Friday, July 31

Strong Field Set for PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park



THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP, THIS YEAR'S FIRST MAJOR, will begin next Thursday at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

According to the PGA of America, the field is expected to include 95 of the top 100 players in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Here's the list:

An, Byeong Hun – REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Ancer, Abraham - MEXICO
Auterson, Mike - Milford, Ohio (cp)
Balin, Danny - White Plains, N.Y. (cp)
Beach, Alex - Stillwater, Minn. (cp)
Beem, Rich - Austin, Texas
Berberian, Jr., Rich - Hooksett, N.H. (cp)
Berger, Daniel - Jupiter, Fla.
Bertsch, Justin - Naples, Fla. (cp)
Bezuidenhout, Christiaan - SOUTH AFRICA
Bradley, Keegan – Woodstock, Vt.
Cabrera Bello, Rafa - SPAIN
Campillo, Jorge - SPAIN
Cantlay, Patrick – Jupiter, Fla.
Caron, Jason - Greenlawn, N.Y. (cp)
Casey, Paul - ENGLAND
Champ, Cameron – Sacramento, Calif.
Conners, Corey - CANADA
Cook, Benny - Caledonia, Mich. (cp)
Dahmen, Joel – Clarkston, Wash.
Daly, John – Dardanelle, Ark.
Day, Jason - AUSTRALIA
DeChambeau, Bryson – Clovis, Calif.
Dufner, Jason – Auburn, Ala.
Duncan, Tyler - Columbus, Ind.
English, Harris – Sea Island, Ga.
Finau, Tony - Salt Lake City, Utah
Fitzpatrick, Matt – ENGLAND
Fleetwood, Tommy – ENGLAND
Fowler, Rickie – Murrieta, Calif.
Frittelli, Dylan – SOUTH AFRICA
Furyk, Jim - Jacksonville, Fla.
Garcia, Sergio - SPAIN
Gibb, Judd - Fort Dodge, Iowa (cp)
Glover, Lucas - Jupiter, Fla.
Gooch, Taylor - Edmond, Okla.
Grace, Branden - SOUTH AFRICA
Griffin, Lanto - Jacksonville Beach, Fla.
Hadwin, Adam – CANADA
Harman, Brian – Sea Island, Ga.
Hart, Jeff - Solana Beach, Calif. (cp)
Hatton, Tyrrell – ENGLAND
Hebert, Benjamin - FRANCE
Henley, Russell - Columbia, Ga.
Herbert, Lucas - AUSTRALIA
Herman, Jim – Palm City, Fla.
Hoge, Tom – Fargo, N.D.
Holmes, J.B. - Campbellsville, Ky.
Homa, Max - Valencia, Calif.
Horschel, Billy – Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Hovland, Viktor – NORWAY
Howell III, Charles - Orlando, Fla.
Hubbard, Mark – Denver, Colo.
Hughes, Mackenzie - CANADA
Im, Sungjae - REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Ishikawa, Ryo - JAPAN
Janewattananond, Jazz – THAILAND
Jertson, Marty - Phoenix, Ariz. (cp)
Johnson, Dustin – Jupiter, Fla.
Johnson, Zach - Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Johnson, Zach. J. - Farmington, Utah (cp)
Jones, Matt - AUSTRALIA
Kang, Sung – REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Kaymer, Martin - GERMANY
Kim, Chan - Gilbert, Ariz.
Kim,  Joohyung - REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Kim, Si Woo - REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Kinhult, Marcus – SWEDEN
