With Chez Reavie’s dominating win at the Travelers Championship—and his reflections on the perseverance needed at times to sustain a career as detailed here byGolfDigest.com’s Brian Wacker—the 37-year-old helped maintained the trend of PGA Tour winners just on the coveted demo cusp.
Like Gary Woodland in the U.S. Open—another geezer at 35—each is the story of a player who had great potential and widely recognized talent, yet experienced more downs than ups before winning. Golf’s a weird, cruel game that way, which makes the suggestion of today’s youth being better prepared to win than ever more hype than fact.
Since the start of 2019, there have been nine winners in their 20s. Two won events opposite to more significant tournaments, one was a player who since turned 30 (Rory McIlroy) and another was Brooks Koepka, who is 29. At 25, Xander Schauffele is 2019’s younger winner on the PGA Tour and that was in January. Going back to the fall, Cameron Champ’s win at 23 makes him 2018-19’s youngest.
With Reavie’s victory at Travelers, the average age of 2018-19 PGA Tour winners holds steady at 33, while the top 20 in FedExCup points average 32.6.
There should be nothing wrong with golfers peaking in their 30s. Such a phenomenon, to the surprise of no one, would be something to celebrate as a reward for longevity and experience gained.
If we are seeing the truncating of Wie’s playing career, it is an aching loss for golf, and not just women’s golf. There is no more melancholy sight in sport than that of a sublime talent whose potential goes largely unrealized.
Wie is an exemplar of how the natural, joyous passion of a child can become the challenging, frustrating job of a professional. Yet by no measure have these been fruitless years. Whatever the capricious whims of golf inflicted, she is a winner, a Stanford graduate, a poised public figure even under intense scrutiny. That’s why, as Wie inches with characteristic grace toward the door marked ‘Exit’, young men like Hovland and Wolff who are entering the professional ranks would do well to learn from her example.
There will always be phenoms. But it’s still quite confounding to see the push to hype young players with so little appreciation for the long game in a sport that has generally seen few players peak young.
Intriguing stance by Commish Mike Whan’s in believing network television is still the place to get more notoriety and purse growth for the LPGA Tour. From Beth Ann Nichols’Golfweek story posted after Whan discussed the close on a two-year Golf Channel extension and the PGA Tour’s involvement in handling negotiations:
Whan points to current No. 1 Jin Young Ko as a prime example.
“If you gave me 39 weekends a year, I promise you I could make you love Jin Young Ko,” said Whan. “You’re going to get to know her story and swing. You see her five times a year, she’s just a name I can’t pronounce. That’s a shame. If you give me 39 weeks there’s a lot of guys on the PGA Tour I wouldn’t care about.… When they become people you know, you want to watch them.”
However, as the Nichols story points out, the U.S. Women’s Open on Fox was outdrawn by NBC network broadcasts of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Diamond Resorts TOC, with strong Golf Channel and promotional tie-ins on other NBC outlets, suggesting that a mere broadcast network presence isn’t enough.
It’s also hard to see a broadcast network taking on the LPGA Tour at the PGA Tour’s negotiating insistence when even PGA Tour events do not all get broadcast network coverage. Seems obvious who will get priority in negotiations, but stranger things have happened.
“I'm just pretty – I don't think I'm even over the PGA,” he said. “And then to exert all your energy there last week, just fried. I mean, I've caught myself yawning on the golf course. I don't think I've ever yawned on a golf course before.”
In fairness, Koepka has yawned before – in a way that was weirdly perfect – but it’s clear that last week’s run at a third consecutive U.S. Open title took a lot of him.
Asked why he made the cross-country trip here after Pebble, Koepka said he wanted to honor his commitment and that he couldn’t have known in advance he would be this drained. Considering the reason, he’s happy to feel fatigued.
“When you're planning your schedule, you're not thinking you're going to compete in all three majors and still be fried from it,” he said. “It's fine. I don't mind it.”
It’ll be interesting to see what the combination of The Open followed by a WGC, a week off and then the playoffs yields in the way of energetic play from the game’s stars. In the hottest month of the year.
“We've definitely been a lot more disciplined about going to the range and putting green, chipping green after the round and making sure we're staying on top of it, especially with our feels,” Day said, sounding an awful lot like Williams’ most successful employer with that word choice.
