By Jay Betsill
On the heels of missing five cuts in a row, Troy Merritt fired a tournament-record 61 on Saturday followed by a solid 67 in the final round to win the Quicken Loans National at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, VA.
“It’s amazing how you can dream of winning a golf tournament your entire life and you’ve got it scripted and when it happens, you’re not thinking,” he said. “You don’t remember what your name is. You’re just reacting. That’s all it was.”
Merritt’s first PGA Tour victory was a three-shot win over The Players Championship winner Rickie Fowler in the annual event hosted by Tiger Woods. This is one of three events Tiger is a part of, joining the Deutsche Banck Championship in Boston and the Hero World Challenge in Windermere, FL.
“He went out there and earned it today,” Fowler said. “He played some great golf. … The score that he put up being in the lead and what he did yesterday, to back it up with a solid round of golf — it’s what you’ve got to do to win.”
Woods rebounded from a missed cut in The Open Championship to finish in a tie for 18th.
“I’ve got years ahead of me, that’s how I look at it,” Woods said. “It’s not just this season. I’ve got years, and if you would have asked me that back when I had my back surgery, I didn’t really know.
Notables included Justin Thomas (T4, -12), Danny Lee (T4, -12), Justin Rose (T4, -12), Jimmy Walker (T21, -7) and Ernie Els (T46, -4).
Next week there are two events on the PGA Tour, the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and the Barracuda Championship. The Bridgestone Invitational takes place at Firestone Country Club’s South Course and features Open Championship winner Zach Johnson and Masters/U.S. Open winner Jordan Spieth headlining the list of 76 qualifiers. Despite having won eight times at Firestone Country Club, Tiger Woods did not qualify for the events as the former No. 1 player in the world currently sits at No. 262 in the world rankings.
The Barracuda Championship takes place at the Montreux Golf & Country Club in Reno. Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy and two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen head a lineup of eight former major champions for the only Modified Stableford scoring system tournament on the PGA Tour this season. Other notables in the field include John Daly, Todd Hamilton, David Toms, Tim Clark and David Duval.
— Tiger Woods, speaking at the Deutsche Bank Championship media day, said depending on how he plays at the PGA Championship, he may add the Wyndham Championship to his schedule. Woods has never played the Greensboro event, but needs to finish in the top 2 at the PGA to crack the Top 125 and advance to the FedEx Cup playoffs.
“Playing well in the PGA, that determines whether or not I play Wyndham and obviously the rest of the FedEx Cup playoffs,” Woods said. “I’ll be here (at the Deutsche Bank Championship). I have my normal duties as tournament host, and my foundation runs the event. Hopefully I can get off my butt and get into the top 100 and play the event.”