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#pounditThursday, May 13, 2021


Rory McIlroy shares cool note after winning at Quail Hollow

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy notched his first win on the PGA Tour since 2019 when he held off Abraham Ancer at the Wells Fargo Championship on Sunday. You could tell the victory meant a lot to him when he was interviewed after the final round, and McIlroy reiterated that on social media.

McIlroy’s win was the third of his career at Quail Hollow in Charlotte. His first, in 2010, was the first PGA Tour victory of his career. The 32-year-old reflected on that in a tweet after the tournament.

After McIlroy sunk his final putt, he threw his ball into the gallery the same way he did with his previous two victories at Quail Hollow.

Fans were happy to see McIlroy break his 18-month slump. They made that clear with the loud chants they had for Rory on the 18th green (video here). Time will tell if the win can jumpstart his career again.

Video: Rory McIlroy receives chants from fans after winning Wells Fargo

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy won for the first time in over 18 months and was feeling the love from the fans.

McIlroy won the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in North Carolina on Sunday. He shot 3 under in the final round and 10 under for the tournament to win it. It was his third time winning the tournament.

There were big roars as soon as McIlroy made the putt to win the tournament.

In his interview after winning the event, McIlroy acknowledged the importance of the fans. He said he feeds off the crowd and needs their presence at events. McIlroy also expressed his fondness for Charlotte, largely due to his success at Quail Hollow, where he recorded his first career PGA Tour victory.

McIlroy called it “one of my favorite places in the world.” The fans reciprocated.

Prior to Sunday, McIlroy’s last win came in Nov. 2019.

Bryson DeChambeau had to rush back to tour event after surprisingly making cut

Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau learned an important and expensive lesson about making assumptions on Friday after an incredible odyssey that saw him leave, then return to the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte.

DeChambeau shot a three-over 74 on Friday, leaving him at two over for the tournament. Figuring he was guaranteed to miss the cut, the fifth-ranked player in the world headed back to his private jet and flew home to Dallas.

Little did he know that a windy afternoon meant those teeing off later in the day fared very poorly, and DeChambeau ended up making the cut after all. That put him in a tough spot, and he managed to secure a 2:45 a.m. flight back to Charlotte in order to make his Saturday tee time.

“It was funny,” DeChambeau said, via Daniel Rapaport of Golf Digest. “We did a lot of scrambling last night to get back. One of the scenarios was like turning right back around, but the crew couldn’t, you know, refuel and their hours were out. So we had to get a new crew, if anything, and it just didn’t work out.

“So we’re like, ‘Well, let’s just go in the morning.’ So I left at 2:45 on a flight and I got here at 6:20 a.m. Drove 30 minutes to the golf course, put on my clothes in the locker room and headed out to the putting green. I did get a workout last night, though.”

DeChambeau actually ended up shooting a three-under 68 on Saturday, putting him in position for a fairly respectable finish. It’s a finish he needs considering his travels did not come cheap.

“Way too expensive,” DeChambeau admitted. “But the thing is, I have a chance to go make a good check this week and I think that would offset it. So if I was to not come back and withdraw, lose world ranking points and all that, I had to incur the cost. It’s my fault.”

DeChambeau will probably take some ribbing for all this. Luckily, he should be used to that by now.

Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky getting closer to a wedding date

Dustin Johnson Paulina Gretzky

Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky have been engaged for more than seven years, but they have still not announced any official plans for a wedding. While no date has been set, it sounds like the couple is getting closer to tying the knot.

Adam Schupak of Golf Digest asked Johnson this week if he and Paulina have set a date to be married. The PGA star said “we do not have one yet,” but he said the decision is getting closer.

Gretzky recently shared some photos of herself dress shopping on social media, so wedding bells could be chiming in the near future.

Gretzky, the daughter of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky spoke about her longtime engagement to Johnson in a podcast appearance earlier this year. She said she and Johnson are “so in love” and explained why they have not gotten around to their wedding just yet.

Paulina was by Johnson’s side when he won the Masters last year. She even wore her own green jacket, which led to this great tweet going viral. Gretzky and Johnson share two sons together, who are 5 and 3. It would not be a surprise if the two are married at some point this year.

Golfer Will Zalatoris gets engaged to girlfriend Caitlin Sellers

Will Zalatoris

Will Zalatoris is having one heck of a month.

The 24-year-old golfer finished second at the Masters two weeks ago. He went viral for his resemblance to a “Happy Gilmore” character. Now he has capped things off by getting engaged to his girlfriend, Caitlin Sellers.

