Kokrak takes down the Chuck, albeit not that pretty.

What an absolute roller coaster of a last 4 holes yesterday at the Chuck! I honestly can’t remember the last time 2 professional golfers who were leading a tournament played that poorly through the finishing holes. Sure, you see one guy implode, but to have 2 guys have the door WIDE open on so many occasions and neither one capitalizing is just bananas. However, with that being said, Kokrak did make 2 clutch par putts when they mattered to keep Jordan at bay. So maybe that’s capitalizing? I don’t know, didn’t really feel like it.

Before we go any further, I think we all just need to agree that Jason Kokrak looks like a giant baby? Look, I am not saying he is a baby, the dude clearly mashes, but I mean, look…

Dude looks like a baby
This is a real baby

For real though, kudos for Kokrak for battling out this win, especially against Jordan Spieth who has been absolutely RED HOT and was clearly the crowd favorite. Both of this guys played FANTASTIC golf all week long, but we can honestly boil this tournament down to 4 golf holes. Lets start with 15.

Both Jordan and Jason hit decent tee shots giving themselves less than 140 in with the advantage given to Kokrak with a lie in the short stuff. Speith had a 133 yard look from the right hand rough and hit a terrible approach missing the green right followed by Kokrack sticking it 64 feet, which while not ideal was in a great spot with already a 2 shot cushion. If Jason 2 putts here, its a commanding 3 stoke lead with 3 to play seeing as Jordan makes 5 here. Unfortunately, he missies a 13 footer to keep it at a 2 stoke lead. At this point the crowd is going wild with everyone screaming for Jordan, which is a straight kick in the balls to Kokrak.

The par 3 16th, Kokrak lead off hitting it in the greenside bunker leaving it WIDE open for Jordan to make a move, but what happens? Jordan does the same exact thing and puts it in the opposite green side bunker, yikes. Jordan however, hits a great sandy and saves a 3 with Kokrak missing a 10 footer to make his second bogey in a row. 1 shot lead. What is happening? Let the nail biting begin.

You cannot makes this stuff up, on 17 Jordan hits it dead left and just when you think he’s blown it, his ball hits a tree and kicks back towards the fairway in the rough giving him a look. With Kokrak still in a great position to capitalize with a good tee shot, hits sort of a slice, but manages to catch a piece of the right fairway, but ugh oh, there’s tree trouble there. Here we go again with neither managing to hit the green on the approach and Kokrak left with a tricky 35 yard chip from below the green and Jordan just off the back but with a BURIED lie. Gotta give Kokrak some serious credit here though, he hit a decent chip up, but still left himself with a 7 foot tester to make par and he buried it putting pressure on Jordan to make a 6 foot slider to keep it at 1. He does… Wow.

Not gonna lie, this was lining up to be one of the better finishes this year, but a poor tee shot to the right by Jordan put a damper on it quick. He did have a look, but was in the deep rough looking into 18. This was the type of shot though that if he hit it close, we would talk about for years, but it wouldn’t be so, Jordan hit it long and put it in the drink opening the door for Kokrak who safely knocked it on and 2 putt to close out the tournament. While it wasn’t the dramatic finish we were looking for, it sure was a heartbreaker for Spieth.

This hurts

It sure was a roller coaster with Kokrak pulling down his second win of the season, and probably knocking a few years off his life in the process. But, I’m sure he’s pretty relaxed now with his winnings and this is exactly why golf is the shit, you get a paycheck for a smooth 1.35 mil, but oh, here’s a dope ass tricked out Texas power wagon too. Love it, need to get me one of these.

FORE!

Waste Management Phoenix Open Gambling Picks

We are back! Another week where we split our winners and losers. Rory and Rickie’s Sunday blues cost of us some, but Francesco Molinari and Marc Leishman delivered.

There’s another strong field in Phoenix. Usually, the WMPO is the biggest party in golf with the par-3 16th being tabbed as the loudest hole in golf. This year it will be much quieter. The tourney also serves as an excellent pregame for the Super Bowl. Who needs 12 hours of pregame shows for the big game. Tune in to some golf this weekend!  

Last Week: 4-4
2021 Year To Date:
9-15

All Odds are taken from DraftKings.

Finishing Position
Max Homa Top 30 (+163)

Max Homa has played his way into the broadcast the last few weekends. He finished T21 at the American Express (playing in the final group on Sunday) and he holed out for eagle on 18 last Saturday en route to T18 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. It is a home game for Homa as he lives in Scottsdale area. He finished in sixth-place at the event last year and 26th in 2019.

