For the second week and event in a row, an elite player has found a new putter to ride into victory lane.
Last week Rory McIlroy led the field in putting distance and putting average to win the Deutsche Bank Championship.
This week Dustin Johnson used exactly the same formula to win the BMW Championship.
Final Thoughts from DBC
From the facts based above, it’s hardly a wonder why McIlroy and Johnson are the two winners of the BMW Championship held at Crooked Stick. Both maim the golf ball off the tee and are superior iron players. McIlroy set the bar at 20-under in 2012 and Johnson went three better this year. Both tournaments played all four rounds with ball-in-hand and both tournaments received around three inches of rain in a 24-hour period.
Johnson has been immaculate all season.
He leads the Tour in top 10’s with 14 from just 21 events (66%).
He secured his first major, a U.S. Open nonetheless, as he aced that examination of every facet of the game.
He picked up his third WGC title (third in four years) against the toughest limited field in golf.
He ties Tiger Woods with winning his third FEC Playoff event for most all-time.
Not a bad time to have a career year and he, for my money, is hands-down the PGA Player of the Year. To be fair, NOBODY cares who wins those awards but he’s checked all the boxes and should collect one final piece of silverware to close the “year”.
Speaking of the “end of the year”, well, I’m going with “end of the season” instead. If there is ANY wonder why the big players don’t play the in most of the first seven events of the new season, simply take a look at how the previous season ended.
Go on, I dare you.
You’re asking them to play a major and four FEC events in seven weeks. Then the Ryder Cup the week following The Tour Championship. Then one week off before the Safeway Open kicks off the new season. Folks, the NFL disappears from mid-February until training camp in late July. Golf takes Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. What am I missing here? Climate? Venues? What’s wrong with doing less with more? How about having the Web.com rearrange THEIR season to fill that gap? I doubt ANY of them will care as long as they make it to the Tour eventually. If you want better golf you’ll need the best players. I’d start with appeasing them instead of telling them when and where they need to be.
Now, on to Crooked Stick.
First, I’m totally biased as it was the first course I ever attended for a PGA Tour event. That event was the 1991 PGA Championship and I was fortunate enough to make it to Wednesday’s practice rounds. I’ll NEVER forget the site of Seve Ballesteros hitting bunker shots from the non-existent deep bunker off No. 17 (it’s now a lake). I saw him hit a dozen and no less than 10 of them were inside a three-foot-circle. I didn’t know who was down there firing them out but I was hardly surprised with the results once I learned it was him after he climbed out. His playing partner that day was Ian Woosnam. 1991 was cool.
Dustin Johnson devoured a course that almost played 7,600 yards and was wet for the final three rounds. Aside from the top three players at 23, 20 and 17-under, it was a hell of a tournament as five guys tied at 12-under to share fourth. Johnson showed his class in multiple facets of his game. He destroyed the par fives as he played those 16 holes 15-under for the week. He led the field in driving. He led the field in putting. Pete Dye’s first masterpiece was destroyed but it’s not surprising. Dye’s courses reward excellent shot-making. The proper shot hit to the proper part of the fairway or green will provide ample scoring chances. Shots that don’t find these optimum spots bring the rest of his design elements into play and players can struggle. Johnson being ELEVEN shots better than T-4 this week tells me more about his play than the course. I wish the BMW would come up with a four-year rotation that involves Crooked Stick for the foreseeable future because I’m GREEDY and want MOAR for me!
By the way, if you didn’t see my pictures from Wednesday’s practice round, go ahead and waste part of your day by clicking here.
On to East Lake NEXT week to end the race for $10 million and the FEC title. The top 30 get a week to rest up and re-calibrate before facing Bobby Jones’ home course outside Atlanta. To shake it up, the powers that be have REVERSED the nines for this year’s Tour Championship to add more excitement coming down the stretch. That’s right, no more par-3 finishing hole! I mean what’s more exciting than 30 guys playing 45 feet left of the Sunday pin location and two putting for par! IS MY SARCASM FONT WORKING THEN? I love East Lake otherwise as it’s a Donald Ross masterpiece with impossible holes and even more difficult Bermudagrass greens. Toss in a Publix’s sub slice of pressure and playing the course backwards and the $10 million winner will have earned his keep.
Bubba Watson at Travelers.
Zach Johnson at JDC.
Webb Simpson and Bill Haas at Wyndham.
Brandt Snedeker, Henrik Stenson and Hideki Matsuyama at Barclays.
Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar at DBC.
Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Ryan Moore at Crooked Stick.
Woof. Course horses. Hot players. All have bombed out recently.
Fantasy golf is hard.
In my column at Golfweek.com below, I’ve listed all those who are IN and OUT for next week at Atlanta but here’s some extra dirt for reading this far:
Paul Casey (2nd): For the second week in a row the Englishman couldn’t get over the finish line. He’ll get one more chance and if he does at East Lake, he’ll take home an additional $10 million as well for his trouble.
Jason Day (WD): Double whammy for gamers last week. His WD saw him collect zero dollars in an event that didn’t have a cut and his availability is in doubt for East Lake. He’s posted three top 10’s from five career starts including the last two years. The only good news is that he’s won with a bad back before already this year at the WGC Dell Match Play.
Bubba Watson (T-20): His last top 10 on Tour was at Doral on the first weekend of March. He was also snubbed by Davis Love III as he was not one of the three Captain’s picks for the Ryder Cup announced Monday. He does play East Lake reasonably well but I tend to run away from Watson was things aren’t rosy in his world. This qualifies.
Paul Casey (2nd,2nd): For the second week in a row the Englishman couldn’t get over the finish line. He’ll get one more chance and if he does at East Lake, he’ll take home an additional $10 million as well for his trouble. WAIT, DIDN’T I TYPE THIS ABOVE IN THE REALITY BITES SEGMENT?? Yes, yes I did. Here’s why he appears in this section as well: T-5 last year and T-4 in 2010 in his only two starts at East Lake. He could make a VERY TASTY OAD last gasp for gamers!
Patrick Reed: (Win, T-5, T-13)
Adam Scott: (T-4, 4th, T-4)
Gary Woodland: (T-4, T-15, T-24)
Ryan Moore: (T-7, T-8, T-64)
Jordan Spieth: (T-10, T-21, 9th)
Dustin Johnson: (T-18, T-8, WIN)
Adam Scott looks to join Rory Sabbatini (2007), Padraig Harrington (2009) and Dustin Johnson (2012) as the only players to hit the top 10 in all four FEC events in the same season.
Check out my recap for Golfweek magazine below for all of it!