The PGA Tour’s first WGC event of the year was won by the rising star Collin Morikawa at The Concession Golf Club, a championship course co-designed by Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus, writes RYAN CAIRNS.
The club was named in honour of the most sporting gesture in Ryder Cup history, as Jack looked over a two-foot putt of Jacklin’s to halve the hole at the 1969 event. He then went on to shock the entire golfing world by conceding the putt. This resulted in the first tie in Ryder Cup history and the story continued in good spirits with Jacklin later saying to Jack that he would never have missed anyway. To which Jack replied, ‘I was never going to let you.’
On a sidenote, I was once in a similar position (albeit nowhere near a Ryder Cup stage) when we played a junior golf event at Bulawayo Country Club. Walking on to the final green with a one-shot lead and the adrenalin pumping, I looked up to see that the clubhouse leader was in fact my little brother.
Brendon had posted his career low round an hour earlier. Seeing his face as he stood behind the green among friends awash with mixed emotions of his own, I was unsure of what to do next. Only 15 feet from the hole, I decided to tentatively steer the first putt and then proceeded to ‘push’ the tap-in winning putt, so we could at least go into a playoff.
The grumbles and groans, followed by immediate celebrations by his friends, as they enthusiastically patted him on the back with excitement, were embarrassing and heartwarming all at once.
The scene was set now, though and he felt on top of the world, which meant my big brother duties were fulfilled. For both of our sakes, I was certainly not going to let him win the playoff. News of the ‘Battle of the Brothers’ had spread quickly so by the time I had finished in the scoring area and arrived at the first tee box, it was lined by juniors, caddies and a few of the golden oldie members from the 19th.
We shook hands, hugged and settled into the nervous buzz of energy around us, as Brendy won the toss and chose to play first. Well, he took out driver, swung the club and middled his tee shot down the fairway to an eruption of applause and cheers.
The rest is written in the history books at Bulawayo Country Club. I did not stand a chance in the playoff that day, as my little brother proceeded to flight his approach shot to within kick-in distance and won his first junior golf tournament in style. It will always be my favourite on-course moment with my brother and also one to this day, which he has never let me live down either.
One week after Morikawa masterfully plotted his way to a victory at The Concession, most of us then stayed up late and binge-watched another episode of the DeChambeau Show – filmed on location at Arnie’s risk-and-reward lay-out, of Bay Hill Club and Lodge.
Bryson launched a tee shot across 350 yards of water-carry on the par-five 6th hole to within chipping distance on a. All while punching the air, willing it across the lake mid-flight, as the crowd behind him erupted into a frenzy. I think it’s safe to say the grandstand golfing colosseums constructed by the PGA Tour for the fans each week have found their new gladiator – and yes, they are entertained.