Jay Monahan's deepest regret, Rachel Heck's secret to happiness, U.S. Ryder Cup update | Monday Finish

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Jay Monahan met with a group of golf reporters last week for the first time during his rather turbulent summer.
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Welcome back to the Monday Finish, where we’re online shopping for long putters and moisture-wicking pants. Let’s get to it!
Golf and the mind.
“I thought at the U.S. Open after I played so bad, I didn’t know if I could ever win again.”
So said Lilia Vu in the aftermath of her commanding victory at the AIG Women’s Open.
She expanded on that mindset.
“I think I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so when I mess up on a hole when I’m doing well on the weekend I get really upset, because I think the winning could go away just because of that bad shot or that bad hole.”
The things golf will do to your mind!
If you can remember all the way back to this April you’ll recall Vu’s impressive playoff victory at the Chevron Championship, the maiden major of her career. It was just two months later, in the third major of the season, where Vu shot a second-round 82 to badly miss the cut.
But in the fifth major of the year, this week’s Women’s Open? She shot a second-round 68 to get in the thick of things, and then a third-round 67, and then on Sunday she pulled off one of the most cold-blooded moves in golf: as 54-hole leader, she shot the lowest score (67) of the day. That usually does the trick.
Now she’s world No. 1. Even if she can’t believe it.
Rachel Heck’s golf future felt uncertain this spring, too. The Stanford then-junior is a former NCAA champ who’s risen as high as No. 2 in the amateur rankings. Last year she became Nike’s first NIL golfer. But last fall, laid low by thoracic outlet syndrome, she’d stepped away from tournament golf.
Heck tried to come back early for the NCAA Championship but ended up withdrawing. It was a tough stretch.
“I called home one night and ended up going home the next day because I was just really, really struggling to get out of there. I just wanted to be with my family,” she recalled.
But then came this week’s U.S. Women’s Amateur. Heck opened with a round of 70. She followed that with a 67 to breeze through to match play. Her first match was a marathon, but she held off Sera Hasegawa in 21 holes. The next two rounds were a relative breeze; Heck beat Rin Yoshida 4 and 2 and Nikki Oh 4 and 3. Then came a statement win in the quarterfinals; Heck trounced Catherine Rao 8 and 6. She said it was the most stress-free match of her U.S. Am career. She added that she hadn’t felt this confident in a while.
“Probably winter of my sophomore year,” she said.
But it was after her next match — a back-to-earth 3-and-2 semifinal defeat at the hands of her friend Latanna Stone — that Heck offered the greatest wisdom of the week.
“It’s been a really hard year, hard year and a half. So just to feel like myself again and to feel healthy — I mean, I’ve learned that the happiness that comes from winning is very fleeting, but the happiness that comes from just being healthy and being surrounded by people I love, doing what I love, that’s the good stuff.”
The good stuff, indeed.
Who won the week?
Lilia Vu’s final-round 67 gave her a six-stroke victory. Six strokes! In addition to capturing the World No. 1 title the 25-year-old also became the first female American to win multiple major championships in the same year since Juli Inkster in 1999.
Lucas Glover combined three days of steady ball-striking with a Sunday chock-full of preposterous up-and-downs to win his second consecutive PGA Tour event at the FedEx St. Jude Championship. He punched his ticket to East Lake and stirred up some dark-horse Ryder Cup chatter in the meantime.
(He also dunked his hands in this water cooler for like, a while. Innovative!)
Cameron Smith won LIV’s event at Trump Bedminster in dominant fashion; he was the only pro to shoot under par every day and posted 12 under to win by seven. His team, Ripper GC, also won by 11 strokes — LIV’s largest margin of victory this season.
Gabi Ruffels won her third Epson Tour event of the year, locking up her LPGA Tour card for next season at the Four Winds Invitational in South Bend, Ind. with a three-stroke win. The top 10 finishers on the Epson’s money list get promotions; Ruffels is No. 1.
Megan Schofill won the U.S. Women’s Am at Bel-Air Country Club. The Auburn grad student seized momentum in the 36-hole final by winning 15-16-17 to go from tied to 3 up finishing the morning session. She never looked back and closed things out on the 15th hole in the afternoon for a 4-and-3 victory.
Stephen Ames won the Boeing Classic (in my backyard!), continuing the best season of his PGA Tour Champions career thanks to a final-round 63 that yielded a seven-shot win.
If you’re not first, you can still be second.
Charley Hull grew up just a half-hour from Walton Heath, host site of last week’s Women’s Open, making her the obvious local favorite. And she gave the crowd something to roar about with a hole-out eagle at the par-5 11th to draw within three shots of Vu’s lead. That was as close as she’d get, but still — second wasn’t half bad. Pair that with a T2 finish at Pebble Beach and Hull had a hell of a major season.
Patrick Cantlay seemed destined for victory when he birdied 15 and 16 while Glover dumped his tee shot in the water at No. 14. But that wasn’t meant to be; his would-be winning putt at No. 18 and then his par putt on the first playoff hole both wiggled right to stay out of the hole, leaving Glover the champ. No doubt Cantlay will mentally replay the tee shot he hit on the first playoff hole; hopefully he takes some consolation in cementing his Ryder Cup automatic qualification and banking $2.1 million.
The playoffs also mean final audition time for Ryder Cup hopefuls. And while Lucas Glover is a surprising late entry in that conversation, Jordan Spieth and Max Homa likely cemented their spots with T6 finishes, while wild-card hopeful Collin Morikawa (T13) likely strengthened his case as well.
More intrigue this week…
The beauty of next week is it’s not this week.
Barring a win this week, Denny McCarthy‘s Ryder Cup hopes likely vanished with a last-place finish. But several other pros looking for a pick also had unremarkable weeks including Cameron Young (T31), Keegan Bradley (T43), Sam Burns (T53) and Rickie Fowler (T58). Now I’m fascinated to know how a win at the BMW would affect the chances of, say, Russell Henley (currently No. 20 in the standings) or Tony Finau (No. 21).
Current U.S. Ryder Cup standings (through Finau):
1. Scottie Scheffler, 25.9k points
2. Wyndham Clark, 13.4k
3. Patrick Cantlay, 10.6k
4. Brian Harman, 10.3k
5. Brooks Koepka, 9.4k
6. Max Homa, 8.8k
7. Xander Schauffele, 8.8k
8. Jordan Spieth, 8.1k
9. Cameron Young, 7.8k
10. Collin Morikawa, 7.5k
11. Keegan Bradley, 7.5k
12. Sam Burns, 7k
13. Rickie Fowler, 6.9k
14. Justin Thomas, 6.5k
15. Denny McCarthy, 6.3k
16. Lucas Glover, 6.1k
17. Kurt Kitayama, 5.8k
18. Will Zalatoris, 5.5k
19. Harris English, 5k
20. Russell Henley, 4.9k
21. Tony Finau, 4.7k
It was a punishing week, too, for the guys who just missed out on the FedEx Cup’s top 50, who are guaranteed entry into next year’s Signature events — including No. 51 (Mackenzie Hughes), No. 52 (Nick Hardy) and No. 53 (Taylor Montgomery):
So much to be proud of.

