One-Hit Winners Struggle for Another


Lets just say that the PGA Tour has rarely been more democratic. All 200 or so players can win - and most of them have this season. When they arent winning, a whole lot of them are missing cuts. But, hey, thats parity for you.
So John Rollins wins the Bell Canadian Open. Rollins seized the moment, capitalizing on Neal Lancasters double bogey on the 72nd hole, then rolling in a 20-foot birdie putt in overtime. When its your time, apparently its your time. Not Justin Leonard, Vijay Singh, Lee Janzen, John Daly, Mark OMeara, Hal Sutton or Mark Brooks ' all who were entered, incidentally. It was Rollins ' John Rollins.
I will ask the same question which has been asked so often this season ' when will you win again? Rich Beem made it a two-fer when he backed up a win at The International with a victory at the PGA. For the rest who have missed cuts by the bushel this season, they went right on missing cuts after their brief moment in the sun. Lets hope Rollins made this win only one in a long list of successes. Unfortunately, past history doesnt give us much hope.
Rollins actually has fared better than most of the other surprises who have managed a win this year. He has top 10s in five of his 27 tournaments this year. He has missed the cut in two of his last entries, but one of those was the PGA. He had won $800,000 or so before last weeks $720,000 paycheck hit the bank, so he was going to make his card for next year before lightning struck at the Canadian.
The others? Hard times have hit some of the guys. Kevin Sutherland used the claw grip to putt his way to victory in the WCG-Accenture, then he proceeded to miss four of the next five cuts, five of the next seven. He has struggled this year since that win in February, missing the cut seven times while playing the weekend 15 times.
Craig Perks was magnificent when he won the Players Championship, rolling in a long putt on 17 and chipping in on 18. But he promptly missed three straight cuts and seven of his next nine. And he missed the cut at Air Canada in his last outing, so Craig still has to do a little work before he fulfills all the potential displayed at The Players.
Theres Spike McRoy, who won the B.C. Open. Spike missed six of his first eight cuts, eight of his first 12, but then jumped up and grabbed a PGA Tour title with rounds the last three days of 65, 69 and 65. His game then slipped back to missing cuts ' he recently had three in a row ' but now he at least knows what winning feels like.
Chris Smith won the Buick Classic in June. He had missed eight cuts in 17 appearances before then, and danged if he didnt miss the Advil Western Open the week after he won. Hes made it the last five, though, so maybe hes finally on to something.
And theres Gene Sauers. Gene, of course, wasnt even a tour regular until he won the Air Canada a couple of weeks ago. He was a regular of the Tour, though he didnt have a finish in the top 18 in the minor leagues until August. Lately, though, he finished tied for seventh and tied for fourth in his two August outings on the, then won the Air Canada and finished tied for 16th in the Bell Canadian.
I guess it was just an unusual year in 2001, but look at the names who won after the PGA last year ' John Cook, Scott Verplank, Robert Allenby, Justin Leonard, David Toms, Bob Estes, Chris DiMarco. What a marked contrast to this year. This year since the PGA, winners have been Chris Riley, Sauers, and Rollins.
The fact is, of course, that those name players were in the events won by Riley, Sauers and Rollins. For one week, at least, these guys were better than those guys. If it doesnt say much for the consistency of the group mentioned, it says a whole lot about the game of golf. You may not know the names, but this is still golf at the highest level. You know whats coming next ' On any given day ' yada yada yada.
Maybe we are witnessing a turnover in the game. Mickelson hasnt won in awhile, Singh hasnt won in a while, its been a long time for Duval, even longer for Janzen and Brooks. Calcavecchia was good out west, average in the east. And wheres Cink and Garcia and Lehman?
Theyre behind Riley and Rollins and Sauers, thats where. If you dont have a roster from the past couple of years, you may not know much about them. But the Who-Dats have all won this year. I just wish they could do it again to prove it wasnt an aberration.