🔥 Hideki’s heater

Plus: Spieth's sage advice

Greetings! What a performance from Hideki Matsuyama, who started six shots back on Sunday and ended up walking away with the victory at Riviera.

Before we dive in, there are lots of new readers here this week, which is awesome. I’m so glad you found the Quick Nine!

  • As a reminder, my hope for this newsletter is to curate the top news from across the wide world of golf and deliver a quick, easy-to-read email twice-per-week. I hope you enjoy!

Some housekeeping:

  • Several readers submitted picks for our Genesis Invitational contest, but sadly, no one selected Hideki to win.

  • So, let’s roll over that $50 to the next Signature Event (the Arnold Palmer in early March) and up the top prize to $100. Sound good?

Alright! Onto the news …

1. Hideki Matsuyama shot a final round 62 — one stroke off the course record at Riviera — to capture the Genesis Invitational and take home its $4 million top prize.

Patrick Cantlay led after each of the first three rounds at Riviera this week.

  • And on Sunday, paired in the final group with his best man Xander Schauffele, the Southern California-native was poised to claim the tournament he said is atop his list to win.

  • But a lackluster start for Cantlay opened the door for the chase pack, and a charging Hideki Matsuyama took full advantage.

Hideki’s shot into the 18th green on Sunday.

Matsuyama — who later said he wasn’t happy with his ball-striking on Sunday — was 6-under thru 14 holes and for a moment, found himself in a five-way tie at the top of the leaderboard alongside Cantlay, Xander, Luke List, and Will Zalatoris.

  • Then, the shot of the tournament. At the difficult Par 4 15th, Matsuyama hit his 189 yard second shot to 8 inches and tapped in for birdie.

  • He proceeded to stick his tee shot at the Par 3 16th to 6 inches for another easy birdie, and on the Par 5 17th, he made it three-in-a-row.

  • A par at the 18th all but officially sealed the deal for Matsuyama, who would go on to claim his first win since the 2022 Sony Open (and his first top-10 finish in nearly a year).

  • His playing partner on Sunday, JT Poston, said the nine-under 62 was “definitely the best [round] I've ever seen on Tour.”

Matsuyama now has nine PGA Tour victories — breaking his tie with KJ Choi to become the winningest Asian-born player in Tour history.

2. More headlines from Riviera

A tough scene on Friday — Tiger being carted off the course.

Tournament host Tiger Woods withdrew mid-round on Friday due to “influenza” and wasn’t around Riviera for the rest of the weekend.

  • My take: With so much buzz surrounding Tiger’s first start of the year (and his new attire), it was a bummer to see this unfold.

  • Matsuyama even said he was “a little disappointed” not to get a photo with Tiger after his win.

  • Still, a WD from illness is probably a lot better than an injury-related exit?

  • We’ll see if Tiger’s one-tournament-per-month proclamation for 2024 holds up after this week’s false-start.

Jordan Spieth, who was towards the top of leaderboard early on at the Genesis, signed for a incorrect score on Friday and was disqualified.

  • Later reports indicated that Spieth was also fighting some sort of bug and an emergency bathroom trip may have sped up his score checking process.

  • The DQ ignited debate across the golf world as to whether pro players should still be responsible to keep their own scores.

  • My take: Several pros spoke out in favor of keeping the tradition, but I sorta think it’s silly.

  • As CBS’ Kyle Porter wrote awhile back: “Imagine making Ja and LeBron add up their box score after the game today and if they get any of it wrong then their team loses.” This would be insane. We would never do this.

  • Some pros mentioned a softening of the rule, like Michael Kim, who suggested a one- or two-shot penalty for a wrong scorecard instead of a DQ. This seems like a reasonable middle ground.

  • But I’m curious what you think. Hit “reply” and share your thoughts.

Will Zalatoris — who said in an emotional post-round interview Sunday that he unexpectedly lost a family member earlier in the week — finished T2, his best showing since returning from back surgery late last year.

Scottie Scheffler is officially very frustrated with his putting, and rightfully so.

  • Out of 51 players who made the cut this week, Scheffler finished dead last in putting.

  • This, of course, comes after another incredible ball-striking performance (ranked 2nd in strokes-gained tee-to-green) and another top 10 finish.

  • Rory’s suggestion for the world’s top ranked golfer: Try a mallet.”

3. Good posts 👨‍💻

Speaking of Rory, he continued his call this week for a World Golf Tour, and thankfully, CBS’ Rick Gehman broke down what that could actually look like. More here.

The attempts to distinguish between Cameron Young and Carson Young carry on.

And, this from Jordan Spieth was perfect.

4. What’s next — Mexico Open

2023 Mexico Open champ Tony Finau and family

With the West Coast Swing officially over, the PGA Tour heads south to Puerto Vallarta this week for the Mexico Open.

  • Tony Finau looks to defend his title against a field that includes just three other golfers ranked inside the OWGR’s top 50.

That’s all for today! Have a wonderful week, and I’ll see you back here on Thursday. - Nick Bastone

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