Scheffler’s neck guy, secret PIF meeting, Players best and worst | Monday Finish

The Players Championship delivered. There’s a PIF meeting in the works. And Scottie Scheffler has someone special to thank.

The post Scheffler’s neck guy, secret PIF meeting, Players best and worst | Monday Finish appeared first on Golf.

The Players Championship delivered. There’s a PIF meeting in the works. And Scottie Scheffler has someone special to thank.

The post Scheffler’s neck guy, secret PIF meeting, Players best and worst | Monday Finish appeared first on Golf.

Welcome back to the Monday Finish, where we’re shouting “how could you miss that green?!” from the safety of our couch. To the golf news!


Live From gets weird.

One unexpected hero from this week’s Players Championship coverage: Johnson Wagner! Look, I love “Live From”. It significantly elevates the event every time Golf Channel brings the show on site. But I didn’t realize the missing component was a mustachioed ex-pro firing fastballs into the bank of rough beside the 7th hole or blocking punch shots off trees and into the water in the pitch black.

“Live From” already had the serious golf chatter nailed. The zany, interactive, insightful, entertaining, unhinged corner of the show? That just got a major upgrade.


Who’s leaving TPC Sawgrass with a smile on their face?

1. Scottie Scheffler’s neck guy (and Scottie, too)

Who is, in fact, far more than Scottie’s neck guy. On Friday, as Scheffler played his second round in clear discomfort, his tee-side folding chair shoulder massage started going viral.

But who was the man administering? That would be Marnus Marais, the physio of choice for several of golf’s top stars. His stable has long included tournament runner-up Xander Schauffele; Marais also works with Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Adam Scott and Gary Woodland. Scheffler and Spieth are newer additions after their Dallas-based physio stopped traveling full-time on Tour. And Woodland and Scott joined the crew after former clients Dustin Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen left for LIV. So this is a guy who’s seen a golfer’s sore shoulder or two.

Marais was born in South Africa, where in 1999 he earned a degree in Physiotherapy from the University of Pretoria. From his bio on Schauffele’s website:

“That led him, three years later, to the United Kingdom. There he was hired by the British military to help injured soldiers and athletes return to full strength … By 2008, he was busy earning various fitness certifications and working with golfers. Four years later, Marnus found himself in San Diego consulting players on both the European and PGA Tours.”

And 12 years after that, Marais ended up behind a teebox at TPC Sawgrass, giving the World No. 1 a chance to finish his round and stay in contention long enough for his body to catch up. If Scheffler has cured his balky putter and a crick in his neck won’t stop him, either — what will?

“Marnus did a great job getting me going, getting it massaged out, and I was very thankful,” he said on Sunday.

2. Joel Dahmen, Netflix star (and his caddie Geno, too)

Joel Dahmen, the recurring star of Netflix’s “Full Swing” had a rough 2023; in his first 16 starts of the year his best finish was T41. Things got better in the fall, where he logged two top-15s. But I’m guessing nothing felt as good as this week. Dahmen opened with a 16-par, two-bogey 74 and then went on the offensive, making just two bogeys the rest of the way in a 67-67-68 close that left him T11 — earning him $606,250 from the biggest purse of the season.

Dahmen hasn’t played in a ton of the Tour’s big-money Signature Events, so he admitted on No Laying Up‘s recap show that he was pleasantly surprised to get the payout notification.

“That number was astounding,” he said. “My wife almost fell out of her chair when she saw that and I’m not kidding.”

The money — plus the ability to point to a strong result in the wake of Season 2’s release — seems like a winning combo for Dahmen. (And for fan-favorite caddie Geno Bonnalie, too.)

3. Matthew Fitzpatrick (and his driver)

Matthew Fitzpatrick, the king of details, had astonishingly missed an important one. He’d left a counterbalanced weight placed under the grip of his driver last February and never gave it another thought.

