On a blistering hot Sunday in Newtown Square, 54-hole leader Justin Rose fired an even par-70 to win the 2010 AT&T National. Rose, who started the day with a comfortable four shot lead, faced a series of late charges from his trailers. Ryan Moore turned in a -5 par-65 to finish in sole second, forcing Rose to par his last three holes to maintain his position. He did, and claims victory on tour for the second time in his last three starts. The finish vaults him into second in the somewhat meaningless "regular season" FedEx Cup standings. More importantly, his hot play as of late will create a lot of buzz heading into the British Open at St. Andrews in two weeks.
As for the larger event itself, I'm going to go ahead and declare the AT&T National's temporary move to the Delaware Valley a whopping success. The four day attendance figures pulled in just shy of 200,000 with the final tally coming in at 192,633. That number was 1,500 less than the preexisting record held in the Washington D.C./Maryland market at Congressional Country Club, the site of next year's U.S. Open.
The fans didn't just show up and stand there with their hands in their pockets, however; the crowd was plenty boisterous and lively all week, especially the guys in the very last corporate hospitality tent on the 17th green on Sunday. Nice work, guys. And though it was a little disappointing to see the number of people on the course dwindle noticeably after Tiger finished his morning rounds on the weekend, the sheer number of spectators and the fervor with which they came, watched, and cheered should have the local golf community more than excited for the tournament's return next year and the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion.
If you were for whatever reason unable to make it out to Aronimink this week, I recommend penciling it in on your calendar for next year. Anyone who makes the argument that golf is just too boring to follow should be reminded that Charlie Wi's missed putt on the 18th hole yesterday cost him a total of $65,000 in extra earnings. Lining someone up from eight-feet and telling them to putt for that kind of money, or in the case of our winner Justin Rose, $1.1 million, sounds like high drama to me. Furthermore, the circus that will continue to follow Tiger Woods for what, at least at this point, seems like the rest of his life is as compelling a story in sports as we have had in decades. And, fortunately for us, despite his on-going rehabilitation and reported $750,000,000 divorce settlement with his soon-to-be-ex-wife, Elin, Tiger continues to play golf and wow us with unbelievable strokes of greatness like his approach shot to the par-5 9th yesterday. Highlights of the day can be seen below via PGATour.com.
In closing, I suppose it is somewhat ironic that an Englishman should win a tournament in this area on the 4th of July and be presented a replica Liberty Bell as an award for his accomplishments. Oh well, Justin may have won the battle, but we won the war. God Bless America.
(Photo by Stan Badz/PGATour)