Up post player (Granny Scheffler) and down (Rory’s Zooms).
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Don’t call it a comeback…because it wasn’t. At every point. No, Scottie Scheffler’s win at Sunday’s Players Championship was the most predictable tournament win we’ve seen in a long time.
Scheffler’s victory initially seemed likely as he climbed to the top of a relatively anonymous leaderboard on Thursday and Friday afternoon. Finishing two shots clear on Sunday morning, his re-crowning as world No. 1 felt like an inevitability. The only question that remains is how many shots he would win with. (The answer, it turned out, was five.)
But make no mistake, Sunday proved to be comeback time someone at TPC Sawgrass, and that someone was the PGA Tour.
After an odd 12 months in which the Tour was a competitive year, the established circuit kicked off the 2023 season with excitement for players. That’s where we start this week’s stock report.
Players Championship stock report
The PGA Tour – A wild week began with the announcement of the tour’s planned event changes. No cuts, limited fields, better planning and one less event. “Look at that statistic,” Jay Monahan said Tuesday. “Our best players play against each other 40 percent of the time on the PGA Tour.” The new format aims to change that. The new format will change that. Not everyone was happy with that, but the sport got better this week.
The Drifter by Min Woo Lee – Those of us with an affinity for the simpler pleasures of golf could laugh at Min Woo Lee’s tee shots on Sunday. The sheer force with which he hits his 18-degree Callaway 2-iron has earned a special place in my golfing soul. “There aren’t many places where I hit more 2 irons than here, so I like this course,” he said. “Yes, I like this club.” So do we.
Tyrrell Hatton’s bank account — Five straight birdies and seven on his last nine holes were good enough to earn him a second solo finish and $2.7 million. Golf’s endearingly unpredictable player cashed a HUGE check on Sunday, and a well-earned one after a couple of weeks of reasonably good play.
Joel Dahmen – Turns out, starring on a show that’s accessible to 231 million people is good for visibility. Who would have thought? Dahmen was one of the undisputed stars of the tournament week – a favorite of Sawgrass fans. “The reception on the 17th tee today was ridiculous,” he told me. “I said to Geno, ‘I feel like Rickie Fowler.'” It’s strange to see Dahmen rocket to such golfing fame, but pretty awesome for one of the greatest golfers of all time.
Geno Bonnalie – Joel wasn’t the only Netflix star fans were clamoring for this weekend. Geno has easily earned his way into the upper echelons of tour caddy fame, and it was pretty sweet to see the genuine excitement of interacting with the fans. These two will be a smash hit for a long Time.
Ricky Fowler – Rickie didn’t get the career-defining victory he aimed for earlier this week, but he did complete a T13 finish in a hard Event featuring some of the most impressive golf magic I’ve seen in a minute. After his trip on 18th went into a gully, Fowler took a drop and tumbled his neck 15 feet through a laptop-sized gap. He made the birdie putt and walked away nearly $500,000 richer.
holes in one – There were – count them – three Aces finished 17th this weekend, capping one of the busiest years on record for the island green. I hope the course maintenance team measured these holes accurately, I wouldn’t mind seeing them again next year.
The weather — After last year’s miserable weather forced me to pack a winter jacket for this year’s tournament, I was relieved that the weather in Florida was at its best for most of this week. JAX, you’ve convinced me again.
Scottie Scheffler’s grandma – If you thought Scottie’s performance on Sunday was impressive, you should have seen Grammy Scheffler trudge around the grounds with a walker in tow. Even my esteemed colleague Claire Rogers learned that Grandma served dessert On Sunday evening.
tacos — Somehow I got to this tournament for almost the last decade without ever making it to TacoLu in Jax Beach. I’m doing you a favor and suggest you don’t make the same mistake. There’s something for everyone, from the Marg maniacs (me) to the die-hard foodies (…me included).
Scottie Scheffler’s caffeine intake — The guy says he’s a addicted coffee drinker …except for the days he plays golf. I don’t care if you’re the best player in the world no one needs help to be grumpy on the golf course.
Rory McIlroy’s Zoom Calendar – Rory McIlroy has seen more Zoom waiting rooms since the start of the 2022 season than any Fortune 500 CEO. It seemed like it had finally caught up with him at the Players. “I’d love to play golf again,” Rory said after a missed cut on Saturday. “It’s been a busy couple of weeks, and honestly it’s been six or eight busy months. From here it should obviously be quieter.”
Jon Rahm’s gastrointestinal tract – The longest made cut streak on the PGA Tour ended Friday when Jon Rahm (who was well within the cutline) contracted WD with a gastrointestinal virus. As someone who fought you off touch from food poisoning at the media center this week, we hope for a speedy recovery.
James Hahn present — Those who know me know that I have been a staunch supporter of Comrade Hahn’s quest for justice in golf, but it wasn’t a very good scene for him to miss Tuesday’s Players Meeting to discuss these very changes!
Fast Golf — The pace of play in the first two days at TPC Sawgrass was glacier. For the fifth straight week, the tour was forced to take a Saturday cut. Worse still, Gary Young, the tour’s official leader, threw his hands in the air when he thought the problem might soon be fixed. “We’re a membership organization,” he said. “We just understand that unfortunately sometimes we have to finish on Saturday morning. That’s the way it is. The numbers are the numbers. It’s a mathematical equation. You can find out.”
Xander Schauffele’s streaming habits — Xander wasn’t watching Full swing. He has no intention of watching Full swing. “I’m more of a detective type,” he told me. (Xander, if you’re reading this, we’d love to hear your thoughts on Season 1 of poker face.)
Paul Azinger’s hopes for Scottie Scheffler’s return to Earth – It sounded at times on Sunday’s NBC show as if Azinger was trying to set up a tight player end, constantly warning viewers that Scheffler was “one bad hole” away from returning to the field. He may have forgotten that Scottie hasn’t blinked in 13 months … and never indicated on Sunday that he intended to change that.
This child Forehead — No, Justin Thomas said, he doesn’t sign on a fan’s forehead the second time in two days. The main problem seemed to be that the Sharpie hadn’t worn out yet. “Dude, you have to wash it first,” he said. Fair enough.
Cameron Davis’ bank account (and James Colgan’s interview tact) — I did something very stupid at the Players on Saturday. I asked Cam Davis if he had ever hit the devilish Sunday pin on the 17 island green. He gave me a pained look. “NO. This weekend is my first, so hopefully I’ll get through it okay.” Davis did, as you may have seen Sunday afternoon not make a good run by putting his tee shot in the water and double bogeying the hole. It was still a fantastic weekend for the prolific Aussie, who finished T6 and made about $736,000, but a par on the 17th would have given him a $1.47 million payday. (I’m very, very sorry, Cam.)
Keith Mitchell’s sanity – Friday’s buzzing water polo was the worst break in golf in 2023, and while Mitchell treated it with lots of fun, we’d hardly blame him for lost sleep as a result of the endeavor.
Legroom by Tom Hoge – The man cashed a check for $1.47 million on Sunday afternoon and flew American Airlines home to DFW, on the bus, of course. Never change, TH.
Brown noise/my keyboard/my colleagues’ perception of me – See below.
https://golf.com/news/players-championship-stock-report-2023/ Up post player (Granny Scheffler) and down (Rory’s Zooms).