McRoy wasn't much good in any of the statistics coming into the week in Endicott, N.Y. He was outside the top 150 on the money list. He'd missed five of his last seven cuts. And his best finish in some time was a tie for 50th in Memphis, Tenn., at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
But this is a guy who's been persistant if nothing else over his rather short PGA Tour career. He'd never kept his card in any season he's played on the big tour and his only hope this week was to keep rolling them in and hope for some late tournament help from the two men at the top of the leaderboard (Paul Gow and leader Shaun Micheel).
It all worked out. The Alabama Crimson Tide golfer, who'd won twice on the Buy.Com Tour in 2000, fired a final-round 65 including that bomb on the 18th for birdie to capture the B.C. Open for his first Tour title. More importantly, he's earned himself full exempt status the rest of this year and each of the next two years. And beleive me when I say that means a lot on the biggest tour of them all.
Here's how things have gone for McRoy over the last few years: He earns his way out on the PGA Tour in 1999 only to lose his exempt status and return to the Buy.Com Tour where he wins at Dakota Dunes and then late in the year at the Tour Championship to earn 'Player of the Year' honors and a return trip to the 'show.' Then in 2001 it all comes down to the final tournament in Mississippi where all McRoy needs to do at the Southern Farm Bureau Classic is make the cut to keep his spot in the top 125. He doesn't and thus he doesn't. McRoy finishes 127th which gives him limited starts this year.
At the beginning of the week at the B.C. Open, players were talking about 'opportunity.' The big names were at the British Open Championship and this week meant a great chance to beat some lesser competition while making some nice headway toward a spot inside the coveted top 125.
McRoy admitted to The Golf Channel's Jerry Foltz that he figured he didn't have a chance with Micheel and Gow lighting things up for the better part of three days. But strange things happen and McRoy proved that there's no reason to just 'play it out' on Sunday hoping for a big paycheck.
Micheel and Gow were the only two men inside the top 20 on the final leaderboard to play Sunday's round over-par. And McRoy's been around long enough to realize that those things can happen, so you'd better be ready.
You might say that McRoy 'lucked into' his first PGA Tour win. He probably doesn't care. But I'm here to remind you that he only made two bogeys over the final three rounds. And also tell you that every player with their name on their bag is apt to light it up on any given day or any given week to prove that he belongs. Spike McRoy is just the latest example of playing the game to win, and never taking opportunity for granted.
Nice job Spike. See you in Hawaii at the Mercedes Championships!