In his latest notes from around the tours, Alex Miceli previews Jordan Spieth’s busy schedule, Sam Ryder’s Farmers’ chances and the big week for LIV golfers in Dubai.
Don’t look now, but Jordan Spieth will play seven of the next eight tournaments on the PGA Tour schedule, starting at next week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
In 10 appearances on the Monterey Peninsula, Spieth has never missed the cut and has recorded six top 10s, including a win in 2017, a T3 in 2021 and runner-up to Tom Hoge last year.
In his 40 rounds in the tournament, Spieth has only recorded two rounds over par, leaving him a clear favorite for next week after missing the cut at Sony Open earlier in the month.
The rest of Spieth’s upcoming run includes the WM Phoenix Open, Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Players Championship, Valspar Championship and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Spieth will also be playing for considerably more money during those seven weeks than last year, with those purses totaling $122 million compared to $80.7 million in 2022.
Sam Ryder’s Odd Stat from San Diego
Sam Ryder has a pattern when playing the Farmers Insurance Open: he makes the cut in odd years and misses the cut in even years.
Ryder showed up for the first time in 2018 and promptly missed the cut. In 2019 he fired back-to-back opening 69s before fading to a T43.
Of course, 2020 was another missed cut and 2021 was a T10 with three strong rounds and a humdrum final-round even-par 72 at Torrey Pines’s South Course, which cost him a shot at his first PGA Tour title.
Even year 2022 produced another missed cut, but it’s now 2023 and Ryder is right in the mix. He was the 36-hole leader for the first time in his career. With a three-shot lead with 36 holes to go, can he take it to the house?
History is not on Ryder’s side. Only Phil Mickelson (2000, 2001) Tiger Woods (2008, 2013) and Justin Rose (2019) are the only players to lead or co-lead after 36 holes and go on to win.
So far in the wraparound 2022-23 season, only Tony Finau has won after leading after 36 holes.
LIV Golfers Warming Up in Dubai
For the first time since LIV Golf became part of professional golf landscape, some of its players are part of the mix in a non-LIV event, with two overnight leaders in Dubai.
Englishman Richard Bland and Ian Poulter are, as of this writing, barely into their second rounds at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic. But due to weather that has forced postponements, when the sun set in Dubai on Friday both were tied for the lead at 8-under par, with Bland through four holes and Poulter through three holes.
American Patrick Reed is also in the mix at 6 under. He did not play on Friday.
A Poulter win would be odd for the DP World Tour, as Chief Executive Keith Pelley prepares for an arbitration hearing against LIV Golf early next month held by Sport Resolutions.
Poulter, along with Adrian Otaegui, who is also in Dubai and is T13, were two of the three players that brought the suit.