Monday, August 25, 2008

U.S. Amateur champ may be golf's next big star

There’s a tendency to quickly label someone the next big thing after they’ve won a significant event and it’s the same with 18-year-old Danny Lee after his dominating performance in winning the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst.

Is he the next big thing?

It’s too early to say for sure, but he definitely bears watching.

Lee has plenty of power but, more than that, he has an exceptional short game and a putting stroke he believes in. Lee was able to continually hit shots close at Pinehurst No. 2 by virtue of his high ball flight and, by his own admission, it was one of those weeks when it felt like every putt was going in.

He made believers of a lot of people, and it will be interesting to see if he sticks to his plan to remain an amateur through next summer to play in the major championships he’s now exempted into. Potential agents were walking around No. 2 watching Lee and you know equipment companies are lining up to sign him.

He may be that good.

-The FedEx Cup playoffs may not have Tiger Woods, but they got off to a good start at the Barclays with Vijay Singh beating Sergio Garcia and Kevin Sutherland in a playoff.

Not only did the win add another gold brick to Singh’s Hall of Fame career, the finish gave the FedEx Cup standings the kind of dramatic reshuffling they need. Singh jumped to the top and Sergio is second and Kenny Perry, who had been No. 1, tumbled to seventh.

Ideally, a handful of players will still have a legitimate chance of winning the whole thing when the Tour Championship arrives next month.

- If you’re European Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo, don’t you pick Paul Casey and Darren Clarke as your two at-large choices now?

Casey had a solid week at Greensboro and followed it up with a stronger week at the Barclays while Clarke has resurrected his game, winning twice recently. He’s been at the heart of the Europeans’ success and it seems natural to put him and his mate Lee Westwood together again.

- Former Charlotte 49ers golfer Trevor Murphy picked up a win on the Gateway Tour over the weekend, his first since turning pro. Murphy, who shot 60 during one round of the event, is pointing toward tour qualifying school in the fall.