It was only fitting that the biggest Deutsche Bank Championship in the nine-year history of the golf tournament would also be the longest.
A terrific battle on the back nine between Webb Simpson and Chev Reavie resulted in some exciting moments on the 18th hole and led to a two-hole playoff won by Simpson with a birdie on the 17th.
Monday marked the first playoff in DBC history and concluded a terrific week, where the weather held off just long enough to complete the tournament.
The week featured the homecoming of , the Hopkinton High graduate and former Hiller who was all over the place this week after winning the PGA Championship. After missing the cut at the hurricane-shortened Barclays last week in New Jersey, Bradley threw out the first pitch at the Red Sox-Yankees game on Tuesday night before being present for the coin toss prior to the start of the New England Patriots’ regular-season finale last Thursday night at Gillette Stadium against the Giants.
The Vermont native then had a quick turnout the next morning with an early tee-time, but did not let it faze him as he fired a 3-under par 68. But everything caught up to the 25-year-old on Saturday as he carded a 5-over par 76 and missed the cut by one stroke.
The good news is that even though Bradley dropped five positions in the FedExCup playoff standings to sit 19th, he is headed to Chicago at the end of next week for the BMW Championship. If Bradley is in the top 30 in the standings after Chicago, he will qualify for the final playoff event of the season, the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
“It was great,” said Bradley of his crowd support last week. “I didn’t expect that many people. It’s very, very nice to get that type of support. My family has always given me that support. It was a little bit more intense (playing this week) because I want to play well in front of these guys, in front of my family.”
Also coming out of this week was the budding friendship between Bradley and . Bradley introduced the belly putter to the PGA veteran last week at the Barclays and Mickelson used the new putter during all four rounds of the DBC this week.
“I really like him,” said Mickelson, the 2007 DBC champion. “I think a lot of him as a person and his golf game. It’s great for the game to see him win and to see him win the PGA. It’s terrific.”
The week featured members of the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams working the concession stand at the third hole on Friday and Saturday, a fundraiser put together by the Norton Soccer Boosters Club to help support both programs.
Unwittingly, during the second round on Saturday, members of the DBC media relations staff looked as if they were part of various Norton High coaching staffs with the Lancer purple shirts they were sporting around the course.
Throughout the week there was a tremendous amount of youngsters playing on and around the Kids Village, which was located behind the clubhouse.
The fact that since Mickelson took batting practice with the Red Sox last Thursday afternoon that the Yankees have picked up four games in the standings in five days.
Also residents of West Mansfield were treated to the Met Life blimp for a good portion of the tournament and witnessed a terrific fireworks display on Sunday night.
The fact that Tiger Woods basically parachuted in on Wednesday night for the Championship Pro-Am pairings party and was long gone by sunrise Thursday.
Even though it would have been a great treat for everyone had he stayed one more day and played in the Pro-Am, considering a good chuck on change from this tournament goes to his foundation, a fact not lost on everyone on the grounds on Thursday when news spread he was at the course on Wednesday night.
The crowds following the likes of Mickelson, 2003 DBC champion Adam Scott and young phenom Rickie Fowler were all very impressive during Monday’s final round.
“The fans have always been great up here,” said the 22-year-old Fowler on Saturday. “Up in the Northeast the fans love sporting events. It's fun to play up here. It's nice to have a good following here.”
Fans stayed with Mickelson on Monday, hoping he would make another run like he did on Sunday when he fired an 8-under par 63 to get within shouting distance of the leaders.
Mickelson did play well on Monday, shooting a 2-under par 69, but could not make a strong enough push to get to the top and finished six shots behind Simpson and Reavie.
“The people here have been great,” said Mickelson, earlier in the week. “Having won here in ’07 was really fun. This is one of my favorite courses we play all year. I think it’s just a terrific course. And the aesthetics are spectacular. The way it plays is wonderful. It’s really one of our better courses.”
One final thought for organizers of the Deutsche Bank Championship. You have decided to allow mobile devices and all the headaches that come with that decision. But it is 2011, it is time to ban smoking on and around the grounds at . No one likes the smell of cigars, aside from the people who are smoking them.