A week ago, Tony Finau said his recent play was making it tough for Jim Furyk not to pick him to be on this year’s Ryder Cup team.

He proved to be right.

On Monday, Furyk made it official, using the last of his four captain’s picks on the 28-year old to finalize the 12-man U.S. team that will head to Paris later this month. It will be Finau’s first Ryder Cup appearance.

“He has an unbelievable body of work this year,” Furyk said in a statement. “All those top-10 finishes, the play in big championships and the majors, and then his current form, a second, a fourth and an eighth in the playoffs. He checked a lot of boxes and made it impossible not to pick him.”

Indeed he did.

https://twitter.com/GolfDigest/status/1039254889887657984

Over the last two years, Finau has made 50 starts, racking up 18 top 10s along the way. Three of those were runner-up finishes, one of them two weeks ago in the FedEx Cup Playoffs opener, the Northern Trust. Three more of them came in major championships, all this year.

Then there was his performance over the last few weeks. Knowing a Ryder Cup spot was at stake, Finau finished second, fourth and eighth in the first three legs of the postseason, capping it with a final-round 65 on Monday at the BMW Championship. During that span, he recorded a dozen rounds in the 60s and was a combined 42-under par, second only to fellow Ryder Cup rookie and captain’s pick Bryson DeChambeau, who won the first two events in the playoffs.

“I never thought I was on that team until I got that call,” Finau said. “I made sure I played that way. I played like I always had something to prove. And I let the guys on the team know that I’d be a great pick and I’d be ready to go. It’s definitely cool to accomplish something like this and to be able to play as well as I have under the circumstances. It’s something I’m extremely proud of.”

Of course if not for a change, he might not have even gotten the chance.

Following a disastrous 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, the PGA of America, the organization that runs the event for the U.S., created a task force in an effort to end a string of bad losses and chart a course for the future. One of the changes implemented was when the captain’s picks would be made. It was a move informally and somewhat dubiously dubbed the “Horschel rule” after Billy Horschel had won twice during the 2014 playoffs but wasn’t on the team because the team had already been finalized.

So in 2016 three of the four picks came after the BMW Championship, with the final one coming at the conclusion of the Tour Championship. The problem with that, however, was the season finale finished just a few days before the first matches were scheduled to be played. Fast forward to this year and the first three picks — Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and DeChambeau — were made after the Dell Technologies Championship, with the final one coming after the BMW.

Like Ryan Moore two years ago, Xander Schauffele had a chance potentially to force Furyk’s hand with a win at Aronimink. He entered the final round a stroke off the lead before shooting 67 to tie for third. It was a good result but not good enough. He also hadn’t been quite as consistent as Finau, especially over the course of the year.

After winning twice in 2017, including becoming the first rookie to capture the Tour Championship, and earning Rookie of the Year honors, Schauffele slowed down some in 2018, especially when it mattered most. In 23 starts, the 24-year-old had five top 10s, including runner-up finishes at the Open Championship and the Players, as well as a tie for sixth at the U.S. Open. But he also struggled since that runner-up at Carnoustie, with just one finish in the top 30 over his last five starts. He also missed five cuts this season, compared to just three by Finau.

Though Finau has just one career victory, in 2016 at the Puerto Rico Open, his 10 top-10 finishes this season trail only Dustin Johnson for the most on the PGA Tour. Among them was a tie for 10th at the Masters on an injured ankle, a fifth-place finish at the U.S. Open and a ninth-place finish at the Open Championship.

At the PGA Championship, Finau stumbled with an opening-round 74 playing alongside Furyk but rallied with a record-tying 10 birdies the next day to shoot 66 to make the cut on the number at Bellerive.

Then there are the various elements of Finau’s game that stand out. Going into the BMW, he ranked in the top 30 on tour in strokes gained off the tee, approach and around the green. Though he was 82nd in putting, he was 11th on tour in birdies and 10th in scoring average. It’s no wonder that Mickelson had lobbied long ago for the young star who had climbed to 17th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Finau’s personality should also jibe well in the team room.

“He gets along with everyone,” said Horschel. “He would be a great partner. The one question I’d have, like with any rookie, is if he can he close out a big match. But his recent play has shown that he has the ability to play on the biggest stage.”

Part of that question has already been answered, be it alongside Furyk when the captain was paired with Finau and Schauffele for the first two rounds of the PGA, and over the first three weeks of the playoffs.

Now all that’s left to see is if he can do it in Paris.

