Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here’s what’s weighing on our writers’ minds.
On prototypical form not always translating to success.
Analyst, both armchair and otherwise, often marvel at a PGA Tour player’s ability to hit the golf ball ridiculous distances and carve flawless iron shots, and those who decide such things often lament what some consider runaway technology that’s at least partly made that kind of ball-striking possible. But Sunday’s finish at the RSM Classic is example No. 854 that a machine-like swing doesn’t always lead to championships.
Billy Horschel ranked fifth this week in fairways hit, 22nd in driving distance and ninth in greens in regulation, but it was his putter that cost him, particularly when he three-putted from 19 feet for bogey on the first playoff hole. Horschel is the prototypical Tour player, long and consistent tee-to-green, but that doesn’t always assure success. – Rex Hoggard
On what Ariya Jutanugarn could mean for the LPGA.
The LPGA has been waiting for a player like Ariya Jutanugarn. Lexi Thompson has the power. Lydia Ko has the precision. Inbee Park has the silky putting stroke. But the 20-year-old Jutanugarn is the total package.
She is frighteningly good in all three areas, which is bad news for Ko, the world No. 1, and the rest of the women’s tour.
The only thing that can stop Jutanugarn from taking over the LPGA is injury and motivation. Something tells me she’s just getting started. – Ryan Lavner
On the common struggle to make it in pro golf that is often overlooked.
Two weeks ago, Eddie Pepperell penned an introspective article after losing his European Tour card. He examined the weaknesses of his game, analyzed his mental shortcomings and addressed the prospect of spending a season trying to string one start to the next on the developmental Challenge Tour.
Fast forward a few short days, and the Englishman coasted through the final stage of Q-School in Spain to easily retain his card. That development isn’t news in and of itself, but Pepperell’s eye-opening blog shed light on a swath of professional golf that is so often and easily overlooked.
While many of the game’s best will spend the next six weeks spanning the globe and enjoying some rare down time, another group will be examining what went wrong and wondering where they can turn in 2017. The gap may seem vast, but often times a missed putt here or an errant approach there can mean the difference between a season of posh living or a year spent in the minor leagues.
Eddie Pepperell stared into the abyss, and in short order he found his game when it mattered most. He has been afforded a sigh of relief this holiday season. But several others attempted the same feat at PGA Catalunya and came up short, and now will be left to dig answers out of the dirt. Such is the struggle that so many pros take on, far from the spotlight, big crowds or courtesy cars. – Will Gray