They say that plenty of people can win one golf tournament but that it takes a real player to win two.
That’s a sentiment that Nick Taylor will appreciate after the Canadian held off Phil Mickelson to win the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday, more than five years on from his maiden PGA Tour title.
Taylor burst onto the scene in 2014, winning the Sanderson Farms Championship in only the fourth event of his rookie season on the tour, but in recent years has had to battle to save his card.
Given those struggles, the 31-year-old must have had a dreadful sinking feeling when a double bogey at 14 made it four dropped shots in as many holes on the back nine of his final round.
A poor second shot at the par-four 15th then left him needing to make an up-and-down just to preserve his two-shot lead over Mickelson, a five-time winner at this tournament.
But – just as he had with a fantastic bunker shot for eagle at the sixth – Taylor holed out from the rough for a priceless birdie to extend his advantage to three shots again.
He would win comfortably in the end – by four from Kevin Streelman and five from Mickelson – in really tough conditions that looked almost unplayable, and that will give him great satisfaction.
This victory will also have proved something to him. When you start out your goals are to keep your card and get that first win. He got that early but this is a reminder of what he can do.
This time it was a family affair, with wife Andie and three-month-old son Charlie on hand to witness Taylor’s triumph, and that may not be a complete coincidence.
There is nothing better in life than having children – and nothing like it to make failing or winning at golf seem less important. A golfer who is happy at home will also be happier on the course.
So things are looking up. That second win is in the bag and Taylor has a Masters debut to look forward to in a few weeks.
Beyond that, he looks a good player with a good swing and has age on his side.
Lee following in sister’s footsteps
Another player reaching a big milestone this week was 21-year-old Australian Min Woo Lee, who won the Vic Open on home soil to claim his first European Tour title.
The younger brother of women’s world No9 Minjee Lee, he held off the challenge of Ryan Fox on Sunday to win by two shots, clinching the victory with a birdie for good measure.
A proud day, then, for former US Junior Amateur champion Lee and, having seen Minjee win this event twice before, for his parents, too.
McIlroy back on top ahead of Major season
He may not have played this week but that didn’t stop Rory McIlroy overtaking Brooks Koepka and returning to the top of the world rankings.
His rise is testament to a fabulous 2019 season, all the more remarkable for the way he got over the heartache of missing the cut at The Open at Portrush to end the season on a high, with the FedEx Cup and more success on the European Tour.
McIlroy has never looked more confident to me and this sets him up nicely for the Majors, which will all take place in the next six months.