Answer ' Ever thought that it might be because they arent so-so?
Bart Bryant was the latest, and he sent shock waves up and down the blue-ribbon field with a six-stroke win against the best players on the PGA Tour. Maybe its
Bryant was completely off the radar screen when last season begin, and I dont mean just off the screen to the average fan ' he was off the screen to HIM.
There's always been a seed of doubt in my mind that this would happen, said Bryant. I certainly don't put myself in the same category as Retief and Vijay and Davis Love and Tiger Woods. I mean, these guys are the elite players in the world.
The win last year hardly caused a quiver in the fan recognition needle. It was at the Valero Texas Open in September and it was easy to brush it off as an anomaly, a quirk of fate. He was still No. 137 on the Official Golf World Rankings the week after the win in Texas, and not even in the top 200 before it.
This year, though, Bryant won Jack Nicklaus event ' the Memorial - and people jerked to attention as they considered this guy hmmmm. Then ' this.
Really, though, you need to stop and think who has been winning on tour lately. Since the end of August, one tournament after another, its been surprise after surprise after surprise. And now, its pretty obvious that there ARENT any surprises. In short, these guys are good.
The headliners won four in a row in August - the Buick Open, The International, the PGA Championship, the WCG-NEC. Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods won those events, and all seemed right in the golf world. Oh, Vaughn Taylor successfully defended in Reno the same week as Woods won the NEC, but Reno is a satellite event you know ' as if that makes a difference. Taylor still had to overcome some pretty good talent ' Justin Rose, Philip Price, Jesper Parnevik, Tim Herron, Skip Kendall
But then Brad Faxon won at Hartford, and that was a little bit of a surprise since Brad had missed nine cuts in the 20 events played up to that time. But since then at the Buick Championship at Hartford, the PGA Tour has gone topsy-turvey. Pick out a name ' any name ' in the field and he is a potential winner.
The top guns, of course, are the only ones eligible for the WCG-American Express. But with the exception of Woods win at the AmEx in early October, look who has been winning all the events the last couple of months:
It started with the Deutsche Bank, when Olin Browne won, defeating Woods, Davis Love and Justin Leonard, among others. At the Bell Canadian, it was a creaky old fossil, Mark Calcavecchia.
Remember the 84 Lumber, and remember the Nationwide fugitive, Jason Gore, getting home for the win? Singh was in that field. The Valero Texas Open was won by another guy who has been lost in the woods the last 10 years ' Robert Gamez. And at Greensboro, K.J. Choi won after missing cuts in his last two outings.
The last four tournaments have been won by complete surprises ' Wes Short at Las Vegas, Lucas Glover at Funai, Carl Petterson at the Chrysler Championship, and now Bryant.
Did that quartet steal them? Nope. Short won at Las Vegas with a field that included Jim Furyk, Love, Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood. The Funai field included Woods, Singh and Goosen, and Glover outlasted them all. And Petterson won in the Tampa Bay area over a field that included Goosen, Love, Singh, David Toms and Mike Weir.
Even the Southern Farm Bureau had an unlikely winner last week. Heath Slocum hung tough all four days, and that was against a field that included Loren Roberts, John Cook, Todd Hamilton, Zack Johnson, Lee Janzen, Bob Tway you get the picture.
Not since Mickelson at the PGA has a top-15 player won a full-field tournament. But remember Tim Petrovic at New Orleans, Ted Purdy at the Byron Nelson, Peter Lonard at Hilton Head, Sean OHair at John Deere, Jason Bohn at the B.C. Open or Ben Crane at Milwaukee? They all won PGA Tour events this year.
And now, Bryant. He will be 43 this month, but Bart Bryant just showed the caliber of player he has become. He was No. 22 on the money list when the Tour Championship began, but now hes ninth after winning $3,249,136 this year. Not bad, Id say, for a guy who formerly was known primarily as Brad Bryants little brother.
That's impressive, said Tiger, whose 11-under total was second-best but still six shots in arrears of Bart (Bryant, not Simpson.) Around this golf course it's impressive.
The golf course is playing fast and it's right up his alley, but still, you have to make putts, hit fairways and hit greens, and he did that all week. He was very consistent all week. He didn't have any bad stretches where he could have lost it. He had a couple bad holes, but he got right back there yesterday.
He played consistent. He made some putts, so hats off to him.
Hats off to all the who-dats who have become whose-whos. There really isnt a shocker out there anymore. Anyone, it is true, can win.
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