Nick Piastowski

January 8, 2023

Jon Rahm on Sunday after his birdie putt on the 18th gap on the Plantation Course at Kapalua.

Getty Pictures

Test in each week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors as they break down the most popular matters within the sport, and be a part of the dialog by tweeting us @golf_com. This week, we talk about Collin Morikawa’s collapse on the Match of Champions, Jon Rahm’s rally, no commercials and extra.

1. The PGA Tour kicked off its yr on the Match of Champions, and we watched one of many worst collapses in current reminiscence. Collin Morikawa, up six to start the ultimate spherical, stumbled over his again 9, making three-straight bogeys at one level, and that opened the door for Jon Rahm, who shot a nine-under 63 to win by two. We’ll begin with Morikawa, and we’ll ask it merely: The place does he go from right here? 

Jon Rahm storms again to win Sentry Match of Champions as Collin Morikawa collapses


Jack Hirsh

Alan Bastable, govt editor (@alan_bastable): The follow inexperienced, for starters. You don’t want a Ph.D., in Golf Evaluation to infer the place it went incorrect for Morikawa Sunday: on and across the greens. This isn’t a brand new difficulty. Final season, he completed 131st in SG: Placing (and 168th from inside 10 ft) and 152nd in SG: Round-the-Inexperienced. His ball-striking stays near-peerless however appears the nearer he will get to the outlet, the extra the struggles — and that’s a significant issue come Sunday afternoons, when the importance of each shot is magnified. This can be a day he’ll need to vanquish from his reminiscence financial institution as quickly as attainable. As Morikawa himself stated, “It’s arduous to have a look at the positives.”     

Jack Hirsh, Assistant Editor (@JR_HIRSHey): It could be troublesome now, however when Morikawa takes his time to mirror on this week, he’ll see he had one among his greatest placing performances of his profession. He ended up ending second for the week in SG: Placing, however he was main the stat till the again 9. It’s clear the modifications he’s engaged on with Stephen Sweeney are taking maintain. I’m certain the very last thing he needed to be requested about Saturday night time was the 2021 Hero, the place he blew a five-shot lead after 54 holes. With how good his ball-striking usually is, he doesn’t must putt and chip lights out, however he was placing lights out for many of the week. I feel there appears to be a psychological block with him successful proper now. His subsequent step might very effectively be working with a psychological coach to get previous it.

Josh Berhow, managing editor (@Josh_Berhow): I believed an interview Collin did final yr with Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis stated rather a lot about his mindset. Lewis relayed a few of Trevor Immelman’s feedback, by which Immelman defined Morikawa was so good early in his profession it could be extraordinarily troublesome to duplicate that success. Immelman meant it as a praise, however Morikawa took it as a slight. What does that imply on this context? It means he’s cussed and expects extra of himself, so he’ll be simply nice. There’s no lack of drive there. And whereas Morikawa’s chipping and placing let him down on Sunday, he was truly fairly good in these areas the primary three rounds (particularly placing). A nasty spherical and a nasty three holes, however he had eight prime 10s final yr. He’s not going anyplace and has the sport to win in bunches when issues are clicking.

Josh Sens, Senior Author (@joshsens): To not be blase about it, however … these items occur. Even to the best. Chipping was a weak spot final yr. It appeared nice for a lot of the week. However modifications take time to hardwire. This was his first event testing his tweaks beneath stress. Little question he can’t be comfortable. However in the event you’d listened to Hicks and Azinger’s commentary down the stretch, you’ll have thought Morikawa had been identified with a deadly sickness. He stumbled. Rahm shot an awesome spherical. Life strikes on.

Hirsh: Attention-grabbing thought studying this, Josh. Do you suppose there’s a little bit of Tiger-effect right here, conditioning us to overlook blown leads can occur to one of the best?

Sens: For certain. No person’s nerfect. Tiger simply made it look that means for an extended whereas.

2. On to the winner. We’ve seen loads of explosive play from Jon Rahm over time, however what did you find out about Rahm and/or his sport on this specific Sunday?

How did Collin Morikawa meltdown on the TOC? It got here on these 3 holes


Jack Hirsh

Bastable: On the subject of the controversy about which participant is one of the best when he’s at his  greatest, lately Rory McIlroy has been the inventory reply. May be time to swap in Rahm’s identify. When Rahmbo will get rolling, there are few {golfing} spectacles fairly prefer it: an avalanche of blistered drives, nifty chips and dead-center putts.

