Nice to have golf back!
It is wonderful to have real golf action back to watch. I thought CBS did a great job in televising the event. Even though there were no spectators, I felt the players were motivated and put on a great show. Lacking crowd noise the leaders didn't always know where they stood, but there were enough scoreboards and officials around to keep them properly up to date. Speaking for myself, I was absorbed and excited; I didn't think the lack of crowds distracted me or the TV audience from the competition.
The leaderboard was about as good as you would want. At the end of the day there were at least 10 players that could kick themselves for not taking advantage of a winning opportunity. Daniel Berger, the winner, was one of those players that were just hanging close to the lead and then birdied the last hole to force a play-off. Others had the same opportunity, but couldn't finish. Kokrak, DeChambeau, Rose, and Schauffele all had chances on the 18th, but came up short. Only Berger was able to convert that last putt. Daniel has been inconsistent and missing for the past 2 ½ years due to injuries. With his wrist healed, his last four events have been top 10, so his win shouldn't have been a surprise. But even so, it was a surprise, because of how well Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele had been playing.
Morikawa and Schauffele are two of my favorite players. Both have similar temperaments and physical game. Both are destined to be major winners in the near future. Both were solid until Xander pulled a fairway bunker shot into the water on 15. He rallied with a bogie saving putt on that hole and a birdie on 16, before failing to convert his birdie putt on 18. Collin on the other hand looked like the winner after Xander's mistake on 15. Solid play through the final holes and a wonderful iron shot to inside six feet on 18. I never thought he would miss that putt, but he did! Both Xander and Collin missed short putts on 17, first Xander in regulation and then Collin in the play-off. Each were cruel lip-outs, but I never saw Tiger do that when it counted. If they are to raise another level, those mistakes cannot happen.
Jordon Spieth had a "nice" tournament, but he couldn't be pleased with his inconsistent putting and ball striking. It appears his swing and putting stroke are much better than the past couple of years, but his confidence is still lacking. You can easily tell when a player is over-thinking or putting too much pressure on a particular shot. They take longer to decide on the shot and then spend much too long over the ball before swinging. Jordon has been self-destructing like that for a while. Besides the "yips", indecision and over-thinking in golf is a tough obstacle to overcome. Hope he is on the road to total recovery.
Two players that should have run away with the tournament were Justin Rose and the "mad scientist" Bryson DeChambeau. Rose had some mental lapses in the end of the third round and the start of the last round. If he didn't do that, he could've won going away. The same could be said for DeChambeau. His putting just killed him and one bad wedge shot on 17 ruined his chance for a play-off. Bryson added 40 pounds of weight and muscle and is going all-out whenever he can with his driver. He was easily the longest driver at Colonial this week. It will be interesting to see if his added length will result in more tournament wins in the coming weeks.
Have to mention Rory McIlroy. As I have stated before, when he is "on", there is no one better. But when he gets off, he doesn't seem to be able to adjust. The last round front nine was a disaster of poor shots and bad decisions that resulted in a six over par total. But unlike Spieth, his confidence will not be shaken by this nine hole score. He has one gear and its full speed ahead. He will be back next week at Hilton Head and it would not be surprising for him to win.
Congratulations to Daniel Berger, the PGA Tour, CBS crew, and the players for an outstanding event. Nice to have golf back.