The golf cart broke down last week, so this week’s edition of Tee Time will review The American Express as well as the Farmers Insurance Open from the past two weeks of the PGA Tour.
The American Express was held on Jan. 20-23 at La Quinta Country Club in California and produced some surprising results. Based off of his previous performance in the Sentry Tournament of Champions, I expected Jon Rahm, the top ranked golfer in the world, to win this one. Or, if not win, come pretty close to it. The Spanish golfer finished in 14th place, tied with seven other golfers with a score of 274.
Fourteen places above him was American golfer Hudson Swafford at 23 under, winning the tournament with a sweet 265. This was a complete turnaround from the first round, where he was only a few shots shy of being cut. There must’ve been something in the drinks between the first and second rounds because Swafford propelled up and took fourth on the second round after shooting 65 shots. He kept this momentum for the third, rising with the lowest score in the fourth to win 500 FedEx Cup points.
Fellow American golfer Tom Hoge won 300 points for his second-place finish, and I wouldn’t say he was necessarily robbed, but I do think his consistency on the weekend beats Swafford’s. Hoge was fifth after the first round and dropped over 10 places at one point in the next few but couldn’t climb back up. However, he didn’t have as large of a jump as Swafford did. Also, his driving accuracy was 75%, the fifth best at the end of the weekend.
After just three days of turnaround time, many of these same golfers were back on the green again for the Farmers Insurance Open. The Tour stayed in CA for this one, teeing off on both the north and south courses at Torrey Pines in La Jolla. I was sure Jon Rahm had to have a better weekend this time, but it was only that—just better.
For the second time, Rahm wasn’t able to come up with a win and still settled for a tie. Rahm divided the third-place finish with America’s Cameron Tringale and Australia’s Jason Day. Round one saw an eagle from Rahm, but he had at least one bogey in every round, even a double in the third for a total of seven on the weekend. By the end of the final round, Rahm shot 274.
Despite being behind Day and the second-place winner, American Will Zalatoris, American golfer Luke List took home his first PGA Tour win. As implied, this victory didn’t come without its challenges, perhaps adding even more to the sentimentality of everything. He spent the second and third rounds nowhere near the top in terms of being under par, after the first at ninth in shots. He made a stunning comeback for the final round and only had one bogey with seven birdies.
Zalatoris had a similar performance last weekend. He finished the third round in second with 65 shots on the 18 holes and played well enough in the last round that he would need to birdie in order to beat List. Birdies were not in Zalatoris’ favor at the end of the weekend, as he couldn’t manage to hit it on the last hole, resulting in a playoff between him and List.
After hitting identical shots, it was List who finished his off. Zalatoris missed the second birdie and handed List his first win on Tour.
Zalatoris will have another shot at PGA victory this upcoming weekend at the 2022 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The Pro-Am is slated for Feb. 3-6 across a few country clubs in Pebble beach, CA. I have high hopes for Zalatoris in this next one, as long as he practices some birdies this week.