One small step leads to 1 big boast
JACKSONVILLE, FLA. (AP) - Two tournaments came down to the last hole and produced emotions as different as the tours themselves.
There were tears on the PGA Tour.
There were boasts on the Nationwide Tour.
Moments after Sean O'Hair won on the strongest tour in the world, his eyes filled with tears and he broke down during his brief TV interview. He had gone more than two years without winning, and his confidence was still fragile on the eve of the Canadian Open.
It was a reminder how hard it is to win on the PGA Tour.
Hours earlier, NCAA champion John Peterson from LSU had a one-shot lead going into the final hole until he missed the fairway and took bogey. Harris English made a 10-foot birdie for a two-shot swing and the victory, joining Georgia teammate Russell Henley as amateurs to win on the Nationwide Tour this year.
That two college players could contend in golf’s version of Triple-A was not nearly as shocking as the comments that followed.
“I knew I could beat all those guys,” Peterson told Golf World magazine.
And he was just getting warmed up.
“The top guys in college, the top 20 or 30 guys, can beat the top 20, 30 guys on the PGA Tour,” Peterson said. “Maybe with the exception of two or three guys who are constantly up there, like a Matt Kuchar or Luke Donald … those top 20 college guys will beat those top 20 or 30 PGA Tour guys, if given the opportunity.”
The outrageous comment drew a chuckle from Scott Verplank, who won a PGA Tour event in 1985 before his senior year at Oklahoma State.
“Great to have that enthusiasm, isn’t it?” Verplank said Tuesday, sarcastic as ever.
Verplank didn’t entirely disagree. He often plays with some of the best college players, such as U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein, Kevin Tway and Morgan Hoffman. He knows how good they are and what they’re capable of doing.
He just figures Peterson was off by a digit.
“It’s not 20 or 30 guys on tour,” Verplank said. “It’s about 200 or 300 players out here who are just as good. That’s really not a wise statement. They also were playing on the Nationwide Tour. If you’re going to compare that with the PGA Tour, you’re making a mistake.”