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What We Learned: Form means little; fun means a lot

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Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the world of golf. In this edition, our writers weigh in on a Graeme McDowell's French Open win, the spectacle that is The Greenbrier Classic and the PGA Tour's response to the anchor ban.


When a player is a proven winner, form means less. This is more something we were reminded of this weekend than we learned. Graeme McDowell won the French Open on Sunday for his ninth European Tour title, his third title worldwide this year. He did this despite having missed the cut in three of his last four U.S. starts and two of his last three European starts. Johnson Wagner, a three-time PGA Tour winner, led going into Sunday at The Greenbrier Classic despite having six missed cuts and a withdrawal in his last seven starts. In events Tiger Woods or Inbee Park is not playing, a strait jacket is suitable attire when placing a bet to win in golf. – Randall Mell


An informal survey at this week’s Greenbrier Classic shows that the tournament is quickly becoming a favorite of players. Not that life on the PGA Tour is ever too undesirable, but this one is like sleepaway camp. From fly fishing to off-roading to kayaking to falconry, there’s plenty to keep players busy during their days; their nights are filled with concerts from the likes of Kenny Chesney and Aerosmith. It may seem like fun and games, but this is how next-level tournaments are built. An old-style course and a decent date on the schedule certainly don’t hurt, but when players speak of this event in weeks to come, those who skipped it will be teeming with jealousy. Word of mouth is the greatest recruiter there is. Expect stronger fields in coming years – and with them will come greater cachet, as this tourney continues to climb in the PGA Tour’s annual hierarchy. – Jason Sobel


The saga almost over, it’s clear now that there were no winners with Rule 14-1b. Not the governing bodies, who seemed hell-bent on banning anchoring despite no proof that it actually helps putting. Not the PGA Tour, which reversed course and could soon see its four recent major winners dealing with new and unfair scrutiny as anchorers. Not the casual fan, who wonders what anchoring is and why amateurs are making rules for the pros. Not the PGA of America, or the guys with bad backs at your local club, or even golf itself. The focus will soon return to what happens on the course, and that is good news … at least until a guy wielding a belly putter hoists an important trophy. No one wins in that scenario, either. – Ryan Lavner