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Chris Kirk Story Gets Even Better, Jon Rahm’s Awkward Vacation

by Staff

The PGA Tour’s return is of course always welcomed by golf fans, but this year’s opening event had a different feel to it given the fact that LIV Golf and the so-called pending merger between the PGA Tour and Saudi PIF wasn’t the focus. Merger talk is still very much the headline in the world of professional golf, Chris Kirk’s winning at The Sentry in Kapalua was, for the most part, about actual golf being played, which was refreshing.

All good things must come to an end, however, and the PGA Tour’s bright spot in Hawaii lasted all of about seven minutes as a new report outlines how many of the Tour’s newest members have been completely screwed over ahead of this week’s Sony Open. The decision-making in this specific situation is legitimately mind-numbing.

READ: TIGER WOODS TEASES DEBUT OF NEW APPAREL AT GENESIS INVITATIONAL AFTER ANNOUNCING SPLIT WITH NIKE

On the topic of decision-making, Jon Rahm reportedly vacationing in Hawaii not too far away from Kapalua the week of the PGA Tour season opener on the islands a few weeks after joining LIV Golf is certainly a choice. It’s the ultimate example of the rich are normal people too, sometimes.

We’ll get into it all in this week’s edition of Par Talk.

Chris Kirk Win In Hawaii The Latest Chapter In His Awesome Story

Every professional athlete is human, therefore every professional athlete goes through some form of adversity throughout their career. ‘Adversity’ has turned into this catch-all phrase, almost some sort of buzzword we use anytime the going gets tough, but the story of Chris Kirk stands out as one worth detailing.

In May 2019, Kirk announced that he would be taking an indefinite leave from all things golf to deal with alcoholism and depression.

Despite having four PGA Tour wins under his belt at that point and plenty of money in his bank account, anxiety took over, which turned into a spiraling pattern involving alcohol. Kirk outlined his battles and now-sober journey with the No Laying Up guys on a podcast well worth your time.

During the 2019-20 season, Kirk managed one Top 25 finish and missed six of 11 cuts but got back in the swing of things the following year. After almost eight years without a win, Kirk won the 2023 Honda Classic in a playoff before picking up his win at The Sentry 11 months later.

As for the golf itself this week, we always know what we’re going to get at The Sentry. It’s a birdie fest with 400+ yard drives and a good way to ease into the new year.

Kirk having the luxury of needing just a par on the 72nd hole on Sunday – one of the most gettable Par 5s on Tour – made the finish pretty lackluster, but you’re never going to hear me complain about Kirk contending and winning golf tournaments after his battles.

He’s also one of the very few players on Tour who prefers hitting a draw, which is always fun to watch.

Jon Rahm’s Ill-Timed Vacation In Hawaii Proves He’s Like The Rest Of Us

Jon Rahm reportedly vacationing in Maui the same week as the PGA Tour’s season opener on the island is objectively hilarious, not only for the obvious reasons of him recently leaving the Tour for LIV Golf but because it paints this hilarious picture that he’s just a regular dude in the most relatable way imaginable.

According to the Associated Press’ Doug Ferguson, Rahm was believed to be staying at a top-of-the-line resort in Makena, just up the coast from Kapalua where The Sentry, a tournament he won last year, was being hosted. A few PGA Tour players in the field even ran into him during the week, which had to be both awkward and a legitimate laugh-out-loud moment for everyone.

Jon Rahm vacationing in Hawaii while the PGA Tour kicks off its new season on the islands is too good. (USA TODAY)

In all likelihood, what we have here is Jon Rahm simply refusing to cancel a vacation he booked a long time ago and not wanting to light money on fire by canceling past the refund cancellation window.

Rahm signing a reported $600 million deal in December then refusing to cancel or simply move his Hawaii vacation dates and taking a bit of a hit in the wallet is just an incredible scenario to think about.

We have no other option but to respect the Spaniard’s move here. The beyond-generational wealth he acquired a few weeks ago doesn’t just stay generational wealth if you start canceling expensive vacations.

The PGA Tour’s Latest Broken Promise

While The Sentry technically signals the start of a new year on the PGA Tour, it’s a limited-field, no-cut event. For most, it’s this week’s Sony Open in Oahu that officially starts the new season, and that’s especially true for the players who recently earned their Tour cards, or at least that’s been the expectation in the past.

Given the new-look Fall schedule with players outside of the Top 70 playing to keep their cards, more of the “top players” committed to the Sony leaving fewer spots for the 30 players who earned cards from the Korn Ferry Tour and zero guaranteed spots for those who earned cards through qualifying school.

Korn Ferry Tour graduates thought they were getting a guaranteed start in The Sony Open, but that isn’t the case. (Photo by James Gilbert/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

According to multiple players who spoke with Monday Q Info, the 30 Korn Ferry Tour graduates were told they were guaranteed a spot in the field. It turns out that isn’t the case.

“According to multiple players, the Tour didn’t foresee this happening. When the Korn Ferry Tour ended last season, and PGA Tour cards were awarded to the top-30 on the points list, players were told by Tour officials they would all be in the Sony field.”

“One KFT graduate was assured he would be in the Sony field at the graduation ceremony, and booked travel to Oahu for his wife. One of his sponsors booked a week-long trip to celebrate. This player, however, won’t be in the Sony field unless he Monday qualifies. “

To make the situation even more ridiculous, the Tour scheduled a mandatory two-day orientation for rookies this past weekend in Hawaii. The Tour covered travel expenses, but that doesn’t discount the fact these players flew halfway across the world thinking they had a spot in the field, but now most don’t.

The Top 16 players on the Korn Ferr Tour’s points list are in this week’s Sony Open field while 14 of the other Top 30, plus qualifying school winners, get to try and Monday qualify into the event.

The Tour hasn’t exactly been occupying the brightest of spotlights, but this is a new low given there is literally no one to blame but the higher-ups running things and apparently forgetting how to count.

Follow Mark Harris on X @itismarkharris and email him at [email protected]

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