Have you noticed? The Masters is on the horizon. When Jason Kokrak finished off his CJ Cup victory on Sunday in Las Vegas, it left just three tournaments between now and Tiger Woods’ defense of his fifth green jacket.
As we all know, things are different this time. Taking note of just one element in the wider sporting world, the early weeks of build-up to Augusta National this year are sharing the sports pages with Major League Baseball’s postseason instead of its spring training.
But while a different build-up will no doubt lead to a different-feeling tournament, it has begun all the same. As Ron Green Jr. notes, this Masters is a particular curiosity to all, from players to patrons.
Some of the most notable pre-Masters fine-tuning last weekend took place on the PGA Tour Champions. Phil Mickelson made it 2-for-2 on the 50-and-older circuit on Sunday, outdueling fellow past champion Mike Weir by three strokes in Richmond, Virginia.
Meanwhile, Kokrak already had secured his spot in the Augusta field for Nov. 12-15. But then he shot Sunday’s best round on Shadow Creek Golf Course – a bogey-free 64 – to outpace Xander Schauffele and claim his first PGA Tour victory.
It is with pleasure and pride we welcome James Dodson to the pages of GGP this week. After successes as an author and as an editor, he has chosen to return to the role of golf storyteller. In his inaugural column for GGP, titled The Good Game, Dodson sketches out how his journey has brought him here.
In storming to his four-stroke win at the Scottish Championship, Adrián Otaegui left England’s Matt Wallace in his rear-view mirror by closing with a 63 at Fairmont St. Andrews. It was the 27-year-old Spaniard’s third European Tour victory, but his first in a 72-hole, stroke-play event.
Also in Scotland, the organizing body for grass-roots golf remains in some degree of disarray. Lewine Mair reports that the guiding principle for Scottish Golf as it seeks a new leader is to find someone who is “immersed in the game.”
Somewhat remarkably, Tyrrell Hatton’s hoodie continues to be a thing for some in the game. Sean Fairholm suggests this is an issue that should be well past its time for anyone’s concern.
Finally, in this week’s edition of the Divot, Steve Eubanks thinks back to a chance encounter with Sei Young Kim when the new Women’s PGA champion was still a rookie on the LPGA Tour. She left a strong impression.