My brain is reeling after the first tournament of the year – the Sentry Tournament of Champions. A lot of exciting things happened during this tournament that not only made this a fantastic start to 2018, but I believe sets up a stellar year for the PGA. Let’s go through the list: Rickie Fowler’s Hawaiian statement, Dustin Johnson’s dominating performance, my new-found love for the Plantation Course, the windy Maui conditions and Johnson’s almost-albatross. Well, while this list doesn’t cover everything, these are some of the parts of the tournament that made it fun to watch for me.
2018 is going to be a year to look forward to when it comes to watching the PGA. To be honest, I woke up this morning (Sunday) and couldn’t wait to watch the finale. Since Thursday, I had been watching the final matchups and end to the rounds just because I was missing golf in my life (the winter is the worst), but I soon realized this tournament was going to be REALLY good.
When DJ took off on Saturday to end the day with a 2 shot lead, I knew Sunday would be fun to watch. With that, let’s dive into some of those interesting and noteworthy takeaways from the tournament.
Rickie Fowler’s Hawaiian Shirt and Laid-Back ‘Untucked’ Style
There is a 50/50 split out there about whether Rickie should or should not have showed up in the Hawaiian shirt, untucked. Half of the golfers out there would like to maintain the traditional, stuffy PGA that persists. I get that and there is nothing against it. I understand tradition and legacy are important in this game. But, Rickie carries himself in a very professional manner, has never disrespected the game and has always pushed the envelope when it comes to style.
Rickie is a great ambassador for the new-age golf that’s helping to keep the game popular amongst…dare I say it… millennials. I’m with that latter half that say “why not?” This event is hosted on the casual island of Maui, after all. He looked stylish and he donned the hat brim to match! Why not try to reach some of the younger generation, invigorating the fun watching the game, with a fresher style.
Not to mention, for his age and his willingness to push the boundaries, he is one of my favorite golfers to watch interviewed. He’s so knowledgeable and confident about what he’s doing out there, it’s honestly refreshing. There’s no on-camera BS that he tries to play up. Instead, he represents the PGA in a top notch way and his style, IMO, elevates his influence.
I expected big things from DJ last year, as I’m sure you all did. He had a successful 2016 and an electric three wins to start 2017. Then, he took that spill down the stairs literally moments before the Masters and it all went out the window. As disappointing as that was, I don’t think it’s going to set him back all that much. After all, he did notch one more win last season. Good for him.
His performance this weekend had him looking like the DJ of yesteryear. Outdriving his peers, sticking a wedge tight and creating an outright lead to an eight-stroke victory, those were a few of his highlights. His putter continues to the big question mark in his bag, but when it’s hot like it was this weekend, he is tough to beat. This was an exciting and promising start for the world’s #1 golfer. I will be watching closely.
The Plantation Course – Home of the Sentry Tournament
Something I hope to do in my later years, as I continue to travel, is to bring my golf bag and play some of the remarkable courses the world offers. Kapalua’s Plantation Course took my breath away. While I do love the prospect of playing this course, it seems quite intimidating. The windy conditions of Maui alone would be a bear, notwithstanding the blind tee shots, uphill approaches and loads of troublesome greenside.
The closing stretch of 17 and 18 must be breathtaking in person. In fact, my favorite view of the weekend was watching the pros hit a big draw for the second shot into the green on 18. I can’t wait to visit this course myself and hope to be in the audience at a future Tournament of Champions. #BucketList
You know how there are some shots that just stick with you after watching a whole week/weekend of golf? This was one of them for me. Did you see DJ nearly make that shot with a 433 yard drive. Like… what?
Is this guy even human?! pic.twitter.com/EQj2EYUWWn
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) January 8, 2018
My thoughts exactly. As if you needed more proof that 2018 is going to be his year, there’s this.
All in all, it was a great tournament and has me very excited for what we can expect in 2018. These were some of my favorite moments, but maybe you had a few others? Leave me a comment or tweet me @TheGolferBabe and let’s chat!