Winners and Losers of the Week in Golf

Ben AlberstadtFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2014

Winners and Losers of the Week in Golf

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    The week after a PGA Tour major can be a dull affair and isn't usually filled with high drama.

    Fortunately, these past seven days bucked that trend. 

    While many of the PGA Tour's best were still recovering from jet lag, Tim Clark and Jim Furyk were battling it out at Royal Montreal. 

    Across the pond, Bernhard Langer dominated the field at the Senior British Open.

    Elsewhere, the United States team bowed out of the inaugural International Crown competition. 

    So, a lot went on in the week following Rory McIlroy's Open Championship victory. Who were the winners and losers of the week?

Winner: Split-Handed Chipping

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    Tim Clark, whose birdie barrage won him the RBC Canadian Open, employed a new pitching and chipping grip this week. 

    Clark, who was born with a genetic defect that affects his ability to rotate his wrists, has dealt with wrist and elbow injuries throughout his career. Even after multiple surgeries, wrist issues still plague the golfer. After missing part of this season with injury, Clark has been slowly rounding into form in his past few starts. 

    Seen employing a split-handed chipping style this week, Clark poured in birdie putts and saved pars (thanks in part to the unique grip) when he missed greens en route to his one-stroke victory.

Loser: U.S. Women at the International Crown

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    In the inaugural edition of the International Crown, the U.S. team didn't do enough to finish in the top five and advance to Sunday's singles play. For Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Lexi Thompson and Co., the showing is a disappointing one. 

    The U.S. team was made up of the Nos. 1, 5, 10 and 12 players in the Rolex Rankings. Not even making it to the final stage of the competition is a huge letdown. 

    International play has been difficult for this group of women lately: The U.S. team has lost the last two Solheim Cup competitions. 

Winner: Another German in Another Major

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    Martin Kaymer dominated the field at the U.S. Open earlier this year. The clinical, eight-stroke victory was reminiscent of another German's methodical dismantling of golf courses: Bernhard Langer. 

    Langer, who won the Senior Players Championship last month, rolled to a ridiculous 13-stroke victory at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club. The margin of victory is a record for the Champions Tour. 

    As Kyle Porter of CBS Sports wrote, "It kind of felt like a non-senior was playing the Senior British Open."

Loser: Jim Furyk

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    Jim Furyk entered the final round of the RBC Canadian Open with a three-stroke lead. He ended the final round one stroke behind Tim Clark. 

    While the showing is a strong one for Furyk—and he was beaten by the better man Sunday (Clark shot 65 to Furyk's 69)—the loss is still disappointing. Furyk is developing something of a reputation late in his career for faltering at the end of tournaments, such as the 2012 U.S. Open. 

    The inability to seal the deal when leading by three strokes at the beginning of the final round makes Jim Furyk a loser this week. 

Winner: Canadian Golf

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    One question at the RBC Canadian Open every year is, "How well will the Canadians in the field play?"

    This year, the answer to that question was, "Not too bad."

    Thanks to a second-round 63, Graham DeLaet finished tied for seventh at the tournament. Brad Fritsch, who fired a brilliant final-round 64, finished tied for ninth. 

    Also exciting for Canada: Amateur Taylor Pendrith finished at three under, tied for 43rd. 

Loser: The R&A

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    The Royal & Ancient Golf Club announced that it will determine whether it will allow women members on Sept. 18. 

    The 260-year-old organization is deviating from its traditional rules for the historic (and long overdue) vote. Members who aren't able to vote in person will be able to mail in their ballots. 

    While the Open Championship, with all its cellphone friendliness and embrace of mobile apps this year, represents the organization setting foot in the modern age. The fact that it's an organization solely composed of men in the year 2014 is obviously unacceptable.

    Bully for the R&A joining the 1920s.

Winner: Kyle Stanley

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    For Kyle Stanley, 2014 has been something of a lost season. He missed four consecutive cuts earlier this year and has missed a total of 11 this year with just two top-25 finishes.

    The Seattle native made two straight cuts entering the RBC Canadian Open. He opened with a 65, his best opening round of the year. He followed up with rounds of 67, 68 and 72 to finish tied for 12th, his best finish of the season. 

    Stanley has fallen from 128th to 237th in the Official World Golf Ranking this year. He's 160th in the FedEx Cup standings.

Loser: Tiger Woods' Relationship with Sir Charles

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    Speaking on the Mike Missanelli Show on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia, Charles Barkley, who was once regarded as one of Tiger Woods' best friends, said he doesn't speak to the former No. 1 golfer in the world anymore. 

    Further, it doesn't seem like Woods and Barkley ever had the sort of back-slapping brofest one might imagine if the two were at a high-stakes poker room in Las Vegas behind the velvet ropes of the world. 

    As Barkley said"Even when he was a friend of mine, he wasn't a very sociable guy."

Winner: Jarrod Lyle

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    In his first U.S. start since his battle with leukemia, Jarrod Lyle finished tied for 11th at the Web.com Tour's Midwest Classic in Overland Park, Kansas. 

    Lyle hadn't played in the U.S. since March 2012, when he received news that the acute myeloid leukemia that he dealt with as a teenager had returned. 

    Lyle is the biggest winner this week. Merely playing in the tournament is a huge victory. And playing well enough to finish inside the top 15 in one's first Web.com Tour start in two years (under any circumstances)? Very impressive indeed.

    Lyle will be playing Web.com Tour events over the next couple of months. He's driving himself, his wife and his daughter in an RV. As Farrell Evans of ESPN wrote: "Much like the first homesteaders who set out more than a century ago from the east in search of land and opportunity in the west, Lyle is on a new expedition in his life, in search of a new frontier."