Three tournaments are unlikely to have a reasonable sample size. Even so, the numbers have been shocking since the PGA Tour returned to competition.
Mackenzie Hughes opened with a 60 in the Travelers’ Championship. Rory McIlory posted two rounds of 63 and has yet to reach the top 10 in the three tournaments he has played since the restart. Those are between 56 rounds of 64 or more in the past three weeks.
The PGA Tour put this in an even bigger context.
In the last three events, there has been a 64 or less once every 24 rounds. In the first 22 events before golf was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 64 or more every 54 rounds.
Fourteen players in the past three weeks alone have scored or drawn the lowest scores of their career on the PGA Tour.
So much for the rust of the three-month interval.
Either that, or everyone has the same amount of rust and the courses are really easy. It should not be forgotten is that the players were so eager to return, they were all playing. The Colonial, Harbor Town and TPC River Highlands courses had a quality of course normally seen in Muirfield Village, Riviera or the World Golf Championships.
“I think there are obviously a lot of good players playing these events,” said Brooks Koepka last week, before retiring from the Travelers’ Championship just in case, when his caddy tested positive for the coronavirus. “Everyone was dying to play. I think a little bit of that is what all good players are playing, and then you will have a good ranking and then the golf course. When it’s a bird festival and the guys get hot, you’ll see a lot of people huddled up there. “
The field is a total of 1,639 under par hits in the last three events. In the same three events as last year, the course combined to pass par 271.
Part of it has to do with the calendar and the weather. Those often go together.
The Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial started on June 11, the most recent the tournament has started. The weather in Fort Worth, Texas, was hot, which meant that more water was needed to keep the grass healthy, and this led to softer vegetables that might look like darts to the best players in the world.
RBC Heritage is usually the week after the Masters in April. It was moved to June 18th. By that time, the rye grass in Harbor Town had been overtaken by Bermuda. As a result, the gross has been reduced. The greens were soft and a little slower (“I couldn’t get the ball into the hole,” said Dustin Johnson) and the scores on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, were absurd. In the third round, there were six rounds of 63. Webb Simpson ended up winning with 22 to less than 262, breaking the tournament record by two shots.
Last week, at the travelers’ championship, at least, we had a little bit of separation, but not much. Johnson opened with a 69 and was off the line in a tie for the 72nd. His 61 in the third round put him in the belt, and he won at 19 below. Of course, Johnson is capable of this anywhere, not just in Cromwell, Connecticut.
The next is the Detroit Golf Club for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, where last year Nate Lashley made two rounds of 63 on the way to 25 below and a six-shot win.
Bryson DeChambeau was underway before and after the pandemic-related break on the PGA Tour. The Travelers Championship was his sixth consecutive final in the top 10. He is also among the seven players in the Rocket Mortgage Championship who will try to extend his chances of making all the cuts since golf returned.
The others are Tyler Duncan, Lucas Glover, Viktor Hovland, Mark Hubbard, Doc Redman and Brian Stuard.
Sliding in the other direction are Brian Gay, KH Lee, Russell Knox, Danny Willet and Kevin Tway. They are at the Detroit Golf Club this week trying to avoid losing the cut at all events since the restart.
Will Gordon had the best week for anyone not named Dustin Johnson in the Travelers Championship. The tie in third place was worth the equivalent of enough FedEx Cup points to earn a temporary special participation on the PGA Tour, which means that he receives unlimited sponsor exemptions in the last five tournaments of the year.
He also won $ 436,600. How to celebrate the biggest check of your young career? Driving 700 miles to Detroit for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Gordon was jokingly asked if he should not fly in private.
“I’m not ready for that account, mentally,” he said with a smile.
The unit was more related to health. It took a little over 10 hours – three on Sunday night, seven on Monday. The idea was to keep your circle small.
“Since this COVID thing is still a real problem for everything that’s going on, I just wanted to keep my bubble very small,” said Gordon. “So my caddy and I kept the same car and drove here. It wasn’t that bad.
If he finishes in the top 10 or receives an exemption from the Workday Charity Open next week, it’s only a three-hour drive to Dublin, Ohio.
The PGA Professional Championship was scheduled for April 26 and 29 and was then postponed from July 19 to 22 at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas. The tournament has now been canceled after the PGA of America met with local health officials.
The PGA championship will still have 20 club professionals. He will be among the top 20 on the 2019 PGA Player of the Year list of points, which was the plan on which he was postponed for the first time (and before the change of the PGA championship from May to August).
USGA is following suit. Without qualifying this year because of the pandemic, the US Open has unique exemption categories. One is for the top three players in the PGA Professional Championship. The US Open Spots will now be the top three on the 2019 PGA points list.
Ryan Vermeer, Marty Jertson and Danny Ballin won these places on Winged Foot on September 17th and 20th.
NO FAN ZONES
Nobody’s pen runs out of ink during a return to competition that does not allow spectators. Players get out of their cars and take an uninterrupted walk to wherever they are, whether it’s the locker room, the dining area or the training ground.
There are no fans asking for autographs.
Dustin Johnson was able to think of just one autograph that he signed in his first two tournaments. This went to a walking pointer who was in the group behind him and ran to get something signed.
“Hey, one a week, I’ll be fine with that,” said Johnson.
Chase Koepka …