SOURCE:  GolfDigest

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. – Naming three of his four captain’s selections to round out his 2018 Ryder Cup squad, U.S. Captain Jim Furyk early Tuesday evening called upon the game’s hottest performer, the No. 2 putter on the PGA Tour this season and a 14-time major winner who has been the most dominant golfer of his generation.

Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods were selected by Furyk as additions to the U.S. team that will compete in the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National outside Paris Sept. 28-30.

Woods, 42, didn’t know if he’d even compete again a year ago at this time, and now he’s headed to Paris to play in the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2012. It will be his eighth Ryder Cup (he is 13-17-3 overall). Woods was asked if this could potentially be his most memorable of all.

“Absolutely,” Woods said. “To have an opportunity to go to Europe and to have an opportunity to win a Ryder Cup, and we haven’t done it in 25 years over there, and to be part of this group of guys to have that opportunity to go there, it’s exciting, it really is.”

With his three newest team members, Furyk added 126 PGA Tour victories to his team. Mickelson may be playing in his 12th Ryder Cup, but this was the first time he needed a captain’s pick to be part of it. DeChambeau and Thomas, the 2017 PGA champion and last season’s PGA Tour Player of the Year, are the lone rookies on the U.S. team.

“I would have to say I’m extremely happy with the 11 players we have,” Furyk said. “(I’ve) got a lot of confidence in those players. I think we have some great chemistry. I think we have some great pairing opportunities. We’ve got some great veteran leadership and we’ve got some youth. It’s a well-rounded team, and we’ll go to work, get set to go.”

MORE: A look back at Tiger’s journey to captain’s pick

Woods already had been part of this team as a vice-captain, and though he won’t be shy to offer advice on the team and its pairings, he will relinquish that role now that he will be competing. Furyk named his final three assistants to join Davis Love III and Steve Stricker, adding David Duval, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

Furyk will round out his team by naming a 12th player on Monday morning, following the final round of the BMW Championship.

DeChambeau, who turns 25 on Sept. 16, captured The Memorial in June, but missed the cut at last month’s PGA Championship and finished ninth in the final Ryder Cup points standings. Faced with a challenge of showing his captain something special, DeChambeau rebounded with victories at The Northern Trust and Dell Technologies the last two weeks.

“Even after I won at Ridgewood, I still thought, ‘Man, I’ve got to play well at Boston just to show them that, yeah, I’m a contender and I’m going to keep doing the right things to be a valuable asset to the team,’ ” DeChambeau said. “This is about the team, and I wanted to be part of this experience so badly that I worked twice as hard. It showed, and it paid off.”

MORE: Social media reacts to Furyk’s picks

DeChambeau attended the Ryder Cup two years ago at Hazeltine as a spectator, leading then-U.S. Captain Davis Love III to do a double-take when he saw him in the gallery. This year’s captain, Furyk, said he was impressed not only that DeChambeau won back-to-back titles, but by the method in which he won.

“He took control and seized control of those tournaments and took big leads and was able to finish out tournaments,” Furyk said. “So I have to say, I guess, ‘Thanks’ –  you made it really easy on the captain.”

As did the others, really. Woods was second at the PGA Championship, shooting 64 on Sunday. Mickelson, 48, won for the first time since the 2013 Open Championship when he outdueled Thomas in a playoff at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship in early March. He hasn’t posted a top-10 finish since the Wells Fargo Championship in May, but his play has been pretty consistent through the year. He has 11 finishes of T-15 or better in his 22 starts. His victory in Mexico was the 43rd of his career.

MORE: 9 final-day comebacks in Ryder Cup history

In addition to an incredible body of experience and his ability to lead, Mickelson can deliver something else this U.S. team could use: Quality putting. Mickelson ranks behind only Australian Jason Day this season in strokes gained: putting. In Monday’s final round of the Dell Technologies Championship, Mickelson holed 129 feet of putts.

Mickelson said he aims to accomplish something he never before has done in this event: Win away from the U.S.

“It’s going to be a great challenge because we know how strong the European side is and how well they play at home, but it’s a wonderful chance, an opportunity for us to do something I haven’t done or been a part of in my career, and would very much like to,” Mickelson said.

The three captain’s selections named by Furyk on Tuesday join eight players named after the PGA Championship who qualified for the team off a two-year points table: Brooks Koepka; Dustin Johnson; Justin Thomas; Patrick Reed; Bubba Watson; Jordan Spieth; Rickie Fowler; and Webb Simpson. Six of the 11 players are in their 20s, and all 11 players rank among the top 26 in the world (Woods is 26th).