Finishing Position
Jordan Spieth Top 40 (+138)

Jordan Spieth. Our sweet prince. I am ALL IN on following the three-time major winner in his struggles to make a weekend. He has missed two of his last three cuts. His last finish inside the top-40 was back in October. He has not won since July of 2017! Jordan has two top 10s and two missed cuts at the WMPO. He has missed his last two cuts here. Let’s get our swing and swagger back, Jordan! It is a rollercoaster following Spieth and I am ready.            

Finishing Position
Gary Woodland Top 20
(+225)

Gary Woodland made everyone smile a few years ago when he played the 16th hole with Amy Bockerstette of the Special Olympics. The video is below. It is awesome. Woodland has top-10 finishes here in two of the last three years. He won the event in 2018. Nine of his last 12 rounds at TPC Scottsdale have been 69 (two-under-par) or better. Use Gary’s good vibes and root for that sweet stinger.

Finishing Position
Rickie Fowler Top 20 (+200)

Another week on the Rickie train. He played like Garbage on Sunday at Torrey, but he has a strong history here. Six of his last eight rounds have been in the 70s on tour. Not great, but the best remedy is returning to a place he has performed well. He won here in 2019 and has two other second-place finishes. Last year, he was sluggish out of the gates with an opening round 74, but he followed that up with rounds of 65, 69 and 69. One more week riding with Rick.

Finishing Position
Rory McIlroy Top 10 (+175)

It’s no secret that Rory is my favorite player. He has not been on his A-game, but his B-game has seen him rack up some solid results. He was in the top-10 all of last week until a double bogey down the stretch. He was never threatening on Sunday, but this layout plays into his strengths. The rough isn’t that thick. He can bomb driver around this place. The question with Rory is if he can put it all together. Putting, driving and wedge play. His irons are always locked in. He is in a featured group on Thursday with Xander and Daniel Berger. Should be a fun first two rounds.  

Better Finishing Position
Rory McIlroy higher finish than Xander Schauffele (+105)

I am not going to lie to you. I LOVED this pick on Monday and I hate it this morning. No takebacks. Xander finished T2 last week (higher than Rory). Rory is making his debut here. In all six of his starts this year, Xander is T17 or better. I think both guys will be in the mix. I don’t know. You might want to fade me on this one.

I love how Arizona doesn’t acknowledge daylight savings time. That is an absolute baller move.

FORE!

Farmers Insurance Open Monday Morning Superlatives

Well, that was an eventful weekend of golf. Paul Casey showed age is just a number as he held off a charging field in Dubai on the European Tour. Patrick Reed, like him or not, won the Farmers by five shots. We’ll get more into his weekend in a minute.

Reed and Casey weren’t the only winner this week. Let’s take a look at our Monday Morning Superlatives and all the oddities you might have missed last week in the golfing world.

Let’s dive right into Patrick Reed and his questionable play on Saturday.

Least Likely To Get The Benefit of the Doubt…
Patrick Reed

Unless you were living under a rock, you know all about what Patrick Reed did on Saturday. During the third round of the Farmers, Reed hit his approach into the deep rough. He told his playing partners he believed it was embedded. He picked the ball up and called over a rules official. I have no issue with any of that. I do have an issue with him pressing his ball into the ground (The video I had was taken down by Twitter) and then jamming his finger into the ground in the hole to make it deeper. The rules official was placed in an impossible situation. BUT STEVE, the same thing happened to Rory. No it did not. Rory called attention to his playing partners before picking the ball up. He felt as though his ball landed in his original pitch mark. Reed jamming his finger into the hole was wild. For some reason the PGA Tour went to bat HARDCORE to defend this guy. They had a string of tweets about it. Crazy Town to back this guy that everyone knows is a cheater. I think Reed does this to himself so that he can overcome some sort of adversity. He is a truly gifted golfer and a shame he does shit like this. Oh and because Karma is real here’s one of his birdie putts earlier in that round… file this under things you love to see

Most Surprising Statement…
Xander Schauffele

Below is the screen grab of some of his post-round comments. They are fire emoji. That last line…obviously talk amongst the boys isn’t great. The Ryder Cup locker room is going to be something. Who on Earth are they going to pair with Reed. He has played his way. It will AWKWARD for sure. Xander had himself a nice little Sunday despite not being shown until his final few holes. He was three-under for the day and finished T2. Schauffele is one of the quietest guys on tour and he is saying this. Imagine what Brooks or someone else might have to add. Speaking of Brooks.

Strongest Driver Shaft…
Brooks Koepka

Check out the GIF below. That was his reaction after an errant drive during the second round. Bend it like Brooks! His game is in a bit of a rough spot at the moment. He has missed three straight cuts. I expect a bounce back from him this week in Phoenix.

Most Unaware…
The CBS Golf Production

Guys, we need to figure this out. First of all there is a dead window of when live golf is shown each week from the Golf Channel crossing over to CBS. Then they opened up Sunday with 15 minutes of everyone on the broadcast giving their opinion on the Patrick Reed situation from Saturday. I get that it’s important, but can’t we do picture in picture. Something. We know it’s capable because we constantly get those eyes on the course during commercials. They went a solid 35 minutes without a live shot being shown on a Sunday with 15 guys within four shots of the lead. Crazy Town.

Craziest Line Off The Tee…
Sergio Garcia

Take a look at that line! He nearly took the heads off of those two kids. If there is a full gallery there is no way you could take that line. The dogleg goes to the left and the fairway runs straight towards the city. The full video is below. Sergio also made waves over in Dubai this week because he is putting with his eyes closed. I think that’s psychotic, but he finished T6. So good for him.

I’m sure I missed some stuff because the Reed controversy consumed most of my weekend and Twitter scrolling. Let me know your favorite thing on the links from this past weekend.

FORE!

Groups to watch: Farmers Insurance Open

San Diego, The Whales Vagina. Good ol’ Torrey Pines in the Golden State. Absolutely wild to think this is a municipal golf course and residents of San Diego can get out and tear this fine piece of real estate up for $63 American dollars, which is reason enough alone to move out to the area, never mind the fact that its 80 degrees and sunny literally the entire year with the exception of a few months where they have to fight the 60’s..tough

With alot of the big names in the golf world playing in the Abu Dhabi Championship, it leaves some room for some unknowns to step in and make a name for themselves. But, Don’t worry, plenty of firepower in the field this week. Lets take a look at some of the feature groupings kicking it off tomorrow:

10:30 AM features Jon Rahm, Marc Leishman, and Jason Day. Leishman won this thing last year with a TOT 273, -15 earning himself a cool $1.35 million, but was closely tailed by Rahm who finished just a stroke shy. With Leishman finishing T4 in his last outing at the Sony, there are no doubts he’ll be in the hunt this week.

10:40 AM features Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, and Matthew Wolff. This should be a fun group to watch since all these guys do is just hit bombs and drop hellacious seeds all over the joint. If you’re not familiar with those terms, please allow our boy Phil to explain.

9:30 AM features the guy you just heard from, Philly Mick! Xander Schauffele, and Jordan Spieth. Now, we know Jordan has been less than stellar, but he’s just a likable guy. Realistically, Xander is the one with the real shot in this group, but personally, any group that includes Phil Mickelson, we’re watchin’. Plus his Insta is just pure fire..

If you’re looking to make some money this weekend be sure to check out our picks for the farmers. I’m pretty confident the Goose Egg that was dolled out for the Sony was a complete fluke, Steve is back on track.

Enjoy Torrey!

What a dump..

FORE!

Gambling Picks For The Farmer’s Insurance Open

We are back! Felt good to get back in the money last week. Taking our positive vibes and rolling it over this week.

We have big names and the deepest field of talent for a field in 2021, so naturally our picks are SUPER SIZED. We dug ourselves a big hole at the tournament that shall not be named (The Sony Open. I went 0-6 at the Sony Open). I believe there’s some sort of country music lyric that can apply.

Thanks, Miley.

Last Week: 3-3
2021 Year To Date: 5-11

All Odds are taken from DraftKings.

Finishing Position
Rory McIlroy Top 10 (+125)

Coming off a third-place finish in his first start of the year in Abu Dhabi, Rory looks to get back into the winner’s circle. He said he didn’t feel like his game was that strong last week and he still held the 54-hole lead and finished in the top-five. I won my bet on him last week. I’m rolling with him again. It’s his first start on the PGA Tour since his T5 finish at the Master’s. He has finished in the top five at this event each of the last two years. He was solo third last year. Let it ride on Rory.