Kisner, Kevin – Aiken. S.C.
Kitayama, Kurt - Chico, Calif.
Knoll, Alex - Jim Thorpe, Pa. (cp)
Koepka, Brooks – West Palm Beach, Fla.
Kokrak, Jason - Hudson, Ohio
Kuchar, Matt - Sea Island, Ga.
Labritz, Rob - Pound Ridge, N.Y. (cp)
Landry, Andrew – Dripping Springs, Texas
Lashley, Nate - Scottsdale, Ariz.
Lee, Danny – NEW ZEALAND
Leishman, Marc - AUSTRALIA
Lewis, Tom – ENGLAND
Li, Haotong - CHINA
List, Luke – Augusta, Ga.
Long, Adam – St. Louis, Mo.
Lorenzo-Vera, Mike – FRANCE
Love III, Davis - St. Simons Island, Ga.
Lowry, Shane – IRELAND
Luiten, Joost - The NETHERLANDS
MacIntyre, Robert – SCOTLAND
Matsuyama, Hideki - JAPAN
McDowell, Graeme - N. IRELAND
McIlroy, Rory – N. IRELAND
Merritt, Troy - Meridian, Idaho
Micheel, Shaun – Memphis, Tenn.
Mickelson, Phil – Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
Mitchell, Keith - St. Simons Island, Ga.
Morikawa, Collin – La Canada, Calif.
Muñoz, Sebastián - COLOMBIA
Muttitt, David - Albuquerque, N.M (cp)
Na, Kevin - Las Vegas, Nev.
Niemann, Joaquin - CHILE
Norris, Shaun - SOUTH AFRICA
O’Leary, John - Sterling, Va. (cp)
Oosthuizen, Louis – SOUTH AFRICA
Ortiz, Carlos - MEXICO
Palmer, Ryan – Colleyville, Texas
Pan, C.T. - TAIWAN
Perez, Victor - FRANCE
Perry, Rod - Port Orange, Fla. (cp)
Piercy, Scott – Las Vegas, Nev.
Poston, J.T. - Sea Island, Ga.
Poulter, Ian – ENGLAND
Putnam, Andrew - Phoenix, Ariz.
Rahm, Jon – SPAIN
Reavie, Chez - Scottsdale, Ariz.
Redman, Doc – Raleigh, N.C.
Reed, Patrick - The Woodlands, Texas
Rose, Justin - ENGLAND
Roth, J.R. - Boyne Highlands, Mich. (cp)
Sabbatini, Rory – SOUTH AFRICA
Schauffele, Xander – San Diego, Calif.
Scheffler, Scottie - Dallas, Texas
Schwab, Matthias – AUSTRIA
Schwartzel, Charl – SOUTH AFRICA
Scott, Adam – AUSTRALIA
Simpson, Webb - Charlotte, N.C.
Singh, Vijay - FIJI
Smith, Cameron – AUSTRALIA
Snedeker, Brandt – Nashville, Tenn.
Sowards, Bob - Dublin, Ohio (cp)
Spieth, Jordan - Dallas, Texas
Steele, Brendan – Idyllwild, Calif.
Stenson, Henrik – SWEDEN
Straka, Sepp - AUSTRIA
Streelman, Kevin – Wheaton, Ill
Stricker, Steve – Madison, Wis.
Tanigawa, Ken – Scottsdale, Ariz.
Taylor, Nick – CANADA
Taylor, Vaughn – Augusta, Ga.
Thomas, Justin – Louisville, Ky.
Thompson, Michael – Sea Island, Ga.
Todd, Brendon – Athens, Ga.
Tringale, Cameron – Mission Viejo, Calif.
van Rooyen, Erik – SOUTH AFRICA
Varner III, Harold – Gastonia, N.C.
Vermeer, Ryan - Omaha, Neb. (cp)
Walker, Jimmy - Boerne, Texas
Wallace, Matt – ENGLAND
Warren, Shawn - Portland, Maine (cp)
Watson, Bubba – Bagdad, Fla.
Wiesberger, Bernd – AUSTRIA
Willett, Danny – ENGLAND
Winner, WGC-FedEx St. Jude
Winner, Barracuda
Wolff, Matthew - Agoura Hills, Calif.
Woodland, Gary – Topeka, Kan.
Woods, Tiger - Jupiter, Fla.