One other dose of good news for Furyk on Tuesday was the return of Fowler to the PGA Tour after Fowler missed the first two FedEx Cup Playoffs events with a partial tear in his right oblique, an injury he first felt at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational prior to the PGA Championship. Fowler has been receiving treatment from a spinal neurosurgeon near home in Jupiter, Fla., and returned to practicing and playing at home last week.

The U.S. hasn’t won an away Ryder Cup since 1993, at The Belfry in England. European Captain Thomas Bjorn will round out his team on Wednesday, naming his four captain’s selections, and is expected to lean toward experience. Among his eight automatic qualifiers via two points lists – one a European list, one a World list – Bjorn already counts five rookies: Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Alex Noren and Thorbjorn Olesen. Also on the team are seasoned Ryder Cup competitors Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy.

Said Furyk, “I have a lot of respect for Thomas and I have a lot of respect for the players that have qualified for the European Team, and I’ll be anxious to see who they pick tomorrow.”

SOURCE:  RyderCup

Have you tried the new greens yet?  You Should!

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The course just completed a renovation of its greens, sowing them with Champion Bermuda grass that is now used at many area courses, including the famed Pinehurst No. 2. The new surface replaces bent grass that was installed in 1994.

“These new strains of Bermuda are just as good as bent grass, especially for dealing with the summer heat that we get in the Carolinas,” said Cypress Lakes superintendent Ed Drake. “These Bermuda strains were not an option in ’94. We experimented with them on our nursery greens for two or three years prior to actually putting it in.”

The club just reopened its back nine Saturday after finishing the job. The greens on the front nine were done last summer to avoid having to close the course entirely for one summer.

“We now have 18 wonderful greens,” said Drake, who has been the superintendent since 2002. “The members have loved the greens on the front nine. They are just really coming into their own. It takes about a year to totally grow them in.”

Drake and his crew completed the work on the back nine quickly. They began taking the old grass off the greens on June 28. The new grass was planted July 13 and just five weeks later, the greens were ready for play.

“It takes water, sun and fertilizer,” Drake said. “Nature does the rest. You just can’t let them dry out. It’s water, water, water every 30 minutes around the clock until the roots take hold.”

Taking care of the new greens requires an adjustment for Drake.

“Bent grass required a lot of babysitting in the summer with hand watering,” he said. “This Bermuda grass loves the sun and the heat, so it’s kind of like re-learning my job. It’s almost the polar opposite of what we were doing. When we had one side of each kind of grass this past year, it was kind of stressful.

“With bent grass, we were just trying to keep it alive through the summer. Now, we’re actually thriving in the summer. That’s a big difference for us.”

The sub surface of the greens also breaks down over time, making it more difficult for bent grass to stay alive.

“When that sub surfaces ages 15 to 20 years, it doesn’t move the water through like it should,” Drake said. “Bent grass can’t sit there in water without killing it off. This Bermuda grass likes the messed up sub surface. It likes the water being held there.”

Cypress Lakes pro Robert Wilson said updating greens is inevitable for golf courses.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of grass you have, every 25 or 30 years you have to change it,” he said. “It was time to do it again.”

Wilson has been the pro at Cypress Lakes for 15 years but his association with the course goes back to his days as a youth. Wilson received one of his first golf lessons from Cypress Lakes co-founder L.B. Floyd when he was about 10 years old.

Floyd, the late golf pro at several Cumberland County courses, opened Cypress Lakes in 1968 with the Prewitt family. When Floyd retired many years later, the Prewitt family bought him out and still own the course 50 years later.

“They’ve been committed since Day 1,” Wilson said of the Prewitts. “Doing the greens shows how much they are committed to it for the future.”

Cypress Lakes became known as the “Home of the Floyds” after L.B. Floyd’s children became famous golfers. Raymond Floyd had a Hall of Fame career on the PGA Tour and Marlene Floyd had a career on the LPGA Tour. Both are retired from competitive golf but Marlene still has a home on the 11th hole at Cypress Lakes. She can often be seen walking her dog or tooling around the course in a golf cart. She still plays an occasional round.

“She still can hit it,” Wilson said. “She hasn’t lost a ball in 30 years, always right down the middle.”

Wilson said one adjustment golfers will have to make is figuring out the break on the new greens.

“It took a little bit to get used to the breaks on the front nine,” he said. “They don’t break quite as much as the old greens. But they putt good with good speed. It will be good to hear the feedback from the golfers after they play the back nine.”

