Matthew Fitzpatrick won one of the best U.S. Open tournaments in recent memory last week, but despite the fantastic major tournament played just last weekend, the focus has still been on the LIV Golf controversy that continues to surround the sport. The LIV Golf tour plays its second-ever tournament in Portland next week.
Abraham Ancer and Brooks Koepka are the latest players to leave for the new tour. Despite the Travelers Championship featuring Jordan Spieth, Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, and Justin Thomas among others, the focus remains off the actual golf being played, and on the PGA Tour’s newest opponent.
Fitzpatrick Wins First Major Tournament
Last weekend, Matthew Fitzpatrick won his first PGA Tour event and first major tournament at the Country Club in Brookline. He won at the same venue in 2013 when he won the U.S. Amateur. Over the weekend he became only the second player to win the U.S. Open and the U.S. Amateur at the same venue along with Jack Nicklaus.
Fitzpatrick’s path to the tournament victory was not without drama. He competed with Will Zalatoris for much of the day along with several other players.
Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy were both in position to win on Sunday, but didn’t play well throughout their final rounds and were largely out of contention before the back nine. Hideki Matsuyama played the final round well and finished at -3 for the tournament to enter the clubhouse with the lead, which he held for much of the afternoon until the leaders began to finish.
Scottie Scheffler played well in yet another major after winning the Masters, this time in Brookline, and finished Sunday at -5 for the tournament. The score appeared like it might be enough to reach a playoff with Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick. Especially after Fitzpatrick found a fairway bunker with his tee shot on the 18th hole.
However, a fantastic second shot from Fitzpatrick put him in position to par the 18th hole, and, after Zalatoris narrowly missed a birdie putt that would have tied him for first, Fitzpatrick won his first major championship.
Unfortunately, despite the excellent U.S. Open played last weekend, the attention of the golf world immediately returned to the new LIV Golf series, which saw two new players join the tour on Monday.
Learn more about the LIV Golf Invitational Series.
Ancer, Koepka Join LIV Golf Series
Abraham Ancer and Brooks Koepka became the latest players to join the LIV Golf tour on Monday, when Ancer was officially announced as a participant by the tour and Koepka reportedly joined him and withdrew from the Travelers Championship.
The pair join Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, and Dustin Johnson, among others, as players who have left for the new tour. Every member of LIV Golf who played in the tour’s first event in London was suspended by the PGA Tour in the week following the tournament.
With several players having left the PGA Tour, Commissioner Jay Monahan met with players ahead of the Travelers Championship on Tuesday. Among things reportedly discussed were a new set of marquee tournaments with purses meant to compete with LIV. These events are expected to feature only the PGA Tour’s best players. A reworked schedule intended to respond to the changes made by the PGA Tour’s new competitor was also reportedly discussed.
Despite the controversy and drama that has unfolded already, the competition between the PGA and LIV Golf is almost certainly just beginning. There are uncertain times ahead for the world of professional golf as the two tours compete with each other.
Travelers Championship Set to Begin, Surrounded by LIV Golf Controversy
While the Travelers Championship features five of the top ten players in the Official World Golf Ranking, just like the U.S. Open much of the players’ press availability and the coverage of the event has surrounded LIV Golf. Commissioner Monahan’s meeting with the players will not be the last time the PGA-LIV competition will be the primary storyline on display this week.
However, the storylines on the course will still be compelling. Scottie Scheffler will begin this week after narrowly missing an opportunity to win his second major of the year. Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy will hope to forget his final day at The Country Club and begin his preparations for The Open at St. Andrews, where he will again be a favorite.
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both disappointed at the U.S. Open but will hope to get back on track this week. Sam Burns, who finished the U.S. Open 27th after a 76 in the final round of the tournament, will hope to return to the excellent play he has shown all year prior to last week.
With the British Open just three weeks away, the stories on the course are just as important as the ones taking place off of it. This year’s Travelers Championship will continue one of the most important, and dramatic, summers of golf in recent memory.