After Further Review: Reed has serious swagger

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on Patrick Reed's swagger, the simple answer to the U.S. team's Ryder Cup woes and a possible change in the way invitations are issued to the Tournament of Champions.

Patrick Reed’s strength isn’t measured in any statistical category. There’s no way to measure bravado, but if the PGA Tour could measure it, Reed would lead that category going away. It makes him one of the most intriguing new figures in the game.

From his bold claim that he’s a “top-five player” in the world after winning at Doral last spring, to his shushing the European galleries at the Ryder Cup last fall, the guy owns some serious swagger. Hey, he wore Tiger Woods’ red-and-black ensemble playing with Tiger at the Hero World Challenge last month and put up a nice little 63.

While Reed possesses a large reservoir of talent, he has an even larger supply of belief in himself. His playoff victory Monday at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions will only embolden his beliefs. He’s going to march into the game’s biggest events this year, and we shouldn’t be surprised if he walks out of them with some very prestigious trophies. – Randall Mell

This won’t exactly come as breaking news, but last year’s Ryder Cup can be filed away under “Unmitigated Disaster” for the United States team for reasons ranging from the lack of team chemistry to the player mutiny to yet another loss that never seemed close.

Just three months ago, it appeared nothing good had come out of Gleneagles for the team in red, white and blue. As it turns out, that isn’t true.

Each of the three rookies displayed grace under the intense pressure and might have used the experience as a springboard to bigger and better things. Not that they weren’t talented and capable of climbing leaderboards beforehand, but already one player (Jordan Spieth) has two worldwide wins in the short time since, while another (Patrick Reed) just beat the third (Jimmy Walker) in a playoff at Kapalua.

In the coming weeks and months, the so-called “task force” will meet to discuss the team’s future. Here’s hoping it will be noted that the fresh faces are the ones who have most benefitted from the adventure. – Jason Sobel

 Slow play on the PGA Tour can be brutal, but on this issue the circuit’s languid pace is downright devastating. Although it’s been a hot topic on Tour the last few years, the circuit has been slow to add a two-year invitation for winners into the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. There are no guarantees that a two-year exemption would improve the field at Kapalua, but it couldn’t hurt.

Maybe Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, who both won in 2013 but not last season, wouldn’t have played the TOC anyway – after all, Rory McIlroy was eligible and didn’t show – but if there’s a chance a change could help why wait? – Rex Hoggard

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Lewis says she's expecting first child in November

By Randall MellApril 27, 2018, 2:18 am

Stacy Lewis is pregnant.

The 12-time LPGA winner confirmed after Thursday’s first round of the Mediheal Championship that she and her husband, University of Houston women’s golf coach Gerrod Chadwell, are expecting their first child on Nov. 3.

Lewis learned she was pregnant after returning home to Houston in late February following her withdrawal from the HSBC Women’s World Championship with a strained oblique muscle.

“We're obviously really excited,” Lewis said. “It wasn't nice I was hurt, but it was nice that I was home when I found out with [Gerrod]. We're just really excited to start a family.”

Lewis is the third big-name LPGA player preparing this year to become a mother for the first time. Suzann Pettersen announced last month that she’s pregnant, due in the fall. Gerina Piller is due any day.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Mediheal Championship

Piller’s husband, PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, withdrew from the Zurich Classic on Thursday to be with her. Piller and Lewis have been U.S. Solheim Cup partners the last two times the event has been played.

“It's going to be fun raising kids together,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, they're best friends and they hang out. But just excited about the next few months and what it's going to bring.”

Lewis, a former Rolex world No. 1 and two-time major championship winner, plans to play through the middle of July, with the Marathon Classic her last event of the year. She will be looking to return for the start of the 2019 season. The LPGA’s maternity leave policy allows her to come back next year with her status intact.

“This year, the golf might not be great, but I've got better things coming in my life than a golf score.” Lewis said. “I plan on coming back and traveling on the road with the baby, and we'll figure it out as we go.”

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Coach scores in NFL Draft and on golf course

By Grill Room TeamApril 27, 2018, 1:47 am

To say that Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio had a good day Thursday would be an understatement. Not only did his team snag one of the top defensive players in the NFL Draft - Georgia outside linebacker Roquan Smith, who the Bears took with the eighth pick of the first round - but earlier in the day Fangio, 59, made a hole-in-one, sinking a 9-iron shot from 125 yards at The Club at Strawberry Creek in Kenosha, Wis.

Perhaps the ace isn't so surprising, though. In late May 2017, Fangio made another hole-in-one, according to a tweet from the Bears. The only information supplied on that one was the distance - 116 yards.

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Gooch chooses 'life over a good lie' with gators nearby

By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 11:31 pm

AVONDALE, La. – A fairway bunker wasn’t Talor Gooch’s only hazard on the 18th hole at TPC Louisiana.

Gooch’s ball came to rest Thursday within a few feet of three gators, leading to a lengthy delay as he sorted out his options.

Chesson Hadley used a rake to nudge two of the gators on the tail, sending them back into the pond surrounding the green. But the third gator wouldn’t budge.

“It woke him up from a nap,” Gooch said, “and he was hissing away and wasn’t happy.”

The other two gators remained in the water, their eyes fixed on the group.

Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos

“I’m sure we would have been fine, but any little movement by them and no chance I would have made solid contact,” he said.

A rules official granted Gooch free relief, away from the gator, but he still had to drop in the bunker. The ball plugged.

“I chose life over a good lie in that situation,” he said.

He splashed out short of the green, nearly holed out his pitch shot and made par to cap off an eventful 6-under 66 with partner Andrew Landry.

“It was my first gator par,” he said. “I’ll take it.”

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Koepka's game 'where it should be' even after injury

By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 11:18 pm

AVONDALE, La. – Brooks Koepka didn’t look rusty Thursday while making six birdies in the first round of the Zurich Classic.

Making his first start in four months because of a torn ligament in his left wrist, Koepka and partner Marc Turnesa shot a 5-under 67 in fourballs at TPC Louisiana.

“It felt good,” Koepka said afterward. “It was just nice to be out here. I played pretty solid.”

Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos

The reigning U.S. Open champion felt soreness in his wrist the week after he won the Dunlop Phoenix in the fall. He finished last at the Hero World Challenge in December and then the following month at the Tournament of Champions before shutting it down.

He only began practicing last week and decided to commit to the Zurich Classic after three solid days at Medalist. He decided to partner with one of his friends in South Florida, Marc Turnesa, a former PGA Tour winner who now works in real estate.

Koepka hasn’t lost any distance because of the injury – he nearly drove the green on the 355-yard 16th hole. He’s planning to play the next two weeks, at the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players.

“I feel like I’m playing good enough to be right where I should be in April,” he said. “I feel good, man. There’s nothing really wrong with my game right now.”