What we learned: Anything can happen at a major


LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – Each week, the GolfChannel.com team offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the most recent events and news developments. This week, in a special daily edition from the Open Championship, we learned that anything can happen when it comes to a major championship.

Tiger Woods will be ranked No. 1 by the end of the year, perhaps even by the end of August. Four months ago I didn't think it was possible, but no one else in the top-10 is taking advantage of opportunities. Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood have all played well at times but they don't win on a consistent basis. Woods has won three times already. If he wins twice more – even without winning the PGA Championship – he could cruise to the top spot unless the others get their collective acts together. Don't think it'll happen. Woods will assume his spot on golf's perch soon, even without his best stuff. – Jay Coffin

I learned that the golf gods work in mysterious ways. Over the past few years, Ernie Els has been the living picture of heartache. Sure, there were the wins at Doral and Bay Hill two years ago, but his Hall of Fame career has otherwise been derailed by a putting stroke that’s seemingly left him missing more 4-foot putts than your average double-digit handicapper. It’s felt like every time Els has battled himself into contention, his flatstick battles him right back – whether it was the standard-length model that he employed for so long or the longer model that he admits is like “cheating” now. You can bet, though, that the Big Easy would trade all of those excruciating misses in recent years for the 15-footer that dropped into the bottom of the cup on the 18th hole Sunday, eventually ensuring his fourth major championship title. Don’t get me wrong: Els put a good stroke on that one and he made the putt, but you’d be naïve to think the golf gods didn’t help will that one into the hole, too. – Jason Sobel

That anything can happen in major championship golf. Unlike Jean Van de Velde in 1999 at Carnoustie and Phil Mickelson at Winged Foot in 2006, Adam Scott was in control of his game and his emotions until the very end. The Australian’s meltdown was not only unexpected, it was somewhat unprecedented, which is why the Grand Slams deliver more times than not. – Rex Hoggard