by Jeff Skinner
This was a Sunday for the good guys. Justin Rose battled from four strokes back at the start of The Memorial to win his first PGA Tour event at Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village. Mr. Nice Guy, Nick Price finally closed the deal at The Principal Charity Classic and the nicest guy ever to appear on The Golf Channel’s Big Break, Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey broke through for his first Nationwide Tour win at The Melwood Prince George’s County Open. Each of these players is known to be sincere gentlemen that care for their fellow golfers and the game of golf.
Rose’s win was a long time coming for him as it took 162 PGA Tour starts to get it. If it seems that he has been around longer than most 29 year olds, he has. He turned pro at seventeen after a stellar fourth place finish at The 1998 British Open. Rose has won tournaments around the world but his best PGA Tour finishes were a pair of second place ties at The 2007 WGC Bridgestone and at The 2008 Memorial. Rose appreciates how special it is to win at Jack’s place, “To win here at the Memorial, at Jack’s tournament, is, I couldn’t think of a better place to win my first tournament. It’s a great day.” Rose is a deserving champion. He played flawless golf with a bogey free six under 66. Rose won’t have much time celebrate as he is scheduled to play in a 36 hole U.S Open Qualifier on Monday. Ah, the things a PGA Champion has to do to get to Pebble Beach.
The leader at the start of the final round, Rickie Fowler, did not fare as well. He struggled hitting the greens early on and dumped his tee ball in the pond at the par three twelfth which led to a double bogey. He made a valiant comeback effort with birdies at fourteen and fifteen but his hopes were dashed with a bogey at sixteen and Rose’s solid play down the stretch.
Nick Price is considered one of the nicest, most genial players in all of golf. He is eager to help his fellow players and always accommodating with the press. He finally helped himself out and found a way to win a tournament that had haunted him. Each of the last two years he had held the lead going into the last round here and he failed to hold on, losing both times. This year was different as Price shot a four under 67 to pull away from his playing partner and co-leader, Tommy Armour III. It was Price’s third win on the Champions Tour.
Tommy Gainey is a mini-tour legend and well known to many of us as the polite, southern gentleman that wore two golf gloves when we all saw him on The Big Break. He is also a dedicated golfer that is back on The Nationwide Tour after losing his PGA Tour card last season. Gainey’s determination paid off as he shot a 65 for a one stroke win and his first victory on The Nationwide Tour. Gainey needed to sink three footer on the last hole for the win and he admitted he was nervous, “Of course I was nervous. I’d be telling a fib if I wasn’t. I’ve been close to winning this year but I’ve come up a couple shots short. This feels really good to get it done.” He was thrilled to get the win over a bunch of competitive golfers, “It’s unbelievable. I don’t know any other way to describe it,” said Gainey. “This is one step in getting back to the PGA TOUR but this is also to say that these guys out here on the Nationwide Tour are really great players. There are no slouches out here.” Gainey’s reward is a 36 hole U.S Open Qualifier on Monday. He’ll be on cloud nine all day as he tries to make his way to Pebble Beach.