Do your taxes. You have one month!
Every shot, do it live
The 2021 Players Championship was two years in the making, and it was worth the wait. Sunday’s finish saw everything from shanks and tops to clutch eagles. While many players had a shot, Justin Thomas’s consistency put him over the top. JT fired a 132 (64-68) on the weekend, four shots better than the next best player over that span. Players Championship Results
Outside the cut line through 27 holes, Justin Thomas shifted into high gear for the final 45. Whether the situation called for a low draw or a high fade, he had it in the bag.
At no time was his skill more evident than on the par-5 16th hole on Sunday. Tied for the lead, JT hit an intentional low hook off the tee, then feathered a cut 5-wood into the green from 221 yards. He birded that hole, rolled in a gutsy par putt on the island 17th, and lived on the edge on his final tee shot. It was a dynamic, masterful performance.
Prior to the Players, Justin Thomas made a lot of news in 2021, but not with his play. His use of a homophobic slur on a hot mic in Hawaii highlighted a persistent issue in our society and prompted Thomas to undergo a self-reckoning. He apologized quickly and unequivocally, seeming to treat his error with the seriousness it deserved, but the remark has rightfully pursued him in his public appearances over the past two months.
Meanwhile, Thomas has been dealing with family tragedy. His grandfather, an influential figure in his life, died in February. When asked about his grandfather during a post-round interview on Sunday, he was understandably emotional.
All in all, these first three months of 2021 will leave their mark on Justin Thomas. By his standards, his play in January and February was mediocre, and he has acknowledged that his off-course issues, both self-inflicted and not, caused a dip in his form. It’s no surprise to see him holding a trophy again, as he is one of the most well-rounded players of this era. But we’re more curious to see how his personal growth might manifest itself.
Lee Westwood and Bryson DeChambeau were paired in the final group for the second week in a row, the first time that’s happened in at least 10 years (h/t Justin Ray). While DeChambeau struggled early, Westwood held the lead for much of the day and stayed close to JT down the stretch. The Englishman’s round was ultimately undone by a poor layup on the 16th hole and a three-putt bogey on No. 17, but a birdie on the 72nd hole, which earned him an extra $600,000, alleviated the pain. He ended up solo second, one shot behind Justin Thomas.
While Westwood missed out on what would have been a signature win this weekend, he has to be delighted with the state of his game. The 47-year-old has proven that he has what it takes to hang with powerful 20-somethings like Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas. On top of that, the old dog has emerged as a fan favorite. Even in the backyard of FedEx’s favorite sports league, the crowd was palpably behind UPS-sponsored Westy. So yes, back-to-back runner-ups don’t come with any hardware, but Lee Westwood is in the midst of an unlikely, inspiring career resurgence. We’re excited to see where it goes.
Antoine Rozner holed this 60-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to win the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. It’s Rozner’s second European Tour win in his past six starts, and he’s up to No. 63 in the OWGR. Results
We won’t harp (too much) on it, but the fairway-cut playing surfaces at TPC Sawgrass just seemed to get slower over the weekend. Maybe it was too much watering, or maybe softness is just the inevitable state of overseeded ryegrass. Either way, when the greens are firm but the surrounds are soft, players have limited options with their approach and short-game shots. We’d love to see that change in the future.
Three strong opening rounds vaulted Doug Ghim into contention at TPC Sawgrass, but his final-round 78 dropped him to a T-29 finish in his first Players appearance. This was clearly not the Sunday he was looking for, but as David Ferherty put it, “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.”
While the rest of us start the work week today, Lee Westwood will be playing Augusta National with his son. Not a bad consolation prize.
Brendan Todd came within feet of hitting the island on No. 17. Not the green, though—the tiny island with the tree and the flowers! Gotta love a good sh*nk.
Bryson DeChambeau may have made the best double bogey of the year on No. 4 on Sunday. After topping his tee shot into the water, Bryson hit his next shot 50 yards right of the green. He needed a world-class up-and-down to make his six. It was really something.
Corey Conners started Sunday 10 shots off the pace but went six under through his first 13 holes and was suddenly within striking distance. Ultimately he finished solo seventh.
Will Zalatoris (solo 21st) tallied his sixth top 25 of the calendar year at TPC Sawgrass, but he’s still not eligible for the FedEx Cup Playoffs. He’ll have to win to earn that honor.
There was a lot to love about Every Shot Live this weekend. For us, though, the footage of Jordan Spieth accidentally hitting into Rory Sabbatini—and subsequently providing a series of insights into Sabbo’s personality—took the cake.
The Latest from The Fried Egg
2021 Fried Egg Event Information – Looking to play in a Fried Egg event this year? We’ve released a series of posts covering the details of each! Registration for our events at Meadowbrook Country Club and Rolling Green Golf Club as well as the lottery for our day at the Dunes Club open this Friday.
Shotgun Start: Westy on tilt, JT on point, and Rory chases Bryson
This Players Monday episode begins by tackling the question of whether an Illinois B1G championship mitigates the despair of Westy fading at the Players in Andy’s world. They immediately jump into the JT-Westy contrasts, namely one putting together an all-time ball-striking round and the other desperately trying to cobble something respectable. They tear the band-aid off and relive a “worst case scenario” for Andy. JT’s play and legacy are discussed, and Westy’s worst shot of the day is debated. There are giggles over the run of horrendous shanks and tops early in the round, which results in a Thicc impersonation. They also cover a setup quibble here and there, the Mattress King giving away his driver in the middle of a round, the Spieth-Sabbo contretemps, Doug Ghim, and Every Shot Live coverage. Brendan defends, maybe, the Players feeling major-ly to him. Rory’s comments about Bryson influencing his chase for speed and swing struggles are reviewed. News focuses on DJ opting out of the Olympics before one more round of Westy laments to sign off on a great week. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Lee Westwood and Bryson DeChambeau looked horrible on the 4th hole at TPC Sawgrass. You know what won’t make you look bad? The Fried Egg Liam Polo. Get yours today!