Sophia Popov was unable to play in the ANA Inspiration last week despite winning the Women’s British Open just two weeks prior.
Another somewhat similar story could take place with Daniel Berger.
He’s far from the underdog story Popov was, a Symetra Tour player who came out of nowhere to win a major. Berger is the No. 13 player in the world.
He could be ranked even higher than that after this week and still not be in the 2020 Masters Field. Augusta National Golf Club finalized its field back in the spring, and is honoring those and only those who qualified for the original April date.
Any PGA Tour winners since the June restart would be invited for 2021.
Berger was outside the top 50 in the world in the spring when he could have earned a spot in the field via the Official World Golf ranking.
He then became one of the hottest golfers on the planet when play resumed this summer.
Alas, ANGC hasn’t budged on extending him an invitation, though there’s still time in a world where we see unprecedented things happen on a daily basis.
Like I was saying, Berger’s played some amazing golf. Injuries slowed him in recent years, but he’s exceeded the good form he showed to win 2016 Rookie of the Year honors and go back-to-back at the FedEx-St. Jude Classic.
Berger was a winner this year at Colonial and contended at Harbour Town (T-3rd), the FedEx-St. Jude (now a WGC), and The Northern Trust (3rd). The former Florida State Seminole has made four of five cuts and finished T-25th or better seven times in eight events since June.
He was also in the mix at the PGA Championship, finishing T-13th. That was his fourth made cut in a row at the majors and sixth out of the last seven. Berger’s got two top-10s in 17 major starts and four more top-30s.
Whether it’s a win this week or even at an upcoming WGC or elevated status event, Berger is ready to make the next leap.
He’s got the overall game to play well at any venue. The 27 year old finished 34th or better in every strokes gained category in 2019-2020.
Perhaps most importantly this week at the U.S. Open is his short game. Berger led the PGA Tour in scrambling (67.45%).