Friday, August 28

LPGA Tour: No Five-Year Exemption for Open Champion Sophia Popov


FIRST, A MAJOR WIN. THEN A MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT.

Mini-tour player Sophia Popov won't get a five-year exemption on the LPGA Tour for winning the AIG Women's Open at Royal Troon. Judging from media reports, seemingly everyone assumed the five-year tour exemption was one of the many rewards for her surprising victory.

But no.

LPGA Tour Commisioner Mike Whan explained the Popov situation in the above statement.

Nor will Popov be in the field for the next two majors: the ANA Inspiration in September and the U.S. Women's Open in December. Those fields were already set.

However, Popov does receive a five-year exemption into the majors. Her first major will be the KPMG Women's PGA Championship in October. It's confusing. I know.

Popov said, "I definitely got a little bit frustrated about the whole thing."

(That might be an understatement.)

Popov added that she felt deserving of the five-year LPGA Tour exemption but understands the rule and that it can't be changed for her.

Meanwhile, Whan said he will think about the rule in the offseason and whether an update makes sense.

(H/T Golfweek)

Two Statements: Cameron Champ and PGA Tour Speak Out on Racial Injustice in Aftermath of Jacob Blake Shooting


AS OTHER PRO LEAGUES PAUSED to protest in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the PGA Tour played on at the BMW Championship, the second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The tour's official statement is below.

Wearing a black shoe and a white shoe in the first round of the BMW Championship, Cameron Champ, a biracial player, made his own statement.

PGA TOUR Statement, August 27, 2020

The MLB, MLS, NBA, WNBA and WTA protests are player-led, peaceful, powerful ways to use their respective platforms to bring about the urgent need for change in our country. There have been a number of efforts in the past to send a message that the current climate is unacceptable, and these teams, leagues and players now taking this step will help draw further attention to the issues that really matter. The PGA TOUR supports them – and any of our own members – standing up for issues they believe in.

The PGA TOUR made a pledge over the summer to be part of the solution, and we have been actively working to make deeper and more specific commitments to racial equity and inclusion in the communities where we play, as well as supporting national organizations within this movement that we had not previously engaged with. However, we understand that now is not the appropriate time to highlight our programs and policies, but rather to express our outrage at the injustice that remains prevalent in our country.

Sports have always had the power to inspire and unify, and we remain hopeful that together, we will achieve change.

Wednesday, August 26

BMW Championship: Architect Mark Mungeam and the Long-Term Defense of Olympia Fields

CHICAGO — When the PGA Tours returns to Olympia Fields Country Club this week for the BMW Championship, the second stage of the Fedex Cup Playoffs (Aug. 27-30), the most interested observer will be Mark A. Mungeam, the architect who spent nearly a quarter century renovating, then restoring, but always defending this historic Willie Park Jr. design from muscle-bound, technologically enhanced assaults on par.

The 3rd green of the North Course at Olympia Fields.
(Gary Kellner / dimplerock.com)
Mungeam, owner of Massachusetts-based Mungeam Golf Design, first reckoned with the competitive resilience of the North Course at Olympia Fields in 1992. That master-planning process led to his direction of renovations prior to the in U.S. Senior Open, in 1997, then more prior to the 2003 U.S. Open, won by Jim Furyk.

Thereafter, when the club opted for a full-on restoration -- after discovering key period photography -- Mungeam directed that refurbishment, as well. His prep efforts continued prior to the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship, at Olympia Fields, claimed by a young, svelte Bryson DeChambeau. In 2017, Danielle Kang won the KMPG Women's PGA Championship there.

But it is DeChambeau who has emerged post lockdown bigger and longer -- the new embodiment of golf's uncomfortable relationship with length. He and his PGA Tour colleagues would appear ever more indifferent to the scoring safeguards Mungeam created over the course of 20 years.

"You can't take it personally -- I certainly don't," said Mungeam, ASGCA, whose more recent tournament prep involved rehabilitating a pair of Donald Ross-designed, City of Boston classics -- George Wright GC in Hyde Park and Franklin Park GC in Dorchester -- for the 2019 Massachusetts Amateur.

"I can remember adding a bunker on the left side of what plays during championships as the par-4 18th hole at Olympia Fields, what the members play as no. 9," the architect said. "It was 310 yards from the tee in 1999. Back then, we thought of it as an aiming bunker! Today they'll be flying it, or trying to. They were doing that in 2015, during the Amateur."

