Golf Links: Friday, June 30 news and updates

Jun 29, 2017; Olympia Fields, IL, USA; Lexi Thompson walks across a bridge heading to the 16th tee during the first round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship golf tournament at Olympia Fields Country Club - North. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 29, 2017; Olympia Fields, IL, USA; Lexi Thompson walks across a bridge heading to the 16th tee during the first round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship golf tournament at Olympia Fields Country Club - North. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

Golf Links connects you to Friday morning’s golf news: 2nd rounds at four pro events top the news, a deeper look at the Nike Golf bottom line, the future of PGA TOUR golf in the D.C. area, and one fan’s quest for the perfect memento.

The ProGolfNow Golf Links column provides a quick way to get your Friday morning golf news and stay on top of the game, wherever it’s being played.

This week the game is being played in Washington, D.C., suburban Chicago, Paris – at Le Golf National, which will host the 2018 Ryder Cup – and in Salem, Massachusetts, better known for its witchcraft trials than for championship golf competitions.

That said, let’s get to the news and updates..

Two Majors, a National Championship, and a PGA TOUR Event

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John Daley may have withdrawn with an injury but Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Vijay Singh, and Lee Janzen have started slugging it out at the Peabody Country Club in Salem, Massachusetts for the U.S. Senior Open championship. At least that’s what PGA TOUR’s Bob McClellan predicted would happen in his power rankings.

Going into the second round, McClellan’s top seeds are all looking up at Kirk Triplett who carded a first round 8-under par 62 that included a very impressive eagle on the par-4 4th hole. Triplett set a fast pace for the PGA TOUR Champions third major of the season. Now let’s see if the others can step up their game and keep pace!

With Langer and Jimenez starting the second round at 3-under par, Janzen and Couples at 2-under, and Singh at even par there could be some fancy scrambling Friday at the Peabody if any of them want to to catch Triplett.

Tom Watson, who carded a first round 1-under par 69, is still in the game but defending champion Gene Sauer and Sir Nick Faldo, both at +3, could face a rough second round.

You can catch the U.S. Senior Open 2nd round action Friday, June 30, from 2-7 p.m on FS1. Fox Sports will provide television coverage of the Saturday and Sunday rounds from 1-6 p.m.

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At Olympia Fields in suburban Chicago the first round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship also provided some surprises. The top seeds – Lexi Thompson, So Yeon Ryu, Ariya Jutanugarn, and Brooke Henderson – are also looking up.  Amy Yang, who’s been playing well this season, but not well enough to get into my power rankings, has set the pace.

Defending champion Brooke Henderson and Michelle Wie will both start Friday’s second round within reach of the lead but Thompson, Jutanugarn, and Ryu are going to need to step up their games. Keep an eye on Bronte Law and remember that she’s in her fourth week as one of my fantasy picks!

Golf Channel begins second round coverage of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at 12:30pm ET.

At Le Golf National in Paris – which will host the 2018 Ryder Cup – Paul Waring continued the trend and set the surprise pace at the 101st Open de France.  It’s good to see Waring back in form but ProGolfNow’s Mike Randleman didn’t see him coming.  Randleman’s top seeds – Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Alexander Lévy, and Bernd Wiesberger, are all starting Friday trailing and chasing.

Golf Channel began live coverage of the Open de France second round this morning, Friday, June 30, at 4:30am ET.

At the Quicken Loans National David Lingmerth set the pace and ProGolfNow’s Brandon Raper saw it coming in his power rankings this week. Raper also anticipated Marc Leishman’s fine opening round.

Top seeds Rickie Fowler, who’s at even par going into the second round, and Justin Thomas, who’s at four-over par thanks to a quadruple bogey on the par-5 10th (gasp!), however, are another matter.

Better we enjoy Scott Stallings’ eagle than Justin Thomas’ quad.

If you missed the Quicken Loans National first round Golf Channel is there for you. The round will be rebroadcast today beginning at midnight ET and second round coverage begins at 3:30pm ET.

Nike Lost Money on Equipment

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We all love the Nike swoosh and a lot of us loved Nike equipment, which sponsored a number of big name pros. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy top that list but  Ernie Els and Jim Furyk were also on the Nike team.

Then, poof, Nike was out of the golf equipment business.

Nike co-founder Phil Knight laid out the bottom line situation in an interview this week with Bloomberg Television.

"It’s a fairly simple equation, that we lost money for 20 years on equipment and balls. We realized next year wasn’t going to be any different."

The bottom line for Nike: even Tiger couldn’t make Nike Golf profitable.

Tiger’s Absence Felt at Quicken Loans National

The Washington Post’s Barry Svriuga is lamenting Tiger’s absence at the Quicken Loans National. Once a popular stop of the PGA TOUR schedule, enthusiastically supported by the players and local fans, the Quicken Loans National has lost its luster. Tiger is unavoidably absent from the event he traditionally hosts. The top names in men’s golf – Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy – are also elsewhere, resting and getting ready for Royal Birkdale’s challenge, or whatever they’re doing this week.

Ricky Fowler and Patrick Reed can’t pull this one back together without some help. Svriuga writes:

". . . when you look at the tee sheets, it’s difficult to avoid the absences. The most important, after all the years and all the injuries, is Woods. He isn’t at his own tournament . . ."

Tiger has for two decades been the catalyst for competitive golf in the Washington, D.C. area. He brought players, sponsors, and the crowds. With him missing, the future of PGA TOUR golf in the Washington, D.C. area is sadly uncertain.

In Search of a Souvenir

We all know how nasty pond water on golf courses can get. Turtles bask on the banks. Geese and ducks claim the habitat as their own. Snakes and whatever slither around the water. And yet at least one golf fan at the Open de France thought a piece of a broken golf club might make a perfect souvenir and so she plunged into one of the Le Golf National ponds and retrieved it.

Tyrrell Hatton, Thomas Pieters, and Alex Nóren, who witnessed the wading fan’s antics, should have tossed her a ball, or a glove, or a cap. She certainly deserved a better memento of her day than an ultimately discarded, microbe-laden broken golf club.

Next: Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail: 11 sites, 26 courses, 468 holes

Who’s your money on this week? Rickie Fowler? Jon Rahm? Bernd Wiesberger? Bernhard Langer? Lexi Thompson? And how are your fantasy teams faring? Will the game and the PGA TOUR survive Tiger’s step back? What’s your favorite golf memento?