A week after the US Open, we saw the PGA Tour take a normal stop at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell Connecticut. It was a course that played just a hair under 6900 yards which is nearly 800 yards less than the Open last week. We would also see scores that did not go as low and a finish that was a good as any that we will ever see.
Jordan Speith, after leading the tournament all week-long would Go into the 18th needing a par to tie, birdie to win. After his second shot came up short in the sand, he would play a really nice shot out to within a foot, which would gaurantee a playoff against Daniel Berger who played a -3 under round to tie Jordan.
That takes both players back out to the 18th to play that hole over again. And once again, Speith would put his second shot in that same bunker in front of the green. Berger would leave himself a long birdie putt. Jordan Spieth would then chip up and in, and celebrate with a club toss, chest bump, and a double fist pump. It was a great shot and a great moment for Jordan’s 10th career win.
It was a terrific ending to a great week of golf for Jordan, although he would finish the final round shooting an even par 70 which allowed Berger to sneak up and catch him late.
One of the terrific items that the video only catches part of is how the two players, that are friends outside of this were high Five-ing and professional with the way they congratulated each other before, then a handshake, followed by a hand slap after the chip in, finished by Jordan quieting the crowd so that Berger could go at his put to possibly tie the hole. It was impressive and fun to watch.
With all of that said, this week saw some of the players from last week compete at a high level once again like Charlie Hoffman, who would take another run but would come up just short. Danny Lee, Paul Casey, and Patrick Reed were all in the top 7 and were within shouting distance. Spieth on the other hand struggled last week, but would rebound this week for a big victory.
After the great chip in, we saw twitter explode talking about how fans wanted to see a finish like that in the US Open. The fact is, you get finishes like that on a course like that and during a week at the Travelers. Don’t get me wrong, there is lots of pressure to win and get the big paycheck. But nothing like you see at an Open or any major for that matter. To be able to channel that competitiveness and ability to take a skilled chance going at the cup instead of just trying to get it close, to move to a second playoff hole is the bi-product of not playing a major.
Golf fans and critics… okay cynics want to point to things like this as a reason not to watch majors. The fact is, the pressure the players put on themselves to win a major is unlike anything an average Sunday player can imagine. It’s not just their livelihood, but they are playing for their place in history. Most of the time, Majors are about who can stay close and not falter on Sunday instead of who rises up on the weeks final day. The reason for that is because of that Pressure.
This week’s event the Quicken Loans National, at TPC Avenal in Potomac Maryland will provide yet another beautiful course set up for the Tour, and the defending champ will be hometown favorite Bill Hurley III. The field is nearly set and we will announce tee time before the tournament starts on Thursday.