Each Thursday, the Boston Globe hands out its weekly golf award, goes inside the numbers, and looks at the week ahead on the tours:
Player of the week: Casey Martin. Most competitors in US Open sectional qualifiers play and practice - a lot - to make sure they’re sharp for the grueling 36 holes. Martin? He hadn’t touched a club in nine days when he arrived at Emerald Valley Golf Club in Creswell, Ore., on Monday. His day job - he’s the head coach at the University of Oregon, which lost to Texas last week in the semifinals of the NCAA championships - made getting ready for the sectional qualifier almost impossible. But it also eliminated any expectations Martin had of getting through. The fact that he did, and will return to the Olympic Club, where he tied for 23d in the 1998 US Open, makes Martin the feel-good story leading into US Open week.
Justice league? Add the European Tour to the list of organizations putting actions behind their warnings of targeting slow play, much to the dismay and disappointment of Ross Fisher. The Englishman was paired with Thongchai Jaidee in the last group during the final round of the Wales Open, and was assessed a one-stroke penalty after the 14th hole when he was one shot out of the lead. Fisher’s group was told on No. 6 that they were out of position, and rules official John Paramor determined that Fisher incurred two bad times after that, prompting the penalty. It proved costly: Fisher was fined $9,200, and the difference in prize money with the extra stroke added came to more than 76,000 euros. Fisher’s reaction? “I don’t think it’s justice, but there you go.’’
To great lengths: The chance of playing in the US Open holds a certain amount of mesmerizing power over people, forcing some to do unusual things. Take Danny Evelyn, for instance. Evelyn, along with former college teammate Matt Stauch, were alternates on site at the Monday sectional qualifier in Columbus, Ohio. But nobody withdrew, denying them the opportunity to play 36 holes for a shot at the US Open. Or so they thought. Because the sectional in Memphis was delayed a day by rain, Evelyn and Stauch decided to drive through the night - it’s about an eight-hour trip - and join the list of alternates in Tennessee. Fortunately for Evelyn, two players in the 84-player field withdrew before the start of their rounds, giving him an unlikely starting spot. Stauch wasn’t as fortunate, so he caddied for Evelyn. The dream died Tuesday - Evelyn shot 74-74 - but they’ll always have a unique story to tell.
Tweet of the week: “Wait just a minute here. Does Jack think that shot was better than my bunker shot on 18 to win in 1993? :-(’’ - Paul Azinger (@PaulAzinger), referring to tournament host Jack Nicklaus’s comments that the 16th-hole chip-in by Tiger Woods that put him in front at last weekend’s Memorial was the best shot he’s ever seen. Azinger won the Memorial by one stroke in 1993 when he holed a greenside bunker shot on the final hole.