Ranking the 10 best golf tournaments of the 2017 season
From the Masters to The Open and everything in between, let's look at the top tournaments of the year
There are just two tournaments left on the 2016-17 PGA Tour calendar, and with a bit of a break in the action, I thought it would be fun to take a look back on the year. We can update this after the season in case either the BMW Championship or Tour Championship gets crazy, but as of right now, these are the 10 best tournaments played on the PGA Tour during the 2016-17 PGA Tour season.
1. The Open Championship (Jordan Spieth): Great tournaments are defined by great winners, and Spieth is already an all-timer. The fact that we got the lunacy we got on Sunday capped by Spieth's birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-par barrage at the very end on an historic course like Royal Birkdale really sets this one apart from the rest. The gap between No. 1 and No. 2 is deeper than a Dustin Johnson moon ball.
2. The Masters (Sergio Garcia): This entire season has been emblematic for where golf is on the whole right now. Every week, it seems, produces another elite leaderboard, and the Masters was certainly among those. Going to Sunday, Thomas Pieters, Adam Scott, Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose were all in the top 10. That's a phenomenal board, and in the end, it was Garcia slaying his demons on the best course on the planet in the most dramatic way possible. It was a "better-than-I-imagined" close to one of the better Masters start to finish in recent memory.
3. Travelers Championship (Spieth): Who would have bet on the Travelers Championship coming in No. 3 before the season started? Spieth led wire-to-wire and finished off the tournament with one of the five best shots of 2017. When one of the best players in the world takes hold of an event like this, it creates a good bit of drama as everyone else tries to run him down. Daniel Berger nearly did it, but then Spieth did what Spieth does and escaped with another trophy.
4. U.S. Open (Brooks Koepka): It's very difficult to keep major championships off this list, especially when they have top-notch winners like we've seen for most of the last five years. Sunday was a bit of a bore at Erin Hills, but Saturday was as electric a day as I can remember in covering majors for the last five years. Justin Thomas lost his mind with a 63, and players were committing acts of arson all over the state of Wisconsin. In the end, Koepka won the thing with cunning and accuracy, and it wasn't all that dramatic. But it was still one of the more memorable weeks of the golf season.
5. PGA Championship (Justin Thomas): When we rank golf tournaments, we're ranking the ending of golf tournaments more than anything. If somebody shoots a 60 to win or closes with a back nine of 30 (think Phil Mickelson at the 2004 Masters), then we remember that event as a great event (even if it wasn't). The 2017 PGA Championship was good, not great, but the final day of work from Thomas was a spectacle. I'll never forget the iron he hit into the disgustingly lengthy par-3 17th that more or less sealed the deal.
6. WGC-Mexico Championship (Dustin Johnson): It might be the most underrated event of 2017. D.J. and Tommy Fleetwood throwing haymakers at each other complete with Mickelson shooting a 68 after hitting just four fairways. Jon Rahm, Thomas Pieters, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy were all also heavily involved in this one with Thomas unveiling his now-trademark (?) shrug and McIlroy leading at the halfway point. This tournament was one of the best viewing experiences of 2017.
7. The Northern Trust (Dustin Johnson): I'm not sure if it was one of the 10 best tournaments as a whole, but that finish was remarkable. Dueling 18-footers from Spieth and Johnson on the final two holes followed by D.J. putting a hole in the ozone layer in the playoff. It might have been the best three-hole stretch we got on the season outside of The Open and the Masters.
8. Wells Fargo Championship (Brian Harman): It was the early-season version of the Travelers Championship. A group of heavyweights that included Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm were thwarted in the end by Harman, who hit one of the great putts of the year for the win.
9. WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (Hideki Matsuyama): Much like The Northern Trust, this wasn't really a great tournament, but it did deliver the goods on Sunday. Hideki Matsuyama shot a stunning 61 to win for the third time on the season, and then he said he didn't really feel like he had his swing all day. It was, even for Matsuyama, a master class in #TourSauce.
10. SBS Tournament of Champions (Justin Thomas): The five-time winner this year had to fend off Matsuyama down the stretch to win his second of the season. We're always jonesing for golf at the beginning of January, and Thomas gave us an absolute show. At the time, he was the only golfer to defeat Matsuyama over a three-month stretch. This shot and walk on No. 17 shut it down (although, he told Chris Solomon recently that he was trying to get through the ball more than he was trying to strut after it).
Just missed: Arnold Palmer Invitational, Farmers Insurance Open, Honda Classic and Northern Trust Open.
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