Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On household names playing new events:
For as long as many veterans can remember the PGA Tour has been trying to find a way to bridge the ever-expanding gap between the circuit’s “haves” and “have nots.” Proposals came and went with little traction.
But this year the Tour instituted what is called the “strength of field” rule, which requires a player add an event he hasn’t played in the last four seasons if he didn’t tee it up at 25 tournaments or more the previous year. It’s why Justin Rose played the Sony Open and other high-profile types are sure to show up at tournaments in need of star power. The new rule isn’t perfect, but it’s a start. - Rex Hoggard
On buddies on tour:
It’s been a very good week for friendship in golf.
When Justin Thomas poured in an eagle putt for 59 Thursday in Hawaii, Daniel Berger and Jordan Spieth seemed more elated than he did. Spieth was so elated, in fact, that he and Smylie Kaufman got half naked and went kayaking in the ocean, eventually flipping over and winding up in the water.
Three days later, best friends Toto Gana and Joaquin Niemann played in the final group at the Latin America Amateur Championship. Gana and Niemann practice for eight hours a day, seven days a week in Chile. When Niemann knew his run had come to an end on the second playoff hole, he walked off the green, looked angry, but then quickly turned back around to watch his friend putt for a spot in the Masters. In a second, he went from thinking about himself to thinking about his friend.
About an hour later, when Gana finally made it to the interview room, Niemann, sitting in the back row, stole a microphone and asked Gana to answer a question in his Donald Duck voice.
It’s good to have friends. End thought. - Nick Menta
On who to look for in 2017:
Justin Thomas’ numbers were remarkable, with that 59 Thursday on his way to setting the PGA Tour’s 72-hole scoring record (253) with his victory Sunday at the Sony Open. In his back-to-back wins opening the year in Hawaii, he was 49 under.
The most eye-opening number of all might be the fact that he’s 23 years old.
Players who know Thomas best aren’t seeing a young guy simply riding a hot start, with three victories in his five starts in this wraparound season. They see a guy they expect to be a factor on even bigger stages.
“He’s going to be tough to stop this year,” Jordan Spieth said. - Randall Mell