Golf Talk With Greg Holman – #15

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Besides the four major golf tournaments there are a handful of PGA events I anticipate. One is the stop at Pebble Beach, another is the tournament at San Diego which was contested last weekend, eight active and contending professional golfers are either from southern California or spent time there while going to school, so you would think they would have an advantage having played Torrey Pines more than the average pro.

Tiger Woods was born in Cypress, California, but is out until April for back surgery, Phil Mickelson grew up in San Diego but had a disappointing tournament, Xander Schauffele currently lives in San Diego, but has historically not played well in front of the home town crowd. Collin Morikawa went to school at Berkley but didn’t play. Rickie Fowler was born in Murrieta, California but could do no better than a tie for 53rd. Patrick Cantlay from Long Beach, and Bryson DeChambeau from Modesto did not play. So the two exceptions to the rule this year were Max Homa, who was born in Burbank, and had a decent tournament finishing in a tie for 18th at 5 under, although he struggled to an even par 72 on Sunday, and Xander Schauffele, who finally broke through in his home town by tying for 2nd.

One player that always has to be a favorite, Rory Mcllroy, finished 6 under, but putting woes on Sunday cost him a higher finish, as he shot 1 over par in the final round.

Patrick Reed was the winner at 14 under. As he wrapped up his tournament five shots clear the field, the first time in his career that he has won by more than two shots. Reed saw golfer falter on the last nine so that his eight pars and only birdie on the last hole was good enough for the easy win. Reed is not exactly a fan favorite, player favorite, or media favorite, as his career has been clouded with controversy. His latest spectacle occurred on the tenth hole Saturday, after he believed his second shot was embedded in the rough. The controversy arose because he picked up his ball, although it is allowed under the rules, in order to determine whether it was embedded. It’s just that he didn’t consult a rules official. Last year before COVID-19 he was in line for a victory before losing in a playoff to Justin Thomas in Hawaii. On the third hole of the playoff someone in the gallery yelled “cheater” after he hit his putt.

Former player Chris DiMarco was critical of Reed on Twitter saying “Own your own stuff, always excuses. Just say you cheated and got beat.” Patrick Reed sited the wind as interfering with his missed putts after his playoff loss in Hawaii last year. Then there was the conceited statement at Doral several years ago, that he was a top five player in the world. In fact he’s never been ranked in the top five. Former CBS broadcaster Peter Kostis says he’s seen Reed improve his lie in the rough. And then there was the incident at the Ryder Cup, when he sank a putt and shushed the crowd as if to say ‘I don’t expect you to applaud for me because you Europeans are bad sports.’ Tom Watson applauded him for his swagger, European team members were less thrilled with his antics.

As long as he can back up his braggish behavior with a good stick it’s fine, and he did this past weekend, but he’s no Jack Nicklaus.