“For whatever reason just forgot that it was ever in there. We took it out the week of Phoenix, and yeah, the driver has felt completely different,” Fitzpatrick said this week.

Fitzpatrick contended for much of the week before three front-nine bogeys doomed his chances on Sunday. Still, he closed hard, making birdie on each of the final four holes to catapult himself into solo fifth place, clearing over $1 million in the process.

4. Brian Harman (and his silver medal)

Finishing a shot behind the winner will always be bittersweet, and Brian Harman missed a chance to birdie the scorable par-5 16th coming home. But a Sunday four-under 68 to finish T2, earn a check for nearly $2 million and climb to No. 8 in the world? That’s pretty good news. Harman said he was bummed post-round, and who could blame him? But of the three runners-up (more on that in a moment) he seemed the most at peace with the result.

“He’s the best player in the world, and this is a championship golf course, and so, if you look at it on paper, the best player this week won,” he said of Scheffler. “That’s kind of what you want in a golf tournament. We all had our chances, and he just out-executed two or three more times than the rest of us.”

Scottie Scheffler watches his tee shot on the par-3 17th during the final round of the Players Championship on Sunday in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Tour Confidential: Scheffler’s epic Players comeback, ‘tricky’ drops, Jay Monahan speaks

By: GOLF Editors

5. Jay Monahan (and his Tour’s product)

The PGA Tour was hungry for action. It was hungry for its top stars in a down-the-stretch thriller. It was hungry for chasedowns and lead changes and big-time putts coming home. The Players delivered — the World No. 1 edged out three other top-10 players in the world by a single shot. Weekend TV ratings aren’t out yet, so there’s no evidence that the broadcast did or did not hold its own compared to last season. But it looked big and it felt big and it delivered for those of us who were watching. That’s only good news for Monahan as his Tour’s “product” gets evaluated again and again — and as the Tour accelerates discussions with the PIF (but more on that in a moment).


Who’s leaving TPC Sawgrass wondering what could have been?

1. Jay Monahan (and his detractors)

It was unquestionably a winning week for the PGA Tour on its biggest stage. And commissioners of sports leagues getting booed isn’t unusual; it’s probably the rule more than the exception. Still, getting booed by your neighbors at the event you’re hosting has to be tough, and so Sunday night must have been bittersweet for PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.

Nor did he receive many clear votes of confidence from players throughout the week. While Rory McIlroy encouraged viewers to look big-picture — “if you actually step back and look at the bigger picture, I think the PGA Tour is in a far stronger position than when Jay took over,” he said — others did not. Xander Schauffele reiterated that Monahan hasn’t regained his trust. Viktor Hovland said he didn’t appreciate leadership “sweeping [mistakes] under the rug.” And Patrick Cantlay, asked if Monahan was the best leader for the Tour going forward, responded that “right now he’s definitely our leader” which hardly came off as a ringing endorsement.

Monahan’s Monday was likely more important than his Sunday (more on that in a moment) but his Players week was bittersweet.

2. Rory McIlroy (and his odd rut)

There’s something strange about the style of golf currently on display by Rory McIlroy. Round-to-round and even hole-to-hole it feels like we’re seeing two completely different golfers. And while his last four finishes have been remarkably unremarkable — T24, T21, T21, T19 — his paths to get there have been wild. Take TPC Sawgrass, where he hit five balls in the water and set a tournament record for birdies but never made himself a serious weekend contender.

He called the week “a little bit of progress” and said he’s “headed in the right direction.” He added this, which is undeniably true: “I made enough birdies, it’s just a matter of getting rid of the bad stuff.”

Easier said than done? We’ll see in four weeks.

3. Wyndham (and his heartbreaking putt)

Good grief. On Sunday Wyndham Clark played his way out of serious contention and then played his way right back into it. His approach shots on 16 and 17 were all-world. His first two shots at No. 18 were excellent, too. And the only thing wrong with this putt was the only thing that mattered: it didn’t go in.