Storied History

Located just outside of Chicago, the North Course at Olympia Fields opened in 1923. Two years later, Walter Hagen won the PGA Championship there. In 1928, Johnny Farrell captured the U.S. Open title on the North Course, besting Bobby Jones in a playoff. The club would host another PGA in 1961. The Western Open -- considered alongside golf's major tournaments into the 1960s (the BMW Championship is its 21st century incarnation) -- was played here five times.

In preparation for the 1997 Senior Open (won by Graham Marsh), the club engaged Mungeam to effectively renovate the North Course for 21st century tournament use. The USGA needed a championship venue in Chicago, the nation's second biggest population center and television market. This was the first of several distinct renovation phases, Mungeam said.

"That second renovation in 1999 was complicated -- we were preparing for a U.S. Open Championship in 2003, for goodness sake -- but it was a renovation. We didn't have any period photography or plans from Park Jr. detailed enough to allow for restoration. That all changed in 2013 when someone found a program from the 1928 Open, with pictures of every single hole! That document was a goldmine. It became the practical basis for our sympathetic restoration work prior to the 2015 Amateur -- the basis for the course we'll see this week."

Part of Grounds Crew

Mungeam's interaction with the North Course during all these tournament engagements has run the gamut. In 2003, he became the first architect who prepared a U.S. Open site to ever work the same course as part of the grounds crew: Mungeam raked bunkers, filled divots and fluffed rough for then superintendent Dave Ward, starting at 4 a.m. -- before watching championship play from the maintenance shed.

"I had been working alongside that crew for nearly 10 years by then. They were my friends," Mungeam explained.

At the Amateur in 2015, the architect observed DeChambeau up close, walking the course from what then passed for a responsible distance. After 24 years, Mungeam's association with the club ended in 2018. He will watch this week’s tournament from the sofa inside his 1850s farmhouse in central Massachusetts.

"The only real deterrents to Bryson and the bombers these days are the roughs and the wonderfully sloped Willie Park Jr. putting surfaces, which many of these guys haven't see before (though Bryson has). In the end, the greens make this course what it is. I’m sure [they] will have them rolling pretty quick."

Jim Furyk, never a long hitter, shot a then-record 8-under par to win the 2003 U.S. Open.

“If the BMW winner doesn’t double that,” Mungeam said, “I’ll consider it a moral victory.”

Tuesday, August 25

The One Swing Thought That Enabled Sophia Popov to Pull Off Her Shocking Victory at the Women's Open



IF YOU FOLLOW PROFESSIONAL GOLF, you've surely heard about that unlikely outcome at the AIG Women's Open at Royal Troon.

Ranked No. 304 in the world, Sophia Popov, a mini-tour player who had lost her LPGA status, slept on the 54-hole lead Saturday night and then went out and fired a 3-under 68 in the final round to win the Open by two shots. Popov played with resolve down the stretch, hitting fairways and greens -- and holing putt after putt -- as if she was Annika Sorenstam.

It's a great story because it's so rare to see an unheralded player such as Popov win a major out of seemingly nowhere. The USC grad hit shots under pressure that seasoned veterans dream about.

How did she do it?

Golf.com's Zephyr Melton wrote about the one swing thought that kept Popov at the top of the leaderboard:
Every time it looked as though Popov would falter, she steadied the ship. Each errant shot was followed with poise. And there's one key swing thought she relied on to keep the ship righted: "just swing aggressively."
The tendency under pressure for many players can be to go into protection mode. Not for Popov. She kept her foot to the pedal and didn't let up until she walked up the storied 18th with the tournament result decided. She vowed to stay aggressive. 
"Honestly that's the only way for me," Popov said. "When I get a little tentative, I hang them out to the right."
Popov's life-changing victory put $675,000 in her pocket and gives her a five-year exemption on the LPGA Tour.

Friday, August 21

ICYMI: PGA Tour Champions' Kirk Triplett and Black Lives Matter


TOUR VETERAN KIRK TRIPLETT DECIDED to make a statement about racial injustice -- inside the ropes. He put a "Black Lives Matter" sticker on his golf bag at last week's Senior Players Championship in Akron, Ohio.

"I'm certainly not a guy with solutions," Triplett said in a Golf Digest story by Joel Beall. "But it begins with talking about it. And right now, golf isn't talking about it, and I wasn't sure if it would."

