1. Aussie Cameron Smith Wins Sony Open — Golf Channel
2. Branden Grace Takes First 2020 Event on European Tour — Golf Digest
3. Knee Finally Healed, Brooks Koepka to Return — ESPN.com
4. Chip Shots: Pete Dye mourned; Michelle Wie expecting; Sergio Garcia turns 40; Justin Thomas explains post-victory splurging; New Solheim Cup captain is Pat Hurst
1. Wildfire Disaster Back Home Inspires Smith at Sony Open: After the first two holes of the Sony Open, Cameron Smith was already 4 over par. With two holes remaining, he was still two shots behind Brendan Steele. But with an eye on the troubles facing his homeland, Smith persevered through both situations and found a way to lift the trophy at water-logged Waialae Country Club, defeating Steele in a playoff for his first individual PGA Tour victory. It was an unexpected turn of events given how well Steele played for much of the weekend, and it came despite the 72nd hole being engulfed in drama for the second time in as many weeks. Read More . . .
2. Sunday 62 Lifts Branden Grace to South African Open Win: Branden Grace carried plenty of motivation with him at this week’s South African Open. Coming off a 113th place showing a year ago in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, after finishing in the top 10 four times in the previous seven seasons, the 31-year-old wanted to prove 2019 was an outlier rather than a sign of things to come. Meanwhile, he was competing in the tournament, that outside of the majors, has the most significance to the South African native. The combination — along with some timely putting — propelled Grace to an impressive Sunday 62 at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg and a three-stroke victory over countryman Louis Oosthuizen. Read More . . .
3. Brooks Koepka to Return After Nearly 3 Months Off With Knee Injury: No. 1-ranked Brooks Koepka is set to return to competitive golf next week for the first time in nearly three months after dealing with a knee injury that kept him out of the Presidents Cup. Koepka's agent, Blake Smith of Hambric Sports, said in an email Monday that Koepka will return at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, a European Tour event that the golfer had committed to some time ago. The tournament had announced Monday that Koepka would be taking part in a pre-tournament exhibition on Jan. 14. Read More . . .
4. Chip Shots: Death of acclaimed course designer Pete Dye, 94, sparks outpouring of tributes . . . Michelle Wie, a five-time winner on the LPGA Tour currently rehabbing from hand surgery, announced she is expecting a baby girl this summer . . . One-time wunderkind Sergio Garcia turns 40 . . . Justin Thomas talks about making extravagant purchases after each win on tour . . . Standout Solheim Cup player Pat Hurst is tapped to captain the 2021 U.S. team.
David Gould is a journalist, editor and author with 30 years’ experience in categories such as golf, travel, luxury goods and corporate communications. Gould is a contract employee of NBC Sports/GOLF Channel, providing communications support for several business units there. He is also Editorial Advisor and an outside director of OpenRounds, Inc., a vendor to private golf clubs. He has served as Executive Editor of Travel + Leisure Golfmagazine and Chief Editor of LINKS Magazine. Gould has contributed 100-plus articles to leading sports publications on golf-related topics. He is the author of “Q School Confidential” (St. Martins Press, 1999) a history of PGA Tour qualifying, “The Golfers Code (Triumph Books, 2004) and “Real Golf: 120 Tips for Better Golf and Lower Scores” (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2002). To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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