Monday Finish: Day joins rotation of golf's elite
August 31, 2015
By D.J. Piehowski, PGATOUR.COM
- Jason Day after winning The Barclays by six shots. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Welcome to the Monday Finish, where we haven't seen that level of dominance in New Jersey since "Born in the U.S.A."
Today is Monday, August 31, 2015 and Jason Day is the best player in the world.
Four weeks ago, Jordan Spieth was the best player in the world.
Four months ago, Rory McIlroy was the best player in the world. Four weeks from now, any of them could be. The top three players in the world rankings are turning golf into a weekly Mad Lib.
"This week _______ proved he's the only player in the world who can _______."
And that's what's beautiful. This is what the game of golf looks like today, Monday, August 31, 2015.
We've seen this coming for the past two years. Even if your Big Three looked a little different, you knew it was where we were headed. We have been told time and again that it's tougher than ever to win on the PGA TOUR, that Tiger has pushed the next generation of golf to reach new heights. The cream still rises to the top (there's just more cream) and this generation's 10 best players was trimmed to five or six. This summer, we've seen it trimmed to three.
Since Woods' dominant five-win campaign in 2013, we've seen these three players, Day, Spieth and McIlroy snatch up 14 PGA TOUR victories and five of nine majors. Compared to Tiger's dominance, what we're seeing is parity, but it's not really. If you think the field is equal when any of these three are playing their best golf, you're kidding yourself (unless your transmission has an extra gear like Dustin Johnson or Bubba Watson).
The best part of all of this is seeing what happens next, which is good news for the FedExCup Playoffs. For the next three events, we'll see all three, Day, Spieth and McIlroy, in action. Spieth is coming off a missed cut, McIlroy is coming off an injury and Day is coming off a dominating six-shot victory.
The rankings, and the previous sentence, may say one thing, but make no mistake, there are no favorites among golf's new Big Three. Just fill in your Mad Lib and enjoy.
THIS WEEK'S FIVE BEST STATS
1) With this week's win, Day ties Jordan Spieth for most wins on TOUR in 2015. Since 2010, the only players to record four or more wins on TOUR in a season are Spieth, Day, McIlroy and Woods.
2) Jason Day's last two events, his wins at the PGA Championship and The Barclays, have been two of the three best strokes gained: tee-to-green performances of his career. This week, Day was third in the category, gaining nearly three strokes per round on the field from tee-to-green.
3) Since The Open Championship, Jason Day has made 99 birdies, 10 more than the next best mark (Brooks Koepka). That's translated into this:
4) Day set a new career-best on the par 4s this week, playing them in 15 under par. The field average on the par 4s? That would be 1 over par.
5) Day has now played 20 consecutive rounds of par or better on the PGA TOUR. The only player to put up a longer streak this season is Patrick Reed (21).
THIS WEEK'S THREE BEST VIDEOS
1) Just how dialed in was Jason Day on Sunday? He was intentionally playing to safe spots on the greens and still rolling in birdies.
Jason Day walks in his 33-foot putt for birdie on No. 15 at The Barclays
2) Brian Harman had never made an ace on TOUR until Sunday, when he made two.
Brian Harman cards his second ace of Round 4 at The Barclays
3) We know he didn't pull it off, but Phil still deserves a spot in the top three for attempting this overhead shot.
Phil Mickelson’s wizardry on the par-4 18th at The Barclays
ODDS AND ENDS
There were a lot of great shot trails this week, but this one from Jason Day's 72nd hole is probably my favorite. A reminder that this is a man who has a five-shot lead.
Jordan Spieth missed the cut this week, but he was definitely ready for the Playoffs to begin.
After finishing T4 and moving well inside the Top 100, Zac Blair had his own Dubsmash response about moving on to the second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs.
As mentioned above, Brian Harman made two aces on Sunday, just the third time that's happened in TOUR history. He wanted to make sure the members of the media could celebrate with him.
Finally, when Jason Day wins, we all win. Why? Because it means plenty of camera time for his son, Dash.