Thursday, July 30

USGA: The U.S. Open at Winged Foot Will Not Include Spectators

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LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – In partnership with the state of New York, the USGA announced [Wednesday] that due to ongoing health and safety concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic, the 120th U.S. Open Championship, scheduled Sept. 14-20 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., will be conducted without spectators on-site.

"Following months of consultation and scenario planning with local and state health officials, we have jointly decided that hosting the U.S. Open without spectators will provide the best opportunity to conduct the championship safely for all involved," said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. "We will miss the excitement of the fans and what their presence brings to the championship. We look forward to welcoming them again to future U.S. Opens."

The USGA announced on April 6 that the 120th U.S. Open, which was scheduled to be held June 18-21 on Winged Foot's West Course, had been postponed to Sept. 17-20, and it announced in June that the championship would be conducted without traditional qualifying.

"This will not be a typical U.S. Open in several respects," said John Bodenhamer, the USGA's senior managing director of Championships. "Would it have been easier to simply cancel or even move the 2020 championship rather than play it in what has been the epicenter of the virus in our country? Possibly. But all of us at the USGA know how much the U.S. Open matters, and we weren't willing to give up on playing it at Winged Foot Golf Club so easily. We are very proud to give our competitors and champions a platform to chase their dreams. Their perseverance motivates us, in a year when such tenacity means so much."

Tickets purchased directly through the USGA will be automatically refunded to the method of payment used to purchase the tickets. Additional information on U.S. Open ticket refunds can be found at USGA.org.

Tuesday, July 28

Jim Furyk, Mike Weir and K.J. Choi to Debut as PGA TOUR Champions Resumes With The Ally Challenge

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THE 50-PLUS BOYS ARE BACK this week.

News from the tour:
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – PGA TOUR Champions announced the 81-player field for The Ally Challenge presented by McLaren, the Tour's first event since March when the season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jim Furyk, Mike Weir and K.J. Choi turned 50 in May, and all three players will make their PGA TOUR Champions debuts [this] week at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club in Grand Blanc, Michigan. 
Furyk is a 17-time PGA TOUR winner and he will join Vijay Singh as FedExCup champions competing on PGA TOUR Champions. A resident of Jacksonville, Furyk will host a PGA TOUR Champions event in Northeast Florida next year, as the Constellation Furyk & Friends tournament will be contested at Timuquana Country Club the week of October 4-10, 2021.
The Ally Challenge begins on Friday, July 31. Golf Channel will have live coverage.

Friday, July 31:
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET

Saturday, August 1:
2-4 p.m. ET

Sunday, August 2:
3-5 p.m. ET

Monday, July 27

PGA TOUR VIDEO: Michael Thompson 'Solidifies Presence' With 2-Shot Victory at the 3M Open



MICHAEL THOMPSON CLAIMED HIS SECOND PGA TOUR victory on Sunday at the 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota. Thompson shot rounds of 64-66-68-67 to finish at 19-under-par at TPC Twin Cities.

Adam Long fired 63 and 64 on the weekend to finish second at 17 under. Nine players finished in a tie for third at 16 under, including Tony Finau, Alex Noren, Max Homa, Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Charles Howell III.

The winner sank a 15-foot birdie putt on the final green to clinch the title.

"You can only dream of making a putt on the last hole to win a tournament," Thompson said.

He added it was "nice to know that I had a one-shot cushion, so I only had to two-putt, but had such a good read, it was an uphill right-to-left, exactly what any right-handed golfer wants."

Thompson's win puts him in this week's WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and three majors yet to be played in 2020: the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open and the Masters.

Thompson said, "This win validates the first win. It solidifies ... my presence on the PGA Tour and proves to my peers that I'm a threat every week. And that's what I want to be."

The 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities was only the second tournament to be played in its orignial spot on the calendar since the PGA Tour restarted.

Saturday, July 25

Tiger Woods Looks Ahead to PGA Championship

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THE NEXT START FOR TIGER WOODS will be the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. The year's first major begins on August 6.

That means Woods will skip next week's WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis, passing on the opportunity to log four competitive rounds in the no-cut event.


A week ago Tiger played in the Memorial Tournament and made the cut on the number on an extremely difficult Muirfield Village Golf Club. He finished in a tie for 40th.

