1. Luke. How does a 5-foot-9, 160-pound Englishman become the No. 1 player in the world? It starts with a belief that such a thing is possible. Then it takes a relentless quest to improve, a magical short game, plenty of guts … and a big-time win at the BMW PGA Championship. Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer both earned their stays at the top, but something tells me Donald will stick around a bit longer.
2. Old guys. Tom Watson continues to amaze, at 61 becoming the oldest cat ever to win a Champions tour major, but he wasn’t even the most impressive codger at the Senior PGA. That would be Hale Irwin, nearly 66 and still kicking butt. I just hope I can still figure out how to turn on the computer at that age.
3. Teen dreams. Matteo Manassero, 18, contended yet again in Europe, and Jordan Spieth, 17, stole the show at the Nelson. Suck on that, Bieber.
4. Pat Bradley. Now that her nephew Keegan has won a Tour event, it’s a good time to appreciate this Hall of Famer’s awesome resume: three of four majors in ’86, six overall, 31 wins, Player of Year in ’91 … with Graves’ disease. That’s macho.
5. Damon Green. This week, Zach Johnson’s looper will make his debut on the Champions tour — as a player. Green has won 71 mini-tour events and is, according to his boss, a “freaky talent.” I think he meant “freakish,” but you get the point.
1. Lee Westwood. Two up with three to go at Wentworth, he made a series of crucial mistakes coming in, losing his tour’s flagship event and his spot atop the World Ranking. Gotta respect Westy’s consistency, but his inability to close the deal in big events is getting more and more maddening. And that meek birdie putt on the 72nd hole doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that he’s going to become a more efficient closer.
2. Monty. The one-time king of Europe got sacked by his caddie.
3. Ryan Palmer. Seeking a third career win, he made six bogeys on Sunday at the Nelson and then got trumped in a playoff by Keegan Bradley. But you have to give the guy bonus points for a good attitude. Afterward Palmer tweeted, “Man what a finish. That’s why I love this game.”
4. Sergio. He’s been taking baby steps on his comeback, and the 66-66 start at the Nelson put a jolt into an otherwise sleepy event. But Garcia’s weekend blowups are starting to become a habit. His 74-77 finish in Dallas is only going to leave more scar tissue.
5. Ernie Els. Westwood’s hard-luck waterball in sudden-death on Wentworth’s rejiggered 18th hole was a fitting coda to a week of sniping about Els’s tweaks to the stately old links. A miffed Els kvetched that he was tired of all the complaining, calling it “craziness.” Ernie, no one forced you to airlift one of Doral’s ponds to the English countryside.