First, a quick look at how the boys fared on Hilton Head Island at last week’s RBC Heritage (won by Matt Fitzpatrick in a playoff over defending Jordan Spieth):
Kevin Kisner shot 79 and withdrew. I honestly don’t know what’s going on, but this isn’t the Kiz we know.
Sepp Straka shot 75-71 and missed the 2 under par cut by 7 shots.
Keith Mitchell shot 72-73 and missed the cut by 5.
Greyson Sigg carded 71-71 and missed by 2 shots.
Davis Thompson made the cut thanks to a 2nd round 65, but slowed down over the weekend to finish in a tie for 63rd. He still made $43,200.
Harris English made the cut on the number, and pretty much stayed there. Also T63 and also $43,200.
Brendon Todd was marching up the leaderboard Sunday before a final round 75 dropped him into a tie for 51st. $49,133.
Chris Kirk had a very solid and very steady (I swear I say this every week) tournament, going 68-68-67-72 for a 6 under par total and T41. A cool $71,000 for the effort.
Russell Henley continued his good form from Augusta, shooting 72-66-66-70. Which means a tie for 19th and $237,000.
And Brian Harman recovered from a weirdly poor Masters showing, carding rounds of 65-70-69-67 and a top 10 (T7). That was worth $607,500.
The PGA Tour stays somewhat coastal, swinging westward on I-10 to Nawlins and the random team event on the schedule.
Tournament: The Zurich Classic, April 20-23, 2023
Course: TPC Louisiana, par 72, 7,425 yards. On the southwest side of New Orleans.
Purse: $8.6 million, but a misleading $2,485,400 to the winner. The winner would be the low 2-man team, so that is split between them ($1,247,700 each). It’s a typical purse for a non-designated event, but because it is teams, they add first and second place prize money together then split it. Same for FedEx Cup points. In this way, they can keep the same breakdown in purses and points that everyone is used to.
Defending Champ(s): Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele. The close friends and frequent USA team event partners played great golf in both four-ball and foursomes. They opened in 59 and never really looked back.
Fun Fact: New Orleans is known for gastronomical delights. And that carries to the course. Ticket holders, and the players, will frequently stop by the food tents on essentially every hole. Plus, they have a 19th hole sponsored by Tito’s (and another Tito’s lounge), a bar sponsored by Jameson’s on the 9th and 18th holes, and that’s just some of the bigger sponsored areas. I mean, why not get schnockered at the course before returning to the seedier parts of downtown New Orleans as night falls? What could happen?
TV Times: Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (CBS). And plenty of options with PGATour Live.
‘Dawgs in the Field: 5.
Pairing up in an individual sport like golf is rare, especially outside of biennial team events like the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, Walker Cup (college), etc. So players seem to gravitate towards good friends or someone whose game they are familiar with. Because even if the vibe is laid back and fun (they play walk-up music on the 1st tee for each group), there is still more than $1 million on the line, plenty of FedEx Cup points, and even a 2 year Tour exemption on the line.
Brendon Todd is paired with Auburn Tiger Patton Kizzire. I think Kizzire has paired with Brian Harman (or another former Bulldog) in the past. Getting past the Auburn thing, he seems like a good guy.
Greyson Sigg, 28, is playing with Brice Garrett, a 39 year old journeyman who went to Missouri Western State University (I didn’t make that up). I have no clue what the connection here is.
Davis Thompson is playing with fellow youngster Will Gordon. Gordon is a Commodore, so they definitely crossed paths in recent years playing SEC golf.
In an ironic pairing. Harris English linked up with TCU Horned Frog Tom Hoge. Brian Harman already gave Hoge the business (you can Google it), but I’m sure the TV coverage will mention the ***-whoopin’ at SoFi.
Then, in one of the more endearing stories, Cashmere Keith Mitchell locked up with South Korean Sungjae Im. The unlikely duo professed mutual respect and a desire to play together in the most 1980’s John Hughes kind of way. Keep doin’ it for the PIP boys.
Cal Bears Max Homa and Collin Morikawa will be a formidable duo. Gatuh Billy Horschel and Geaux Tiguh Sam Burns play well together. A couple of UNC Tar Heels are paired. And then John Daly and David Duval were eligible (I think Duval won this as an individual many years ago). I can’t say they have the same personality, but they’re both major winners, both playing sparingly on the Champions Tour (Senior Tour), and both are extremely talented, waylaid by external factors (injuries for Duval, beer and women for Daly).
Thursday and Saturday are four ball, where every player plays his own ball, but only the low score is counted on each hole for the team. Then Friday and Sunday are alternate shot - player 1 tees off, player 2 hits the next shot, player 1 hits the third, and so on until the ball is holed. There are 80 teams entered, and a cut to the low 33 teams (and ties) after two rounds.
If you don’t have spring football to watch and you don’t particularly care for NBA playoff basketball, but you’re afraid of more bad transfer portal news on social media, flip it on over to CBS to see some ‘Dawgs chasing little white balls. And as always...