Russell Henley defeats his demons, Colleen Morikawa expands his team, Greg Norman sees new big names and more in this week’s Monday Scramble edition:
Russell Henley started tears as he made his way down the 18th fairway in Mayakob.
It’s been five years since he last won the PGA Tour, and he’s faced with the usual questions about whether he’ll ever win again. But everything went deeper. On a personal level, it was satisfying because of all the missed moments, all the moments when his nerves gave out, all the tense final rounds when he made bad moves or even worse decisions.
“So much happiness when I remember those times when I kind of suffocated,” he said.
It’s unusual to hear a player speak so openly and honestly about his past failures. It’s like breaking the code of an elite athlete.
Henley had an excellent career with three wins and $20 million on the field, yet he couldn’t help but think he could have won more. He sleeps poorly proactively, his mind revolves around possibilities, and it shows in his track record: he was 1 out of 6 in 54-hole conversions on the Tour.
Only twice in this situation did he shoot at the 60s on the last day. The first was at the Sony Open 2013, his first start as a Tour member, when he blew the pitch with Sunday 63. The Tour felt easy. But then, in similar positions over the years, he fired up 70-70-76-71 rounds to blow it up. This only increased his anxiety.
“I have no idea how Tiger has done this 80+ times,” Henley said.
In Mexico, Henley faced another setback. He bet on a six shot lead, the biggest lead of his career, and everyone expected him to win. If he suffocated again, well, that was too worrying to even think about.
Fortunately for him, the result was never in doubt. After his first terror of the tournament on the fifth hole on Sunday, Henley ran three runs in a row to reach the 70th final round, enough to defeat Brian Harman by four strokes.
“It was such a heavy feeling because I had done a great job, like all of us, and just suffocated,” Henley said after winning No. 4. “So there were a lot of emotions when I thought about these moments. I’m still here. I’m still struggling and can’t believe I made it.”
Colleen Morikawa apparently was looking for a second pair of eyes for his besieged premises.
Golfweek reports that the 25-year-old hired his first putting coach, Stephen Sweeney, to help with his key weakness. In three seasons, Morikawa won two majors and was on the cusp of reaching world No. 1, despite never ranking higher than No. 128 on the PGA Tour in hitting.
Sweeney told Golfweek that he and Morikawa put in several hours of work leading up to the World Tech Championship, where Morikawa scored 63 points in the second round to end up in 15th place. The event did not provide the usual number of shots, but Morikawa ranked T-1 for the number of shots to the green in the regulations.
This is… very promising.
It’s a necessary (and probably belated) move for Morikawa, who has wasted too many rounds of great ball hitting with poor quality putting. What frustrated him the most was how much his play and feelings changed so much from round to round; Sweeney said that one of his goals with Morikawa was to provide a “base level” and a higher floor.
On the Golf Channel, former Masters champion Trevor Immelman suggested that Morikawa may be struggling to live up to the incredibly high standard he set early on in the Tour, when he won by 10% and took two of the first eight. he played majors.
After hearing about the interview second hand, Morikawa seems to have confused “bar” with “ceiling”, leading to this awkward response:
Immelman later clarified his remark and stated on social media that it was “a complete misunderstanding”.
Either way, it’s a window into Morikawa’s psyche and how he fights the only part of his game that has kept him from becoming a truly dominant force so far. If Sweeney can soon turn Morikawa into at least average club, fu – watch out. He will get his.
In wide outlet interviews with several media last weekLIV Golf Commissioner Greg Norman stated that competition days of the rival tour had over 1 million viewers and that they wanted to add around seven new players for the 2023 season.
Despite minuscule numbers of YouTube streams (including around 50,000 on average during Doral’s Big Money LIV season finale), Norman stated that the actual number is actually significantly higher on his website and “other platforms” around the world. the world. Without being privy to those numbers, it’s hard for Norman to check the facts, but it’s clear he’s motivated to publicly inflate those numbers as the upstart league is still looking for a broadcast partner entering in 2023. LIV officials have said that securing this television partnership is the No. 1 outlet priority of the off-season.
More interesting was Norman’s statement that LIV would likely retain between 85 and 90% of its current player roster. This means they will be looking for around seven new players to join the Saudi-backed league next year.
These discussions are currently ongoing, but several big names continue to be mentioned publicly. Two weeks ago, The Guardian reported that Patrick Cantley and Xander Schauffele, both ranked in the top six in the world, remain prime targets, presumably in a package deal due to their close friendship. Of the top players, Cantley, in particular, has kept his options open for the future, but it’s unclear if his position has changed over the past month-plus.
“It’s an ever-evolving calculation, right?” Cantley told reporters about this at the Presidents’ Cup. “Because if 20 of the top 24 guys here this week go and play another tour, then it will increase the likelihood that I will want to go to another tour. So to say that I will never, ever play on this tour, I don’t think that’s true.”
Stay tuned – LIV said they hope to complete their roster of 48 players (plus 12 substitutes) before the end of the calendar year.
THIS WEEK’S AWARD WINNERS…
Approximation: Bernhard Langer. Just when it looked like the 65-year-old was starting to fade, he delivered another vintage performance. He surpassed his age in the second round (63) and then went on to have another special Sunday to smash the field at the TimberTech Championship, winning by six points in his 10th consecutive multi-win season at the senior circuit. It was important historically as well: Langer came close to one of Hale Irwin’s all-time 45 PGA Tour championships as the boys head to the season finale this week. What an incredible figure in the game.
Works 60% of the time, every time: Scotty Sheffler. With a chance to return to world number one with a top 2 solo finish, Scheffler’s rally nearly ended with a 62nd final round giving him a joint third place. However, it’s been a much-needed hot week on the grass after returning to his player, whom he did a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes a timeout session is all the club needs to play properly. Scotty is also leading the field this week in Houston.
Anotha One: Gemma Dryburg. The 29-year-old Scot became the latest LPGA first-time winner, a 65-65 weekend leading her to a sweeping victory at the Toto Japan Classic. Dryburgh, who has only managed three top 10 finishes since joining the tour in 2018, is the 11th winner this season, setting an all-time record. She also became the 25th winner this season; the tour record is 26. Parity is So in right now.
Damn good dogs Georgia alumni. Sure, it was a great Saturday for this Bulldog watching UGA beat the strongest Tennessee from Sanford Stadium in another game of the century, but it was an even better Sunday for former Dogs Henley and Harman, who won 1-2 in Mayakoba. . By the looks of it, this isn’t as rare as you might think: Patrick Reed and Henrik Norlander, former teammates at Augusta State, took the top two spots at the 2021 Farmers.
But when…?: Rory McIlroy. The world No. 1 has once again called for peace talks between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, telling Golf & Turismo last week that top-level cracks do not benefit either side. The problem is that tours are currently involved in an antitrust lawsuit, he said: “I don’t know when that might happen, certainly not tomorrow, but of course we’ll have to find an agreement.” As we have mentioned many times in this section, it is difficult to find a solution when Norman is at the helm of a competing track. Too much hostility and bitterness.
Delayed: Will Zalatoris. After recovering from two herniated discs in his back, Zalatoris hoped to start rehab at the Hero World Challenge next month. but the organizers of the tournament said that the date of his return was thrown back. Shane Lowry will take the place of Zalatoris on the field.
Not all aces are the same: Christian Clark. The SMU freshman posted a video of how he hit the famous Cypress Point 16th hole. Surprising not only because of the complexity of the shot, but also because the cameras were rotating in some way at the time. If it were us, we’d be heading straight for…