The first words out of Tyler Duncan’s wife’s mouth on Sunday after her husband won the RSM Classic in a playoff over Webb Simpson were, “We have to change our flight to Hawaii.”
This is true. Duncan, who was slated to play in the Sony Open like he did last season, will now have to go a week earlier for the Tournament of Champions. Add that to the list of spoils he gets for winning the fall finale on the PGA Tour. Duncan will also play the Masters, have a two-year exemption and oh yeah, take home $1.2 million for his efforts over the weekend.
“[I’m] looking forward to everything that’s to come,” Duncan said. “I’m sure I don’t even know half the stuff that is going to come my way from this and I’m just looking forward to everything and embracing all of it.”
“It sounds amazing thinking about it, but I don’t think it’s completely sunk in yet,” he added later on. “I can sit here and think about everything that’s going to be coming. The Players Championship and the Masters and … I think it’s two more seasons exempt on Tour. All those things are just unbelievable. I don’t think I could honestly process all of that right now, but just thinking about it’s pretty awesome.”
It was, improbably, Duncan’s first win since the 2011 Indiana Amateur. Not U.S. Amateur, but Indiana Amateur.
“As far as a four-day tournament, I would say that’s probably correct,” Duncan said. “I never won on the Latin American Tour, never won on the Web.com, Korn Ferry Tour, and I hadn’t won out here until then. I had won a few mini-tour events, but nothing with the PGA Tour.”
“I haven’t won a whole lot as you guys know,” he added. “I won the state amateur championship in 2011, I won the high school championship. I didn’t win anything in college, I don’t think. Haven’t won on any of the developmental tours. There’s not a whole lot there as far as winning, but I’ve had a lot of different moments that have helped prepare me for this moment and it just hadn’t happened yet.”
This is insane. Especially when you juxtapose him with his playoff partner, Simpson, who has won pretty much everything there is to win. A U.S. Open, a Players Championship and everything in between. Their pedigrees and their resumes could not be more different. And yet … golf.
This is what makes it great, even in late November, even when there aren’t any major championships anywhere in sight. Tyler Duncan — winner of … nothing — won in the biggest way on Sunday in Sea Island, Georgia. An unbelievable, life-changing moment that so many players as good as him or even better never experience but that he gets to keep re-living through the Players, the Masters and everything else he’ll receive as a result over the next two years.
Shot of the week: You could go in a number of different directions here, but Jon Rahm’s bunker play to 6 feet with $5 million hanging in the balance was unbelievably impressive., but I don’t think you can overstate how difficult this shot is with that much money in play.
All that money: Rahm said afterward he has no plans to spend the $5 million and last time he won this much money all he bought was an Xbox. Pros, they’re just like us.
“I have a long life to live, so hopefully put in a savings account and not need it ever, and keep playing good,” Rahm said. “But at the same time keep helping the ones who need. I know my family will never worry about having problems again. Nothing extravagant, honestly. I’m not like that.
“Last time I thought I was making a big purchase, I bought an Xbox. You know, if there’s something that comes to mind, I’ll let you guys know, but nothing in mind right now.”
All that money (part 2): Sei Young Kim buried this bomb at the CME Group Tour Championship for $1.5 million to end the LPGA season, which as Golf Channel noted, was a bigger first prize than that at 32 of 46 events on the PGA Tour this season.
Video of the week: Remember Little Billy, the media phenom who took over the European Tour a few years ago? He’s back. The best part here? Ian Poulter carrying him out of the players-only area in Dubai.
Stat of the week: How about this gem from Sean Martin? Brendon Todd didn’t win on Sunday at the RSM Classic, but he was very much in the hunt. He shot 72 on Sunday to end his run of 12 straight rounds in the 60s. He finished solo fourth on the week, which means he was cut in his first four events of the fall and finished in the top four (including two wins) in his last three. Golf!