Wet and wild

A duel to remember at Caves Valley


Did you know that bananas are technically berries? Weird stuff.

Are you not entertained?

It’s not often that someone makes 27 birdies and four eagles in a week and loses, but Bryson DeChambeau has always done things differently.

Sixty-nine players teed it up at the BMW Championship, the second event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, but by Saturday DeChambeau and Cantlay were the only two who really mattered. On Sunday, they gave us one of the best final-round battles in recent PGA Tour memory. DeChambeau and Cantlay are both among the top five tee-to-green players on tour, and they went to town on a soft Caves Valley, finishing 72 holes in 27 under. In the ensuing six-hole playoff, not only was the shotmaking excellent, but the players’ dislike for each other was obvious. It was the kind of mano-a-mano, emotionally tense golf that we rarely see on the PGA Tour. As Brendan Porath wrote, it was truly a spectacle. BMW Championship Results

Going into the final holes in regulation, Bryson seemed to have Cantlay against the ropes, but then Cantlay saved par from nine feet on No. 16, saved bogey from eight feet on No. 17, and sank a birdie putt from 21 feet on the 72nd hole. Meanwhile, DeChambeau failed to convert a relatively simple up-and-down on the par-3 17th and missed a chance to win outright on the next hole.

In the playoff, both players narrowly averted disaster multiple times before, finally, on their fourth trip up the 18th, Cantlay rolled in his birdie putt and DeChambeau failed to make his. Cantlay took home his fifth PGA Tour victory and will start two shots clear at next week’s Tour Championship… but we suspect he’s happiest about beating Bryson DeChambeau.

The victor

Patrick Cantlay has quietly put together an elite serason. He now has three wins on the PGA Tour (the Zozo, the Memorial, and the BMW), and he’s currently third in Strokes Gained: Total and fifth in scoring average. While he didn’t play his best at the majors, Cantlay is now No. 1 in the FedEx Cup and has the Ryder Cup in his sights, so 2021 could still end up being a career year for him.

The victim

Caves Valley was a long, wet course this week, but Bryson made it look like a pitch-and-putt at times. He also made a lot of mistakes, and his short game abandoned him on Sunday. A straightforward up-and-down on the 17 could have all but secured victory, but he flubbed the chip and kept Cantlay alive. Give Bryson credit, though, he hung tough as his opponent made one incredible putt after another.

As always, the on-course action was just part of the Bryson Show this weekend. The free-floating animosity between him and, well, everyone else still seems to be on the rise. The “Brooksy” heckles haven’t stopped, and Cantlay is the latest of many players to regard the big man with visible annoyance. Afterwards, DeChambeau once again refused to speak with the print media, continuing to grant interview requests only to TV outlets (and, presumably, to any magazines that employ him as a “playing editor”).

Golf can be a lonely sport, and Bryson seems to be driving himself further into isolation.

The scene

The final round at the BMW Championship was a genuine thriller. Two of the best players in the game went at each other all day, trading blows until one of them triumphed. It was the kind of drama we’d kill to see on a weekly basis, but the reality is, we won’t. The schedule is still too crowded and the personalities are still too whitewashed. But hey, we got the good stuff on Sunday, and we’re grateful for it.

The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America

Charleston Municipal Golf Course (Charleston, South Carolina)

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Prior to Troy Miller’s renovation of “The Muni,” Charleston-area public golf offered little in the way of compelling architecture. Now residents have access to an affordable course featuring bold interpretations of Seth Raynor templates found at Charleston’s top two private clubs, Country Club of Charleston and Yeamans Hall. Miller’s gutsy vision and the town’s buy-in has turned Charleston Muni from a good course with a flooding problem to a must-play for visitors to the city. Read our full profile and watch our video on the course.

Insider tip: The tee sheet fills up quickly, but since the course doesn’t require a deposit, no-shows are a regular occurrence. If you can’t get a tee time, show up early and you’ll likely get out. -Andy Johnson

Photo credit: Andy Johnson

Quick Hooks

At the Curtis Cup, Team USA rallied over the final two days to come from behind and defeat Great Britain & Ireland 12.5-7.5. The U.S. went 6-1-1 in Saturday singles to close out the victory. Scoring

Adam Svensson came from two shots back to win the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship and the second leg of Korn Ferry Tour Finals. Leaderboard

At the Omega European Masters, 20-year-old Rasmus Højgaard shot a final-round 63 to grab the clubhouse lead and watched as Bernd Wiesberger rinsed his approach on the 72nd hole. The untimely water ball handed Højgaard his third European Tour title and kept Wiesberger just outside the cut line for an automatic spot on the European Ryder Cup team. Leaderboard

Despite missing both the Northern Trust and the BMW Championship, Patrick Reed is No. 30 in the FedEx Cup standings. Recently hospitalized with double pneumonia, Reed may not be well enough to compete in the Tour Championship.

Needing big weeks at Caves Valley for any real shot at making the U.S. Ryder Cup team, Kevin Kisner and Phil Mickelson finished T-66.

Speaking of Phil, he took to Twitter this weekend to spout off incoherently about the USGA’s reported proposal to limit driver length. Just imagine how active he’ll be on social media when he finally retires.

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Shotgun Start: Exploring the limits of podcasting potential

Even by Shotgun Start standards, this is a bit of an experimental episode. With Brendan up in Baltimore covering the BMW Championship and the late finish, he called in from the road along with Kevin Van Valkenburg of ESPN, who was also on the grounds and gathering some incredible reporting on the Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay duel. The trio focus solely on that BMW final round, Cantlay’s potential, the Bryson heckling, the defenseless setup, and if the fireworks mean anything either way for the FedEx Cup. Wednesday’s episode will be a more thorough recap of the other events, the Ryder Cup points race closing, and a focus on the Solheim Cup. Thanks to Kevin for joining us and apologies to listeners everywhere for the poor audio quality. We won’t try this again! Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

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It seemed like Patrick Cantlay was incapable of missing a putt down the stretch at the BMW. When you have it going with the flatstick, make sure you keep it hot with a Fried Egg putter cover!