yards with an 8-iron.

“I actually hit the perfect shot. People by the green said it rolled in just like a putt,” said Park, who shot a 3-over par 74 on the River Course in the first round. “I hit exactly where I wanted to, and once I saw it hit the green, I kind of turned away and started walking back towards my bag. Then I heard an eruption of applause up by the green. There were a few volunteers, and my cousin is here watching. One of my playing partners said, ‘You holed out.’ I got chills. Started jumping up and down. High fived everyone.”

For the ace, CME Group will donate $20,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The 2021 season now has five aces for a total of $100,000 in donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


“Did you say $20,000?” Park said in questioning amazement. “Wow, well it is an absolute honor to help the cause and obviously, having a baby girl myself, I sympathize with all those parents suffering with sick children. I’m just so happy that I can be part of that. It’s really awesome.”


WILLIAMSBURG, Va. | The rock band Bon Jovi used to belt the lyrics “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” in the early 90s. Of course, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora also slept past noon during their touring days. And almost never did the band play on four hours of sleep a night for the better part of a week.

Wei-Ling Hsu, the 26-year-old Taiwanese player in her sixth season on the LPGA Tour, doesn’t know much about big-haired stadium rock. But she can certainly relate to some of the words Jon wrote. “Sometimes I sleep / Sometimes it’s not for days.”

“I’ve only slept I will say 20 hours in the last five days,” Hsu said after going out in the morning at Kingsmill Resort and firing a bogey-free, 5-under par 66. “Since I didn’t get much sleep, I didn’t really expect much this week. Just try to sleep and relax and play golf.” Then she laughed, shook her head and said, “I mean, I’m so tired.”

Hsu is not an insomniac. Far from it. She loves a good nap as much as the next person. But like many travelers, sleeping on airplanes is a problem for her. So, the 8,500-mile trip from Chonburi and the Honda LPGA Thailand to Williamsburg and the Pure Silk Championship was always going to be tough. However, Hsu had even more stress in the middle. Last Thursday, she played a 36-hole qualifier in Arizona for the U.S. Women’s Open.

“I actually flew into L.A., picked up my mom and then drove all the way from L.A. to Phoenix,” she said. “I got in on Wednesday, no, no, no, on Tuesday, and then had a practice round on Wednesday.”


We’ve all been there. Days run together. Eyes feel as dry as rice paper. Every step is an effort. “I didn’t really play a practice round,” Hsu said of her prep for the qualifier. “I was just too tired. I couldn’t even swing. So, I just got a cart and drove around. Didn’t even chip and putt. I just looked at the course. I’d never been there, but I was so tired I didn’t want to leave that golf cart. I was just like, ‘I can’t do it.’ And I needed to play 36 holes the next day, so I told myself that it was okay just to drive around.”


Turns out it was 37 holes. Hsu was in a playoff for the final alternate spot. She made a birdie putt on the first extra hole to earn the alternate spot and will be waiting anxiously in San Francisco in a couple of weeks to see if she is in the field at Olympic Club.


But the travel odyssey wasn’t over. “I had a redeye flight that night, which was like 11:05 pm or something from Phoenix to Charlotte,” she said. “So, by the time I got home I was like, ‘Oh, my God,’ because I’d only slept two hours.”


A couple of days on the east coast where she tried to catch up and she was back in the car to Kingsmill.


“I think I just need to recognize that you need breaks and you have to tell yourself, ‘Hey, you are tired,’ and not be like, ‘Oh, I’ve still got a tournament going on, I need to practice, hit like a thousand balls on the range.’ I feel like if I can sleep well, I can hit more quality shots and have a clear mind, recognizing that (sleep) is helping my body relax and recover.”


Low expectations might have played a role in Hsu’s great opening around. “I just didn’t really set any goals,” she said. “I had a good experience in Thailand and Singapore because when we go overseas, it’s really hot and high humidity, so after 18 holes you are always hot and sweating. You can’t really do anything on the driving range or putting green (because of the heat), so I tried to take a break and relax more after my rounds. It felt pretty good. I think I’ve learned from that experience and I’m carrying it forward to this week.


So, what is her game plan for the rest of the week in Virginia?


“Sleep,” she said with a smile and shoulders that sagged in relief, proving once again that the old adage holds true: Be wary of the weary. For they are capable of surprising things.