Thursday, December 31

2015 Rewind: Another Nice Guy Wins a Major

(The following piece originally published on August, 17, 2015.)

LEO DUROCHER FAMOUSLY SAID, "Nice guys finish last." That quote, I've learned, was actually a condensed version of Durocher's words by newspaper men. According to Wikipedia, what the cranky baseball legend actually said was: "The nice guys are all over there, in seventh place."

Nonetheless, Leo liked the ink slingers' quote. He claimed it. And he put out a book using "Nice Guys Finish Last" as the title.

Well, nice guys do finish last. But nice guys also finish first.

This year's major championship season was a nice-guy parade of winners: Jordan Spieth, Masters. Jordan Spieth, U.S. Open. Zach Johnson, British Open. And yesterday, at Whistling Straits, Jason Day, PGA Championship.

After coming close so many times, Day pinned this major to the ground until it said "uncle." And like the nice guy he is, the 27-year-old Aussie did it with a smile on his face and a tear in his eye.

Even a remarkable 17-under performance by new World No. 1 Jordan Spieth couldn't deny Day his first major victory. When you shoot a record-breaking total of 20-under par, your name is going on the Wanamaker Trophy.

Day fired four rounds in the 60s, including a final-round 67. Any questions?

Not from runner-up Spieth, who said, "This is as easy a loss as I've ever had ... " adding that he "accomplished one of my lifetime goals in golf. That will never be taken away from me now. I'll always be a No. 1 player in the world."

Meanwhile, former top-ranked golfer Rory McIlroy showed good form at Whistling Straits when most people wondered if he'd show up and play after severely injurying his left ankle in early July. Rory shot 71-71-68-69 to finish 17th.

The Irish wunderkind, another nice lad, acknowledged the boys at the top, including the fact that Spieth is no longer in his rearview mirror.

"[Two] inevitable things happened today," McIlroy tweeted. "[Jason Day] winning a major and [Jordan Spieth] getting to [No.] 1 in the world! Congrats guys!! Inspiring stuff!

In this age of media hyperbole, is this a new era in golf?

Cautious and reluctant earlier, I'm now on board. It's also a new era of nice guys.

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