The Ranking: Charles Barkley’s Swing, Sergio’s Temper and a Longshot Weekend

The Ranking: Charles Barkley's Swing, Sergio's Temper and a Longshot Weekend thumbnail

Raise your hand if you had the Rich Strike-Max Homa daily double. Gary Van Sickle didn’t, so he returned with another recap of the week in golf.

Pictured clockwise from top left are Max Homa, Sergio Garcia, Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike and Charles Barkley.

Max Homa and Rich Strike cashed some nice tickets and Charles Barkley has a swing he can smile about again. As for Sergio, well …

10. Rickie Fowler set a PGA Tour record. He holed out from 134 yards for a bogey at the TPC Potomac’s sixth hole in the opening round, following a tee shot out of play. It was the longest holeout for bogey in the ShotLink era, which covers the last two decades. Fowler topped the shot by comically using his fingers to pretend to count up how many strokes he made. Maybe now, nice-guy Rickie will finally land some TV commercials …

9. The Buck stops here … again. Longtime baseball and football announcer Joe Buck will host a “Manningcast”-style alternative golf telecast on ESPN starting at next week’s PGA Championship with ex-caddie Michael Collins. Buck was part of Fox Sports’ disappointing run as the U.S. Open broadcaster and seemed out of tune on the telecasts. Apparently, he’s going to take a mulligan …

8. Greg Norman was “disappointed” to learn he was officially rejected for an exemption to this summer’s 150th British Open at St. Andrews. On the negative side, the two-time British Open champ is 67, hasn’t played in a major since 2009, hasn’t played a senior event since 2012, has given no indication his game is competitive and, oh yeah, he’s heading a rival, Saudi-back professional league that may poach players from the DP World Tour, a business partner of the British Open. On the positive side, his line of golf apparel is available in fine outlet malls near you …

7. A secret to putting, former U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen said, is that “a putter needs to become your second wife,” and you need to look after it because that’s the money-making club in the bag. Second wife? What if, say, a player is already on to wife No. 3? Asking for a friend …

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6. The Premier Golf League, that original proposed rival golf league that isn’t headed by Greg Norman, may not be dead yet. It sent a letter urging PGA Tour players to pressure their leaders to reconsider an alliance with the London-based PGL and its team-play concept, which it projects will be valued at $10 billion by 2030. Who’s next with a rival golf league proposal? The USFL? Major-league Fishing? The United Emirates of Greenland? …

5. Charles Barkley, formerly America’s Lovable Worst Golfer, hit some sizzling shots at last week’s senior event near Atlanta and his swing is no longer cringe-worthy. He worked the last four years with noted golf instructor Stan Utley, now an early obvious leader for the Nobel Prize …

4. Hey, how are the teams shaping up for September’s Presidents Cup rematch? Everyone wants to know! (Note to editor: Make sure this appears only in our April 1 edition.) …

3. After a dispute with a PGA Tour rules official during the Wells Fargo Championship, Spain’s Sergio Garcia churlishly said he “can’t wait to leave this tour” in a few weeks, implying he will defect to the rival LIV Tour. We get it. All he’s got to show for two decades on the PGA Tour is a crummy $54 million and a green jacket. Just like your ruling, Sergio, it would be tragically unjust if the doorknob hits you in the a– on the way out …

2. Phil Mickelson gambled away $40 million in a four-year period in the early 2010s, according to a soon-to-be-published unauthorized biography by former Sports Illustrated writer Alan Shipnuck. The book also claims that the real reason caddie Jim (Bones) Mackay split with Mickelson was because the player owed him several hundred thousand dollars in back pay. Trying to predict whether Phil will play in next week’s PGA is a bad bet, something Phil is apparently an expert on …

1. Hope you enjoyed Longshot Weekend. Rich Strike wins the Kentucky Derby at 80-1 odds; Max Homa goes off at 40-1 and takes the Wells Fargo Championship. What kind of odds could you have gotten that Homa would now have more wins since the start of 2021 than Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Bryson Whoozit, Xander Goldmedal or Jordan Spieth? I’ll check with Phil and get back to you. 

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