Each Thursday, the Boston Globe hands out its weekly golf award, goes inside the numbers, and looks at the week ahead on the tours:
Players of the week: Alex Stimpson and James Kroeger. Both have made golf their non-playing profession – Stimpson and Kroeger work for Titleist at Acushnet’s headquarters in Fairhaven – but they’ve shown they’ve got some game, too. The duo, which lost in a playoff a year ago, won this year’s Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship by three strokes at Stow Acres Country Club. Coming from two shots off the pace after the first round, Stimpson and Kroeger, both 29, earned their first MGA title together by shooting a final-round 65 for a 12-under-par 132 total. In the process, they ended the three-year Four-Ball reign of Herbie Aikens and Ryan Riley, who tied for ninth.
Inside the numbers: We called out Rickie Fowler in this spot last week as the best PGA Tour player without a win (following Jason Dufner’s victory the week before), and he responded with an impressive playoff win over a strong Wells Fargo field. Now that Dufner and Fowler have both broken through, who’s the best player without a tour win? Let’s narrow it down to these four, focusing on those who play the bulk of their schedule on the PGA Tour:
Briny Baird: Holds the record for the most money earned in PGA Tour history ($12.6 million) without a victory. In 360 starts, Baird, who turns 40 on Friday, has five second-place finishes, most recently at last year’s Fry.com Open. His father, Butch, won twice on tour.
Bud Cauley: He doesn’t have the resume yet, but this 22-year-old PGA Tour rookie has plenty of game, despite his 5-foot, 7-inch frame. Earned his tour card the hard way: By winning enough money in his seven sponsor’s exemptions last year. In 22 career starts, has 10 top-25 finishes.
Steve Marino: Has been limited to three starts this year because of recent knee surgery, but he’s been a runner-up four times, including twice last year. Marino has been a model of consistency: In 144 starts, he’s made the cut 105 times and piled up 21 top-10 finishes.
Jeff Overton: The only player to ever make a US Ryder Cup team on points without a victory (Fowler was also on the 2010 team when he was still winless, but was a captain’s pick). Overton has finished second four times, and has earned more than $9 million in just six seasons.
Newsmaker: During his World Golf Hall of Fame induction speech on Monday, Phil Mickelson told the story of how he wanted to take his then-girlfriend Amy (now his wife) to Paris, during the early part of their relationship. Amy’s father, Gary McBride, weighed in, Mickelson recalled. McBride said, “You’re going to have plenty of time to go to Paris together. Amy, it’s your decision ... but you’re not going.” It’s a lesson that Mickelson said has been effective in his own parenting skills, but he wanted to point out to his father-in-law that he and Amy still have never been to Paris. That’s about to change, though. “In two weeks, we’ll be there,” Mickelson said. “Amy turns 40, and we’ll have a chance to do that.”
This week’s tour schedules:
PGA Tour: Players Championship, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Purse: $9.5 million (winner’s share $1.710 million). Defending champion: K.J. Choi. Number of top-10 players in field: Nine (Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Tiger Woods, Martin Kaymer, Webb Simpson, Phil Mickelson). TV: Thursday/Friday 1-7 p.m. (Golf Channel), Saturday/Sunday Noon-2 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2-7 p.m. (NBC).
European Tour: Madeira Islands Open, Madeira, Portugal. Purse: 675,000 euros. Defending champion: Michael Hoey.
Tweet of the week: “The talent on the PGA Tour today is an order of magnitude greater than at any time in golf’s history. Didn’t think it would happen this soon.” – PGA Tour player Joe Ogilvie (@ogilvie)