What would you shoot on PGA Tour? Tour winner has ‘interesting’ idea

Sahith Theegala

Sahith Theegala hits a tee shot earlier this month on the 1st hole at TPC Sawgrass.

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You can play this week’s PGA Tour course. You, yes, you, John and Jane Q. Golfer. 

And that got Sahith Theegala thinking:  

What are you doing next Monday?

The 26-year-old burgeoning star was talking Tuesday ahead of this week’s Texas Children’s Houston Open, and the subject involved Memorial Park Golf Course, his home for the week — and the home to one of the country’s best munis every other week. It’s relatively inexpensive, too, especially if you live in the area, and a handful of Tour pros were mindful of the dynamic that any and all are welcome to tee it up in the same stadium that the big leaguers play. 

Tony Finau, the tournament’s defending champ, loved it. He said he grew up playing a muni par-3 in Salt Lake City. He called this week important. Special. 

Chandler Phillips, born about an hour north of Memorial, knew the deal for Houston residents — sort of. He was five bucks higher than the actual rate of $30. He called the course unreal. Said it stands as the best-conditioned track he’ll play all year.  

Theegala, who’s recently moved to the area, said it was great. He grew up on public courses. Golf, he said, needs to be accessible. 

That all said, muni golf doesn’t equate to mini golf. Memorial isn’t a cupcake. 

The accessibility, it appears, has opened some eyes and raised some scores in Theegala’s circle. 

“It’s cool,” he said, “because a lot of the guys that just this week when I was practicing at Woodlands and Champions [two private Houston-area courses], a lot of the guys were like, hey, we just played here three weeks ago, like this course is really, really hard. I was like yeah, that’s kind of how it is most weeks out here. 

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“Yeah, it is fun. It’s awesome that the week after this tournament that anyone can go out and play and see how hard the golf course is set up and the conditions that we play on. I think it’s important for the fans to see exactly what a PGA Tour test is.”

Here, Theegala had his thought:

How would one of those fans fare? Say a scratch player. Say a day after Sunday’s finish. Keep the conditions the same. 

This week, no country-club members would be bothered. You’d be holding it at Memorial, a public park.  

“There’s got to be something like a fan challenge,” Theegala said. 

“…  See what they would shoot just to put it into perspective how hard a PGA Tour golf course is. Because the media’s always funny. You look up, oh, he’s really struggling today, he’s even-par through 16. I’m like, I’m pretty happy with being even-par through 16 right now. It’s just the level of precedent that the top guys in the world like Scottie [Scheffler], Viktor [Hovland], they just make it look too easy sometimes.”

His points are well made.

This author’s media brethren can be demanding, and Theegala’s colleagues are outstanding. 

Then again, the best in the world shouldn’t be subpar, right? 

Then again, you try hitting out of that cabbage or putting on that kitchen floor! 

So here we are. Granted, it’s not a new thought. Having Joes and Janes go at it where the big boys and girls play has been done before, and you can probably guess the outcome.  

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But Theegala’s watching. 

Actually, he’d stick around. 

“Shoot, I’d commentate on it so they know exactly like — it’s so funny because you watch on TV — I have a pet peeve. Sometimes when I watch golf on TV, a great example is hole 8 at Valspar last week. It’s a 230-yard par-3, the green’s 12 yards wide and someone will hit the middle of the green and, you know, they’ll be like, oh, really smart shot there. 

“I’m like, well, no, he’s absolutely laced this 4-iron in the middle of the green, that’s right where he’s looking and to hit a 4-iron that straight is really, really hard. I think commentators are getting a lot better about giving pros credit for some of their shots. 

“Yeah, even like chipping, a lot of the stuff just looks flat on TV, but then when you get over the chip, like, oh, great, I have to land it over a mound on a downslope down grain? 

“Yeah, it would be interesting to see some kind of format like that. I know YouTube golf is taking off and there’s a lot of really good players on YouTube making great content. Sure, there’s some ideas like that. …

“Yeah, more stuff like that can only help the game because it brings more fans into the game and brings a slightly different crowd into the game. I’m all for it.”

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.