SANDWICH, England — Prefer it did with the whole lot else, COVID-19 turned golf the other way up.
In 2020, there was no Open. The Masters was in November. The PGA Championship was again in August, the place it usually fell earlier than being moved to Could the 12 months earlier than. The U.S. Open was in September.
As a substitute of 9 months between The Open and the Masters, it was 5 months — and back-to-back Masters — between majors and a run of seven in 11 months.
It has been a wild journey, with three of the majors performed with out spectators in 2020, a restricted turnout in April for the Masters, a seemingly COVID-free, raucous atmosphere at Kiawah for the PGA, and a managed state of affairs at Torrey Pines for the U.S. Open.
The Open at Royal St. George’s introduced the largest crowds for the reason that pandemic started in March of 2020. The 30,000-plus spectators a day had been handled to terrific climate that, sadly, took the enamel out of the venerable hyperlinks.
So we at the moment are again to ready 9 months for the Masters and the subsequent main championship. We do have the Olympics and a Ryder Cup coming. And, in fact, the reminiscences of 2021. Here’s a look again on the 4 main championships.
Winner: Hideki Matsuyama
What occurred: Matsuyama took a 4-shot lead into the ultimate spherical on the again of a robust end to the weather-interrupted third spherical, then held on for a 1-shot victory over Will Zalatoris with a final-round 73. He grew to become the primary Japanese male golfer to win a significant championship.
Greatest second: Matsuyama’s caddie, Shota Hayafuji, took the flag — as is customary for the successful caddie — then returned the flagstick to the cup on the 18th gap. He then turned to the course, eliminated his hat and bowed. “I used to be grateful,” he stated. “I wasn’t excited about doing it and it simply occurred.”
— ESPN (@espn) April 11, 2021
Honorable point out: Matsuyama in victory being requested concerning the affect his longtime supervisor and interpreter, Bob Turner, has had on his profession, getting emotional — after which Turner struggling to convey these phrases in English as a result of he was expressing Hideki’s phrases about himself.
Worst second: Xander Schauffele’s 8-iron strategy to the sixteenth inexperienced on Sunday that got here up brief. He had made a valiant rally to tug inside a stroke, and will have put strain on Matsuyama by hitting the ball wherever on the inexperienced. As a substitute, the water ball just about ended any drama.
The PGA Championship
Winner: Phil Mickelson
What occurred: Mickelson, at age 50, grew to become the oldest main champion within the recreation’s historical past with a final-round 73 that was good for a 2-shot victory over Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen. It was Mickelson’s sixth main title and forty fifth PGA Tour win.
Greatest second: The scene on the 18th gap, with 1000’s of followers swarming round Mickelson after he performed his second shot to the inexperienced, a celebration unseen in golf for a while.
Honorable point out: Through the third spherical, Phil asking a technician to have a drone faraway from his line of sight as he believed it’d intrude along with his ball flight.
Worst second: The scene on the 18th gap, with 1000’s of followers swarming round Mickelson … and Koepka, who stated a spectator clipped his already-injured knee. The state of affairs turned out to be effective, however for just a few harrowing moments it was additionally scary and will have actually been dangerous.
Winner: Jon Rahm
What occurred: Rahm grew to become the primary participant since Tom Watson in 1982 to win the U.S. Open with birdies on the ultimate two holes, taking pictures a final-round 67 to edge Louis Oosthuizen by a shot.
Greatest second: Rahm’s 18-footer for birdie got here when he thought he may want it for a playoff. It capped a wild ultimate spherical with quite a few gamers in rivalry and gave Rahm — who two weeks earlier examined optimistic for COVID-19 and was pressured to withdraw from the Memorial with a 6-shot, 54-hole lead — his first main championship.
Honorable point out: The ultimate day at one level noticed 10 gamers inside a shot of the lead. Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau, in addition to two-time U.S. Open winner Koepka, had been a part of the crowded leaderboard.
Worst second: DeChambeau’s back-nine implosion which noticed him shoot 44. He led the event standing on the tenth tee, however he bogeyed 11 and 12 and made a double on the par-5 thirteenth. He blamed the meltdown on dangerous luck. He finally fell all the best way to a tie for twenty sixth.
Winner: Collin Morikawa
What occurred: Morikawa grew to become the primary participant to win two majors in his debut, capturing The Open by taking pictures a final-round 66 and not using a bogey to defeat Jordan Spieth by 2 pictures at Royal St. George’s.
Greatest second: Morikawa’s three-birdie stretch on the seventh, eighth and ninth holes in the course of the ultimate spherical pushed him forward for the primary time and he was by no means matched once more.
Honorable point out: An endearing victory speech on the 18th inexperienced through which Morikawa thanked his dad and mom, brother, girlfriend, coach and caddie, and applauded the group for the best way it cheered on the gamers in the course of the week. No person minded that he referred to as the event “The British Open.” For the file, it’s The Open.
Worst second: Jordan Spieth’s end on Saturday. He missed the seventeenth inexperienced from lower than 100 yards, resulting in a bogey. He then three-putted the 18th for an additional bogey, lacking his par putt from 2 ft. These two pictures proved to be the distinction within the ultimate spherical