Hirsh: Nothing I didn’t already know. Rahm has already gained quite a lot of instances from behind, and we all know he can take it deep. It was arduous to think about Morikawa blowing this firstly of the day, in fact, but when anybody was going to catch him, it was going to be Rahm.  

Sens: All the above. A lot firepower.. On the flip facet, though he’s nonetheless a lot demonstrative on the market, the matches of pique we used to see out of him at the moment are extra tempered lately. Maturity plus world-beating expertise. Robust to prime.

Berhow: You see that fist-pump after he completed off his Sunday 63? This was no low-key, easy-money money seize in Hawaii to him. I’d anticipate an enormous yr from him, however that shouldn’t be a shocking prediction to anybody.

3. Whose 2023 PGA Tour debut gave you much more promise for his or her upcoming season?

‘Unhappiness. I don’t know. It sucks’: Collin Morikawa digests epic collapse


Nick Piastowski

Bastable: Max Homa continues to impress. After a gradual begin (70-70) on the TOC, he closed 63-66 to complete at 23 beneath and in a tie for third. Curiously, he stated afterward that he’s been working arduous on his psychological sport, staying within the second, enjoying one shot at a time, yadda yadda, and that new mindset gave the impression to be helpful this week after what he described as a “irritating” first two rounds. The perfect golfers are as mentally unflappable as they’re bodily proficient. If Homa places all of it collectively this yr, be careful.  

Hirsh: Bastable took my reply! Fortunately I got here ready with a second and that was Will Zalatoris. Zalatoris additionally obtained off to a gradual begin in his return from damage, enjoying the primary eight holes one over, however he rebounded to interrupt 70 every day and completed with a 65 to notch a T11. Nothing fancy, however in an elite area, that’s a fairly profitable return after three-plus months off. He’s going to get solely higher from right here.

Sens: Sungjae Im. A superb early guess for Augusta.

Berhow: Tom Kim, in his first journey to Hawaii and nonetheless simply 20 years outdated, tied for fifth and shot 4 rounds within the 60s. This child isn’t going anyplace.

4. The Match of Champions was the PGA Tour’s first of 17 designated occasions for the 2022-23 season, which the Tour created to help its combat versus LIV Golf and guarantee its superstars would all be enjoying the identical large tournaments, with even larger purses in addition. However the Tour’s most vocal spokesperson in its battle versus LIV, Rory McIlroy, was absent. Gamers are allowed to skip one of many 17 occasions with out having it have an effect on their PIP bonus cash and McIlroy has performed within the TOC only one time in his profession, however nonetheless, do you may have any difficulty with the World No. 1 passing on the primary elevated occasion?

10 large modifications noticed at Sentry: Coaches, caddies, membership offers, extra


Dylan Dethier

Hirsh: This actually caught me off guard. Rory doesn’t have a Tiger-like draw, however the scores for this occasion will definitely take a success with out him (to not point out it going up towards NFL Week 18). Can’t think about he’ll miss any extra, however lacking the primary isn’t an awesome look. Nevertheless, he absolutely has many alternative tasks that would have meant a flight to Hawaii was just too large of an ask. Can be fascinating to listen to him speak about it at his subsequent begin.

Bastable: Would it not have been good to have McIlroy in Maui to kick off ’23? Certain. However I additionally don’t fake to know the complexities of his schedule. Gamers are permitted one absence exactly for that cause: attending to and being correctly ready and rested for all 17 occasions — particularly for a European participant in a Ryder Cup yr, the place DP World begins can even be required — takes calculation. So, no, I’m not offended that he took the week off. We’ll be seeing a lot extra of him quickly. Additionally, Kapalua at all times feels kinda like a warm-up act, even with a loaded area. Unsure how a lot Rory’s presence modifications that.

Sens: Agree, Alan. It’s a limited-field, low-key occasion. The winner shoots deep within the double digits. To not dismiss the occasion. It’s good enjoyable. And an awesome herald of the approaching season. However the entire vibe of the week is swaying palms and flower-patterned shirts. And Maui was a lot scenic, even with out Rory, who’s fair-skinned anyway and will in all probability keep out of the solar.

Berhow: Actions communicate louder than phrases is how that one saying goes, however I don’t suppose that applies right here since you might argue McIlroy has carried out a lot already. The PGA Tour has been fortunate he’s been such a powerful chief/promoter/backer over the previous yr. He’s obtained some large journey forward with Dubai on his schedule on the finish of January, however I additionally don’t suppose we must be arduous on him for skipping this one. He hasn’t performed it a lot earlier than, he doesn’t want the paycheck and, plus, they’re allowed to skip one. Any of you on the market leaving your trip days unused? 