Triplett, 58, and his wife, Cathi, have four children. Two kids are adopted, both minorities. Their youngest, 18-year-old Kobe, is black.

Race is a regular topic in the Triplett home. They are hard conversations.

"I wasn't trying to make a stand," Triplett said about the sticker on his bag. "I was just trying to put a question, an idea out there."

Triplett had three wins on the PGA Tour.

Thursday, August 20

MORNING READ: Put an Asterisk on 2020 PGA Tour Season*

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A MORNING READ OPINION PIECE by Mike Purkey began:

"Good intentions aside, FedEx Cup playoffs will crown a champion from a season that can't help but come up short of being legitimate."

The FedEx Cup Playoffs started today with The Northern Trust at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachussetts. Four players lead after shooting 7-under 64s.

The PGA Tour has salvaged something that resembles a season under difficult circumstances.

As Purkey wrote, "We're fortunate to have live sports in any form at all, given how dire the situation appeared to be in the spring."

That's definitely true. In particular, it's good to have golf back. No, it's not the same by a mammoth Bryson DeChambeau drive, but at least it's something.

However, then Purkey asked:
How can you have meaningful playoffs and a deserving champion during a season in which so many significant tournaments have been postponed or outright canceled? No Players Championship. No Wells Fargo Championship. No British Open. 
Playoffs, with only one major championship in the books? The U.S. Open and Masters in the 2021 season? 
Reasonable people would maintain that the PGA Tour had little choice, given the cards it was dealt. However, doing the best you can is not always the best outcome. Sometimes, you have to take those cards, fold 'em and wait for the next deal.
So, is Purkey right? Is this an asterisk season?

I doubt if an asterisk will appear in any record books. But there is a strong case for one.

Actually, 2020 is an asterisk year. Everything is disrupted. Normal has left the premises and won't be back anytime soon.

Wednesday, August 19

The AIG Women's Open Broadcast Schedule and Tournament Notes



THERE WILL BE AN OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP after all. Thank you, ladies.

From the tournament website:
The AIG Women's Open is set to make history in 2020 as the event will be played at Royal Troon for the first time in 44 playings of the championship. 
The famed venue on the West Coast of Scotland will welcome the best women golfers in the world from August 20-23 as they compete to become the AIG Women's Open champion. 
The South Ayrshire course has hosted The Open Championship nine times, but will host its first AIG Women's Open in 2020, and will be sure to provide a huge amount of drama during the event.
Following is the U.S. broadcast schedule.

Golf Channel Coverage
All times Eastern.

Thursday, August 20
5:30-8:30 a.m. / 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (live)
1:30-4:30 a.m. (Friday replay)

Friday, August 21
5:30-8:30 a.m. / 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (live)
1:30-4:30 a.m. (Saturday replay)

Saturday, August 22
9 a.m.-Noon (live)
11:30 p.m.-3 a.m. (Sunday replay)         

Sunday, August 23
8 a.m.-Noon (live)
12:30-3 a.m. (Monday replay)

NBC Coverage
All times Eastern.

Saturday, August 22
Noon-2 p.m. (live)

Sunday, August 23
Noon-1 p.m. (live)

(H/T Geoff Shackelford)

Monday, August 17

PGA TOUR VIDEO: 61 and 63 on Weekend Earn Jim Herman the Trophy at the Wyndham Championship



JIM HERMAN GOT HOT AT THE RIGHT TIME. The 42-year-old journeyman fired a 61 in the third round of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro.

That low number sent Herman up the leaderboard and gave the long-shot former assistant pro a chance for a rare win going into the final round.

But could Herman stay hot? It's hard to go low in consecutive rounds.

It didn't take too long to learn the answer to that question. Herman rolled in a 59-foot eagle putt on the 5th hole and went on to shoot a 63 in the final round and finish 21-under for the tournament. It was good for a 1-stroke victory over Billy Horschel, who closed with a 65.

"That was out of the blue, I'll tell you that," Herman said.

Before he was grinding on the PGA Tour, Herman worked at Trump National Bedmnister in New Jersey, where he sometimes played golf with President Trump. And still does.

"He's a big supporter of mine," Herman said. "I need to play golf with him a little bit more."

Herman's third victory on the PGA Tour was a charm: It put him in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, and much more.

