Baylor grad and PGA Tour professional Harris English '07 wasted no time winning his first tournament in 2021, taking a playoff win over Joaquin Niemann at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the season's first event, on Sunday, Jan. 10. The win was English's third PGA Tour career victory and the first since the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in 2013. His first victory was the FedEx St. Jude Classic in 2013.
The Tournament of Champions usually features only tournament winners of the previous year but, with COVID-19 causing the cancellation of ten tournaments in 2020, was expanded this year to include the 30 players who qualified for the Tour Championship which included English.
English was in the hunt for the title all weekend, firing rounds of 65, 67, 66, and 69 on the par-73 course. After missing a ten-foot eagle put that would have made him the winner, English tapped in for birdie on 18 to tie Niemann at 25-under and force a sudden death playoff. Niemann found trouble on his approach shot and could only watch as English made a similar, shorter birdie putt to win on the first playoff hole. The win comes with a payoff of $1.34 million and moved him to number two in the FedEx Cup rankings and number 17 in the world golf rankings.
"It feels amazing," English said with obvious emotion after the final hole. "All the hard work that has gone into this, all the highs and lows of golf that it brings over a career and I feel like I've gotten out of my valley and getting back to the tournaments and some of the quality golf that I know I can play. It feels great to have some validation out there on the golf course."
"It's hard to sustain great play for a long time, and I've realized that," continued English. "It's easy to fall down a rabbit hole of trying to search a lot to get better. Every week, you play with somebody who you might think does this better or that better, but you are who you are, and you can get better at what you do. I've learned that I don't need to be like Dustin Johnson or Justin Thomas or Xander Schauffele. I need to be the best version of myself and do the things I do well."
While the event victory broke a seven-year Tour drought, it followed fairly closely English's team victory, along with Matt Kuchar, at the QBE Shootout in December.