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What we learned: U.S. Women's Open, Greenbrier

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Each week, the GolfChannel.com team offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the most recent events and news developments. This week, we learned that South Korea shows no signs of letting up in women's golf and that Tiger Woods' B and C game isn't what it used to be. 


American women ought to be upset with themselves. Their pride should be wounded. No offense to South Koreans, but with Na Yeon Choi’s victory Sunday at Blackwolf Run, this proud and talented little nation is dominating the American championship. I don’t say “little” in any demeaning way. South Korea is roughly the size of Kentucky. The population of the United States is about 300 million, six times the population of South Korea.

With Choi’s victory, South Koreans have won the last two U.S. Women’s Opens, four of the last five. They practically own this championship. Even the runner up Sunday was South Korean (Amy Yang). Last year’s championship came down to a playoff between two South Koreans (with So Yeon Ryu defeating Hee Kyung Seo). This is a nation of marvelously gifted and determined women golfers.

With her victory, Choi gave her homeland another wonderful memory of Blackwolf Run. Fourteen years after Se Ri Pak inspired a nation with her victory here, Choi watched Pak and other fellow countrywomen douse her with champagne in another victory celebration on this property. South Korea should officially designate Blackwolf Run as one of its nation’s historic landmarks. Its nation’s flag is planted here, at least symbolically. – Randall Mell


I learned that the biggest difference between Tiger Woods' game 5-10 years ago and now isn't his ceiling but his bottom floor. 'Old Tiger,' for lack of a better term, was a 10 when he was at his best and about an 8.5 at his worst. Which is to say, his worst was still better than many competitors' best. 'New Tiger' is still a 10 at his best – as we've witnessed during his three victories so far this season – but only a 4 or 5 at his worst. 

What that means is that when Woods is armed only with his B or C game now, it is no longer resulting in a back-door top 10 but instead leaving him with results like he found at this week's Greenbrier Classic, where his scores of 71-69 were hardly poor, but he still failed to make the cut. Of course, the discrepancy between his best and worst is a pretty decent tradeoff. As Woods is keenly aware, it's better to be a 10 sometimes and a 4 other times than a consistent 7 all the time. – Jason Sobel


I learned that guys most have never heard of can do amazing things.

That storm, which forced fans from Congressional a week ago, left millions in the region - including West Virginia - without power. Hundreds of unsung men and women are still working tirelessly to restore it fully.

After Hurricane Phil and Tiger blew through Greenbrier in two short rounds, two unheralded guys provided a great finish. Ted Potter Jr. and Troy Kelly may not have been big names, but they cleaned up nicely just before the next storm rolled in. Their quiet, unending work paid off in a big way on Sunday. – Ryan Ballengee

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