Welcome to the Dew Sweeper, your one-stop shop to catch up on the weekend action from the golf world. From the professional tours, trending news, social media headlines and upcoming events, here’s every golf-related thing you need to know for the morning of Feb. 17.
Adam Scott, Hall of Famer
Adam Scott has quietly, even modestly, as is his way, rejoined the mix of elite golfers, and emphatically (not his way) made a statement to that extent at Riviera Country Club on Sunday.
The statement he made with his two-stroke victory against a formidable field in the Genesis Invitational is that the World Golf Hall of Fame is his eventual destination.
The victory was his 14th on the PGA Tour alone, which doesn’t count — though it should — his win at Riviera in 2005 when rain shortened the event to 36 holes and he won in a playoff. It remains an unofficial victory.
Using Fred Couples as the minimum threshold for Hall of Fame inclusion (he had 15 PGA Tour wins, one a major, and three European Tour victories), Scott has exceeded that. Even without counting his 2005 victory at Riviera, he still has 14 PGA Tour wins, one a major, but he also has eight European Tour wins, the latest the Australian PGA Championship in December.
And, at 39, he has moved to No. 7 in the World Ranking, up from 82nd in July of 2018.
Riviera stumps Tiger again
Scott’s victory at Riviera, his second, notwithstanding the unofficial status of his first, is a curious juxtaposition to Tiger Woods’ record at Riviera.
Riviera has not been kind to Woods, who made his PGA Tour debut there as a 16-year-old amateur in 1992 in what then was called the Nissan Los Angeles Open. In 13 starts at Riviera, Woods has never won. And once again, he failed to the solve the puzzle. Woods finished last among the 68 players who made the cut in the Genesis Inviational. He closed with a six-over par 77 on Sunday, following rounds of 69, 73 and 76.
We bring up the juxtaposition because both Woods and Scott once worked with instructor Butch Harmon, and Scott’s swing once was a virtual copy of Woods’ swing.
“When Adam came to UNLV from Australia in 1999, he was already swinging this way,” Harmon once said. “They have similar builds, and they can do the same kinds of things athletically. I saw Adam and said to myself, ‘Wow, this looks familiar…’ ”
Yet one has won twice at Riviera and one has been skunked.
Tiger wrote off his latest failure there to a lack of preparation the result of his hosting duties and being “a little run down.” He decided not to play in the WGC-Mexico Championship on deck, citing fatigue and the altitude in Mexico City.
Still, it is an enigma that can’t be written off to the horses-for-courses theory. Secretariat at so many other venues, Woods is more plow horse at Hogan’s Alley. Go figure.
What’s up with Brooks?
Brooks Koepka tied for 43rd in the Genesis Invitational, following a tie for 34th in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and a tie for 17th in the Saudi International.
He, too, has surrendered his No. 1 World Ranking to Rory McIlroy.
The good news is that he refuses to make excuses. But is there bad news, too? Maybe that his left knee remains a concern?
“I’m not going to come out and tell you I’ve got the sniffles or tell you my knee hurts,” he said at Abu Dhabi. “Just get on with it and go play. I mean, I won with it [in 2019], so I don’t see any issue with it.”
But he also said at Abu Dhabi that his left knee still does not not feel the same as his right knee following a three-month hiatus from a partially torn patella tendon.
Inbee Park’s Olympic bid
Inbee Park, unlike in previous seasons, set out to play early and often in a bid to make South Korea’s Olympic team, but simply doing so would count for nothing unless she played well.
On that note, Park won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open on Sunday, the 20th victory of her LPGA Hall of Fame career that ended a two-year winless skein. In four starts this year, she has a victory and a tie for second in an effort to crack the top-four ranked Korean players, which would earn her an Olympic start.
Recall that in 2016, she won a gold medal.
Coronavirus altering schedules
The spreading coronavirus has caused two major tours, the LPGA and the European Tour, to postpone or cancel events.
Earlier, the Blue Bay LPGA on Hainan Island in China was canceled, and now the next two events on the LPGA schedule, the Honda LPGA Thailand and the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore, have been canceled.
Meanwhile, two April events on the European Tour schedule have been postponed because of the coronavirus: the Maybank Championship, in Malaysia and the Volvo China Open, scheduled for the two weeks following the Masters.
“The well-being of our players, spectators and staff is always our absolute priority,” Keith Pelley, chief executive of the tour, said. “While it is therefore regrettable that the Maybank Championship and Volvo China Open have been postponed, we feel this is the correct course of action at this time. We are currently investigating alternative dates for both events.”