What We Learned: World Cup, LPGA Finale


Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the world of golf. This week, our writers weigh in on the heartwarming and heroic World Cup of Golf win by Jason Day in his native Australia, just days after learning that eight family members died in Typhoon Haiyan, and the LPGA's season-ending CME Group Titleholders.

November used to be the month that included a professional tournament at Disney World. That run ended this year, but apparently Australia is carrying on its motto, "Where Dreams Come True." National hero Adam Scott has already won the first two legs of the Aussie triple crown. Jarrod Lyle returned in a stirring comeback after a second bout with leukemia. Now comes the story of Jason Day, which may not fit that slogan perfectly, but was a terrific display of triumph in the face of tragedy. Just days after learning that eight family members, including his grandmother, died in Typhoon Haiyan, he won the World Cup of Golf in his native land with other family members on hand. For a player who has so quickly risen through the elite ranks, wins have been hard to come by. In the three-and-a-half years since his last individual W, he posted a half-dozen top 10s at majors, including three runner-up finishes. That this win follows a family tragedy fits the Disney script, which is nothing new in Australia. – Jason Sobel

Jason Day is tougher than some in professional golf’s inner circle thought he was. Less than a week after being told that eight of his relatives, including his grandmother, had died in the Philippines during Typhoon Haiyan, the Australian led the home team to victory at the World Cup of Golf. Day won the individual portion of the competition by two strokes, and partner Adam Scott continued his torrid run by finishing alone in third place to secure the team title. – Rex Hoggard

 LPGA commissioner Mike Whan deserves recognition for his hard work rebuilding this tour. The women’s stock is up. Whan announced a 2014 schedule that will feature 10 more tournaments than the tour had just three years ago. The prize money is up $16 million in that time span. There’s also a lot more television coverage than there was three years ago. It’s all helping showcase a growing stable of stars in all the right places. South Korea, a hotbed of women’s golf, is home to Inbee Park, the Rolex world No. 1 and the tour’s Player of the Year. China, an emerging new golf market, has a bonafide world-class player in Shanshan Feng to root for. Norway’s Suzann Pettersen gives Europe a big star and potential No. 1 player. On the home front, Stacy Lewis is winning awards Americans haven’t claimed in two decades. Plus, there’s rising young stars in New Zealand’s Lydia Ko and American Lexi Thompson. The LPGA is ending 2013 on a terrific note. – Randall Mell

 The LPGA’s season finale had Natalie Gulbis, Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie and Inbee Park all near the top of the leaderboard … but it still lacked the kind of drama befitting the final event of the year. That’s because the women’s tour could use a finishing kick like the FedEx Cup, Web.com Tour Finals or European Tour Final Series. Hey, I never thought I’d type those words, either. For all of the criticisms of those end-of-season series, they still produce drama in a final event that is otherwise just another stroke-play tournament with a big purse. Like the other tour heads, Mike Whan would be wise to create a new playoff system (match play, anyone?) – and begin it soon. – Ryan Lavner