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Feeling The Lull In The PGA Tour's break


The Ryder Cup can’t come fast enough.

Following the recent conclusion of the 2022-2023 PGA Tour season, which collectively had so many spectacular moments that ended with Viktor Hovland (Titleist Pro V1) finishing atop the FedEx Cup playoffs by winning the Tour Championship, the men are now on hiatus. The PGA Tour Q-School is underway, but realistically doesn’t hold much interest.

Personally, I like the LPGA Tour season format which begins and ends in the same calendar year. The men, conversely, start in the fall of one year and conclude almost 12 months later.

And the reality is January 1 is kind of the official start day for the top players officially beginning their seasons.

Because of the Elevated Events and elite players committing to at least 20 tournaments, it has meant a sprinkling of some of them in these fall tournaments.

So, in effect, the tournaments which used to be for the tier-two and tier-three players to pocket some big paychecks have been usurped by top-20 players. I guess for fan appeal and TV exposure it helps, but giving these lesser players a chance to get some cookies is okay, too.

The battle between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour caused this proliferation of top players making the minimum 20-start commitment.

It will be interesting when the mess between LIV and the PGA Tour heading into 2023 will finally be resolved and made public.

Hovland kicked off his 2022-2023 season in the ZOZO Championship tying for fifth and played 23 tournaments, making the cut in all of them. He won the Hero World Championship in December – an event which has a limited field and no cut – and recorded his next win in the Memorial Tournament in a playoff. But he really heated up in the last

two tournaments of the season, beginning with the BMW Championship and carried that performance into the Tour Championship.

We won’t see him until the Ryder Cup beginning September 29, when he is among the Team Europe lineup that will play Team United States. Europe will be heavily favoured, led by Hovland and including Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5x), Jon Rahm (Callaway Chrome Soft X) and Matt Fitzpatrick (Titleist Pro V1x), to name some of the players who were automatic qualifiers.

The Americans will be headed by Scottie Scheffler (Titleist Pro V1), Wyndham Clark (Titleist Pro V1), Patrick Cantlay (Titleist Pro V1), Xander Schauffele (Callaway Chrome Soft X) and Max Homa (Titleist Pro V1), among others.

What was interesting was the decision by U.S. Captain Zach Johnson (Titleist Pro V1x) to include Justin Thomas (Titleist Pro V1x), among his picks. Thomas had a terrible season, but he’s played well historically in the Ryder Cup, particularly with running mate Jordan Spieth (Titleist Pro V1x). Unless Thomas finds his form, Johnson may well be starting handicapped.

The event takes place on American soil in Haven, Wisconsin and will have a fair among of national support from the patrons, which will work in Thomas’ favor.

LPGA NEWS: The Solheim Cup begins September 22, featuring Team Europe vs. Team U.S. It will be played in Finca Cortesin, Andalucia, Spain, known as a prime golfing destination. Frankly, the geography alone seems like a great tourist oasis.

Team Europe is headed by world number five-ranked Celine Boutier (Titleist Pro V1x), who finished strongly down the stretch on the LPGA

Tour with two wins, one of them a major; the always entertaining Charley Hull (TaylorMade TP5x), who is ranked eighth, and Leona Maguire (Titleist Pro V1), ranked 17th. Team USA is headed by world number two-ranked Lilia Vu (Titleist Pro V1x), world number two-ranked Nelly Korda (TaylorMade TP5), Lexi Thompson (Bridgestone TOUR B X) and rookie sensation Rose Zhang (Callaway Chrome Soft X). I think the USA will win this quite easily, largely on the play of Vu, who really established herself winning her first major and then added another, and recording three wins overall), and the battled-tested Korda.

WOMEN PLAYING MEN: There has long been this idea that a top recreational male golfer could beat an LPGA star. Hull fired back at an anonymous three-handicapper, who claimed in a direct message to golf stats guru Lou Stagner that he could make every cut on the LPGA Tour and be a top-20 player.

The notion alone is ridiculous and sexist. The tour is for women, not men, so end of story.

Stagner said shared the post and commented: “This guy would finish DFL (dead freaking last) in every single event.”

Hull responded on X: “Shall we sort this game out? I’ll let him play off the red tees whilst I’ll play off the white.”

It’s sad in this day and age that a women should be subjected to this type of insult. The LPGA features the best women golfers on the planet, not some weekend warriors.

So let’s put this male/female debate in the garbage where it belongs.

End of story.

Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko is an award-winning writer who has published nine books, three of them bestsellers. He has been involved in sports writing for more than 35 years and has interviewed many superstar athletes. He lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and enjoys watching golf and playing it.

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