After Further Review: Mental game makes difference


Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on Scott Stallings emerging victorious at Torrey Pines while both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson headed home early, and the mental toughness it took for Jessica Korda to top Stacy Lewis in the Bahamas.

On the heels of Tiger Woods missing the secondary cut and Phil Mickelson withdrawing because of injury, the final round at Torrey Pines – the first final round there with neither competing since 1992 – was billed as a Battle of the Young Guns, as if a new era was abruptly upon us. That was a misguided narrative, though. If the times are changing, they’re simply becoming more volatile because of increased parity. At one point on Sunday, Scott Stallings was merely one of 19 names on the leaderboard within three shots of the lead. When the dust settled, he was the champion. The takeaway here isn’t that Tiger and Phil are coming back to the pack, but that the pack is more consistently playing up to their level than ever before. Jason Sobel

 Scott Stallings deservedly emerged from a crowded leaderboard to win Sunday at Torrey Pines, but in the process two of the game’s rising stars each notched yet another high finish. Jason Day and Graham DeLaet both tied for second this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it’s hard to believe that the pair of Presidents Cup veterans have only one PGA Tour win between them. Projecting victories in golf can prove difficult – just ask anyone who tried to predict the results in San Diego just four days ago. But Day and DeLaet are both beyond talented, and while they came up just short this week along the Pacific it appears unlikely that the 2013-14 PGA Tour season will conclude without one – if not both – hoisting a trophy. - Will Gray

Jessica Korda has to be one of the most mentally tough players in the women’s game. Fighting old swing habits while honing a new swing, Korda topped a tee shot and hooked a ball in a hazard on her first nine holes of the season at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic. On the weekend, her new and old swings were still clashing, even after she somehow worked her way to the 36-hole lead. Late on Saturday, she shanked a wedge sideways, knocking a shot out of bounds at the 13th hole. She looked so unnerved in the moments after that, with Golf Channel cameras capturing the mortified look on her face. She seemed destined to blow the tournament.

But Korda won with birdies at three of the final four holes on Sunday. She didn’t blow the tournament. She blew away all the doubts and obstacles, instead. Randall Mell