Some Sunday night thoughts from my seat in the pressroom at Quail Hollow, where Sean O'Hair just won this PGA tournament by a stroke over Bubba Watson and Lucas Glover:
-- “The Green Mile” – holes No.16-18 -- is lauded time and again by everyone here as the sort of dramatic, incredibly difficult closing that every tournament needs.
You know what?
Call it heresy, but I could do with it being a little easier. It made for an anti-climactic finish – especially on Nos.17 and 18. The only way the best golfers went on Sunday when they reached those two holes was either sideways or down. You could just about forget making a birdie at either place.
O’Hair went bogey-bogey on those last two holes and still won. There were only two birdies on No.17 all of Sunday. Two! I understand making the course a test of the world’s best golfers, but there needs to be more of a risk-reward balance there. As it was, it felt like the final round was won after a couple of missed field goals or something -- sort of anti-climactic, despite the closeness of the scores.
-- Quail Hollow does seem to produce a worthy winner each year, however. O’Hair certainly was that. Anyone who turned pro while still in high school, struggled through the sort of golf boot camp that his unbelievably demanding father put him through and came out whole on the other side is fine in my book.
-- Zach Johnson’s shot directly off the tree at No.2 was one of those cringe-worthy golf moments that heartens hackers everywhere. When you saw Johnson looking back over his own left shoulder to find his ball – that just doesn’t happen very often. He ended up with a triple-bogey and that pretty much knocked the third-round leader off his game -- that and a splitting "headache," Johnson would say later.
-- When Tiger Woods drove the green at No.14 but then three-putted for par from 23 feet Sunday, that was it for him. He ended up finishing fourth and losing to O'Hair by two shots, and he had two strokes he could have gained there had the eagle putt dropped.
Tiger never recaptured his first-round magic here – shooting a 65 Thursday and then three straight rounds in the 70s after that.