Saturday, August 15

PGA TOUR: Zach Johnson to Receive Payne Stewart Award

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA – In acknowledgement of his character, sportsmanship and dedication to charitable giving, Zach Johnson has been named the recipient of the PGA TOUR's Payne Stewart Award presented by Southern Company. Johnson will be honored on Wednesday, Sept. 2, at the Payne Stewart Award Ceremony in conjunction with the TOUR Championship. The ceremony will be televised live on Golf Channel as part of a "Golf Central" special from 7-7:30 p.m. ET at the Southern Exchange in downtown Atlanta.

The Payne Stewart Award is presented annually by the PGA TOUR to a professional golfer who best exemplifies Stewart's steadfast values of character, charity and sportsmanship. Stewart, an 11-time winner on the PGA TOUR and World Golf Hall of Fame member, died tragically 21 years ago during the week of the TOUR Championship in 1999. Southern Company, the "Official Energy Company of the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions," was the TOUR Championship sponsor the year of Stewart's passing. A year later, the PGA TOUR created the Payne Stewart Award in his honor, and Southern Company has supported the annual presentation since its inception.

The past winners have all distinguished themselves through their respect for the game, the TOUR's tradition of charity and their ability to make a positive impact in the lives of others.

"I never got to meet Payne, but I loved him," Johnson said. "I loved how he played the game certainly as a competitor but then how he lived his life off the golf course – he's the model. I remember going to the TOUR Championship and the Payne Stewart Award Ceremony my rookie year and thinking, "'This is the pinnacle of a PGA TOUR player's career.' It's about how you utilize the gifts you are given, and I know Payne lived that way.

"I am deeply grateful and honored. I don't like being in the limelight a whole lot, but I hope in this regard I can at least be a small piece of his legacy."

Johnson, 44, was born in Iowa City, Iowa, but was raised 30 miles north in Cedar Rapids where he took up the game as a 10-year-old. He honed his skills at nearby Elmcrest Country Club, which now hosts the annual Zach Johnson Foundation Classic.

Though Johnson and Stewart never met, the two are well-connected on the golf course, and more specifically on the greens. Johnson employed the same SeeMore FGP putter that Stewart used to win the 1999 U.S. Open for all 12 of his PGA TOUR wins, including his most recent title at the 2015 Open Championship at St. Andrews.

Thursday, August 13

The Ladies Scottish Open Tees Off, Denmark's Nicole Broch Larsen Leads After 67

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THE LPGA AND LET TOURS have joined forces in Scotland, the Home of Golf, where earlier today the women teed off in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club.

Nicole Broch Larsen is the first-round leader after carding a 4-under 67. The 27-year-old Dane finished in a tie for 21st at the 2020 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open.

Danielle Kang, who is looking for her third consecutive victory at this event, opened with a 71.

Following is the broadcast schedule for the final three rounds.

Golf Channel Coverage
All times Eastern.

Friday, August 14:
7 - 11 a.m.

Saturday, August 15:
7 - 11 a.m.

Sunday, August 16:
7 - 11 a.m.

Wednesday, August 12

Augusta National Golf Club Statement: No Patrons or Guests at the 2020 Masters

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LIKE THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP and other events played since the restart of the PGA Tour, this year's Masters will be conducted without spectators.

Here's the statement from Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred Ridley:
"Since our initial announcement to postpone the 2020 Masters, we have remained committed to a rescheduled Tournament in November while continually examining how best to host a global sporting event amid this pandemic," said Ridley. "As we have considered the issues facing us, the health and safety of everyone associated with the Masters always has been our first and most important priority.
"Throughout this process, we have consulted with health officials and a variety of subject matter experts. Ultimately, we determined that the potential risks of welcoming patrons and guests to our grounds in November are simply too significant to overcome. 
"Even in the current circumstances, staging the Masters without patrons is deeply disappointing. The guests who come to Augusta each spring from around the world are a key component to making the Tournament so special. Augusta National has the responsibility, however, to understand and accept the challenges associated with this virus and take the necessary precautions to conduct all aspects of the Tournament in a safe manner. We look forward to the day when we can welcome all of our patrons back, hopefully in April 2021.
"We appreciate the support and patience of all those we serve – including the Augusta community, our corporate and broadcast partners and our friends in golf – as we continue to plan for this historic event."
All 2020 Masters tickets will be good for the 2021 Masters. For more information, visit Masters.com.

