It's Nice To Have Golf Back

It wasn’t perfect, but for a return, it was damn good.

Jim Rome
June 15, 2020 - 9:19 am
Daniel Berger

USA Today


The Return to Golf started on Thursday at Colonial and it wrapped up yesterday. And damn, that was nice. 

Sure, it was kind of weird on Thursday to have guys dropping monster putts to absolute silence. Or hitting a hole in one and having no gallery to react.

Or Bryson Dechambeau showing up in Fort Worth with about 50 pounds of muscle packed on during quarantine and bombing off the tee with no one to scream “mashed potatoes!” Or “medium rare!”

And for all the questions about whether or not that extra muscle is going to help The Mad Scientist, after one tournament, the answer is pretty clear: it sure as hell isn’t going to hurt him. At least not now.

He was tied for the lead on 17 and then bogeyed it away. But there’s a damn good chance that’s not the end, but the beginning.  

As fellow Tour pro Roberto Castro tweeted: Bryson won the NCAA, the US Am, the Memorial, and whatever else he’s won...35 yards ago. If he doesn’t get significantly worse at another part of the game, or get hurt...lookout.

That is your warning shot. But this weekend wasn’t just about Bryson and the return of golf. It was the return of Daniel Berger.

In many ways, my guy never left. He was just dealing with a wrist injury, but he had three top tens in his last three starts before the season was suspended for three months. He had 24 straight runs at par or better.

And didn’t lose a thing during the break. Opening round 65, followed by 67, 67, and went into yesterday two shots off the lead. And promptly had three birdies in the first eight holes.

He had this for birdie at 18 to tie for the lead.

Collin Morikawa had a chance to win it on 18, but just missed. So they went to a playoff. Berger was in with a par and Morikawa had this to extend the playoff. And before I play this, again, it was so weird to be doing this without any fans.

A brutal way for Morikawa to lose, but a well-deserved win for Berger. Collin will be back. He is going to make many more of those putts than he’ll miss and it says here he will win plenty of tournaments before he’s done.

But yesterday was about Berger. He didn’t back his way into that at all. He’s now at 28 straight rounds of par or better. That is enormous. And it is awesome to see.

Because Berger is a dude who has what it takes

And it is good to have that guy back on top, throwing on a plaid jacket and lifting that massive trophy.

He’s still got that confidence and that juice. Check him being asked what he looks like with a mask on.

Overall, you have to say that was a really strong return for golf. When it comes to testing, zero positives is a huge positive. Social distancing was still a challenge, but as the weekend wore on, it seemed like players and caddies were becoming more accustomed to the new guidelines health and safety. Caddies were wiping down flag sticks. Players were remembering to pull and place their own clubs.

But as Morikawa was quick to point out, it’s part of a process:

"Just because we played one week doesn't mean we can go party and go do everything else like we used to. We still have to follow these guidelines and maintain safety and strict rules with how far we stay from each other because it's still out there. Obviously, we don't know how bad it is at any given moment. We don't know who has it, if they have it, whether they're symptomatic, asymptomatic. We just have to be cognizant of what's around us and where we put ourselves because we want the tour to keep playing. We want to keep playing."

And yeah, it was strange doing the whole thing without fans. But that’s going to be the new normal for a few weeks. And it didn’t seem to impact the quality of golf.

Check out the names in the top ten: Berger, Morikawa, Dechambeau, Rose, Xander, Bubba, Patrick Reed, and Gary Woodland. And that doesn’t include Jordan Spieth who had an incredible rollercoaster of a tournament and still finished tied for tenth. Those are some serious players. The deepest field in tournament history produced a really good top ten.

It wasn’t perfect, but for a return, it was damn good. And it should only get better.