What you missed this week: Wins, Slow Play, Kuchar's apology, the Korda Slam and Stolen Putters down under
Over in the United States this week J.B. Holmes was at the forefront of slow play criticism amid his first victory since 2015 at the weather affected Genesis Open. Meanwhile, Matt Kuchar relented on his defensive position over the $5000 he paid his Mexican caddie, and tributes poured in for former U.S. Open champion Gene Littler.
In Australia, Nelly Korda made it a family affair as she completed the 'Korda Slam' with a win on the LPGA Tour, while Ryan Fox claimed his maiden major title at the World Super 6 Perth. But it wasn't all good news down under, as six players had their putters stolen from the player's locker room!
Catch up on the week below
J.B. Holmes wins weather affected Genesis Open
J.B. Holmes came out on top of the all-Kentucky final-day battle between himself and Justin Thomas, overturning a four-shot deficit with a one-under 70 to end the tournament at 14-under-par.
The 36-year-old credited his putting in the windy conditions at Riviera for leading to his fifth PGA Tour victory, and first win on Tour since the 2015 Shell Houston Open.
Players had had the best part of two rounds to complete on Sunday after play was affected by torrid weather conditions earlier in the week, and it was Thomas who looked to be in control after carding consecutive seven-under-par 65. It gave JT a four-shot lead heading in to the final round, but he failed to consolidate his position and J.B. took advantage as the afternoon weather conditions once again took a turn for the worse.
A birdie and three bogeys for Thomas over his first five holes opened the door for J.B., and the pair continued to swap the lead over the next nine holes.
The real undoing for Thomas came on the 13th and 14th holes, taking seven putts and losing three shots in two holes to go two behind with four to play. He managed to make up one shot with a birdie on the par-three 16th, but Holmes saved an 11-footer for par to ensure victory was his.
“It was great being able to go out and play with him and battle it out,” Holmes said. “He’s such a great player, so it was fun being out there, talking and just battling it out.”
Ryan Fox wins maiden European Tour title at ISPS World Super 6 Perth
Ryan Fox overame Adrian Otaegui in the final at Lake Karrinyup in convincing fashion after claiming narrow victories over Jazz Janewattananond, Kristoffer Reitan and Paul Dunne.
In doing so, the multiple Challenge Tour winner has become the first New Zealander to win since Danny Lee claimed the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic as an amateur.
"I've been close a couple of times and it was certainly nice to get one over the line today in a place I hold pretty special," said Fox afterwards, who was denied in a play-off by Russell Knox at the Irish Open last season.
In the final, a fortunate bounce out of the trees on the first hole played to his advantage, and an up and down par from the back of the green was enough to put him ahead.
Otaegui then put himself in to the fairway bunker on the par-five next, and Fox once more pushed ahead after finding the green in two. Up by two, Fox converted a 15-footer for birdie on the third to increase his advantage, and the pair shook hands after sharing pars on the fourth.
"There was some scrappy stuff in there but I got out of trouble when I needed to and I played great today in the final," Fox said. "Adrian didn't quite play to his best this afternoon but I'm quite happy to take advantage of that.
"I drove the ball very well most of the week and managed to do that today."
The Korda Slam: Nelly Korda adds Australian Open win to family tally
It was already an impressive family accolade, but Nelly Korda's second LPGA Tour victory at the Australian Open will surely make it in to the record books.
Korda's father Petr claimed the Australian Open tennis men's singles title back in 1998 when he defeated Chile's Marcelo Rios, and celebrated with his signature Scissor kick. He since had three children, Jessica, Nelly and Sebastian - with the two girls becoming professional golfers and his son a tennis player.
Jessica Korda was the first to add to the family achievement when she claimed the LPGA Australian Open in 2012, paying tribute to her father with the same celebration. Her younger brother Sebastian followed suit when he won the boys Austrlian Open tennis title last year, leaving Nelly as the only child in the family not to have an Australian Open title to her name.
The overnight leader, Korda held her nerve to defeat South Korea's Ko Jin-young by two strokes.
"I'm finally a part of the club," Nelly said afterwards, going on to talk about what her sister Jessica had said on Facetime immediately after she had won. "She was pretty much screaming, 'Congratulations!', she was so happy for me. I mean this win was really special for my family.
"I think there's something in the air here, we love coming Down Under.
"I just got off the phone with my dad and he said, 'Well, congratulations, you're part of the Korda Slam now'."
Six Players have putters stolen at World Super 6 Perth
A total of seven putters and several golf balls, hats and gloves were reportedly stolen from players from the locker room at Lake Karrinyup GC.
