I’ve probably said it before since I started writing this blog but let me reiterate it. What I love most about golf at the elite level, men’s or women's, is the human element.
Basically, it is one person with the help of a caddie against everyone else. That makes it a team game, to a certain extent, but at the end of the day the shots, good or bad, are made by one player, and there is also some back story connected to that player.
We’ve seen it in the last two PGA Tour events, both connected to the deceased mother of the winning player and her influence, both in life and the sport. Last week it was Jason Day (Bridgestone Tour B X), once the top-ranked player in the world, winning for the first time in more than 1,800 days and almost to the day of his mother’s passing. That the victory happened on Mother’s Day made it that much more special. Jason Day winning on Mother’s Day, it doesn’t get any more meaningful than that. Add in the fact he won it in the presence of his wife, who is pregnant, and their four children, well, that’s drama at its best, including the fact it happened in the rain. Not even Mother Nature could spoil the ending, although it was close at the end. I’m sure there will be one episode on it in the second season of The Full Swing.
The week before it was Wyndham Clark (Titleist Pro V1x), winning for the first time on the PGA Tour in his 134th event and about 10 years after his mother died. Clark kept tipping his hand with improved results, and yet he was somewhat of a longshot.
Similar to many players struggling for that first win, Clark had considered leaving the sport because of the mental, emotional and physical grind. Clearly it was worth it. And yes that could be another episode in The Full Swing. To borrow an expression, this stuff writes itself.
So what will be the story line in the PGA Championship? If I knew I’d begin writing it, but I’m neither a clairvoyant, a soothsayer, tarot card reader, just a writer that is a sucker for a story.
I’ll be providing a blog after each round of the PGA Championship this week and I can’t wait. Maybe what I’m most happy about is it will happen in the eastern time zone. Those west coast times and central coast times don’t do it for me.
I’m going to go out on a limb and pick Hideki Matsuyama (Srixon Z Star) to win. I think performance last week following an injury should have him ready for this week. If I were going for the favorite it would be Jon Rahm (Callaway Chrome Soft X). I also like Tyrrell Hatton (Titleist Pro V1x) a little. This season he has played with considerable improvement. By the way, my nickname for Hatton is E.F. Hatton. If you’re old enough you’ll get the reference and the joke. When EF Hutton talks, people listen.