This week's edition of the Weekly 18 was written while wondering why nobody has trademarked Rahmania yet. The T-shirt possibilities alone are endless.
1. Rahmania -- see, it's catchy -- continued this weekend, as Jon Rahm lapped the Irish Open field. If you're scoring at home, that's now two titles this year for the 22-year-old -- one on each of his home tours. Perhaps the most impressive part of his game is his adaptability. Rahm has now triumphed at Torrey Pines, a big ballpark; nearly did so at Colonial, a ball-striker's paradise; and won at Portstewart, a classic links track. These three courses are about as different as three world-class venues can be, which means Rahm's ability to make his game suit each of them should be the scariest thing for his opponents moving forward.
2. It was three months ago -- just before the final match of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship, which featured Rahm in what would ultimately be a losing battle against Dustin Johnson -- when I received a text message from one PGA Tour member wondering whether Rahm was already the world's second-best player. Now, these things are malleable on a weekly basis, but it was meant less as criticism against anyone else than praise for the youngster. And it's a valid suggestion. Since turning pro just over a year ago, Rahm has played 25 events, finishing in the top 10 on 11 occasions, and missing the cut only three times.
3. In the end, it didn't "matter" since he won by a half-dozen strokes anyway, but Rahm could have -- if not should have -- been penalized for innocently yet incorrectly marking his ball on the sixth hole in the final round. If this situation sounds familiar, there's a reason: It was the same violation that cost Lexi Thompson a major championship earlier this year. However, the reason Rahm wasn't penalized is because the rule has since changed, allowing for more wiggle room to make this a judgment call. In this particular case, the European official handling the situation insisted there was no ill intent and he showed "reasonable judgment."
4. Here's what, in my opinion, is the most egregious issue when it comes to professional golf violations and incorrect scorecards: If a player like Thompson commits an infraction during any of the first three rounds (hers came in the third), that player might still be subject to both video review and, if found "guilty," a penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. However, if the same scenario occurs during the final round, there can be no later recourse.
5. There are two solutions to that problem. One is to have no cutoff date for discovering violations, which means if video review tomorrow shows a penalty to, say, Ben Hogan at the 1950 U.S. Open, then -- you guessed it -- he could still be posthumously docked a few strokes. The other solution is to have all tournament scores deemed final by midnight of that day's round. I'll let you pick which option sounds less ridiculous and more sensible.
6. Chicken or the egg. The meaning of life. Play or rest. Among the greatest questions ever asked is whether elite golfers are better prepared by playing the week before a major or resting instead. OK, maybe not, but it's still worth contemplating, especially entering next week's Open Championship. More so than usual, there is a great divide within the game's upper ranks. Rahm, for example, will make Royal Birkdale his fourth straight start; McIlroy will make it his third. Meanwhile, the likes of world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka will be competing for the first time since the U.S. Open. Past evidence shows there's no right answer for major prep, but we'll again find two separate factions next week.
7. For the third straight week, the European Tour will feature a greater strength of field -- and, therefore, more world ranking points -- than its PGA Tour counterpart, as the Scottish Open will outdistance the John Deere Classic in that aspect. What does it mean? Not much, really -- but it is good to see a few weeks where the spotlight is more on the European circuit instead.
8. The debate over Bernhard Langer and Scott McCarron potentially breaking Rule 14-1b -- aka, the anchoring ban -- has created such a firestorm that last week they issued a joint statement emphatically denying they're anchoring their putters in competition. Each player insists he has worked with both the USGA and PGA Tour Champions rules officials, and has been assured that no rule is being broken. Even so, that hasn't stopped observers from still accusing them of anchoring.
9. Here's the biggest problem with these accusations: They're not exactly like calling out a baseball player for having too much pine tar on the bat. Accusing Langer and McCarron of anchoring is the same as calling them cheaters -- an unfair label considering rules officials have absolved them of any wrongdoing. Until a governing body announces there's fault with their putting strokes, each of these players deserves the benefit of the doubt rather than presumed guilt.
10. There won't be many raw, honest answers this year as good as the one Xander Schauffele offered on the CBS telecast after his Greenbrier Classic win. "It honestly just changed my life," he said, shaking his head. "I need to take it all in." It was impressive when the PGA Tour rookie contended at the U.S. Open, finishing T-5, but too often that type of week leads to players pumping the brakes rather than stepping on the gas pedal. Schauffele, though, has continued his serious summer heater, parlaying his first major start into his first win. He'll have plenty of time to take it all in.
11. I've covered the Greenbrier Classic from on site about a half-dozen times and the best way I can describe the week is that it's like summer camp for PGA Tour players and their families. They have fun off the golf course, with so many activities available; they have fun on the course, a scoreable track where good shots are rewarded. All of which is only a small part of the reason why it was so good to see the event held again this year, following a one-year hiatus due to devastating floods in the area last year. The tales of tragedy in that region are terrible, but the story this week was one of not only remembrance, but rejuvenation.
12. Despite leading after the first, second and third rounds, Sebastian Munoz couldn't hold on for the wire-to-wire victory. But let's all agree on this: He looked a whole lot better than a guy ranked 410th in the world who'd never finished in the top 25 before.
13. Jim "Bones" Mackay is a smart man. Not because he lasted a quarter-century on a premium bag or because he's taking his talents to TV. It's because he's entering this new role in his career knowing that he doesn't know everything. During a Thursday teleconference announcing his new commentating gig with NBC/Golf Channel, this was the most impressive thing he said: "I want to get better and I want to learn as much as I can. I'm going to be the guy bothering a lot of people with a lot of questions. ... I can't wait to get at it. I just can't stress enough that I have a lot to learn out there, for sure."
14. Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson's new caddie is a pretty smart man, too. Tim Mickelson isn't just looping for his brother. The former Arizona State head coach is also Rahm's agent. Here's what he tweeted Sunday after a nice start to those moonlighting duties: "Well Today is FUN! Phil shoots 64 and my other boss @JonRahmpga shoots 65 n gets European Tour WIN #1. Savor n Enjoy these days."
15. Sam Snead is generally considered the greatest "older" player of all time. He was the oldest player to make the cut in a major, the oldest to make the cut on the PGA Tour and the first to shoot his age in a PGA Tour event. But one of his records is going down -- someday. At the age of 52 years, 10 months and 8 days, Snead won the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open. This past week, Davis Love III contended for three days at 53. He's certainly capable of winning again, but if he doesn't at this age, then maybe Steve Stricker can in a few years -- or Mickelson, or Jim Furyk a few years later. The point is, Snead's record is terrific, but it's not going to stand forever.
16. Rory McIlroy announced before the Irish Open that he's off Twitter -- at least for now. It's a move precipitated by a pointed spat with Steve Elkington after McIlroy's missed cut at the U.S. Open. That's a shame. McIlroy is refreshingly honest, self-deprecating and smart on social media. His decision is understandable, but it's a loss for the rest of us.
17. As host of the Irish Open, McIlroy's win at last year's event was hailed as a heroic homecoming. This year's missed cut just rendered disappointment. His last six global starts have ended MC-17th-MC-35th-7th-30th, with a five-week injury hiatus in the middle. He's saying all the right things -- he's frustrated; he feels like he's close; he believes he needs more competitive rounds; he thinks his game is on track for the upcoming Open Championship. But there are definitely more questions about his game right now than answers.
18. On the bright side, at least McIlroy doesn't have to read about those questions on Twitter anymore.