Brooks Koepka outpaced Rory McIlroy to win his first WGC title at the FedEx St Jude Invitational. Steve Carroll wraps up the action
WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational report: What happened at TPC Southwind?
So the major king has now decided to add World Golf Championship events to his portfolio.
We’d hoped for a toe-to-toe showdown to savour – as two four-time major champions went head-to-head in a final round for the first time with a tonne of cash and the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational up for grabs.
But Brooks Koepka vs. Rory McIlroy proved more Joshua-Ruiz than Ali-Fraser as the World No. 1 produced an early knockdown en route to another dominant victory.
After a third-round 62, McIlroy came into Sunday at TPC Southwind protecting a one-shot lead but a birdie for Koepka at the 3rd, and a short stab by the Northern Irishman, saw his advantage disappear.
Brooks Koepka with a 🎯 to take the solo lead in Memphis.pic.twitter.com/eh3IIHQY4i
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) July 28, 2019
Koepka, who’d only turned up at the course 45 minutes before his scheduled tee time, got any lack of practice out of the way with further birdies at the 5th and 6th.
He simply accelerated past McIlroy, who was level par through the front nine, and extended his advantage to three when picking up another shot at the 10th.
McIlroy’s putter had been red hot most of the week but he couldn’t get anything going on the greens and bogeyed the 12th.
He finally picked up a birdie on the 14th but Koepka, who had a tricky shot from a bunker, made par and shut the door. McIlroy shot a one-over-par 71 to finish tied for 4th.
In behind, Marc Leishman, with three birdies to start his back nine, and Webb Simpson were the most notable to try and lay down challenges.
Simpson’s fine 64 gave him the clubhouse lead at 13-under-par but the PGA Champion, who was ruthless on the closing stretch, birdied 17 as he carved out a 65, a 16-under total and a three shot victory.
- Leaderboard: WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational leaderboard
- Prize money: How much did Koepka win?
- WITB: What’s in Koepka’s winning bag?
WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational: Talking points
DraftKings became the ‘official daily fantasy game’ of the PGA Tour this week but one player who won’t give two hoots whether a few bogeys ruins your line up is Max Homa.
The American picked up his first tour victory earlier this season at the Wells Fargo Championship but found himself under fire from a few bettors who were talking through their wallets after an opening 74.
Those critics, though, got short shrift…
— max homa (@maxhoma23) July 26, 2019
Homa had already agreed to donate cash for every birdie made at TPC Southwind, and throughout the PGA Tour playoffs, to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
And even though a Saturday 77 would have done nothing to lighten the mood of those who’d wagered on him having a successful week, a closing 68 brought 12 birdies for the tournament and a nice boost for the fund.
Ian Poulter’s no stranger to getting a bit of stick from American crowds – it’s par for the course for being a veritable slayer of US Ryder Cup dreams.
But with the actions of spectators coming ever more under the microscope, particularly following events at the PGA Championship in May and the return of Sam Ryder’s biennial competition to Bethpage Black in 2024, the Englishman took exception when heckled on Thursday.
"I hope going forward we can control it more and more and it gets stamped out. It is not needed in the game of golf."
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) July 26, 2019
Plenty of commentators wondered whether the punishment fit the crime. Did the spectator deserve ejection for willing the ball into the bunker?
The answer for anyone of sane mind is: yes, of course he did.
There’s plenty of place for passion, and no one would want to strip away the excitement of enjoying a great day’s golf – particularly, as in the Ryder Cup, when two tribes collide.
But when it becomes abuse, and just because Poulter’s parentage wasn’t called into question doesn’t mean there was no invective in the shout, it’s time to get them off the property.
Once people realise they’ll find themselves turfed out for being a smart alec, perhaps we’ll see much less of it from the bleachers. And the game will be all the better for it.
Away from TPC Southwind, there was another PGA Tour tournament taking place – the Barracuda Championship.
The players compete over a modified stableford format, but one of the biggest talking points was the DQ of Mark Wilson.
Wilson showed the sportmanship golf is built upon when calling a disqualification upon himself ahead of the final round.
The American realised the greens book he had been using, which he got in 2014, no longer conformed to the scaling regulations in the Rules of Golf.
Sad to report but had to disqualify myself this morning for using a non conforming greens book during @CudaChamp (USGA rule 4.3). Why I didn’t think of it before the tournament started, I have no idea…
— Mark Wilson (@markwilsongolf) July 28, 2019
…the confusion for me was that my 2014 greens book fit in my yardage book so I didn’t think that it wouldn’t comply with the scaling limit of 3/8” to 5 yard. Mine was 1/2” to 5 yards. I used it a few times only but once is too many. Live and learn!
— Mark Wilson (@markwilsongolf) July 28, 2019
WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational: Shots of the week
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 27, 2019
No putter necessary for these.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 28, 2019