Finishing Position
Francesco Molinari Top 20 (+275)

He’s back! After his meltdown at The Master’s in 2019 (shout out Tiger!), Molinari took much of last year off due to COVID 19 and moving his family to the United States. The Molinari’s have settled in California and it looks like he is enjoying the Golden State (that could be way off), as he finished T8 at The American Express. If we’re being honest I was torn on him for top 20 and top 30. The odds were too good to not take here.

Finishing Position
Jason Day Top 20 (+188)

Horses for courses! Jason Day has won at Torrey Pines twice in his career and he also has a second-place finish in San Diego. He has three straight top-16 finishes at the event. He finished 16th in 2020, .fifth in 2019 and won it in 2018. Look for Jason to harness the chill vibes of southern (?) California this week. He is making his first start since November, but he is comfortable here. Let’s hope for good Jason Day as opposed to back injuries every other round Jason Day.

Finishing Position
Rickie Fowler Top 30 (+188)

Rickie had a nice weekend at The American Express to end up T21. He was striking the ball great and if he made a couple more 10-15 footers he could have easily snuck into the top 10. He is ranked 61 in the Official World Golf Rankings and has some work to do to get into the field for the Master’s in April. He has top 30 finishes in two of his last three starts. Now for the bad news… Rickie has not finished in the Top 30 at this event since 2013! Yikes. He’s also missed the cut here four of the last five years. Ouch! But, he is sponsored by Farmer’s so the only way to make seeing all those commercials with him this weekend is going to be rooting for him. He needs to reinvigorate his season and career. This could be the week if he can build off Sunday’s finish.

Finishing Position
Marc Leishman Top 30 (+100)

Leishman won last year’s Farmer’s. He closed with a 65 in what turned out to be surreal day as Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash. Leishman has top 20 finishes at Torrey Pines in three of his last four starts. In his last start, he came in fourth at the Sony Open and before that he was T24 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Easy money with the Aussie.

Better Finishing Position
Charley Hoffman (+100) over Joel Dahmen

Charley Hoffman has been around forever! I know he W/D last week, but before that he was sitting at eight-under-par heading into the weekend. He finished ninth at the tournament last year with a Sunday surge (65). Dahmen is coming off a missed cut at The American Express. Dahmen has made three starts at the Farmer’s insurance. He has a missed cut, top 10 and a 55th-place finish. He’s all over the place here. Root for the guy with maybe a mullet.  

To Make The Cut
Phil Mickelson (+100)

Listen, following Phil is addictive. He is an absolute lunatic in real life and a liability on the golf course. He is going to be pressing a little coming off last week’s missed cut. Phil has played 30 events at Torrey Pines. 30! He did miss the cut last year and three of the last five years. BUT, like I said last week. It’s also a thrill to root for Phil.

Let’s have a week, everyone! We’ll check back in with a mid-tournament update and possible plays for the weekend.

BONUS PICKS!

There are some big names in the field once again on the European Tour as they are in Dubai for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Here are a couple outside the box plays heading into the week over there.

Finishing Position
Bernd Wiesberger Top 20 (+175)

What a name that is. The 35-year-old Austrian owns seven European Tour wins and he is currently poised to make is his Ryder Cup Debut in September. He finished T25 last week in windy conditions in Abu Dhabi.

Finishing Position
Rafa Cabrera-Bello Top 20 (+175)

RCB is one of the coolest dudes on the planet. He is constantly rocking his shades during the round to block out the haters, much like Hideki Matsuyama. He is coming off a fourth-place finish in Abu Dhabi last week with three of his four rounds in the 60s. He finished second here in 2016, T11 in 2017 and T6 in 2018. He has missed the last two cuts at the event as he is looking to regain his form.  

Who are you taking this week?

FORE!

The American Express Monday Morning Superlatives

We are back! Si Woo Kim closed with a bogey-free eight-under 64 to win The American Express on the PGA Tour and Tyrrell Hatton boat raced the field in Abu Dhabi to move into the top-five in the Official World Golf Rankings with a win on the European Tour at the HSBC AD Golf Championship.

Kim and Hatton weren’t the only winners this week. Let’s take a look at our Monday Morning Superlatives and all the oddities you might have missed last week in the golfing world.

