Plantation, FL — After finishing T4 at the Valspar Championship as an amateur in March, it seemed like the University of Georgia’s Lee McCoy was on the fast track to becoming yet another successful young gun on the PGA Tour. Although he only had $350 in savings at the time, McCoy turned down the Valspar’s $300,000 payout so that he could remain an amateur. However, the 22-year-old has struggled mightily since he turned professional during the summer, missing six cuts in a row at one point. Things were finally looking up for the Florida native two weeks ago at the Shriners, where McCoy cashed his first cheque as a professional after finishing in a tie for 41st place. However, things quickly took a turn for the worse the following week when McCoy was involved in a car accident on his way to the second stage of Web.com Q School in South Florida. McCoy fractured his wrist in two places when his arm jammed into his car’s steering wheel, and although he will not require surgery, McCoy will be out of commission for at least the next six weeks. As a result, McCoy will not be able to complete Q School and will now need to rely on sponsorship exemptions and Monday qualifiers to get into tournaments in 2017.
Bandying Together in the Bayou
New Orleans — The Zurich Classic is shaking things up for the coming season. The Golf Channel reported last week that the Louisiana event is changing to a two-man team format for 2017. The Zurich Classic will now consist of 80 two-man teams playing in alternate shot and four-ball formats throughout the week. Only 35 teams will make the cut for the weekend, culminating in both players on the winning squad receiving 400 FedEx Cup points and two-year exemptions on the circuit. The PGA Tour has not featured an official team event since Americans Vance Heafner and Mike Holland won the 1981 Walt Disney World National Team Championship. It is not clear yet whether players will be allowed to choose their partners for the events or whether teams will be preselected. Nonetheless, PGA Tour rookie Wesley Bryan, who is also one half of the Bryan Bros Golf trick shot channel on YouTube, is being proactive about finding his partner, just in case. Bryan reached out to Tiger Woods on Twitter shortly after the report surfaced, asking the 14-time major winner if he wanted to join up for the week.
Can You Hear Me Now?
Although it has not yet been confirmed, it certainly looks like Ian Poulter had a temper tantrum following his opening round at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba last week, destroying two cell phones in the process. Poulter made a bogey on the final hole to finish the day with a one-over 72. Shortly afterwards, the Englishman posted a photo to his Twitter account of two smashed-up cell phones with the caption: “When a player decides to attack a tour bag … Oooppssss! Player and caddy phones destroyed … Costly mistake.” However, some online conspiracy theorists have since questioned how Poulter would have been able to access his Twitter account and share this photo so soon after the tantrum, if his phone was, in fact, completely shattered. That is an interesting point! Looks like we have a good old-fashioned whodunit on the PGA Tour. My guess is that the phone smasher was Steven Bowditch, who fired off an 81 on Thursday and hasn’t posted an official round in the 60s on the PGA Tour since the Dean & Deluca Invitational in May.
Quintana Roo, MX — PGA Tour rookie Aaron Wise is having a good month. By finishing in a tie for 10th place at the Shriners Open two weeks ago, the reigning NCAA Champion secured himself a spot in the field at last week’s OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Then, in his opening round in Mexico, Wise made back-to-back eagles on the front nine at El Camaleon Golf Club. Wise jarred his first ace as a professional on the 4th hole, a 116-yard par 3, and then followed it up with an eagle on the 554-yard 5th hole.
Obviously, that is a rare accomplishment. So what are the odds that lightning would strike twice in Mexico in two days? Pretty good apparently! On Friday, Australian Marc Leishman capped off his own set of back-to-back eagles at El Camaleon with an ace on the 8th hole at El Camaleon, after making an eagle putt on the 7th hole. You can’t make this stuff up!
Lucky Bounce of the Week: Ryan Brehm did his best impersonation of retired basketball player Tim Duncan when he banked his golf shot off of a TV camera man and back onto the green at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Sometimes the backboard is the smartest play …
Golf Animals of the Week: We’ve seen videos of alligators, snakes, capybaras, zebras, and bears on the golf course this year, but this week’s video takes the cake! At the NedBank Golf Challenge last week, a pack of approximately 20 mongooses ran onto a green during live play, causing the tournament to halt temporarily.
This is not the first time that play has been interrupted by wildlife at the NedBank Golf Challenge. Two years ago, a wild baboon (possibly Rafiki from the Lion King) interrupted Luke Donald’s pre-shot routine after wandering uncomfortably close to the Englishman.
Speaking of primates, we also had some monkey business at the OHL Classic in Mexico last week. From the video, it appears that this monkey’s view of the green was obstructed so he ran out onto the fairway to get a better look at the flag.
Clearly, it was a good week for golf course animals!
Video of the Week:
Here is a novel approach to two-man team play: “Get your partner to swing you, while you swing the club.”