Having qualified for the matchplay rounds of the World Super 6, Wade Ormsby was the first to discover his putter had been stolen on Saturday night from the player's locker room - and put out an urgent appeal on social media to find it. He also stated that his back-up putter had also been taken.
Fellow pro Adrien Saddier responded by offering Ormsby the use of his, only to discover his, along with putters from Andrew Martin, Connor Syme, Per Langfors and James Morrison, had also been taken. In addition to the putters, Zach Murray reportedly lost dozens of golf balls, gloves, hats and wine, while another player's bag had been rearranged.
"We can confirm that putters were reported missing from the bags of six players inside the locker room at Lake Karrinyup Country Club before the final round of the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth," the statement from PGA of Australia General Manager of Tournament and Event Operations, Natalie McIlroy said.
Saddier and Morrison had failed to make the matchplay rounds, and while Langfors, Martin, Syme and Ormsby borrowed putters, all were eliminated by the end of the second round.
There have been no further developments as to who took the putters or why, but Golf Australia magazine have reported that police are set to examine CCTV footage from one of the clubhouse entrances.
Slow Play: J.B. criticised, Scott says 'I'll take the penalty'
Once again, slow play hit the headlines in golf last week.
Adam Scott was critical of the ever-changing rules of golf, but was adamant on his opinion of slow play, arguing that if penalties aren't enforced, the problem will continue.
"Make me the victim," said Scott. "I'll take the penalty. The only way it's going to work is if you enforce it."
“There’s a big media fuss, a big feeling [among fans] that we play slow, and we do, but the tour is an entertainment business and a big money maker for a lot of people. Until sponsors and TV tell the commissioner you guys play too slow and we’re not putting money up, it’s a waste of time talking about because it’s not going to change.”
“Out here [on tour] the severity of courses is off the charts,” he continued, saying there are several factors that contribute to slow play. “And then take a place like Torrey Pines, where you have to walk back 100 yards to get to every tee box. You can start adding up easy minutes. There are lots of factors. If you keep lengthening golf courses it’s going to take longer.
“We’ve seen too many years, too much complaining about it,” he added, conceding that he doesn't think anything will change. “And zero action about it.”
Just a few days after Scott's comments, J.B. Holmes came under fire for slow play during his victory at the Genesis Open while playing in the final round with both Scott and Justin Thomas.
Commentators, professionals and viewers were quick to criticise him over the time it took him (80seconds) to hit a putt, but J.B. fired back - stating he wasn't ever put on the clock.
"Well, you play in 25-mile-an-hour gusty winds and see how fast you play when you're playing for the kind of money and the points and everything that we're playing for," he said.
“I was never even close to being on the clock all week. When I first got out here [on tour], I was really slow, but I've sped up quite a bit. Like I said, the conditions made it tougher, too. Sometimes you're waiting for the wind to stop blowing 30 miles an hour.
“There's times when I'm probably too slow, but it is what it is. I was never on the clock. I never even got a warning.”
Matt Kuchar rectifies Mexican caddie drama: I just missed the boat with this one
After weeks of bad press and criticism, Matt Kuchar has finally relented and agreed to pay local Mexican caddie David Ortiz 'El Tucan' more money after their win together at the Mayakoba Classic.
It first turned in to a story when PGA Tour Champions player Tom Gillis tweeted that Kuchar had paid Ortiz just $3,000 of his $1.296 million winners check - a fee agreed upon by the pair before the week, and the win. It transpired that Ortiz was given $5,000 - a sum still nowhere near the 10% made by a regular caddie. Gillis' argument on behalf of Ortiz was that while he shouldn't pay him what a regular caddie (that endures their own costs and has plenty of weeks with MC's), a fee amounting to around $50,000 could have changed his life - and Kuchar was simply being unfair.
Kuchar had originally expressed that he felt it was a 'non-story', stating "I certainly don't lose sleep over this. This is something that I'm quite happy with, and I was really happy for him to have a great week and make a good sum of money. Making $5,000 is a great week."
Since then, amid pressures and the bad publicity, Kuchar has had a change of heart.
"Listen, I was stubborn, hard headed," he said, speaking at the Genesis Open. "In my mind I had it as 'a deal is a deal,' but after I won the tournament a deal wasn't a deal. Not a good deal. Any transaction, all parties should come out feeling like they've won, and certainly in David's case he did not feel like he won in that situation and I needed to make that right. It's as simple as that."
