DEW SWEEPERFebruary 24, 2020

A villain wins, two Mexicans star in Mexico, Tiger's schedule, and an Aussie amateur with a tempting decision

Patrick Reed
Rob CarrPatrick Reed celebrates his birdie on the 17th green during the final round of the 2020 WGC-Mexico Championship.

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 Feb. 24.

Patrick Reed, villain, hijacks the script

What would sports be without villains? The Yankees have the Red Sox and the Red Sox have the Yankees. Everyone outside of Houston now has the Astros. And everyone outside of New England has had the Patriots. So it goes.

But historically golf has not been a sport that relies on villains, notwithstanding the early Nicklaus years, when Jack was upstaging Arnie.

Then along comes Patrick Reed, again, giving golf the winner it doesn’t necessarily want, but a winner it occasionally needs, at the WGC-Mexico Championship on Sunday. As the octogenarian golf aficionado and entertainer, Clint Eastwood, once said about good drama, it "usually has some sort of intense conflict.”

The conflict was a popular topic earlier in the week when Reed was asked to address negative comments made about him by Brooks Koepka and former CBS hand Peter Kostis. As Reed does, he steadfastly disallowed them to impact him in a negative way.

Late in the proceedings on Sunday, Reed birdied three straight holes and won the tournament by one, felling Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm in the process.

Now that's entertainment.

Keyur Khamar

Ancer, Ortiz do their nation proud

Neither was in contention, but kudos to the two Mexicans in the field at the WGC-Mexico Championship, Abraham Ancer and Carlos Ortiz, who distinguished themselves in front an exceedingly appreciative crowd in Mexico City.

And good for the PGA Tour for enacting a change in qualifying for this event: If a Mexican player qualified via the World Ranking, a second Mexican would receive an invitation to play, provided he was in the top 300 in World Ranking.

Ancer qualified on his ranking, 29th, and finished 13th, while Ortiz gained entry into the field based on his ranking, 143rd. He tied for 16th.

Ortiz, 28, was a spectator the last three years. “Honestly, I prefer on the other side,” he said on the eve of the tournament. “It's a great opportunity they gave me this week. I have to thank Abe for playing great and getting in on his own, but it's going to be a great week.”

Indeed.

David Cannon

The Tiger schedule

Tiger Woods declined to play the WGC-Mexico Championship, and he won’t be playing in the Honda Classic later this week, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., not far from his home.

So when will we see him again? Here’s our best guess:

It seems likely that he’ll play the Arnold Palmer Invitational (where he's won eight times) and the Players Championship back to back starting on March 5 and March 12, respectively. Then a week off, followed by the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, another week off and the Masters.

For Woods these days, it’s virtually only about maintaining his health and preparing for the major championships.

Neither Rory McIlroy nor Justin Thomas are entered in the Honda Classic. Brooks Koepka, however, is in the field, as are Gary Woodland and Rickie Fowler.

Kevin C. Cox

Score another for young talent

It won’t get much notice, what with the Puerto Rico Open having been played opposite the WGC-Mexico Championship, but another young PGA Tour rookie won.

Viktor Hovland, 22, holed about 35-foot birdie putt at 18 to win the Puerto Rico Open by one over a 40-year-old journeyman, Josh Teater.

A former U.S. Amateur champion and the low amateur in the Masters and U.S. Open last year, Hovland squandered a three-shot lead when he triple-bogeyed the 11th hole, bounced back by holing a difficult pitch for eagle at 15, then holed the winning putt at 18.

Only a few days earlier, Golf Digest’s Joel Beall had a terrific story headlined “Golf's purgatory: Life after 40 on the PGA Tour,” that explained how veterans are getting squeezed by the depth of young talent.

Hovland joins Collin Morikawa, 23, a tour winner, who has not missed a cut in 19 PGA Tour starts as a professional; Matthew Wolff, 20, a tour winner; and Cameron Champ, 24, twice a tour winner.

A quest and a quandary for Aussie amateur

Stephanie Kyriacou is a 19-year-old amateur who on Sunday won the Australian Ladies Classic, a Ladies European Tour event, by eight strokes.

The victory gives her a two-year exemption on the LET, should she choose to turn professional and accept it. She has two weeks to made a decision.

“I have never even been to Europe to play [golf], so it would be a big change,” Kyriacou told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I didn't even know about that [the tour exemption]. It would be awesome. It would be fun. I need to do a bit of research and look into it. I’m going to have to talk to mum and dad and my team and work it out.”

A native of Sydney, Australia, Kyriacou went into the tournament 90th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, a number that does not necessarily portend success on the professional level. Of course, the counter is her dominating performance against professionals in the Australian Ladies Classic.

There, too, is the fact she finished 38th in an LPGA event, the ISPS Handa Vic Open, recently.