What We Learned: Zurich Classic


Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the world of golf. This week, our writers weigh in on Billy Horschel's maiden PGA Tour victory at the Zurich Classic, yet another strong effort by Inbee Park, and a most interesting auction of golf memorabilia.

It was Tuesday morning on the practice range at last month’s Honda Classic when Billy Horschel and I got into one of those “What if…?” types of discussions usually better left for the 19th hole. This one centered on the ongoing NFL Scouting Combine. “What if there was a combine for PGA Tour players?” we asked each other. “Who’d be the strongest? The most agile? The fastest?” At this final query, Horschel threw his hat into the ring, before sadly admitting that Sergio Garcia could probably run faster. Still, the University of Florida product contested that he could run the 40-yard-dash in under 4.7 seconds … or maybe 4.8 … well, definitely under 5.0. Since then, we’ve had a running – pun intended – debate about his speed. But there’s no debating the speed at which Horschel has burst onto leaderboards lately. Entering this past week, he had finished in the top 10 in each of his last three starts, including a pair of top-three results. And it’s been a relative quick jaunt to the winner’s circle, too, as his solid month turned special with a first career victory at the Zurich Classic. Despite getting stalled off the blocks with a pair of final-round weather delays, Horschel lapped the field with nine birdies, including a dramatic and passionate one to clinch the victory. Won’t be his last, either. I still don’t know what his combine numbers would be, but in typical draft-speak, this guy’s got a great motor and a ton of upside. – Jason Sobel

Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park is beginning to separate herself from the rest of women's golf with her victory Sunday at the North Texas LPGA Shootout. It was her third LPGA title this season and her fifth in her last 18 starts.

When Park ascended to No. 1 two weeks ago, it felt like she came in through the back door, given she moved up on an off week in the women's game to take the spot from Stacy Lewis, who had gained the No. 1 ranking with a dramatic victory in Phoenix. Park left no doubt about how deserving she is winning in Irving, Texas.

That doesn't mean we aren't going to see a real battle for the top ranking this summer with Lewis also in strong form with two titles already this season. It might very well be Lewis and Park who pull away together from the rest of the women's game. They've won five of the eight LPGA events staged this year. Lewis won the LPGA's Rolex Player of the Year Award last year with Park winning the money title and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. So far this year, Park and Lewis are 1-2 in Player of the Year points, money winnings and scoring with Park leading Lewis in POY points and money. – Randall Mell

Here's what I want to know –  who was willing to pony up $1,811.25 at this past weekend's auction for the bucket hat Al Geiberger wore while shooting his 59 in 1977? I get the $12,456.80 for his Spaulding clubs, and the $3,201.60 for his trophy from that Memphis Classic seems like a huge bargain. His Wanamaker trophy from his 1966 PGA Championship win fetched $62,967.10, according to Green Jacket Auctions' website. Hey, Doug Ford won the PGA in 1955, but his trophy sold for only $347.30. What I don't question is Geiberger's willingness to sell. He admitted the memorabilia was mostly collecting dust in storage. The most precious thing about that 59 is his memories, and no one can buy them from him. If he can improve his lifestyle now that his playing days are mostly behind him, more power to him. – Al Tays