The site of the PGA Championship could work in his favor.

"Woods has a strong history at TPC Harding Park," GolfWorld reported, "where he won the 2005 WGC-American Express Championship in a playoff over John Daly. He also went 5-0 in the 2009 Presidents Cup there, which the American side won 19.5-14.5."

Thursday, July 23

NPR's 'Only a Game': 1969 Masters Champion George Archer and a 50-Year Secret

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FROM "ONLY A GAME" LAST DECEMBER, here's a revealing story about George Archer, the 1969 Masters champion. Archer stood 6 feet 6 inches. I remember him as a good putter.



An excerpt:
[George Archer's] pro career spanned five decades. His wife Donna and their two daughters often joined him on tour. They were a close family. And they needed to be. Because George Archer had a secret they all had to keep.
(Archer was dyslexis. He couldn't read.)
On the tour, to keep his secret, George Archer had to find a way around that wall.
"I don’t know if you’ve seen the massive leaderboard at a PGA golf tournament, but it's huge. And George knew that his name was on the left under the 'A's, and his friend Larry Ziegler's name was on the right under the 'Z's," [his wife] Donna says.
When he needed money…
"He had a prototype check with him, and it had a certain amount of money on it. And he would copy that," Donna says. "And then if he needed more, he would call, and we would go through the writing of the check together."
Finally, Donna said, "The arc of his life is his courage and persistance. And so that's a major lesson. That every person you look at probably has a secret, or a goal, or a talent, or something that the world doesn't see. So it's important to know that about people. And be kind."

George Archer won 13 times on the PGA Tour. He also collected 19 victories on the senior circuit. He died in 2005 at the age of 65.

The Foursome (Trailer): A Short Film About a Small Town, Friendship, Potato Salad and Golf


"THE FOURSOME" FOLLOWS FOUR FRIENDS named Herb, Gary, Darrel and Bob through the days leading up to their 50th year entering the Waukon Men's Invitational in Iowa. The short film shows how golf can bring us together and keep us together.

More from the website:
"THE FOURSOME" is a short documentary about a remarkable friendship, forged by one of America's most beloved games. THE FOURSOME follows four aging friends as they prepare to head out for their 50th outing together and is an emotional and unflinching look at what it takes to keep friendship alive.
You can watch the entire film on YouTube (see below) for the next few weeks. It will be available digitally for purchase on Apple on August 18th.

Tuesday, July 21

ESPN Fan Study: Desire for Return of Sports Is High, Even If Fans Can't Attend Games

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GIVE US SPORTS. THAT'S WHAT ESPN'S most recent fan study said.
A second wave of ESPN's Coronavirus Lockdown Fan Study surveyed 1,003 sports fans age 18 and older and found 78% were in favor of sports resuming play despite restrictions on fan attendance, a double-digit increase from the previous poll, conducted in mid-April.
Some details:

59% of fans said "they can't wait to see sports back on television and are planning to watch as much as they can." That's up from 56%.

64% of fans have a greater appreciation for sports; 84% of avid fans expressed the same sentiment.

The most recent ESPN Coronavirus Lockdown Fan Study was conducted from June 23 to 26.

PGA TOUR VIDEO: Golf Is Hard (Memorial Tournament Edition), Muirfield Village Golf Club 'Showed Its Teeth'


ABOVE: Muirfield Village Golf Club produced the highest final-round scoring average since 2018 (in a major) and 2016 (in a non-major).

JON RAHM GROUND OUT A VICTORY on Sunday, watching an 8-shot lead evaporate on the final nine, but holding on to win the Memorial Tournament by three strokes over Ryan Palmer. (Palmer's runner-up finish puts him in the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in September.)

Rahm said, "One of the best performances of my life."

He added, "Yesterday [Saturday] was probably one of the best rounds of my life, and finished today with some clutch up-and-downs. As a Spaniard, I'm kind of glad it happened that way."

Those "clutch up-and-downs" were reminscent of Spanish golf legend Seve Ballesteros.

