Jon Rahm ranks 18th in prize money for the 2021-22 PGA Tour season with $1,699,630. He’s yet to find the winner’s circle, but he’s 5 for 6 in cuts made and has two top 5s. Hideki Matsuyama leads the Tour in money in the first 18 events of the season with 3,897,233 $.

Rahm, who announced last week that he and wife Kelley are expecting their second boy, still has a firm grip on the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings as well as the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.

Rahm is also No. 1 in one of the Tour’s most important stats: strokes won off the tee.

With the Fall Series and the West Coast Swing now in the rearview mirror and the Florida Swing having begun, there have been enough events played this season to begin to get a good statistical idea of ​​the game. to at least four events, so their stats make sense and are less likely to see wild changes based on a week’s performance.

The strokes gained off the tee measure the advantage (or disadvantage) a player has exclusively from his performance on the par 4s and par 5s off the tee. A positive number means a player is better than the average golfer on the tour, while a negative number means the player is worse than average. Golfers who excel in this stat tend to make big money, end up in contention on weekends, and become household names. The best end-of-season shots obtained on the starting average were given by Bubba Watson in 2012 (1.485).

Rahm is at 1.227, the only golfer to win more than one shot off the tee. Tour rookie Cameron Young is second at .837, while Keith Mitchell is third at .793, Sungjae Im is fourth at .711 and Patrick Cantlay is fifth at .692.

Honoring LPGA legend

Marilynn Smith, one of the 13 women who founded the LPGA, will be remembered in May with the first Marilynn Smith Arizona Women’s Open and Scholarship Pro-Am.

The tournament, announced Tuesday by the Arizona Golf Foundation, will take place May 1-5 at the Longbow Golf Club in Mesa. The field will be made up of 144 pros, amateurs and legends. There will be a minimum scholarship of $50,000.

“With the departure of the LPGA from Arizona, we believe it is important to increase the visibility of elite women’s competition,” said Ed Gowan, executive director of the Arizona Golf Association. “This first Marilynn Smith AZ Women’s Open will raise the bar.”

For the second straight year, there is no Arizona tournament on the LPGA schedule for 2022.

“Marilynn Smith has lived her life as a trailblazer, uplifting, making friends and making a difference for others,” said Debbie Waitkus, President of the Marilynn Smith & Founders’ Legacy Foundation. “She would be extremely happy to know that her annual Scholarship Pro-Am is part of a new opportunity in Arizona for women to compete at a high level.”

Smith died aged 89 in April 2019. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2006.

Opportunity to compete

The PGA Tour is hosting two events this week. The headliner is the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando. It’s an “elevated” event on the Tour schedule, not at the level of a major but on a plane with the Genesis Invitational (hosted by Tiger Woods) and Memorial, Jack Nicklaus’ longtime event. First place this week is good for $2,160,000, up from the $1,674,000 Bryson DeChambeau won a year ago (he won’t defend because he’s injured). Rahm is on the court, as is WM Phoenix Open champion Scottie Scheffler.

The other stop on the Tour this week is the Puerto Rico Open. Sponsor exemptions include Arizona State’s Kevin Yu and Arizona’s Trevor Werbylo. Opposite field events like this are a great opportunity for aspiring players to compete, earn cash and FedEx Cup points, and gain valuable Tour experience.

Grand Reserve Golf Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico is 7,506 yards this week and has two par 5s over 600 yards on the back nine.

Annika Sorenstam of Sweden waves to the crowd after putting on the 18th green during the final round of the Tournament of Champions LPGA golf tournament, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Celebrity win for Sorenstam

Former Wildcat All-American Annika Sorenstam teamed up with former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to win the Celebrity Challenge on Saturday at the PGA Tour Champions Cologuard Classic in Tucson.

In the best-ball format at Omni Tucson National, Sorenstam birdie putted on 18 to bring her and Fitzgerald to 4 under to defeat the team of country music star Jake Owen and former NFL running back Eric Dickerson by two hits.

Sorenstam, who committed to the US Women’s Open in June, was a runner-up in the Celebrity Division at the season-opening LPGA Tournament of Champions in January.

100 years celebration

Dr. Edgar Updegraff, the oldest living USGA champion who won the US Senior Amateur in 1981, celebrated his 100th birthday on Tuesday. Updegraff – born March 1, 1922 in Boone, Iowa – has competed in 35 USGA championships, including 18 American amateurs. He has also played the Masters six times.

President of the Arizona Golf Association in 1981 and 1982, Updegraff won the Tucson Country Club title 27 times, the last in 1989, after which the club named the trophy “The Updegraff Cup”. He also won 12 Tucson City titles and four Arizona Amateur titles.

Updegraff was part of three Walker Cup teams (1963, 1965, 1969).

“I really don’t know how many tournaments I’ve won,” he told the Des Moines Register. “It’s not bad, because of the many events over the weekend. I just paid attention to the bigger events. I have half a dozen memories in my den from the Walker Cup and other major tournaments . I didn’t keep everything else.”

In 1999, he won the Bob Jones Award, the USGA’s highest honor.

Golfweek’s David Dusek contributed to this article.

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