Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the world of golf. In this edition, our writers weigh in on Tiger Woods' dominating eighth win at Firestone, his outlook for the upcoming PGA Championship, and Stacy Lewis breaking the American women's 10-tournament drought in majors by winning the Ricoh Women's British Open.
Life is finally starting to feel “normal” for Tiger Woods – or at least as normal as his life can be. I’m not talking about the towering iron shots to tucked hole locations or the weekend-long coronation, either. I’m talking about what happened afterward. Just off the 18th green, as Tiger was walking toward the scoring trailer, he turned around to see his young son Charlie chasing after him. Tiger burst into his biggest smile of the week as he picked up the boy and received a congratulatory hug. Charlie never let go of his dad’s neck until they reached the scoring trailer, but more noteworthy was the fact that Tiger seemed perfectly comfortable having him in the public eye. For a man who has undoubtedly felt uncomfortable with public displays of private moments over the years, it was yet one more way in which life has become more “normal” for him. – Jason Sobel
We’ve seen this movie before, many times in fact. This is the 19th time that Tiger Woods has won his final start before a major. Of the previous 18 times he won his last major tuneup – a run that spans from the 1997 Western Open to this year’s Bay Hill Invitational – he went on to hoist a major trophy four times. More telling: He has 13 top 10s in 18 tries. Interestingly, though, two of the five times that Woods has failed to finish in the top 10 in the major following a win came last year, when he apparently peaked too early for both the Masters (T-40) and U.S. Open (T-21). Those deflating finishes fueled talk that he simply wants the majors too badly, that his putter no longer cooperates on major weekends. Maybe so, but recent history suggests that his victory Sunday at Firestone all but ensures that he’ll be in the mix at Oak Hill, too. – Ryan Lavner
Heading into the season’s final major, golf fans should take a moment to step back and realize how remarkable this season has been to date. The top-ranked player in the world just won for the fifth time in seven months, while his former foil has once again climbed to No. 2 in the rankings thanks to his recent British Open triumph. In an era of ultra-deep fields, each of the first three majors have been won by players ranked in the top 10 in the world.
The best players in the world are playing their best golf on the game’s biggest stages. What more can you ask for? In a sport built upon its unpredictability, factors rarely converge to deliver a stretch of results the likes of which we’ve seen in 2013. Regardless of how things play out at Oak Hill and across the FedEx Cup playoffs, this year should be noted for the fact that time and again, the cream has risen to the top when the lights shined the brightest. This week in Akron was no exception. – Will Gray
If we didn’t already know Stacy Lewis carries the banner for American women’s golf, it was confirmed Sunday with her victory at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
She ended the longest drought for American women in the history of major-championship golf, a winless spell that stretched over 10 events. She actually was the last American to win a major before the drought began. She won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2011, giving her the last two major championships won by an American.
Lewis rose to Rolex world No. 1 earlier this year before Inbee Park succeeded her. Last year Lewis became the first American to win the Rolex Player of the Year award in nearly 20 years. She also was the leading point getter in the American Solheim Cup standings. – Randall Mell