Two-and-a-half years ago Craig Kanada chipped in on the final two holes to both capture the Nationwide Tour Championship, and send Ricky Barnes to Q-School once again. Had Craig missed both chips, Ricky would have finally earned his PGA Tour card for 2007. Instead, it took him two more years, and then he just barely made it, grabbing the 25th and final spot from the 2008 Nationwide Tour money list. What took the former U.S. Amateur champion so long? It wasn't a lack of talent as we can all witness as he makes his way around Bethpage Black; rather, it was his volatile nature.
Ricky has very high expectations of himself and when things are going well, he can look unbeatable. But when things start to go slightly awry, he can sometimes make himself look silly. 'He needs to mature as a player and then we'll see how good Ricky can be,' my partner and Nationwide Tour analyst Curt Byrum would often say.
Right now, things are going pretty well for Ricky. But I think we all expect that may not be the case through the rest of the tournament. If I'm wrong, then Ricky is your winner. If I'm right, then we'll see if Ricky has indeed matured.
Could this week be the re-birth of a star or just another learning experience? Only time will tell, but I can't wait to find out.