The First Cut: Viktor Hovland snaps Puerto Rico Open curse, Christiaan Bezuidenhout goes back-to-back

Although the vacations are nearing, golf by no means stops. This week’s Girls’s U.S. Open must be nice simply as final week’s Mayakoba Golf Basic on the PGA Tour rocked till the very finish. Viktor Hovland taking his second win is the apparent takeaway there, however there’s lots extra to dive into, together with one famous person who has had a really dangerous 2020.

Moreover, historical past was made on the European Tour as they wind down towards the tip of their 2020 slate as nicely. We’ll take a look at South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout’s success over the previous fortnight and tidy up some odds and ends from throughout the golf world. Let’s begin the place Sunday ended — with the Puerto Rico Open curse.

Deeper on the Puerto Rico Open curse

On Sunday night after his second win on the PGA Tour, Hovland acknowledged that he was conscious of the curse and glad to defeat it. However … what precisely is it? Effectively, of the 12 iterations of the Puerto Rico Open, none of these golfers had ever gone on to win one other PGA Tour occasion. This consists of good gamers like Hovland and Tony Finau. Extremely, one of many golfers on the listing — Michael Bradley — had received once more, nevertheless it was on the Puerto Rico Open (he received it in 2009 and 2011). Additionally, the listing of runners-up is fairly superb and truly provides some credence to perception within the curse. Bryson DeChambeau, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day all completed second there. They’ve a mixed 30 wins on the PGA Tour. Regardless, now the curse is damaged, and perhaps Finau will win seven instances on the PGA Tour subsequent season.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout back-to-back

One evening on the Masters final month, I used to be sharing a bottle of wine with my colleague (and fellow South African) Mark Immelman. He was proselytizing concerning the 26-year-old as a possible future star. Quick ahead a month later and Bezuidenhout is now ranked No. 35 on the planet after profitable the Alfred Dunhill Championship and South African Open in again to again weeks on the European Tour. It is his fourth win within the final two years and pushes him forward of Tiger Woods, Gary Woodland, Sergio Garcia and Day within the Official World Golf Rankings.

Treasure trove of younger stars

You suppose that the Hovland, Wolff and Morikawa crew is younger and spectacular? How about this group that performed at Mayakoba.

  • Andy Ogletree (age 22): In his professional debut, Ogletree opened onerous however closed 70-73 to complete T46. I adopted him for some time on the Masters, and he completely obliterates the ball. Excited to observe him over the subsequent few years.
  • Austin Eckroat (21): We’d need to reconfigure the Oklahoma State golf energy rankings. Eckroat was mixing it up with the leaders for a bit and closed with a 65 to complete T12 with Justin Thomas. 
  • Akshay Bhatia (18): His T52 right here was his second made lower in his final three occasions. He is 18 years previous. Eighteen!

There’s lots extra the place the Wolff, Hovland, Morikawa crew got here from, and the PGA Tour will proceed to get deeper and deep within the years to come back.

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Last depend

I acquired a closing depend for that trio of their first 18 months on the PGA Tour, by the way in which. They turned professional on the finish of June 2019 on the Vacationers Championship, and since then have received six instances, completed within the prime 10 thrice at majors, received a significant, made $17.6 million and are all three ranked within the prime 15 (!) on the planet. 

Brooks misses one other lower

Provided that Mayakoba was the final occasion of the yr, we’ve a tally on Brooks Koepka’s 2020. He missed 5 cuts and had simply 4 prime 10s (two of them in his final three tournaments). It was a depressing 12 months on the course for Koepka, and unexpectedly he is in “prove-it” mode once more going into 2021, which is likely to be a very good factor given how a lot he is thrived there over the course of his profession.

Hovland humor

Each time Hovland is in rivalry I am reminded how low-key humorous he’s. He is not going to misdirect you want Phil Mickelson or try to provide the needle” as Tiger Woods likes to say. His is extra of an unintentional humor that makes you’re feeling like he is at all times in on the joke. 

The decision in Norway

Talking of humor, the Norwegian announcers are at it once more. Their name of Hovland’s walk-off putt from Sunday is superb. The truth that they squeezed “our boy!” and “look how ice chilly he’s!” right into a 40-second clip is so pleasant to me.

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