After a horrid start to the year, Patrick Reed has been shaping up nicely for the last two or three months and the 2018 Masters champion capped that return to form with a big win at the Northern Trust on Sunday.
Jon Rahm had looked on track to claim the second event of the FedEx Cup Play-Offs, which form the climax to the PGA Tour season, until he bogeyed 14 and 15. Rahm finished two shots behind Reed.
The American took a short break from golf in the spring, having felt exhausted. That is the mental strain of trying to get your swing back and it can drive you demented.
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A rest – Reed didn’t touch a club for 10 days – is a great idea and he came back refreshed, recording a top-five finish in June and then a top-10 in The Open at Royal Portrush.
Winning the Northern Trust for a second time represents the 29-year-old getting back to where he belongs.
It has also put Reed in a very strong position in the FedEx Cup.
He has jumped from 50th to second in the rankings heading into this week’s BMW Championship, which will determine not only who makes it to the Tour Championship but also – due to a new format – who gets a head start at the season finale, where a top prize of $15m is up for grabs.
Brooks Koepka still sits top of the pile, with Rory McIlroy third. It might have been better for Rory, who made seven birdies in his final round at the Northern Trust.
Not for the first time this year, a high bogey count cost him and his five dropped shots left him in a tie for sixth.
McIlroy, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter will have happy memories of this week’s venue for the BMW Championship: Medinah Country Club, scene of Europe’s Ryder Cup miracle in 2012.
All three know the venue intimately, although this will be a totally different set-up. While US captain Davis Love III had all the rough cut away for the Ryder Cup, this course will play like it has when hosting Majors, the last of which was the 2006 US PGA Championship.
Shot penalties are only way to stop slow play
Slow play is back in the news after Bryson DeChambeau took more than two minutes to play some of his shots at the Northern Trust, although the truth is that it is not a new phenomenon.
I feel like I have been talking about this issue for 45 years. It’s been going on forever and has always been discussed but referees aren’t strong enough and it’s a burden to the tours.
The amount of time DeChambeau takes is a joke, but he is not the only culprit. Given his unique methodology, he may even be going as quickly as he can – but he needs to speed up.
For me, two-shot penalties are the only punishment that can really hurt a player.
Fining a few thousand won’t make a difference to these guys, but two shots can decide whether you make a cut or win a title.
Main image credit: Getty