What a treat we had this year with the fine per-formances in major PGA and LPGA events.
First, we had Adam Scott’s popular win of the Masters after blowing last year’s British Open with four consecutive bogeys. Justin Rose was another popular winner of this year’s U.S. Open. And who can forget Phil Mickelson capturing the British Open with birdies on four of his last six holes? Mickelson and his fans wondered whether he would ever win this title due to his past style of play. But this year he separated himself from the pack coming in to win by three shots. Then Jason Dufner, who lost to Keegan Bradley a couple of years ago, won the PGA Championship. He hit several approaches to kick-in range on the last round. Earlier in the tournament, he holed one of his approaches. Making easy birdies is good on the nerves when you are trying to win your first major.
In summary, it would be hard to find four more popular winners.
On the women’s side, Inbee Park captured the first three majors and had everyone talking Grand Slam. At the women’s British Open, Park struggled. Normally the premier putter on the LPGA, Park registered rounds with 30, 37, 36 and 40 putts. That’s three rounds where she averaged two or more putts per hole. Apparently St. Andrews had her stumped. But that opened the door to another fantastic finish. Popular U.S. player Stacy Lewis captured her second major with a memorable approach to the Road Hole, No. 17. She followed that birdie with another on the final hole. The women have five majors this year. So Park gets another chance to win four majors. Some might still call this a Grand Slam. I don’t share this opinion. To me a grand slam is clearing the bases, not just four runs batted in. So I think a Grand Slam is winning all the majors in a year. In any case, the publicity of a good debate is good for the sport.
Who is missing from the major winners again this year? Tiger Woods! While he has won five events, he has not won a major now for over five years. But don’t count him out. He seems to be getting more consistent with his new swing.
Woods also now has 79 wins only three behind Sam Snead’s record. Look for Woods to break that next year with ease. Who knows — he could still do it this year. Woods is 10 years younger than Snead was when Snead won his 79th title. You have to think that he has his targets set for at least 100 wins.
This weekend is the Solheim Cup. Don’t miss this patriotic event with excellent competition. It’s great to see the emotion of the women players as they strive to win for their country and team.
Two weeks ago, Buy.com tour player Blayne Barber made an expensive mistake. He accidentally signed for a birdie on one of his holes and a score of 65 when in fact he parred the hole for a round of 66. That would have left him in second place after two rounds and on the way to a big paycheck. Instead, he was disqualified. Worse yet, it could cost him a chance to qualify for the PGA Tour next year. Making this story more interesting is that this is not the first time for Barber. He had to disqualify himself between the first and second stages of tour school last fall for signing an incorrect card after he realized that he should have taken a two-stroke penalty for an infraction for which he counted only a single stroke.
With all the assistants and scorers at these professional events, it is hard to understand how anyone could be disqualified for a scoring error. I could understand it more for not understanding rules infractions — although you certainly could argue that the professionals should know the rules better. So the best suggestion I have for Barber is to add someone who can count to his entourage. That would pay for itself.
HOWARD CO. GOLF
The Howard County Tournament deadline of Aug. 17 has passed. Now the question is whether Kyle Dunphy can three-peat! If he does, he will be the first since Bob Resener, who won the first three events in 1930-1932. No pressure, Kyle! Go out and enjoy your round. You have as good a chance as anybody!
This year’s popular Liberty Cup event will be held on Friday, Sept. 13 at the Kokomo Country Club. That’s right — Friday the 13th! I wonder if there will be more stories of misfortune this year.
Until next time, have more fun playing more golf!
Jon Kelley is an active golfer and local golf historian who contributes columns to the Tribune. He may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.