Bryson’s injury, Phil’s future, Tom Brady, FedEx Cup shock | Monday Finish

Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady and Bryson DeChambeau have each been making golf headlines.

Getty Images, Instagram

Welcome to the Monday Finish, where we’re reaching out to Phil Mickelson’s sponsors to see if they’d be interested in backing a certain weekly recap column instead…

FIRST GROUP OUT

Bryson’s stalled comeback.

Bryson DeChambeau has been in the news quite a bit recently. There were musings on his potential leap to the Saudi-backed breakaway tour, there were musings on his potential payday, there were musings on his wrist injury and more. But we hadn’t actually heard much from DeChambeau himself until Monday, when he released a video announcing he’d miss his title defense at Bay Hill.

“I’m like 90%, I just don’t want to go out there and hurt myself more,” DeChambeau said in the video. “I don’t want to come back early and then take more time off.”

According to his team, DeChambeau was optimistic about rallying not just for Bay Hill but for Monday’s high-profile Seminole Pro-Member, where he was slotted in alongside member Tom Nelson. As he tried to ramp up his practice this weekend, however, his health didn’t cooperate.

“This has been one of the hardest moments of my life because I’m not able to do much. And yeah, although i can hit some golf balls, it’s not comfortable, it’s not fully comfortable…it’s just not ready yet.”

Now what? It’s pure speculation, but if DeChambeau wasn’t ready for this week, it seems like a challenge for him to prep for next week’s Players Championship. It’s easy to imagine a world in which his next start would come at the Masters.

What does it all mean? It means we’ll be deprived of DeChambeau taking outrageous lines over the water at the par-5 6th this week. It means he still has logged just two starts this year on Tour: A T25 at the Tournament of Champions and an MC at the Farmers. And it means the Masters could be the first time in months that we see DeChambeau as well as Phil Mickelson and — in the most optimistic possible version of reality, one that may not actually exist — Tiger Woods, too.

FEDEX CUP CHECK

Some shockers.

Come with me, folks, on a trip through the FedEx Cup standings! It’s early season still, sort of. But it’s not that early. We’ve plowed through 17 PGA Tour events already; 25 remain. And some of golf’s biggest names are nowhere to be found on its points list.

  1. Hideki Matsuyama
  2. Tom Hoge

That’s right, folks. We only made it to our second stop before you had to do a double-take. In addition to his victory, Hoge’s point-haul comes from his workmanlike 14 starts, best on Tour. But let’s breeze past top-10 contenders like Talor Gooch and Luke List and get to the big-namers currently outside the top 125:

141. Kevin Na — Last year’s third-place FedEx Cup finisher has made five starts but hasn’t found the success that made him a dark-horse Ryder Cup candidate near the end of last season.

143. Tony Finau — When Finau won in last year’s Playoffs, some suspected it might open the floodgates. Instead he’s made eight starts this season and has more MCs (three) than top-30 finishes (one, at the 38-player Tournament of Champions).

152. Tommy Fleetwood — He’s counting on a big year to regain full PGA Tour status. Three starts in, Fleetwood has a ways to go.

177. Tyrrell Hatton — Hatton has three top-six finishes in his last four starts on the DP World Tour. That hasn’t yet translated to the PGA Tour, where he’s logged one top-20 in just three starts.

187. Phil Mickelson — One T30 is his best effort in four starts and now he’s on hiatus.

189. Dustin Johnson — One T25 is his best effort in just three starts.

195. Bryson DeChambeau — Two starts, one T25, one MC.

Lots of golf left, obviously. But it’s interesting to monitor where we are at the 40-percent mark.

WINNERS

Who won the week?

Sepp Straka and his flip phone

Of all the factoids I heard about the PGA Tour’s first Austrian winner, 28-year-old Sepp Straka, this was my favorite.

“A little nugget about Sepp,” Aron Price wrote on Twitter. “Most weeks on tour he changes the simcard out of his iPhone and puts it into a flip phone!”

I’m obsessed with how pros stay focused in a world rich with distractions. Bringing back the flip phone is a particularly winning strategy. This is my way of saying congratulations, Sepp, on your first PGA Tour victory.

ALMOST-WINNERS

So close! And yet…

Shane Lowry in the rain

Lowry came to the par-5 18th needing to match Straka’s birdie to force a playoff. He was met with a south Florida deluge, a less-than-ideal situation in which to hit driver. His tee shot didn’t go very far, he was forced to lay up and he went on to make par.

“It’s hard to take, to be honest. Feel like I’ve got the tournament stolen from me today,” Lowry said afterwards. I appreciated the honesty with which he shared his emotions. “That was as bad a break as I’ve ever got.”

