Normally, Monday finishes are the product of Mother Nature being a thoughtless bitch, but this week’s was by design. The traditional Labor Day finish at the Dell Technologies Championship in Boston is always one of the highlights of the Tour schedule and this year’s finish certainly lived up to the hype.
It may not have been a major, but Monday in Norton had that feel, with the likes of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson and John Rahm all throwing daggers and making moves.
Ultimately, it was Justin Thomas who outlasted them all en route to win No. 5 on the campaign and his first in the FedExCup Playoffs. It also leaves him nestled comfortably in the top-5 in points and in position to control his own destiny at the TOUR Championship in Atlanta.
That said, not everyone enjoyed the foliage and chowder as much as Spieth and Thomas…
It may be Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a number of players looking for a Monday Mulligan:
Justin Thomas — Oh boy, another sparkling finish for Justin Thomas means yet another win in 2017 (make that 5 with a major!) and another hay maker landed in the fight for Player of the Year. Thomas, who bested Jordan Spieth by three at the Dell Technologies Championship did so on the strength of a Sunday 63 and a Monday 66. With the win, Thomas moves from third to second in FedExCup points and into a position to control his own destiny at the TOUR Championship in Atlanta.
Jordan Spieth — Slow and steady wins the race, even if it doesn’t necessarily win the tournament. Jordan Spieth played great in Boston last week, bested again by just one player. This time, Spieth’s runner-up came at the hands of childhood friends (and, if we are all lucky, President’s Cup partner) Justin Thomas. For Spieth, his Monday 67 just wasn’t enough to topple Thomas who has remained hot since claiming major title No. 1 at the PGA Championship. Spieth would surely take four 2nd place finishes if it meant seeing his name on the big cardboard check in three weeks, but surely he’d rather win in Chicago and Altanta — which he’s apt to do. Spieth also moved from second to first in points.
Kevin Chappell — One of fantasy golf’s unsung heroes in 2017, Kevin Chappell hasn’t garnered quite the attention he rightfully deserves. Not only did the journeyman pro collect career win No. 1 at the Valero Texas Open, he’s also — officially — qualified for his first team event. While his T-35 at TPC Boston wasn’t anything special, per say, it was good enough to accomplish two things: Lock him into next week’s BMW Championship and earn him the final automatic bid onto this year’s President’s Cup team. Good on ya.
Phil Mickelson — Color me fooled! I really wasn’t expecting much from Phil Mickelson last week in Boston and, almost on cue, Lefty posted his best finish since a T-9 showing at the FedEx St. Jude Classic — in June. Mickelson’s T-5 at TPC Boston vaulted him from 58th to 36th in FedExCup points, comfortably into next week’s field at Conway Farms but still six out of the Tour Championship in Atlanta. I suppose with all that’s at stake ($10 million, a spot on the President’s Cup team) no one should be shocked at Phil’s performance. No — do we bet on him backing it up in Chicago? Who the hell knows? It’s Phil.
Louis Oosthuizen — I may have been a touch over zealous predicting that Louis Oosthuizen was going to be this year’s Billy Horschel, going on to shock everyone and win the FedExCup, but it ain’t over yet and I’m still holding out hope — and a betting slip. Oosthuizen had three solid rounds and a bad one — a Sunday 74 — en route to a T-30 finish at the Dell Technologies Championship. At 24th in points, Oosthuizen needs another decent week to secure a spot in Atlanta — and a great one really have a shot at the top prize.
Rory McIlroy — I promise this will be the last time you see Rory McIlroy’s name in one of my articles this year. Good Lord, the dude is on the struggle bus right now. While his “struggle” is relative because most people in the world would literally commit a murder to be able to play as “poorly” as Rors is right now, his game certainly isn’t up to the standard he holds for himself or most of us hold for him. It pains me to say this as a Rory Apologist, but you need to be weary of the Northern Irishman going forward — if he makes it past Conway Farms.
Adam Scott — While Scott’s wife pushed him to get out of the house and head to Boston for the Dell Technologies Championship last week, she’s going to need to find something else for him to do the next couple week’s if she wants mommy-son time. Scott missed the cut at TPC Boston after ho-hum rounds of 71 and 75. The finish dropped him for 73rd to 79th in FedExCup Points and out of the field for next week’s BMW Championship. Surely, Scott will take the time to enjoy his family out on the tropical island paradise. The only people really feeling bad about his performance last week are those who didn’t see this one coming.