With the win, Choi joins Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and Zack Johnson as multiple winners this season. By no coincidence, they are the top five players in the Fed Ex Cup point standings (somewhere Tim Finchem smiles with the Fed Ex mention). And Choi is the leader in the clubhouse for most impressive presenters for his victories.
There are two stories for me bigger than the Choi win. First, the Washington D.C. metropolitan area gave it up for the AT&T National like a virgin on prom night. D.C. had always been a good PGA market back to the days of the Kemper Open; add a tournament hosted by Tiger and lower than average ticket prices and you get a massive success. The only things standing in the way of similar success every year is if Tiget stops hosting or the Congressional Country Club members decide they don't want to give up their course every year (the U.S. Amateur is scheduled for the course in 2009; AT&T National will have to find somewhere else to play that year at least).
The other story is the complete collapse of Stuart Appleby in the final round, turning a two stroke lead after the third round into a tie for third, nine strokes behind Choi with a tidy six over par 76. He didn’t waste time either, double bogeying the Par 3 2nd and throwing four straight bogeys at the field starting at the 4th. Here are the possible reasons for the collapse:
- He always chokes when paired with Nike endorsers of Asian descent on the final day of a tournament.
- The ‘Let’s Do It Again’ like hypnosis of Appleby that made him believe he was in Hawaii wore off.
- It is winter in his native Australia and he wasn’t prepared for the temperatures in the 90s.
Even with his low round of the day (68), one of only five rounds under par for the day, this is another example of the winner being overshadowed by the collapse of another player. Tom Watson had a three stroke lead on Bryant after nine holes. He then shot seven over par down the stretch, dropping him to fourth.
Colin Montgomerie wins the Smurfit Kappa European Open by one stroke over Niclas Fasth
This was Montgomerie’s first win on the European Tour in almost 2 years, and it makes him the third winningest player in European Tour history; one better than Nick Faldo. With a third and first place finish the last two weeks, Montgomerie is in great shape to disappoint English fans with a missed cut at the British Open in two weeks.