An emotional @NickHardy8 reflects on his season coming to an end.
And Phil Mickelson finished off a turbulent week with a dash of hope suddenly dashed by back-to-back water balls at Trump Bedminster’s par-3 7th en route to a quintuple-bogey 8.
“I can understand how that happened, 100%. Phil is a competitor. He’s one of the best golfers of all time. He hasn’t been in the winner’s circle for a couple of years, so I understand that want from him to make a statement,” said Smith, the eventual winner.
Mickelson was more succinct.
“That was kind of a gut punch, because I felt like I was playing well and had a chance to make a move. I thought I could get at that pin.”
Shoutout to Anna Redding.
I have never seen this is pro golf. Anna Redding is reading a book between shots on the @EpsonTour

Now that is a dedicated reader.

Thanks to @jhop20723 for the pic.
who wants to join my book club?
Jay speaks.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan met with the media for the first time since his five-week medical leave earlier this summer. My colleague Nick Piastowski broke down that meeting here, and I wrote more about the Tour’s whirlwind of leadership changes here. But I was struck by what Monahan said was his biggest regret. Some leaders seem to double down on their mistakes by insisting they weren’t mistakes at all. Monahan seems to lean the other way; he’s been eager to acknowledge missteps, particularly in the wake of the Tour’s surprise June 6th announcement.
“My biggest regret was not being more patient on the night of June 5th,” he said. “I think moving to make this announcement the next day, if I could do it over again — we don’t get do‑over‑agains in this sport, but I would have flown up to Toronto [site of that week’s PGA Tour event] and would have communicated directly to the players that day before anything was said publicly.
“It wouldn’t change my belief and my determination for what we had accomplished. But I put our players on their back foot, and that’s something that I regret and will not do again and will learn from.”
Monahan has always taken pride in his relationships with Tour pros. My understanding is that of all the fallout from the announcement, some Tour pros turning on him has hurt the most. He reiterated his reasons for keeping things quiet — sensitivities on both sides, concerns about leaks, etc. — but still counted it as a clear regret and something he wishes he’d communicated differently.
“Yeah, I think making certain that every constituent is tied to our membership fully understood it that day before anything was said publicly, yeah, that’s what I’m saying. But primarily the players,” he concluded.
Monday Finish HQ.
My last fierce golf match here was a beatdown at the hands of one of Washington’s top teenagers (Max Herendeen, last year’s Junior PGA champ, who’s about to start at Illinois) and one of Washington’s top 40somethings (Bob Conrad, former-pro and co-founder of Radmor Golf). Rematch with Max this afternoon before he heads off to school. I don’t love my chances.
3 things to watch this week.
1. Brandel Chamblee’s origin story
I sat down with Brandel (mononymous, at this point) for nearly two hours in Arizona last month to talk about where he came from and how he became one of golf’s more polarizing figures. Part 1 came out on the Drop Zone podcast feed on Monday morning; Part 2 drops on Wednesday. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify here — and there are videos coming, too!
2. Lucas Glover
We’re all prisoners of the moment, so it’s no surprise that a guy who has won back-to-back weeks has played his way into the Ryder Cup conversation. But if he finishes T43 in this week’s 50-man field? All of a sudden people will be thinking differently about things.
Love Glover’s answer here, though, to what he thinks about the idea:
“I think I’ve never made it, and I want to.”
3. Keegan Bradley (and Brooks Koepka)
Is this the week for a statement showing from the only New Englander in the Ryder Cup conversation? (Same goes for all those other guys, but you know who they are at this point…)
One final wrinkle: Brooks Koepka could very easily get bounced from the top six automatic spots after this week’s event, which would require a captain’s pick to get him on the squad. Should he be on the team? Given his 2-1 finish at the Masters and the PGA, I think he’s earned his spot and I fully expect him to make the team; it’s remarkable to finish that high on the points list without playing any PGA Tour events. But it’ll be interesting to see where the conversation goes if he needs Zach Johnson to scoop him on the side…
We’ll know more next week. See you then!

Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/ The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and he’s the author of 18 in America, which details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living from his car and playing a round of golf in every state.


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