At the end of October just a few months ago, the PGA Tour season had all but winded down. The FedEx Cup race was done. The Ryder Cup had finished. All that was left was a few lesser-known events and then the silly season. But those smaller events still create PGA Tour winners, and Jonathan Byrd found himself in a playoff at the Justin Timberlake event in Las Vegas.
The sun was sneaking away quickly, but the players decided to try one more playoff hole. Byrd was first up, and on the par-3 17th, he hit a great looking tee shot.
What happened next is stuff that will go down in the record books of the PGA Tour. Byrd's ball landed about 12 feet short, rolled out perfectly and went dead center for a walk-off ace. That's one way to win a PGA Tour tournament.
The other, in completely different fashion, happened on Sunday at Kapalua. Byrd closed with a 6-under 67 at the birdie-friendly opening event, but a failed birdie try on the 18th hole meant playoff time again against Robert Garrigus, who also has been a part of an interesting playoff this past season.
Garrigus stood over a makeable eagle chance on his 18th hole, but it rolled past the lip leaving Byrd a chance to win it outright. When he couldn't convert his four, they headed back up to the 18th, and exchanged pars on the lengthy par-5.
Then came the first hole, one that Byrd had birdied earlier in the day. That wouldn't be the case here. His par was in, and when Garrigus missed his two-footer for par, the game was over.
It's interesting the way guys can win PGA Tour playoffs. Make an ace one day to beat the guys, and watch someone else choke away their chance the next. Now Byrd is a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, with the most notable coming this week in Hawaii. Still, at 32 he has put together a very respectable career, even if most recreational golf fans haven't heard of the guy, and starting your season with a win can only mean good things for the rest of 2011.
My news to the rest of the PGA Tour -- avoid a playoff with this guy. He seems to find any possible way to leave holding that trophy.