What a time to be a golf fan. The Tour Championship is this weekend, the U.S. Open is in less than a month and fans saw an incredible tournament this past weekend. Everyone seems to be saying that this week’s BMW Championship felt more like a U.S. Open than a FedEx Cup Playoff event, and it’s easy to see why. Four under par was the winning score, with two over par finishing off the top ten. Hopefully, the real thing at Winged Foot will live up to the high expectations set this past weekend at Olympia Fields.
Beyond the incredible playoff finish in Illinois, the world of golf was abuzz. A new, but familiar, face on the Champions Tour took home his first victory, and the British amateur champion was crowned. Here is a look at all that, as well as this week’s Tour Championship at East Lake.
BMW Championship Review
It seemed like destiny for Dustin Johnson. A 40+ foot putt on the 72nd hole of the tournament to get into a playoff? Incredible. John Rahm had to go and spoil all of DJ’s fun on the first playoff hole, though. An obscene 66-foot birdie putt gave him the win this weekend at the BMW Championship.
Realistically, though, it never should have come to that. On the fifth hole Saturday, Rahm picked up his ball on the green without marking it. No one could seem to remember that ever happening before, including the announcers. This resulted in a pretty cut and dry one-shot penalty. Despite that, he still managed to shoot a 66 on the day. After the round, Rahm said, “I just hope I don’t lose by one. I’m just going to say that. And if I do, well, it’s very well my fault. It’s as simple as that.”
Luckily for Rahm (though he made his own luck), it didn’t come to that. With a five over 75 and one over 71 to start the tournament, he had his work cut out for him over the weekend. He followed it up with the aforementioned Saturday 66 and a tournament-low 64 on Sunday. There can’t be a much better feeling than capping it off with that putt to win the tournament. He heads to East Lake GC next week now for the Tour Championship.
Tour Championship Preview
Now things get kind of confusing. As explained in the TGH FedEx Cup preview, the FedEx Cup point leader starts off at -10, with the strokes given staggered until 26th-30th places, who start at even par. Here’s the full rundown of strokes given, as per pgatour.com’s playoff overview:
Dustin Johnson is the obvious favorite. Besides having the best starting score, he’s been on a tear in his last three tournaments. Thanks to a tie for second in the PGA Championship, a win at the Northern Trust Open and a playoff loss in the BMW Championship, he’s found his way atop the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) and the FedEx Cup standings yet again.
Of course, don’t count out last week’s winner, John Rahm, either. He’ll start off two back from DJ at -8. Justin Thomas, Webb Simpson and Collin Morikawa round out the top five. Billy Horschel was the last to get into the tournament, finishing a mere three FedEx Cup points ahead of Adam Long.
Last year’s champion, Rory McIlroy, will have a tall, but possible, task ahead of him. He starts in 12th place, seven strokes behind Dustin Johnson to start. Last year, he started in fifth place, five strokes behind the leader, and won by four strokes. It’s not impossible that he could make another run at the $15 million prize.
Tiger’s 2019/20 season is over. While, the 2020/21 season starts the week after the Tour Championship, golf fans will likely have to wait until the U.S. Open for his return. That starts on September 17.
The legend faced a tall task to qualify for the season finale, needing to jump 27 spots in the FedEx Cup rankings, but he did himself no favors. A +11 finish saw him tie for 51st in the tournament, falling six spots in the Cup standings. He’ll be looking for major number 16 in September and to defend his green jacket in November.
Phil’s Champions Tour Debut
Without a spot in the BMW Championship or Tour Championship, Phil Mickelson decided to play his first Champions Tour event. He won the three-day Charles Schwab Series at Ozarks National by four strokes at -22. A strong -10 61 on day one was followed by a solid 64 and a 66 to close out the tournament. Tim Petrovic finished second at -18.
This tournament was basically the only way for Phil to play competitive golf in the lead up to the U.S. Open. Like Tiger, that will be the next time golf fans see him on the PGA Tour.
Congratulations to Joe Long on his victory in the 125th Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale. He defeated Joe Harvey 4&3 in the all-English 36 hole final.
Golf is hard, even for the guys who get paid to play it. Kevin Streelman dropped 14 strokes from Friday to Saturday, going from an 80 to a 66.
Fun fact: despite never being a member of the tour, Tiger Woods has the third-most European Tour victories of all time with 41. All three majors and every World Golf Classic tournament counts, though, so he didn’t even need to go overseas to get those wins.
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