Tuesday, August 11

Global Golf Post: ACC Plans to Play Football But Cancels Men's and Women's Golf

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THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF TALK in recent days about college football. In the midst of a surge of COVID-19 cases, will conferences go ahead with football this fall? Or will they cancel?

Some, like the Big Ten, Pac-12, Mountain West and Mid-American conferences, among others, have canceled the fall football season. (The Big Ten, for one, hopes to play football in the spring.)

According to a CNN report, the SEC, ACC and Big 12 are still deciding.

Jim Nugent of Global Golf Post wrote a week ago that the ACC was forging ahead, according to a news release from the conference. That could change given recent developments.

Some troubling news buried at the bottom of the release was that the ACC axed the men's and women's fall golf seasons. That's right, they'll play football but not that physically distanced, non-contact sport -- golf.

Nugent wrote:
We all know the underly rationale here. It is the almighty dollar, which serves as the foundation for all intercollegiate sports programs, golf included. If there is no football in the ACC, athletic departments will crater. It is the doomsday scenario. So football must be played, even if the schedule is modified and scaled back a bit. 
Nonetheless, the college golf coaches community was aghast upon hearing the news. "Troubling" is what one person said to me. "Concerning" came from another. "Insane" was the strongest comment I got -- and perhaps the most on point.
This "first domino to topple," as Nugent noted, could make it easier for other conferences to take the same action with their golf programs.

It's the times we live in. Yes, COVID-19 is a serious threat and caution is warranted.

But haven't we learned that golf is one sport that can be safely played during the pandemic?

Monday, August 10

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP HIGHLIGHTS: Collin Morikawa's Memorable Shots From His Final Round 64 at TPC Harding Park



COLLIN MORIKAWA HIT CLUTCH SHOTS on the closing holes at TPC Harding Park to separate himself from a large pack of leaders at the 2020 PGA Championship.

The 23-year-old Los Angeles native who attended Cal Berkely claimed the Wannamaker Trophy by shooting a toasty 6-under 64 in the mist and chill of the City by the Bay. Morikawa finished 13 under, two strokes ahead of runners-up Paul Casey and Dustin Johnson, the 54-hole leader.

The new PGA champion carded a 69 on Thursday and Friday, a 65 on Saturday and that stirring 64 on Sunday.

"It's been a life goal," Morikawa said. "Obviously as a little kid, kind of watching everyone grow up, all these professionals, and this is always what I've wanted to do."

He added, "To close it out here at a course that I played a dozen times throughout college, it's really special."

Morikawa is now in select company. Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are the only other players to win the PGA Championship at age 23.

It was Morikawa's third win on the PGA Tour and vaulted him to No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Friday, August 7

China's Haotong Li Is as Surprised as Anyone That He Leads PGA Championship

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HAOTONG LI COULD BE THE FIRST Chinese player to lead a major championship at the end of a round. Li fired an early 65 on Friday at TPC Harding Park to finish at 8-under 132 after 36 holes. There were no bogeys on his card.

Ranked 114th in the world, Li, 25, didn't expect much in San Francisco.

"I didn't even think I could play like this this week," he said.

Li added, "[H]ad no confidence."

The man with no confidence started his second round with five birdies in his first 10 holes and then reeled off eight straight pars. He only hit four fairways.

In his two previous starts, Li missed the cut at the Memorial Tournament and finished 75th in the 78-man field at last week's WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

At this moment, he leads the PGA Championship at the halfway point. Now what?

"I've got no expectation, actually," Li said.

Thursday, August 6

MORNING READ: 'Greatest Stretch of Golf in the History of the Game'

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IN MORNING READ, VETERAN GOLF SCRIBE Gary Van Sickle wrote about the beginning of an unprecedented stretch of major events in the men's game.

Beginning with the PGA Championship that started today in San Francisco, seven majors will be played in the next 11 months. It has been more than a year since the last major. That was the Open Championship won by Irishman Shane Lowry.

Now, as Van Sickle wrote, "[T]he majors are stacked up like so many Pringles chips in the familiar tall red container."

