After Further Review: U.S. women are afterthought

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here’s what’s weighing on our writers’ minds.

On American irrelevance in women’s golf:

The American challenge continues in women’s golf. For the first time since the Race to the CME Globe was created, no American will be eligible to win the $1 million jackpot when the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship begins in Naples, Fla, in two weeks.

You have to be among the top nine in the CME Globe standings to have a chance at the jackpot, and there isn’t an American among the top nine. Yes, there is one more event (the Lorena Ochoa Invitational) to qualify for the top nine, but no American headed to Ochoa’s event this week can crack the top nine, even with a victory in Mexico. This comes in a strange year for the Americans, who claimed the UL International Crown as the “best golfing nation” in women’s golf and saw one of their own (Brittany Lang) win the U.S. Women’s Open. But it’s also a year in which only two Americans (Lang and Lexi Thompson) have won LPGA events. In the 66 year-history of the LPGA, Americans have never failed to win fewer than four LPGA events in a season. It’s also a year that saw Americans steadily tumble down the Rolex world rankings, with Thompson the only American left now among the top 10. – Randall Mell

On Rod Pampling’s patience and persistence:

Rod Pampling’s wife, Angela, is a clinical psychologist, which means she’s uniquely qualified to tell her husband that his time had come. After more than two decades as a professional, it may have been time, Angela could argue, for Pampling to move on to his next chapter considering he hadn’t finished inside the top 125 in FedEx Cup points since 2012 and last won on the PGA Tour in 2006.

But on Sunday in Las Vegas, Pampling outdueled the likes of Brooks Koepka and Lucas Glover to win his third Tour title. Maybe Pampling was a little crazy to keep plugging away, but you might have to be a little crazy to play professional golf. – Rex Hoggard

On the PGA Tour’s fortuitous clerical error:

Rod Pampling will snag most of the headlines, but he wasn’t the only player to benefit from the “clerical error” that let a dozen extra players into the field this week in Las Vegas.

Eight of the 12 players in question – all of whom gained entry when the PGA Tour failed to trim the field from 144 to 132 as it had planned – made it past the 36-hole cut. Pampling’s win was the most notable result, but rookies Ryan Blaum (T-31) and Trey Mullinax (T-36) also netted solid finishes, as did veterans Will MacKenzie and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who both tied for 48th.

There is plenty of golf to play between now and next August, but chances are one of the eight beneficiaries who made the cut could be on or near the FedEx Cup bubble because of points earned this week at TPC Summerlin. And from here, the momentum and confidence a player might gain from making a cut, or perhaps finding something in his swing over the weekend, can’t be measured.

Each and every year at the Wyndham Championship, we are reminded that every shot truly counts as decimal points sometimes separate those retaining their Tour cards from those heading to the Tour Finals. This time around, the pivotal shots and points might turn out to be the ones accrued this week in Sin City, all thanks to the friendliest clerical error in Tour history. – Will Gray

On Bernhard Langer’s unwatchable putting routine

Bernhard Langer is truly one of the great stories in golf, excelling on the senior tour even as he nears 60. He’s overcome the yips and a rule change to become an outstanding putter. But his performance on the greens this weekend was unwatchable. Playing with an injured knee, Langer had his caddie, Terry Holt, line up his ball on the greens. It was a process that often took several times to get right, slowing play to a crawl. The most often-heard phrase on the Golf Channel broadcast? “While we wait, let’s go to [a different hole].” Langer is a slow player under the best of circumstances, but this was ridiculous. – Al Tays