PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – AUGUST 10
By Leo Haggerty
ONE MAJOR IN THE BOOKS
If you’ve had a chance to peruse the featured image at the top of my column, you’re probably thinking that I made a huge mistake. Now, before you deluge me with text messages and emails pointing out that error, let me explain that there is a method to my madness.
If this was a normal year, the first of the four designed major tournaments on the Professional Golfers’ Association tour occurs in early April. Every year, the best pro golfers head to Georgia and descend upon the Augusta National Golf Club to compete at The Masters. Then the PGA shows up in May and that’s followed The U.S. Open in June. Finally, a trip across the pond for a July date at The Open.
Saying this is not a normal year is an understatement. Due to the pandemic, The Masters was rescheduled to the middle of November. The Open was cancelled completely. So, by default, the PGA became the first of the three 2020 majors that were left.
Trust me when I tell you that the PGA, from a fan’s point of view, did not disappoint. The just over 7,200 yard TPC Harding Park Golf Club in San Francisco proved to be a formidable layout and Mother Nature provided just enough of a distraction to keep red scores in single digits until the final day.
At one time, depending upon where you were on the course, there were six golfers tied for the lead at 10 under par late on the back nine late Sunday afternoon. No one was able to break away from that pack and there were a handful of competitors lurking close behind.
It all came down to the 16th hole. The Par-4 was playing at a paltry 294 yards which made it reachable off the tee for even the no-so-big hitters.
All of those contending for the lead took dead aim on the 16th green. Only one was successful in putting the pea on the dance floor and that led to victory.
Collin Morikawa, at 23 years old and playing in his 2nd major, threw caution to wind and knocked his drive on 16 within seven feet of the pin. He then proceeded to sink the putt for an eagle that moved him clear of everyone at 13 under par. For all intents and purposes, he laid claim to Wanamaker Trophy walking up to the 17th tee.
Next up, in September, is the United States Open from Winged Foot Golf Club just outside New York City. If this event provides as much excitement as the PGA, it’ll be must-see TV for even the casual golf fans.