The Blue Course at Congressional was ready to bite this weekend as the tour players began to look ahead to the Open Championship in three weeks. In fact, the tournament yielded its highest winning score (280) since the tournament’s inception in 2007. The score was shared by Justin Rose and Shawn Stefani, after Rose put a ball in the water on 18 and managed to make a clutch, bogey-saving putt. When Stefani dumped his ball in the water on the first playoff hole, Rose cruised in with a par to win his sixth PGA tournament. For most people, Rose was the heavy favorite in the playoff to begin with, and no connection could be made between the two golfers. However, you may remember that in Rose’s best win to date, the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, Shawn Stefani also made history by being the first player to hit a hole in one at Merion during a U.S. Open. And what an incredible hole in one it was. Still, much like the U.S. Open, Rose ultimately walked away victorious.
Although Tiger Woods stuck around on the weekend, it was only to present the trophy on Sunday, as he made a quick exit from the tournament after two rounds over-par to kick off his comeback tour. Now, the question remains as to how Woods will prepare for the Open Championship, when he clearly has a ways to go to be tournament ready. He could choose to train solely outside the ropes, physically and mentally preparing on his own, or he could sign up for another tournament last-minute and get one more chance inside the ropes to clear his mind and body. If he opts for the latter, his options will be the John Deere Classic, where Jordan Spieth will be defending his first and only PGA Tour Win, or the Scottish Open, held across the pond on a links course that will provide a similar, albeit less demanding test to that of Royal Liverpool in the Open Championship. While the future of Woods’ game is unknown, the rustiness and non-Tiger-like performance we saw this past week was to be expected, and by many experts, as well as our very own Jon Costin (see below), predicted. And for the rest of our picks, with Dufner joining Woods as an unexpected player to miss the cut, 6 of our 7 players in the foursomes making the cut, and Jon picking the winner in Rose; I’d say we made up for a poor effort at the Travelers. Check out our results below, and then it’s onward to the Greenbrier Classic!
Tom/Jon: Brandt Snedeker (+2, T21)
Dark Horse for the Week
Tom: Daniel Summerhays (+4, T30)
Jon: Carl Pettersson (+7, T55)
Unlikely Player to Miss the Cut
Tom: Jason Dufner (74-74, Cut)
Jon: Tiger Woods (74-75, Cut)
Favorite to Win
Tom: Jordan Spieth (E, T11)
Jon: Brandt Snedeker (+2, T21)
Tom: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell, Gary Woodland, Billy Horschel (Total Earnings: $281,580)
Jon: Brandt Snedeker, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Jason Day (Total Earnings: $1,367,925)