By Sam McPherson
Professional golf had an unusual week as two different tournaments on two different continents held the attention of fans. The PGA Tour rolled through Silvia, Illinois, where a diminished but still solid field played for the John Deere Classic title at TPC Deere Run. And for the first time since 1904, golf featured the sport’s best at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
PGA Tour veteran Ryan Moore shot 22-under par to earn $864,000 and claim the John Deere. The fifth PGA Tour victory of Moore’s career was a two-shot win over Ben Martin. Morgan Hoffman and Whee Kim finished in a third-place tie at 17-under overall.
Moore also topped the tournament players in hitting 83.33 percent of greens in regulation for the event. That accuracy surely helped him card three straight 65s before closing with a Sunday 67. Martin kept pace on the greens, needing only 1.558 putts per hole, which led the tournament. He also dropped a 62 on Saturday to add a little excitement to the final round.
Meanwhile, in Rio, England’s Justin Rose — the 2013 U.S. Open champion — won golf’s first gold medal since since 1904 with a 16-under-par effort on the Olympic Golf Course. Rose took control of the Summer Games event with a round of 65 on Saturday before closing out first place with a 67 on Sunday. Receiving the silver was 2016 Open Championship winner, Henrik Stenson, who followed up a first-round 66 with three straight 68s en route to an overall 14-under. American Matt Kuchar stormed onto the medal stand with 63 on Sunday, finishing one shot behind Stenson for the bronze.
Bubba Watson, who tied for eighth, was the next highest among the Americans in Rio. Patrick Reed managed an 11th-place finish, part of a four-way tie, and Rickie Fowler tied for 37th. Watson was in fourth place entering the final round, but his 70 on Sunday wasn’t good enough to keep pace. Meanwhile, Reed shot up 24 places in the final round with a 64. Fowler had issues with the course all weekend, shooting three rounds in the 70s — including an opening 75 and a closing 74.
Next On The Tee: Wyndham Championship
Now that the summer’s big-event stretch is over, the PGA Tour gets back to business this week with the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina. This is the final event before the FedExCup tournaments that end the season, and the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine to follow. Many golfers will be chasing the necessary points to get into the top 125 and continue their seasons.
Defending champion Davis Love III won’t be in the field this week. But 2014 Wyndham winner Camilo Villegas and 2013 winner Patrick Reed will be, joined by Webb Simpson and Arjun Atwal, who won in 2011 and 2010 respectively.
According to tournament officials, all but 11 of the players currently ranked between No. 91-190 in points are entered in the event as they try to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs. Those events start with The Barclays next week, which will be open to the season’s top 125 point-getters. The top 100 players will move on to the Deutsche Bank Championship, and the top 70 will continue on to the BMW Championship. The TOUR Championship will feature the top 30 golfers. With the FedExCup looming, the $5.6 million purse at the Wyndham Championship — including $1.008 million to the winner — might be an afterthought this weekend, as the players chase those elusive final spots.
The Sedgefield Country Club, which has hosted this event for several years in separate stints, was designed by Donald Ross in 1926. When this Tour stop was known as the Greater Greensboro Open/Classic, Sedgefield was among multiple courses to host. But since 2008, the Ross course has been the Wyndham’s sole circuit. It is the only course designed by Ross currently in use for a regular PGA Tour event.
The Sedgefield Country Club course plays 7,127 yards long and is a par 70.
Favorites: Matt Jones, Ryan Moore, Patrick Reed
Players to Watch: Rickie Fowler, Whee Kim, Ben Martin
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball, golf and fantasy sports for CBS Local. He also is an Ironman triathlete and certified triathlon coach. Follow him on Twitter @sxmcp, because he’s quite prolific despite also being a college English professor and a certified copy editor.