Best Weekend…
Patrick Cantlay

Listen, Cantlay is the slowest golfer on Earth. He literally stands over every putt for a minute and wiggles his feet 10 times to get into position. It is infuriating to watch. That being said, he was on another planet this weekend. After making the cut on the number, he shot a ridiculous 126 over the weekend. He was 11 under par on Sunday with 11 birdies! In his last 36 holes, he had 20 birdies, 14 pars and two bogies. That is insane. He almost birdied every hole on the course over the last two rounds. Truly impressive.

Coolest (Free) Car…
Alexander Levy

During the third round of the HSBC AD Golf Championship on the European Tour, Alexander Levy made a hole-in-one on the 177-yard par 3 15th. The shot and the celebration were both awesome. Check out the video below. Watch until the end for some DAD dance moves. If you were wondering why some people think golfers are socially awkward just watch this whole thing unfold.

Best Shot Trajectory…
Si Woo Kim

I’m a sucker for a good stinger. This is so simple and so awesome. Si Woo Kim is only 25! He feels older because he’s been playing professionally since he was 17! Been around eight years and he became just the second player currently on tour (Collin Morikawa) with three wins before turning 26. He won The Players a few years back. Good on you, Si Woo. Also, could he pull down his hat a little lower…

Most Likely to be back in the Win Column…
Me!

I was awful with my picks at the Sony Open and went 0-for-the board. This week, I was a respectable 3-3. Rickie top-30 check, Finau top-20 check and McIlroy with a higher finish than JT check. I should have backed Cantlay instead of Reed. I WILL NEVER ROOT FOR PATRICK REED AGAIN. NEVER! Big week ahead with lots of big names in the field at the Farmer’s Insurance Open.

Best Sense of Humor…
Mark Hubbard

Mark Hubbard had a tough go of it last week at The American Express. He shot a four-over-par 76 on Friday to miss the cut. On his final hole of the day, the par-4 ninth, he unveiled what he dubs as “The Snail” putting grip.

What a WILD move that was. I guess if you’re not going to make the weekend then the par putt doesn’t really matter. He explained the putt…

“Like most things, the key aspect is really the presentation. You’ve really got to sell it, that you’re going in for a normal stroke. Really look focused and determined, and at the last second, shimmy in there. Reminiscent of a Jack Parkman from Major League 2, shimmying at home plate.”

I think I want to get a beer with Mark Hubbard.

Most Impressively Average Round…
Phil Mickelson

Phil did something he has never done before. When you get to type that it’s always exciting. During the second round of The American Express, he carded 18 straight pars. It was his 2,201st round on the PGA Tour and he had NEVER DONE THAT BEFORE. It didn’t help me (who took him top-30) or Phil as he ended up missing the cut. Been the story of Phil lately. Go a little viral on social without a strong performance.

What did I miss?

Let’s have a week, everyone.

FORE!

The European Tour is Awesome

While you were sleeping or getting ready for your day depending on when you wake up, some of the best golfers in the world were teeing it up in Abu Dhabi for the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The European Tour’s social media team is SOOO much better than the PGA Tour’s. Give them a follow on Twitter and Instagram. This has nothing to do with the event this week just an observation.

The opening round saw fog delays, eagles, a strong leaderboard and lots of content.

The calendar year opened for the European Tour with the image below. How creepy is fog? I understand the science of it (I don’t really). Either way fog kind of rocks.

Rory McIlroy shot a bogey-free eight-under-par 64 to hold a one-stroke lead. Making his first start of the year, Rors looked confident on the greens. I couldn’t find the shots gained putting numbers, but he did make birdie putts of 12 feet, 13 feet, 13 feet, 28 feet, 15 feet, eight feet and 26 feet. Cannot remember a round where he made two birdies over 25 feet. He was rolling it PURE.

If you read my gambling picks post yesterday, hopefully you followed my advice and put some cash on Rory to finish higher than Justin Thomas. While McIlroy cruised to a 64, JT never really got comfortable and entered the clubhouse with a one-over-par 73. So yeah, that’s a nine-stroke advantage for Rory after day one as JT will have his work cut out for him to make the cut. Bad pun maybe, but it’s the truth nonetheless.

Tyrell Hatton sits just one shot back of McIlroy thanks to making not one, but two eagles. He opened his day and the 2021 season with an eagle three on the par 5 10th and he made another three for a big bird on his ninth hole of the day as well.

As always, it was not all rainbows and butterflies for Hatton as we got this incredible GIF following an errant tee shot (he still made par).

I have hit some bad tee shots in my day, but I never drop the driver on my follow through. Maybe I just expect three out of five drives to be bad. I might add this move to my arsenal on the links. There is nothing quite as funny as a sarcastic thumbs up. Truly the best in my book.

