A wishlist: What we hope to see on the PGA Tour in 2021

juliewilliams15
·5 min read

After a stop-and-start PGA Tour season in 2020, we’re reminded how grateful we are when our sport is playing on as scheduled. No one knows for sure what’s ahead in 2021, but here’s hoping we’ve cleared the COVID hurdle – in life and in golf – and are trending toward normalcy.

For all the uncertainty of 2020, it still produced some memorable storylines. Some of those set the stage for big things to come in 2021.

We asked our writers to name the thing that tops their PGA Tour wish list heading into the new year. In a perfect world, we’d be able to check all the following boxes. Wouldn’t that be some year?

Show us a sign

Wyndham Championship - Round One
Wyndham Championship - Round One

A standard bearer walks by the clubhouse carrying a board displaying Brandt Snedeker's 59 during the first round of the 2018 Wyndham Championship. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Sure, I’d like to see Tiger Woods make a spirited run at a sixth green jacket in 2021, or at the very least, have a smooth run-up to the Masters. I’d love to see Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth become Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth again. And Brooks Koepka to regain his imposing swagger, Rory McIlroy to win another major. An off-the-charts thriller in the Ryder Cup would be nice to witness. Bryson DeChambeau to take to the first tee in the first tournament of 2021 tipping the scales at 275 would be an epic sight. Yes, any of those would do. But what I’d really like to see again, something that was taken away by COVID-19, is a standard bearer. Yes, the kids and adults who haul around a mobile scorecard in their journeys through the golf courses ’round the world. Standard bearers inside the ropes again would be a clear signal that a return to normalcy is at hand, another step in the right direction we’re all longing for. And when the wireless isn’t working or you can’t figure out who is in the group, standard bearers provide fans a solid source of information. So if I see a standard bearer, I’ll likely see fans – even if it’s a limited number. And if there are fans, the end of the tunnel will be in sight. -Steve DiMeglio

Let them get loud

2018 Ryder Cup
2018 Ryder Cup

Fans cheer on the first tee during the Ryder Cup Saturday Morning matches at Le Golf National. (Photo: Ian Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)

I hope to see a Ryder Cup with fans. That feels like a big “if” and a lot will depend on the success of a coronavirus vaccine. The right decision was made to postpone in 2020 and the powers that be may have an equally difficult one to make later this year. If we can have a true Ryder Cup with 50,000 rabid fans singing and cheering (even with masks) it will mean that the world has returned to a semblance of normalcy, or at least our new normal, and wouldn’t that be something Team USA and Europe fans can both get behind. -Adam Schupak

A muni golf celebration at Torrey Pines

The group of Tiger Woods, Jon Rahm and Colin Morikawa on the fifth green during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South in San Diego, California. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

While it's wonderful that PGA Tour events offer up a window into the world's most pristine and exclusive tracks, the reality is the majority of golf fanatics — and there are millions of us — grew up on and continue to play municipally-run courses. They are the lifeblood of this game, and have seen a renaissance of sorts through the pandemic, offering an important form of socially-distanced recreation to so many of us who needed an opportunity to get the hell out of the house. But the schedule of majors for the foreseeable future has just one municipal course — this June's 121st U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. No future U.S. Open or PGA Championship, as was the case last summer with TPC Harding Park, will be played on a municipal course until 2030 at the very least. With COVID numbers still trending in the wrong direction, my big wish is that this important appearance on a major stage isn't compromised. The USGA and others are planning municipal golf celebrations around the tournament, but it's conceivable much of the fun could be canceled or postponed. As golf tries to grow its following with a new generation, it would be a shame to miss a chance to celebrate what these courses mean to the overall health of the game. — Tim Schmitt

Remind us why we love this game

PGA Championship
PGA Championship

Collin Morikawa reacts as the lid falls off the Wanamaker Trophy as he lifts the trophy to celebrate winning the 2020 PGA Championship. (Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

The Tour winners I remember most from 2020 are the ones for whom it meant the most. At the top of the list? A 23-year-old Collin Morikawa flashing that first-time-major-champ smile shortly after raising the Wanamaker Trophy – and the look of pure horror seconds later as the top of that trophy crashed to the ground (making Morikawa the most relatable major champion ever in my book). Three months later, Carlos Ortiz becoming an emotional first-time winner – and the pride of Mexican golf – at the Vivint Houston Open was another performance that stirred some sentiment for me. So yes, let’s have the mass hysteria that Tiger victories bring, the sheer awe of watching DJ crush a field into oblivion and the endless analysis that will result from the many more Tour titles Bryson DeChambeau is certain to bag (not to be greedy, but I’d take all of that in 2021). But here’s hoping a breakthrough, feel-good story or two emerges in the next 12 months as well. -Julie Williams