The club plans a 50th anniversary tournament next spring to celebrate the milestone after the back nine greens have more time to grow in. In the meantime, Wilson expects things to be busy.

“Everybody is excited,” he said. “People keep calling wanting to know when we’ll be off the temporary greens on the back nine. Please come check ’em out but call and make a tee time. We’re going to have a very good product to give to the golfers.”

SOURCE:  Fayetteville Observer

There’s always a post-Wanamaker depression that sets in after the PGA Championship, the reality sinking in that the next major is some 250 days away in the spring. That is especially true this season, with Tiger Woods’ final-round surge instilling a rapture not felt in ages. But for those still coming down from that Bellerive bliss, fear not: The rest of the calendar has plenty still in store. From Tiger to the Ryder Cup to Jordan Spieth, here are seven storylines to follow during the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Tiger’s comeback continues

The comeback is real, and it is spectacular. Tiger demonstrated at Innisbrook, Bay Hill and Carnoustie that his game is in shape to compete with the game’s best; his runner-up at Bellerive, however, asserted Woods’ ceiling is higher than previously deemed. Better yet, as the season reaches the dog days of August, the 42-year-old has dispelled the idea he’s running on fumes.

Aside from Ridgewood, the venues on the postseason slate are tailored to Tiger’s game. Currently 20th on the FedEx Cup standings, Woods will have some latitude in the early rounds in pursuit of a spot in the Tour Championship at East Lake, but with hopes of solidifying his Ryder Cup candidacy (even though, come on, we all know Big Cat’s already on the roster), look for Woods to make a formidable run through the tour’s postseason.

Four tickets for Paris up for grabs

Well, two; you’ll see Augusta National dye Rae’s Creek pink before Woods and Phil Mickelson are left off the team. That leaves Bryson DeChambeau (who finished ninth in points), Tony Finau, Kevin Kisner, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson among viable candidates. For what it’s worth, players and PGA of America officials at Bellerive maintained Kuchar is more in the running than fans believe.

There’s also the chance captain Jim Furyk rides the FedEx Cup Playoff’s hot hand, which is what facilitated Ryan Moore’s selection for the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 2016. It proved to be the right call: Moore won two matches, including the clinching point, for the Americans at Hazeltine.

No matter the selections, there will be a wave of Monday quarterbacking on Furyk’s decisions, particularly if he goes with a veteran that hasn’t performed as of late. Furyk will announce three of his picks after the Dell Technologies Championship over Labor Day weekend, with the final slot filled at the BMW Championship’s conclusion, meaning DeChambeau, Kisner, Finau and the like will have opportunities to prove their merit.

The Player of the Year race is over, right? Well …

Make no mistake, Brooks Koepka is the unequivocal favorite. That doesn’t mean he has this bad boy locked it up, even with his U.S. Open and PGA titles as well as runner-up finishes at the WGC-HSBC and Colonial.

If Dustin Johnson or Justin Thomas—both with three wins and ahead of Koepka in the FEC—win two of the four postseason events, it might be enough to raise an argument. Three out of four instigates a full-blown discussion. (Bubba Watson also has three wins, but the two-time Masters champ has missed the cut in the last three majors, torpedoing any realistic hopes.) Patrick Reed and Francesco Molinari, the year’s other major victors, could join this surge with multiple playoff wins as well.

These scenarios are far-fetched, and even if they transpire, Koepka likely still earns the nod. But a victory by Thomas or Johnson at Ridgewood will raise these questions—exactly the shot of late-season vitality the tour’s postseason aspired for when constructing the FEC a decade ago.

Can Spieth save a “lost” season?

In one breath, it’s hard to call a season “lost” when A) The guy comes this close to winning the Masters and B) Plays in the final pairing at the Open. Conversely, we measure our superstars by a different touchstone, and Spieth—who’s currently on the outside looking in at the Tour Championship—has fall shorten of his historical standards.

The short game has taken the brunt of the blame, and rightfully so: Spieth ranks 144th in strokes gained/putting on the season. It’s an astonishing figure for any top-flight player, but even more so considering Spieth ranked second in the category just two seasons ago. Just as concerning, however, has been a drop in iron performance, ranking 40th in approach this summer, a far cry from his work last year (ranking first) and during his two-major summer of 2015 (11th). For the putts to start dropping, Spieth will need to give himself better chances on the greens.

