Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On Daly’s first senior start …
John Daly’s PGA Tour Champions debut was marked as the beginning of something new, but it had a lot of familiar feelings. Daly powered 320-yard drives, catered to fans, challenged for the lead and ultimately faltered in the end. He even ignored the print reporters following a triple bogey-par finish on Sunday.
All in all, though, it was a good week for Daly, who had previously played only two competitive events this year. He was more accurate than expected and had a great shot at a top-10 finish. He just needs to make sure that he doesn’t wear himself out (four pro-ams in four days, leading into the 54-hole event). As Fuzzy Zoeller said, Daly is going to have to learn to say no. Just not to the media. – Mercer Baggs
On Hahn's win and the mysteries of golf …
Everyone who picked James Hahn in your PGA Tour pool raise your hands. Liars.
The Wells Fargo Championship winner was fresh off eight consecutive missed cuts and hadn’t broken 70 in a Tour event since February, yet he won his second Tour title, once again in a playoff, on Sunday at Quail Hollow. Asked to explain his sudden change of competitive fortunes, Hahn summed the situation succinctly, “I can’t.”
Three of the world's top-10 players – Rory McIlory, Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose – and Phil Mickelson were likely wrestling with the same question late Sunday, all four finishing within two strokes of Hahn.
Good form and a solid history at a particular event are all solid ways to predict potential success on any given week, but sometimes it’s just your week. - Rex Hoggard
On some lesser-known American winners …
It’s back-to-back wins now for Americans on the PGA Tour, ratcheting up momentum for the Red, White and Blue as the Ryder Cup draws ever closer. Except, this was James Hahn beating Roberto Castro, and last week was Brian Stuard beating Jamie Lovemark – four players who are unlikely to factor this fall at Hazeltine.
A few of the top Americans won early in the year, names like Spieth, Watson and Snedeker. But more recently the Americans lifting trophies have been the likes of Hahn, Stuard, Jim Herman and Vaughn Taylor – not exactly prime captain’s pick candidates. This latest result came after Rickie Fowler gave up a 54-hole lead, the second time this year he has let a domestic victory get away after an early win in Abu Dhabi.
Will winning in May help hole putts in October? Probably not. If anything, a run of results that differs from what we’ve seen out of American stars leading into the last half-dozen Ryder Cups could at least be viewed as a change of pace.
But if the U.S. is going to end its Ryder Cup drought this fall, the heavy hitters need to build some confidence this summer. A few pieces of hardware wouldn’t hurt, and next week at TPC Sawgrass might be a good place to start working toward that end. - Will Gray
On the rise of Thailand in women's golf …
And now here come the Thai in women’s golf. Asia continues to explode with talent in the women’s game.
Ariya Jutanugarn’s breakthrough victory Sunday at the Yokohama Tire Classic is yet another sign Thailand’s getting ready to step up and join the Asian reign in the women’s game. Jutanugarn is the first player from Thailand to win an LPGA event, but there’s a line of emerging Thai players looking to join her. Fellow countrywoman Pornanong Phatlum has been knocking on the door to an LPGA victory for the last four years, with second-place finishes in each of those years. Ariya’s older sister, Moriya, was the LPGA Rookie of the Year three seasons ago. Back in December, a wave of eight players from Thailand burst through LPGA Q-School gaining full or conditional status. China’s beginning to come on now, too. Last month, China beat out defending champion Spain as one of the eight nations qualifying for this summer’s UL International Crown. In fact, China finished seventh in team qualifying, ahead of Australia.
Ten of the 12 winners of LPGA events this year are Asian-born players. An 11th, Minjee Lee, was born in Australia to Korean parents. Lee’s mother was a golf instructor in Korea before moving to Australia. - Randall Mell