Dinah Washington sang: what a difference a day makes, 24 little hours. They’re lyrics that should resonate with any golfer. What can seem so straightforward one day can prove nigh on impossible the next, but therein lies the beauty of our game. Sure, the cauldron environment that professional golfers compete in is high stakes, but luckily there’s always next week to right what went wrong the one before. Unless you’re JP Fitzgerald. Last week, there was no next week for JP.
It was just a fortnight ago that I wrote of his unlikely partnership with 20-year old rising star on the PGA Tour, Matthew Wolff. McIlroy’s former caddie had found himself a new bag to carry and given Wolff’s credentials – a former world amateur number 2 and runaway NCAA Division One champion – it looked like an absolute coup for the Castleknock native.
I put my money where my mouth was and backed golf’s new power-couple to succeed at the Travelers Championship and the Rocket Mortgage Classic but each time I did, the pair missed the cut. Wolff’s odds subsequently ballooned to 125-1 ahead of last week’s 3M Open but rather than donate more money to PaddyPower’s pockets, I decided to sit this one out and wait until the new partnership bed-in that bit more.
Then Wolff holed out from off the green for an eagle at the 72nd to win his maiden PGA Tour title by one, and I died a little inside.
Imagine how JP must’ve been feeling! Conspicuous by his absence, it wasn’t Fitzgerald who Wolff found himself embracing post-round but Steve Lohmeyer, a former assistant pro turned caddie who Wolff credited for keeping him loose throughout his victory march with basketball chatter and general distraction. It seems JP, even with four Major titles on the resume, couldn’t find the common ground that Lohmeyer unearthed with his new employer.
No doubt Fitzgerald will find another bag but strap yourselves in folks because Wolff has found the ideal accomplice, making the 20-year old a potential juggernaut on Tour for many years to come. What’s for sure, I won’t be getting him at odds of 125-1 pre-tournament anymore, and I guess neither will JP.