Two months ago Lucas Glover missed a 2 ft. putt in a playoff to miss qualifying for a US Open. This past Sunday, Lucas made a 6 ft. putt on the 18th hole to win the Wyndham Open and qualify for the Fed Ex cup tournament. Glover has been suffering from the yips for quite some time and that putt on the 18th hole slithering into a hole that seemed to get larger as the ball approached the cup. The gods of golf had decided that Glover had suffered enough.
On the other side of the coin, the highlight of the tournament was not focused on the leaderboard. The tournament was focused on the plight of Justin Thomas as to whether he could finish high enough in the event to qualify for the Fed Ex Cup. Thomas has had a horrible year for a player of his caliber. It’s difficult to understand that a player that has won a Fed Ex Cup, 2 majors and 15 PGA tour events in nine years has hit the wall in his professional golf career. The tournament focused on Thomas’ performance hole by hole as he vacillated from 70th place to 73rd throughout the event. (had to finish at 70th to qualify) Thomas probably felt more pressure than a newly minted professional going through Q school. The task was difficult since the field was going low on a standard type of PGA layout and he was in and out of the top ten but simply couldn’t make the quantum move needed to secure that 70th position. In the final round, he continued to teeter and then made a great eagle on the 15th hole but that only enabled him to stay in 70th position. He needed something special on the 18th hole but pulled his tee shot into the left rough with an almost impossible shot to the green. The lie was terrible and he needed an exaggerated pull to get the ball onto the green. In Tiger Wood fashion, he took a mighty swing with a helicopter finish and almost pulled it off as the shot landed just below the collar of the green. He needed to hole out to secure his place in the Fed Ex field. Thomas has done great things before with his chipping and this shot would be no exception–unfortunately a great shot hit the pin and bounced away from the hole ending Thomas’ chance to advance. He rolled to the ground in horror but the gods of golf refused to let this one go in. It’s the final nail on what has been a tough year for Thomas–my sense is that he will be back better than ever in 2024. His friend Jordan Speith went through a similar drought and has returned as a bright star on the PGA Tour. Thomas is undoubtedly worried that his selection to the Ryder Cup team and that a spot might be in peril. Whatever occurs here, I believe Thomas will be back in 2024 better than ever.
Onto the next weird event, Bryson DeChambeau who had almost disappeared on the professional golf world from hero to zero shot 58 at the Greenbriar golf club in an LIV event. Bryan’s star status in professional golf was dimmed by his move to LIV and (unlike Brooks Koepka) has not really performed well in the majors for the past few years. The 58 is certainly spectacular and even though Greenbriar is an easy course for these professionals–58 is still 58 and only one other 58 has been recorded in professional golf. DeChambeau stated that it was the highlight of his golfing career. Personally I would rather have the distinction of being a US Open Champion, which he won at 2020 as well as a US Amateur champion. DeChambeau is a man of the moment and it would be good for professional golf if he returned to his former flamboyant self.
In addition, at Wyndham, I didn’t recognize Billy Horschel with his new full beard as he struggles to get back to his normal competitive self. After his 84 in the Memorial earlier this year, Horschel has been looking to find his game. He made a run at Wyndham but fell short on Sunday. I would lose the beard and get refocused on the coming events. I’m certainly positive that he is supremely focused on doing just that and I would expect him to return to form.
Finally after a 348 yard drive on the 15th hole, Charlie Hoffman holed his second shot from 198 yards for an albatross. I had never seen an albatross and this was really amazing. Despite all this, it has been less than a stellar year for Hoffman as he will also miss the Fed Ex Cup tournament but no one can take away the albatross.
It was certainly a weird week in the world of professional golf. I don’t think we’ve ever seen a tournament that featured the player who finished 12th in the tournament.