The PGA Tour season concludes Sunday with the final round of the 2019 Tour Championship, which was once played in late October/early November. There were memorable moments this season, but not all of them were appealing.
Tiger’s return to glory
The moment that will be remembered most is Tiger Woods winning the Masters in April. He won the Tour Championship last year, his first win since August of 2013. But that wasn’t a major, a type of win he hadn’t accomplished since his U.S. Open victory in 2008.
After four back surgeries and times when he didn’t know if he’d play competitively again, Woods showed remarkable fortitude to capture his 15th major and first Masters since 2005. Was it his last hurrah at golf’s highest level? Only time will tell. By the time he defends in next year’s Masters, he’ll be 44.
— Forbes (@Forbes) April 15, 2019
The second-best player this century has been Phil Mickelson, who returned to the winner’s circle when he won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He turned 49 in June, and one has to wonder, just as with Woods, how many more victories are in the tank? He has been in Woods’ shadow for most of his entire career, but Mickelson has put up 44 PGA Tour victories of his own.
Among players younger than 50, only Woods (81) and Dustin Johnson (20) have reached the 20-victory threshold. How many current players younger than Mickelson will reach 44? That answer may well be zero.
Koepka’s second straight PGA Championship victory
Another moment that defined this season was Brooks Koepka’s continued phenomenal play on golf’s biggest stages. He solidified that with his triumph at the PGA Championship in May, his second straight win in the event.
Brooks Koepka wins the PGA Championship. He’s now won four majors in 23 months. The Machine. pic.twitter.com/b4cUvyYm9G
— By The Flagstick (@ByTheFlagstick) May 19, 2019
For a brief period, Koepka was the two-time defending champion in both the U.S. Open and the PGA. Not even Woods, Jack Nicklaus or anybody else has accomplished that. The strange thing about Koepka is that he has four major wins but just seven PGA Tour victories. Can he dominate regular events?
The PGA’s flagstick controversy
Another story this season was the rule allowing players to leave the flagstick in while they’re putting. Part of the theory is that it would speed up play. I haven’t gotten used to seeing the world’s best players putting with the flagstick in. For regular hacks, it’s fine. For the pros, please take them out.
In 2019, players can leave the flagstick in while putting. ⛳️
PGA TOUR rules officials guide you through the process of understanding the significant changes.https://t.co/FQF9zRpFC1
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 1, 2019
Slow Play continued to be an issue
Slow play, which grabbed negative headlines, has been an issue for years and probably won’t go away until strokes are taken away. The PGA Tour won’t reveal when and if fines are handed out, but it wouldn’t be able to hide the fact that strokes have been added. I prefer fast play but am in the minority, with the opinion that I don’t care what is done about it. In other words, I’m skeptical any enforcement can be done consistently.