Glory’s last shot, it has been said, culminates this weekend at Kiawah Island, South Carolina. And if form holds, it is anyone’s guess who will take it. Up through this year’s British Open when Ernie Els took the Championship, it has now been 16 majors in a row of different winners. Could it happen again this week? If so, who will be the fortunate darkhorse? Why not local favorites Ben Crane (from Portland/University of Oregon) or Robert Garrigus (Crescent Valley High School/Corvallis)?Here is why this is possible. For starters, the PGA tends to gather more of its share of unheralded champions such as Shaun Micheel, Rich Beem, Y.E. Yang, Martin Kaymer and Keegan Bradley. Quality players for sure, but certainly winners you can honestly say you did not see coming. Kaymer’s star was rising up the World Ranking and Bradley’s career is still unfolding (Bridgestone victor this past week). But at the time of winning their PGA, each were relative unknowns. Hence, this presents a golden opportunity for Crane or Garrigus. While their careers are also a work in progress, one could argue they are not exactly household names. Furthermore, it has been proven this year no lead is safe. If either one can manage their way in to the mix, anything is possible.
Statistically, Crane perhaps is not having a stellar year ranking T68 in scoring average (70.68). With four Top10’s in 19 events he currently resides in 36th place in the FedEx Cup race. Meanwhile, Garrigus’ numbers are more appealing. Third in driving distance and 12th in GIR (Greens in Regulation). And he stands in at 23rd in the FedEx. Each would like to maintain their position through the PGA and playoffs to reach Atlanta (Tour Championship) and have a shot at winning all the marbles in the chase for the cup. Not to mention the $10 million payoff.
Again, this last major has shown anyone can win. Links style at Kiawah, so obviously accuracy is a premium. Surely you will hear all the experts picking Tiger Woods to win against the field. But in all honesty, take the field. And if luck has it, no reason not to think Crane or Garrigus will pull out the win.