Nothing Comes Easy Nothing

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For the better part of three days Justin Leonard had his way with a course that he'd never finished better than a tie for 30th on. Scores of 67, 64, 66 and he was 16-under just like that and rolling toward his seventh PGA Tour win.
 
He got it done but who'd have believed Sunday would be such a struggle. Not a single birdie on his card - a whole lot of pars and a couple costly bogeys that almost derailed the ship before the celebration could begin east of Harbour Town's famed lighthouse.
 
Nothing comes easily on the PGA Tour these days. Leonard shoots 2-over par 73 to win by a single shot over Heath Slocum. Phil Mickelson was there too, but got off to a tough start. Davis Love III had his chances but never was able to keep the momentum after an opening round of 62.
 
There's a point I'm trying to make here. And that is that these guys are ALL good. The common man or woman probably has no idea who Heath Slocum even is. And I'm pretty sure CBS Sports wasn't exactly glowing about rifling through the media guide to prepare for a win by the 29-year-old who nearly lost his life, let alone his career, back in 1997 after a bout with colitis that saw him drop from 150 pounds to 122.
 
Slocum won three times on the Buy.Com Tour last year, earning that tour's second-ever 'Battlefield Promotion'. And if you'd like to follow his career now, keep up with his accuracy numbers. He only missed a handful of fairways all week. Only one, in fact, on Sunday which cost him a double-bogey and ultimately the tournament. He set a record a year ago on the Buy.Com Tour for percentage of fairways hit with over 77 percent for the year. He doesn't make mistakes and as you've seen, he's not afraid of the big boys.
 
For that matter, neither is Cameron Beckman, who won last year at the Southern Farm Bureau Classic and had all the confidence in the world going until Sunday. Then he found out that earning a second tour win is perhaps tougher than the first. 78 strokes later he went from the final twosome to 19th place.
 
Davis Love struggled Sunday as well, saying the conditions (hard and fast, and then hard some more if you were watching) forced him into a 'trick shot' of sorts on the 18th with a pitching wedge downwind from about 170 yards.
 
The simple truth about the PGA Tour is this: you'd better not get too confident, and you'd better not make many mistakes. Players are just too good. Players like Slocum and Beckman are out for blood, just like Tiger is. So it's time they got their just due too.

They had Justin Leonard's eyes and ears. Perhaps you didn't know - Leonard didn't wear a shirt that matched the victory tartan jacket for a reason. He told me he didn't want to present himself with the victory before he'd earned it.
 
All that, despite the fact that he has the British Open, and the Players Championship among his wins. You see, he realizes that on the PGA Tour, nothing comes easy. No matter what your name is.