__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 146

THE LAST WORD

REASONS TO BE THANKFUL The Editor of the PGA TOUR Essential Guide to Golf reflects on the past challenging year and finds much to celebrate By Jeff Babineau

O

ne Thursday in November does not hold exclusive rights to expressing our thanks. As the final sands dripped slowly out of 2020—a year truly like no other—it would be an easy exercise to recollect all that didn’t go right. Instead, as a new year beckons, with renewed hope, let us celebrate some of the good things we witnessed and experienced:

Bryson DeChambeau after winning the 2020 U.S. Open.

X When COVID-19 delivered The Great Unknown, the PGA TOUR stepped up in a big way as a trailblazer in returning sports to our lives. By operating wisely and safely, the PGA TOUR was able to salvage a major portion of its 2019-20 season. Sure, it included a few twists, such as major championships shifted to September and November, but we got there. Let’s be thankful for the mighty effort. X There are plenty of divisive elements attached to living in the 2020s; Bryson DeChambeau should not be listed among them. For all who claim that his intense chase for increased distance might “break the game,” DeChambeau should be celebrated for his hard work, ingenuity and unwavering dedication. He is pushing the envelope, and he’ll push others to get better, just as Tiger Woods once awakened golfers to get in the gym. Celebrate DeChambeau for what he is: our U.S. Open champion. X In the 1980s, stepping onto the PGA TOUR was an intimidating experience for young players. Rookies would step out nervously onto a practice tee at some TOUR stop and see players such as Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Raymond Floyd, Curtis Strange and Lanny Wadkins hitting balls near them. Winning was something that took time. Patience. Now, kids show up out of college and they are immediately ready to compete. Just look at the 2019 class that brought us Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland. Stewart Cink celebrates with his son Reagan after winning the Safeway Open at Silverado Resort.

All have hoisted trophies already; Morikawa won a major title (PGA Championship) in his second major start, and Wolff made a spirited run at the U.S. Open. Hovland won twice in 2020. So much for a learning curve. X Golf never ceases to give us interesting storylines. It helps that the actual playing field changes from week to week. Winners are rich in variety, too. We love stories born from work ethic and good old-fashioned perseverance. Like Stewart Cink winning at the Safeway Open in California, with his wife, Lisa, a cancer survivor, walking along, and one of their two sons, Reagan, on dad’s bag. Or Jim Herman, on the way to losing his card, winning in the final Regular Season stop, the Wyndham Championship. Or Sergio Garcia, at 40, breaking a winless streak of three-plus years at Sanderson Farms Championship. For storytelling, golf never fails us. X In the midst of a pandemic, there are so many things that we cannot do, everyday things that we once took for granted. Eating inside a restaurant. Taking the family to a ballgame. Gathering with extended family at the holidays. Golf amid COVID-19 was something of an outlier. It was something we could do, very safely, enjoying a good walk with renewed appreciation. Rounds were up in 2020, and so many of my friends tell me they played more golf than they had in years. “Hopefully,” PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan told us on that fateful March morning that THE PLAYERS Championship was canceled, “people are inspired to continue to use this game to get through a challenging time.” We did. Again, with a gracious dose of thankfulness. 

146

PGA TOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE DECEMBER 2020 – MAY 2021

T65 Last Word v5.indd 146

W W W.p g AT OuR.cOm

04/01/2021 16:45

Profile for Magazine

Official PGA TOUR Essential Guide to Golf: December 2020 - May 2021  

The December 2020 - May 2021 issue of the Official PGA TOUR Essential Guide to Golf, reviews Dustin Johnson's Phenomenal Season, he is the 2...

Official PGA TOUR Essential Guide to Golf: December 2020 - May 2021  

The December 2020 - May 2021 issue of the Official PGA TOUR Essential Guide to Golf, reviews Dustin Johnson's Phenomenal Season, he is the 2...

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded