Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on the looming anchoring ban, the LPGA's big-bang start to the 2015 season and Justin Thomas' bright future.
I’m officially done worrying that any elite-level pro will be stuck folding shirts at a muni once the anchoring ban takes place 11 months from now.
I mean, I was already close after one former anchorman, Bill Haas, posted a strong season last year without one … and another, Keegan Bradley, opened with a 67 at the Memorial last year … and another, Brendan Steele, opened with a 62 at the Travelers … and yet another, Webb Simpson, opened with the same score at the Sony.
In each instance, though, I’d tweet about these players being just fine with a short stick, only to have the masses implore me to wait until a Sunday afternoon.
Well, I did. Having just watched Haas win while Steele and Simpson remained in the thick of things with a pair of final-round 64s at the Humana Challenge, I think we can now put to rest any notion that these players won’t be able to find success without the “crutch” of an anchored stroke.
That doesn’t mean they’ll win every time they’re in contention, but they weren’t before anyway. Just don’t expect Haas, Steele, Simpson, Bradley or any other ex-anchorers to be folding shirts anytime soon. – Jason Sobel
The LPGA’s 2015 schedule offers up something this week the PGA Tour doesn’t: A big bang start to the new season.
With Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park, No. 2 Lydia Ko, No. 3 Stacy Lewis, No. 5 Suzann Pettersen and No. 6 Michelle Wie teeing it up, the Coates Golf Championship gives the LPGA a star-studded season opener that really feels like an “Opening Day” for women’s golf fans. Karrie Webb, Lexi Thompson, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Juli Inkster help give the LPGA the big names that a big event needs.
Of course, as is the LPGA’s fate, that’s about to change in a big-bang way. The PGA Tour’s new season explodes into international awareness this week with Woods making his return to the tour at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. With Woods and the Super Bowl in Phoenix together, there will be a shadow cast over every sport. The PGA Tour may not have a big-bang event as its official season opener, but it still has Tiger as the ultimate trump card. Every event he plays is a big-bang event. – Randall Mell
Sunday belonged to Bill Haas, but make no mistake: Justin Thomas will soon have his day. The 21-year-old rookie seemingly defies physics, using his 145-pound frame to belt drive after drive past the 300-yard mark, and he remained in the mix deep into the final round at Humana. His T-7 finish was his third top 10 of the season, his second in as many weeks and were it not for an ill-fated approach to No. 16, Thomas could easily have been the last man standing in Palm Springs.
It’s difficult to win on the PGA Tour, but sometimes a player can show himself to be a cut above the competition even from an early stage. Thomas will win, and soon – although the time until his maiden victory will surely include several more six-figure paydays. – Will Gray