Around the wider world of golf: Brooke Henderson successfully defended her title at the Cambia Portland Classic on the LPGA; Paola Moreno won the Tullymore Classic on the Symetra Tour; Thongchai Jaidee won the 100th Open de France on the ET; Taewoo Kim won the PingAn Pravite Bank Wanda Open on the PGA TOUR China; Hideto Tanihara won the Shigeo Nagashima Invitational SEGA SAMMY CUP on the Japan Golf Tour; Carlos Pigem won the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship on the Asian Tour; and Greg Chalmers got his first-ever PGA Tour win at the Barracuda Championship, the Tour's alternate field event.
"Madness takes its toll. Please have correct change."
So says the plaque sitting on my desk. It seems to be an accurate reflection of what happened at Firestone on Sunday afternoon.
Everything looked normal enough. Jason Day was still struggling with his game a bit, but he was scrambling around and holding things together the way he normally does. Scott Piercy was plodding along, keeping pace and waiting for his opportunity. And Dustin Johnson, who typically struggles around the Firestone layout, was making a late run at the title, much the way he's been doing at big tournaments lately.
And then, for about half an hour, Jason Day lost his mind. Knowing that DJ had just moved one stroke ahead of him and was on the 18th, Jason decided that the par5 16th -- with water fronting the green -- was the place where he had to make a move, despite having missed his tee shot far to the left and then hitting his recovery shot far out to the right. Instead of hitting his third safely short of the water, then using that awesome short game of his to try and salvage par, he tried to curve the ball 200 yards around the water from a poor lie.
Needless to say, the ball went in the water and he had to drop back where the lay-up would have landed anyhow. Hello, double-bogey. Good-bye, WGC title.
Meanwhile, DJ hit his drive on 18 far to the right as well, then hit a branch on his second and found himself in deep rough. He, however, played safe to the right of the green and two-putted for bogey.
Hello, two titles in a row!
Look, I'm not going to criticize J-Day for taking the gamble. He can play shots that I can't even imagine, and his explanation in the media tent almost made sense. But the word PRESSING comes to mind, and the pressure to win seems to be affecting many players these days.
And at least at this point, DJ seems to have learned the value of playing safe sometimes. Given how well he's driving and wedging the ball, and given that his putter seems to have joined the party, he's almost beginning to look like Lydia Ko -- except with the Incredible Hulk driving the ball for her. He's just using his strengths where he can, and accepting his humanity everywhere else. That's why he's got that big grin on his face in the photo above.
It's also why the rest of the field should be a bit nervous when he shows up at Royal Troon in a couple of weeks.
In the meantime, I am pleased to present DJ with his second Limerick Summary in less than a month. And, given the madness that overtook the leaders at the end of the round, I let a little madness affect my rhythms in the final line. It still rhymes, though:
He chased the whole week, never led—The photo came from the tournament news page at PGATOUR.com.
But he finished the week one ahead!
Now that DJ is rolling,
The putts he was holing
Should send him to Troon with some street cred!
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY, EVERYBODY!