"I just missed the boat with this one," Kuchar said, saying that he had left a voicemail for Ortiz. "I did not put the shoe on the other foot. I did not do a good job there and I think in any situation if you can just understand where somebody else is coming from, it makes the world a whole lot better of a place. I missed that one."
He put out a statement with the PGA Tour, saying he intended to pay Ortiz the full amount he had requested, and would also be making a donation back to the event.
Tributes paid as former US Open Champion Gene Littler dies
World Golf Hall of Famer Gene Littler, who was one of just 11 golfers to win both the US Amateur and US Open, has died at the age of 88.
Littler, from California, had originally joined the Navy after University, but went on to amass a total of 29 PGA Tour victories between 1954 and 1977, and competed from the US Ryder Cup team on seven occasions.
His first victory came as an amateur at the San Diego Open, a year after claiming the US Amatuer at Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club in 1953. He then became just the seventh player to win both the US Amateur and US Open when he claimed his only major title at Oakland Hills in 1961, holding off Bob Goalby and Doug Sanders by a single shot. Since then, only Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Jerry Pate and Tiger Woods have completed the same feat.
PGA Tour commissioner, Jay Monahan, said: "Gene was the consummate gentleman but also a fierce competitor. His rhythmic swing that earned him his distinctive nickname remains in our minds a thing of beauty. It was a pleasure to watch Gene Littler hit a golf ball.
"San Diego has produced great champions like Billy Casper, Phil Mickelson and Mickey Wright. Gene Littler stood right there beside those giants of the game, and we mourn the passing of a tremendous golfer, husband and father."
Jordan Spieth: Does Spieth have the Weekend 'yips'?
T35-T45-T51. Those are Jordan Spieth's last three results, but they far from tell the whole story. For the last year, everyone has talked about Spieth's putter 'yips', but this year it has been less to do with the putter and more to do with managing to keep his swing together for four rounds. At the Farmers Insurance Open, Spieth opened with a 65 and was firmly in contention, but continued to falter backwards with three consecutive 72s.
It was more apparent at the AT&T Pebble Beach Open. Once again Spieth opened with an impressive 66-68 to sit just one shot behind Mickelson, even grabbing the lead at one stage in the contest, but a 74-75 finish dropped him to T47.
Worse, was the Genesis Open. Leading for a large part of round one (until J.B. posted one better) after an opening 64, Spieth remained inside the top 10 with just one round to play after two further rounds of 70. Instead, he couldn't keep the same swing from the morning and posted a double, triple and quadruple bogey during a round of 10-over 81. It was just the third time in his career that he's failed to break 80.
This season, Spieth is ranked an impressive T6 on the PGA Tour for first-round scoring average, and T10 for scoring average before the cut (T26 for 2nd round scoring average).
It's much bleaker over the weekend: Spieth is ranked 193rd for 3rd round scoring average, and T208 for final round scoring average.
Clearly, the problem for Spieth is managing to keep consistency - and particularly during the final two rounds. To put that in perspective, he was ranked 30th last year for final round scoring average.
Bloopers: Bronte Law experiences hilarious 'golfers worst nightmare'
So far, there hasn't been any video footage to surface of the incident, but Bronte Law's tweet was still hilarious.
She admitted that while she was lining up a putt at the LPGA Australian Open, she mis-read her footing, and fell backwards in to a bunker!
Law ended up finishing T15, 10 shots behind eventual winner Nelly Korda.
Race to Dubai prize money increase for winner
In a bid to attract even more high profile players to the event, the European Tour have announced an increase in prize money for the winner of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship event in Dubai in November.
Announced by the European Tour, the winner of the 2019 contest will take home $3m (£2.3m), which is an increase of $1.67m won by Danny Willett in 2018. The total prize fund remains at $8m (£6.2m) but the field will be cut from 60 to the top 50 on the money list for 2019.
"The changes we have announced in terms of enhanced winner's cheques, Race to Dubai points and bonus pool dividend are designed to increase the excitement around the end of the season, as well as encourage greater top player participation in our final three events," said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley.
"Had these additional Race to Dubai points been available over the past five years, on average between five and 16 players would have come to our final event with a chance of winning the Race to Dubai, in addition to an average of 43 players having the chance to earn bonus pool money at the end of the season - both numbers considerably higher than was actually the case in those years.
"With the revised prize money breakdown and the extra Race to Dubai points in place for 2019, this provides a tremendous incentive for our players."
Other changes include increases to the winners prizes at both the Turkish Airlines Open ($2m) and South Africa's Nedbank Challenge ($2.5m).
Previously the top 10 finishers on the Race to Dubai shared the bonus pool of $5m, but now that sum will be split between only the leading five finishers.