Each week, the GolfChannel.com team offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the most recent events and news developments. This week we saw the rise of one young player and the fall of a two-time major champion.
It pains me, but I fear that I've learned Ernie Els will never win another tournament on the PGA Tour. Some may believe he will because he continues to put himself in contention. I take the other side which says, at 42, he only has limited opportunities left. He's not as mentally strong as he once was and that putting stroke is anything but steady. With each passing blow – like Transitions and Zurich – it's less likely that the Big Easy will win again. And it would be a shame. Hope I'm wrong. Think I'm not. – Jay Coffin
I learned that outward displays of little emotion are pretty cool, too – literally. For too long, Jason Dufner has been knocked for being Retief Goosen 2.0, which is to say a robotic personality on the course. And it’s true – look at the guy and you can’t tell whether he’s just made eagle or double-bogey. Don’t mistake that demeanor for indifference, though. Dufner has long grinded to achieve this first PGA Tour victory and it means just as much to him as the guy who dances a jig on the final green. Consider this one also a win for those of us who prefer to carry passionate yet unemotional comportment into our golf games. Just because you won a skin off your buddies, that’s not always reason for reenacting the Chi Chi Rodriguez sword dance. Thanks to Dufner, keeping cool just became a little cooler. – Jason Sobel
I learned that I could have given my wife a way better pre-marriage present. Jason Dufner will get married next week to his fiancée Amanda Boyd, but the couple had a tremendous week before the nuptials in a city and at a tournament they both love.
It just so turned out that Dufner managed to pull out his first PGA Tour win in the process, helping to more than offset the outlay for the ceremony in Auburn, Ala.
'It helps paying for the wedding, which is more expensive than I thought. It's a bit of a gift for her and a bit of a gift for me,' he said.
I would say a PGA Tour win and $1.152 million is more than a bit of money. – Ryan Ballengee
I learned the future of American women’s golf looks a lot brighter in the glow of a Sunday fireworks show staged by Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson.
With her victory Sunday at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, Lewis becomes the third American to win this year. That’s one more than won all of last year. Of course, last year was the low mark for Americans in the history of the LPGA, with Brittany Lincicome (2 wins) and Lewis (1 win) the only Americans to win all year.
Thompson’s bold charge from five shots back in the final round at Mobile adds to American hopefulness. After a sluggish start to her rookie season, the 17-year-old is off and running in a big way. She started the weekend tied for 35th and shot 66-65 to nearly win her second LPGA title in seven months, her third worldwide title in the same time span. She put tremendous pressure on Lewis, coming up a shot short.
Lewis, 26, and Thompson give the Americans two feisty competitors to help lead USA’s fight back to international respectability. – Randall Mell
I learned that the Official World Golf Ranking may have this one right and Augusta National may have missed an opportunity. Luke Donald overtook Rory McIlroy atop the ranking with his third-place finish in New Orleans, proving that solid play can explain away all the confusing math, while Ernie Els' playoff miss was another indication that the South African probably deserved an invitation to this year's Masters. – Rex Hoggard