Four years after being named the top college golfer, Rahm is now No. 1 in the official world golf ranking (OWGR). "He deserves it," said Rory McIlroy, pushed off the perch.

The other winner was Muirfield Village Golf Club. It played like a major championship. (See video.)

"Muirfield Village Golf Club showed its teeth during the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide," said the PGA TOUR. "The final-round scoring average of 75.959 is the highest in a round on the PGA TOUR since the 2018 U.S. Open (76.474/R1) and the highest at a non-major since the 2016 Farmers Insurance Open (77.901/R4)."

Friday, July 17

Jeff Ellis Golf Auctions: Bobby Jones Letters, 1933 Augusta National Architectural Map, Historic Scorecards and Hundreds of Golf Antiques and Collectibles

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Jeff Ellis Golf Auctions.com is pleased to announce that a collection of seven letters from Bobby Jones, six of which were sent to his personal clubmaker, J. Victor East, is up for auction. This collection, which is presented in a custom made leather-bound volume, includes a Pinehurst No. 2 scorecard signed by both Jones and East. It was J. Victor East who, in 1926, crafted the Calamity Jane putter Jones used to win the Grand Slam in 1930.

Also up for auction is a genuine 1933 Augusta National Golf Club as-built architectural map that documents the original Augusta National course layout and elevations. Commissioned by Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie and produced for the city of Augusta, this 1933 course map is one of the few remaining examples known.

A group of 55 historic North American golf scorecards that date between the 1890s and 1910 is also up for auction.

Among the many fascinating cards in this lot is a six-hole scorecard from the Palm Beach Golf Club, a Baltusrol Golf Club scorecard that shows Baltusrol used ten holes to make an 18-hole round, and an Upper Montclair Golf Club scorecard with four holes that for years nobody was able to par!

Why? Because, as the card shows, two were par 3 ½'s and the other two were par 4 ½'s!

Of a more modern fare, this auction includes 36 winner-autographed flags from 36 different venues—including Masters flags, British Open flags, and USGA event flags. This expansive collection was consigned by a lifelong member of the press who attended the events and procured the signatures in person. A few of the highlights include 1990s US Amateur flags signed by Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and a Masters flag signed by "the Big Three": Nicklaus, Palmer, and Player.

Ellis's online Summer 2020 Golf Auction, featuring 294 lots of fine golf antiques and historic collectibles, is now live at jeffellisgolfauctions.com. The auction will end Saturday, July 25th.

Among the many historic golf clubs being offered in the current auction are three Tom Morris long nose clubs that date between 1860 and 1880. There are fifteen clubs up for auction that date prior to 1890, including five—two irons, an iron putter, and two Hugh Philp long nose clubs—made before 1850, during the feather ball era.

Along with a double roller sole putter from 1902, there is an amazing array of highly unusual and rare antique golf clubs—from early 1900s adjustable putter with ten removable weights to a 1904 Thistle rake iron designed to play from water; from an 1890s Willie Park Jr. splice neck 9-wood to am iron with an adjustable length grip.

Additional highlights include a mid 19th century ballot box that once belonged to Prestwick Golf Club, home to the first eleven British Open championships; an unused circa 1840 Allan Robertson featherball; a wide variety of pre-1900 solid gutta percha golf balls and early rubber core balls that include two Haskell patent golf balls and many unique balls with unusual cover patterns; 22 classic golf books some of which are signed by the likes of Willie Park, Jr, Francis Ouimet, Walter Hagen, and A.H Findlay, the father of American golf. Ane more.

(H/T MORNING READ)

Wednesday, July 15

The Handshake Might Make a Comeback at the Memorial Tournament, Host Jack Nicklaus Will Extend His Hand to Winner

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THE HEARTFELT HANDSHAKE WITH THE WINNER. It's a 45-year tradtion that Memorial Tournament host Jack Nicklaus wants to keep alive this year.

