The week in professional golf saw many notable players return to the winner’s circle.
Keegan Bradley ended a four-year PGA Tour drought by winning the Zozo Championship in Japan.
Brooks Koepka won his first LIV Golf tournament in Saudi Arabia for his first win in 20 months, which, in case you haven’t heard, was a $4.5 million pay day.
And Fred Couples beat his age by 3 shots with a 12-under 60 in Sunday’s final round of the SAS Championship. years.
Biggest winner of the week? LIV Golf, if you believe the words coming out of the mouth of six-time major champion Phil Mickelson in Saudi Arabia last week.
“Going forward you have to pick a side. You have to pick a side that you think will be successful,” Mickelson told reporters.
Of course, PGA Tour players don’t believe they’re on the wrong side of the ongoing dispute with LIV Golf.
Does it count if the players win a golf tournament in the woods and no one sees it?
— Joel Dahmen (@Joel_Dahmen) October 17, 2022
Who will win this week? A loaded PGA Tour field is set for the CJ Cup in South Carolina, which begins Thursday at Congaree Golf Club. With another win, Rory McIlroy could replace Scotty Scheffler as the world’s No. 1 player.
As LIV Golf takes a break before the season-ending group event in Miami later this month, the LPGA begins its two-event Asian swing at the BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea.
Here’s what to watch in professional golf this week:
What’s next on the PGA Tour?
CJ Cup in South Carolina
Where: Congaree Golf Club, Ridgeland, South Carolina
Defending champion: Rory McIlroy
Purse: $10.5 million
Three stories to watch:
The boys are back. Most of the PGA Tour’s top players will compete at Congare Golf Club this week for the first time since the season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake. Basically, 15 of the top 20 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are in the field, including six of the top 10. Five out of the top 20 are Cameron Smith (LIV Golf), Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schaufele, Will Zalatoris. (Injured) and Tony Finau. It will be a preview of the 13 top events next season as the tour’s top players have committed to play in each.
Rory’s Defense; McIlroy has not competed on the PGA Tour since winning his third FedEx title at East Lake in August. But the world number 2 player did not take it lightly. He made three starts on the DP World Tour, finishing second at the BMW PGA Championship, fourth at the Italian Open and fourth at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Last year, McIlroy won his 20th PGA Tour victory at the CJ Cup @ Summit in Las Vegas, beating Colin Moricawa by 1 stroke. Depending on how Scheffler does this week, Scotty will have a chance to dethrone Scheffler as the world’s No. 1 player if he defends his title or goes solo.
There is no rest for the weary; More than three dozen players from the field participated in the Japan Zozo Championship, including Victor Hovland, Tom Kim, Hideki Matsuyama and Morikawa. The PGA Tour has chartered a United Nations flight for players, caddies and staff. The 12 half-hour flight covered more than 7,300 miles.
What’s next at LIV Golf?
LIV Golf Team Championship
When: October 28-30
Where: Trumpeter National Doral Miami
Purse: 50 million dollars
Three stories to watch:
It’s all about the team. The seeding is for the team championship at the end of the season, where 12 four-player teams will compete for $50 million. The first place team will split $16 million equally, second place will get $10 million, and third place will take $8 million. Dustin Johnson’s 4 Aces GC is the top seed with 152 points, followed by Bryson DeChambeau’s Crushers (96 points), Sergio Garcia’s Fireballs (93) and Louis Oosthuizen’s Stinger GC (72). Each will receive a first-round bye and select their opponents for the second round. Brooks Koepka’s Smash GC fifth seed, who won the team event in Saudi Arabia last week, will be the first to pick an opponent for the opening event. He is the 12th descendant of Harold Varner III Niblicks.
Kopka will end the drought Koepka took out former classmate Peter Uehlin on the third playoff hole to win the LIV Golf Invitational Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on Sunday. In the year Labor replacement in the next few years.
“I wasn’t sure if I could move the same way and if I wanted to play, I could move the way I wanted to,” Kopecka said. “I’m lucky [to] Be where I am now.”
