The First Look: Butterfield Bermuda Championship
October 24, 2021
By Adam Stanley , PGATOUR.COM
Shot of the Day
Brian Gay’s clutch approach is the Shot of the Day
The PGA TOUR heads to Bermuda for the third Butterfield Bermuda Championship. Brian Gay returns to defend his title – his first PGA TOUR triumph since 2013 – while a mix of major champions, TOUR winners, and up-and-coming stars round out the field.
FIELD NOTES: Masters winners Patrick Reed and Danny Willett are set to tee it up in Bermuda… Matt Fitzpatrick – fresh off his second Ryder Cup start and recent European Tour victory at Valderrama – is in the field… Ryder Cup assistant captains Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald are heading to Bermuda. McDowell competed in the Grand Slam of Golf here, an event that pitted the year’s four major winners against each other, as did Jason Dufner, who also are in this week’s field… Plenty of graduates from the Korn Ferry Tour are in the field looking for some early-season success on the FedExCup standings. Some notables include Stephan Jaeger and Joseph Bramlett, who were the leading points winners from the Regular Season and Korn Ferry Tour Finals, respectively, and Mito Pereira, who earned a three-win promotion in 2021… Sponsor exemptions include 2021 Walker Cup teammates Austin Eckroat and John Pak, who have since turned pro, and Texas Tech’s Ludvig Aberg, the world’s third-ranked amateur. Pak was the No. 1 player in this year’s PGA TOUR University rankings and swept college golf’s player of the year honors, winning the Haskins, Hogan and Nicklaus awards. Eckroat finished third in the PGA TOUR U rankings and parlayed the Korn Ferry Tour status that he earned into two top-15s in three starts. By virtue of finishing in the top five of PGA TOUR University, they are exempt into the final stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School, which will be held Nov. 4-7 in Savannah, Georgia.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 FedExCup points.
COURSE: Port Royal GC in Southampton, Bermuda, par 71, 6,828 yards. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Port Royal is the longest course on the island. At under 7,000 yards, though, it demands tight shot-making and straight driving. The course, which hosted the Grand Slam of Golf from 2009-14, underwent a $14.5-million renovation just over a decade ago to prepare for the TOUR’s arrival.
STORYLINES: The Butterfield Bermuda Championship will once again offer full FedExCup points… Both winners in Bermuda were slump-busters. Todd’s win came five years after his previous victory (2014 AT&T Byron Nelson), while Gay’s came seven years after his previous win. Will someone break his drought again in 2021?... The Monday qualifier already occurred, and the four to earn a spot in the field were Erik Barnes, Patrick Flavin, Kyle Wilshire, and Matt Hill. Hill won eight times, including the NCAA Championship, while at North Carolina State in 2009 (equalling Tiger Woods’ record for the most titles won by a golfer in the NCAA in one season) but this marks his first TOUR start since 2017.
72-HOLE RECORD: 260, Brendon Todd (2019)
18-HOLE RECORD: 62, Scottie Scheffler (first round, 2019), Brendon Todd (fourth round, 2019).
LAST TIME: Brian Gay, then 48 years old, won on the PGA TOUR for the first time since 2013, defeating Wyndham Clark in a playoff. Gay, who had made 169 starts on TOUR since his previous victory – and had eyes on joining PGA TOUR Champions come 2022 – fired a closing 64 (capped off with a birdie on the 72nd hole). He birdied the first playoff hole and won for the fifth time on TOUR. He became the oldest TOUR winner since Davis Love III at the 2015 Wyndham Championship in the process and built off a T3 results at the Bermuda Championship the year prior. Clark’s runner-up result was his best career finish on the PGA TOUR. Ollie Schniederjans, Stewart Cink, Matt Jones, Doc Redman, and Denny McCarthy – whose 8-under 63 in the final round was the round of the week – rounded out the top five.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Television: Thursday-Friday, 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. (Golf Channel)
Radio: Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio).