A sweet treat for Rahm and Palmer, E. Molinari calls out slow play (and a U.S. Open champ responds), and Tiger's pass on Charlotte is not injury-related: What you missed
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 April 29.
A sweet treat for Rahm and Palmer in New Orleans
In a tournament filled with buddy-buddy combos, the team of Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer was a curious sight. What was a veteran, rank-and-file Texan doing with a fledgling international superstar 18 years his junior? But what they lacked in similarities was made up by a sugar-induced synergy inside the ropes, as Rahm and Palmer fired an alternate-shot 69 to close out the Zurich Classic on Sunday with a three-shot victory.
"Nothing I can say right now is going to be better than that," Rahm said, nodding to Palmer's wife and son rushing the green to embrace him. "It's been a great week with him, he's a great guy and I couldn't be prouder. He played a lot of great golf today."
It was a performance fueled by sweet swings, a string of shaky par saves and, um, Skittles. On Friday, Rahm's caddie, Adam Hayes, handed out candy to Rahm and Palmer after birdies. The incentive worked, the duo shooting a Friday-best 65 and coming back with a 64 on Saturday, proving it truly is the little things in life that make it worth living.
Rahm now has eight top-10s in 12 starts this year and joins Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau as the only players to win in each of the last three seasons on the PGA Tour. For Palmer, it's his first win in almost a decade, and gets him his first PGA Championship invite since 2016.
As for how this unlikely duo came together?
"I shot him a text, hoping he would bite," Palmer recalled. "When a 42-year-old player is calling him, he's probably like, 'Why does he want to play with me?' But he accepted and what an awesome week."
Give it up for Palmer. The journeyman has played with Rahm and Jordan Spieth (twice!) at the tour’s only team event, simply by asking them before anyone else had the chance to. Lesson to all you high-school guys: if you want to go to prom with the pretty girl, pop the question in October.
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Former prodigy finally wins
Jorge Campillo's amateur career promised big things in the professional realm. While it was a decade later than expected, that promise came to fruition in Morocco.
Campillo, a former All-American at Indiana, finally hit pay dirt after 229 starts on the European Tour, capturing the Trophee Hassan II by two shots over Erik Van Rooyen, Julian Suri and Sean Crocker for his first professional win.
“It has been a long wait—almost 250 tournaments—but I didn’t have my A-game today so I am proud of that,” Campillo said. “It was tough. I was missing shots off the tee, but I hit some great shots coming home and putted great. Waiting on the last tee did not help; I wish I could have hit my tee shot sooner. But I hit a great shot from the bunker. I’m proud of how I finished—like a champion. I have so many promises to fulfill after this win, I will have to take a few weeks off. But it has all been worth it.”
The Spaniard had been showing signs of breakthrough with two runner-ups and a third-place finish in his last four starts, although two bogeys in his first three holes put that win in doubt. But Campillo bounced back with three birdies and no bogeys over the final 15 holes, and Van Rooyen provided breathing room with three bogeys on the inward nine.
With the W, Campillo moves up to No. 65 in the world, giving him a chance to make his first U.S. Open: the top 60 as of May 20 and June 10 will earn a spot in the Pebble Beach field.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Euro player calls out slow play; McDowell responds
Edoardo Molinari has taken a backseat to his brother Francesco the last few years thanks to Frankie's mid-career explosion. Yet it was Edoardo who made headlines this weekend, albeit not for play but his policing of it.
The 38-year-old Molinari, competing in the Trophee Hassan II, took to Twitter to air his grievances with the sport's pace of play following a 5½-hour round on Saturday. Only Molinari, who's been a frequent critic of the golf's ever-growing duration, did more than just complain: He outed his fellow players who have been timed and fined by the Euro Tour—a list that it private, only circulated within the tour's members:
The implication was the social scouring would compel the frequent slow pokes to get things moving, although—as a quick study of Edoardo's feed suggests—there's a hint of "Some men want to watch the world burn" sprinkled in. And at least one player, former U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell, wasn't thrilled with Molinari's decision.
