Tag: Dustin Johnson

The Masters

Augusta National Golf Club, GA

Valero Texas Open Wrap-Up

Last week’s Valero Texas Open made for some very exciting golf to say the least. Jordan Spieth and Charley Hoffman dueled it out in the final round, both shooting 66 on Sunday. However, Spieth had already started two shots ahead of Hoffman, so it wasn’t enough for him to catch Jordan. With Spieth’s latest victory, he ended a winless drought that’s lasted nearly four years. With this victory, Spieth has vaulted up to 7th place in the FedEx Cup standings. You knew it was only a matter of time before Jordan sealed the deal with his relentless pounding on the door since the 2021 season began. There can’t be a greater confidence boost than to arrive at Augusta fresh off a hard-fought victory, so it’s a virtual lock that he will be in the mix come Sunday at the Masters.

The Masters Tournament

With the schedule change to the fall last year, it feels like only yesterday when we watched Dustin Johnson lift the 2020 trophy at Augusta National, and it feels like Christmas came early this year with the Masters back where it belongs—the best golf week of the year. With the weather warming up, flowers coming into bloom, birds chirping, the golf season starting up, and four days of watching the best players in world compete at one of the most beautiful and iconic settings in golf, you really can’t ask for a more. We missed out on that feeling last year, and it’s making 2021 all the more special. The Masters was founded in 1934 by golf legend Bobby Jones and his friend Clifford Roberts. Jones and Roberts built the course on a beautiful piece of property that had previously been a nursery, with trees and plants coming from all over the world. When they decided to host their own championship, it was originally called the “Augusta National Invitation Tournament,” and held that name until 1940, when it became “The Masters Tournament”. Since inception, The Masters has been played in the first week of April, and Bobby Jones’ immense popularity combined with the sheer beauty of the course, immediately made the event one of the most popular on tour. Masters week begins with the Champions Dinner on Tuesday evening, with all of the previous winners in attendance and the reigning champion selecting the menu. On Wednesday, players compete in the famed Par-3 contest (interestingly, no winner of the Par-3 has ever gone on to win The Masters). Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Par-3 contest will not be held this week.

The Field

Since Bobby Jones remained an amateur throughout his career, The Masters field includes a large number of accomplished amateurs, including the reigning U.S. Amateur champion and runner up, as well as winners of the British Amateur, Asian Amateur, U.S. Public Links and U.S. Mid-Amateur championships. Amateurs competing in The Masters also have the opportunity to stay at the “Crow’s Nest,” located in the clubhouse above the locker room—an experience that every talented young golfer dreams about. The Masters has the smallest field of all the majors, generally between 90 and 100 players. In addition to the amateurs, the top 50 players in the world automatically qualify along with players who have won the PGA Championship, U.S. Open, or Open Championship within the last 5 years. In addition, past Masters champions receive a lifetime invitation, allowing each player to decide for himself when the time has come to withdraw from the field. The favorite this week has to be Jordan Spieth. With a host of top ten finishes in 2021, fresh off a win at the Valero last week, a Green Jacket already hanging in his locker and a white-hot putter, Jordan has to be licking his chops. As the number one ranked player in world and reigning Masters champion, Dustin Johnson should be at the top of the list as well, but he’s been struggling with the driver as of late. Perhaps the familiar surroundings and positive vibe will rouse him—Augusta has always been a friend to the big hitter. And speaking of big hitters, Bryson DeChambeau will no doubt make his presence felt this week. Also keep an eye on Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm—all power players likely to be in the mix on Sunday. One of the great things about Augusta though, length means a lot—but not everything (remember Ben Crenshaw with a pair of Green Jackets). And the Masters can be entirely unpredictable as well—maybe we’ll see an amateur making history this week (Ollie Osborne perhaps?).

Augusta National Golf Club

Augusta National was established by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts in 1933. The course was originally designed by the legendary Alistair Mackenzie, with a great deal of input from Bobby Jones. Over the years, some of the great names in golf course architecture have lent their abilities to maintain the essence of Bobby Jones’ vision and keep the course current in the face of changing equipment, including Perry Maxwell, Robert Trent Jones, Sr., and Jack Nicklaus. In addition to the eighteen-hole championship course, Augusta National also includes one of the finest par 3 courses in the world.

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The Genesis Invitational

The Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades CA home of the Genesis Invitational
The Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades CA

Greetings golfers! It’s a new year, and that means a fresh PGA Tour season! We all know how rough the last year has been with COVID-19, but 2021 is bound to be better for sure. A lot has happened on the tour since our last blog post. Tiger Woods underwent yet another back surgery, Bryson DeChambeau won his first major, (The U.S. Open) and Dustin Johnson won his second major, (The Masters). It was fascinating to see how differently Augusta National and Winged foot played in Fall, and both delivered the great play and thrills we expect from a major championship.

Six events have been played so far this season, and we saw quite a few great finishes. Brooks Koepka’s come from behind victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open was particularly notable after a lengthy struggle to regain his form after the injury, and certainly signals his return as a force to be reckoned with as the tour season moves forward.

AT&T Pebble Beach Wrap-Up

Last week concluded the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Although COVID prevented us from enjoying the amateur portion of the tournament, we were treated to some blistering golf by Daniel Berger, who fired a final round 65 to finish two shots ahead of runner up Maverick McNealy. This was Berger’s fourth win on Tour, and the quality shots he delivered under pressure down the stretch, on a track like Pebble Beach, will certainly elevate his confidence as he pursues his first major championship. A suddenly revitalized Jordan Spieth led the tournament for most of the week, but he faltered on Sunday with a bogey on the Par 5 14th hole. Although he fought back with birdies on 17 and 18, it wasn’t enough to catch Berger and he finished tied for 3rd. The strong showing at Pebble after a solid top 5 finish the previous week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open may be an indicator that Spieth is back, and this may be the most exciting PGA Tour season in a long time.

The Genesis Invitational

This week is the Genesis Invitational played at iconic Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California. The Genesis is one of the longest running stops on the PGA Tour, originally called The Los Angeles Open. Over the years the tournament has been played at a number of different venues, including the El Caballero Country Club, Wilshire Country Club, Hillcrest Country Club and Griffith Park Municipal Golf Course. Riviera was one of the first courses to host the LA Open all the way back in 1929, and became the permanent host from 1973 onward with the exception of two years when the course was hosting the PGA Championship. Tiger Woods made his debut as an Amateur at the LA Open in 1992. The biggest names in golf have won here, including Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, and Fred Couples, each of whom winning the tournament multiple times. In 2019, Tiger Woods added his lofty persona as the Tournament host.

The Field

The strongest field of the year tees it up this week at Riviera, including Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Colin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson. Tyler Strafaci, the reigning U.S. Amateur Champion, will also be in the field, and it’s always great to watch youngsters with a lot of game tee it up with the pros. Notably absent from the field is the tournament’s host Tiger Woods, who is still recuperating from his back surgery in December.

The Riviera Country Club

The Riviera Country Club, founded in 1926, was originally designed by famed architects George Thomas and William P. Bell. Through the years the course has been updated by highly regarded architects including Ted Robinson, Sr., Bill Coore, and Ben Crenshaw. Most recently Tom Fazio, one of the architectural giants of last fifty years, brought his talents to maintaining Riviera as a stiff test of golf in the modern era of power golf. In addition to hosting the Genesis Invitational, Riviera has been the venue for a number of major championships, including the 1948 U.S. Open, both the 1983 and 1995 PGA Championships, and the 1998 U.S. Senior Open. Riviera is also slated to host the 2028 Olympics, which should be a joy to watch.

We should be in for a great weekend of golf—make sure you don’t miss it.

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PGA Tour Update and the BMW

Olympia Fields Country Club, Illinois

Northern Trust Wrap-Up

Dustin Johnson sailed to an easy victory last week at the Northern Trust (his 22nd win on the PGA Tour). DJ was 30 under par for the week, and won with an astounding margin of 11 shots over runner-up, Harris English. The win propelled him to the top of the FedEx Cup standings, 92 points ahead of Justin Thomas and also placed him back atop the Word Golf Rankings, moving past John Rahm. Dustin was showing signs that his game was rounding into form, and after his disappointing finish at the PGA Championship, it was great to see it all come together (particularly in light of the rather prickly remarks that Brooks Koepka aimed at him a few weeks back.) As the FedEx Cup stands now, Johnson, Thomas, and Simpson remain the top three, but Daniel Berger has picked up some ground after a solid 3rd place finish this week.

BMW Championship

This Thursday marks the start of the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields in Illinois—the second leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs. There will be a few conspicuously missing stars this week as the playoff field is reduced to the top 70 in the standings. In addition to Phil, big names who failed to qualify include Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth. With the depth of talent currently on tour, however, there will still be plenty of fireworks with Tiger, DJ, Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau teeing it up against young guns Collin Morikawa, Scottie Scheffler and Victor Hovland. Both Tiger and Rory each commented on the difficulty of playing without the energy of a huge gallery, but perhaps the presence of these young phenoms will give them a little extra juice—we’ll see.

The Course

The BMW Championship is played at multiple venues on a rotating basis, much like the Northern Trust. The north course at Olympia Fields Country Club, about a half hour south of Chicago, will host this year’s event for the first time in its history. Olympia Fields was founded in 1915 and boasts two magnificent eighteen- hole layouts (The North and The South). Each course was originally designed by a legendary architect (Willie Park, Jr designed the North and Tom Bendelow designed the South). Having hosted four major championships, (two PGA’s and two U.S. Open’s), as well as the 2015 U.S. Amateur, the 1997 U.S. Senior Open and the 2017 Women’s PGA Championship, Olympia Fields has a rich history and will provide a wonderful test for the players at this week’s championship. Other venues for the BMW Championship include Cog Hill Golf & Country Club (07, 09, 10, 11), Bellerive Country Club (08), Crooked Stick Golf Club (12, 16, 17), Conway Farms Golf Club (13, 15), Cherry Hills Country Club (14), Aronimink Golf Club (18), and Medinah Country Club (19).

Get the course details at GolfDay.

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