Even during a global pandemic. Even though the PGA Tour has asked players to NOT shake hands, and to follow other strict guidelines to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

From Bob Harig's report at ESPN Golf:
"I'm going to shake their hand. I going to walk right out there and shake your hand," Nicklaus said during a virtual news conference at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. "If they don't want to shake my hand, that's fine. I'll give them a fist bump or an elbow bump, but I'm not going to give them COVID-19, so that's -- I wouldn't put anybody in that position. I wouldn't do that, and if I was in any danger of doing that, I wouldn't shake their hands. 
"And incidentally, I like shaking their hand, too. I think that's a great tradition, but it was as much fun for me as I hope it is for them."
As some have commented, this probably isn't that big a deal. But I think Jack would be wise and show leadership by coming up with a new way to personally acknowledge the winner. Something different than the traditional handshake.

As Jack said in the below PSA, "Let's just be smart."


(H/T Geoff Shackelford)

Tuesday, July 14

MORNING READ: The Classic Golf Courses of Columbus, Including Muirfield Village Golf Club, Home to This Week's Memorial Tournament




IN MORNING READ TRAVELIN' JOE PASSOV wrote, "The late, great Dan Jenkins once called Columbus, 'the best city in which to study golf course architecture.'"

With the help of Ohio natives (and course designers) Tom Weiskopf and Dr. Michael Hurdzan, Passov highlights Donald Ross, Alister MacKenzie, Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus, whose works "all dot the landscape."

There's Scioto Country Club, a Ross design; MacKenzie's Ohio State Scarlet course; The Golf Club, a Pete Dye creation; and, of course, Muirfield Village, the course Jack built.

Here's the passage on this week's venue:
MUIRFIELD VILLAGE GOLF CLUB 
Ranked 16th in the country by Golf Digest, 46-year-old Muirfield Village represents Nicklaus' first foray into golf course design with his name on the plans. Host to the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and to the Memorial Tournament since 1976, Muirfield Village continues to reflect the Nicklaus design sensibility, even as the routing itself was the product of Desmond Muirhead. The course features a preponderance of attractive, downhill tee shots, immaculate conditioning and natural-looking slopes that could hold thousands of spectators. 
Weiskopf contends that Muirfield Village serves up too many shots where water is in play — 21 by his count — and Hurdzan believes that the course is overbunkered, but both acknowledge that it was built to test the best in tournament play, and so the difficulty, emphasis on maintenance and the frequent design tweaks, must be put it that context.

Monday, July 13

PGA TOUR HIGHLIGHTS: Collin Morikawa Edges Justin Thomas in Sudden-Death Playoff to Win Workday Charity Open



COLLIN MORIKAWA COLLECTED HIS SECOND PGA Tour victory on Sunday at the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

It seemed unlikely with three holes to play. Justin Thomas had a three-shot lead after sinking an eagle putt on 15. It was his 10th consecutive one-putt green. But Thomas stumbled to the clubhouse with two bogeys and tied with Morikawa.

The former Cal golfer edged Thomas in a three-hole sudden-death playoff. Morikawa called the late developments "crazy."

Thomas called his finish "completely unacceptable. I'm upset," he said. "I'm disappointed."

Morikawa jumped to 13th in the world rankings, nosing ahead of Tiger Woods.

"This is a huge kind of stepping-stone," he said. "We got No. 1 out of the way. We got No. 2. Let the gates just open and let's keep going."

The Workday Charity Open was the first of back-to-back events at Muirfield Village. The Memorial Tournament tees off there on Thursday. Jack Nicklaus will be on hand.

Saturday, July 11

PGA TOUR: Tiger Woods Headlines Field at the Memorial Tournament

TIGER WOODS RETURNS TO THE PGA TOUR next week at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio.


More from PGATOUR.COM:
The 133-player field includes five-time tournament champion and 82-time PGA TOUR winner Tiger Woods, who will be making his first start on the PGA TOUR since The Genesis Invitational in February, as well as each of the top five players in the Official World Golf Ranking. 
Woods is making his third attempt at breaking the PGA TOUR record for all-time victories since tying Sam Snead's mark of 82 at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP in October. In his previous two attempts, Woods finished T9 at the Farmers Insurance Open and 68th at The Genesis Invitational. He has won the Memorial Tournament five times, most recently in 2012, when he tied tournament founder and host Jack Nicklaus for second on the all-time PGA TOUR wins list (73). Woods, who finished T9 at the 2019 Memorial Tournament, will make his 18th start in the event.

