It’s just halfway past the 2023 season on the PGA Tour and, to borrow a line from the movie Gladiator, “Are you not entertained?”
We have witnessed so many interesting and exciting story lines, and I’m not talking about the alliance between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which funds LIV Golf.
Rather than dwell on the politics of the sport, I want to highlight those feel-good stories, which have resulted in some players winning for the first time in their careers and some veterans who ended a dry spell.
Jon Rahm (Callaway Chrome Soft X) asserted himself when he and the other top tour players began playing in earnest in January, winning three tournaments on route to his first Masters win.
Scottie Scheffler (Titleist Pro V1) ended a bit of a drought after his brilliant season a year ago winning two tournaments.
Wyndham Clark (Titleist Pro V1) won for the first time in his career in 134 starts with a victory in the Wells Fargo Championship. The victory was emotional because Clark’s mother Lise, who started her son in golf and had been a guiding light in his car, had died 10 years earlier losing a battle with breast cancer. A month later on Father’s Day, Clark won the U.S. Open.
A week after Clark’s maiden-breaking win, former world number one Jason Day (Bridgestone Tour B X) ended a drought of more than 1,800 days and 105 starts with a victory in the AT&T Byron Nelson. It happened on Mother’s Day, more than a year after losing his mother, Adenal, to lung cancer.
That was followed a week later by Brooks Koepka (Srixon Z-Star Diamond), who joined LIV Golf last year after his PGA career had dropped off drastically, winning the PGA Championship for the third time in his career. Similar to Day, Koepka had once been the top-ranked player in the world.
Three weeks later, Nick Taylor (Titleist Pro V1x) became the first native Canadian to win the Canadian Open with a 72-foot eagle, beating Tommy Fleetwood (TaylorMade TP5x), who has yet to win on the PGA Tour in the fourth playoff hole.
Keegan Bradley (Srixon Z-Star) has won twice this season. The first win in the ZOZO Championship ended a drought of four years. He then recorded his second win in the Travelers Championship.
But of all the stories this season, none has had as much drama, at least in terms of the fans, than the win last week by Rickie Fowler (TaylorMade TP5x) in the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Aside from Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5), no golfer in the last decade who has played on the PGA Tour on a regular basis has endeared himself to crowds quite like Fowler. He did it after beating Collin Morikawa (TaylorMade TP5) and Adam Hadwin (Callaway Chrome Soft X) in the first playoff hole. Fowler had been showing signs of ending a drought by rocketing – pun intended – after starting the season 185
Given his lengthy losing streak, Fowler still commanded respect among advertisers, many of them showcasing his personality.
And as I’ve said repeatedly this season, the victory is a boon for the second season of Netflix’s PGA documentary Full Swing. All of the stories I’ve highlighted – and probably many more to follow – will be part and parcel of this truly amazing PGA season.
So once again I ask you, “Are you not entertained?”