Sports Illustrated’s Alan Shipnuck breaks down the good and bad — and sometimes even the ugly — of the weekend that was in professional golf. More often than not, someone blew a lead, another player stormed onto the scene and a few others provided us unforgettable moments, for whatever reason. Who is a hero and who is a zero? Find out below, but make sure to check back next week. You never know who will show up.
1. PReed. Now that’s the way to end a victory drought: taming Bethpage, going to number one in the FedEx Cup standings and, oh yeah, clinching a Ryder Cup berth. Stop fighting it, people; with the Cup coming, you gotta learn to love Reed.
2. Ariya Jutanugarn. That’s now five wins in the last 3 1/2 months for the 20-year-old Thai bomber. And the scary thing is she doesn’t yet know how good she is.
3. Belgian ball-bashers. Thomas Pieters won in Denmark to strengthen his case for a Ryder Cup pick while Thomas Detry went 29 under (in three rounds!) to win by 12 on the Challenge tour, setting records for lowest score and margin of victory. And their patriarch, Nicolas (The Dude) Colsaerts, had a grand time gloating about all of it on Twitter.
4. Tiger. Can it really be 20 years since “Hello, world”? Yes, he has his flaws, but what a thrill it was to watch Woods at the height of his powers. What performer — in sports, the arts, even politics — ever provided you as much fun as this guy?
1. Rickie. Gotta love the guy’s enthusiasm — for the Ryder Cup and life itself — but he is simply not getting it done. His back-nine at Bethpage was the golf equivalent of watching a baby seal get clubbed to death.
2. Blayne Barber. The worst part about finishing 101st on the FedEx Cup list coming out of The Barclays is that you now have the entire offseason to think about the one or two strokes across the preceding eight months that, had they turned out differently, coulda/woulda/shoulda kept you in the top 100.
3. Lydia Ko. She’s still world number one but the number two, Ariya, is threatening to take away player of the year honors. And given that Jutanugarn hits her 2-iron longer than Ko does her driver, it’s not gonna be easy for Lyds to hold off her new rival.
4. Rory. He has a new putter but, alas, the same stroke and fried nerve endings.
5. Davis Love & Darren Clarke. Captain’s picks are never easy but this year it seems particularly fraught. But rest assured, gents, no matter who you pick it will be the wrong choice, at least according to most of us in the press.