Welcome to my (fantasy) world.
Allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Paul Anthony Arco and I am the newest golf contributor to Rotoworld. For several years, I covered the sports scene in Rockford, Ill., where I followed all sports, including golf, for the local daily newspaper. These days, I host a weekly golf show on a Rockford AM station. Check it out at www.wnta.com
This isn't my first gig with the fantasy game. For the past decade, I've covered and played fantasy football. While I no longer have to worry about my quarterback's bye week or why my kicker is struggling, I am looking forward to covering the golf version and getting to know the readers of Rotoworld.
While I may not be the best ball-striker (I made the high school golf team primarily because I had my own set of clubs), I've been fortunate to interview some of the top names in the game, including Butch Harmon, Luke Donald
, Peter Jacobsen
, Kenny Perry
, Billy Mayfair
and Steve Stricker
My column will definitely evolve over the next several weeks. This is going to be fun. Better with Age
Speaking of Stricker, not even a 2 ½ -hour weather delay Sunday could prevent the 44-year-old from winning the Memorial Tournament. Stricker shot 68 to finish 16-under 272 and hang on by one stroke over Matt Kuchar
and Brandt Jobe
, who each shot 65 for 15-under 273. It was Sticker's 10th TOUR win and seventh since he turned 40. The key was his ability to get off to a fast start. For the tournament, Stricker played the front nine of the course in 20-under par, while playing the back nine at four-over. He recorded three eagles in a seven-hole stretch spanning his second and third rounds. He aced No. 8 on Friday, and holed out from the second fairway for eagle and made another eagle on No. 5 with a three-iron to six feet on Saturday. Stricker, the only golfer to finish with four rounds in the 60s, is now officially eligible for the PGA Championship. He moved up to 11th in the FedExCup standings.
As solid as Stricker played, Jobe was equally impressive. Jobe almost called it quits after suffering degenerative nerve damage in his hand, the result of a freak accident cleaning his garage in 2006. Jobe, who has 12 international wins, made things tough on Stricker, thanks to five straight birdies at the turn. Despite finishing short of winning his first PGA TOUR event, Jobe is certain to have fully-exempt status in 2012.
Donald, the No. 1 golfer in the FedExCup standings, closed with a 68 and tied for seventh, his 10th straight top-10 finish. The biggest winner, besides Stricker, might be Gary Woodland
, who finished sixth and will be eligible for the U.S. Open once the world ranking on June 13 is calculated. He will sit comfortably inside the top 50 next week.On a roll
It's been a good run recently for Steve Wheatcroft
, the former PGA Tour member. On May 25, Wheatcroft tweeted
that he was playing TPC Sawgrass with some buddies, when he eagled the par-5 No. 16 and followed it up with an ace on the par-3 No. 17, the latter of which he happened to catch on video. This weekend he won the Nationwide Tour's Melwood Prince George's County Open, shooting a sizzling 29-under 255, (the lowest 72-hole total in the 22-year history of the Nationwide Tour) easily outdistancing runners-up, Ryan Armour
and Jon Mills
– also former TOUR members – by 12 strokes. Wheatcroft's first career win could be just what he needs to regain his TOUR status for 2012.Aces
While I am still looking for my first hole-in-one, Elliot Saltman
nailed two aces at No. 17 during the Wales Open at Celtic Manor. Saltman was coming off a three-month ban from the European Tour after he was disqualified for improperly marking his ball last fall in the first round of the Russian Challenge Cup. Saltman placed 12th in the Wales Open, his best finish since earning his first tour playing card at Qualifying School last year.Stray ShotsPhil Mickelson
didn't win the Memorial Tournament, but he may have found his putting stroke. After taking 32 putts in the third round, he needed just 24 on Sunday, and he hit just one fewer green in regulation (12)…He finished 5-under 67, tied for 13th with Bo Van Pelt
and Ben Curtis
has made the cut in each of the three starts immediately following his WDs this year…Non-member Edoardo Molinari
has failed to post a top 10 in eight starts this year. His last four starts will take place at the U.S. Open, British Open, WGC-Bridgestone Invite and PGA Championship…First round co-leaders, Rory McIlroy
and Chris Riley
, finished T5 and T30, respectively. Rod Pampling
had the second-round low score of 66; the third round belonged to Marc Leishman
and Mark Wilson
(66) and Brandt Jobe
, Dustin Johnson
, Matt Kuchar
, and Vijay Singh
(65) shared the low score for the final round…Leishman was headed for a top-20 finish until he shot a 9-over 45 on the back nine Sunday…Tommy Gainey
looked good early in the season with three top-five finishes, but has struggled of late, failing to make the cut at the Memorial. The good news for Chez Reavie
is that he made the cut at the Memorial with a second-round 69 after opening with a 75. The bad news? He needed to make $229,107 to retain his status for a Major Medical Extension. He finished $216,211 short of meeting the terms. He did meet the goal for conditional status, so he'll get demoted into that category for the remainder of the year.…Kevin Stadler
finished T22, not bad considering he was the last man in the field when Nick Watney
withdrew shortly before his tee time on Thursday due to illness. Stadler earned $54,405…D.A. Points
went 10 straight starts without a top-35 finish since his breakthrough at Pebble Beach until this week's T20. None of the golfers to finish in the top 10 at the Memorial have ever won a major championship, but four golfers (Mark Wilson
(twice), Donald, Woodland, and Jonathan Byrd
) have all won an event this year.
Whew. That's it for my first column. The Memorial was a pretty darn good tournament for my first time out. I can't wait to see what happens next week.
Paul Anthony Arco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org