Also, how fun is it to be the volunteer that gets to yell FORE or give the directional miss with your hands. I aspire to do that someday.

Speaking of eagles, Matthew Wallace holed out for a double circles 2 on the first hole (his tenth of the day). He stuck an absolute dart in there and grabbed the putter with confidence. No need, bud. Already in for eagle. Have you ever played a round with someone that’s done the “Oh, maybe it’s in the hole!” act when you know they skulled it 30 yards over the green out of bounds? Because I have definitely done this.

I am a big fan of the green shot tracer (thanks to sponsor Rolex) that the European Tour uses. The juxtaposition of it in the sunny sky is awesome. Sometimes, I’m simple like that.

It always amazes me that these pristine courses exist in places like the desert. Check out this course.

The PGA Tour event in California is just getting underway.

Looking forward to another fun weekend of golf.

FOLLOW THE EUROPEAN TOUR.

FORE!

Gambling Picks for The American Express

We are back! We are putting last week’s disastrous results behind us. As always let’s have some fun and make some money.

Last Week: 0-6!
2021 Year to Date: 2-8

All Odds are taken from DraftKings.

Finishing Position
Phil Mickelson Top 30 (+150)

Mickelson is serving as the tournament host this week. He has a strong history here, posting a second-place finish here in 2019 and a third-place result in 2016. We will selectively choose to forget the missed cut last year. Plus, it’s always fun to root for Phil. Let it ride on lefty.

Finishing Position
Tony Finau Top 20 (+100)

Tony Finau ended 2020 with a T8 showing in Mayakoba. In his last start, he finished T31 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He finished 14th in the event last year, highlighted by a second round 62! Finau is due for a strong week. Back the big hitter.

Finishing Position
Patrick Reed Top 20 (+100)

Listen, I hate Patrick Reed. Hate might not even be a strong enough word. But last week I got my teeth kicked in and this course is suited to his strengths. I’m eating crow and making the smart play here. He won here in 2014. Four straight finishes of T21 or better. Lock it in.

Finishing Position
Rickie Fowler Top 30 (+120)

Rickie has had a rough go of it lately. To say he is due is an overstatement. His odds for a top 30 finish are only a little higher than 50-year-old Phil Mickelson. He missed the cut in his last start in Mayakoba and before that he limped to a T29 finish at The Masters. He got off to a strong start here last year with rounds of 64-65 before stalling on the weekend. He came in 10th after posting scores of 70 and 71 to fall down the leaderboard. Slick Rick can finish top 30. Did you know he technically isn’t in the 2021 Masters field yet? He needs some strong results quick to qualify.

Finishing Position
Matthew Wolff Top 20 (+150)

He is making his first start since missing the cut at The Masters. Wolff is teeing is up for the first time in two months. The young gun is rested and poised for a breakout this week. He finished 61st here last year with not exactly eye-popping numbers, but his game is held in much higher regard this year. He’s fun to watch and hits the ball a country mile. This week we are all part of the #WolffPack (did I just make that up)?

I wanted to back Brooks but wasn’t a fan of any of the odds for him. Keep an eye out because we’ll be dropping a weekend look at the odds both on the PGA Tour and European Tour.

Speaking of the European Tour, let’s throw in a little action on what’s going down in Abu Dhabi.

Better Finishing Position
Rory McIlroy (+100) over Justin Thomas

Did you know that Rory McIlroy has NEVER won his first calendar start of the year! Me either. Maybe the bulked up Ulsterman can buck that trend. That being said, McIlroy has finished fifth or better in his first event in 12 of the last 13 years. RESEARCH! That includes a top-five everywhere he’s started his year since 2014.

Who do you like this week?

FORE!

The American Express Preview

The PGA Tour is back on the mainland this week for The American Express La Quinta, California. This year’s edition will have a different look – only two courses will be used, and amateurs will not play alongside the professionals.

Third tournament of the calendar year. Below are seven things to know about The American Express.

1) Different courses! The event takes place at the Stadium Course at PGA West (par 72) and Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West (par 72). For the first time in tournament history, The American Express will be conducted on only two courses. Players will play a round at each course before heading to the Stadium Course for play over the weekend.

