Watney Wins at Bethpage
Last year, Nick Watney had a career-season. Many were pegging him as the next great under-30 champion, primed to win at least one major this year. But, he’s had a disappointing season and stayed off the radar for the most part, save for a few sprinkled top-10 finishes. That is, until last week when he held off one the best fields of the year and cruised to a three-shot victory over fellow American Brandt Snedeker. Watney now enters the very crowded Ryder Cup conversation for the American side – seemingly out of nowhere – as the Europe team was finalized on Monday morning (captain Olazabal choosing Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts with this picks). Watney was just able to survive Bethpage – hitting 17 of 18 greens in the final round, riding a hot putter, and leading the field in total birdies – better than his competitors. As everyone fell back, Watney stayed steady and hopes to continue that momentum into this week’s tournament as well.
Lydia Ko K.O’s the field
In the “what did I do at that age” file, 15-year-old(!) Lydia Ko trumped the field at the LPGA’s CN Canadian Women’s Open this past week by three shots. The New Zealand native is the top-ranked woman amateur golfer in the world (no kidding), and was the low-amateur earlier this year at the U.S. Women’s Open. Ko made seven birdies during the final round and never let up against the field – one of the best of the season. She’s admitted that she is not ready to turn pro yet, and would like to go to school at Stanford (still three years away), but what does this say about women’s golf in general? A 15-year-old amateur can beat the world’s best on any given week? Canadian Brooke Henderson, 14, was the youngest person ever to qualify for a professional event (also at last week’s Canadian Open) How young will it go before we see 12 year olds teeing it up? It’s a great story, but will it be great for the tour in the long run? We’ll see.
The True North
This past weekend was a great one for Canadian golf. The aforementioned Canadian Women’s Open at the Vancouver Golf Club produced the youngest person to ever win a professional golf tournament. Graham DeLaet and David Hearn – Canada’s would-be Olympians if golf was held in the 2012 Games – both finished in the top-10 at The Barclays and are virtual locks to continue to the BMW Championship (the third leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs). And, Toronto-native Eugene Wong hit arguably the shot of the year on the final hole of the Canadian Tour’s Tour Championship. Wong, who was one stroke back standing in the middle of the fairway on the eighteenth hit a 9-iron 140 yards right into the hole for an eagle, and a one-stroke victory. A wild finish to a fun weekend. Lorne Rubenstein, as he usually does, wrapped it up eloquently in this piece here – saying thanks to social media for allowing him, and others, to follow along with everything no matter where they were in the country.
A Labour Day Classic
For only the second time during the PGA Tour season, a tournament will begin on Friday – staged so then it’s completed on Monday (Labour Day). The Deutsche Bank Championship makes it’s return to the TPC Boston, one of the easiest courses that the pros play all season long. The weather will likely be a factor through the weekend as the remnants of Hurricane Isaac make it’s way north, but with a wet, easy course this means birdies abound. Jason Dufner is coming into the tournament having taken last week off and is definitely a favourite. Don’t be surprised to see the American Ryder Cup hopefuls all try to make a move this week as well – Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Nick Watney, and Jim Furyk know that their captain’s pick fate will be decided after this week. Whoever steps up will be the one who Davis Love ends up choosing to join his team.