Off The Fringe-Scottie Didn’t Win, Bryson Did

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Bryson DeChambeau figured out how to play Pinehurst No.2 and obviously world number one Scottie Scheffler did not. It would have been nice if Scheffler had taken the U.S. Open. It would have been his sixth victory this season and an early birthday present, he will be 28 on Friday. The Pinehurst greens and a stone-cold putter conspired against him. For the week he was an abysmal minus 1.51 strokes gained putting finishing fourth from the bottom of those making the cut for that stat. After the second round the world number one said he might rethink playing the week before major championships.

Rahm’s Problem
Jon Rahm didn’t play this week at Pinehurst due to a foot infection but it’s plain his competitiveness is changed since taking a reported $600 million to defect to LIV Golf last December.

In 2023 before being suspended from the PGA Tour he won the Masters, finished T-50 in the PGA Championship, had a T-10 at the U.S. Open and a tie for second place in the British Open. He finished the year ranked number 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings behind number one Scottie Scheffler and number two Rory McIlroy.

In 2024 he has no wins on the LIV circuit, a T-45 defending at the Masters, and missed the cut at the PGA. Everyone goes through slumps, even at the top level but it does seem Rahm’s schedule on the LIV tour is not helping him.

In his eight LIV events this season the best finish he has posted is a tie for third twice. At least in Rahm’s case there is perhaps something to the idea that the LIV format of limited fields filled with second rank players and 54-hole shotgun starts over less than PGAT quality courses isn’t conducive to maintaining the sharpness required for “best in the world.”

Speaking of LIV players, how did they make out in Pinehurst. Rahm as mentioned withdrew with Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Adrian Meronk and Eugenio Chacarra all missing the cut. DeChambeau beat Rory McIlroy for the title and Sergio Garcia was the only other LIV golfer to finish in the top 25.

On Top of the World in 1924
There is no question winning our national championship puts one at the head of the list. One hundred years ago the winner was Cyril Walker, a 32-year-old Englishman who emigrated to the U.S. in 1914 and played out of Englewood Golf Club.

He didn’t beat just any golfer but beat Bobby Jones the defending champion by three strokes over the difficult Oakland Hills course near Detroit. However, Walker was not a poplar winner, he was a very slow player and had a prickly temperament, aggravating most of the people he encountered.

Winning only one more tournament Walker’s career deteriorated through the 1930s and was reduced to caddying and finally washing dishes to live. He died in a Hackensack, N.J. jail at 55 from pneumonia.

Short Putts
What a relief. Last Tuesday Rory McIlroy announced he and his wife of seven years will not be getting a divorce. It may be a cynical view, but so what? It’s great for him and her and their four-year-old daughter but least we forget “stuff happens” and the outcome is happiness…sometimes. Social media gossip can now move on to the next victim.

High schooler Charlie Woods was inside the ropes at Pinehurst during the practice rounds acting as a swing coach. When queried his father, a middle-aged golfer also named Woods, said, “I tell him what to look for, especially with putting. He gave me a couple little side bits today, which was great, because I get so entrenched in hitting certain putts to certain pins, I tend to forget some of the things I’m working on.” It would have been a world class story if Tiger had won or even made the cut.

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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