After three months off and a thrilling playoff victory for Daniel Berger, ANDRE HUISAMEN shares his thoughts.
Fans or no fans, it’s great to have pro golf back!
A congested first page on the leaderboard is something we probably shouldn’t take for granted again, because the finish to this weekend’s Charles Schwab Challenge exceeded every expectation I had for golf’s resumption.
Like I said last week in anticipation of the restart, it doesn’t really matter who wins or how he wins – everyone just needs to witness some competitive golf again.
Berger and Collin Morikawa’s little battle in the first playoff provided that exact same satisfaction that golf lovers have been missing in recent months.
To have some of the world’s best make late charges epitomised the beauty of a final round on a Sunday and why we, in South Africa, continue to stay up late to watch it all unfold.
Justin Rose and Bryson DeChambeau were particularly impressive throughout, although the Englishman might think he let it slip away after his first-round lead.
DeChambeau definitely did some bulking in his off time, which of course makes his swing just so much more attractive – and luckily it looked like it’s working with his distance gains.
Jordan Spieth surprised me, especially after I pencilled him in for a weekend off owing to his poor run of form prior to the lockdown. The downtime did him a world of good and he’s clearly done a great deal to work on his all-round game.
One surprise was Rory McIlroy’s final round. It was the first time since September last year that the Northern Irishman hadn’t finish inside the top five of an event.
It’ll be interesting to see how he bounces back this week at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina after heading south down the leaderboard so rapidly on Sunday.
Spieth’s turbulence and McIlroy’s freefall were just part of the drama and excitement from a weekend made for pretty decent viewing. Yes, we did have Branden Grace in the mix going into the final round which was great but he suffered the same fate as the world No 1.
At times, the fact that there were no spectators even went unnoticed as it still in a way feels as if the greens are surrounded by groups of people. There was enough ambient noise to prevent the action being watched with muted sound.
If the Charles Schwab Challenge is an example of what’s to come, then the PGA Tour is heading in the right direction. It’s giving millions around the world a sense of normality which comes as a welcome boost to the soul.
The competitiveness was there, the players looked more than eager and committed to succeed, while viewers at home were treated to a masterclass finish – almost typical of the Tour in recent years.
It was the PGA Tour at its very best.