Suppose Darren Clarke is somewhere kicking himself for not picking Alex Norén to the European Ryder Cup team instead of, say, his best mate Lee Westwood? Norén, with his fourth European Tour victory of 2016 at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa, is clearly the best European player who was not on the team and is clearly good enough that he would have had the chance to contribute more than, say, Westwood.
Because the Europeans are fond of pairing countrymen, imagine a partnership with fellow Swedes Norén and Henrik Stenson. Unfortunately, none of Norén’s four victories will count toward his points for the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris, so he will basically have to start over, much like the European team.
Speaking of starting over, that’s where Pat Perez found himself after a season-ending shoulder injury and surgery just 11 events into the 2015-16 season. He said the surgery is a 50-50-50 proposition: 50 percent that you find the right surgeon, 50 percent that the surgery is successful and 50 percent that that rehab is good enough that you can come back from it.
Perez, who represents MGM Grand in Las Vegas, beat the odds and won on the PGA Tour on Sunday, winning the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. It was his second Tour win and the first since 2009.
While it wasn’t a major championship and odds are he won’t make the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup team at age 40, the victory was vitally important to Perez. Winning on the PGA Tour or the European Tour gets tougher every year and hoisting a trophy on Sunday – any Sunday – is a major deal.