Off the Fringe—PGA Fireworks

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Fireworks at the PGA
The PGA Championship didn’t work out the way many were predicting with a showdown between world number one Scottie Scheffler, world number two Rory McIlroy and former PGA Tour star Bruce Koepka.

I guess it just goes to show to win the PGA you shouldn’t get arrested, divorce your wife or think tournament toughness necessarily comes from 54 hole no-cut events.

Scheffler was coming off two wins in a row and four in the last five tournaments, a new baby and made an eagle on his first hole on Thursday. Friday he was arrested in the traffic scrum after a pedestrian was hit and killed by a shuttlebus.

McIlroy came up with his own distractions by filing for divorce from his wife of seven years on Monday before the PGA started. For the second major of the year those playing on the LIV circuit weren’t in contention apart from Bryson DeChambeau who finished second behind Xander Schauffele. Koepka took himself out of the running with a 74 on Saturday.

Scheffler’s trouble with the police had one unforeseen effect, single tickets prices for Saturday and Sunday rounds jumped 30% according to resellers and Sunday’s round hit $272.

Somehow watching Scheffler play and not in jail is an attraction…go figure.

Rahm Makes a Prediction
The day after Jimmy Dunne resigned from the PGAT board saying there had been “no meaningful progress,” in the talks with the PIF over a PGAT merger, Jon Rahm in an interview said, “They should take their time to make this work properly. I don’t know if that takes one, two, three, five, six years. I don’t know what that might be like. But I don’t feel like I’m on any rush to make something happen today.”

One could imagine in six years the only fans still interested in professional men’s golf may be those who don’t like pro bowling.

Korda Rules
The LPGA continues to be exciting and certainly worth the attention of golf fans. Nellie Korda won the Mizuho Americas Open for her sixth victory in seven events by one stroke over Hannah Green. Korda joins a select group of those with six wins in a single season including Inbee Park in 2013, the most recent to do it. The 25-year-old Korda had been on a five-win streak until she lost to Rose Zhang at Cognizant Founders Cup last week.

Short Putts
The 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill CC saw California club pro Michael Block become a fan favorite with a T-15 finish, He had hoped this year would be as rewarding but a four-chip quadruple bogey of his second hole Thursday effectively meant making the cut was impossible.

Another disappointment for fans was Rose Zhang had to withdraw from the initial round of the Mizuho Americas Open after just three holes with intestinal pain. In 2023 in her first LPGA tournament as a professional Zhang won this event, before that a rookie winning her first event had been 72 years ago.

Fans still flock to watch Tiger Woods at those few tournaments he tees it up but erratic play at this week’s PGA left the four-time winner of the Wannamaker Trophy out of contention sending him home with a missed cut Friday night. Woods has admitted he will only play in the majors and still feels he has a chance to win but maybe it would be better for him to retire because from what he showed at the Masters and the PGA it’s embarrassing even though fans still are four deep around every shot.

Ed Travis

Ed Travis is a national award winning golf journalist and has carried on a lifelong love affair with the game. His work covering the business of golf, equipment, golf personalities and travel is regularly seen in numerous print and electronic publications. He has competed in tournament golf both as an amateur and senior professional and though his competitive days are behind him, Travis still plays regularly. He and his wife live on a water hazard in suburban Orlando.

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