After Further Review: Was TOC a Masters preview?


Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On TOC as a Masters preview:

Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth each showed flashes of tremendous form at the SBS Tournament of Champions, even though none won; same for Patrick Reed and Hideki Matsuyama.

Throw in Justin Thomas’ swagger and confidence from his second win of the season, get Rory McIlroy back into the mix shortly and prep for Tiger Woods playing four events in a five-week span, and it sounds like a tasty recipe for the build-up to the Masters.

Sure, that’s three months away. Sure, this was only one week in Hawaii. But Day said he wants to be No. 1 for the entire year, Spieth said he’s already thinking about Augusta and Reed insists on finding his inner Ryder Cup animal during the majors this year. These next three months are going to fly by and we’ll be in full Masters bloom before you know it. – Jay Coffin

On Justin Thomas' career advancement

Two years ago, Justin Thomas took a lead to the back nine during the final round at The Greenbrier. He promptly doubled No. 10, made a quad a few holes later and tumbled all the way into a tie for 54th. The result showed that Thomas, still a rookie, had yet to gain his footing on the PGA Tour. But Sunday at Kapalua, he showed just how much he has grown.

Thomas nearly gave the tournament away with a sloppy double bogey from the middle of the 15th fairway, but he showed the mental fortitude to not only steady the ship but also put the tournament away with his approach shot two holes later.

Growth rarely occurs in a straight line, and more often comes with a series of plateaus. It now appears Thomas is more than ready to make another jump in his career arc this year. - Will Gray

On Jason Day and slow play:

Can a player be dynamic and slow? Apparently, Jason Day wants to find out. Ugh!

Day said before the SBS Championship that he wants to get back to being more deliberate in his approach this year, and he didn’t couch what that means. “I don’t care so much about speeding up my game,” Day said. “I’ve got to get back to what makes me good. If that means I have to back off five times, then I’m going to back off five times before I have to actually hit the shot.” Double ugh.

Day said “the average Joe doesn’t get it,” and he’s right. They’ll be some backlash against Day if he slows down too much. If he keeps winning big, it’s mitigated, but his popularity may still take a hit. Plus, as the world No. 1, he’s modeling how the game ought to be played. There’s a responsibility in that. - Randall Mell

Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the PGA Tour on Jan. 1 and sat down with a group of scribes a few days later in Maui to talk about the transition and his plans going forward for the circuit. The meet-and-greet lasted about an hour, but it was quickly apparent that the new boss is nothing like the old boss.

Where Tim Finchem, who Monahan succeeded as commissioner, was something of a policy wonk and often guarded, Monahan appears poised to embrace change and is surprisingly candid on a number of issues, including the Tour’s relationship with president-elect Donald Trump and the need to overhaul the circuit’s schedule. Executing these changes will always be the challenge, but Monahan certainly appears to be the right guy for the job. Rex Hoggard