Jordan Spieth picked up his first win since 2017 in a weekend where the PGA Tour hogged the TV coverage - a decision that's left Barry Plummer scratching his head
Hello. Welcome to another edition of The Slam. It’s Barry again, deputising for Alex Perry as he prepares for a mammoth week of Masters content. In a week where we have had a women’s major championship, a glimpse of Augusta, and something emotional from Jordan Spieth in Texas, here are all the best bits…
Where was the ANA?
The ANA Inspiration kicked off major season in style – not that we got much of a chance to see it.
Up against the Texas Open – and let’s not forget the coverage was organised well before the incredible finish on the PGA Tour – this was the perfect opportunity to showcase the very best in the women’s game on the grandest of stages. As usual, we got unrivalled coverage of a PGA Tour event that boasted just seven of the world’s top 50, while the ANA was forced to wait until proceedings had finished in San Antonio.
Yes, the time difference between Texas and California helped a bit in terms of the main coverage, but for a men’s major we get hour after hour of featured groups and analysis. The women’s major doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday.
The broadcasters will argue the ANA was available for free on YouTube, and while this of course has its benefits – including potentially engaging a younger audience who can interact with coverage at their leisure from any of their devices – it’s still not quite the same as prime time coverage.
There is no better opportunity to inspire future generations of golfers than providing opportunities to see the best in the world battle it out for a major championship.
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols tweeted this over the weekend, and she’s absolutely right.
The time difference didn’t help us here in the UK, with the final groups teeing off around 10pm our time each evening, but there are enough channels and enough hours in the day to make something work. How about repeating the coverage first thing in the morning?
I would have quite happily spent my Easter weekend mornings kicking back with my breakfast and some “live” major championship action.
Patty survives Ko blow
What a final round it was, too. Patty Tavatanakit had a five-shot lead through 54 holes, but Lydia Ko wasn’t going to let her win it that easily.
The former World No 1 carded eight birdies and an eagle for an stunning Sunday 62 – a record in the women’s game and matched only by Branden Grace on the men’s side – to make sure the Thai rookie earned her first LPGA title.
An eagle and two birdies were enough for a 68 and Tavatanakit is a major champion.
Tavatanakit is the sixth first-time major champion in a row in the women’s game.
- RELATED: What’s in Tavatanakit’s winning bag?
For all its flaws, the Texas Open did provide some wonderful drama.
Jordan Spieth’s comeback has been the feel-good story of 2021 and it’s been validated by an incredible two-shot victory over Charley Hoffman.
I still have to triple check that the 2017 Open Championship was Spieth’s previous victory. Has it really been four years?
Shout out to Matt Wallace, who had his first 54-hole lead as a PGA Tour player. He ended up finishing in third.
As for Spieth, he now heads to Augusta for the Masters – a tournament at which he boasts a phenomenal record – on the back of a victory.
History is against him, though. In the last 35 years, only Sandy Lyle and Phil Mickelson have won and then slipped into the Green Jacket seven days later.
Asterisk: Tiger Woods never played the week before the Masters.
Roll on Augusta.
Incredible finish at the ANWA
Speaking of that delicious corner of Georgia, we got a sneak peek with the second running of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
And there was an incredible finish as 17-year-old Japanese sensation Tsubasa Kajitani double-bogeyed the 18th to drop back into a play-off with Emilia Migliaccio, which she then went on to win.
A final round as exciting as that next week please, gents.
Speaking of next week…
Jon Rahm had previously told us not to bother betting on him at the Masters with the birth of his son due any day.
But it looks like the Spaniard will be heading to Augusta after all…
A reminder that in recent years Bubba Watson and Danny Willett have both won the Masters just days after becoming fathers.
Remember just two weeks ago when Brooks Koepka was posting photos of himself having knee surgery?
Well guess who’s rocked up at Augusta to play some practice rounds…
While you’re here, why not check out my Masters preview and get ready for what will certainly be another blistering week of major golf?
At least we’ll be able to see this one…