“I saw his tweet this morning when he came off the course, ‘We need to play faster, blah, blah, blah.’ I get it,” McDowell told the Golf Channel at the Zurich Classic. “I hear where Edoardo is coming from, but he is, what shall we say, flogging a dead horse? It’s not a dead horse, but it’s pretty dead. What do you want to do? We can’t get around there much quicker. Is 20 minutes going to change his life? Listen, I like Edoardo, nice kid, but I think he’s just frustrated.”
McDowell was quick to say he's OK with the list of offenses made known to the public, and understands the frustration. Nevertheless, he contended that speeding things up isn't an easy fix, particularly with the the current course set-ups and the amount of money on the line during events.
“There’s just no way to speed the game up really," McDowell said. "You can try these small percentiles, but at the end of the day it’s very hard to get around a 7,600-yard golf course with tucked pins with a three-ball in less than 4:45, 5 hours. You can’t do it.”
Perhaps publishing the list was a break of omerta, and it's unlikely the move will have serious impact. Conversely, a lot of players talk tough on slow play but shrivel when it comes to action, so props to Molinari for drawing a line in the sand.
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
USGA grants maternity exemption
Stacy Lewis was No. 33 in the Rolex Rankings when she took pregnancy leave last August. Though she's made five starts in 2019, that absence was enough to drop her 30 spots in the world, leaving her non-exempt for the upcoming U.S. Women's Open.
Lewis still had the chance to enter the field by moving back inside the top 50 by May 27 or by winning an LPGA event prior to the championship. However, believing she would have qualified sans sabbatical, Lewis appealed to the USGA to take her situation into account.
The governing body not only granted Lewis an exemption, the association announced it would be reviewing its procedures on all maternity extensions.
“After an in-depth review of the new maternity policies of other sports organizations,” the USGA said in a statement, “we have decided to revisit our existing policy. Most notably, we are looking at the impact maternity leave has on our exemption categories.”
The USGA’s current policy allows players who have earned exemptions to defer them for a year. Brittany Lincicome and Sarah Jane Smith had both indicated they would take advantage of this offer; Lincicome, however, is now reconsidering after the USGA said it would give her a spot in this year’s championship as well as in 2020. She is due Sept. 1, with this year’s U.S. Women’s Open beginning on May 30.
Tiger passes on Charlotte; agent insists decision is not injury-related
Tiger Woods intended to take more time off in 2019. A Masters victory won't change that forecast.
Many in the game, including tournament officials, expected Woods to tee it up at this week's Wells Fargo Championship. Woods is a former winner at Quail Hollow, and with the PGA Championship just two weeks out, it seemed like a proper Wanamaker tune-up. However, Woods is opting for rest instead of reps, passing on the Charlotte event.
That means Woods will not have played competitively since Augusta National when he arrives at Bethpage. Though Woods has never been one to rack up regular event appearances (he's made more than 20 starts just once this millennium), the sequence is a rarity: as pointed out by the AP's Doug Ferguson, it's only the fourth time Tiger will go from major to major without playing in between.
Despite Woods' insistence before the season that his schedule wouldn't be as filled, skipping Quail Hollow—coupled with a GolfTV video that showed Woods hobbling out of a car on Thursday—fueled questions about the 43-year-old's health. But Woods' gait was chalked up to an early-morning workout, and clips on Friday revealed Woods walking and hitting balls just fine. Moreover, his agent Mark Steinberg told ESPN that Woods is still catching his breath from his fifth green jacket.
"He's still digesting and appreciating what happened two weeks ago," Steinberg said. "Honestly, he's just not ready to play right now."
Given just three tournaments sit between the PGA and the U.S. Open (Colonial, Memorial and Canadian Open) there's a chance Woods repeats this chain in the lead-up to Pebble Beach. The PGA Championship, which Woods has won four times, begins May 16.
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