1. Zach Johnson. I’m betting that if he ever has a daughter he’ll name her Georgia.
2. Lorena Ochoa. It seems like she’s struggling this year, but she now has two wins to go with five other top-6 finishes. Only one other person in golf faces such sky-high expectations, and he’s got 12 more majors than Ochoa.
3. Paddy Harrington. Think there’s any Guinness left in all of Ireland? Harrington’s win at the Irish Open made him the first of his countrymen to take his national championship in 25 years, and it gives this ultimate grinder a ton of momentum heading into the U.S. Open, his best major.
4. Nick Flanagan. The ’03 U.S. Amateur champ won his second Nationwide event of the year, wielding the deadliest putter to come out of Australia since, well, Aaron Baddeley. Must be something in Vegemite.
5. The Buick Open. It’s a mediocre tournament on a cupcake course, to be played at exactly the time his wife is due, but Tiger Woods just indicated that he plans on playing it for the sixth straight year. Apparently tens of millions of endorsement dollars buy plenty of loyalty to the title sponsor.
1. Ryuji Imada. I thought Johnson’s victory at the Masters made it clear there’s no shame in laying up, as long as you follow it with a birdie. Imada’s attempt to reach the green on the first playoff hole at the AT&T wasn’t bold, it was bone-headed.
2. The Big Break. Golf Channel’s reality show is still seeking much-needed credibility in the form of a contestant who wins on a major tour. Tommy (Two Gloves) Gainey’s final round 77 to tumble from the lead at the Nationwide’s BMW Charity Pro-Am did not help the cause.
3. Gary Van Sickle. My beloved SI colleague’s claim to fame used to be that he once made it through the first round of U.S. Open qualifying. But now his studly son Mike, a rising collegiate star at Marquette, has done it, too, and the old man is old news.
4. Lee Trevino. It’s one thing to finish D.F.L., as the not-so-Merry Mex did at the Regions Charity Classic. But when you shoot the same score as Seve Ballesteros, you know you’ve got problems.
5. Charles Howell III. Remember back on the West Coast, when he was suddenly considered the future of American golf? I’m thinking Zach Johnson, who’s only three years older, has done a little to change that.