Well, well, well. That was fun. Major golf returned this week to TPC Harding Park in San Fransisco, CA, and it did not disappoint one bit. A beautiful golf course, fair set up, stacked leader board, and prime time golf all combined for an awesome experience for the viewer. Not only that, but the ESPN and ESPN+ coverage of the tournament was a breath of fresh air, in my opinion. It doesn’t get much better than SVP and David Duval together on the mic.
As we all know by now, after a wild Sunday, there was one man left standing: Colin Morikawa. The California Bear had the round of the day, and was the player who seized the moment the most, hitting great shot after great shot. Obviously the drive on 16 is the shot we will remember, but he really stepped it up throughout the day and deserved to take home the Wanamaker Trophy. We will touch more on Morikawa later, but here are some of my biggest takeaways from this weeks Major Championship!
- The Young Guns are ready, Now: Of course Morikawa is the talk of the week after his win, but I wanted to touch on the performance of some of his fellow 1st and 2nd year pros who showed up in a big way this week. Matthew Wolff continued to show he is not afraid of the moment, dialing in iron after iron on Sunday. Despite missing a few putts and coming up short, this is a great boost for Wolff, who I think will be a Major threat everywhere besides the Open starting now. And how about Scheffler! We knew Scottie was a talented player, but he seemed really comfortable all day. Despite not making a huge run he played very solidly and will absolutely take a lot of positives from this week as he seeks to vault up the world rankings. Toss in Hovland, and maybe Champ if you want, and we have a slew of young players who are immediate threats to big time tourneys.
- Paul Casey and Tony Finau, showing some fight! For many of us that watch golf a lot, it is far more common to see Finau and Casey fade on Sunday in a big tournament rather than do what they did yesterday. Casey in particular played fantastic. I am not a big Casey fan by any means but I found myself rooting for him late Sunday. He’s 43, and he knew how good of an opportunity this was, and he really stepped up. I wonder if that will spark Paul to be a better Sunday player from here on out. Finau, on the other hand, is so good he will continue to have chances, and I believe this round will help him in the future.
- Brooks is Human: If you called Brooks’ poor round yesterday, you should buy a lottery ticket. More than anyone in golf the last 3 years, Brooks always showed up. He may not have won them all, but he always showed up. Until yesterday. BK struggled from the jump, and simply couldn’t find it. He’ll take some heat from the media for his comments this week, but I have no problem with what he said. He has earned the right to talk, and he simply speaks his mind. That’s what we should want from our athletes. He’ll bounce back just fine, but man was it strange to see only a few holes of Brooks in a major on Sunday before he was off air.
- Rory, stuck in the same rut: It’s not like he stunk, as he finished -2, and Dustin could be the bigger story here as he let another 54 hole lead at a Major slide by, but I think a bigger takeaway is yet another Major goes by for Rory. He will win again, but he doesn’t seem to have the same fire as a young Rory did. As honest as he is, he pointed out how when he was younger golf was the only thing on his mind. That’s not the case anymore. Not sure we can blame him for that, but it would be great to see a bit more fire from Rory and determination to get back to the top in a Major. 6 years is far too long for a world class talent in Rory.
- Dechambeau is a Major threat everywhere, and Jason Day is back: Not much to add on here, as Bryson is legit, and he will only get better. Great to see Day in form again, as he has battled as many injuries as anyone in the last 5 years. A healthy Day is a major player at the big tourneys as he has shown this year.
- Morikawa’s Moment: What a display by Colin this weekend. I, for one, expected to see him falter bit late as he has shown a few signs of nerves missing a short putt and then lipping in a 2 footer to force a playoff with JT. But if he had any nerves, he didn’t show us. Maybe no fans helped, maybe not, but he was a machine yesterday. He looked so confident over putts, rolling in a huge par putt on 1, and was firmly in control of his golf swing. For a man chasing his first Major, I’m not sure you can close any better. He was already a force to be reckoned with going forward, and while I don’t know firsthand the confidence a Major title brings you, I’d imagine it’s quite a lot. We could be on the verge of seeing the next Hall of Fame type career right before our eyes. Congrats to CM.
- Fanless Majors are still great, but boy do we miss them: Of course it was a treat to have Major Championship golf back, and it’s hard to ask for a better weekend battle than we got. But can you imagine the finish with thousands of fans on each hole? It was already hard to keep up watching on TV, but the roars all over the course would have been spectacular. We don’t know when fans will be back, and it doesn’t seem like soon, but it will be a treat when it happens. I loved hearing the group of people on 12 yelling after Tiger’s tee shot on Sunday. It was pretty humorous and reminded me of the role fans play in the drama and atmosphere of Major golf. Add on fans to this all time depth of talent at big events, and golf could be entering a Golden Age!
Overall, what a week in San Fran. I thought it went just about as well as it could have, and I can’t wait for Winged Foot. Until then, the playoffs will have to do! But not before we head to the Webb Open…I mean the Wyndham.
Til next time,