It was a $4.75 million payday for Koepka, who collected $4 million for the individual title and $750,000 for the team win (a quarter of $3 million). He’s going to buy his brother and partner Chase a new Lamborghini if they win a team race.
Golf is (much) louder The team’s championship lineup was announced last week, and it’s not what you’d expect to see at a traditional golf tournament. Again, there’s nothing traditional about LIV Golf. The musical lineup includes The Chainsmokers (minus South African golfer Shaun Norris), Nelly, DJ Ty James, Snoop Dogg and Travis Scott. They also play some golf.
What’s Next on the LPGA Tour?
BMW Ladies Championship
Where: Oak Valley Country Club, Busan, South Korea
Purse: $2 million
Defending champion: Jin Young Co
Three stories to watch:
Player of the year: Australia’s Minje Lee looks set to clinch Player of the Year honors after winning the US Women’s Open and finishing second at the Women’s PGA Championship. But WD and the streak allowed three other players who missed out on Lee to return to the tournament. With four races to go this season, Lee leads Amundi Evian Championship winner Canadian Brook Henderson by 19 points. Thailand’s 19-year-old Ataya Titikul is 25 points back after picking up her second win of the season at Walmart, N.Y., Arkansas in late September. And Lydia Ko, who has finished in the top-seven in six of her last seven starts, is down 29 points.
Ko is back. BMW Ladies Championship winner Jin Young Ko, the No. 1 player in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking, is expected to make her debut from late August. Ko has not played since the CP Women’s Open, where she missed her second straight cut for the first time in her LPGA career, due to a left wrist injury. It’s the same injury that bothered her last season. Ko’s only win this season came at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore in early March.
Choi’s Farewell: South Korea’s Na Yoon Cho will compete for the final time on the LPGA Tour this week. She announced her retirement on October 5. Choi, 34, has won nine times in her LPGA career, including the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open in Kohler, Wisconsin.
“All athletes face a time when they decide to retire,” Choi said in a statement. “I think this is the right time to make this big decision because I know that I will walk away from my work full of sweat and blood full of regrets, but it is not an easy decision for me. I will make a choice without regret for myself and my future. I will stop playing golf, the sport that has been my whole life and which I love and hate at the same time. I’ve had a lot of challenges but I’ll miss those moments a lot.”
In the official world golf rankings
Current rank: 23
Previous rank: 44
Bradley’s emotional win in Japan, his first on Tour in more than four years, helped him break into the OWGR 25 for the first time since August 2014.
Current rating: 75
Previous rank: 87
Argentinian Grillo climbed 12 places with a solitary fourth in the Zozo Championship. He shot a 6-under 64 in the final round, but cast some shade at Accordia Golf’s Narashino Country Club.
“Honestly, I don’t like it,” Grillo said.
Current rank: 79
Previous rank: 109
The former Pepperdine star finished second at the Zozo Championship, his best finish on tour since finishing second at the 2021 Barracuda Championship.
Current rank: 106
Previous rank: 160
Fowler missed a 1-shot lead in the final round in Japan and finished tied for 2nd for the 15th time in his PGA Tour career. Fowler hasn’t won in over three years, but his form seems to be heading in the right direction.
Current rank: 311
Previous rank: 354
The former world No. 1 amateur player, who played in three majors last season, was ranked 12th in his professional debut in his native Japan.
Current rank: 35
Previous rank: 33
LIV golfers are still not earning OWGR points, so their ranking continues to drop. In the year It was the four-time major champion’s worst finish since playing as a non-PGA Tour member at the end of the 2014 season.
Current rank: 59
Previous rank: 56
Perhaps Reed should add OWGR to the growing list of defendants in the lawsuit. He was ninth in the world heading into the 2021 Open Championship.
Current rank: 69
Previous rank: 66
The former world No. 1 golfer has been struggling with form for a while and withdrew from the first round of the BMW PGA Championship after the DP World Tour Main Event with an injury.
