Mackenzie Hughes clings to his kids, Ryan Fox writes a “what could have been” moment, Rory McIlroy posts another good finish, Bryson DeChambeau throws bombs and more on this week’s Monday Scramble:
In 2016 Mackenzie Hughes won in his fifth start as a member of the PGA Tour.
“I felt Oh man, this will be easy – I can collect a few of these” Hughes recalled.
Ah, but it wasn’t.
Since then, Hughes has been consistent, finishing in the FedExCup top 100 in all but one season, but failing to win his second. It got to the point that his eldest son Kenton, 5 years old, began to ask his dad when he was going to replenish his collection of trophies.
Needing to iron out some of his weaknesses, Hughes started fiddling with speed training during the 2020 COVID-19 hiatus, but has really upped his efforts over the past few months. He never averaged more than 300 yards from the target, leaving him at the center of the group with increasingly more bomber-friendly tour distances. At the Sanderson Farms range, this work has been demonstrated: he warms up by doing 10 driver swings as hard as he can before moving on to a standard shot. This increases his base level and gives him the feeling that he still has a reserve in case he needs it.
As he walked, he noticed the difference. Its average total driving distance was 299.9 yards (good for a T-26 in the field) and it could carry bunkers in the fairway even with miss hits. In par 5 he had shorter sticks. “It’s just one of those times when you’re like, It was cool because that’s why I do it” Hughes said.
Mentally, he is also looking for improvements. Lately, he has been trying to increase his positive self-talk, although this was tested in the final round at the Country Club of Jackson where he needed to make double clutches at #14, 16 and 18 just to force the playoffs. with Zepp Straka.
“I didn’t want to lose the tournament this way, missing the last hole when I felt like I had some control over the tournament,” he said. “I felt that it would be hard for me to deal with defeat.”
Hughes was not surprised. In overtime, he hit an 8-foot birdshot into the second playoff hole with a punch as the ball was still a foot from the cup. Out onto the lawn were his wife and two small children who no longer had to ask about a second Tour title. The rooster trophy was returning home.
“This one can sit in his room for a while,” Hughes said, “because he’s been talking about it for quite some time.”
Ryan Fox won for the second time this year on the DP World Tour, winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The New Zealander benefited from Richard Mansell’s free fall in the final round, his final 76 points being the only over-par finish in the top 25 on Sunday. Fox only needed 68 points to surpass him and win by a margin.
It was another dizzying performance by Fox, who at the age of 35 is starting to come to his senses. The second title propelled him into the world’s top 30 for the first time (#25) and was a belated reminder – just like Hughes, who was similarly rejected – of what he could bring to the International Presidents Cup team. Of course, he probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference in what was a four-point victory for the Americans, but Fox is in the top 10 in mileage and is having the best year of his career. He would be a smart choice in Quayle Hollow.
Captain Trevor Immelman confirmed that Fox was seriously considering getting a wildcard, but after a brilliant performance earlier in the summer, he recently cooled down, missing the top 20 six times in a row. He is also not a member of the PGA Tour, playing exclusively on the European circuit. Immelman said that they “wrestled a lot with this decision” and that Fox’s performance on the DP world tour “didn’t affect his options in any way”.
But it looks more and more like a dizzying decision to leave him at home. Suddenly Fox has skyrocketed to third place in the Race to Dubai standings with only six events left.
“I think after a successful performance in the middle of the year, my goal has always been to give myself a chance to go to Dubai,” he said. “It’s great to have this. Obviously there are a couple of pretty good players in this ranking, so I’ll have to do something even more special to get ahead of these guys, but just being in the mix is pretty good.”
Rory McIlroy stalled on the back nine at Stary Pole for the second time this year.
Just three months after his drought-fighting bid failed at the 150th Open Championship, McIlroy once again missed the opportunity to win at St. Andrews.
Surprisingly, just one shot behind Fox’s leader heading for an approachable 14th par-5, McIlroy pulled back even-par at the club (including a Ghost at Road Hole) and two shots behind Fox’s mark at Dunhill Links. McIlroy, who played in the pro tournament with Jerry’s father, finished fourth in the individual event after 66 rounds over the weekend.
“Missing a birdie in 14 was a momentum killer,” McIlroy said, “and then 17 played pretty hard. At the end I was two or three times behind my target.”
It was eerily similar to how McIlroy closed The Open when on the last day he hit all the greens in accordance with the regulations, but made only a couple of birdies with two shots for 70, which resulted in him being passed not only by the eventual winner Cameron Smith. but also Cam Young. A 54-hole lead — and four shots ahead of the Camerons — was one of McIlroy’s best chances to end the slump that began in the summer of 2014. He ended that year’s main season with a top eight finish. in each of the four Grand Slam tournaments.
Nobody in golf has been as consistently good as McIlroy since the Masters. Ranked ninth in the world ahead of the year’s first major, he has risen to second place and is closing in on Scotty Sheffler, who hasn’t won since Augusta. (However, OWGR guru Nosferatu predicts McIlroy could drop to 4th next week due to his divider.) McIlroy’s T-4 in Scotland has been his 11th top 10 in his last 14 starts, including his fifth in a row. He has only two official starts left this year: a two-week title defense at the CJ Cup in South Carolina, followed by the DP World Tour season finale in Dubai.
“I play very well, which I talk about all the time,” he said. “When you mix yourself up week after week, you will win some tournaments that you probably shouldn’t. And you are going to lose some you should probably win. It levels off at the end of the year.”
THIS WEEK’S AWARD WINNERS…
Cap tip: Bryson DeChambeau. In what was arguably his most impressive performance of the year, DeChambeau nearly shocked the long-distance touring community by reaching the two-man World Championship final, losing to Martin Borgmeier. DeChambeau finished seventh last year in what was expected to be a sideshow after the Ryder Cup, but he remains committed to improving the product. Bryson’s 406-yard bomb in the final was 20 yards short of the game-winner, but he thrilled the crowd and impressed the champ: “This guy is a pro golfer and he’s showing those ball speed numbers,” Borgmeier raved afterwards. “He lights up in the final with 400+! Nobody has done this yet! People don’t realize how crazy this is!” It was a largely forgotten season for DeChambeau, whose highlights on the field include a $100 million signing bonus for moving to LIV Golf and an eighth-place tie at The Open. Of course, DeChambeau will need to pick up the pace this week as he plays in the penultimate LIV of the season in Bangkok.
Everyone takes a crack: Josh Allen. Bryson’s viral ropeline sparring made its way to the NFL, where the Bills’ star quarterback showed how to hurdle properly after the round. As funny as Billy Flack almost got caught on a clothesline in this stunt.
Motivation: Mackenzie Hughes. He may not have had as much of a grudge as Ryan Fox, but Hughes said being passed over for a Presidents Cup pick – when he thought he could help the visiting team – spurred him on…