So it’s Friday and I (mercifully) missed most of yesterday’s coverage from Pebble – heard Ben Crane and Angel Cabrera were a featured group on PGA Tour Live (yikes). Strong leaderboard developing, but way too early to draw any conclusions until everyone plays all three courses. Suri, Cantlay, Hossler, Wise, Zalatoris, DJ, Dou, Pacemaker, Rahm, Jaeger, Grace, Gooch – some interesting and diverse cats showing up in the early going. Plan on watching the entirety of the weekend coverage to count shots and identify any progress/improvement from the CBS (though coverage will likely be delayed both days due to college basketball). I crave more coverage of the Shore Course over at MPCC – let’s throw that on the wishlist for 2019 PGA Tour Live.
Champions Tour kicks off its first full-field event of the season down in Boca today. Scott McCarron won the event last year with an eagle on the 72nd hole (easiest par 5 on the tour, but still impressive). While Charlie Rymer’s debut on the senior circuit garnered most of the attention this week, I have my eyes on another rookie: Ken Tanigawa. He competed in Champs Tour Q-School at TPC Scottsdale as an amateur, finishing fourth and securing fully exempt status for this season. After playing professionally through the nineties and early aughts in Japan, Australia, and Web Tour, Tanigawa was able to get reinstated as an amateur and proceeded to build a pretty illustrious resume on the cocktail circuit, winning two of the last three Arizona Ams and owning the Arizona Mid-Am, before turning pro (again) this week. Looking forward to seeing what he does this season. Champions Tour Q-School is absolutely stacked and his 17-under total should portend solid results once he gets his feet under him. I reached out to TV personality/Arizona superstar Shane Bacon for some background and he added the following: “He’s so fucking good.”
Everything in Boca and Monterey is just window dressing this week for the main event down in Colombia for the Club Colombia Championship. Let’s just go down the leaderboard, as interesting storylines abound:
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano: #FUQS
Sam Burns: The Walker Cup snub is getting comfortable in a hurry on the Web.
Augusto Nunez: ’17 Web Results: 23 events, 3 W/D’s, 10 cuts, solo 2nd in the DR, and T5 BMW Pro-Am
Jason Gore: SEVEN-TIME WINNER on the Web Tour. Can he get an eighth?
Edward Loar: Damn easy guy to root for and keeping it rolling after last week’s T2 finish in Panama. Here’s a great primer for the uninitiated.
Rhein Gibson: Not sure if you guys heard, but he tossed his putter cover at his caddie a couple weeks ago.
While there’s plenty of good stuff going on, most of the buzz is centered on Julio “The Machine” Bell, who continues to capture the imagination of fans and fellow players alike. Trying to confirm that this is the same Julio Bell, but it appears he’s deep in the GC Am Tour circuit.
Reports starting to trickle into the DMs out of Colombia re: Julio Bell, a 50 year old who allegedly bought a spot in the tourney and is having himself a day.
But how dare they give Steph Curry a spot! pic.twitter.com/zlQJRjY8ql
— Tron Carter (@TronCarterNLU) February 8, 2018
Julio Bell aka “The Machine” really starting to buck his head. Despite carding his second par in as many days he’s now 48 shots off the pace. pic.twitter.com/fXsD4Keoaf
— Tron Carter (@TronCarterNLU) February 9, 2018
You have to feel for Julio’s playing partners this week. Jimmy Stanger is a rookie out of UVA making his third career Web start (in addition to three PGA Tour starts) and is grinding on the cut line. The third member of the group is Jim Knous, a 28 year old veteran out of Colorado School of Mines (shoutout Bob Stitt) who spent his first full season on the Web last year and made 10 cuts. Knous is two inside the cut line. All jokes aside these are two guys who grind every week and are playing for their livelihoods. It’s straight bullshit that they have to cater to some guy fulfilling a “make a wish” deal.
Lastly, checking in on the Euros: Westwood and defending champ Rumford lead in Perth, with Sam Horsfield, (former ultra-cocky USC Trojan) Sean Crocker, Wade Ormsby and Kiradech all giving chase. I’ll leave you with this example of blatant backstopping and corresponding discussion of this stain on the game:. Enjoy the weekend!
— David van V (@aussiedutchman) February 9, 2018
He won’t. Comfortably missing the cut. Well, unless he plays the next 10 in 4 Under. And, no he wouldn’t be leaving it there in a match.
— Michael Clayton (@MichaelClayto15) February 9, 2018