QOTW: Battle Partner

Each week, our panel of writers will be asked a question about the game of golf.  Topics will range from their predictions for the Tour season to what they would order from the concession stand at Augusta National Golf Club.  No subject is off limits for this esteemed group.

There is a lot of talk this week about golf partnerships with the Zurich being a 2 man team event. There will also be a lot of duos (Jamie and Brienne come to mind) fighting together in the upcoming Battle of Winterfell in Game of Thrones. Just as in golf, strength, finesse, and having a knack for survival are all key attributes to possess in a battle.

This week’s question: Which golfer would be your ideal fighting partner at the Battle of Winterfell?

Ian Poulter

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Jake Mulholland: One man came to mind immediately when this questions was posed… Ian James Poulter! Poults has shown the grit, demonstrated the craziness, and is one of the most confident men on Tour despite capturing one PGA event in 2018. These qualities all would serve as assets in the fight against the dead. Not to mention, Poulter is one of the most loyal men at the Ryder Cup, if we were both men representing the living, I am convinced he would have my back. Coming into the battle at 6′ 1 and 189 pounds, Poults would prove to be a difficult foe to break down. A match play wizard, there is one reason why Poults carries the nickname “The Postman” because he always delivers in Europe. Given the fact that Winterfell is actually based in Northern Ireland, I would expect IJP to emerge victorious in the ensuing battle. I would be honored to serve at his side.

Henrik Stenson

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Jack Corrigan: I am sure Brooks Keopka will come to mind: strong, tough, a man willing to put up a fight and create edges that people are against him. But, how willing is he to have someone else’s back? We saw him struggle as a teammate in the Ryder Cup, but is phenomenal by himself. To me, that is not very securing that he will have my back. Jon Rahm may be another man picked. Jon, will fight strong and hard, but his anger will make his mind get blurry. He will just see red instead of seeing each and every white walker around him. He kills many, but in the end forgets they are coming at him from each direction and gets mauled by them all. My pick is Henrik Stenson: big, strong, tough, persistent, stealthy. Do I add calm, cool and collected? This is a man who reminds me of a Bronn type willing to have your back, just ask Justin Rose, and also aware of his surroundings. He will be in battle and have a certain confidence that makes you feel comfortable. He never will make you feel you are in danger and will be dueling and destroying many walkers. Mr. Henrik Stenson is my choice in the Battle of Winterfell.

Phil Mickelson

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Bear: I’m not exactly known for my brute strength, so I’m looking for a guy with finesse to team up with — a guy with every shot in his arsenal and knows when to take said shot. Phil and I won’t be on the front lines, but I see us on top of the castle with bows and arrows in hand firing off whatever shots necessary — whether it be a high arching flaming arrow to take out a wight or an absolute laser of a dragonglass arrow through the heart of a White Walker. Don’t be surprised if someone not exactly known for their fighting ability ends up killing the Night King, as brains and shot shaping/selection may play a bigger part than you think.

Tiger Woods

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Frank LaterzaWhen I initially read the question, my immediate thought was Brooks Koepka (for a few reasons that I’ll skip because he isn’t my answer, but “he’s big” was the main one). 

Then I started to think about the show as a whole. What do you need in this battle? The first thought is to be like the wolf pack, the Starks. Jon Snow is fierce and fit – both mentally and physically. Jon is loved by everyone – being older or younger than him seems to have no effect on one’s affections. Jon has been to the bottom – cut open 5 different times, called names, been told his time was done, and faced things no one imagined being able to overcome. And yet here Jon stands. Jon cares about history – keeping the people here, bringing people together to fight for a common cause. In short, my golfer must have Jon in him. 

Then I thought about Bran. Bran resembles history, memory. He’s also the Night King’s #1 target because without Bran, the world, our stories cease to exist. My golfer must have Bran in him, and like Bran, the desire to face the Night King face-to-face. 

Then I think about the faceless men, obviously specifically Arya. The ability to wear many faces, be an ambassador for something while so many others are talked about. But when push comes to shove, you don’t want to see Arya with a weapon in front of you, because you had doubted her, counted her out, and by doing so, granted her even more power over your inevitable death. My golfer needs some Arya in him. 

Lastly, I draw from Sansa. Sansa backs down from no one, even rulers with 2 dragons. My golfer backs down from no one. She will lead, and people will follow her because she is able to connect to a variety of different people. There is pride; there is a mentality that no matter who stands in our way, we will win. My golfer needs some Sansa in him. 

So, who has all of these attributes: Who is fierce? Who is fit? Who has seen glory and adversity? Who resembles history? Who scares men as he quietly stalks his prey? Who has pride? Who stops at nothing to win? The Starks, Tiger Woods, and I will see the Night King this Sunday, and the pack survives. 

