The Waste Management is always a fun time. Good weather, large crowds, and an exciting back nine lead to some great finishes and enjoyable viewing. Yesterday was no different. What seemed like a comfortable two shot lead heading to the sixteenth vanished over the last thirty minutes for Tony Finau. Webb Simpson was able to birdie the 17th and 18th holes in regulation to tie Tony, and then he birdied the eighteenth hole again in a playoff to win the title. Nobody would ever deny that Webb is a solid player and a deserving champion, but I think most were left to wonder how somebody as talented as Finau only has one win on tour.
I do not think yesterday was a case of Tony blowing a chance to win. He played a solid round of golf and was caught by a major championship winner. Finau had looks on fifteen and sixteen that he was not able to convert. After blasting a long iron into the bunker just short and left of the green on fifteen he hit a great bunker shot and just could not convert the birdie. A solid tee shot on sixteen left another chance at birdie and unfortunately another miss. The only swing that I think may have cost him was the tee shot on sixteen. He never mentioned it in any interview, but that must have been mishit. For him to end up that short on a driveable par four, was a surprise. The long bunker shot essentially took birdie out of play and gave Webb some life after he two putted for three.
On eighteen, Tony once again hit a good shot. The drive was one of the longest of the week and he was left with a flip wedge to the green. Another solid approach gave him a chance for the win after Webb made his putt for birdie. As was the case with the previous birdie putts, this one slid by. Simpson would birdie the first playoff hole and leave Finau searching for what went wrong. The problem is, nothing went wrong. Tony played well, it just wasn’t his day.
The narrative will once again focus on his inability to close a tournament. There might be some merit to that point. He hasn’t done a very good job of that, so it is true. However, I think most reasonable minds can agree that he is close. He is playing good golf and I think it is only a matter of time before he wins and wins often.