Current rank: 143
Previous rank: 138
The six-time major champion may believe LIV Golf is winning its ongoing battle with the PGA Tour, but Lefty is losing when it comes to his world class. It’s his worst finish since 1993, less than a year after turning pro.
Current rank: 146
Previous rank: 143
Another former world No. 1 golfer, Day is tied for eighth at the Shriners’ Children’s Open in Las Vegas. It was his first top-10 since losing to a third-place finish at the Farmers Insurance Open in February.
On the record
JT Poston won his second PGA Tour victory at the John Deere Classic in July. He advanced to the Tour Championship for the first time in his career and tied for the 15th time at East Lake Golf Club. Poston is an ambassador for Conagare Golf Club, which is hosting its second PGA Tour event. Here, South African Garrick Hugo won the 2021 Palmetto Championship. Poston spoke with ESPN on Monday about what PGA Tour players can expect this week and other topics.
Q: What do you think of the layout in Congare?
Answer: That’s cool. I like it very much. I think a lot of guys will like it this week. I think it will be very different from what we see week in and week out. There is no rough. They are all fairways and dirt places. It’s not something you usually see on tour. You’ll usually see a lot of rough on the greens and tees. It is perfectly mowed and the fairways are firm and fast. I think it will be fun. I think it’s a good position, and I’m looking forward to getting the exposure it deserves.
Q: What can you tell me about the Congare Foundation?
Answer: The way they have it, they set it up as a foundation and call people ambassadors. They want you to be an ambassador for the club and the foundation. The foundation helps local kids and kids from across the country and the world take the next step in college golf. They hold two junior camps every summer and kids come from all over the world. They take lessons, get lessons from professionals, have coaches and learn everything there is to know about playing golf at the college level. It’s a very interesting deal. The program has led to several children receiving college scholarships who might not otherwise have had access to such an education.
Q: What will happen to the premium on the course this week?
Answer: I think it’s about playing iron and controlling your ball. I think the greens can be strong and fast, so it’s about raising your ball pin [going to be important]. I don’t think it’s going to be a week where the guys are hitting the flags, so it’s just about hitting harder shots and hitting more greens in regulation. [are going to be key]. You have to be sharp around the greens. There are so many runs that you won’t just be sitting off the green if you miss the ball. Like golf links, choosing the right club, direction and the right part of the green will make or break the take-off and putt.
Q: After picking up your second PGA Tour victory and finishing in the top 15 of the FedEx Cup standings, what are your goals this season?
A: I just want to get myself back to that place. One of the highlights of last season was being in the mix for the Presidents Trophy. I know I’m probably on the outside looking in, but just being a part of the conversation was something I was so new to and I thought it was cool. It went to the light bulb that I felt I could play well enough to be in the mix for those teams. I want to put myself in that position again and try to see if I can make one of these teams. I think it’s a mindset to do that, to go out and try to win golf tournaments and not just worry about having good weeks and top 10s or 20s. I want to try to give myself as many wins as possible this year and see where I sit at the end of the season.
Q: In terms of your game, what do you feel is dialed in and what needs to be improved?
A: I feel like my putting and short game have always been the best over the years. It’s a stream at times, but I’d say the last couple of years have been a little more consistent. I’m starting to drive the ball a little bit better but the weeks that I play my best are the tee to green shoes and especially my approach game and iron. As far as I can improve, it’s probably just being a little more consistent and tighter on my shots into the greens, because I feel like the short game and the putter are always going to be there.
Q: What did you make of Phil Mickelson’s comment about LIV Golf “winning”?
A: My gut actually says that since he’s not on the PGA Tour and he’s on the LIV Tour, it’s easier to tell. Believe it or not, it’s stupid. You feel like there’s a lot of deciding between the LIV Tour and the PGA Tour and picking sides and this and that, but at the end of the day, what’s better for the game of golf? I think what the PGA Tour has done is a model for success and has been for a long time. They are obviously making a few changes here and there to try and continually improve the product. I’d be hard-pressed to say that LIV Golf would be better than the PGA Tour, personally.