5. The ultimate hour of Sunday’s Golf Channel broadcast was commercial-free (because of a Callaway sponsorship), which was a primary for PGA Tour primetime broadcasts on NBC properties. Golf followers raved about it, and whereas it may not change into the norm, how a lot would you pay as a TV-watcher to finish each PGA Tour broadcast with a commercial-free hour?

Sentry TOC commercial-free hour to make NBC Sports activities historical past


James Colgan

Hirsh: It’s cool and I hope it occurs at extra occasions, however I’m not paying to keep away from 18 minutes of commercials for one hour of a broadcast as soon as every week.

Bastable: With Hulu+, Netflix and Amazon Prime already on my pile of month-to-month payments, unsure I can afford one other commercial-free choice! The uninterrupted TOC protection was undoubtedly a deal with — particularly with the dreamy ocean views — however I probably wouldn’t buck up for it. The World Cup did get me pondering, although: How does soccer protection go sans advertisements for 50- or 60-minute stretches?

Sens: With banner advertisements, Alan. And a worldwide viewers that dwarfs golf. No less than, I assume that’s how they do it. With the attainable exception of the Tremendous Bowl, each occasion is healthier with out commercials. However I’m additionally not keen to pay additional. That’s why the pause and fast-forward buttons exist.

Berhow: Hmmmm … unsure I’d pay additional — these commercials are key instances to get issues carried out round the home so I can sit for the motion — however I might see a value set at $5.99 a month or so, proper? For commercial-free golf and perhaps some cool on-air choices (interviews, angles, and many others.) the opposite broadcast may not present, I might see some golf sickos get into that.

6. By our course-rating course of for 2022-23, our knowledgeable panelists recognized one of the best golf programs in each state, which we unveiled on final week. What’s your favourite (and probably the most underrated) {golfing} state within the U.S.?

The perfect golf programs in all 50 states for 2022-23, sorted and ranked!


GOLF’s Course Raters and Ran Morrissett, Structure Editor

Hirsh: Shock, shock, however I’m going with my earlier dwelling state of Oregon. Take away Bandon Dunes, and the state nonetheless has a ton of elite tracks. From well-known spots like Eugene Nation Membership, Waverly, Columbia Edgewater, Sunriver, Pronghorn and Pumpkin Ridge, to extra hidden gems, like Silvies Ranch, Tokatee and my former dwelling membership of Bend Golf Membership. Oh, and then you definately add again in Bandon with its 5 top-100 programs.

Bastable: New Jersey (full disclosure: the place I dwell!) is dwelling to the perennial world No. 1, in Pine Valley, however I’d argue it’s different choices are considerably underappreciated. The highest 10 is loaded with the likes of Somerset Hills, Plainfield, Ridgewood, Baltusrol and one among my private faves: Essex County.

Sens: A current return journey to my childhood dwelling of Massachusetts jogged my memory how a lot nice golf there may be again there. All of us noticed how cool The Nation Membership appeared final summer season. However there’s loads of nice public-access stuff as effectively. Terrific munis like George Wright and Franklin Park within the Boston space. Head to western Mass, and also you’ve obtained spots like Crumpin Fox and Taconic. In fact, in the event you’ve obtained some strings to tug, by all means pull them to see the unique spots: Myopia, Essex, Eastward Ho’, Boston Golf Membership, and, proper close by and never as well-known, Black Rock. 

Berhow: It’s arduous to argue with areas like N.Y. and N.J. when contemplating one of the best, particularly relating to personal golf equipment, however let’s give a little bit like to the Midwest as underappreciated, particularly Minnesota (the place I’m) and Wisconsin. Name me a homer (as a result of I’m), however Minnesota has an awesome combine of personal programs, and a extremely, actually robust roster of public choices. Wisconsin’s public programs are even higher, a minimum of the batch of high-end ones (Sand Valley, Kohler, and many others.), nevertheless it additionally has tremendous inexpensive spots like Lawsonia and Troy Burne, which locals rave about. Is it freezing right here more often than not? Sure. Is the golf definitely worth the wait within the spring? Undoubtedly.

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Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Journal. In his function, he’s chargeable for modifying, writing and creating tales throughout the golf house. And when he’s not writing about methods to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native might be enjoying the sport, hitting the ball left, proper and quick, and consuming a chilly beer to scrub away his rating. You possibly can attain out to him about any of those matters — his tales, his sport or his beers — at [email protected].

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