“I've got a lot of work [to do],” Day said. “[Steve] is very black and white.”
“We're in the final stages of completing a two-year extension, pretty much as is,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan told reporters Friday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
A Golf Channel spokesman confirmed Whan’s announcement.
Whan confirmed that the PGA Tour has led the LPGA’s TV negotiations, as part of a strategic alliance agreement struck between the tours in 2016.
This sets the LPGA up to be part of the PGA Tour’s next television contract negotiations, likely benefiting from the ability to be included as part of the bidding. Though to what extent the PGA Tour will prioritize the LPGA in packaging, scheduling and inclusion in deals remains to be seen. Whichever networks interested in taking on PGA Tour coverage will almost surely have to take on other (less or not profitable) tours as well.
Current PGA Tour contracts with CBS, NBC and Golf Channel expire at the end of 2021. This sets in motion the likelihood of negotiations beginning in earnest with prospective bidders.
“It’s just one of those situations where I’m not, you know, I’m not entirely sure how much more I have left in me,” said Wie, “so even on the bad days I’m just like trying to take time to enjoy it. But it’s tough.”
Like many I was surprised to see her turn up at Hazeltine after she signaled likely taking the summer off, so kudos to Wie for trying to play.
He started about 30 minutes before the leaders teed off to maintain some consistency with other major telecasts. Fox showed 1.17 shots per minute, down a touch from the 1.24 shown at Shinnecock Hills. But Fox appeared to do the leaders justice and also show a good number of players contending.
Evan H. Vollerthum, a caddie on the Korn Ferry Tour, was arrested Monday for human trafficking and attempting to sexually exploit a child.
Vollerthum was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations in Topeka, Kansas, according to an ICE news release. Topeka is about two hours away from this week's Wichita Open.
Jerry, I have Jay Monahan on line one, he’s saying something about a game of cornhole on a ferry. You want me to send it to voicemail?
For Immediate Release:
PGA TOUR announces Korn Ferry as umbrella sponsor of newly named Korn Ferry Tour
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida – The PGA TOUR and Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY) announced today a 10-year agreement making the Los Angeles-based, global organizational consulting firm the Umbrella Sponsor of the newly named Korn Ferry Tour.
In replacing Web.com, Korn Ferry’s sponsorship takes effect June 19 and extends through the 2028 season. The Korn Ferry Tour will continue to award PGA TOUR membership to the Tour’s 50 leading players, including the top 25 from the Regular Season points list and the top 25 from the three-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals points list.
The announcement was made jointly by PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan, Korn Ferry Chief Executive Officer Gary Burnison, and Korn Ferry Tour President Alex Baldwin on Wednesday morning in New York City.
“We welcome Korn Ferry to the PGA TOUR family with today’s announcement,” said Monahan. “Our thanks to Gary Burnison and his team for a partnership that will promote Korn Ferry’s mission of helping people and organizations exceed their potential, collaborating with a Tour that has proven to identify the next generation of PGA TOUR talent over the last 30 years.”
Korn Ferry also becomes a PGA TOUR Official Marketing Partner as the “Official Leadership Development Firm” of the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, and Korn Ferry Tour. Additionally, Korn Ferry will assume sponsorship of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance in Evansville, Indiana – the third and final event in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
That’s right, the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
“We’re excited to partner with the PGA TOUR. Our organizations are both all about talent – getting players and people to that next level and advancing their careers. People will never discover their full potential until they are provided an abundance of opportunity. Korn Ferry and the Korn Ferry Tour provide that opportunity,” said Burnison. “This sponsorship will further elevate our brand as a global organizational consultancy and extend awareness of our firm to new audiences around the world.”
No where to go but up!
Korn Ferry develops and coaches 1.2 million people a year, puts someone in a new job every three minutes and has worked with companies to evaluate and assess nearly 70 million professionals. The firm has offices in more than 50 countries and 8,500 employees.
Korn Ferry works with clients to design their organizational structures, roles and responsibilities. The firm helps them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward, develop and motivate their workforce. Korn Ferry also helps professionals at all levels navigate and advance their careers.
“This is a tremendous day for our organization, and we are eager to work with Gary and his team as we continue to build the Korn Ferry Tour from the strong foundation already in place,” said Baldwin, the first female to be named president of one of the PGA TOUR’s six global Tours earlier this year. “Korn Ferry has an impassioned desire to enhance the careers and brands of our players through this incredibly competitive Tour. This partnership will allow us to further those goals while elevating the Tour and our tournaments for our partners and fans.”
