Not So Big And Easy
AVONDALE, LOUISIANA | One more week, one
more disappointment for Ernie Els. Recently
inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Els had
another opportunity to win on the PGA Tour, losing
a playoff to Jason Dufner.
Els missed important putts down the stretch
that would have given him a chance to win the
Zurich Classic on Sunday. He failed to get up and
down from a greenside bunker once in regulation
and once in the playoff that would have won the
Els missed a short putt on the 72nd hole that
would have put him into a playoff at the Transitions Championship in March. And he lost a play-off early in the year to Branden Grace at the Volvo
Golf Champions in South Africa.
For Els, the disappointment of not making the
field at The Masters simply meant that he had to
start working harder to bring his game back up to
a championship level. That’s the only way to get
into the majors.
AVONDALE, LOUISIANA | Once again, the world
No. 1 changed hands when Rory McIlroy wasn’t
even playing. Luke Donald, No. 2 in the world
coming into last week, took over the top spot
with a third-place finish at the Zurich Classic
just outside New Orleans.
Donald was No. 1 when he finished T37 at the
RBC Heritage in Hilton Head the week following
The Masters, which handed McIlroy No. 1 without playing. McIlroy didn’t play last week, either.
Donald needed to finish seventh or higher at
the Zurich Classic to become No. 1. He didn’t
know it until a reporter told him after Friday’s
round. Donald shot rounds of 73-65-66-67 – 271,
McIlroy is scheduled to be in the field for this
week’s Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte,
N.C.; Donald is not. l
Els seems to be
regaining his form.
Although he didn’t
win Sunday, Ernie
Watson was the defending champion at the
Zurich Classic in suburban New Orleans and is
still reeling from the whirlwind of emotions and
commitments that a major winner gets pulled
into in the days and weeks following winning one
of golf’s most treasured prizes.
But he and wife Angie adopted a new son,
Caleb, just days before he won The Masters. That
brings a whole new set of emotions.
“So, it’s hard leaving him,” Watson said. “It
was hard leaving today, but that’s the change.
That’s the excitement of waking up every morn-
ing no matter how tired you are, now matter how
red your eyes are, just seeing him pretty much do
nothing, just lay there. It’s just exciting.”
Watson made the rounds of all the New York
talk shows following The Masters, which is head-
spinning in and of itself. But it’s the idea of Watson
as the people’s champion that keeps him grounded.
“I’m just Bubba from Bagdad, Florida,” he
said. “Small town, play golf because I love the
game of golf. I play golf because it’s fun. Every
day is different. Some days it’s windy, some days
it’s not, some days the ground is firm, some days
it’s wet. You wake up, it’s always a challenge. So
you always challenge yourself, you always set
goals for yourself.
“For me, I think that resonates with everybody.
It resonates with everybody because I’m from a
small town, I played public golf courses growing up, and I think that everybody can see that.
Everybody can see that my swing is homegrown.
That means everybody has a chance to do it. Hard
work, dedication, practice and the drive to do it
and not worry about what other people say.” A
The Road to the
September 25-30 | Medinah Country Club
Medinah, Ill., USA
Team Qualification Process
Rank Name Points
1 Rory McIlroy 2,584,843.51
2 Peter Hanson 1,633,004.93
3 Martin Kaymer 1,587,688.41
4 Justin Rose 1,483,613.23
5 Paul Lawrie 1,387,723.60
6 Gonzalo Fdez-Castaño 1,261,297.96
7 Sergio Garcia 1,219,822.68
8 Lee Westwood 1,203,446.04
9 Alvaro Quiros 1,155,967.13
10 Michael Hoey 1,035,043.28
11 Graeme McDowell 1,019,645.84
12 Rafael Cabrera-Bello 974,288.75
1 Bubba Watson 4,798.395
2 Phil Mickelson 3,746.624
3 Hunter Mahan 3,332.054
4 Keegan Bradley 3,111.492
5 Jason Dufner 2,855.087
6 Steve Stricker 2,291.245
7 Tiger Woods 2,173.667
8 Brandt Snedeker 2,145.857
9 Bill Haas 2,106.071
10 Kyle Stanley 2,037.457
11 Johnson Wagner 2,013.946
12 Mark Wilson 1,998.593