Friday, July 10

Golf Digest's Jerry Tarde: Lee Elder as an Honorary Starter at the Masters

GOLF DIGEST EDITOR-IN-CHIEF JERRY TARDE wrote about being inspired by honorary starters at the Masters, beginning with Jock Hutchison.

It was 1976. Tarde was a college student. He drove his Gremlin to a nursing home in suburban Chicago to meet the 1921 British Open champion. Hutchison and Fred McLeod were the original honorary starters at the Masters.

Lee Elder won the 1974 Monsanto Open.
Now Tarde has a new inspiration:
I expect to be inspired again this year, when the Masters is played off-kilter in November. I have no inside information, none at all, operating only in the belief that the Augusta National Golf Club does the right thing. In my imagination, I'm rushing to the plantation clubhouse on a crisp autumnal morning to see Jack and Gary on the first tee with Lee Elder, 86, celebrating the 45th anniversary of breaking the color barrier at the 1975 Masters and doing it again as the first Black honorary starter.
He's not a past champion, you say? Neither were Hutchison, McLeod or [Ken] Venturi. But what's Elder's connection? He won the Bob Jones Award for sportsmanship last year—reflecting the virtue of Augusta's founder is enough for me....

"I had a close association with the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who introduced me to Dr. King in 1967," Elder says. "I met the Rev. Ralph Abernathy and Dr. Walter Fauntroy and John Lewis. I was inspired by their work and the fight they carried on. I wanted to be a part of it, which wasn't easy for a golfer because we played on weekends."

Now, he's too old to walk in protests, yet still strong enough to walk to the first tee. Would he accept if asked? "In a heartbeat," he says.

In my mind, I see Nicklaus and Player welcoming Elder, the way old friends and warriors do.

Wednesday, July 8

PGA of America News: Ryder Cup Rescheduled to 2021, Presidents Cup Moves to 2022

As expected, the 2020 Ryder Cup will become the 2021 Ryder Cup because of health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Following is a portion of today's official announcement.

PALM BEACH GARDENS and PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla, - The PGA of America, Ryder Cup Europe and the PGA TOUR jointly announced today that both the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup have been rescheduled and will now be played one year later than originally planned.

The 43rd Ryder Cup, scheduled for September 22-27, at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, has been rescheduled for September 21-26, 2021.

Likewise, the Presidents Cup, initially slated for September 30-October 3, 2021, at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, will now be played September 19-25, 2022.

The decision to reschedule the Ryder Cup was based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in conjunction with the state of Wisconsin and Sheboygan County, with the health and well-being of all involved as the top priority.

"Unlike other major sporting events that are played in existing stadiums, we had to make a decision now about building facilities to host the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits," said PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh.

"It became clear that as of today, our medical experts and the public authorities in Wisconsin could not give us certainty that conducting an event responsibly with thousands of spectators in September would be possible. Given that uncertainty, we knew rescheduling was the right call. We are grateful to PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan and our partners at the TOUR for their flexibility and generosity in the complex task of shifting the global golf calendar."

Tuesday, July 7

The Memorial Tournament Won't Have Fans After All, Strong Prospect of No Galleries for Weeks

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MUIRFIELD VILLAGE GOLF CLUB in Dublin, Ohio, will host back-to-back PGA Tour events: this week's Workday Charity Open and the Memorial Tournament next week.

The Memorial was set to be the first event to welcome fans since the restart of the PGA Tour. But that won't happen now because of a nationwide spike in COVID-19 cases.

"While we embraced the opportunity to be the first PGA Tour event to welcome the return of on-site fans—and be a part of our nation's collective reemergence from the COVID-19 crisis—we recognize the current increase in positive COVID-19 cases across the country and our ultimate responsibility," said tournament director Dan Sullivan in a statement.

