The big knock on the all-exempt PGA Tour is that it has created an army of ants who will settle for second instead of going for king of the hill. Do not count Bob Lohr among that number.
No, he didn't win last week's Bell Canadian Open outside Toronto. But with one act of bravery, in one go-for-broke, let-it-all-ride moment, he went from a guy they called "no name" in the morning paper to instant folk Lohr.
Here's the situation: It's overtime, and the first playoff hole is Glen Abbey's par-5 18th. Tied with Mark O'Meara, his neighbor back home in Orlando, Lohr is looking at a 240-yard second shot over water. Now that might not sound like much, considering the way some of these guys hit it, but Lohr is hardly one of those Tour gorillas who can leap over tall par-5s in a single bound. Fact is, he's really, really short off the tee, averaging an embarrassingly human 249 yards per drive. Most guys in his situation would pull out an iron, lay up and fight the good fight with a sand wedge third.
No way, said Lohr. He whipped out a three-wood, took dead aim and—sorry, wrong number—heeled it into the drink.
Regrets? He had a few. "I'm proud of the way I finished. At the same time, I'm sick," Lohr said.
So why did he do it? For all the right reasons, which is why O'Meara went on to win with a routine par, while Lohr captured the hearts and minds of the Canadians.
"Winning is everything," he explained later. "It's the way I play baseball, basketball, the way I shoot pool. I felt like I played well enough to win. There will be other tournaments. Maybe the next time I won't run into somebody as hot as Mark."
Second wasn't too bad, either. It wasn't worth the $234,000 O'Meara pulled in, but Lohr's $140,000 pushed him all the way to No. 56 from 112th on the money list, which means he can hang up the sticks today knowing he has a free pass for all of next season.
It's funny that it was O'Meara who bumped off Lohr in the playoff, since they often run into each other while fishing behind their houses on the Butler chain of lakes. Although they're not in the same boat when it comes to golf's wall of fame, Lohr impressed his fishing buddy.
Both finished at 14-under-par 274, but they did it in entirely different ways. "I know Bob is probably thinking he played better than I did, and he may have," O'Meara said. "I just felt like it was going to be my day."