With 50 available PGA TOUR cards for the following season (since 2013), the Korn Ferry Tour is the path to the PGA TOUR. Twenty-five TOUR cards are reserved for the leading points earners at the end of the 24-event Regular Season. Another 25 are up for grabs at the three-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals that follow the Regular Season in August and September.
During the PGA TOUR’s 2017-18 season, eight players from the Korn Ferry Tour Class of 2017 won titles, including Aaron Wise, whose victory at the 2018 AT&T Byron Nelson was the 500th by a former Korn Ferry Tour player – a list which includes 24 major championships and eight PLAYERS Championships, including Gary Woodland’s win on Sunday at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
Four players from the Class of 2018 have won on the PGA TOUR this season – Cameron Champ (Sanderson Farms Championship), Adam Long (The Desert Classic), Martin Trainer (Puerto Rico Open) and Max Homa (Wells Fargo Championship).
Other notable PGA TOUR players who got their start on the Korn Ferry Tour include major champions Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Bubba Watson and Zach Johnson.
The release mentions no dollar figures, but the announcement prompted some to point out stagnant purses on the Korn Ferry Tour.
The product of instructor George Gankas, Martin says Wolff’s distance and approach to golf courses is backed by the numbers, but his college coach says he’s ultimately more than just a long hitter.
Oklahoma State head coach Alan Bratton points to two shots from the NCAA Championship to illustrate Wolff’s shotmaking versatility. In the same round, Wolff used an 8-iron to hit approach shots from 150 and 208 yards.
“Everyone talks about his driver, but his biggest asset is his iron play and putting,” Bratton said.
Length has always been an asset. Mark Broadie’s Strokes Gained statistics helped quantify the advantage, though. Players can ride a hot putter to victory one week, but long hitters have an advantage week-in and week-out. The scoring advantage of having a 120-yard approach versus a 140-yarder may be small, but those incremental advantages add up over the course of weeks, months and years.
As for Hovland, coming off a record scoring performance by an amateur in the U.S. Open, he debuts having signed with Ping. David Dusekreports for Golfweek.
Speaking with the media ahead of the Travelers Championship, Koepka was asked about his level of focus this week. The preamble to that question included a reference to comments Koepka made two weeks ago, prior the RBC Canadian Open, when he said he “could care less what happens” in his tune-up start for the U.S. Open.
“Let me set the record straight,” Koepka said Wednesday at TPC River Highlands. “It's not that I don't care about the event. … Some people took that and ran with it. … Can't believe everything you read.”
“I really don’t have many more chances,” Mickelson said Wednesday from the Travelers Championship, where he is playing for the first time in 16 years. “I probably have to come to the realization that I’m not going to win a U.S. Open.”
The U.S. Open returns to Winged Foot next year, where Mickelson nearly won in 2006.
You may have heard…Chandler Eganand friends remodeled Pebble Beach for the 1929 U.S. Amateur into the Pebble Beach we’ve come to know. Over time, many features have been lost to the point of dysfunction in U.S. Open conditions. The boiling point was reached in the 2010 U.S. Open when the 17th green could not be held. As we detailed in the above link, a remodeled 17th hole was an opportunity to see if Pebble Beach would play better in the 2019 edition.
Since that U.S. Open, the green was expanded and the bunker faces reduced. The neck of the “hourglass” green created by Egan had been reduced to a sliver, the green unpinnable anywhere near the surrounds. The square footage restoration estimate was over 1000 square feet and while the green was still not as large as the original, the remodel made the 17th was made functional again.
But more important than the reclamation of architectural roots or reminding us of this wonderfully bizarre vision by Egan, the expansion gave Gary Woodland the opportunity to hit a shot for the ages, requiring him to clip the ball and land in a very small area and join Pebble Beach’s other 17th hole classic moments by Nicklaus and Watson.
The shot reminds how important golf course design is to giving us golf-watching thrills, and the vitality of caring for architectural gems.
Mark Herrmannof Newsday talks to Mike Davis of the USGA after recent Jack Nicklaus comments suggesting Sebonack will some day host a U.S. Open. The course is a co-design by Nicklaus and Tom Doak.
