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Foursomes for 4 days? Ranking top-10 needle movers on Tour


The Australians group up for the Zurich Classic win, the group format wants extra adjusting, the wealthy get richer, Brooke Henderson stars in Hollywood and extra on this week’s version of Monday Scramble:

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The individual most happy with the ending to the Zurich Classic will need to have been Trevor Immelman.

He’s the subsequent International Presidents Cup captain.

Locked in a duel Sunday had been the Australians (Marc Leishman/Cameron Smith) and the South Africans (Louis Oosthuizen/Charl Schwartzel), with Leishman chipping in for birdie on the sixteenth gap to tie it up, then the squad prevailing on the primary further gap after Oosthuizen sailed his tee shot into the water on the closing par 5.

With this efficiency the Aussies appear a lock to be paired collectively when the Presidents Cup rolls round in fall 2022 at Quail Hollow.

“We would certainly have fun there if we did,” Leishman stated. “We have given Trevor something to think about anyway.”

No world-ranking factors had been distributed and there wasn’t fairly the same old FedExCup level allotment, however the Australians had been every credited with a victory: This was Smith’s third Tour title (all in a playoff, together with his second on this group occasion) and Leishman’s sixth. Smith is all the way in which as much as No. 3 within the FedExCup standings as he continues his robust play this season, with six top-10s.

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Seated subsequent to the trophy they could not have provided probably the most unbiased opinions, however Leishman and Smith had been requested afterward if the Zurich ought to bear one other format change and turn out to be 72 holes of alternate shot.

“No,” Smith stated.

“No,” Leishman stated.

“That’d be too stressful,” Smith added.

“I would be too worn out by Sunday night, I think,” Leishman stated.

“I don’t think Leish and I would be friends after that,” Smith stated.

But that doesn’t imply it shouldn’t occur.

The best-ball rounds on Thursday and Saturday enable gamers to get right into a movement, make birdies and shoot decrease numbers, however we see that each single week on the PGA Tour. It’s sluggish. And it’s uninteresting (particularly on a sleepy format like TPC Louisiana).

But alternate shot? There’s no faking it. There’s room for each spectacular play (Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay mixed for a record-tying eight birdies on Sunday) and disasters, with the groups of Tony Finau/Cameron Champ and Viktor Hovland/Kris Ventura plummeting out of rivalry with blowup rounds.

The scoring common was over par throughout every of the alternate-shot days and greater than seven pictures increased (73.225 on Friday, 72.636 on Sunday) than finest ball. That’s a very good factor! There’s stress on each shot, and that makes for a compelling competitors.

We wrote on this area final week how the Zurich is the right alternative for the Tour to hitch forces with the LPGA and create a blended group occasion. If that doesn’t (or can’t) turn out to be a actuality, then 72 holes of alternate shot is the subsequent smartest thing.

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The greatest information final week – so stated that all-important Google Search! – was a program the PGA Tour had tried to maintain underneath wraps: The Player Impact Program, which is able to see the top-10 needle-movers earn an additional $40 million in bonus cash, with the highest participant grabbing $8 million. The program was instituted in the beginning of the calendar 12 months and, doubtless due to optics – we’re nonetheless within the midst of a pandemic, in any case, with companies hurting – would have gone unpublicized if not for the Golfweek report.

The standings aren’t anticipated to be up to date weekly for public consumption, a la the FedExCup, however by 12 months’s finish, it’s affordable to anticipate these acquainted names to money in (extra on that beneath).

Some questions you might have:

Billy Horschel: Player Impact Program a chance to ‘thank’ the popular players

• Couldn’t the $40 mil have been utilized in higher methods, like serving to out the Korn Ferry Tour? Sure. But the purpose of the developmental circuit is to maintain guys hungry – and that wouldn’t occur with inflated purses and $300,000 winner’s checks.

• Wasn’t this simply an apparent response to the proposed Premier Golf League, which had promised the superstars big offers? Of course! Even if the Tour is not promising generational wealth just like the PGL, a number of million a 12 months continues to be a pleasant thank-you reward for their loyalty.

• Do these multimillionaires actually want extra thousands and thousands? Obviously not, however right here’s a greater method to consider this system: The Tour is actually sponsoring its greatest stars, since that’s what they’d internet in an endorsement deal anyway ($3-8M). They simply don’t have so as to add a Tour brand to their polos.

• Is this a lot hand-wringing about nothing? You betcha. The Tour’s hottest gamers – these basically powering the product on a weekly foundation – are about to money in. As they need to. The Most worthy commodity to superstars is time, and if the Tour can safe these single-name studs for an additional event dedication and/or a business shoot and advertising and marketing promotion, effectively, that’s a fantastic tradeoff.

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The winningest Canadian in golf historical past retains on successful, as Brooke Henderson earned her 10th career LPGA title with a splashy victory on the LA Open. Trailing by 4 pictures firstly of the ultimate spherical at Wilshire, Henderson chipped in for birdie on twelfth gap after which hung on with a deft up-and-down from left of the 18th inexperienced to safe a one-shot victory over Jessica Korda. Henderson additionally overcame world No. 1 Jin Young Ko to earn her first title since June 2019.

The emotion was obvious on her face afterward, as Henderson talked about all the onerous work that she and sister/caddie Brittany have put into getting again within the winner’s circle for the primary time in practically two years. One member of the close-knit group continues to be lacking, nonetheless: With Canada underneath a strict lockdown, Henderson’s father/swing coach Dave hasn’t been out on tour for the reason that starting of 2020. That at the least partly explains why Henderson didn’t file a W in restricted motion final 12 months and why she had posted only a pair of top-10s this season.

The LPGA is a greater product when the hard-charging Henderson is gunning for titles.