Charley Hoffman

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Mike McNamara: What a question for this week. If I’m going into the Battle of Winterfell, I’m certainly going to need a tough dude by my side. While I gave many different Tour pros a look for this answer, I kept coming back to one man. His name? Charley Hoffman. Not many have survived the test of time on the PGA TOUR like Chuck has. Charley doesn’t lead the Tour in one specific statistic or area of the game, but he just goes out and plays. This is a man that has been in the mix to win golf tournaments for over a decade now, and he rarely, if ever, has dry stretches. If you’re going to survive the Night King and his army, you’re going to need to be by someone who is steady, who will not cave to pressure, and who will be willing to risk it all for victory. Charley checks the boxes in all of these categories. Don’t believe me? Check out this clip. Chaz won’t shy away from the dead, and he certainly won’t be afraid to take a risk or three. Give Charley and me some dragonglass, and you better believe we’re coming out of Winterfell survivors.

Rory Sabbatini

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Kevin Walsh: First off, love the integration of the most popular TV show in recent memory into the game of golf. Secondly, what a tough question. So many golfers, but only a few who truly qualify to be considered for joining me in taking down the army of the dead at the Battle of Winterfell. Not only do you need a man who is fearless, angry, and powerful, but you need a grinder. The army of the dead is an endless opponent, one that does not tire and does not quit, so I need an ally with the ferocity to match. Looking at my options, I’m pairing up with Rory Sabbatini. Sabs fits the bill: a man who has grinded for everything he has done on tour, isn’t scared of anyone (even calling out Tiger in his prime), has a never say die attitude, and is seemingly always pissed. Honestly, has anyone seen Sabs happy on the golf course? This man will hit to 15 feet and look at the sky in agony and anger. That is the kind of fire I need by my side to take down the Night King’s army. Relentless pursuit of the goal: survive and advance. Don’t be surprised to see Sabs and I marching to King’s Landing after we handle the Night King.

Billy Horschel

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Sean Carney: I am going to go with the ultimate grinder to go to war with me in Winterfell: Billy Horschel. The guy is the epitome of a grinder. The guy is either grinding to make a cut or grinding right around the leader board. The great thing about Horsch is that he saves his best golf for the playoffs. Going into this Battle of Winterfell, we need everyone to bring their A game on the biggest stage, and that is what Billy is all about. Besides his ability to grind, he has the perfect attitude in what should be a uphill battle. Put whoever you want in front of him, and he won’t be flustered. I need a guy like Billy who can stare at someone in the eyes and not be scared, no matter how skilled or more physically gifted they are. Billy brings the noise day in and day out, and that’s exactly the guy I am going to war with.

Patrick Reed

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Sam Scherman: This may seem a bit off the beaten path for me, but my answer is going to be Patrick Reed. When you think about someone who you want to go battle with you need the following: never say die attitude, willing to do WHATEVER it takes, and take advantage of any possible opportunity, whether it be “fair play or not.” We’ve all seen Reed be a complete dick, and we know he has no problem grinding on the tour week in and week out, similar to going into a battle he is likely to lose. He consistently plays hard through the final hole, even when he’s 10+ shots off the lead, in a very admirable never say die attitude. This is key because what we’re up against in Winterfell is literally the army of the dead, and we’re heavily outmatched. Reed is going to take any and all advantages he’s given, and he’s not afraid to completely backstab or betray someone to get ahead and save his, and hopefully my, life. We’ve seen the slimiest and biggest assholes survive a long while across the many kingdoms and just like how Reed has been accused of cheating, kicked off his own college team, and pretty much despised by his fellow PGA Tour peers, he hasn’t let that get in the way of multiple wins, including a victory at Augusta in 2018. Cheating and scamming the system is not out of his realm of possibility. Is there an obvious chance he literally stabs me in the back to save his own ass? Of course. I can imagine a situation where he holds a knife over my neck, much like Littlefinger does to Ned, and say “I did warn you not to trust me,” but at least I know during battle he will fight to the very end, taking any means necessary to defeat the dead.

Past QOTW’s:

Week of 04/15 – Tiger’s Comeback

Week of 04/08 Pt. 2 – Masters Food Order

Week of 04/08 Pt. 1 – Favorite Masters Memory

Week of 04/01 – Favorite Club in Your Bag

Week of 03/25 – Match Play Upset

Week of 03/18 – Clothing Sponsor of Choice

Week of 03/11 – Players Feature Groups

Week of 03/04 – Result You’re Pulling For

Week of 02/24 – One State to Golf In

Week of 02/18 – Most Intimidating Current Pro

Week of 02/11 – Who Will Make a Jump in OWGR

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