When a guy named Smylie wins on Tour the world is a better place
By Peter Santo
How about Smylie Kaufman? Kaufman fired a Sunday 61 to win your first ever Tour event at the Shriner’s Hospital for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. I can’t even imagine how agonizing the wait must have been. Kaufman finished his final round at 5:41 PM Eastern but was forced to wait until around 8:00 to hold up the trophy.
Kaufman spent the time watching the Golf Channel coverage with good buddy Patton Kizzire and his girlfriend and hitting balls on the range. Kizzire finished just a shot back himself after a 63 on Sunday. However his play coming down the stretch drew criticism from Golf Channel commentators when he noted in a post-round interview with Golf Channel’s Angela Stanford that he had no idea where he stood.
It turned out the Kizzire needed to make birdie on 18 to force a playoff, but he had no idea where he stood as he played the final hole.
Golf Channel’s Gary Koch and Frank Nobilo were highly critical of this choice by Kizzire. “In every other sport you always know the score, you always know what you have to do, you always know where you stand against the competition,” said Nobilo.
“I know it’s the trend of sports psychologists these days, don’t think about what you can’t control, but knowing where you stand really does play a role in the strategies for these guys. If they know they have to make birdie at 18, they are going to make sure they get the second shot to that back left hole location,” Koch added.
I agree with Nobilo and Koch, I think knowing where he stood certainly would’ve made a difference in the outcome for Kizzire. But nonetheless, don’t take anything away from Smylie Kaufman. This guy began 2014-2015 with no status on the Web.com Tour. He accepted a sponsor’s exemption to the event in Louisiana, won it and got full status, and turned it into a PGA Tour card for 2014-2015. Just a few months later, Kaufman is a PGA Tour winner and earns a two-year exemption as well as a spot in the 2014-2015 Masters.