Golf Talk With Greg Holman – #14
Click play to listen to Greg’s Podcast, or read below.
Before I talk about the last PGA Tour stop in Hawaii, I wanted to talk about an incident that occurred the weekend before last with the #3 player in the world Justin Thomas. He set out the Sony Open after an incident in the Century Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii the week before. His homophobic slur was caught by a live microphone after he missed a 5 foot putt, and his sponsor Ralph Lauren took enough exception to the comment, that they dropped him from their endorsement roster potentially costing Thomas millions of dollars. He had been affiliated with Lauren since he joined the tour in 2013, and has since apologized, and there is hope that he could rejoin the roster at a later date.
Kevin Na won the Sony event at Wai’alae Country Club in Honolulu this past weekend with a 21 under par 72 hole score. Na didn’t run away with the tournament, I’m always hoping for a playoff, but Na held on to win by one shot on the benign back 9. Chris Kirk and Joaquin Neimann finished at 20 under, and the man that looked like he was going to cruise to victory, Brendan Steele, finished in a tie for fourth at 19 under. After shooting rounds of 65, 66, and 61 on Saturday, the low round of the tournament, Steele shot a rather anemic 69 on Sunday to allow other players to catch him.
How’s this for consistency? Kirk had four rounds of 65, and the 22 year old golfer from Chile, Neimann, who is good friends with Sergio Garcia, opened the week with a 62 and showed signs of greatness around the green, but settled for the tie for 2nd, finishing with a 66 on Sunday.
The scores are always low at Wai’alae, the par 5 holes are extremely short by pro standards, the ninth hole only measures 508 yards, almost a gimme birdie for the pros if they drive the ball in the fairway. The eighteenth hole isn’t much longer at 538, but it features the most difficult fairway to hit on the PGA Tour. The course is a rare par 70, and could easily play to par 68, by changing the only two par 5 holes to par 4. Na’s payday was one million one hundred eighty-eight thousand dollars. By the way, Na played the par 5’s even birdie, 8 under par for the four rounds, with one eagle and one par. With the victory Na moved up to #10 in the rankings for the FEDEX Cup.
The next stop on the PGA Tour is the American Express on the PGA West Stadium Course in La Quinta, California. That’s it for this week, practice your putting!