What do Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen and Martin Kaymer have in common?
Simple. They could walk into any clubhouse in America and members would turn to each other and ask, “Who are the new guys?"
Oh, one other thing they have in common: They won three of the four major championships in golf this year. McDowell won the US Open, Oosthuizen the British Open and Kaymer the PGA Championship. Remember?
It was that kind of year on the tour. Outside of Tiger Woods’ travails, not much memorable about it. Phil Mickelson did win a popular victory at the Masters, but spent the rest of the year chasing Tiger’s world No. 1 ranking that was dangling out there ripe for picking. The pros had played 41 tournaments going into the weekend’s Tour Championship in Atlanta and there had been 36 different winners. Nobody won more than twice. That is testimony to the depth of field but it is also testimony to the absence of any dominating players when Woods is out of whack and Mickelson seems to be searching for something.
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There are some who think Kaymer, the 26-year-old German, is destined for stardom. Same with Rory McIlroy and a few other young guns. And they are probably right.
The Tour needs to be invigorated by someone. Tiger coming back as his old self would do the trick. So would a few more wins from Mickelson.
Aside from the weekly results to which Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Matt Kuchar brought a freshness, it was a season that smacked of the routine.
McIlroy did charge it up when he shot 62 in the final round on a hard golf course against a powerful field to win the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. That was good stuff.
Arjun Atwal gave it another charge when he won the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro after having to play his way in through a Monday qualifier.
Dustin Johnson’s mistake at Whistling Straits, grounding his club in sand that didn’t look like a bunker but was, costing himself a spot in a playoff, is a memory you wish you didn’t have.
There were a couple of 59’s shot but course conditions took some of the glitter off them.
At a time when colorful clothing, some of it extreme, to put it politely, Ryan Moore went retro, wearing a necktie, a really ugly hat and other items from the style of bygone days. And it helped to enliven things a bit for a moment or two. Which tells you something about the Tour.
What we need is magic. There wasn’t much of it this season.