Ride or Die
PGA Championship 2022: Smylie Kaufman rushing back to the course for Justin Thomas’ playoff is what friendship (and golf journalism) is all about
Of the myriad of subplots at Southern Hills this weekend, two have stuck out from the rest:
1. Friendship, with Joaquin Niemann, the childhood friend of Mito Pereira, pulling hard for his countryman on live television throughout Sunday’s final round.
2. The emergence of Smylie Kaufman, who made his major debut as an on-course reporter for ESPN+ this week, as a fresh new voice in golf broadcasting.
In extra time, as Justin Thomas capped off a thrilling final-round rally with a playoff win over Will Zalatoris, those two threads wound into one as Kaufman documented his frantic rush back to course in the name of golf journalism and good old fashioned friendship.
11/10 commitment from Kaufman, both personally and professionally. This is not only gonzo golf journalism at its finest—the man didn’t even have time to put his contacts in!—but also a goosebump-raising show of solidarity with his former SB2K brother. He could have cracked a beer, ordered some room service, and shot JT a “good luck, bud.” Instead he saddled up and rode.
Kaufman won’t be lifting the Wanamaker this weekend (or probably ever, unfortunately), but perhaps the real majors are the friends we made along the way.