There have been many great and memorable moments in golf this year. Golfers will have their own opinions on which moments should be labeled “great,” as they should. This article is one view of the sport of golf and is not meant as a definitive list.
The first two great moments happened during the same tournament – the BMW Championship at the end of August.
In the final round of the 2020 BMW Championship, Dustin Johnson was one shot back as he walked to the 18th green. He had left his approach shot 43 feet from the hole and had to make the putt to birdie the hole and force a playoff with the leader, Jon Rahm.
The 43-foot putt had to crest a visible rise on the green and finish downhill to the hole. He studied the green carefully. When he stepped up and took the putt, the ball nearly came to a stop at the top of the ridge and then rolled down the slope, curved toward the hole, and straightened just before dropping into the cup.
He had made birdie. He had finished in a tie with Jon Rahm.
The next moment in 2020 happened minutes later – during the playoff that ensued.
In the first hole of the playoff for the 2020 BMW Championship, Dustin Johnson was lying three on the green. Jon Rahm was lying two but 66 feet from the hole. The line was similar to the one Dustin had when he birdied the hole to force the playoff. As Jon hit his putt, everyone watched in awe as it covered the first 40 feet to reach the crest of the ridge. It was a perfect putt. Nearly identical to the one Dustin had made just three strokes earlier, the ball softly rolled over the ridge, picking up speed on the downside of the slope, and straightening at the end to drop into the cup.
Jon Rahm won the BMW Championship in a one-hole playoff with Dustin Johnson. Both golfers had made odd defying putts to finish the 18th hole – Dustin’s 43-foot putt had been bested by Jon’s 66-footer. Both of these shots truly were two of the great golf moments of 2020.
You can watch both putts on the PGA Tour website. This is a link to Dustin’s 43-foot putt, and this is a link to Jon’s 66-foot birdie putt, both on the 18th at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Illinois.
The third greatest moment in Golf for 2020 happened back in February.
There are many players on Tour that have aced a hole. The hole-in-one is an elusive accomplishment for casual golfers, but we see it more and more during PGA Tour events.
Webb Simpson had finished in the top 20 during 6 previous starts in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This year was his year. Simpson finished strong during the final three holes of regulation to force a playoff with Tony Finau. Tony was looking for his first Tour win since the 2016 Puerto Rico Open.
Simpson didn’t start the playoff well. It took him four strokes to reach the green on the par-5 15th after hitting his drive into the water. He made his putt to save par. Simpson birdied the 18th with a putt just outside of 10 feet to win the playoff and the Phoenix Open.
It wasn’t the win. It was his tee shot in the third round on the 12th. That is the great moment. Using a 7-iron on the 196-yard par-3, Simpson aced the hole to take a share of the lead.. You can watch Webb Simpson’s first hole-in-one of his career on the PGA Tour on the PGA Tour website.
Webb Simpson looks to be a rising star on the Tour. He was playing well before the PGA paused due to the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll have wait to see if he can pick up where he left off, now that professional golf is back. To ace a hole in a championship you win is a moment he will never forget.
This was before the Covid-19 shut down. There were fans watching and cheering. It was only the third day of the tournament and this was just the 12th hole, yet the fans were packed from the tee box to the green. A hole-in-one is a great moment for anyone. Having fans there to experience it with Simpson was something we had become accustomed to, even took for granted – something we want back. Re-watching this moment is a reminder of what golf once had and what we are fighting to get back.
For the fourth greatest moment in golf 2020, we step away from the PGA Tour.
A charity event was held matching Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. This challenge was first played in 2018 with Tiger and Phil going head-to-head. The 2020 event paired a partner with each golfer – Peyton Manning teamed up with Tiger, and Tom Brady joined Phil. No one would take home any money. They were playing to raise funds to help battle Covid-19.
The memorable moment came on the 7th hole at the Medalist Golf Club in Hobe South, Florida. Tom Brady had been playing poorly on the front nine. He was playing so bad that Brooks Koepka (ranked no. 1 in the PGA in 2018) tweeted that he would donate $100,000 if Brady made par or better on any hole of the front nine.
Charles Barkley was an announcer for the match. He had already bet Brady that he wouldn’t hit the green on the par-3 4th. When they reached the seventh hole, a par 5, Brady started by playing three shots most casual golfers would hit. He was about to hit his fourth shot, and he still 130 yards out. Barkley continued to heckle Brady about his poor performance as he prepared to take his shot.
As Brady stepped up to his ball, he told Barkley, “Don’t worry, it ain’t over yet.” Brady then hit a perfect shot. The ball hit the green and spun back into the hole. Birdie.
He stopped and hollered at Barkley, “Take a little bit of that medicine!”
He then mockingly took control of the broadcast. “I haven’t hit a good shot [all day], so I’d like to speak for a little bit.” He continued, “Mom and Dad, I love you very much, my kids, I love you. When the going gets tough, keep going boys.”
As he walked to the green, he was thinking of only one person – Brooks Koepka.
Make your own list of great golf moments of 2020. Everyone’s will differ. It is enjoyable to go back and look at the many great moments we have witnessed this year. When the PGA paused operations due to Covid-19, we all wondered when or if we would see the Tour players compete again this year. We are still missing the fans at the events, but golf has returned.
We can once again golf each weekend – if we aren’t on the course ourselves.
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