Are you an American NFL fan? Did you watch the Super Bowl? If so, you’re part of a demographic that just watched the second-most viewed TV program in the history of the country, after the moon landing. Which means you may have missed the scenes in the desert, where a weather-delayed WM Phoenix Open culminated just shy of halftime in the big game with a Nick Taylor birdie on the second playoff hole. That was roughly his 229th clutch putt of the day, breaking Charley Hoffman’s heart in the process.

Even though you might not have seen it, we’re still going to break out THE C.E.L.E.B.R.A.T.I.O.N. SCALE, our highly advanced scientific method for determining the quality of each victory celebration on the PGA Tour, to assess what came next. Taylor’s big putt obviously can’t match the bomb he detonated at last year’s RBC Canadian Open (a 72-footer for eagle that made him the first Canadian native to win the event in 69 years), but that doesn’t mean he can’t revel like a king. Let’s get on it!

Here’s a quick reminder of how THE C.E.L.E.B.R.A.T.I.O.N. SCALE works: Using 11 different criteria, each rated from 1-10, we come up with a comprehensive score that can be used as a measure of excellence and a comparison to past and future celebrations. The criteria:

Crowd Work: When you win, are you a man of the people? Elation: How much did you let loose? Looper Moment: That first hug/fist bump/whatever with the caddie is so important Emotion: You know you get MASSIVE points for tears in this one. Body Work: Separate from elation/emotion, how good was the sheer physicality? Relations: Family? Friends? Agents? Awkwardness: Golf can be an awkward sport, we love it, and here we reward it Theatrics: A catch-all category for any other BIG elements of the celebration Interview: The victory interview; how well did they execute? Opponent interaction: Was there respect shown to the enemy? We love respect. N-tangibles: Anything—and everything—else

We’ll refer to this video, with thanks once again to the PGA Tour:

Crowd Work

I was skeptical that Taylor would acknowledge the crowd at all at TPC Scottsdale, seeing as how they are basically modern versions of drunken Romans at the Coliseum, hooting and hollering with chaos and violence in their dark hearts. But Taylor—unlike Zach Johnson, Billy Horschel, and Jordan Spieth, to name a few—took it in stride. At the 27-second mark, he gives a sort of two-handed air-traffic-controller-style wave to the fans, and then he picks up his ball from the cup and chucks into the mass of humanity. Then, at 1:15, they serenade him with a very half-assed version of the Canadian national anthem. All in all, very good!

Score: 9.4/10

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Very, very good. We’ll go into the physicality in a little bit, but his initial rush of excitement puts him in the upper tier of PGA Tour winners. What I look for here, mostly, is verbal signs of euphoria, and Taylor screamed both to the sky, to the ground and then to his caddie in short sequence. Marvelous.

Score: 8.1/10

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Looper Moment

Again, they killed it. From the start of the embrace with Dave Markle at 11 seconds, which registered a 9.2 on the embrace Richter scale for the sheer force of it, to the exquisitely choreographed alternating back slaps while they held the embrace, to the perfectly executed low five when they pulled away, this might be the best caddie hug I’ve ever seen. It’s certainly the best since we started the scale. It was so good they had to go back for seconds at 0:32. Also, great work by Markle dropping the flag just before the hug; it’s a mistake I’ve seen too many loopers make before.

Score: 9.7/10

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We’ve covered the thrill of victory, but we also have to give Taylor props for his affection for his kids and wife. Though he kept it pretty straight for most of the interview with Cara Banks, he showed a nice little bit of sentiment at the end when he said how it was killing him that his family wasn’t there for his Canadian Open victory. No tears, but lots of sincerity. A workmanlike emotional performance.


Christian Petersen

Score: 6.7/10

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Body Work

I can’t tell you how much I love the putter drop at the moment of victory. Or should I say, “putter fling,” because it’s more than just golf’s equivalent of a mic drop, it’s an active flick of the flat stick to signify with emphasis that the job has been done. It’s such a sudden, swift movement he pulls off at 0:08, followed by a triumphant, eyes-closed head-back look to the heavens, and then he transitions right from there to the two-handed downward fist pump. It’s masterful. The putter fling needs to be incorporated into every serious celebration from here on out. It’s like the forward pass in the NFL, in that once the genie’s out of the bottle, anyone who doesn’t take advantage is being left behind.

Score: 9.4/10

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Nick Taylor and the family pose for pictures with the winner’s trophy.

Ben Jared

Two kids, one wife? Plenty of affection for all of them? Holding one kid during the interview while the wife bounces the other up and down to keep him happy, and then keeps the big one placated by chatting to him? Really good, every step of the way.

Score: 9.0/10

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Very little awkwardness here! And folks, I might take some flack for this, but you really expect more of it from a Canadian. I’m not saying Canada is an awkward country, just that there’s a kind of niceness and sincerity about them that, in theory, should lend itself to some awkward moments under the bright lights. But Taylor was pretty smooth, and unfortunately I have to ding him extra for it because of his nationality.

Score: 1.6/10

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The putter fling, the skyward glance, and the ball toss into the stands do an awful lot of work here. It’s not exactly total flamboyance, but by PGA Tour standards, it’s very good.

Score: 8.3/10

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Pretty standard, and it’s not entirely Taylor’s fault. You could tell NBC was wrapping things up quickly, and they kept this one pretty streamlined and quick. Taylor didn’t give much and wasn’t asked much until the end, when he had the nice moment of gratitude for his family’s presence.

Score: 5.2/10

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Opponent Interaction


Christian Petersen

I loved how Charley Hoffman immediately clapped for him, which you can see at 1:07, and Taylor’s handshake with him and his caddie were totally adequate. He even threw in a couple belly pats as Hoffman congratulated him. It was quick, but it wasn’t brusque. Very average.

Score: 5.0/10

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First, I liked that the announcers mentioned Adam Hadwin getting tackled at the Canadian Open by security when he celebrated with Taylor, but I didn’t like that Hadwin didn’t get tackled here. You’ve set a standard, Adam, now meet it. Second, I dig the Canadian accent on Taylor. In some ways, it’s the strangest accent of all for me, an upstate New Yorker, because it sounds almost exactly like the people I grew up with, but just 10 percent off, like they took my native people and injected just a sliver of vocal DNA from a dude in Fargo, N.D. Nothing ever beats an Aussie accent for me, but this is definitely a unique experience.

Score: 5.7/10

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Overall Score: 78.1

Final Analysis: Just tremendous from Taylor. He fell short of Mathieu Pavon and Grayson Murray, but a consummate all-around performance where he ticked most of the important boxes is good enough for third on the all-time podium. He did his country proud, and on top of it all, he managed not to get crushed to death by the unruly WM Phoenix Open hordes. We’ll remember this one for a long time.

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83.6: Grayson Murray at the Sony Open 78.9: Mathieu Pavon at the Farmers Insurance 78.1: Nick Taylor at the Phoenix Open 75.8: Nick Dunlap at the AmEx 70.2: Ludvig Aberg at the RSM 67.5: Collin Morikawa at the Zozo 58.0: Luke List at Sanderson Farms 55.5: Viktor Hovland at the Tour Championship 54.6: Chris Kirk at the Sentry 54.0: Tom Kim at the Shriners Open

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