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Back-to-back weeks with playoffs on the PGA Tour is always fun, and the Memorial delivered just that thanks to Viktor Hovland putting together an unbelievable back-nine Sunday.
While it was an all-time Sunday for Hovland at the Memorial, the same can’t be said for Rory McIlroy as he turned into a real-life ghost after beginning the final round tied atop the leaderboard. McIlroy did get a win off the course, however, thanks to Phil Mickelson throwing a ridiculous take out there about Rory and LIV Golf.
Hovland finding the winner’s circle was the story of the tournament, but Scottie Scheffler’s historic ball-striking week was a close second. There’s reason to believe he could show up to a tournament and win by nine sooner rather than later.
We were also treated to a playoff on the LPGA Tour between Rose Zhang and Jennifer Kupcho before Zhang, the greatest amateur of all-time not named Bobby Jones, got the job done en route to making history.
Plenty to get into, as per usual, so let’s dive right into this week’s edition of Par Talk.
Viktor Hovland Catches Fire On The Back Nine To Win Memorial
Viktor Hovland already had three PGA Tour wins and a pair of Hero World Challenge victories to his name, but despite already being a proven winner, it felt like he was missing that marquee victory to his name.
Well, that’s no longer the case with his win at the Memorial, and you can go ahead and add ‘killer’ to his resume given the fashion he earned his win.
Hovland stumbled into the turn Sunday with back-to-back bogeys on the eighth and ninth holes. With Denny McCarthy tearing the place up in a group behind him it wouldn’t have stunned anyone to see the Norwegian sort of coast on the difficult back nine and come up short.
Hovland had different plans, however, with birdies on No. 10 and No. 11 to jumpstart his final stretch that included four birdies on the final nine holes. His birdie on the incredibly difficult Par 4 17th seemed like a tournament-defining moment and that’s exactly what it was. It pushed him to -7 and into a playoff with McCarthy.
The putter stayed warm on the first playoff hole as he holed a 7-footer for par to earn the win.
Hovland picking up a win going full throttle on the back nine at an elevated event may be the jumpstart he needs to reel off a couple more wins this season. His game is in a great place heading into the U.S. Open in a couple of weeks.
He’ll have a much-needed week off before switching gears to Los Angeles Country Club seeking his first major title.
It’s Hard To Comprehend The Past Few Weeks For Rose Zhang
Rarely do we see golfers live up to the hype in their professional debuts, but Rose Zhang, nor her golf game, is exactly normal.
Zhang being on the first page of the leaderboard at this week’s Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National the first couple of days wasn’t a shock, but while many assumed she would fade a bit on the weekend and come back to reality, the former Stanford great decided making history would be cooler.
With her win over Kupcho on the second playoff hole Sunday, Zhang became the first player on the LPGA Tour to win in her professional debut in 72 years.
Her historic win came exactly 13 days after she won her second consecutive NCAA title at Stanford. In less than two weeks’ time, she went from being the best women’s amateur player on the planet to winning a loaded event on the LPGA Tour in her pro debut at a difficult course.
Over the last three years, Zhang has won the U.S. Women’s Am, the U.S. Girl’s Junior, two NCAA titles, the Augusta National Women’s Am, and an LPGA Tour event.
Scottie Scheffler Is Doing Unheard Of Things On The Golf Course
Speaking of outrageous, let’s talk about Scottie Scheffler’s ability to almost win golf tournaments without possessing the ability to make one single putt.
Scheffler was the best ball striker at the Memorial by a substantial margin and was able to ride that wave to a mark of six-under for the week, missing out on the playoff by just one shot.
Seeing as how he did that while giving up nearly 8.5 shots with the flatstick puts things into an even crazier perspective about how great he is hitting the golf ball at the moment.
Scheffler made the cut on the number at the Memorial and was one shot away from potentially becoming the first player since 2016 to win a Tour event after making the weekend on the cut line.
With his T-3 finish at the Memorial, Scheffler now has 15 straight finishes inside the Top 12. In that stretch, he’s picked up two wins all while ranking 114th on Tour in strokes gained: putting.
Simply playing the law of averages here Scheffler’s putter simply can not stay this cold. One of these weeks, maybe at the U.S. Open in two weeks, he’s going to find form on the greens. If you pair a remotely warm putter with the way he’s hitting the golf ball, Scheffler could embarrass an entire tournament field here soon.
Phil Mickelson Misses The Mark With His Jab At Rory McIlroy
Phil Mickelson had an up-and-down week on the Twitter streets.
While he may have picked up a win against the golf media world by correctly predicting Eamon Lynch would attack him, he suffered a tough loss with his comments about Rory McIlroy.
Speaking ahead of the weekend at the Memorial, McIlroy candidly talked about the state of his game while also hinting at how tough it is to be fully switched on all the time with the lack of break there is on the PGA Tour.
The offseason on Tour is practically non-existent, and while McIlroy gets to pick and choose his schedule, it’s still a grind for him, especially when his golf swing isn’t cooperating on a consistent level.
Mickelson took note of McIlroy’s comments and saw it as an opportunity to take a shot at the unofficial spokesperson of the PGA Tour.
According to Lefty, LIV Golf wouldn’t want anything to do with McIlroy.
This is, without question, one of the dumbest things anyone has said in the world of golf Twitter.
LIV Golf would pay McIlroy double his asking price to get him to sign a contract on the Saudi-backed circuit. As easy as it is to pick on McIlroy while he’s struggling a bit and looking back on his countless digs at LIV, he’s still the most sought-after golfer on the planet not named Tiger Woods.
Mickelson knows that which has me thinking this is just a A-plus troll tweet, but you never truly know with Lefty.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris