Putting Doubt To Rest
The fact that as of last Friday we were still debating who the PGA Tour Player of the Year is was not a knock against Jordan Spieth, but rather a validation of how good of a year Jason Day had in 2015. Jordan Spieth won the first two majors to go along with 2 other victories. In most years that resume slams the door on the POTY chatter. Day won more events and also won a major while coming close in both Opens. His hot play from the British Open through the BMW Championship put him very much in the POTY hunt. Another win at East Lake and a Fed Ex Championship might have just put him ahead of Jordan, but Spieth wasn’t having it.
In the blink of an eye, the week after Jordan earned the number 1 ranking in the world, he lost it by missing the cut. Then he got it back but lost it again due to Jason Day’s victory. As soon as Day got it he would lose it if Spieth were to win the Tour Championship. That is 6 number 1s in 6 weeks if you’re keeping track.
There’s no doubt that Day’s play lit a fire under Spieth. The two are friends and played several rounds together in August and September. After two missed cuts in the first 2 Fed Ex events Jordan used the off week to find his game, play respectable in Chicago last week, and then win the Tour Championship this week at East Lake. He won by 4 in the sloppy, wet conditions at Bobby Jones old home tracj. He won as he does, keep the ball in play in front of you and make putts. The formula is simple.
The victory makes Mr. Speith the POTY. Case closed. Why the Tour released nominations for Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, or anyone else on Monday is only for the punch line. Two majors, 5 wins, a Fed Ex Cup, and $22 million in career earnings at 22 years of old. Not too shabby.
If you’re new to SFG, you’ll want to know that with each big event we crown the winners and losers that result from it. For the 2015 Tour Championship my winners and losers are as follows:
Jordan Spieth – At SFG, the winner is always the big winner in my book. Ten million dollars earned and a lock on the Player of the Year….yeah, winner. Let’s move on.
Jason Day – Day has nothing to be ashamed of. There was no way he could keep up his god-like play for another week. He admitted he was fatigued the week before the BMW when the boys were off. I’m sure some of that came back after his grind of a weekend in Chicago where he put himself under pressure to close the tournament and get the number 1 ranking.
In 40 out of the last 50 PGA Tour seasons Jason Day would likely be the Player of the Year. But this was the year of Spieth. Day was a great running mate. And he’ll be a force for the considerable future. He’ll also be a new dad this fall. Winner, winner.
Henrik Stenson – The big Swede was damn near on the other side of this ledger after hitting his signature shank on the 71st hole of the Tour Championship. The shank didn’t matter a whole lot. Stenson wasn’t going to catch Jordan Spieth at that point. Hank didn’t even break a club after the shank. Instead he manned up and moved on to the par 3 18th hole where he did this:
That 57 foot bomb looked pretty innocent until you realize that the putt boasted Stenson back into a tie for 2nd place and gained him enough Fed Ex points to get an additional $1M bonus from the Tour for his efforts.
Michael Greller – Mr. Greller is of course Jordan Spieth’s caddie. When your guy wins a Brinks truck full of cash and you’re looping….well, you just got paid too. I don’t know the specifics of Greller’s agreement with Spieth and I don’t need to. What I do know is that homie loaded now.
I think it is safe to say he’s never going back to his former life as a teacher.
Daniel Berger – The rookie finished 2nd last week in Chicago but was only good enough in Atlanta for a T12 showing. While I’m sure he had his sights on bigger prizes, just being in the ATL last week was big for Berger. He’s in the Masters field next year and he might have surpassed Justin Thomas as the favorite to win Rookie of the Year. That race is far from over. It will be close. I haven’t looked at their years side-by-side yet so I cannot declare a winner, but Berger is a legit threat to JT now.
Rory McIlroy – Too harsh? No, I don’t think so. Rory’s year went to shit the second he stepped on the soccer pitch and injured himself in early July. He’s been playing catch up to Spieth ever since he returned to the course. In the Fed Ex events he never truly found his game and wasn’t much of a factor. That alone doesn’t make him a SFG loser, no…he gets that honor for saying he wasn’t that interested in winning the Fed Ex prize of $10M for his efforts.
I get it Rors. You’ve got enough money. And you shouldn’t be playing thinking about a pay day. But don’t come out and say that to the media. It makes you look spoiled. If you want to go a step in the other direction, tell the slappy journos you’ll donate $10M to charity if you win.
Johnny Miller – I didn’t catch much of the Tour Championship live so feel free to weigh in on how bad, or really bad, Johnny was while working the 18th tower action at East Lake. What I do know is that he had this gem of a call on Justin Rose’s tee shot early on Sunday.
If you’re at work or have no audio, all you need to know is that Johnny was very complementary of Rosie’s move but the shot ended up out of bounds. Oops.
Jim Furyk – Jimbo typically feasts at East Lake. He’s won here before and he’s also known to be a horse for a course that is covered in slop. East Lake should have been perfect for him. The problem? He never got out of the starting block. Jim WD’d last week at Conway Farms due to a wrist injury and then did the same early last week in Atlanta. Jim missed out on a shit load of cash, Fed Ex points, a possible win, world ranking points, and now he’s doubtful for the Presidents Cup. Tough break.
East Lake – Ok, we get it. Bobby Jones played at the very private and very southern club a thousand years ago. That doesn’t make it great, it only makes it historic. The course is boring for viewers and isn’t going to make the casual fan change the channel from football no matter who is playing/contending. Plus, the season ends on a boring par 3 where birdies are fairly rare. What the fuck, Finchem?
Move it. Rotate the Tour Championship to anywhere else. In September you have enough pleasant weather throughout the U.S. that you could play the tournament anywhere. A change in venue is necessary. Do it now.
Tim Finchem – The commish had Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and Rickie Fowler all in contention for a flagship event with big time bucks on the line, shouldn’t that get him on the list of winners? Not on this site. No one was watching. The ratings don’t lie, On top of that, the Tour let NBC dictate that they’d show golf from noon to 3 in order to show Notre Dame football on Saturday afternoon. The Irish were playing Massachusetts. Massa-fucking-chusetts!!!!! If golf can’t beat that, why try?
I’ve already harped on the venue being an issue. The other big problem is trying to beat football for eyeballs. College, pro….doesn’t mater, Tim. Stop trying to beat them. Join them. Not literally, but do what they’ve done. Play during the week. Put the tourney on in prime time. Pebble Beach sure looked good last weekend for the Seniors. Why can’t you take the big tour there and play the historic links in September with play Tuesday through Friday, or Monday through Thursday. Figure it out and get it fixed.
Shouts Of The Day
Another week, another event without a true signature shot, ace, etc. Like last week, my Shot of the Day is again a compilation of the champion’s work. Here’s a nice mash up that NBC/Golf Channel put together of Jordan Spieth talking to his balls. I know there was a similar highlight clip from the Masters, but these don’t get old to me. The kid is priceless.
Congrats again to Jordan, his team, and his family on a historic 2015. Well played.