The Bermuda Championship was introduced to the PGA Tour in 2019 as an alternative event. The idea was for it to be held at the same time as the WGC-HSBC Champions. While the best in the world compete in Shanghai, the PGA Tour could keep going and provide those who didn’t qualify for the World Golf Championship event with a chance to earn a life-changing win.
The tournament was promoted to full status on the PGA Tour in 2020 when the WGC-HSBC Champions was cancelled for the year. Longer term, the Bermuda Championship will be a popular stop-off for PGA Tour players whether it is held as a fully-fledged PGA Tour tournament or an alternate event.
|2022||Port Royal Golf Course||Seamus Power|
|2021||Port Royal Golf Course||Lucas Herbert|
|2020||Port Royal Golf Course||Brian Gay|
|2019||Port Royal Golf Course||Brendon Todd|
2022: Seamus Power
Recording artists talk about the difficult second album and football teams have to suffer through difficult second seasons but it’s apparently different for golfers. Or at least it proved to be different for Seamus Power. The Irishman said that winning his second PGA Tour title at the 2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship was easier than his first win on tour.
Speaking after finishing off a one-shot win over Thomas Detry in Bermuda, Power said, “I thought it was a little easier today [than his first win].” We’ll have to take the 35-year-old’s word for that as it certainly didn’t look easy in blustery conditions at Port Royal Golf Course. He did very well though to cope with conditions and with the pressure of trying to convert a 54-hole lead, something that cannot be said for the man he shared that lead with, Ben Griffin.
Griffin unfortunately looked every inch the rookie that he is as he faltered throughout a final round of 72: not a disaster but in this instance not enough to land his first win. It fell to Detry, buoyed by a strong start to his life as a PGA Tour player, to put the pressure on Power. Power’s previous knowledge of the course proved to be decisive though. He knew he had to make his bridies on the front nine before playing more conservatively on the way home and that approach ultimately proved correct.
2021: Lucas Herbert
The calibre of players on the PGA Tour is such that it often only takes one or two things to fall into place for somebody to snap a poor run of form with a stunning victory. The 2021 Bermuda Championship featured an example of this as Lucas Herbert went from missing two consecutive cuts to winning his maiden PGA Tour title.
A quick piece of work alongside his coach to fix a swing fault and then getting the sort of windy conditions in which he thrives were all that Herbert needed to go from zero to hero. His European Tour wins at the Dubai Desert Classic and Irish Open came in either wind, rain or both and Herbert once again stood up to the elements in Bermuda.
The wind was so bad that the PGA Tour had to move the start of the final two rounds forward, whilst sideways rain forced a suspension in play on the first day. While other players saw their chances of contending quite literally blown away, Herbert stayed in a position to strike. When Danny Lee and Patrick Rodgers opened the door with uninspiring golf on Sunday, Herbert armed himself with the right mindset to do battle and ended up one shot ahead of Lee and Patrick Reed.
2020: Brian Gay
From the outside, Brian Gay looked like a golfer passing time until he could qualify for the PGA Tour Champions. The 48 year old turned up to Southampton, Bermuda without a win since 2013 and with a run of form that hardly suggested he was capable of ending that barren run. Gay had other ideas though. He earned his right to play at the top level through to 2023 and showed that he retains a whole lot of fire in his belly when he outlasted Wyndham Clark to win the 2020 Bermuda Championship.
That stomach for the fight was evident with the way that Gay finished the tournament. A birdie on the 18th hole on Sunday capped off a final round of 64 and saw him squeeze into a playoff with Clark. It was then time to use his experience, calm down the adrenaline and get himself ready for the playoff. That prep work paid off straight away as a birdie on the first extra hole was enough to secure the win as Clark could only make par.
“Crazy game, you never know what’s going to happen,” Gay said afterwards before thanking his wife and the people around him for convincing him that he could still win. Proving other people wrong helped to make his fifth PGA Tour win that little bit more special.
2019: Brendon Todd
Alternate events are perfect for two types of players. The first is younger potential stars who are looking for a chance to make their PGA Tour breakthrough. The second is older players who are battling away in the quest to return to the levels of the past. Brendon Todd won’t mind anybody saying that he belongs to the latter camp, especially after his hard work with new swing coach Bradley Hughes paid off with victory in the inaugural Bermuda Championship.
Todd was so convinced with the work that he and Hughes had been doing that he announced to his coach that he was going to win again. That belief made a huge difference at Port Royal Golf Course where Todd made the mental shift from trying to hang on a make the cut to pushing for the win. It helped also when he went into the final round two shots off the lead. There was no chance of Todd settling for being happy to be in contention. He was there to win and set about chasing down the lead.
To see the quality of Todd’s play during his final round of -9 was like watching a completely different player from the man who had the full-on yips with his swing. The job now is for Todd to build on this success and kick on to compete at an even higher level.