Image Source: AjP Photo
Halfway into the Charles Schwab Challenge, Harold Varner III (Srixon Z-Star XV) had the lead when he completed his round – and it’s symbolic.
This is the first tournament for the PGA inn 91 days following the cancellation of the Players Championship after the first round because of COVID-19. It is also the first tournament in the wake of Black Lives Matter rising following the killing of George Floyd.
Varner is one of the few black players on the PGA Tour, so that is why his presence in the tournament at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas and his solid standing after 36 holes is of relevance.
He made reference to the racial issues after the first round of the tournament. He is still searching for his first win on the tour, but wouldn’t allow himself to think about its importance to him or its symbolism for racial injustice.
“If I’m thinking about winning a golf tournament right now, I’ve probably lost it,” he said. “I know what’s going on, but when I’m on the golf course I’m trying to play well. The reason I have a platform is because I’m really good at golf. I just need to focus on that and to be honest with you being on the golf course, it helped me. It’s my getaway, I guess.”
The 29-year-old is looking for his first PGA tournament win. He shot seven-under-par in the first round and followed it up with it up with a four-under-par in the second round.
I said before the tournament the only sure thing was there would be a winner and everything else would be uncertain because there would be no spectators and players would have to adjust to that. If Varner wins, it would add something special to this unique tournament in golf history.
Varner authored a 632-word letter that he posted on Twitter and Instagram on June 1. He wanted to take his time to properly word it following Floyd’s death on May 25.
The PGA tournament, under Commissioner Jay Monahan, proactively decided that at 8:46 a.m. prior to the start of each round in the tournament a moment of silence would take place. The time was for the eight minutes and 46 seconds when Floyd died at 8:46 a.m. Clearly Monahan and everyone associated with the PGA is listening to the public. The PGA and Monahan in particular were criticized for deciding to go forward with the second round of the Players Championship when all around the sporting world events were being cancelled. The decision to change that and cancel the tournament was the right thing to do. The moment of silence was another important move.
Varner was at the gym during the moment of silence, but watched it on TV and said afterward: “I don’t really know what they were thinking on the golf course, but it was crazy what they did. I thought it was pretty cool.”
SPEITH BACK IN FORM: Jordan Spieth (Titleist Pro V1x), once the world’s number-one ranked golfer, heads into the final 36 holes only one back of Varner.
Spieth has fallen by the wayside in the last couple years, but he’s always done well at the Colonial Country Club, winning in 2016 and the runnerup the year before. He came into the tournament with a career scoring average of 67.79. He has finished in the top-15 six of seven times at the Colonial. As they say in horse racing, he may be a horse for the course.