August 25, 2016

New England: A championship tradition

Eight major professional sports titles since 2003 make New England one of the most successful sports regions in the entire country. For the 13 years that the Deutsche Bank Championship has been contested over Labor Day weekend, the tournament has added to the prestigious sports roots that thrive in New England.

The New England Patriots boast three Super Bowl rings in this timeframe, including Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s second Lombardi Trophy a few months after the Deutsche Bank Championship’s inaugural event during the 2003 season. Just one year later, the Boston Red Sox came back from an 0-3 series deficit to defeat the Yankees in seven games in the American League Championship Series and went on to break the curse of the Bambino by securing a World Series title for the first time since 1918. In 2008, the big three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen restored glory to New England basketball with the Boston Celtics’ first NBA championship in over 20 years. Last, but not least, the Boston Bruins ended a 39-year Cup drought by acquiring Lord Stanley in a seven-game series with the Canucks in 2011.

What has the Deutsche Bank Championship done during this time? World Golf Hall of Famers, major champions, FedExCup champions, young stars and golf icons have all lifted the Wedgwood Trophy. The Deutsche Bank Championship has emerged as part of the tradition of championships in New England, as the best 100 golfers in the world compete at TPC Boston each Labor Day weekend.


In the inaugural Deutsche Bank Championship, a 23-year-old Adam Scott jump-started his young career with his first victory on the PGA TOUR at TPC Boston, beating the field by four strokes and shooting a course-record 62 on Saturday. Just a few months later, the Patriots captured their second Super Bowl victory in three years with a 32-29 victory over the Carolina Panthers. 


Fresh off his first major win at the PGA Championship, Vijay Singh took home the Wedgwood Trophy and moved to first in the Official World Golf Rankings, ending Tiger Woods’ streak of 264 weeks on top. In October, the Red Sox surged from the brink of elimination against the Yankees in the ALCS to move on and sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, securing the team’s first championship in 86 years. Soon after, the Pats became labeled as a true sports dynasty, earning back-to-back Lombardi Trophies and their third in four years.


Phil Mickelson pulled away from a crowded leaderboard on the last three holes with birdies on both 16 and 18 to capture a two-stroke victory on Labor Day in just his first-ever appearance at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Less than two months later, the Red Sox swept the Colorado Rockies, earning the franchise’s second World Series title since 2004.


After winning four years prior, Singh returned to TPC Boston in 2008 to become the tournament’s first two-time champion by carding a final 22-under for a new Championship record, in large part due to his terrific putting that included three birdie putts from 35 feet or farther. Singh’s historic victory came shortly after one of the most historic rivalries in the NBA renewed itself in the finals. The Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in six games to capture the team’s first title since 1986.


A few months after the Bruins used all seven games in the Stanley Cup Final to defeat the Vancouver Canucks, it took a playoff at the Deutsche Bank Championship for Webb Simpson to claim the Wedgwood Trophy. Two playoff holes later, and the future U.S. Open winner was celebrating on Labor Day.


Rickie Fowler capped off an outstanding breakthrough year with a win at TPC Boston, earning his third victory on the PGA TOUR in 2015 by beating Henrik Stenson by one stroke to compile a 15-under for the tournament. Fowler’s win capped off a championship calendar year in New England that started when the Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX