Hot this week? Byrd, Freddy and Ulstermen. Not hot? Rickie, Sergio and Captain Pavin

Hot this week? Byrd, Freddy and Ulstermen. Not hot? Rickie, Sergio and Captain Pavin

Matteo Manassero became the youngest player to win a European Tour event.
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1. Jonathan Byrd. What could be better than winning a playoff with an ace? Actually getting to see it. But either way, Byrd’s heroic shot is a strong contender for shot of the year.

2. Kids. Add Matteo Manassero to the list of baby-faced phenoms, now that the 17-year-old Italian has a Euro tour win to his credit, on Sergio Garcia’s home course, no less. Does this make Dustin Johnson, 26, an elder statesman?

3. Middle-aged moms. Juli Inkster, 50, nearly scored a victory for the ages, battling to the final hole in Malaysia but ultimately coming up one stroke short. For perspective, Inkster has a daughter three years older than Manassero.

4. Freddy. He is always finding creative ways to blow tournaments on Sunday, but when he gets it going, look out! That finishing kick to win on the senior circuit was some of the most electric golf played this year, on any tour.

5. Ulstermen. According to, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell are working behind the scenes to get a Euro tour event to Royal Portrush, the famed links in Northern Ireland. I’ve been there and it’s a magical place. A big-time event at Portrush would be a major boost for professional golf.


1. Rickie Fowler. He was in position yet again to make a run at his first Tour title, but on Sunday in Vegas he played the first six holes in two over par to skid down the leaderboard. Nice kid, bright future, but he needs to win in a hurry.

2. Sergio Garcia. After months of mopey soul-searching he returned to action in Spain and putted horrendously en route to a missed cut. All I can say is that Morgan-Leigh Norman must be spectacular in every way to put a man in such a prolonged funk.

3. The Tour schedule. The Fall Series has never enjoyed more buzz … and now we have to wait an interminable two and a half weeks for the season finale in Disney. Oy.

4. Captain Pavin. In his first appearance since losing the Ryder Cup, Pavin was shaky on Sunday and got run over by Fred Couples, a guy he used to out-grit with some regularity. On the plus side: no lilac cardigan.

5. The golf media. We constantly decry the players as boring and predictable, and then when Anthony Kim parties like the young Ray Floyd, he gets ripped by a bunch of scolds who have appointed themselves the Morality Police. Lighten up, guys.