Pepperell's "Tin Cup" DQ, Fowler WDs with honeymoon illness, and the Ho-sung Highlight Reel returns: What you missed
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. 11.
Hatton wins six-man playoff
It has been a trying two years for Tyrrell Hatton. Sunday's performance, and payday, should alleviate those woes.
With a par on the fourth extra hole at Montgomerie Maxx Royal, Hatton emerged from a six-man sudden-death playoff—the first on the European Tour since 2003—to win the Turkish Airlines Open.
"It's so surreal. I can't actually believe that I won," Hatton said. "It's been quite a difficult year in terms of things happening off the course, but in the last month I feel like I've really found my game again. I’ve been saying to a few people on my team that if I was lucky enough to win again, I would definitely savor the moment. Golf is great when it is going well, but when it isn’t, it kind of hits home."
Hatton speaks from experience. Since reaching No. 13 in the world, the Englishman had dropped 35 spots in the global ranking, a decline Hatton has blamed on a wrist injury. The issue has become so problematic that Hatton is set for surgery at the end of the month.
He was able to keep the pain at bay this week in Turkey, a fourth-round 67 earning passage to a playoff with Erik Van Rooyen, Kurt Kitayama, Matthias Schwab, Victor Perez and Benjamin Hebert. Van Rooyen, Perez and Hebert were eliminated after the first hole by failing to make birdie; Hatton made his by way of a chip-in. Kitayama missed a six-footer that could have ended it on the second playoff hole, and exited on the third with a par.
On the fourth playoff hole—the 18th, illuminated by floodlights—Schwab missed a four-footer for par, giving Hatton the win and a $2 million check. And, as Hatton noted, a move up the World Ranking to No. 30, comfortably in line for an Augusta National invitation via the top 50 at the end of 2019.
"It's a special feeling and obviously a bonus," Hatton said of the Masters, "but it all comes with doing well."
Pepperell runs out of balls, putts with wedge
Be it his humor or provocative, self-aware social feed, Eddie Pepperell has never been accused of conventionality. The sentiment applies to his flame-outs as well.
During the third round at the Turkish Airlines Open, Pepperell was disqualified for running out of balls. It was far from a slow burn: Pepperell sent approach after approach into a greenside pond at the par-5 fourth (his 13th of the day) until his bag was clean.
Reached by Golf Digest's John Huggan via text, the usually colorful Pepperell was quiet, saying he had “nothing to add, really.” Luckily, playing partner Martin Kaymer was able to paint the picture.
“Eddie hit his shots to the green, then came over to tell us he had run out of balls,” Kaymer said after the round. “Then he walked off. I thought he lost four or five. We are about 80 percent sure it was five, 20 percent four. He was quick, so it was hard to keep track. He did not ask if he could borrow one from me or George. It did not look like he wanted to play. He did not putt with his putter on the third hole; he putted with a wedge. So there was a lot happening.
“I have never seen anything like that before. I only watched it on television, in ‘Tin Cup.’ This is the first time I have seen it live.”
We have never seen anything like that, either: No video—yet—has materialized of the incident, and Pepperell has remained mum on Twitter. Perhaps it is for the best; no character, even one as rich as Pepperell, can live up to the stylings of Roy McAvoy.
Ho-sung Highlight Reel returns
Ho-sung Choi's 15 minutes were supposed to be up. The viral sensation with the "fisherman's swing" and moves that make Bruno Mars blush was o-fer on three PGA Tour sponsor exemptions last season, displays that turned Choi's act from novelty to played out.
Or so it seemed. Turns out reports of Choi's demise have been greatly exaggerated. The 46-year-old shot a final-round 67 to win the Heiwa PGM Championship on the Japan Golf Tour by two over Shugo Imahira, Choi's first win in a year.
Though notable, champions do not reserve their spots in Valhalla with trophies. They do so with gusto:
And you thought Kevin Na walking in seven-footers was coldblooded.
The win moves Choi to No. 162 in the World Ranking, a career-best.
Maggert wins in playoff hole-out
Scott McCarron won the PGA Tour Champions' season-long Charles Schwab Cup. And he did it in spectacular fashion.
Off Jeff Maggert's hole-out.
Maggert and Retief Goosen were in a playoff at Phoenix Country Club that would decide the winner of the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, along with the season-long Charles Schwab Cup points title. A Goosen win would give the Hall of Famer both titles, and a W for Maggert would allow McCarron to claim the points crown. After Goosen hit his approach from a fairway bunker to four feet on the third hole of sudden death, Maggert put his second shot decidedly closer:
“Are you kidding me?” McCarron said from the clubhouse with a glass of wine, which is how most championships should be won. Thanks to Maggert's efforts, McCarron went home with a $1 million bonus.
“I’ve seen it happen, but I never I thought it would happen to me in my life,” Maggert said of his shot. "Obviously, I didn’t make a lot of putts last two days, but sometimes you don’t need the putter to win."
It is Maggert's first win since 2015, and sixth victory on the Champions circuit.
Fowler withdraws from Mayakoba with honeymoon illness
Rickie Fowler has withdrawn from this week’s Mayakoba Golf Classic after contacting an intestinal bacterial infection on his honeymoon last month.
“I am taking medicine prescribed by my physician but am not at full strength yet,” Fowler said in a statement. “As a result, I am ill-prepared to compete next week.”
The event would have been Fowler's first of the 2019-’20 PGA Tour season, taking a short sabbatical after the Tour Championship to prepare for his nuptials. Fowler, 30, told Golfweek he came down with Campylobacter jejuni and suffered cramping, a fever and pain. He said the infection hit him toward the end of the vacation and that he began feeling better only a few days ago.
Fowler's Mayakoba exit came a day after his omission from the U.S. Presidents Cup team. Fowler could still find his way to Royal Melbourne if Brooks Koepka's knee injury opens up a spot—captain Tiger Woods called his decision on Fowler the toughest he made regarding wild-card picks—but at the moment Fowler is not scheduled to play again until the Hero World Challenge.
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