McNeilly works for Padraig Harrington. He had no idea the purse was so high for a tournament that doesn't even count, so when it was suggested that his man did well - $500,000 for third place - McNeilly was skeptical.
His eyes about popped out of his head when he saw the amount on a piece of paper, realizing his take would be significant.
'Bloody, hell!' McNeilly said, a mixture of shock and delight, and he walked into the night with a big smile.
Everybody needs something around the holidays, although not everyone needs money.
Davis Love III needs better timing
He hit the most clutch long-iron shots of the year, a 4-iron into the 18th green to win at Pebble Beach. He had the best final round of the year, a 64 in cold, windy conditions at The Players Championship. He had one of the most dramatic finishes of the year, chipping in from 70 feet on the final hole to force a playoff at Hilton Head.
Love simply picked the wrong weeks for his heroics.
He needs to figure out how to do that the second week in April, or the third week in June or July.
David Duval needs hope
Coming off his worst season as a pro, Duval started 2003 with a 65 at the Bob Hope Classic and quickly went into a nose dive. He made four cuts in 20 tournaments, none of them majors. The last time he worked Sunday was June 8. He started the year at No. 15 in the world, and ended at No. 242.
Tiger Woods was asked what he considered the biggest surprise of the year. He didn't say Ben Curtis at the British Open or Annika Sorenstam holding her own at the Colonial.
'To see one of my friends struggle as much as he did - Duval,' he said.
There have been other slumps, such as Ian Baker-Finch and Chip Beck. None was ever this good, or was ever ranked No. 1 in the world.
Phil Mickelson could use some patience
Not since Tom Kite has anyone been under this much pressure to win a major championship. Kite won 16 times in his first 20 years when he captured the '92 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach at age 42.
Mickelson, 33, has won 21 times in his first 11 years (once as an amateur).
He is coming off his worst season ever. Not only did he fail to win for the first time since 1999, he finished 38th on the money list and did not qualify for the Tour Championship for the first time.
Mickelson went on a media ban the final three months of the season, saying he was tired of taking 'pot shots.' One of these days, he'll realize that just about everyone - media included - want to see him win a major.
Augusta National could use a drought
Since overhauling the golf course two years ago, no one has seen how tough the Masters can really be. Rain has made it play longer than ever, but the greens have been exceptionally soft.
What happens when the fairways are firm and fast, and the greens are hard to hold?
'If this golf course ever gets dry and windy ... geez, over par wins easily,' Woods said. 'We've been very lucky that it hasn't happened yet.'
The Americans could use a victory in the Ryder Cup
Europe has won three out of the last four.
Just think how lopsided these matches would be if Justin Leonard had not made that 45-foot putt at Brookline.
Woods needs a victory at the Nissan Open
Perhaps even more peculiar than Mickelson not winning a major is Woods' failures at Riviera. He has played the Nissan Open six times without winning, his most at any tournament without a trophy.
Woods made his PGA Tour debut at Riviera as a 16-year-old and grew up about 20 minutes away. The only big tournament Jack Nicklaus never won was the Canadian Open, played primarily on a Glen Abbey course he designed.
Is Woods headed down that road?
Mike Weir could use a victory in the Canadian Open
This is truly the fifth major for the Masters champion, but he has never finished higher than 10th. It returns to Glen Abbey this year, where Weir has missed the cut eight out of nine times, and has broken 70 only once.
Give a 2003 calendar to Jay Haas so he can pretend the year never ended
In one of the more remarkable turnarounds, Haas played some of his best golf at age 49. Despite not winning, he finished 15th on the money list, got into the World Golf Championships and played in the Presidents Cup.
Haas turned 50 earlier this month, and wants to play a heavy PGA Tour schedule to make the Ryder Cup team.
The World Golf Hall of Fame needs a black member
Over the past couple of years, various committees have elected Neil Coles, John Jacobs and Harvey Penick to the Hall of Fame. Induction for Charlie Sifford, Teddy Rhodes, Joe Louis or Lee Elder is long overdue.
Or are they simply waiting for Tiger Woods to become eligible?
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