Sunday’s final matchup at the Travelers Championship will serve as Reminder No. 87194 that there is no one right way to succeed in professional golf.
The pair will consist of Brendon Todd (+175), who missed exactly one – yes, only one – fairway through 54 holes, and Dustin Johnson (+200), who took a slightly different approach, hammering the ball an average 307 yards from the tee and dotting the greens with a tune of over 80% so far.
Todd and Johnson appear to be playing the role of a strange couple in TPC River Highlands, two perfect strangers playing different games on the same holes.
There are some similarities, of course. They are currently running 1-2 on the leaderboard, each scoring 61 in the third round to beat a group of other high-profile contenders, and will try to back those numbers up on the final day.
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Oh, and that’s not the only community. Here’s one more: I wouldn’t bet any of them on winning now.
Separated by a handful of punches against players like Kevin Streelman (+700), Mackenzie Hughes (+2000), Kevin Na (+2800) and Bryson DeChambeau (+900), Todd and Johnson will certainly find it difficult to chase down their super-bass. Saturday total.
However, that is not the only reason to fade them away.
When it comes to Todd, it’s kind of hard to believe that he’s going to win three times in a single season, especially a shortened one.
In the last decade, here is the list of everyone who has won at least three titles in a PGA TOUR season: Rory McIlroy (three times), Tiger Woods (twice), Dustin Johnson (twice), Justin Thomas ( twice), Jason Day (twice), Jordan Spieth (twice), Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Bubba Watson, Hideki Matsuyama, Jimmy Walker, and Jim Furyk.
Nothing against Todd, whose career comeback story is fantastic, but putting his name on this list should leave him humming the song: One of these things is not like the others, one of these things simply does not belong.
History has a way of keeping these things among the top echelon of players, and while you’ve converted two of your previous three 54-hole leaders, I can’t help but think this one feels a little subdued.
All of which leads us to DJ. It’s hard to witness his offensive firepower and believe he can’t duplicate Saturday’s bass. “Every hole,” he said later, “I felt like I was being given the opportunity to birdie, and I feel like I’m putting the putter on the right track, so I just need to put myself in a position where I have a shot putt.”
There’s no question: When he’s there, Johnson is hard to beat, and he’s a proven winner who has shown he can close in a race, let alone in this event. That said, in his last two final pairings on Sunday, he’s posted scores of 77 and 74. For a guy who never looks overly nervous or anxious, those are some pretty edgy numbers.
Combine that with the fact that it is very difficult to follow a low number, especially the lowest in its history, which was for DJ on Saturday, and I would also rather fade it out.
So who leaves that?
Streelman is the next closest competitor and has won this event before, but he, too, is chasing a low number after a 63 in the third round. Just behind him is Hughes, who started with a 60 on Thursday, but has been normal since then. then.
That leaves us with my pre-tournament pick to win, DeChambeau, who will likely need something at rank 62 or 63 to come from behind, but is just as capable of doing it as any of the contenders.
Considering he posted a 65 on Saturday with Strokes Gained numbers that looked quite pedestrian across the board, Bryson could be poised for the bass to win on a Sunday we’ve been waiting on him for a while now.
If you really think a leaderboard is unlikely to be flipped that much during a single round, well, check out what it looked like before Saturday’s third round. (Hint: it’s not exactly like it does now.) Many things can happen in 18 holes and too often we make the mistake of believing that the status quo will last.
That could be the case this time: Both Todd and Johnson have shown they can win, but I’m in favor of looking a little further down the board for the valued player who hasn’t had an unfathomably low round yet this week.