"It's disappointing to the many who have tirelessly worked to create a plan for on-site patrons, but I'm confident the learnings from these efforts will contribute to golf's continued success, and we're excited to showcase Muirfield Village Golf Club—and ultimately, the Memorial Tournament—to our fans over the next two weeks."

So, when will fans be allowed to attend a PGA Tour event?

No one can say with certainty. But not for a while.

The 3M Championship in Minnesota and Barricuda Championship in Nevada won't have fans. The WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational is "cautiously optimistic" about having fans.

The PGA Championship, the year's first major, tees off in early August at TPC Harding in San Francisco. They don't expect galleries.

Monday, July 6

PGA TOUR HIGHLIGHTS: Final-Round 65 Propels Bryson DeChambeau to Victory at the Rocket Mortgage Classic



BRYSON DECHAMBEAU FIRED A 7-UNDER 65 on Sunday to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club. It was the low round of the day. DeChambeau finished 23 under for the tournament. Runner-up Matthew Wolff was three shots back.

The bulked-up DeChambeau has been getting a lot of attention in the golf world. He said the win was "a little emotional."

The 26-year-old added, "[I] changed my body, I changed my mindset in the game, and was able to accomplish a win while playing a completely different style of golf."

It was Bryson's sixth win on the PGA Tour, and the first since November 2018. With the victory, he moved from 10th to 7th in the world rankings.

This week's event is the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Ohio.

Friday, July 3

Golfworld: Charlie Rymer's 'Very Scary' Bout With COVID-19

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JOHN FEINSTEIN WROTE A GOLFWORLD STORY about former Golf Channel analyst Charlie Rymer and his recent illness with COVID-19 that put him in the hospital.

In June Rymer traveled to Chattanooga to do promotional work for a new golf course. Two days earlier he was at Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. Rymer, 52, took precautions.
"I was very careful both places," he said. "Did the social distancing, wore a mask most of the time. I followed all the protocols. But I felt bad enough driving home that I pulled off the Interstate to a Walgreens to get some meds and buy a thermometer. I had a low-grade fever, but my first thought was I just had a bad cold or I was exhausted."
Things quickly went downhill, and with the urging of his wife, a nurse, Rymer headed to the hospital. He spent five days there.
"I'd be lying if I said there weren't nights where I lay there alone in the dark thinking some pretty depressing thoughts," he said. "I mean, I'm 52, and even though I've always been, let's say, a big guy, I've always been healthy. I'd never faced anything like this before. 
"I knew all the statistics. I knew that only 1.5 percent of people who contract the disease die. That sounds like pretty good odds until you're lying in a hospital bed all by yourself and you wonder if you're ever going to go home again. I was absolutely scared. There were a couple of times when I thought it might be time to call the boys and get them to come home."
Rymer is home, 20 pounds lighter and still weak, but very thankful.

Thursday, July 2

PGA of America Board Votes to Rename the Horton Smith Award, 'Taking Ownership of a Failed Chapter in Our History'



HORTON SMITH WAS A HALL OF FAME GOLFER who won the Masters twice and a total of 30 titles on the PGA Tour. Smith also served as the PGA President from 1952 to 1954.

Today, the PGA of America said it will retire Smith's name from a longtime award:
The PGA Board of Directors announced renaming the Horton Smith Award, which had been presented annually since 1965, based upon review of its namesake. Horton Smith, a two-time Masters Champion who served as PGA President from 1952-54, was a defender of the "Caucasian-only" membership clause, which was regrettably included in the PGA Bylaws from 1934-61.
The PGA Professional Development Award retains the previous criteria that showcases individuals who have demonstrated achievements in professional education. 
"In renaming the Horton Smith Award, the PGA of America is taking ownership of a failed chapter in our history that resulted in excluding many from achieving their dreams of earning the coveted PGA Member badge and advancing the game of golf," said PGA President Suzy Whaley. 
"We need to do all we can to ensure the PGA of America is defined by inclusion. Part of our mission to grow the game is about welcoming all and bringing diversity to the sport."