Aloha……The PGA tour is back and so are the DTG recaps. It was a long three weeks with no golf and attempts at boycotting soft drinks. The holiday season fell in there as well and all of us at DTG want to wish all of our followers a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Anyways, let’s get to the tournament.
Xander Comes From Way Back
Xander F*$&@#G Schauffele!! What a Sunday performance by this kid who is bullying himself into the conversation as one of the top young players on tour. Fun Fact: Xander Schauffele has 4 wins in his first 61 starts, Speith, Fowler, Bryson and JT combined for 3 wins in their first 61 starts.
Xander shot a final round 11 under 62 to erase a 5 shot deficit and beat Gary Woodland by 1. I guess that social sciences degree from San Diego State University (Go Aztecs!) taught him how to handle pressure and overcome adversity because some of the shots coming down the stretch reminded me of how Tiger used to dominate a course. The hole out for eagle on 12, the approach on 17 and the power draw to 11 feet for eagle on 18 to name a few. Xander would ultimately miss the putt for eagle but it didn’t matter when Gary Woodland couldn’t get up and down for birdie at the last to force a playoff.
Along with his 4th win, Xander took home $1.3 million dollars and the Whale Tale Trophy. All of this after being snubbed from the Ryder Cup team in favor of Phil Mickelson who didn’t win or even halve a match for the US team but that is a topic for a different day. Xander has won his last two official PGA tour starts and has jumped to 6th in the world. Considering that he started 2018 in 26th, I would say that is a pretty impressive accomplishment. The only thing that might be more impressive is that he got those two wins while playing Callaway Irons.
Flip The Script
As most followers of DTG know, we are big advocates for the “Everything is Scripted” (EIS) theory of life. Well this week on the PGA Tour still followed that theory with the 5-stroke come from behind win. The Universe did however throw us a curve ball because everyone thought Gary Woodland was going to win this tournament for his grandma who passed away Friday night. Our Condolences go out to Gary Woodland’s family. I did think this was going to the be the week he didn’t puke all over himself in the 4th round like he did the previous 6 times he held a lead after 54 holes and to be fair to Gary he still carded a final round 5 under par. He just didn’t expect Xander to go HAM on the Plantation Course at Kapalua.
The Top 10 was filled with top end guys as it should be where the field is only filled with winners from last year. Justin Thomas finished solo third after shooting the second-best round on Sunday. Most of you know I am a big JT guy, but man does he have to stop talking to his ball. First the instant “get in” comment last year when hitting a 3 wood to a drivable par 4 and then saying “Stay left Honey” yesterday when he hit a second shot into a par 5. Guy needs to work on his golf ball talk game.
Rounding Out The Top Ten
Three players tied for 4th: Marc Leishman, who was the top dog in the power rankings because he is a known wind negotiator, lived up to the billing. Dustin Johnson failed to shoot under par in round 2 this week which doesn’t sound like much but considering he hasn’t shot over par at Kapalua in 32 consecutive rounds it is a bit of big deal. DJ still finished in 4th and will probably be back next year to start a new streak.
Rory Mcilroy was also in the cluster at 15 under, this was just another tournament for Rory. Play well enough to get into the final pairing and then turn into a completely different golfer on Sunday. This guy is mind fucked in a big way when it comes to final pairings. Hopefully he can get that monkey off his back and get a win where he doesn’t have to come from behind……..Augusta anyone??
Rounding out the top 10 was Webb Simpson who looks to show everyone last year wasn’t a fluke. Jon Rahm ho hummed his way to a T8 finish. Not much else to say about Jon Rahm this week other than does anyone else find it weird his name is Jon Rahm and the “H” is in Ram and not Jon?
The KING of the silly season Patton Kizzire just doing what he does with another top 10 finish in Hawaii. Although I think I am going to make a sizeable bet saying Patton is not playing at this tournament next year.
And then there was Bryson. Sure, he finished 7th this week but that is not what anyone is talking about. The way he trolled the entire golf world by putting with the pin in the entire tournament or his over exaggerated attempt to drop it from his knee was next level stuff. Then he comes out after the round and stays committed to the troll by saying “guys putting with the pin in makes it easier”. This guy’s personality is the best on tour, there I said it.
Even though this was a smaller field, there was still a few other notable finishes to touch on. Cam Champ showed he can hang with the big boys in his first tournament with a stacked field finishing T11 and if he could just get over his one bad round a tournament this guy is going to have a big 2019. Jason Day finished 13th and is starting to look like the Jason Day of old again. Playing style not physique because that guy is full on team Dad Bod now.Shout out to Chucky 3 sticks for grinding out another 6 figure paycheck to keep building that career earnings total my dude.
There were also a few surprising and not so surprising poor finishes in this tournament. If you told me Satoshi Kodaira and Michael Kim were going to tie for last in this tournament before it started, I probably would have looked at you and said yeah, you are probably right. In fact, the thanks for coming out award this week goes to Michael Kim for his smooth 80 in round three. He and Satoshi both finished 27 shots behind Xander, so it was the 7 over par 80 that tipped the scale in Michael Kim’s favor.
While those two finishes shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone, there were 3 players who stuck out to me with quite surprising finishes. The first was Bubba Watson. A guy who is trying and failing to turn his off-the-course persona around as of late struggled in the wind and finished 31st. Turns out trying to hit 40-yard hooks and slices in 60k winds backfires more than it works.
World number 1 entering the tournament Brooks Koepka looked more like world number 150 this week, never really getting it going. The most surprising finish of the week comes from BWGR (Bronel World Golf Ranking) number 1 Franny Molinari. Mr. Consistency only broke par in one round and finished T27th and yes you readers are correct, the BWGR is a very flawed ranking system.
Bring On 2019
Speaking of world golf rankings, we have a new number one in the world. After Brooks laid an egg at the Sentry tournament of champions and Justin Rose elected not to play, Rosie is your new number one golfer in the world. When are we going to get to see those new Honma’s in action Justin? All in all, a very solid week for the PGA and its return from its Christmas yatus. The Sentry TOC delivered in terms of quality of golf and also the return of evening/night golf. I cannot stress enough how much better it is compared to the mid-afternoon rounds. Congrats to Xander Schauffele on the win and hopefully the Sony Open next week is as exciting to watch.