THIS WEEK’S AWARD WINNERS …

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Another Youngster to Watch: Garrick Higgo. The sweet-swinging left-hander simply gained his fifth professional occasion – and he’s nonetheless simply 21. The South African ran it up on the inaugural Gran Canaria Lopesan Open, closing with 63 and ending at 25 underneath par as he claimed his second profession European Tour title. He’s all the way in which as much as sixty fifth on this planet rating.

Resurfaced: Tiger Woods. In the primary picture he’s posted since his horrific automotive crash, Tiger appeared on crutches and with an air forged on his decrease proper leg – and likewise a smile, after what will need to have been a making an attempt few months. If we’re wanting for silver linings right here, it doesn’t seem as if he suffered any main accidents moreover his proper leg.

Best Sports: Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith. Few if any groups had extra enjoyable in New Orleans than the All-Aussie squad of Leishman and Smith, particularly with the latter sporting a gnarly mullet over the previous few months. Big Leish confirmed up with the right prop – the one disgrace was that he didn’t play with it on.

Heater Alert: Peter Uihlein. After successful two weeks in the past on the Korn Ferry Tour, the previous No. 1-ranked novice saved rolling on the Zurich, partnering with Richy Werenski to shoot a final-round 67 and surge up the leaderboard, ultimately ending in third place.

Don’t Stop Believing …: Tyson Alexander. A professional for a dozen years, Alexander had each cause to surprise if his time would ever come as he sat exterior the highest 500 on this planet rating and didn’t have a top-50 in his final 9 begins. But that didn’t cease him from going 65-64 on the weekend to seize the Korn Ferry Tour’s Veritex Bank Championship, transferring him all the way in which up the factors listing to No. 31 – and now giving him a shot to earn that long-awaited promotion to the massive tour. Good stuff.

… But You May Want to Stop Trying: Tony Romo. It was cool that he wished to check himself in opposition to guys who’ve been doing this their whole lives, however the outcomes are fairly clear now: At the KFT occasion Romo completed final amongst those that completed two rounds – by six pictures – after recording scores of 77-76, which suggests he’s now 0-for-6 in making an attempt to make the reduce on the PGA and Korn Ferry excursions … and he hasn’t come significantly shut, both. No matter what the sponsors say, nobody is paying to observe him play golf, so maybe it’s time for Romo to seek out one other technique to assist the sport he clearly loves a lot.

Still Ballin’: Angela Stanford. The 43-year-old notched her one hundredth profession top-10 end, sharing fifth place (4 pictures again) on the LA Open. At an age when many of the LPGA greats have centered on different passions, it’s inspiring to see Stanford nonetheless mixing it up with the youngsters.

Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson

Not Too Shabby: Valspar subject. Though there was some concern that the later date would possibly harm the Tampa-area subject, that doesn’t seem like the case – 4 of the highest 10 gamers on this planet will tee it up, together with the highest two in Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas, and Phil Mickelson was a late addition as he tries to enhance his world rating to keep away from needing a particular exemption (or a sectional qualifier) to play within the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

Will Someone Else Step Up … Ever?: Kent State. For the twenty second consecutive time – so long as the event has been held – the Golden Flashes, ranked thirteenth within the nation, gained the Mid-American Women’s Conference Championship, crushing the sphere by 36 pictures. It’s believed to be the longest streak in NCAA Division I.

UNOFFICIAL LIST OF TOUR’S TOP 10 NEEDLE-MOVERS

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The wealthy are about to get richer with this Player Impact Program, which is able to have in mind metrics like Google Search, Q score and nebulous social-media influencing. Final outcomes gained’t be identified till the tip of the 12 months (and gained’t be made public anyway), however right here’s how we expect the highest 10 needle-movers will pan out:

1.) Tiger Woods: Meet the brand new king, identical because the previous king, even when he doesn’t hit a aggressive shot in 2021.

2.) Bryson DeChambeau: He wins and he’s a polarizing persona (that’s useful!). Big Bryson will get individuals speaking.

3.) Jordan Spieth: Few have performed higher this 12 months, he’s a media darling and, moreover, he ought to have a fairly good thought of the best way to enhance his clout through the MVP Index – his father, Shawn, co-founded the corporate.

4.) Phil Mickelson: Rarely aggressive as of late, however Phil the Thrill retains his reputation and nonetheless does sufficient zany issues all year long to crack the highest 5.

5.) Rory McIlroy: Wisely begged off social media a number of years in the past, however his press conferences are nonetheless appointment viewing and fan curiosity stays excessive.

6.) Brooks Koepka: The king of social-media trolling, he’ll make a late second-half cost in 2021.

7.) Rickie Fowler: In the midst of a swing change, he sadly doesn’t seem a lot on the published as of late, however nobody is seen extra in the course of the commercials. He’s a fan and sponsor favourite, and that isn’t altering anytime quickly.

8.) Patrick Reed: Considering what went down at Torrey Pines, he’ll put to check the idea that any publicity is sweet publicity.

9.) Justin Thomas: Apologized profusely for his hot-mic slip-up earlier this 12 months, however his Instagram recreation is robust and in case you’re voted PGA Tour Player of the Year, effectively, that’ll assist too.

10.) Dustin Johnson: The world No. 1 isn’t going to exit of his technique to promote himself (his fiancée can for him), however he’s nonetheless a giant draw on Tour.

Interested to see: How a lot Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama’s international enchantment components into this; if the Tour’s IT group can work out how a Google search of “Adam Scott” can first convey up the Wikipedia web page of the golfer, not the actor; whether or not social-media stars (and 2021 Tour winners) Max Homa and Joel Dahmen can go mainstream sufficient to consider; and if studs like Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa – prime 6 gamers on this planet, all of them – can enhance their profiles and formally turn out to be a Tour-approved needle-mover.

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