He turned to Jim "Hello Friends" Nantz for context:
CBS broadcaster Jim Nantz put it into perspective in a pre-PGA teleconference: "We are about to enter, starting Thursday, the greatest stretch of golf in the history of the game. In an 11-month stretch, we are going to have seven major championships. We are going to have the playoffs. That includes two Masters, two PGA Championships, the Players Championship. And if you're hot … you have a chance to make your career in the next 11 months." 
Nantz put just the right amount of polish on this bannister. It's not hype; it's just fact.
But is it hype?

Yeah, at least some. That's to be expected.

After the "gold rush" of majors, there will also be golf in the Olympics and the Ryder Cup. So, yes, it will be quite a stretch.

And as Van Sickle and Nantz opined, it will be an opportune time for a player to play the best golf of his life.

Wednesday, August 5

The PGA Championship: Complete Broadcast Schedule

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THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP STARTS TOMORROW at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. Below is the broadcast schedule, plucked from my email inbox. All times Eastern.

For more informaion, visit PGAChampionship.com.


Major Championship golf is back, as San Francisco's TPC Harding Park hosts the first major of the year, the 102nd PGA Championship, August 6-9.

This year's PGA Championship will deliver unprecedented live, wire-to-wire 72-hole coverage to viewers via CBS, ESPN, ESPN+ and PGAChampionship.com.


HOW TO WATCH

THURSAUGUST 6LIVE COVERAGEESPN+  •  10:00AM - 4:00PMESPN  •  4:00PM - 10:00PMFEATURED GROUPS 1 & 2(Morning, Afternoon)ESPN+  • 10:00AM - 10:00PM
FRIAUGUST 7LIVE COVERAGEESPN+  •  10:00AM - 4:00PMESPN  •  4:00PM - 10:00PMFEATURED GROUPS 1 & 2(Morning, Afternoon)ESPN+  • 10:00AM - 10:00PM
SATAUGUST 8LIVE COVERAGEESPN+  •  11:00AM - 1:00PMESPN  •  1:00PM - 4:00PMCBS  •  4:00PM - 10:00PMFEATURED GROUPS 1 & 2(Morning, Afternoon)ESPN+  • 11:00AM - 10:00PMFEATURED HOLE (NO. 18)ESPN+  •  4:00PM - 10:00PM
SUNAUGUST 9LIVE COVERAGEESPN+  •  10:00AM - 12:00PMESPN  •  12:00PM - 3:00PMCBS  •  3:00PM - 9:00PMFEATURED GROUPS 1 & 2(Morning, Afternoon)ESPN+  • 10:00AM - 9:00PMFEATURED HOLE (NO. 18)ESPN+  •  3:00PM - 9:00PM

Tuesday, August 4

ICYMI: European Tour's Joel Sjöholm Uses a Small Boat to Reach Henderson Island and Play His Next Shot, He Salvages a Bogey


Joel Sjoholm, from Sweden, finished the Hero Open at Forest of Arden in a tie for 22nd. He shot rounds of 70, 68, 68 and 73 for a 9-under total.

Monday, August 3

PGA TOUR VIDEO: Justin Thomas Is on Top of the World After Comeback Victory in Memphis



HEADING INTO THE YEAR'S FIRST MAJOR, Justin Thomas is the new No. 1.

Thomas captured his third victory this season and 13th of his PGA Tour career at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis. He shot rounds of 66-67-66-65 to finish 13-under-par at TPC Southwind.

Every victory is special, but this one was probably a little sweeter.

"It means a lot," Thomas said, "especially with how I felt like I did it.

"In the past, I struggled with coming from behind. I got wrapped up in how far I was behind and how many people."

Defending champion Brooks Koepka made a run but came up short. He finished in a tie for second with three others: Daniel Berger, Tom Lewis and Phil Mickelson.

The PGA Championship begins on Thursday at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

Saturday, August 1

707 and Counting: Miguel Angel Jimenez Sets New Appearance Record on European Tour


MIGUEL ANGEL JIMENEZ IS THE NEW KING of longevity on the European Tour.

The 56-year-old Spaniard is playing in his 707th event on tour this week, the Hero Open at the Forest of Arden in England. Jimenez, who joined the circuit in 1983, moved ahead of previous record-holder Sam Torrance.

The player nicknamed "The Mechanic" celebrated by putting together an 8-under 64 on Thursday.

"It's been a wonderful day," Jimenez said at BBC Sport. "Eight under par with a beautiful summer day and especially on the 18th with all my colleagues clapping for me, it's emotional."