Plenty of great golf this weekend and a lot of it demonstrated the razor thin line between the players on the PGA/LPGA tour and club professionals like myself.
Let me start by congratulating one tour member who joined a very exclusive club. I’m talking about Dustin Johnson who joined the “Eight Consecutive Par Club.” He shot 60 on Friday finishing with seven straight pars and then opened the third round with his eighth. Welcome to the club, DJ!
The feel good story of the week was on the women’s tour where Sophia Popov, a mini tour player ranked 304th in the world won the Women’s British Open Championship. As I’ve told anyone who’ll listen, this just demonstrates that those of us who competed at the mini tour level could catch fire on any given week and compete with the best in the world. We just need the opportunity.
PGA tour player Joel Dahmen also got an up-close and personal look at the kind of game it takes to be a club professional. After missing the cut, Dahmen popped off on Twitter looking for a money game. He partnered with PGA Tour winner Nick Taylor to take on a local assistant club pro and his pal. The club pro came armed with a nicely padded index, and thanks to those strokes took some cash off the PGA players. I hope these guys think twice the next time they decide to rattle a club pro’s cage.
Overall, this week’s FEDEx Cup playoff delivered big time, giving tour fans all the thrills they were looking for - a golf course that the players overwhelmed like it was a pitch n’ putt, a thrilling last minute points chase that got Charles Howell III into next week’s playoff and a crafty second place finish by electrifying, fan-favorite Harris English. They call it the Northern Trust, I call it TV ratings gold.
I would have loved to have been in the locker room during Sunday’s rain delay. I can’t imagine the pressure that Dustin Johnson must have felt nursing a 9 shot lead with two to play. To his credit he finished the job. Would love to see Tony Finau under that same kinda pressure.
Lost in this week’s action was Collin Morikawa's second missed cut as a pro. It’s one thing to get hot and win an event without any fans, but to miss a cut during the playoffs is extremely troubling. If this kid was one of my students I’d get the difficult conversation started about a potential swing tear down and rebuild. On this tour, you're either getting better, or you're studying for your insurance license.
New rule – it isn’t a “59 Watch” if the only way you can see it happen is on the subscription based PGA Tour Live app. One of my members is about as likely to pay for this service as they are to buy new golf balls.
At the Women’s Open, Lexi Thompson got involved in another rules infraction, this time for possibly improving her lie by hacking away at some overgrown grass. I love what she’s doing early in her career with all these wide ranging rules violations. She’s establishing that she has an ironclad ignorance of the rules. At this point she can do whatever she wants on the course and plead ignorance. Lexi could kick her ball 100-yards down the fairway and then offer a tearful apology that she had no idea that was illegal and the fans and officials would eat it up. She’s putting in the work and she’s getting results.
LPGA player Lindsey Weaver played the Open without a caddie and opted to use a push cart instead. For a tour that is eager to gain popularity, I'm not sure 5:45 hour rounds and players renting their own pull cart is the answer, but I'm not a commissioner. Big ups to Weaver for stubbornly pushing her way around the course instead of dropping big money on a caddy.
Lastly, one of the most exciting players in all of golf is making his much-anticipated debut on the Champions Tour this week. 2002 PGA Champion Rich Beem joins the legends of golf. This is the jolt of energy the PGA Tour Champions has been waiting for and I can't wait to see it.