U.S. Amateur Blowout
Day at the Beach
David Gossett, the poised 20-year-old who won last week's U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach, has always been a fast starter. Last year, in his first Tour event—the FedEx St. Jude Classic in his hometown of Memphis—he shot 66-70 to head into the weekend only four shots out of the lead. Last season, Gossett's first at the University of Texas, he won in his second start and was the only freshman to make All-America. How odd, then, that a couple of bad starts propelled him to victory in the Amateur.
Gossett shot an ugly 80 in the opening round of stroke-play qualifying, which meant he would have to go low the next day or go home. He shot a 71 to get into the 64-man match-play portion of the tournament by a stroke. "Getting over that 80 was probably me key to my whole week," Gossett said following his victory. "I put everything I had into my second round, and to grind out a good score gave me tremendous confidence." That confidence was tested the next morning when Gossett's putter overslept and he lost the first three holes to Chad Collins of Cloverdale, Ind. "Big lesson there," Gossett said. "You've got to come out swinging." Gossett caught Collins by the 8th hole and would never trail again in the tournament, winning the first hole in his next three matches, all of which turned into routs. Those carried Gossett into the 36-hole final against 17-year-old Sung Yoon Kim, from Seoul, who was bidding to supplant Tiger Woods, who at 18 was the youngest winner of the Amateur. Alas, Kim couldn't keep up with Gossett, who birdied the 6th, 7th and 8th holes to go 6 up after nine holes and closed out Kim 9 and 8, the most lopsided final since Hal Sutton beat Bob Lewis 9 and 8 in 1980.
In Gossett's three matches from the third round through the semifinals, he missed only two fairways, a crucial stat given Pebble's unforgiving setup. The USGA used the Amateur as a dry run for next year's U.S. Open, accounting for the course's slick greens and five-inch rough. (Also, the 2nd hole, formerly a cupcake par-5, was converted into a 484-yard par-4, which means Pebble will play at par 71 next June.)
Gossett's victory earns him a spot at that Open, as well as at next year's Masters and British Open. "Hopefully this week was just a great start," said Gossett, who knows something about the subject.
European Ryder Cup Team
James Goes For a Grinder
He played five weeks in a row twice, seven in a row once and in so many tournaments all told (24 this year alone) that his wife, Emma, had to be wondering what she got herself into when she married him last November. In the end, though, Andrew Coltart got what he wanted.
After shooting a final-round 66 to tie for fifth at the BMW International Open in Munich—won by Colin Montgomerie—Coltart was flying home to Sunningdale, England, when he learned that he had been made one of European Ryder Cup captain Mark James's two wild-card picks. ( Jesper Parnevik was the other.) "I'm surprised and delighted," Coltart said as he stepped off the plane in London.
Coltart wasn't the only one who was surprised. James took a pass on Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer, veterans of 11 and nine Cups, respectively, in favor of Coltart, 29, who becomes the seventh rookie on the European team. The sixth was Padraig Harrington of Ireland, who finished second at the BMW to nip Robert Karlsson for the 10th and final spot on the points list. (The others on the list are Montgomerie, Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Paul Lawrie, Miguel Angel Jim�nez, Jos� Mar�a Olaz�bal, Sergio Garcia, Jarmo Sandelin and Jean Van de Velde.)
With Emma expecting the couple's first child 11 days before the Ryder Cup, Coltart said, "It's going to be a double celebration now in September."