Off the Fringe – Scottie Bounces Back

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Scottie Takes on River Highlands
Scottie Scheffler after making the cut on the number at last week’s U.S. Open and struggling for 72 holes with Pinehurst’s greens, put the T-41 finish behind him. He hadn’t played like world number one and admitted as much in post tournament interviews, but it was evident he was of the mind to turn the debacle into a positive at the Travelers. He bested Tom Kim in a playoff for his sixth win of the season and just in case your keeping track, that takes his earnings for the year are almost $28 million

No Merger…Yet
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is still saying it will happen, but we say don’t hold your breath. As the golf world was basking in the afterglow of Bryson DeChambeau’s second U.S. Open championship Monahan reported last Tuesday the year-long discussion of a merger with the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s LIV Golf is not a done deal.

More discussions are required for an agreement that will have PGAT stars and those players that defected to the LIV circuit playing against each other on a regular basis in addition to the four major championships.

Quoting from Monahan’s June 18 report of the recent meeting with PIF in New York, “During that meeting, we reached consensus on several items, but both parties recognize there is still work to do to reach a final agreement. Our talks are ongoing with the goal of developing a shared vision for the future of professional golf that is pro-competitive and provide players with the best global opportunities.”

It is obvious to those inside and outside the game that the longer it takes to find a solution, if indeed one can be found, the more golf fans and sponsors will lose interest. A fact that is apparent week to week though Nielsen tracking said NBC U.S. Open coverage did have the most viewers since 2013 when Phil Mickelson fought a losing duel with Justin Rose.

Seeming to acknowledge a need for more fan involvement the PGAT has begun a research program tagged “Fan Forward.” Those wanting to participant by answering a set of survey questions click here: Qualtrics Survey | Qualtrics Experience Management

“As we start the Fan Forward initiative, we are solely focused on digging deeper into what fans like and why they like it,” said Billy Schroder, the TOUR’s Senior Vice President, Competitions – Special Projects. “We will be surveying and interviewing all levels of fans, from the core to the casual to the non-golf fan. Only after we have a good understanding of what the fans want more of from PGA TOUR golf will we being looking at concepts for how to deliver it to them.”

Tiger Lifetime Exemption
In further announcements last week. Tiger Woods has been given a lifetime exemption to play in any or all of the PGAT Signature Events, the eight big dollar limited-field events in the schedule. The major championships are not included since the Tour does not run any of them. The Travelers Championship is the last of the eight Signature Events this season.

Short Putts
Cantlay Disappointment

The U.S. Open wasn’t all bad for everyone besides DeChambeau. Colin Morikawa’s T-14 finish was enough to end the hopes of Patrick Cantlay for being the fourth member of the United States squad going to France for the Olympics. The team is determined by position in the Official World Golf Rankings after the U.S. Open and comprised of Scottie Scheffler (world no. 1) winner of six events this year including the Masters, Xander Schauffele (no. 3) winner of the PGA Championship and 2020 Olympic gold medal winner and Windham Clark (no.5) 2023 U.S. Open Champion. Morikawa is world no.7 and Cantlay no. 8.

The Bear Growled and the Tour Heard
There was no doubt when Jack Nicklaus agreed to move his Memorial Tournament to the week before the U.S. Open it would not be a permanent change. Since inception in 1976 the Memorial has been played around Memorial Day or two weeks before the U.S. Open. However, for 2024 the PGAT asked Nicklaus to change dates due to spacing out the Tour’s Signature Events with the major championships. The Memorial is one of the Signature Events with a purse bumped up to $20 million. During his career Nicklaus rarely played the week before a major championship and likes his tournament two weeks prior to the Open so players can have the same schedule he used so successfully. Bryson DeChambeau’s name had hardly been cut into the U.S. Open trophy when Nicklaus resolved the date question announcing play would be the week of Memorial Day 2025.

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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