Speaking at a Long Island Association luncheon recently, the 18-time major winner said, “I think we’re going to get the U.S. Open out there…and it won’t be long.” He wrote something similar when he served as guest editor of Golf magazine last month,
Davis, interviewed at this year’s Open here, said, “It’s one of many courses that has offered an invitation to host it. When it gets to that, there’s actually a team — I’m not necessarily engaged in that any more — but I daresay that there are probably 25-plus courses that have interest. The team does an analysis of every single course. I think it’s fair to say of every one of those that I’ve seen, is there a possibility? Absolutely.
The course hosted the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open and sits next to National Golf Links and Shinnecock Hills, host of the 2026 U.S. Open.
Debuting Monday and Tuesday June 17-19 at 9 pm ET, Golf Films looks at the life and legend of Ben Hogan.
With limited commercial interruption thanks to sponsor Charles Schwab, Hogan is narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Kyle Chandler, and produced for 13-time Emmy Award winner Israel DeHerrera. He answered some questions about how the film came together.
GS: Let’s talk genesis of this film. How long has this been in the works and what was the goal in tackling such a complicated figure?
ID: Was sitting around wondering what was going to be next and was nosing around on YouTube and found an interview Hogan did with Ken Venturi at the 1983 Colonial. It was only about 12 minutes long, but I was immediately transfixed. He spoke in a staccato tone that had me hanging on every word. So I dug deeper and read Curt Sampson's biography. I read it cover to cover in two days and knew that we really needed to try and bring this story into a visual documentary form.
The film has been two years in the making but that coincides with the release of two other films that debuted last year and five others that are currently in production.
GS: When did your fascination with Hogan begin?
ID: When I saw the Commercials for Hogan apex irons in the early 1990's. Seeing Hogan in that yellow sweater at Riviera taking full swings was just mystical.
Q: What is your best interview get and person you most wished you could have interviewed and did not?
ID: Best interview was Curt Sampson. He was our Shelby Foote. We also sat down with Ben's niece Jacque Hogan. It was pretty cool to get a first person account of the accident and the recovery as well as the Hogan family history
Person I wished I could of interviewed is pretty easy…Hogan!
Q: Craziest place or effort made to research Hogan?
ID: We went everywhere: Dublin, Texas, Glen Garden G.C, Shady Oaks, Colonial, Riviera Carnoustie Scotland, Merion GC, Cherry Hills, et cetera.
But finding the Hogan collectors was HUGE. John Seidenstein of Fort Worth and Mark Baron of San Diego are Hogan freaks. They both have massive collections and exhibits in their homes dedicated to Hogan. We are always looking to add additional layers and give these films a present day feel and this really helped
Q: There are reenactments in the film. Tell us what goes into the thinking on those and is there consternation given in using them given how strong the visuals and storytelling is with a subject like Hogan?
ID: This was a difficult decision. There simply was not enough footage of Hogan's career to be able to tell the story we wanted to tell so we decided to do re-enactments. We found Christo Garcia who spent five years of his life dedicating himself to copying Hogan's swing. We wanted to be as genuine as possible so we flew him to Shady Oaks for a shoot and to Merion to shoot there on the East Course. That said, I was very conscious of that fact that having someone trying to replicate Hogan’s swing was sacrilegious, so we only tried to use tight shots of hands, legs, shoulders etc. We tried to avoid showing an entire full swing.
Hogan’s childhood was another reason we needed to do re-creations. There are only of handful of photos of Ben during his childhood. I am very happy with how these turned out. We spent many hours casting, blocking, searching for the proper locations, actors, props etc. and I think it shows during the childhood scenes and the famous caddie tournament he played against Byron Nelson at Glen Garden. We also rented out an old house in LA to shoot his re-creations of his recovery from the accident.
GS: : Thing that most surprised you about Hogan in your research?
ID: I have to give credit to Curt Sampson here. He really did all the heavy lifting in terms of research and brought Hogan to life for a generation of fans when he released his biography in the late 1990’s. Our goal was to do the best possible job in bringing him to life in a visual documentary form that will hopefully engage and give birth to a whole new audience.
I was just surprised at how difficult this man’s life really was. I knew a little bit about Hogan but not everything. Charles Dickens and Oliver Twist had it easy compared to this guy. He is just an amazing story of perseverance.