A costly missed gimme, Spieth's (temporary) new caddie and a distraught Matsuyama: What you missed this weekend
Welcome to the Dew Sweeper, your one-stop shop to catch up on the weekend action from the golf world. From the professional tours, trending news, social media headlines and upcoming events, here's every golf-related thing you need to know for the morning of Nov. 20.
Lexi loses, still wins
Gimme putts are like NFL long-snappers: if we're talking about them, something has gone horribly, horribly wrong. A point illustrated by Lexi Thompson.
Needing just a two-footer to capture the campaign-ending CME Globe Tour Championship -- and with it, the Rolex Player of the Year and No. 1 world ranking -- the American star pushed her putt right, finishing with a bogey that allowed Ariya Jutanugarn to win the event, with So Yeon Ryu and rookie Sung Hyun Park splitting the point-based POY honors.
“I don’t really know what happened there," Thompson said afterwards. "Yeah, it just happens. I guess it’s golf. I guess we all go through situations we don’t like sometimes.”
Considering the situations she's been through this season, that's putting it lightly.
Still, it wasn't all bad news for the 22-year-old. The finish was good enough to wrap up the scoring title, along with $1 million for winning the LPGA's Race to CME Globe title. We know there's no equivalent to victory, but a seven-figure parting gift is a hell of a consolation prize.
Cook claims RSM Classic
Austin Cook made his first PGA Tour appearance in 2014 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Since that Memphis endeavor, Cook's career has taken a few bumps in return to the tour. However, thanks to his performance in Saint Simons this weekend, the ride should be a bit smoother for the foreseeable future. The former Arkansas All-American birded three of his final four holes to win the Sea Island event by four over J.J. Spaun.
“I've been close on the Web a couple times but haven't been able to get the job done, and to be able to do it on the biggest stage in the world, it definitely boosts my confidence and lets me know that I can play with these guys,” Cook said. “I've told myself all along, and for it to actually come true, it's amazing.”
It was just the 14th career start for Cook, who once experienced a flameout for the ages at Q-School and ended up on the business end of a Web.com Tour Championship rainout. A past that makes the RSM's bounty -- trips to the Tournament of Champions and Masters -- all the more sweeter.
Spieth's new caddie
No, Jordan Spieth is not joining Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Phil Mickelson in looking for a new loop. Spieth's trusted caddie Michael Greller is skipping the Australian Open to be with his wife Ellie, who recently had the couple's first child in October. In Greller's place, the World No. 2 is putting coach Cameron McCormick on the bag when he tees it up this week, according to the Herald Sun. McCormick, who recently placed fifth on Golf Digest's Top 50 Teachers list, originally hails from Melbourne.
Greller has been with Spieth for all of his 14 professional wins. Conversely, given Spieth's track record at the Aussie event -- he's won twice and finished runner-up in the last three years -- we're guessing the three-time major winner will do just fine Down Under.
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Rahm, Fleetwood leave Dubai victorious
While trophies make for sublime decorations, not every adjoining performance is a work of art. Or, in Tommy Fleetwood's case, an effort that receives a passable grade.
However, though Fleetwood faltered down the stretch at the DP Tour World Championship (playing the final seven holes three over), it was enough to win the Race to Dubai thanks to similar struggles from countryman Justin Rose. The former U.S. Open winner, sitting on a two-stroke Race lead with just seven to go, bogeyed three of the final five holes to give the crown to Fleetwood.
“I hit the wall a little bit today,” Rose admitted. “But I’m pleased for Tommy. He deserved to win. He’s been ahead for most of the year and it was good for him to finish it off."
One who did play like a champion was Jon Rahm, turning in a bogey-free 67 to win the actual tournament by one over Shane Lowry and Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Though 2017 has been a roller coaster for the Spaniard at times, the triumph at Jumeirah Golf Estates was his third worldwide win of the season, a marvelous feat given Rahm only turned professional in June of 2016. The win moves the 23-year-old to No. 4 in the world rankings.
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There's no other way to put it: Hideki Matsuyama needs a hug.
Matsuyama, whose game spiraled out of control at the end of 2017, seemed to right the ship in the fall, turning in a T-5 at the CIMB Classic. And, early in the final round of the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix, the fledging star was putting the heat on leader Brooks Koepka with a birdie at Phoenix's second and a hole-in-one at the third. Unfortunately for Matsuyama, his putting woes re-emerged, finishing his day at two under and 10 shots back of Koepka. Afterwards, Matsuyama's tone was that of dazed resignation.
"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said, according to the Japan Times. "It seems there are many issues to address."
And his thoughts on Koepka, who won the event for the second straight year? “I feel there’s a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said. (In both of Koepka's American wins -- the Waste Management and U.S. Open -- Matsuyama has finished second.)
For a guy who was this close to his first major title three months ago, poor Matsuyama seems lost. Luckily, he's set to play at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks, an event he dominated last year. Given the unofficial nature of the Hero -- nothing special about that gathering, right? -- we're guessing all eyes will be on Hideki in two weeks.
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