Austin's victory brings no joy for managers


It always bugs us at Tour Headquarters when a player who doesn't have a Golf Masters card wins one of the tournaments on our schedule. Sometimes knowing glances are exchanged as the rank-and-file tour staff bemoan another poor choice by the Commissioner, who surely should have seen the merits of player A, B or C when drawing up the roster early in the year.

However, you can't really blame the boss for leaving out Woody Austin, who captured the Stanford St Jude Championship with a brilliant final round of 62 in Memphis.

Judging by some of his recent comments, Austin wouldn't even have put himself on the Golf Masters roster. "I've been pretty miserable all year. In the back of my head, all I keep thinking is that it (my career) is coming to an end. Nothing was clicking, nothing was going my way. The game has changed so much that it's passing the older guys by more and more."

So none of our managers could really celebrate Austin's Memphis triumph, and instead the 101 employers of Adam Scott were left to rue the Aussie's late collapse. Scott is acquiring a bit of a reputation for not closing the deal as often as he should, although he's trailing compatriot Richard Green in that regard.

The Melbourne left-hander traded at 1 to 100 on the betting exchanges when he hit his third shot on the final hole of the Austrian Open within 13 feet of the pin and had two putts for victory. His 54 Golf Masters employers must have been adding the 100,000 to their totals. But Green gave them all (and himself) some unwanted excitement when he knocked the first putt four feet past, missed the next one and had to hole a tricky third just to get into a play-off with Jean-Francois Remesy.

"My brain was pretty scrambled as I signed my card," admitted Green, and it didn't seem to have been fully unscrambled even after he won at the first extra hole. "Hopefully now I have banished the self-belief that I was lacking" was his mixed-up message.

We think we know what he meant and we're certain his victory was of particular significance to one of our stalwart managers, David Maune. The Terenure man took our weekly prize of a fourball at Druids Heath with the help of Green's efforts, and he also rose to ninth overall with the same Castlemahon 9 selection.

James Loughnane's Desperately Unlucky, at 10th, is the only other top-50 team to include Green at this point in the season.

Maune's forces were well split either side of the Atlantic, as Brian Davis contributed 80,000 for second in Memphis and his other big scorers in Austria were Stephen Gallacher (€50,000 for sixth) and Graeme McDowell (€33,200 for tied ninth).

Only McDowell of that quartet has qualified for the US Open, so Maune may shake things up for Oakmont. His aim must be to close the gap on Ian Baker, who has retained the overall lead with NBG 4.