In a regular weekly column on Rotoworld, we reflect on the tournaments just gone and also take an early peek at the action ahead on the PGA and European Tours.
Waste Management Phoenix Open
Notes: Oh Tony! Seeking his first win since 2016 and just second overall, Tony Finau had a hand and several fingers on the trophy when leading by two with two to play but Simpson birdied them both, staying alive with a 17ft 5in putt at 18 to match Finau, who then missed from 8ft 5in for the win. Back to 18 for the playoff and Simpson pulled out birdie once more to secure his sixth PGA TOUR win and leave good friend Finau wondering just what he has to do. It's perhaps not unfair to say that you could tell who was the major champ and proven winner in the moment of truth. Simpson had shot only even par on day one so this was some effort to post 17-under. The duo were three clear of the pack.
Fate of the favorites
Notes: A strong collective effort. As well as Simpson, double Phoenix winner Matsuyama was left to rue a Friday 74 but still made the top 20 after 65-68 on the weekend. Thomas closed with 65 for a backdoor top three but Rahm couldn't find the low one needed for a title bid.
1. (-12, 268) Graeme McDowell (Odds: 80/1)
2. (-10, 270) Dustin Johnson (Odds: 15/2)
3. (-9, 271) Gavin Green (Odds: 55/1)
3. (-9, 271) Phil Mickelson (Odds: 70/1)
3. (-9, 271) Thomas Pieters (Odds: 28/1)
Notes: A plotter beats four bombers! McDowell is a tough cookie when he hits the front and this is now the eighth time in 12 attempts across both tours he's converted a 54-hole lead. "I tell my kids we live in a nice house because Daddy can putt," said G-Mac earlier in the week and his flatstick certainly played a big part on Sunday as he holed a series of key par putts when the pressure was on. This was McDowell's 11th European Tour win but first since 2014. However, he did post a PGA TOUR victory (Corales Puntacana) in 2019 so the 2010 U.S. Open champ, now 40, is still racking 'em up. DJ had his chances and did Phil really go off at 70/1? Apparently so, although there are plenty in Phoenix who felt he should have been at TPC Scottsdale.
Fate of the favorites
Notes: Koepka shot a Saturday 65 but those keeping a watching brief for now on the still World No. 1 were validated as there were still signs of rust as he continues his return from injury. Reed made just one birdie in 36 holes and missed the cut while Perez was the halfway leader after a pair of 65s but then sank like a stone on the weekend.
Coming up this week…
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Location: Pebble Beach Golf Links (6,816 yards, par 72), Spyglass Hill Golf Course (6,953 yards, par 72), Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore course (6,958 yards, par 71). California.
Past winners at Pebble Beach
2019 (-19, 268) Phil Mickelson – 44th PGA TOUR win
2018 (-17, 270) Ted Potter, Jr. – 2nd PGA TOUR win
2017 (-19, 268) Jordan Spieth – 9th PGA TOUR win
2016 (-17, 270) Vaughn Taylor – 3rd PGA TOUR win
2015 (-22, 265) Brandt Snedeker – 7th PGA TOUR win
Notes: Phil Mickelson won for a fifth time last year, joining Mark O'Meara as a five-time champ at Pebble Beach. Johnny Miller and Jack Nicklaus are three-time winners while Dustin Johnson has lifted the trophy twice. #TeamCourseForm will have had this one on their radars for some time.
ISPS Handa Vic Open
Location: 13th Beach GC, Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Beach Course (6,807 yards, par 72), Creek Course (6,940 yards, par 72).
Past winners of the ISPS Handa Vic Open
2019 (-18, 270) David Law – 1st European Tour win
Notes: While this was a new event on the European Tour last season, 13th Beach Golf had played host when it ran as a local Australasia Tour event from 2013-2018 so there is some extra course form.