Zalatoris shared photos on Instagram Monday of the engagement.

“Best day of my life. I love you,” Zalatoris wrote.

Zalatoris and Sellers have been together since at least 2018. She went to Wake Forest for undergraduate, which is where Zalatoris played in college.

In addition to his second-place finish at the Masters, Zalatoris finished tied for sixth at the US Open last year. His golf career seems to be ascending, just like his personal life.

Cool video shows golfer Michael Visacki’s reaction after qualifying for PGA Tour

Michael Visacki

Michael Visacki turned pro in 2013 and has been trying for nearly eight years to qualify for the PGA Tour. On Monday, he finally qualified for his first ever PGA Tour event. His reaction to reaching his dream was something fun to watch.

Take a look at this video:

Here is the putt that allowed Visacki to qualify.

Visacki will be taking part in the Valspar Championship, which begins play on Thursday in the Tampa area.

Visacki golfed at the University of Central Florida and participates on the West Florida Golf Tour. This has been years in the making for the 27-year-old. He’s going to have some fans cheering for him at the Valspar this week.

Look: Zurich Classic golf tournament is dealing with a family of gators

Zurich Classic alligator

This weekend’s PGA Tour event in New Orleans has a couple spectators that the golfers would probably prefer had stayed away.

According to the commentary, the 17th hole at the Zurich Classic has been dealing with difficulties due to a nest of alligator eggs located near the fairway. That in itself isn’t a problem, but it has meant that the two gator parents have been frequently traversing the fairway throughout the event.

On at least one occasion, a couple of staff members on golf carts armed with brooms had to chase one of the gators back into the water.

Ultimately, the golfers sort of had to work around the gators. And at times, that meant that golfer and gator wound up in fairly close quarters.

Believe it or not, this course has seen even stranger things than this. When you’re golfing in the south this time of year, this is just the sort of thing you might have to deal with.

Tiger Woods shares first photo of himself since car accident

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods shared a photo of himself rehabbing from injuries he suffered during his February car accident.

In an Instagram picture posted Friday afternoon, Woods is seen on crutches while checking out his golf course, accompanied by his dog.

It’s the first glimpse the general public has had of Woods since his frightening February accident. He has, however, issued several statements to the public, and has also been in private communication with many of his PGA Tour colleagues.

One thing we don’t know is precisely how well Woods is progressing physically, or if he even has a timetable on potentially returning to the tour. It sounds like he has a good chance of doing so eventually.

Brooks Koepka to face Dave Portnoy lefthanded in golf charity match

Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka is chasing after that $40 million PGA popularity bonus pool.

Koepka and Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy agreed on Twitter Thursday to play a match for charity. Koepka is one of the top golfers in the world, which would make a match against Portnoy unfair. So Koepka, who golfs righthanded, is going to play lefthanded to even things out.

The two are putting $250,000 on the line. Koepka will donate to the Barstool Fund if he loses, while Portnoy will donate to Koepka’s charity fund if Brooks wins.

There is one other note. Barstool Sports personalities Big Cat and PFT, who co-host the “Pardon My Take” podcast, will caddie for Koepka, who is a regular guest on their show.

The PGA Tour this year began a $40 million bonus program to reward its 10 most popular golfers based on various metrics. Participating in a charity match with Portnoy, a popular social media figure, should help Koepka’s metrics.

PGA Tour implementing $40 million bonus pool to compensate most popular players

Tiger Woods

Get ready for the rich golfers to get even richer.

The PGA Tour is implementing a $40 million bonus program that will reward the most popular players on tour.

According to Golfweek, the 10 most popular players on tour will receive a certain portion of the $40 million pool each year. The most popular player will receive $8 million, and the others lower on the list will receive less.

How will popularity be judged? Based on some metrics, such as Google search traffic, social media mentions a player generates, and their Q Rating. Golfweek has full details on the metrics being used to rank the golfers. All the metrics are along the lines of recognizability to the public.

The most popular players are often already the best players, which means they are rich through the prize money they receive on tour. Additionally, these players’ popularity is already rewarded through sponsorship and endorsement deals.

So why would the PGA Tour create a system that further enriches these players and creates a bigger financial gap between them and the rest of the players on tour?

Golfweek says that the PGA Tour was working in response to a threat from Saudi Arabia’s Premier Golf League. The Saudi league was trying to lure top players with the promise of massive guaranteed money. This is a way for the PGA Tour to financially compensate its top players even more. The program is also incentivizing players to increase their brand presence, which further helps the sport.