In this week’s edition, we examine LIV Golf’s daring grab for world rankings points, some much-needed old guesses Tiger Woods and Wahid Waheed.
he is back? It’s oddly comforting that there is still one thing that can snatch the world of golf out of the PGA Tour/LIV golf bog: Tiger Woods.
Woods hasn’t played since missing the Open in July, and continues to rehab and recover from the traumatic car crash in early 2021 that forced him to endure multiple surgeries, but Notah Begay III provided a glimmer of hope this week we may see Woods play before the end of the year.
“I know once he feels competitive – I think he’s got a good idea of what it’s going to take last year – we’ll see him,” Begay, a longtime confidant of Woods, recently told Radio PGA Tour. “We might see him once this fall. It might surprise everyone.”
It seems unlikely that Begay would talk about a random start at the Houston Open or the RSM Classic – and while he’s a former Zozo Champion, the trip to Japan would be without a start – but it is a start in the Hero World Challenge, hosted by Woods, or the PNC Championship , along with his son Charlie, they don’t seem to be out of the question.
At this week’s PGA Tour Champions event, Begay suggested that a champ rule change could be in the works as well, “We might see a late introduction to the cart rule.” [at the Hero]Begay said.
Correct path. The home course ‘feature’ that has become such a large part of the Ryder Cup may be about to expire. (The 2018 matches in Paris are the most extreme example of how tournament setup can affect the outcome.)
At a one-year event this week in Rome, both captains of next year’s Ryder Cup have largely rejected the idea of any on-field advantage at home.
“The nice thing about being a captain on our soil is that you have some control over how the track is set up,” said European Captain Luke Donald. We look at the stats and look for marginal gains. It’s no secret that teams are usually pretty even when it comes to long game, short game, and putting. There are very subtle differences. There’s only so much you can do on the golf course, but you try to set it up a little bit.”
US captain Zach Johnson, who played host stadium Marco Simon for the first time this week, also dismissed the idea of an overwhelming setup feature, but emphasized that the design would be a unique physical test.
“Someone told me Marco Simone is more hilly than Augusta National. I’m like, Good. that it. that it. “I think it is, to a T,” Johnson said. “It will be a tough physical exam when you play four sessions in two days. You have to take that into account.”
Making unfinished pieces (MDF)
shake the dog. Ignoring LIV Golf’s clumsy effort to control the narrative and, even more daringly, the outcome, this week’s give-and-take between the Saudi-backed startup and the official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) has created a subtle and intriguing debate.
A press release from the Middle East Tour – a third-class circuit that hosts 54-hole events in the Middle East and North Africa – announced a “strategic alliance” with LIV Golf (sound familiar?) which the Tours believed was “immediately qualifying” LIV Golf for world ranking points. Including this week’s event in Bangkok.
A day later, OWGR declined, explaining in a statement, “Note that these changes introduced by the MENA tour are insufficient to allow [the world ranking] to carry out the usual necessary review.”
With LIV players continuing to drop in the rankings, the desire to rush through this “review” process is understandable, but just saying something is true doesn’t make it so.
However, the chaos of the arrangement created a degree of dialogue between the two sides. While the likes of Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick have backed away from the idea of some sort of accelerated ranking assessment process for LIV events, the Northern Irishman admitted that the current standoff has created a hole in the rankings.
“I definitely want to rank the best players in the world accordingly,” McIlroy said last week at the Alfred Dunhill Links. “I think if Dustin Johnson is 100th in the world, it’s not an accurate reflection of where he is in the game.”
Tweet of the week: Bryson Dechambeau
A 309-word statement was posted on social media Sunday after Bryson Deschamps took second place in the Long Driving Championship, but read more like therapy, including a curious move, “I guess where I’m going with this…”
There appears to be some buyer’s remorse among some LIV players who have taken advantage of a lifestyle that may not have been what they were expecting. Perhaps DeChambeau just wanted to babble after an emotional day of firing at 400 yards, or maybe he just needed to feel like someone was listening.
Autumn farewell. The fall portion of the PGA Tour schedule has always been oddly appropriate, with most events looking for a decent identity and field.
This is the last edition of the fall events before the tour moves back to next year’s schedule, and these events, including this week’s Shriners Children’s Open, are becoming something else. What exactly will be determined because the department is working through the logistics of a significantly overhauled schedule, which may be why this fall seems so surreal.
This week’s event in Las Vegas, which has always been a popular stop no matter where or what condition the schedule is, is the third of nine tournaments this fall, and the truth of all that’s coming may not be known until the tour nears its end. So far, this swan song for fall has felt like a strangely hollow farewell.