The Round Table: Pendrith wins, Nelly’s streak and who’s on the Presidents Cup team?

Each week we ask our panel of writers, PGA members and golf industry experts to weigh in with their views on the hot topics of the day.

On Sunday, the CJ Cup came down to a dramatic 72nd hole surprise with Taylor Pendrith making a ho-hum birdie to win after leader Ben Kohles stumbled in with a bogey. It was Pendrith’s first win on Tour. What can you say about Pendrith’s play of late and are you surprised it took him this long to nail that first W? 

Jim Deeks, Fairways Magazine (@jimdeeks): I’m in Europe, so unfortunately missed all of the broadcast.  But I’m just delighted for Taylor Pendrith and delighted that his win further validates the junior golf effort in our country. I’m not surprised by the win at all.  And just watch… there’ll be another Canadian MAJOR win in the next three years.

Craig Loughry, Golf Ontario (@craigloughry): I feel for Taylor, he’s had that injury kind of nagging him for almost two years, so to see some progress and get over the hurdle here for his first win is awesome. His game was definitely trending up though with recent outings. I’m not sure I would have sensed a win out of him, but you have to put yourself in a position to win, which he did several times of late. He’s a very talented and powerful player. If that short game sticks around, he’ll be very dangerous.

Michael Schurman, Master Professional / Hall of Fame Member, PGA of Canada: Pendrith looks very solid to me and very long. There’s a quirky move at the top of his backswing that is interesting, but he is a strong ball striker. A couple of pitch-ins didn’t hurt his cause. I don’t understand his club selection on #17 on Sunday, a front pin, false front and heavily bunkered, 130 yards. By using a GW, he brought every score from a 1 to a 5 into play. The shot is a ‘quiet arm’ PW landing pin high and ending beyond the hole. A PW brings any score from 1 to 3 into play. Still a fine win.

TJ Rule, Golf Away Tours (@GolfAwayTJ): What a dramatic finish, it’s great to see another Canadian win a title on the PGA Tour.  He burst on to the scene as an amateur in the 2014 Canadian Open, almost leading after the first round, and you had to figure he’d have a successful career, but hey, it’s hard to win out there.  There are so many amazing players that can win any given week.  So no, I’m not surprised it took him this long, it’s perhaps easier to say I’m surprised he won an event.  Not to say he doesn’t deserve to, but it’s just so hard with all the talent out there on Tour.  He’s rounding into form and hopefully setting himself up for a long successful run on Tour.

Hal Quinn, Freelance Writer, Vancouver: The sound of the ball leaving the club face during PGA Tour range time is a sound that almost all golfers will never hear when they are playing. And the vast majority of those players striking the ball in a way 99 per cent of amateurs will never experience, will be putting their bags in the trunks Friday. Pendrith is incredibly talented. But so are so many others — just inches, a lip out, one fade too far — from winning. It’s tough out there. For non-super stars, it takes a lot of things to fall perfectly into place. That can take time.

Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): I think it just took longer for Taylor’s whole game to round into shape. When he was younger, he relied on his length a lot but that only got him so far. On the weekend, his short game stats – especially chipping and putting – were exceptional. He has a complete game now and provided that shoulder injury is behind him, maybe he’ll claim some of the glory that was predicted for him as a junior.

With the win, Pendrith has moved up in the Presidents Cup standings all the way to #14. Nick Taylor, Adam Hadwin and Corey Conners are inside the Top 12 for the International Team and appear to be a lock for a roster spot. Pendrith, Mackenzie Hughes (#18) and Adam Svensson (#20) are in the hunt. If the standings remained the same, do you think Captain Mike Weir should reach down the list to add another Canadian or two to the roster?

Deeks: No.  I think he should stick to the rankings.  If I were #13, and Weir picked Pendrith over me, I’d be mighty and justifiably unhappy.

Loughry: Boy, if Weir does pass some other talented players to play/take a chance on home favourites, that would really put pressure on all the Canadians to perform, including the ones picked. That said, could you imagine the atmosphere? Let’s hope Weir isn’t put in that position and Mac and Taylor earn their way there.

Schurman: Chose them all! Imagine having half the team from Canada….7 if you count Weir.

Rule: That’s insane having six Canadians in the top 20 in the standings.  Of course, some who have departed for LIV would normally be in the mix as well, but it’s still nice to see such great Canadian representation.  It would be hard for Mike to pick too many of his countrymen, particularly since only one sits inside the automatic top six.  He has six picks; he can’t use five of them on Canadians obviously.  Could he stretch it to three? Perhaps.  Of course we are a long way off still, so lots can change in four months.  If he had to pick today, I guess you could argue taking Taylor since he’s hot and he’s been there, although not with much success.  That being said, he also has that good mojo from his play in the 2014 Canadian Open at Royal Montreal!

Quinn: Think it’s enough that the cycle has brought the Cup back to Canada without doing an Anne Murray/ Bobby Gimby “We’re Canada, eh?” This whole ill-conceived fandango has been like an American practice round for so many years that rather than perusing passports, Weir & Co. (apparently) are focussing on competing, dreaming of winning. Adding another Canuck for being a Canuck is a stretch.

Mumford: I’m with Deeks on this. Take the top 12 players and be done with it. The rankings should mean something, otherwise why bother with them at all?

The LPGA is back in action this week in New Jersey. Nelly Korda puts her five-event winning streak on the line at the Cognizant Founders Cup. Do you think she extends the streak?

Deeks: No, but I think it’d be great if she did.  But a week off may well mean a weak off.

Loughry: Hard to bet against a hot hand, but with the break, I think Nelly won’t beat the field this week. It would make quite a story if she did though.

Schurman: I hope so. I think the LPGA has paid their dues for far too long! These gals are good!

Rule: If it isn’t Brooke or another Canadian, I’d love to see Nelly continue her winning ways.  I’ve always said it’s good for the sport to have a dominant player and other trying to knock them off their stoop.  And it’s awfully impressive to watch!

Quinn: With major sports that millions follow every day, and even the PGA Tour, totally prostituting themselves at the alter of the losers’ after-tax-dollars teat, the wise guys (who also lose most of the time) would probably take the field. The field on this tour is not as deep and strong as the men’s, but 6 is a tough number.

Mumford: Confidence is a powerful drug and Nelly has lots of it. Maybe between events she worries about streaks but once the tournament starts, the streak is forgotten and she’s just confidently hitting shots. I think she probably takes the fewest again this week.

Peter Mumford
Peter Mumford is the Editor of Fairways Magazine. He's played over 500 different courses in 21 countries and met some fascinating people along the way. He's also a long-suffering Toronto Maple Leafs fan.

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