“Wake me up when September ends,” is the classic rock song by the American band Green Day. It is certainly not a sentiment shared by a golf fan.
Considering what’s in store for us in the next manic, thrilling 30-day rollercoaster, it’ll be more like “Quick Sleep When October Begins.”
In the early hours of Monday morning, it was all taken care of with barmy, brilliant Bryson DeChambeau and an all-ages six-hole playoff in Baltimore against the perfect straight, Patrick Cantlay. Except when Cantlay won, at least.
Patrick Cantlay (L) and Bryson DeChambeau Served Drama on BMW Championship Golf
The mutual distaste became apparent when the man who spends little time worrying about social media wore a smile to break the internet. Here’s another Ryder Cup pal that Bryson won’t be paired with at the end of the month.
The fun all starts on Thursday with the FedEx Cup final, the Tour Championship in Atlanta, where one man takes home a prize of £11 million. Even making the 30-man field guarantees a check for £290,000, plus places in three of the four majors next year.
Recognizing that it is a seasonal competition, although weighted heavily towards the first two playoff events, there is a modified scoring format. Cantlay starts at 10 under par, two shots ahead of Tony Finau, with Bryson three back and #1 Jon Rahm four adrift.
Rory McIlroy, who moved up 12 places with his encouraging fourth place on Sunday, is seven behind. In four rounds against a leader who must be emotionally drained, it might suit the Northern Irishman to break through at East Lake, one of his favorite courses.
The Solheim Cup kicks off on Saturday and, after the thrilling climax of the Open in Carnoustie, all indications are that the two teams are perfectly evenly matched for what promises to be another exciting edition in Inverness, Ohio.
There’s plenty more excitement for fans to look forward to during a packed September schedule
Back in Georgia on Sunday, the £11 million check will not be handed out before US Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker will name his six wildcards.
The six who are now assured of a spot are Collin Morikawa, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, DeChambeau and Cantlay. Three more certainties for the pick are the Olympic gold medalist, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth and Finau. After that, however, Atlanta represents the perfect audition.
Then it’s Europe’s turn, and the BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth, where it looks like there’s only one Ryder Cup place up for grabs. If Shane Lowry is knocked out of the final automatic slot in the final two weeks of qualifying, he will certainly receive the third wildcard alongside Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia. If he keeps his spot, there are about a dozen candidates for Captain Padraig Harrington to consider.
So all to play for in Surrey, where Harrington will unveil his selections a few hours after the last putt has fallen.
Then we have a few quiet days as Stricker fathoms how he can put together his mix of wonderfully gifted individuals but multiple warring factions.
Finally, what will no doubt be a Ryder Cup as emotional as the last postponed, in 2002.
Looking at the photos released last week, the appetite was whetted by the fact that it looks like they built a makeshift Kop around the first tee in Wisconsin.
What a month it promises to be.
Quote of the week
The USGA is said to be reducing driver height to 46 inches soon. This is pathetic. It promotes a more violent swing (prone to injury), the length of the arc doesn’t allow for speed, and during our first golf participation in 40 years, our amateur board tries to make the game less fun.”
It’s fair to say Phil Mickelson isn’t a fan of the ruling, which will be confirmed next week, to reduce the allowable length of a driveshaft from 48 to 46 inches. As a man using a 47.5-inch driver, that’s understandable. An announcement is expected before the end of the year on the more controversial issue of how far the golf ball travels.
In Baltimore on Sunday, the dilemma facing the governing bodies was clear. There you had Bryson DeChambeau smashing the ball everywhere and making nonsense about the way the architect intended the track.
But equally undeniable was that, as a spectacle, it was positively enchanting. The roar as he took out his driver and tried to reach the first green 357 meters away was enlightening. People like to watch the modern Babe Ruth.