Messy Month of May

As good as April was for the PGA Tour, May was that much worse.

Thrash TalkThe month of May for the PGA Tour has come and gone, and it’s time to move towards the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. That’s definitely a good thing because the past month has been less than spectacular for this golf fan. The Masters was awesome once again at the beginning of April, and I figured things would continue to pick up heading into the summer.

Unfortunately for golf fans, that wasn’t the case. The Wachovia Championship was the first tournament of May, and it lived up to the hype. The great course and strong field made for another great finish at Quail Hollow. Jim Furyk outlasted Trevor Immelman in a playoff en route to claiming victory. That was the only high point on the PGA Tour this past month.

I was looking forward to last month because the PGA Tour made stops in Dallas and Fort Worth for the Byron Nelson Championship and Colonial, respectively. Both tournaments are only a few hours from my home state of Oklahoma, and both tournaments usually pack a strong punch. However, I was bored throughout both tournaments this season.

May 2005

The 2005 Wachovia Championship was just as exciting as it was this season. Sergio Garcia struggled to hold onto his 54-hole lead as Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk played their way into a playoff. In the playoff, Garcia bowed out early, leaving it up to Singh and Furyk. Vijay finished things off on the third playoff hole. The event was one of the best of the 2005 PGA Tour season.

Last year, the Byron Nelson Championship was won by Ted Purdy, but the real story surrounding the event was the emergence of Sean O’Hair. Add in a late run, including an ace at the 71st hole, by Vijay Singh, and the finish was great. Purdy wasn’t the most exciting winner of the season, but the action was still very exciting nonetheless.

Kenny PerryFast forward one week to last year’s Colonial. Kenny Perry tied his own tournament record en route to winning for the second time at Colonial Country Club. This may have been a little boring for golf fans, but record-setting play at one of the best courses on the PGA Tour is always special to watch.

Last on the list of archives is the 2005 FedEx St. Jude Classic. It looked like another runaway victory, but that was far from the end result. Justin Leonard torched the TPC at Southwind the first three days and looked to be in cruise control heading into Sunday. Justin Leonard’s final-round 73 mixed with a final-round 63 from David Toms made this finish one of the most interesting all season. Luckily for Leonard, he had given himself just enough wiggle room during the first three days, and he squeaked out a one-stroke victory.

May 2006

I already talked about the exciting Wachovia Championship earlier last month, so I won’t go into detail on that again. I’ll just jump right into the Byron Nelson Championship. The leaderboard looked pretty solid heading into the weekend, but a lot of the big names struggled on Saturday and Sunday. This left the door open for Brett Wetterich who went on to win his first-ever PGA Tour tournament. I’m sure it was exciting for Wetterich, but it wasn’t for me.

Now onto the Colonial two weeks ago. Tim Herron and Rod Pampling battled down the stretch, and Richard S. Johnson nearly stole the show. Johnson birdied the last two holes to get into the playoff, while Pampling faltered late. This left a playoff between Herron and Johnson. A “Lumpy” vs. Johnson match-up may be someone’s cup of tea, but it’s not mine. By the way, who won this tournament?

Last and possibly least was the FedEx St. Jude Classic this past weekend. This isn’t usually one of the strongest tournaments anyway, but last year’s was certainly above average. This year, however, was everything but exciting. I checked out the leaderboard going into the final round, and it wasn’t pretty. There were a lot of names that aren’t accustomed to being at the top of the leaderboard.

I was happy that Jeff Maggert came out on top because he has contended in numerous major championships in the past. However, it would have been a lot better if David Toms could have pulled off something miraculous like last year. In the end, Maggert won a boring tournament by three shots.

What’s the Deal?

It’s obvious that last year’s month of May was a lot more exciting, but why is that? The answer is actually quite clear. The top golfers in the world really didn’t play very well the past month. The fields were pretty strong for the Wachovia Championship, Byron Nelson Championship, and Bank of America Colonial. Of the top-10 golfers in the world, only Retief Goosen, Adam Scott, Luke Donald, and David Toms carded top-10 finishes in May.

Adam Scott finished poorly at the Byron Nelson Championship, but still managed tie for third finish. Donald finished in a tie for sixth at the same tournament. Also at the Byron Nelson Championship, Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk missed the cut. Retief Goosen finished in a tie for 10th at the Wachovia Championship in early-May, but he limped home with a final-round 77. The big guns just aren’t sealing the deal as of late.

Vijay SinghTiger didn’t play any in May, and that was completely understandable. He is the exception in this week’s Thrash Talk. Phil Mickelson only played in one tournament (Wachovia Championship), and he finished in a tie for 35th. Vijay Singh played in two tournaments and finished T38 and T48. Goosen had the tie for 10th finish in his only start in May, and Ernie Els finished T38 and T13 at the Wachovia Championship and Byron Nelson Championship, respectively.

It’s easy to see that the big guns on the PGA Tour have been absent over the past month or two. It’s odd to see Vijay take so much time off. That’s probably the thing that stands out most to me over the past month. Singh contended in everything this time last season, but he hasn’t been anywhere near the top of the leaderboard in over a month. Whatever the case, it makes for shaky television coverage when the top golfers in the world are nowhere to be found at the tops of leaderboards.

Looking Ahead

The Memorial Tournament is this weekend, and hopefully it kicks off a great month of June for the PGA Tour. The U.S. Open is my favorite tournament in golf, and I’m hoping for a great week at Winged Foot. The past month was collectively the worst month of golf on the PGA Tour in quite some time. I think the offseason was more entertaining than May was.

As for next season, the month of May is getting a huge boost with the addition of The Players Championship. That way, golf fans will have the four majors and The Players in five consecutive months. I’m excited about this, and hopefully the transition between The Masters and U.S. Open won’t be as painful as it has been this season. I always look forward to the U.S. Open, but I’m even more ready this season. I’m just ready to see the world’s best near the top of some leaderboards.

The Final Say

I could be in the minority on this topic, but I highly doubt it. I haven’t seen as much PGA Tour discussion in The Sand Trap forum over the past month compared to what is usually there. A month with a winner’s list including Brett Wetterich, Tim Herron, and Jeff Maggert doesn’t shout out five-star ratings by any stretch of the imagination. If the Wachovia Championship wasn’t so great, the month would have been a complete bust.

Quite frankly, the PGA Tour was left in the dust by the LPGA Tour and Champions Tour over the past month. That’s not going to get the job done. Luckily for me, the month is almost over, and it’s time to move towards the season’s second major championship. I’m hoping the entire month of June provides a lot of excitement on the PGA Tour.

That’s all I have to say this week. It’s your turn to tell me what you think. Was the month of May really that boring for PGA Tour fans? Also, is it a good idea to move The Players Championship to May to help bridge the gap between The Masters and U.S. Open? Finally, what are you looking forward to seeing in the next month on the PGA Tour? If you have anything to add, feel free to comment below or discuss it in the forum. Thanks for reading this week’s Thrash Talk.

Photo Credits: © Donna McWilliam/AP, © AP Photo/David J. Phillip.

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