1. The Bradleys. Keegan and Aunt Pat now have a combined seven major championships. And Keegan’s mom, sister and nephew all became media darlings when the PGA Championship turned into a feel-good after-school special. Here’s hoping Keegan’s career is as long and prosperous as his Hall of Fame aunt’s, and that the limelight does nothing to diminish the Bradleys’ charm.
2. Greensboro. This week’s Tour stop is the last chance for big-name slackers to play their way into the FedEx Cup, which explains why Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Angel Cabrera, Camilo Villegas, Justin Leonard and Paul Casey are on hand. Throw in charming Sedgefield Country Club, and this is suddenly a first-rate Tour event.
3. Fred Couples. The U.S. Presidents Cup captain has a bunch of intriguing players to choose from for his picks, chief among them Keegan Bradley, who is up to 17th in points, to say nothing of Rickie Fowler (11th), Zach Johnson (14th), and Gary Woodland (26th). Of course, Couples is buddies with Tiger and has already pretty much promised him a pick, which could lead to some Sutton-like BBQ-ing.
4. Ultra Dwarf Bermuda. Setting aside the less-than-imaginative architecture, Atlanta Athletic Club was a revolutionary playing field as this new strain of grass allowed firm, fast, smooth greens despite the brutal heat and humidity. Suddenly Texas and the Southeast can start dreaming about hosting more majors.
1. Steve Stricker. After his opening 63 he was in control of the tournament, but Stricks seems to play his softest golf at the majors, and he faded badly. As good as he’s been lately, Stricker is 44, and you have to wonder how many more chances he’s going to get to win that elusive first major.
2. Phil’s yips. It’s to the point now that when the telecast cuts to him standing over a four-footer, I’m almost surprised when it goes in.
3. The World Ranking. Lee Westwood and Luke Donald have hogged the top spot all year but neither really threatened to win a major this season. I know there’s more to the ranking than just the Grand Slam events, but I’m getting a little tired of boring consistency being so lavishly rewarded.
4. Jim Furyk. The worst year of his career got even uglier with a 73-75 weekend at the PGA that took him from a shot at winning all the way to 38th place. Not exactly a triumphant follow-up to last season’s POY campaign.
5. Jason Dufner. I love the waggle, the saunter, the purity of the ballstriking and the fiancÃ©e. But, man, he was five up with four to play! Bradley’s heroics helped obscure one of the more spectacular collapses in recent golf history.