by Jeff Skinner
1. Nick Watney went from Zero to Hero with his win at The Barclays. After two wins last season his 2012 was disappointing: 2 top tens and a T9 at The Match Play. He was first in Cup points going into playoffs last year and 49th this season. This win makes his season and may just get him a slot on the Ryder Cup team.
2. Sergio Garcia admitted to feeling “a bit jumpy” during the final round at Bethpage Black. But he was gracious and content with his performance during the past two weeks. “It’s been two very good weeks,” Garcia said. “Obviously I would loved to finish in a different way. But to me, to be able to win last week and put myself in contention here again this week, I had a good shot at winning this tournament on this golf course, which is really, really tough and is testing you all the time. It was good.”
3. Tiger Woods’ game looked like it still was feeling the effects of that soft hotel mattress that caused him back pain on Saturday. He pulled his drive on the first right in front of the Master Card Tent. I spent a few hours there this week and hats off to the folks at Master Card: plenty of cold beverages and all the air conditioning you could handle.
4. It doesn’t surprise me that thousands of fans still care only about Tiger. With Tiger and Phil Mickelson’s groups only two groups apart on Thursday and Friday, 99% of the fans were concentrated on one section of the course. Those “Tiger Only” fans don’t know what they are missing. All these guys are good.
5. My brother and I sat at the difficult 15th green on Friday afternoon and with the tees moved up a bit and a very favorable front pin position the players were throwing lofted shots onto the green that rolled back off the upslope and settled close to the hole. But The greens at The Black weren’t about to yield any easy birdies. There were plenty of missed four footers.
6. With all due respect to Watney, Garcia and the rest, the star of the week was The Black. There are a few times each year when the course steals the show: Pebble Beach, TPC Sawgrass, Augusta National and the rest of the majors. The Black is one of those courses and when the greens got a little slick on Saturday the players saw how difficult it could play. Bethpage Black holds its own with any major venue and a win at The Black is truly special.
7. Six players outside the top 100 played their way into next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship and continued their playoff run: Graham DeLaet, Jonas Blixt, Tommy Gainey, Bob Estes, David Hearn and Jason Day.
8. Good news for the American Ryder Cup Team: Martin Kaymer earned a spot on the European Team. Now Captain Jose Maria Olazabal has to play him.
9. With Watney’s win Davis Love now has another name in the hat for his captain’s picks. Stricker, Furyk, Mahan, Fowler are joined by Watney, Snedeker and even Dustin Johnson as possible Ryder Cuppers.
10. The best story of the week was fifteen year old Lydia Ko setting the new record for youngest winner in LPGA Tour history. She’s not only a gifted golfer but seems like a wonderful kid. They keep getting younger and better.