Shad Powers, Palm Springs Desert Sun
The 2019 installment of the desert's PGA Tour event will be one that will easily be remembered in hindsight.
Remember that year it was so foggy? Yeah, 2019.
Remember when Phil Mickelson almost went wire to wire? Yeah, 2019.
Remember that year it was called the Desert Classic? Yeah, 2019.
But I'm not going to wait around and recall this tournament wistfully. I'm looking back at it right now. Here are the 20 things, I'll remember most about the 2019 Desert Classic:
1. The final group in a three-way tie on the last hole. Can't do much better than that. Amazing gumption by Adam Long winning in his sixth PGA start. For context, it was Phil Mickelson's 596th. Side note: If you look up Adam Long in Wikipedia -- three Adam Longs come up and none of them are Adam Long the golfer.
2. Mickelson will probably consider this one that got away, but it was nice to have him in contention at the desert event for which he is an ambassador. A 1-over seven-hole stretch on Sunday did him in, and he had agonizing near-makes on 17 and 18. But Mickelson added a lot of drama -- and some gallery -- by simply being in the mix Sunday.
3. I don't know if they call bridesmaids something different in Canada, but Adam Hadwin has to be frustrated at this tournament. The last four years he's finished tied for sixth, second, tied for third and tied for second. And this was his best chance to win. He led by three early on the back nine, but finished the final holes in 1-over. Ouch.
4. Oh, that fog! I've lived in the desert for 17 years now and have never seen fog like that. As we looked at the driving range at PGA West, you couldn't see the markers indicating 200 yards out. Then it dissipated a little and we could see hints of the homes across the range. Then it thickened again. An hour delay to start the event was ominous.
5. Maybe it was my fault, but the round in which I followed local product Charlie Reiter, he struggled. He seemed to let his frustration get the best of him during Thursday's round. So I was happy to see him storm back, including his somewhat historic 63 at PGA West on Saturday. Great job regrouping, and let's hope you're back again next year. You earned it.
6. It is not hyperbole to say that on the first tee as the final group teed of Sunday, Canadian Adam Hadwin received a louder cheer from the gallery than Phil Mickelson. Don't sleep on the Canadian fan base of the desert.
7. Defending champion Jon Rahm made a nice run, but missed too many makeable putts on his back nine Sunday to really scare the leaders. He finished at 21-under and tied for sixth.
8. Flagsticks in. It was hard to get used to watching players putt with the flagstick in, but I enjoyed talking to golfer Aaron Wise about why he was trying out the new rule. He said it best: As the year goes on, either no one will do it, or everyone will if it's perceived to give an edge ...
9. ... Not Mickelson, though. He tried one putt with the flagstick in. He was scared to death that it would hit the flag and pop out, and said he'll never do it again.
10. Five players I learned about this week, that I'll be interested to follow moving forward: 1. Wyndham Clark, 2. Adam Long, 3. Abraham Ancer, 4. Talor Gooch, 5. J.T. Poston
11. Let's take a musical break. Another successful pair of concerts this year with Sammy Hagar on Friday and Bad Company on Saturday. They combined to have close to 20,000 spectators. The tournament's executive director Jeff Sanders has said he hopes to have three concerts next year, adding a Thursday show.
12. So what other bands (within reason) would you like to see at next year's event? My three-day lineup idea is Jimmy Buffett, Hall and Oates and KISS. Though I may be shooting too high. (Note: My actual lineup preference would be Hall and Oates, Hall and Oates, and Hall and Oates.)
13. The one guy missing from the star-studded leader board was World No. 1 Justin Rose. He was steady but not spectacular, shooting rounds of 68, 68, 68 and 70 to finish at 14-under. Hope he comes back next year.
14. Shoutout to Dylan Frittelli of South Africa. He was the only golfer to respond with a "like" when I tweeted out my PGA Tour Name Game column which used the names of 91 golfers to tell a story. Especially thankful because in it I said Frittelli was a hot breakfast dish.
15. Was that roar for golf or football? As the three co-leaders stood over their putts on 17, a roar came from the crowd as Adam Long was about to putt. The roar was for the Rams' game-winning field goal. Long had to step back and regroup before putting.
16. I really liked the feel of having all the Desert Classic signage around the course, with the palm trees and the like. It definitely felt more tied to our beloved little valley this year than during the Humana Challenge and CareerBuilder Challenge years. Here's hoping the new sponsor maintains those iconic desert images.
17. Super-talented young Korean player Sungjae Im was on the leader board Sunday and will be on a lot of PGA Tour leader boards for years to come. As I learned about him, I fell in love with the name of his hometown -- Jeju-Si, Jeju-Do South Korea.
18. Here's your bonkers statistic of the tournament. Steve Marino eagled a par-3, a par-4 and a par-5 this week. Hasn't happened in a tournament since 2011. But wait there's more ...
19. ... even bonkers-er. All of his eagles came on the seventh hole! He aced the par-3 seventh at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday. He eagled the par-5 seventh at Nicklaus Course on Friday and holed out from the fairway to eagle the par-4 seventh at the Stadium Course on Sunday.
20. Another tournament in the books. Once the fog cleared, wow! It's going to be hard to bea this year's event for drama, big names and unusual occurrences. But there's always 2020. See you then.