The good news is Ridgewood and Aronimink (site of the BMW Championship) set up well to Spieth’s strengths, and he logged a runner-up in Boston last September. By his standards, it won’t be a season to remember for Spieth. With a strong finish, he won’t have to make it one to forget.

A Rookie of the Year chase, without one of the favorites

Unless he wins the Wyndham Championship, Joaquin Niemann, despite owning enough points to comfortably advance to the Northern Trust, cannot compete in the FedEx Cup Playoffs due to his special temporary membership status. Significant because, if he does reach the postseason, Niemann would arguably be the frontrunner for rookie-of-the-year honors. (Update: He did not win in Greensboro. Niemann, however, has locked up his card for next season.)

Instead, this award likely comes down to Austin Cook and Aaron Wise. Since winning in the fall, Cook has been relatively quiet, although did have top-10s in Memphis and the Greenbrier. Wise had stellar back-to-back showings at Quail Hollow (T-2) and the Bryon Nelson (win); the ensuing schedule, unfortunately, has been tough sledding, with six missed cuts in seven appearances. Still, both have loads of talent, with the reserve not to be intimidated by their playoff debuts. Neither is a household entity yet; an energetic finish in the FEC can go ways in fixing that.

Architecture aficionados, rejoice!

For connoisseurs of course design, the past month has not been Christmas morning. That changes during the FEC thanks to:

• Ridgewood Country Club, a 27-hole A.W. Tillinghast design with its history including a Ryder Cup, U.S. Amateur and a handful of Barclays’ events. Gil Hanse’s team has done restoration work over the past couple of years, making Ridgewood as good as ever. Ridgewood features a mix of Tillinghast-eque bunker-guarded greens with the option to run it up on many holes. The rough is expected to be thicker than the last time the FEC visited, possibly leading to U.S. Open-like scoring.

• TPC Boston, while not beloved by players, produces plenty of red figures, and it’s various lines and contoured greens offer more set-up options and mind-sets than a rank-and-file tour course.

• Aronimink, another track that—we hope you’re sitting down—was restored by Hanse and his team. Set to host the 2027 PGA Championship, Aronimink has eliminated a ton of trees from the property, but its tight fairways and challenging par 4s—and Donald Ross greens—make it one of the Northeast’s toughest tests.

If you can’t get behind that lineup, you don’t have a pulse.

What’s up with Rory?

Similar to Spieth, this warrants a provision. After all, the four-time major winner just finished T-2 at Carnoustie last month, and, unlike Spieth, he’s won on the PGA Tour this season with his triumph at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

On the other hand, McIlroy’s game was such a mess at Bellerive that he hinted he was going to skip the first leg of the postseason to figure out what’s going on.

“I need to assess where I’m at, and I think the best thing for me to do right now is take a couple of days off and reflect on what I need to do going forward,” he said at the PGA Championship. “I’ll do some practice this week and see if I feel ready to go there and play five out of six weeks leading up to the Ryder Cup.” (Update: McIlroy appears to have made good on skipping the Northern Trust as his name is not included on the PGA Tour’s field list as of Monday.)

McIlroy won the FedEx Cup just two seasons ago, and does rank 11th in strokes gained this season. Nevertheless, his wedge game, or lack thereof, has rendered his prolific distance moot, and the putter, again, hasn’t bailed him out. McIlroy’s nearing a bit of a career crossroads. Tis postseason won’t define his legacy, but it can get him back on track.

SOURCE:  GolfDigest

Re-Opening this Saturday, August 18th

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After a rough start Thursday at Bellerive Country Club, Woods dominated the course to finish second at 14 under, two shots behind eventual winner Brooks Koepka.

Woods, who has undergone four back surgeries since 2014, dealt with personal issues, and admitted himself he didn’t know if he’d ever compete again, has now finished in the top 6 in back-to-back major championships.

“Not for awhile, no. I was pretty ticked at the British Open” Woods said after his round when asked if he’s ever felt this good after a tournament he didn’t win. “I had the lead there. This one I never quite got to the lead. I was always trailing. It was a golf course in which I couldn’t sit still and make pars and be okay with it. I had to keep making birdies.

“The golf course was soft, it was gettable, and there were a bunch of guys, when I went to the range to start warming up, there were a bunch of guys at 3-under par through 6, 3-under par through 7. And so, yeah, that was, you could see guys shooting 5-, 6-under par today and with a bunch of guys around 8-under or better starting the day, I had to go get it and I tried.”

Woods, who entered the week ranked 51st in the world, has an incredible seven top-12 finishes this year. Back in January, he didn’t even know how many events he’d be able to play.

