First Cut: WGC-Mexico was great, but the Puerto Rico Open highlighted the reality of pro golf

Improbably, golf appears to be getting higher. I do not know if that is statistically true, or even when it is empirically true to everybody else, however that has been my notion of it over the previous few years. Extra stars, higher photographs, a plethora of elite occasions. This was highlighted on Sunday in an uncommon manner. Let’s bounce into some ideas I had over the weekend as Patrick Reed received the WGC-Mexico Championship and Viktor Hovland received the primary victory of his profession. 

Puerto Rico is actuality: Our focus was on the large cash and large OWGR factors handed out at Golf Membership de Chapultepec, however essentially the most genuine second of the week got here when the Puerto Rico Open ended. Viktor Hovland received the primary win of his profession, and he torched everybody within the area apart from one participant by at the least 5 strokes. That one participant was Josh Teater, who received in the home at 19 below, 4 away from everybody else in addition to Hovland.

Hear beneath for our full recap of the WGC-Mexico Championship. Remember to subscribe to “The First Lower” podcast for all of the PGA Tour information, previews, interviews and betting recommendation you want to know.

Teater has had the profession most professional golfers have. He is bounced round for 20 years, clearing simply over $5 million on the PGA Tour all through the course of his profession. Also referred to as half of a Brooks Koepka season. A win to him — which he is by no means notched on this tour — would have been essentially the most significant second of his skilled life.

He missed a birdie putt on No. 18 although, and when Hovland rocked his residence from 30 ft, Teater was in tears. It was an affordable (even anticipated) response from anyone who has been grinding for 20 years (!) with out sniffing a win on the PGA Tour. And it was fairly a distinction to the large cash raining down at Golf Membership de Chapultepec. 

Neither is best nor worse, however the worlds that Teater and anyone like Patrick Reed or Bryson DeChambeau, who have been duking it out in Mexico, reside in are unbelievably totally different. I loved each occasions for various causes, however Puerto Rico is the one that may persist with me, largely due to Teater’s interview after the occasion.

Rory’s flooring: Rory McIlroy’s ceiling won’t be as excessive because it’s ever been, however his flooring is perhaps. I simply rolled via each end he is ever had, and I may solely discover one different occasion by which he is had six top-five finishes in a row like he has within the final six PGA Tour occasions. That got here on the finish of 2011, and it got here on a number of excursions worldwide. However the argument exists that McIlroy is on the very best prolonged stretch of golf of his profession. If the putts begin falling on the Florida swing, the trophies would possibly begin falling, too.

Appreciating Patrick Reed: I have been excited about this tweet from Brendan Porath for some time now.

Reed misplaced strokes off the tee final week in his win. In keeping with Justin Ray, it was the third-worst driving efficiency for a PGA Tour winner within the final 628 occasions. Which suggests he was unfathomably good from 200 yards and in. 

SG strategy photographs: 27th
SG across the inexperienced: 4th
SG placing: 1st

This isn’t a technique to get pleasure from sustained success on the PGA Tour, however each 30th week or 40th week, it is definitely one thing to understand. In a bizarre manner, the entire dishonest stuff has helped me respect it extra. That story has been pushed headlong into the bottom, which suggests I am searching for one thing else to carry my curiosity. Whereas he is on the golf course (and never digging sandcastles), Reed usually gives it.

His 12th gap on Sunday was emblematic of that. Whereas everyone else was making an attempt to hit moon photographs to the 401-yard par four, he merely ran a giant hook up all the best way to the underside of the hill and left himself a protracted chip, which he caught to 1 foot. Up and down for birdie and onto the following one. It is by no means as fairly as a Rory or a D.J., however typically it may be simpler.

Hovland actually does suck at chipping: Did you see what Hovland stated after his victory on Sunday? He made a triple on his again 9 and almost blew the event. When he was requested, his reply was easy. “I suck at chipping.” He is not flawed. Hovland at present ranks No. 232 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained across the inexperienced. Solely three gamers are at present worse.

Masters stat of the day: Didn’t see this coming. 

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