Monday Leaderboard: Scottie Scheffler is inevitable, Anthony Kim really is back

A rules controversy, wild shots and the return of a Masters champion dominate this week's headlines

Welcome to the Monday Leaderboard, where we run down the weekend’s top stories in the wonderful world of golf. Grab an Arnold Palmer, pull up a chair, and start placing those Scottie Scheffler bets …

1. Scottie Scheffler is back to dominating

Scottie Scheffler is already the finest player in the world. So who thought it would be a good idea to help him get … better? Rory McIlroy, that’s who. A few weeks back, McIlroy had a tip for Scheffler, whose putting game is his Achilles heel. Use a mallet putter, McIlroy suggested. Scheffler did … and proceeded to beat the entire field at the Arnold Palmer Invitational by six strokes on Sunday. Great call, Rory. With the Players Championship — where Scheffler is defending champ — coming this week, and majors season beginning next month, Scheffler is as fearsome as it gets. Good luck to the rest of the field, you’re gonna need it.

(Bruno Rouby / Yahoo Sports)
(Bruno Rouby / Yahoo Sports)

2. Anthony Kim beats … Phil Mickelson?

Look, we all thought the Anthony Kim resurrection was a nice story, but after he finished DFL in Jeddah last week, we didn’t think much more would come of it. But this week in Hong Kong, Kim had a better-than-decent round, firing a Sunday 65 that left him ahead of four players on the week, including Phil Mickelson. Yes, it was a short, simple course … but everyone else had to play it, too. Suddenly AK’s return to the United States in a few weeks is interesting again.

3. Bailey Tardy’s runaway LPGA victory

The LPGA has seen several thrilling down-to-the-wire finishes early in the 2024 season. Not so this week, as Bailey Tardy ran away from the field at the Blue Bay LPGA in China with a record-setting Sunday 65. Tardy, a former University of Georgia star who hasn’t quite clicked on tour yet, shattered the previous tournament record of 13-under with a 19-under performance on the week. The round’s highlight was a 51-foot eagle putt that gave her a share of the lead:

4. Wyndham Clark’s mini-rules controversy

Defending U.S. Open champ and budding Netflix star Wyndham Clark found himself in a bit of a rules controversy on Saturday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The question: did he improve his lie on the 18th hole while his ball was in the rough? You make the call:

Clark tested the thick rough behind his ball, and both the grass and the ball clearly moved. At issue: whether he improved his lie by grounding his club, and whether the ball moved from its original position. (The ball can wobble, but not change position, according to the Rules of Golf.

“The ball clearly moved. He clearly didn’t ground the club lightly,” Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee later said. “Why he was putting his club into the ground so forcefully is beyond me … I think he should have been penalized.”

Clark had a different perspective.

“I wasn’t trying to do anything like cheating or anything like that or improve my lie. I just simply put my club down,” Clark said after his round. He was not assessed a penalty.

5. Abe Ancer claims Hong Kong LIV playoff win

Congratulations to Abraham Ancer, who won LIV’s Hong Kong event in a playoff over Cam Smith and Paul Casey, and pocketed a tidy $4 million in the process. Despite having a four-shot lead heading into Sunday, Ancer could only card a 72, letting Casey and Smith back into the mix. But Ancer birdied the first playoff hole while the other two bogeyed, ending the tournament. It’s further proof right now that in golf, there are three guiding principles: Money, Competitiveness and prestige, but every tournament only gets two of them.

The Mulligan: Jordan Spieth’s par save is just silly

The Jordan Spieth Experience is always a ride. Take, for instance, this shot from Sunday’s final round at the API. Spieth’s tee shot on the par-5 fifth flew way left, right up against a temporary fence. With no room to swing right-handed, Spieth flipped an iron upside down, chunked out 72 feet, and later managed a seven-foot putt for par. He threw the ball into the nearby lake, which was probably the right move.

Go ahead, try this at home. We dare you.