After Further Review: finale oozes drama


Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on the agony of coming up a few dollars short of a PGA Tour card, the difficulty of describing what it feels like to NOT come up short of said card, and some tweaks still needed in the overall process of determining who gets PGA Tour cards.

Thirty-two dollars.

About the same amount as a box of a dozen mid-level golf balls at the local golf superstore. That was the differential that kept Roberto Castro from retaining his PGA Tour playing privileges after the four-tournament Finals.

If that sounds brutal, it should. After I tweeted about Castro's misfortunate, multiple people responded with some version of the same solution: Can't we all just chip in a few bucks?

Ah, if it were only that easy. For as many stories of perseverance and potential among the 50 players who earned their cards, there are also nearly as many heartbreakers. Castro is a guy who played in last year's Tour Championship and all four majors this year. And while he certainly didn't have a terrific season, it wasn't terrible, either, with five top-25 results.

For now, though, he will be relegated to golf's minor leagues, yet another in a long line of tales about players coming so close and yet finishing so far away.

The worst part? That final differential. Thirty-two measly dollars. - Jason Sobel

It’s fitting that the guy who played the best golf throughout the Finals gave the best answer when asked what it feels like to earn a PGA Tour card. “I’ve been asked to put it into words and I can’t,” said Adam Hadwin, who finished Sunday atop the priority list, fully exempt for next year on the PGA Tour. We can debate until the end of time whether the switch from traditional Q-School was the right move for the Tour. It doesn’t matter. Guys are still playing for their livelihood, to reach a goal they’ve dreamt about since they were little kids. And if the man who came in first can’t find the words to describe it, then I don’t have any about the process. It must still feel pretty good. - Jason Crook

Two turns into the new PGA Tour qualifying system, a process that solved the timing issues created by the circuit’s new wraparound schedule, it’s clear there is still tinkering to be done. A loophole that allows exempt Tour players to participate in the Finals – an awkward criteria that left D.A. Points, an exempt player who mistakenly thought he should play the finale this week at TPC Sawgrass, in a difficult position – needs to be corrected. There is also the issue of how a player can have an outstanding regular season on the Tour but still have his Tour aspirations dashed by a poor performance in the Finals. Even the FedEx Cup needed adjusting. - Rex Hoggard

In a Ryder Cup media teleconference this past week, Tom Watson was asked if the captains get too much blame when their teams lose.

He said he was prepared for that. He better be as he takes his U.S. squad to Scotland this week, because if the Americans lose for the sixth time in their last seven tries, the autopsy over what went wrong won’t be pretty.

Fairly or unfairly, it never is for Ryder Cup captains.

Watson is set up to be a conquering hero if the Americans win, but there’s a troubling flipside to that if they don’t.

The PGA of America broke tradition bringing the 65-year-old Hall of Famer back as captain 21 years after he led the Americans to victory at The Belfry. They’re sending him to Scotland, no less, where he is worshipped as the winner of five British Opens.

He was brought aboard to rescue the foundering American effort. All of this would seem to heap even more pressure on Watson than most Ryder Cup captains, and that’s saying something.

He’s set up to look like a savior of the American Ryder Cup effort if they win, but he’s set up to be sacrificed in the public square of opinion if they don’t. There’s so much more expected of this icon going to Scotland than most captains are saddled with, and the only beauty in that is how he seems to be relishing it. – Randall Mell