HIDEKI Matsuyama and Thongchai Jaidee made the golf headlines with wins at the weekend but just beneath the surface there were signs that the big names are shaping up for the US Open.
Next week’s Major at Pinehurst is followed not long after by the Open at Hoylake and the US PGA at Valhalla, so an important few weeks are in prospect.
Matsuyama did fantastically well to recover from a double bogey and bogey at 16 and 17 to clinch the birdie he needed to force a play-off, and then see off Kevin Na to land his first PGA Tour title. The 22-year-old has now taken over the mantle as Japan’s best golfer and had been due a maiden victory outside of Asia. Now, with that triumph at the Memorial Tournament, he has it.
Jaidee also needed a play-off to win the Nordea Masters in Sweden, the man known as the Paratrooper for his service in the Thai armed forces eventually seeing off Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher.
Gallacher lives just 40 miles away from Gleneagles, which will stage the Ryder Cup in September, and I know he is desperate to be a part of it. He’s giving himself every chance.
He finished two shots adrift in Malmo, but home favourite Henrik Stenson is gradually hinting at the form of last season. Similarly in the US, Rory McIlroy was a solid seven adrift of Matsuyama but that was despite a dreadful second round.
Stars such as McIlroy, who won earlier this month, and Stenson are not pushing themselves yet. They don’t necessarily want to win and leave themselves needing to repeat it at the US Open days later.
Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam