SHEBOYGAN, Wis. - Matt Dobyns' reputation as a big hitter grew longer yesterday. The Long Island pro, from Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success, finished second in the Long Drive Competition.
His tee shot on No. 2, which was the site for the contest during practice rounds for the PGA Championship, went 323 yards. That was second only to Asian Tour player Anirban Lahiri's 327-yard shot. "Four yards," Dobyns said with a laugh. "Can you believe it?"
The key was hitting it in the fairway because tee shots in the rough were not eligible. Bubba Watson pointed out that the fairway gets narrower after 300 yards. Dobyns said, "You know what? That's the way it should be. I sort of figured out when the wind was going to be right, I planned my morning [to play] at the right time."
Rise of Americans
Now that Jordan Spieth has won the Masters and U.S. Open and Zach Johnson won the British Open, there is a chance for Americans to sweep the four majors for the first time since 1982. Back then, Craig Stadler won the Masters, Tom Watson the U.S. and British Opens and Raymond Floyd won the PGA.
Not that golfers are reading too much into it, other than saying that too much was read into it when Americans weren't winning majors. "What was it two years ago when [Europeans] were winning everything? And we were 'Worried About American Golf.' I wasn't worried about American golf at all. We've got a lot of young, and middle-aged, Americans that are still playing pretty good," said Johnson, 39.
"You can try to pick it apart and find a cycle. I don't think it's cyclical at all," he said. "I just think it's three tournaments. And one of us won two of them, and could have won the third. But I don't think it's anything more than happenstance."
Darren Clarke, captain of the 2016 European Ryder Cup team, said, "If you ask me the same question next year, then I may be a little more concerned. So we shall see . . . There's a new breed of American players coming through, highlighted by Jordan Spieth, obviously. And those are wonderful players."
Tiger and Atwal
Tiger Woods spoke Tuesday of his friend and frequent practice partner Arjun Atwal, the former Clarke High School and Nassau Community College star. Atwal is not here this week and has played rarely since winning on the Asian Tour last December, mostly because of a bad back.
"Arj and I hung out two weeks ago at Quicken Loans," Woods said, referring to the tournament that he runs and to which he invited Atwal. "He's been such a great friend of mine over the years. Unfortunately he's been hurt and hasn't played at the level he'd like. When he's feeling good, he's playing well. We've just got to get him feeling well more often and then hopefully he can be back out on this tour, where he belongs."