“I didn’t know what my schedule would be,” Woods said. “I didn’t know how many tournaments I would play this year or if I would even play. So each tournament brought about its own challenges. I didn’t know what the number was going to be this year.

“I didn’t know how I was going to play. And so at the beginning of the year, if you would say, yeah, I would have a legit chance to win the last two major championships, I, with what swing? I didn’t have a swing at the time. I had no speed. I didn’t have a golf swing. I didn’t have — my short game wasn’t quite there yet. My putting was okay. But God, I hadn’t played in two years. So it’s been a hell of a process for sure.”

Almost everyone lauded the St. Louis crowd for their positive energy this week, and Woods was pleased he was able to give them a reason to cheer.

“Oh, you could hear them. They were engaged since our practice round on Wednesday,” Woods said. “They were loud and they stayed around and it’s been, as I said, it’s been incredible with the positiveness that everyone was saying and they wanted to see some good golf and we produced some good golf I think as a whole.

“The people here were so positive, the energy was incredible, but the positiveness of it all. Everyone was willing every shot that everyone hit. There was no negative comments, no one was jeering, no one was making snide remarks, everyone was just very positive. They’re excited, yeah. They sometimes pick sides, yes. But they were respectful. And that’s, I wish we could play in front of crowds like this every single week because this is a true pleasure.”

As far as goals moving forward, Woods is still just glad to be back competing and contending.

“As I said, this has been a process on building,” Woods said. “I didn’t know when I was going to start this year and how many tournaments I was going to play, how well I was going to play. I didn’t know what swing I was going to use either.

“I’m in uncharted territory. Because no one’s ever had a fused spine hitting it like I’m hitting it. So I had to kind of figure this out on my own and it’s been really hard, it’s a lot harder than people think. And I’m just very pleased at what I’ve done so far and now to be part of the Ryder Cup conversation, going from where I’ve come from to now in the last year, it’s been pretty cool.”

SOURCE:  SportingNews

WOW!  AN EXCITING WEEK FOR SURE!

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Don’t forget to sign up for next week’s MEMBER APPRECIATION EVENT by Sunday.

Final week’s format & meal:

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member night points list 8-9-18

 

ST. LOUIS — The PGA Championship is the year’s final major. But there’s still plenty to be decided in golf. Justin Thomas, who won Sunday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and is the defending PGA champion this week at Bellerive, has three wins. So do Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson. Justin Rose and Jason Day, meanwhile, have two victories this season. The year’s first three major winners were Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka and Francesco Molinari.

So, who will be the player of the year?

The Wanamaker Trophy is far more significant a prize, of course, but any of the aforementioned players hoisting it would be a defining mark on a tremendous season, and give said player a leg up on the honor.

Here’s a breakdown of the candidates so far.

Justin Thomas: Though his win Sunday was his first since February it came on a difficult Firestone course, much the way his previous victory took place on a tough PGA National course at the Honda Classic, which he won in a playoff over Luke List. Thomas’ other victory came last fall at the inaugural CJ Cup in Korea—also in a playoff, over Marc Leishman.

Dustin Johnson: His three wins came in Maui, Memphis and Canada. They also were the most impressive among the group in terms of margin of victory. Johnson won at Kapalua by eight, TPC Southwind by six and Glen Abbey by three. The top-ranked played in the world, he also has missed just one cut in 15 starts, has two runner-up finishes and two third-place finishes, and has finished in the top 10 a staggering 10 times in 15 starts. By comparison, Thomas has seven top-10s in three more starts.

Bubba Watson: Like Johnson, Watson’s victories came on a differing tracks with wins at Riviera and TPC River Highlands, bookended around his title at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club. Watson however has just two other top-10s.

Justin Rose: The WGC-HSBC Champions and Fort Worth Invitational were Rose’s two victories on the PGA Tour this season, but he also won in Turkey and Indonesia and rose to as high as No. 2 in the world before Thomas supplanted this past weekend. In 13 total starts in 2018, Rose has five top-10s.

Jason Day: If it seems like Day has barely played this year it’s because he has. The Aussie has made just a dozen starts but has won two of them, at Torrey Pines and Quail Hollow. He has just three other top-10 finishes, though.

In terms of major performance, Johnson and Rose have the better resumes. Johnson tied for 10th at the Masters and third at the U.S. Open, while Rose finished in the top 10 in both Opens, including a runner-up at Carnoustie.

But there’s still one more major to go.

SOURCE:  Golfworld