By Brian Murphy
They’re not booing at TPC River Highlands, where 44-year-old Ken Duke won his first-ever PGA Tour event. They’re saying “Duuuuuuke.” That is, when they’re not saying “Bubba: You mad, bro?”
Post-major Tour stops are generally snoozers; the equivalent of a hangover that requires a nap on the couch while the Sunday final round plays on your TV at a barely audible level, so that Verne Lundquist’s voice actually enters your subconscious and lulls you into blissful REM, purring phrases like “My gracious!” – which he did when Chris Stroud forced a playoff with a 72nd hole chip-in.
But the Travelers Championship in Connecticut kept you out of the Nap Zone. It was pyrotechnics and emotion. It was Ken Duke, the pride of Henderson State University in Arkansas, pumping his fist and hitting an absolute whopper of a game-winner for birdie, a sand wedge from 117 yards to inside a yard on the second playoff hole.
It was Stroud, removing his cap and whipping it over his head in the playoff, firing up a crowd that was into the proceedings.