Essential Golf: A passion for the Game

The Five Best Tournaments of 2021

phil mickelson

As we approach the end of 2021, we will not be alone in reflecting on a spectacular golfing year. The majors were thrilling, and some unexpected champions emerged while other golfing incidents and tournament outcomes were hard to believe to say the least.

This article looks back at the best five tournaments of the year.

  1. BMW Championship (Patrick Cantlay)

The six-hole play-off between Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay was fantastic viewing. The whole tournament was. Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm were involved in the rollercoaster ride at the top of the leadership, DeChambeau almost shot a 59 in an early round, there was tension building between DeChambeau and Cantlay all week, DeChambeau did that odd half-step fist pump thing that went viral after a birdie and the week ended with Dehambeau screaming at a fan. Cantlay then went into the play-off and had one of the most incredible putting performances in recent memory to bury DeChambeau in comfortably the best non-major finish of the year.

  1. Arnold Palmer Invitational (Bryson DeChambeau)

This event, better than any other, summed up golf in 2021. Bryson DeChambeau smashing a ball as far as he could and pointing after it all while dressed a little silly. In this particular event, he had little Arnold Palmers stitched into his shirt. The drink – not the person.

In the year where DeChabeau tried to become the longest driver of a golf ball in the history of the game, he almost drove the green here on the par 5th hole on Sunday. Even Jordan Spieth, playing in the group ahead, was so stunned that he stopped his round to look back and watch how things unfolded.

McIlroy challenged, as did Lee Westwood, who almost snatched it at the end before DeChambeau sunk a birdie on the 18th and screamed louder than any golfer probably has or ever will.

  1. Open Championship (Collin Morikawa)

We went over two calendar years between Open Championships shots – and it was a tournament that was sorely missed in its pandemic enforced absence. Links golf is the most creative and exciting version of the sport to watch. The Open didn’t disappoint, with Spieth, Rahm and Oosthuizen digging away at Morikawa all weekend in what turned out to be a riveting tournament for spectators. The 2021 Open Championship at Royal St George will be remembered as one of the best Open Championships in recent memory.

  1. U.S. Open (Jon Rahm)

Rahm stunning Oosthuizen with a deadly one-two combination at the death was one of the most incredible finishes to a major of all time. The rest of the week wasn’t overly exciting; it was what you would expect from a U.S. Open and didn’t shine for four days like that Open Championship of the PGA Championship did.

The players involved on Sunday made Sunday a good watch. DeChambeau, McIlroy, Harris English, Koepka, Morikawa and of course Oosthuizen and Rahm.

Rahm alone ensured the U.S. Open made this top five list with his nerves of steel and at the finish, not the first two or three days.

  1. PGA Championship (Winner: Phil Mickelson)

The PGA Championship was unquestionably the best golf tournament of 2021. Phil Mickelson carved his name in history, becoming the oldest major champion after four scintillating days of golf. Irish golfer Padraig Harrington said it was “probably the best major setup I’ve ever seen. It may have been equalled in the past but couldn’t have been better.”

The course and the event were set up perfectly to ensure a fantastic tournament, and the script couldn’t have been written any better. The fans hero and perennial runner-upper playing in the first final-day pairing in over four decades featuring two golfers with four majors each, and it did not disappoint.

Mickelson finished at 6-under 282 for the tournament.

Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen tied for second place. Koepka, who held the lead after the first hole on Sunday, finished on 74, and Oosthuizen finished on 73.

Mickelson was on a terrible run of form coming into the tournament, and twelve days before the PGA Championship tweeted, “I’ve failed many times in my life and career, and because of this, I’ve learned a lot. Instead of feeling defeated countless times, I’ve used it as fuel to drive me to work harder. So today, join me in accepting our failures. Let’s use them to motivate us to work even harder.”