Shane Lowry reads a putt during the final round of The Honda Classic.
Shane Lowry on Honda Classic’s ill-timed weather: ‘As bad a break as I’ve ever got’
By: Josh Berhow

Daniel Berger with the lead

Berger began Sunday’s final round with an impressive five-shot lead. By the 6th hole, it had evaporated. He failed to make a putt outside of three feet, shot four-over 74 and finished fourth.

Every question asked of Berger after the round was some version of “what went wrong today?” And every answer he gave was some version of “nothing, really, just golf.”

One such excerpt:

“Yeah, just a poor round. It can happen at any time. I’m not going to dwell on it too much. Just didn’t hit quality shots at the right time. Probably would’ve had a chance to win if I made a few more putts.

I don’t think I made a single putt today. I don’t know what happened. Just didn’t feel good over the putter today.”

He posted a photo from his boat come Monday morning, as if to prove the point. Daniel’s fine.

Daniel Berger’s Monday recovery. Daniel Berger/Instagram

RYDER CUP TALK

Oh captain, my captain.

It was a poorly kept secret, but on Monday the PGA of America made things official: Zach Johnson would be named the U.S. Ryder Cup captain for 2023. Johnson was moved by the ceremony and the title; our Michael Bamberger was in attendance and wrote about how Johnson’s life has exceeded his dreams.

The complex subplot — the Phil Mickelson in the room — came up, too. A year ago, it would have made all the sense in the world that Mickelson would serve as assistant captain in Italy and then take the helm at Bethpage in 2025. Heck, I would have bet good money on that when Mickelson was toting his coffee mug around Whistling Straits this past September. But with all matters Phil, we have questions but no answers. Johnson seemed to be in the same position.

“I’ll say this: Phil is a friend of mine off and on the golf course, and I’m going to leave it at that,” Johnson said. He added that he doesn’t like speaking in hypotheticals, reiterated his friendship and shut down any further questioning. It was actually a terrific exchange; Jamie Weir was clear in his line of questioning, Johnson took no offense, kept his composure and delivered the answer he wanted to. Two people doing their jobs effectively.

NEWS FROM SEMINOLE

The year’s first major.

First, check out the glittery list of names on the tee sheet from Monday’s Seminole Pro-Member.

Jon Rahm! Rory McIlroy! Nelly Korda! Jess Korda! Dustin Johnson! Justin Thomas! Etc.! I don’t have much to add except to say that I heard Tom Brady introduced by PGA Tour Radio’s Taylor Zarzour as “SiriusXM’s Tom Brady” from on site, which I appreciated.

“Is that your only job now?” Zarzour asked.

Brady laughed. “To be determined,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of things going on. But today it’s golf.”

Brady added that if he was playing to an 8.1 he was probably worse than that. “Always coming off football season’s a little tough,” he said.

Part of me would have expected Brady to be paired with a Patriots fan like Justin Thomas or an A-list golfer. Instead he got Louis Oosthuizen, who is a terrific player but might seem out of place at the Met Gala. The two played with Christiaan Bezuidenhout and South African entrepreneur Johann Rupert (the second-wealthiest man on the continent!). As far as Seminole goes, that’s a pretty eclectic bunch.

NEWS FROM SEATTLE

Monday Finish HQ.

We’re currently experiencing something called an “Atmospheric River” which is exactly what it sounds like in the sense that things are extremely wet.

Since moving here I have become particularly well acquainted with the very specific smell of wet cardboard, which is what happens when I return home to a box sitting in the rain on my front porch. I’m hoping that by typing this out I’ll find the inspiration to take the next step in doing something to address this issue. And hopefully the Atmospheric River passes through pretty soon.

GREG NORMAN’S LETTER

Surely you jest.

I’m tapped out on Saudi-related typing but can point you in the direction of an excellent podcast which talks all things Phil, Norman, Saudis and even includes a terrific section on theoretical “golfer feeds” that should get your wheels turning.

WHAT’S NEXT

Three things to watch this week.

1. Bryson’s mega-tee shot

It feels like a million year ago. No matter how you feel about Bryson DeChambeau, this will bring a smile to your face.

2. The LPGA is back!

After a three-week hiatus, a collection of the best golfers in the women’s game will tee it up in Singapore this wee at the HSBC Women’s World Championship. Jin Young Ko, Lydia Ko, Danielle Kang and Brooke Henderson headline the event at Sentose Golf Club known as “Asia’s Major.”

3. Jon Rahm.

He finished outside the top 20 in his most recent start (a T21 at the Genesis Invitational) so something is either gravely wrong or else he’s due to contend. Given recent history I’m inclined to go with the latter.

We’ll see you next week!

Dylan Dethier

Dylan Dethier

Golf.com Editor

Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/GOLF.com. The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and he’s the author of 18 in America, which details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living from his car and playing a round of golf in every state.