Editor in Chief
Like the rest of the sports world, golf was held captive by COVID-19 for all of the spring and much of the summer. One minute the pros are playing in the Players Championship and smacking balls on the famed 17th hole of TPC Sawgrass, the next they are packing up their pristine white pants and going home. This was in March, so golf fans around the world waited in agony as tournaments from the Wells Fargo Championship (booooring) to the Masters (no!) were cancelled. This was, of course, the right call, but I was still anticipating the return of my beloved sport.
Flash forward to August — it’s back! While the rest of us were busy rescheduling our move-in dates, the PGA Championship came back with low expectations. Sure, people were excited, but this was the first major championship (out of the four) to be played since the suspension of the season and even though there were a couple of preceding tournaments, the pros had to be a little rusty. I was wrong. What ensued was an action-packed four days of competition with a tight leaderboard, until the final back nine when young phenom Collin Morikawa said peace out! He drove the green on the par-four 16th to seven feet and subsequently drained the eagle putt. I flew out of my seat. Golf was back and better than ever.
It’s worth noting that I disagreed with any sport coming back in the summer and fall, but since golf involves little to no contact with other people coupled with constant testing, I allowed myself the pleasure of viewing.
Flash forward again to September — the 2019-20 season is technically over, Dustin Johnson won the PGA Tour Championship and now the 2020-21 season kicks off with the … U.S. Open? You heard that right, folks, the season opened (I’m not counting the Safeway Open because booooring) with the United States’ eponymous tournament. This time, the expectations were high, in part because of how wild the last major was, but also because of the course. The famed Winged Foot Golf Club last held the U.S. Open in 2006 when, if you were an avid golf fan at six to eight years old, you might remember Phil Mickelson’s choke-job on the 72nd hole for what would end up being one of his six runner-up finishes in this tournament.
Mickelson, now 14 years older, did not get his long-awaited win, but that didn’t make the event any less exhilarating. Sunday ended up being a showdown between Bryson DeChambeau, who gained forty pounds of pure muscle and a lot more yards off the tee, and Matthew Wolff, who is known for having a weird swing and being younger than most college seniors (turned 21 in April in case you want to feel like your life is going nowhere). It was neck and neck for most of the front nine — accentuated by back-to-back eagle putts right before the turn — but DeChambeau ran away with it. He finished six strokes ahead of the field and was the only player to finish under par which is not unheard of for Winged Foot (see: “The Massacre” of 1974), but is very unheard of for the pros.
At this point you’re asking yourself, “Why should I care?” Well, because this next year of golf is going to be epic! The 2020-21 season will have six majors — six! — because of the aforementioned U.S. Open and the rescheduled Masters which is set to take place in November, before the normal major season kicks off in April with the Masters again. Also, in all the years I’ve been watching golf, I don’t remember so many players competing at such a high caliber. Between people that are younger than me (sigh) and Tiger who is going on 45, it seems like every player has a chance to take home the trophy and millions of dollars. This year, I dare anyone to turn on the TV on a Sunday and tell me watching golf is “boring.”