Tiger Woods just finished the last tournament in the Top 10, but will this be the week he hoists the trophy?
See ya Later, D.C.
Francesco Molinari didn’t just win his first Tour title on Sunday at Quicken Loans National. He blazed past the rest of the field, with an eight-shot victory at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm.
That’s because when we usually talk about the contenders and “the rest of the field,” prior to Sunday, Molinari would have been considered “the rest of the field.” Then he shot an eight-under-par 62.
But one of the big headlines—since, after all, it was Tiger Woods’ name in the headline—was that Woods finished tied for fourth after shooting four-under in the final round. Woods and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer tied at -11 for the tournament, giving Woods his third top-10 finish this season.
It all gave the DC-based event quite the swan song since the PGA decided to end a 38-year love affair between the city full of politicians who love golf and the professional golf tour. For now, at least.
Take me Home, Plush Green Fairways, To the Place, Where I Belong, West Virginia …
Next up is the Greenbrier Classic, which was renamed this year as The Military Tribute at The Greenbrier. The West Virginia-based tournament is played at The Old White TPC at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs.
It will include a bit more robust field than at the Quicken Loans National, including seven top-35 in the World Golf Ranking players like No. 26 Brian Harman, No. 31 Tony Finau and No. 33 Kevin Kisner. Plus 2017 defending champion Xander Schauffele.
But really it’s a homecoming for Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson. Both players own a residence at the Greenbrier.
The Classic was canceled in 2016 after a flood damaged the Old White TPC. Then last year, Mickelson helped redesign nine greens after several were damaged by a flood in 2016.
Watson is fresh off a victory at the Travelers Championship where he shot seven-under in the final round to win by three strokes before taking the next week off.
Although there may be no place like home, neither Mickelson or Watson had a stellar 2017 at The Greenbrier. Mickelson made the cut last year after missing it three consecutive years, in 2011 through 2013.
And Watson finished tied for 70th. He has never finished in the Top 10 at the tournament, despite consistently turning in rounds in the 60s. Watson is also the first player in the PGA this year to reach three victories this season.
The field will be tough, featuring five of the top 12 in the FedExCup points chase. One of those tough competitors is Kisner, who actually lost in a playoff two years ago to Danny Lee.
The event on The Old White TPC, originally designed in 1914 is a 7,286-yard par 70 and first included in the tour lineup in 2010, also includes all seven former winners.
It also includes Tony Finau, who keeps showing up with equal or better odds than Watson.
Who is Tony Finau?
Finau turned pro just three years ago. He had five top-10 starts in his rookie season in 2015, picked up his first PGA Tour victory at the Puerto Rico Open in 2016 and make it to the FedEx Cup finals in 2017.
His notable for this season: he already has two second-place finishes at the Genesis Open and Safeway Open. He also finished fifth at this year’s U.S. Open. This will be his first start since that fifth-place finish.
And while we love a good underdog story, there’s something about playing in your own backyard, literally.