SI Vault
 
A Tale of Two Tour Pros
MICHAEL BAMBERGER
July 02, 2007
Winning was just a matter of time for a can't-miss 25-year-old like Hunter�Mahan, but for journeyman Jay�Williamson, contending in Hartford may have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
July 02, 2007

A Tale Of Two Tour Pros

Winning was just a matter of time for a can't-miss 25-year-old like Hunter�Mahan, but for journeyman Jay�Williamson, contending in Hartford may have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience

View CoverRead All Articles
1 2

Both drove it in the fairway on the par-4 last, and Williamson hit his approach shot, with a seven-iron, to 11 feet. Mahan stuffed his, a nine-iron to five feet. As they approached the green Williamson waited for Mahan for a moment, tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Nice shot." It was a gracious move. Some other guys-- Lanny Wadkins, Hubert Green, Tom Watson, Curtis Strange, Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, a long list of Hall of Famers--would probably never have thought to do it. They'd be thinking about nothing but the putt to win. Nicklaus might have done it. Dan Forsman, you could see him doing it too.

Williamson missed on the low side, and Mahan's was smack-dab in the middle. All square. The playoff hole, played on 18, was the same thing all over again: Williamson close, Mahan closer (BIG PLAY, page�G14). Williamson missed; Mahan closed the deal.

Williamson cleaned out his locker and said, "My life's better now than it was on Monday." You couldn't argue that. He earned $648,000, and his second-place finish got him a spot in this week's Tour stop in Flint, Mich. But how the rest of his year will play out he doesn't know. Where he will play next year he doesn't know. Where he'll play in 2009 he doesn't know. He wasn't even close to elated. A chance had come and gone. There's no saying when the next one will turn up.

In victory Mahan said something insightful: "After you play out here for a little bit you realize, This is hard. Being a professional golfer, it's not easy. Not easy to win. There are a lot of great players who haven't won yet. You definitely think you're good enough to win. I thought I was. But you just never know what's going to happen."

In April he'll be in the field at Augusta. The last time he was there, he was a hotshot amateur. There are a lot of hotshot amateurs. Over the years, fewer than a thousand guys have won on the PGA Tour. It's an elite club. Hunter Mahan is now in. At this very moment there are a few hundred golfers out there, prowling the country, trying to join him. Jay Williamson is one of them. He's still at large.

Follow the Buick Open at GOLF.com.

1 2