2021 Players Championship: A Return to Normalcy

Dustin Johnson
AP Photo/John Minchillo

The 2021 Players gets underway today at TPC Sawgrass in Ponta Vedra, FL and this marks the unofficial start of the 2021 golf season.  The 2021 golf season officially starts in 2020 but not many people pay attention to those tournaments and you shouldn’t either.

The Players has the cache of being the designated “5th Major” i.e., the most prestigious tournament outside of the 4 golf majors.  If you’re a sports fan, you should know the 4 golf majors. I would list them but due to space considerations, you should just google it. The tournament will have 20% fan capacity due to something they are calling “Covid”. Your guess is as good as mine. The PGA tour has been lucky that the past few tournaments have been played in Florida as it is the state that has handled the pandemic the best and has allowed some fans on-site for the golf. Florida’s success is largely due to Governor Ron DeSantis aka, the next President of the United States.

DeSantis spoke to the press before last week’s tournament and touted how well Florida has handled the virus. The gist of his comments were that the lockdowns don’t control the virus, they just control the people. DeSantis is Trump without all the baggage. Good family man- beautiful wife, 3 adorable kids. Smart as a whip- BA Yale, JD Harvard. He also a guy’s guy- Captain of the Yale baseball team, Played in the 1991 Little League World Series, Bronze Star winner. In short, the Presidency is his if he wants it. Is there anything more American than being the captain of Yale’s baseball team? And he was in the Little League World Series? Isn’t that perfect? That should be a requirement for all future Presidents- 35 years old, natural-born citizen, lived in the U.S. for at least 14 years, played shortstop on the Schenectady Lil’ Sluggers. I’m sure he was an Eagle Scout as well but I haven’t checked. The Left and the mainstream media realize how rock-solid DeSantis is so expect them to go hard after him in the next few years. Everyone is talking about Bitcoin futures but I’m excited for Ron DeSantis futures.

The golf this week should be thrilling as well. TPC Sawgrass is famous for the 17th island green that has thwarted many attempts to win this prize. Coming to the 17th green with a lead and having to hit the island green can be a little too much pressure even for these professionals. Back in 2013 Sergio Garcia infamously came to the 17th tied with Tiger and proceeded to dump two balls into the water making quadruple bogey and all hope was lost. It didn’t help that Sergio and Tiger had a long-running feud so the debacle was even more painful for the Spaniard. Tiger always owned Sergio. The 17th makes The Players Championship must-watch viewing especially on Sunday.

Tiger’s accident is on everybody’s mind and now that he is recovering nicely, it’s time to hazard some guesses on what caused the accident. My guess is texting. Texting and driving is much more dangerous than even drinking and driving. Because no matter how drunk you are you’re still probably looking at the road. Plus, I’ve noticed a lot of middle-aged men on these dating apps such as Hinge and Bumble that are completely obsessed with texting women who have expressed an interest. Most of these guys have either been in a loveless marriage or have never been noticed by any women so they’re in Shangri-La with these dating apps. Now, Tiger, I don’t know if you’ve heard, does like women a great deal. So it’s likely he has 7-10 women that he keeps in close contact with (winking emoji). I assume he was deep into a textual relationship and plumb just drove off the road.

Now Tiger may be a player but he will not win the Players because he is not playing. As Carly Simon once sang “I know nothing stays the same-But if you’re willing to play the game-It’s coming around again-So don’t mind if I fall apart there’s more room in a broken heart”. I think Tiger thinks about these lyrics often while he’s recovering.

So which player that is playing has a chance to play and win the Players?

Bryson DeChambeau- Bulked up and coming off a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, look for Bryson to be a force to come for the next 10 years. Not this week though. The course is generally not a long hitter’s course as it doesn’t require a driver on most holes.

Dustin Johnson- DJ is the number one golfer in the world and the reigning Masters champion. For a guy that doesn’t always seem especially motivated, that may be enough to last him for a long time. I don’t think he’s too excited about the Players.

Justin Thomas- It’s been a rough year for the world’s 3rd ranked player as he was caught on a hot mic admonishing himself with a homophobic slur and lost some sponsorships. It’s too bad because Thomas is a really likable guy and was very contrite. He went the usual route and apologized profusely and said he would be going to some sort of individual training program to “be a better person.” Yeah, Justin, I do that every week- it’s called church, heard of it? His comments were all well and good but I think there is a better way to handle these inevitable flare-ups of uncouth comments coming from mic ’d-up athletes. These guys should get ahead of the problem and delve out their own punishment…and make it a painful one. For example, Thomas should have said “I apologize for my insensitive comments, and as punishment, I’m going to purposely burn the roof of my mouth with hot soup.” Ralph Lauren may have considered his scalded mouth and not taken away his clothing deal.

Webb Simpson- Webb was the Players’ winner in 2018. He’s a rather low-key guy who doesn’t crave attention. For that reason, I’m going to respect his wishes and not discuss him any further.

Rory McIlroy- Rory is clearly the most talented golfer on the planet but he doesn’t win enough. His swing is gorgeous and his ball flight is beautiful. In fact, he has the most towering, majestic-looking shots that end up in the bunker. Nobody is a close second. “Beautiful shot Rory, here’s your sand wedge”, his caddie will often mutter. He was the last player to win the Players in 2019. The last Players played he was the player that played the best.

Patrick Reed- nobody in golf seems to like Patrick. Poor guy. He does bring a lot of it on himself but there is something very righteous about a guy who is actively disliked by so many of his colleagues yet he goes out and wins anyway. He has the best short game in the world and that could spur him to victory this week.

Other guys with a chance- Jon Rahm, Tyrell Hatton, Victor Hovland, Tony Finau…who knows? Prognosticating The Players is a futile effort because all types of golfers can win this event. That’s why I’ll stop now. Coverage starts today on Golf Channel and finishes up Sunday on NBC.

Dan Redmond covers golf for Breitbart and can be found on Twitter @danfromdc

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