by Jeff Skinner
So do you think that Tiger will be watching this afternoon when they hand out the trophy at The Quail Hollow Championship? Somehow I think Woods will be otherwise occupied but today’s final round looks like an interesting finish for sure. The top three players on the leaderboard give us three appealing and remarkable stories should one of them capture the win.
Can Phil Mickelson back up his Masters win with another win in his first tournament back? Can he come back from a flu that had him losing his dinner and strapped to a few IV bags early in the week? There isn’t a more popular player on the PGA Tour and with Tiger missing the cut; some may say that there is a little poetic justice in Phil winning while Tiger sits home. A Mickelson win would be very popular as he is viewed now as the “Anti-Tiger.”
Davis Love III has been playing very good golf of late and is looking to add another win to his PGA Tour total of 20. Love was actually born in Charlotte but moved away as an infant. He’s a University of North Carolina grad, has plenty of fans here and he would be a very popular champion. He’s been trying to get back to his beloved Masters and if he can grab if first win since 2008 he’ll have accomplished his goal and more.
Ok, so Billy Mayfair isn’t in the top ten in the world and many casual golf fans don’t recognize his name but Mayfair presents an attractive story. Mayfair is a former US Public Links Champion and won the US Amateur in 1987. He collected his first PGA Tour win in 1993 and his last in 1998 at The Buick Open. In between those wins he took down Greg Norman in the 1995 Tour Championship and you may remember his claim to fame against a certain golfer named Woods. Mayfair is the first and only golfer to beat Tiger in a playoff and he did it in 1998 at The Nissan Open when he out putted the best golfer on the planet.
Mayfair says it is his putter that is making the difference this week and a few sessions with Dave Stockton Jr. has brought his once reliable short stroke back. Mayfair is playing this season without a PGA Tour card and has to rely on sponsor’s exemptions and Monday qualifiers to get into most tournaments this year. He won the Monday qualifier this week and is making the most of it as he is trying for his sixth PGA Tour win. The last time a Monday qualifier won was way back in 1986. Mayfair is a cancer survivor and a win here would make his season a huge success. “It seems like old times out there,” he said afterward and a win would make it so much sweeter for one of the good guys on tour.