1. Sergio. Big win on numerous fronts — it was in his home country, on his home course, and in a very classy move he dedicated the victory to his one-time mentor, Seve Ballesteros. Most of all, Garcia has now risen to No. 3 in the world with his steady excellence, and he needed a W to justify his ascension. Mission accomplished.
2. Helen Alfredsson. One of the Hot List’s favorite players summoned one of the rounds of the year, shooting a scorching 65 to storm to victory in the LPGA’s inaugural event in China. All-time favorite Alfie quote? Discussing the transformation of a fellow player, she told me, “She used to be a fat b—-, and now she’s a skinny b—-.”
3. Erik Compton. On his third heart and first cart, he showed a ton of guts with a stout final round to advance through the first stage of Q School. Somewhere Casey Martin is cheering.
4. Cameron Beckman. Hard to believe the Frys.com was only his second win, given his spectacular Sunday. He shot 30 on the back nine for a closing 63, then had some clutch execution in the playoff. That tired old cliche about how anyone in the field is good enough to win on any given week? I guess it’s true.
5. John Cook. Usually a bridesmaid, he closed the deal in San Antonio despite stomach problems. The nausea may or may not have been caused by the knowledge that he’s still second fiddle to the likes of Jay Haas and Fred Funk.
1. Annika. To the surprise of no one, she has suddenly begun voicing her second-thoughts about retiring. Now comes word that she will have a new perfume named after her. In the old days I would have guessed it smells like victory. Now it probably reeks of regret.
2. Golf’s financial underpinnings. According to SportsBusiness Journal, three top sponsors of PGA Tour events have asked to restructure the financial terms of their deals. The first dominos have fallen.
3. Kevin Sutherland. Still looking for an elusive second career victory, the journeyman opened the door for Beckman with a bogey on the 70th hole and then made a mess of the playoff.
4. Patrick Sheehan. With two tournaments left he is 125th on the money list. Dude might as well be walking around with a giant bullseye on his back.
5. Stuart Appleby. One of the game’s most physically gifted players has announced that, at age 37, he’s finally hired a sports psychologist to address why he always seems to melt down in important tournaments. Jeez, at least he got around to it before he became eligible for the Senior tour.