Alright this week on the PGA Tour was a very eventful one. There’s a few things to digest here so let’s get right to it.
Let’s start with the golf course. PGA National Resort and Spa is home to the PGA of America and features a five golf courses that include The Champion Course. The golf course designed by George and Tom Fazio later saw a redesign by Jack Nicklaus. While not overly long at 7,140 Yards (7,048 yards Actual Scorecard Yardage) while carrying a slope of 147 and a course rating of 75.2 (Actual Scorecard) it provides a challenge. The course yielded a winning score of 272 (-8) which means that it held up very well against the field. I love ‘The Bear Trap” and like the plaque says “It should be won and lost here”. Most of the holes (14 of them) played a touch over par so it goes to show that if the course is set-up (pin locations on “funny” parts of the green) you can still protect the course versus length. Of course, the winds through the first 3 days helped.
Golf ball rollback. Well this is a conversation that isn’t going to go away any time soon. Again it became part of the week when Mr. Nicklaus said after having dinner with USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. Is it inevitable that the rollback is going to happen? Honestly, I don’t know and quite frankly at this point of my life it doesn’t impact me. But the way that the world has become I wouldn’t be surprised if it did happen. Sure ,the guys on Tour are crazy and yes Mr. Nicklaus had concerns about the golf ball dating back to 1977. I still think that if you just grow out the courses and let the course superintendents and tournament committees have a little “fun” scores will ultimately drop. The drawback however could be upset membership at host clubs. Is the issue with the golf ball the fact that it hinders pace of play (as suggested by Mr. Nicklaus)? In my opinion this might be the case for the top half percent of golfers playing the game.
Justin Thomas!! The young man has been on some sort of roll. He hasn’t seen a finish worse than a T-22 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions since at least October 15, 2017. In that stretch he has two victories and quite frankly he’s playing wonderful golf. He won this week and was cool under pressure coming into the 72nd hole when he had to hit a clutch shot and hit a tremendous wedge shot. He actually thought that he had holed-out the shot. He would end up in a playoff with Luke List and would eventually outlast List as day turned night. Thomas now owns 8 victories on the PGA Tour. But winning the tournament wasn’t the only thing that he did… Thomas also managed to get a fan ejected from the tournament when a fan cheered against wishing his ball to go into a bunker. Thomas was then picked up on a live microphone during this exchange…
“Who said that? Who yelled for that ball to get in the bunker? Was that you? Enjoy your day, buddy, you’re gone.”
The “offender” was of course singled out by other spectators. I think JT was ultra-sensitive here. It’s not like the fan said it during his backswing. It never factored in on his shot. If anything, this now has set a sort-of precedent. Maybe we’ve heard the last of “mashed potatoes”, “you da man” and every other stupid remark you hear when someone hits a golf ball. I’m trying to think back to when “that” became a “thing”. Oh yeah… Tiger Woods!
For those that are unaware Tiger Woods played this week and the “Tiger Effect” was obvious at the Honda Classic. Those galleries! Only one person does that to a tournament. Tiger had his best showing in a tournament since… forever and even though I’m not a staunch fan of his it always sucks to see someone great be in a decline. Watching Tiger this week I observed a guy who’s feeling healthy, seems to be in a good place mentally and has a swing that’s working. He was impressive off of the tee and more importantly he led the field in proximity to the pin. I loved that he went for the flagstick on 15. He wanted to win and that’s an even more telling sign of where he is. Again though, I simply ask the golf world (fans, media etc) not to get too high or too low on him. Just let the guy play golf!
Until The Next Tee!!