Justin Thomas wins again. Thomas walked onto the grounds at Waialae CC and fired a 59 in the first round. Following up a 59 with a 64 and found himself 5 strokes ahead of Gary Woodland.
Once a player backs up an opening 59 with a sub 65 round, its game over. The golf gods have but one remaining request.
And that’s exactly what Justin did. Seriously though, Thomas was going at the field all week. He was hitting drives even the Golf Channel crew didn’t think were possible. Take a look at this:
Thomas is actively aiming away from the fairway. Normally, if you’re watching a guy try to hit this golf shot, his partner is in the fairway and they’re 1-down on the backside press. It’s not a PGA Tour professional leading the event by 7 shots. Look at how flabbergasted Justin Rose is by the play. Thomas forced him to question his own existence before walking off the tee.
Thomas is displaying a lot of confidence lately. This is good for the game and every week he plays, I’m going to comment on how much I hope it continues.
Sidenote: Vijay Singh finished T-57; more on that to come below.
The PGA Tour returns to the Continental United States this week. Unlike last week, the talent pool is a bit shallower. Fans do get a chance to see Phil Mickelson (possible injury) and Patrick Reed, however.
The new participation rule garnered a lot of discussion last week as you could see the Sony Open had a much stronger field than typical. If a player has less than 25 starts in the prior season, they must add one tournament they had not played in the last 4 years. As a fan, you have to assume guys will add events where they’d enjoy the surroundings. A place like Napa Valley or Maui come to mind. This rule is great because events outside of the WGC and Major Tournaments will start bringing bigger names and more intrigue.
The CareerBuilder Challenge has a great host venue in PGA West. Players will trek 3 courses finishing the week at the Stadium Course.
Stadium Course at PGA West is 7,113 yards playing to a par 72.
Jason Dufner is the defending champion.
Last Week: T-27 Season Stats: Winner – 0, Top 10 – 1, Top 25 – 1, Top-50 – 2, MC – 1
I’m not off to a hot start. Matsuyama changed his irons before last week. Clearly, that cooled his game a touch.
This week, I’m picking Paul Casey. Casey has been a strong player of the last few months. He should’ve played in the Ryder Cup if not for Europe’s rules. Probably why they lost. I think Casey can handle playing multiple courses without much added stress.
Some Stuff to Look For
- Phil Mickelson– Mickelson was a possible WD this week with an injury. La Quinta is right in Phil’s backyard. With all of this being considered, he’s a heavy favorite at +2200. Can he pull it off?
- US Born Players– This event has been won mainly by US Born players. J. Vegas won in 2011, but that’s the only international winner since ’03. Patrick Reed is a US player by the way.
- The Course – The Stadium Course was last used on tour in ’87. Players petitioned to have the course removed due to difficulty. If there’s wind it could get ugly.
Who is broadcasting the event this week?
Most people won’t be watching the final round as it goes against the NFL Championship games. As golf starts to figure out how it’d like to promote its events, good courses will not be played on these weeks.
What Bugged Me This Week?
Nationwide Grammy Award Winner Jingle
If you don’t pay for Spotify, these commercials started showing up in the fall. You’ve heard Brad Paisley, Rachel Platten, and Leslie Odom Jr. all sing their versions of the Nationwide Jingle; made famous by this man.
As a guy who listens to Spotify a lot at my desk, these different jingles have been burned into my memory. All the songs, though very similar, have their own nuances. I can’t remember a single word, but sing anytime I’m showering or making noise for noise sake.
The biggest issue is these advertisements have bled into NFL Television. Now I have to watch Brad Paisley sing about car insurance! I’m sure the marketing team is happy they’ve developed such a strong advertising campaign, but I’m confident that soon suicide rates in this country will rise.
♫ Nationwide please leave my brain alone. ♫
Generally this song will keep me from hitting something/somebody due to the above.
‘Til next week. Tee it high and keep it dry.
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Jeremy will be writing about some things on the PGA Tour and those that plague everyday life. Feel free to contact Jeremy via email (Jeremy@sellstant.com) or on twitter (@jeremyparch). As always, you can write your thoughts in our comment section.