The PGA Tour just resumed with a little known tournament played in the Dominican Republic, a week after the US Open brought most top players to their knees. So the field wouldn’t be considered “strong”. And the Georgia Bulldogs were going to play live football against another SEC team. And I actually wanted a little relaxation. So I had previously submitted my PTO request to MaconDawg and it was agreed we’d skip “‘Dawgs on Tour” this week. So of course, this happened:
Former Georgia Bulldog golfer Hudson Swafford went out and won the damn thing. (The damn thing being the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship). He led or was tied for the lead most every day, and was cruising along Sunday until a double bogey on #13 and a bogey on #15 brought him down into a tie for first. Yet Big Hud remained calm and stuffed a 6-iron on #17 for a kick-in birdie to get a one stroke lead heading to the final hole. Hitting his approach to the front of the green left him a lengthy attempt, but all he needed was a 2-putt to win. Unfortunately his first putt came up 8 feet short, and he faced a tough par save. But as you can see above, nothing was going to stand in Swafford’s way; he drains the putt and gets to hoist the trophy.
Swafford won his first Tour title back in January of 2017 and had a career year. But in mid-2019, he had surgery to remove a broken bone in his foot. I think we can all imagine that a broken bone in your foot would be extremely painful if you had to walk 18 holes every day to make your living. The recovery took longer than expected and he didn’t have good results on Tour, so Swafford had to take a Major Medical Exemption to keep his status on the Tour. With only a couple of exemptions left, he was feeling the pressure to get high finishes and make enough money to recapture his regular status. Well, a tournament win will do that.
Not only does he get the nice crystal, he gets an oversized cardboard check for $720,000, 500 FedEx Cup points (more than he gained last season, plus almost guarantees him a spot in the playoffs), he’s fully exempt on Tour through the 2022-23 season, he gets to play in the Tournament of Champions in Maui this January, the Players Championship this March, the PGA Championship in May, and the Masters this coming April. Not a bad haul for 4 days of work.
Sepp Straka was also in the field and finished tied for 33rd - he was on the first page of the leaderboard halfway through but a poor weekend dropped him down. And Chris Kirk missed the cut by 3 strokes.
Georgia Men’s Golf Coach Chris Haack has really built something special. Swafford is now a multiple winner on the PGA Tour, joining Bubba Watson, Russell Henley, Kevin Kisner, Brian Harman, Brendon Todd, and Chris Kirk; all who were coached by Haack. And Keith Mitchell already has a Tour win just a couple of years into his PGA Tour career. That is a solid program in Athens folks. Ring that bell! And as always...