By: Pro From Dover
It has been a four ticket ride at the US professional golf carnival this year.
Six different first time winners on the regular PGA Tour. Name them. Didn’t think you could. Neither can we without cheating.
Very dramatic final days and first time major winners at Augusta and Olympic. Bubba Watson’s extraordinary recovery shot in the playoff and Webb Simpson watching everyone blow the Open from the comfort of the 19th hole were riveting. Regarding Bubba: how the heck can you hook a sky high wedge 40 yards?
Tiger has won, is probably the leading candidate for Comeback Player of the Year and may be the Player of the Year. He’s not bullet proof as he once was but he’s dangerous and lurking in the brush. The question now is whether he has the nerves to win a major knowing that his legacy will be defined by how many he has. Age, injuries and Jack’s shadow impose urgency and pressure.
The Champions Tour has become the Jay Haas-Loren Roberts personal annuity with them winning almost half the 15 events. But for pure fun, You Tube Fuzzy Zoeller’s hole in one. He pulled his tee shot on a 173 yard par three into the rough next to the green. Watch what happened.
A seemingly dominant champion on the LPGA circuit, Chinese born Yani Tseng, got hot and then wilted in the summer sun. From untouchable to barely breaking 80 in a few months?
How about some nostalgia? The third James Bond movie, Goldfinger, was released in 1964. Early on, Bond set up a golf game with Auric Goldfinger at a course outside London (Stoke Park Club, for you trivia mavens.) Goldfinger’s Korean manservant, Oddjob, caddies dressed in formal attire with the bag slung awkwardly over his shoulder. When he observes Bond’s surprise, Goldfinger comments derisively that, “golf is not yet the national sport of Korea.”
How things have changed almost 50 years later. There are eight Korean born men with full PGA Tour status this year. It’s not just Charlie Wi and K. J. Choi anymore. A guy named John Huh won in Puerto Rico. Huh?
On the LPGA four of the top 10 ladies are Korean as are 37 of the top 100.
So when Na Yeon Choi won the USGA Women’s Open, no one was surprised. Second went to Amy Yang, of Korea, also not shocking. Chinese and Koreans dominated the top ten.
Simpson, winner of the aforementioned US Open at Olympic, threw up on his shoes at Greenbriar with four bogies on the final nine to lose the lead. In fact, being the leader going into the final day of a tour event has not been a swell thing. Among others, Kyle Stanley, Spencer Levin, Charlie Wi and the Golf Hall of Fame headed Ernie Els and Jim Furyk all ran out of air supply when holding a lead on day four.
Newton’s James Driscoll had a share of the lead at the Traveler’s in Hartford standing on the tenth tee on the final day. He went double and quadruple in the next three holes.
Furyk duck hooking his tee ball on the birdie-able 16th hole on the final day at Olympic was more than surprising. Then he yanked a wedge into a bunker on 18. How could a major winner and the Fed Ex Cup $10,000,000 prize champion of a couple of years ago hit such abominable shots on relatively easy holes when it counted?
The PGA Tour announced it is about to eliminate one of the most compelling competitions in sports: Q School. It’s the unique death march undertaken by almost anyone who has the entry fee to gain some kind of status on the Tour. Watching talented players double bogey the last couple of holes to let a dream slip away was hard but almost impossible to ignore.
No more. After one last dance this Fall, the Nationwide Tour is where they will have to earn their bones…oops. Well, ah, it’s no longer Nationwide. It’s now the Web.com Tour, whatever the heck that means. We’d make a small wager the CEO of Web.com plays the game.
So we have the British at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s and the PGA championship at Kiawah (pray for wind) around the corner and then best of all, The Ryder Cup. It’s setting up to be a glorious few months of golf spectating.