Each Thursday, the Boston Globe hands out its weekly golf award, goes inside the numbers, and looks at the week ahead on the tours:
Difficult to stomach?
First Keegan Bradley, then Webb Simpson, now Els. Three of the last four major champions have won with belly putters, placing the debate over the club’s legality squarely in front of the R&A and the US Golf Association, which jointly establish the rules of golf. “The R&A and the USGA do have this subject firmly back on the radar,” Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A, said this week. “I think you’re going to see us saying something about it one way or the other in a few months, rather than years.” At the British Open, in a field of 156, 16 players used belly putters, and 27, including runner-up Adam Scott, had long putters. Dawson said the main point to study is anchoring the club against the body, which many feel provides an advantage. If a belly and/or long putter ban is announced, it won’t take effect until 2016, since the R&A and USGA are considering it as a change to the rules, which are updated every four years.
Player of the week
Latanna Stone. Ernie Els wins the British Open? Been there, done that (in 2002). Worcester native Scott Stallings captures the True South Classic for his second PGA Tour victory in 12 months? Also a nice story. But nothing tops Stone, who made history by becoming the youngest player to ever qualify for the US Women’s Amateur. Born Sept. 4, 2001, the 10-year-old from Valrico, Fla., was medalist at the regional in Wellington, Fla., shooting a 70 to earn her way into the 112th US Women’s Amateur, to be held Aug. 6-12 at The Country Club in Cleveland. Stone has her own website, Twitter handle, and already owns more than 100 victories in junior tournaments.
Inside the numbers
It wasn’t rainy or windy, and Royal Lytham & St. Annes was more green than brown. If not for first-tee announcer Ivor Robson, you’d swear it wasn’t the British Open, because so much of what we usually see was missing. Els, now a four-time major champion, joins a select group of British Open winners at Lytham: Bobby Jones (1926), Bobby Locke (1952), Peter Thomson (1958), Bob Charles (1963), Tony Jacklin (1969), Gary Player (1974), Seve Ballesteros (1979, ’88), Tom Lehman (1996), and David Duval (2001). Here’s the statistical leaders in a few key categories, and how Els fared:
Fairways hit: Francesco Molinari, 49 of 56 (Els 35 of 56, tied for 36th).
Greens in regulation: Els, 57 of 72.
Birdies: Adam Scott, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Troy Matteson, 17 (Els 16, tied for fourth).
One-putt greens: Jimenez, 36 (Els 19, 79th).
Tweet of the week
“Big congrats to Ernie!! 4 time major champion! Know how Adam feels right now, not a great place, but he will be back! Too good not to be!” — Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory).