MARANA, Ariz. – We learned a few years back while researching a column that WGC-Match Play Championship Wednesday is the best hump day on the PGA Tour for the fans and players.
Round 1 at Dove Mountain gives bracketologist all across America a reason to pay attention to what is normally a dark day on Tour and, as Jonathan Byrd told me years ago, for players the first round is like 32 individual tournaments.
So in honor of “Wild Wednesday” we compiled a list of the best work week in the game.
Monday: Deutsche Bank Championship. The Playoff event is the only scheduled Monday finish on Tour, but this was a surprisingly close race considering that the U.S. Open has made Monday magical (2008 at Torrey Pines) and muddy (2009 at Bethpage) in recent memory.
Tuesday: Verizon Heritage. The Tavistock Cup may have a better marquee and the CVS Charity Classic is always good fun on a classic course (Rhode Island Country Club), but if you really want to make the most of a Tuesday head to Harbor Town, where players are relaxed after a tense week at Augusta National and the party starts with the first practice round.
Wednesday: WGC-Match Play. The field of 64 always has copious amounts of upsets (Tim Clark’s 1-up victory over Vijay Singh would qualify) and drama (Zach Johnson’s 21-hole masterpiece over Francesco Molinari), but the vote was closer than one would think because of the historical significance and legendary participants that play Augusta National’s Par-3 Contest.
Thursday: British Open. To be honest, any Grand Slam event would qualify here, but because of the amount of daylight in Scotland in July and the size of the field play seems to go on forever and there are always good stories (think, Tom Watson in 2009).
Friday. Children’s Miracle Network Classic. Because Disney is traditionally the final event for players vying to keep their Tour cards and as Friday’s cut approaches the drama far outweighs the magnitude of the event. Simply put, it is reality TV at its best. Special recognition also must be afforded Day 1 at the Ryder Cup when the opening matches normally set the tone for the rest of the week.
Saturday. WGC-Match Play. One would think golf’s “moving day” would offer more options but a quick survey of players, caddies, coaches and managers revealed few Saturday options other than the drama that comes with the Final Four at Dove Mountain.
Sunday. Masters. A few years back more than a few stories claimed that the changes at Augusta National had removed the fun from what had historically been the most volatile, and entertaining, day in the game. That was until last year, when Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson went out early and captivated the crowd before Angel Cabrera, Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell put on the finishing touches with an extra-frame duel.