Big-picture, Clark has to be thrilled to walk away with back-to-back runner-up finishes to Scottie Scheffler. But man, what could have been…

“I’m pretty gutted it didn’t go in,” he said.

4. Xander (and the day that wasn’t)

I wrote about Xander Schauffele more extensively yesterday here but to summarize: It seemed like his day until it wasn’t. Terrific play all week was undone by sloppy bogeys at 14 and 15, his last best chance went wanting at 17 and his tee shot at 18 all but ended his chances. T2 is fantastic unless you’re a guy whose performances in big-time tournaments have been defined but coming close without getting over the line.

The center of my Sunday night column on Schauffele was a quote he’d used describing his latest swing work with new coach Chris Como.

“A steady drip caves a stone,” he said. My email inbox filled up with German readers (Willkommen!) wondering if he’d been citing a common idiom, “Steter Tropfen höhlt den Stein,” that could have been passed from his German father Stefan. Whatever the origin, Schauffele drips on.

5. Roger Maltbie and Gary Koch (and their triumphant return)

I promise not to make this entire column a recounting of my email inbox, but when I wrote a little something about the reappearance of NBC mainstays Roger Maltbie and Gary Koch on Friday I was blown away by the response. I include them in this “sad” category because both Maltbie and Koch were clearly thrilled to be back and demonstrably emotional at the conclusion of play — and because it’s clear golf fans missed them, too.

Maltbie’s sign-off stuck with me through the weekend and beyond:

“Thanks, guys,” he said. “It was a treat and I loved every minute of it. I miss this. A lot.”

Roger Maltbie at the 2024 Players Championship.

Roger Maltbie’s emotional sign-off leaves golf world wanting more

By: Dylan Dethier


Planes, yachts, things of that nature.

On Sunday the PGA Tour wrapped up its biggest tournament of the year. Its Monday was arguably more important. That’s because representatives from the Tour’s Policy Board (apparently) headed for the Bahamas, where they (apparently) met with representatives of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, including (apparently) Yasir Al-Rumayyan.

What do we know about the meeting? Not a ton, yet.

Monahan described discussions with the PIF as “accelerating” in his Tuesday press conference. He also used the words “engaged” and “making progress,” though he was short on specifics.

Policy Board member Jordan Spieth addressed the meeting on Friday:

“I’m not sure that I can say much more other than we’re being encouraged to potentially meet with him,” Spieth said. “But at the same time, we probably feel like our membership should know timing and what could happen and just in general maybe it’s just to meet — I think there’s not a whole lot more I can say about that. 

“But we are being encouraged obviously, which I think is probably a good thing that the entire board should if there’s going to be any potential for a negotiation.” 

Rory McIlroy praised the idea on Sunday. “I have spent time with Yasir, and the people that have represented him in LIV I think have done him a disservice — Norman and those guys.

“I see the two entities, and I actually think there’s a really big disconnect between PIF and LIV. I think you got PIF over here and LIV are sort of over here doing their own thing. So the closer that we can get to Yasir, PIF and hopefully finalize that investment, I think that will be a really good thing.”

And Patrick Cantlay told Sports Illustrated the following: “Well, I’ve gotta hear out what they have to say, and I will always do my best to represent the entire membership whenever I am in a meeting in that capacity,” Cantlay said on Sunday. “I think more information is always better.”

And with Monday came so much flight- (and boat-!) tracking you’d have thought it was college football coaching search season. If the trackers are to be trusted, representatives from the PGA Tour, SSG and PIF gathered for a high-powered powwow. More to come, no doubt.


Monday Finish HQ.

Sunday was dreamy in Seattle. Seventy. Sunny. St. Patrick’s Day. A perfect day for a walk to town and a Guinness on draft and the final hour of the Players on TV. I hope yours was equally refreshing.

We’ll see you next week!

Dylan welcomes your comments at

The post Scheffler’s neck guy, secret PIF meeting, Players best and worst | Monday Finish appeared first on Golf.