2) Water Water Everywhere!  There is a TON of water in play at the Stadium course. Below is a picture of the 17. Great little par three that has some TPC Sawgrass vibes. On the front, there is water in play on the fifth (par 5 with water in play left off the tee and right on approaches to green), sixth (long peninsula par 3), seventh (short par 4, guys will likely use an iron off the tee with water running along the right side of the hole and surrounding the green) and ninth (medium length par 4 with water all long the right side).

3) Time To Go Low! Over the last eight years, winners at this event have averaged 27.7 birdies or eagles for the week at this event. So guys will have to go low to be in contention this week. Each of the last seven years the winning score has been -20 or better.

4) Rahm Withdraws. Tournament favorite and world No. 2 Jon Rahm withdrew from the event yesterday. He did not give a reason for skipping an event he has a strong history at. Rahm finished sixth at the course in 2019 and won it back in 2018.

5) Strong Field. Despite Rahm withdrawing, the American Express still has a very strong field. Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Singjae Im, Matthew Wolff and tournament host Phil Mickelson are all teeing it up.

6) Charity exhibitions Are Back! Tournament host Phil Mickelson will be mic’d up and playing in a charity exhibition on Wednesday alongside Tony Finau and Paul Casey. Phil is always much watch during these things so tune into Golf Channel Wednesday afternoon.

7) The Champ Is Here! That is not a Cameron Champ pun, but he is in the field. Andrew Landry is the defending champion at the event. He carded a four-round score of 26-under-par to pick up the win last year. Landry is looking to become the first golfer to defend his title at The American Express since Johnny Miller in 1975-76.

Everyone loves a trophy you can drink out of.

Should be an exciting week of golf both here and on the European Tour is Dubai. The field over there is a packed as well with JT, Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Henrik Stenson and every other big name European player you can think of.

FORE!

Sony Open in Hawaii Monday Morning Superlatives

The second PGA Tour event of the calendar year is in the books and once again we saw a winner decided on the final hole of play. Kevin Na played the back nine at Waialae Country Club in 32 on Sunday to erase a three-stroke deficit and pick up his fifth career PGA Tour win.

Kevin Na wasn’t the only winner this week. Let’s take a look at our Monday Morning Superlatives and all the oddities you might have missed last week in the golfing world.

Most Likely To Owe You An Apology…
Me

Hand up! My picks were absolutely god awful last week. I went 0-for the board. I won’t make excuses (Morikawa missed a three-foot birdie putt and another one inside 10 feet so that’s why he wasn’t in the top-20 after day one). Just need to study my spreadsheets better and crunch some more numbers.

Most Likely To Go Viral…
Kevin Kisner

In his pre-tournament press conference, Kevin Kisner pulled a Kevin Kisner and gave us an incredible sound bite. When asked why he plays at events and courses he spoke the truth. He was kind of serious in his response which makes it even funnier. The video is below. In case you were wondering, Kisner finished this week T32 and brought home over 34K.

Most Likely To Make the Most of an Opportunity…
Nick Hardy

WHO?! Well, the former Fighting Illini golfer won a 3-for-1 playoff to Monday qualify for the Sony. He went on to shoot 69-63-66-66 to finish T14, earn over 113K and get a spot in the Farmer’s Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in two weeks. A great story we heard little about this weekend. Hardy was the 2018 Big Ten Player of the Year and First Team All-American and he finished 2020 at No. 15 on the Korn Ferry Points Tour list. Normally, that would have given him his tour card, but not due to the restructured rules because of COVID. Keep an eye on this guy.

Most Likely To Make You Smile…
Chris Kirk

Chris Kirk has battled through a lot since winning an NCAA Title at Georgia with Brendon Todd and Kevin Kisner. Kirk was playing on a major medical extension after taking a seven-month leave of absence from the game to battle alcoholism, anxiety and depression. This was his final event on the exemption and he needed to finish T2 or better to earn enough Fed-Ex Cup points to retain his tour card. And guess what… he shot four straight rounds of 65 to finish T2. Good for Chris.

Most Likely To Have PTSD From This Event…
Brendan Steele

For the second year in a row, Steele saw a back-nine lead disappear at the Sony Open. He jumped into the 54-hole lead by carding a nine-under par 61 on Saturday. He entered the back nine with a THREE-STROKE lead. He made a bogey on the short par-4 tenth. He made another bogey on 14 before missing a 10-foot birdie to tie the lead on 17. He also missed a seven-footer for birdie on 18. A course that demands precision off the tee and accuracy on approach, Steele missed five of seven fairways coming home.

FORE!

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