Sports

Golf Tidbits: Bowditch's long, winding road to success

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Steven Bowditch has never lacked the talent, he just couldn't get out his own way for many years. Nearly a decade ago, he was succeeding on the Web.com Tour, but something was wrong.

It took a while to figure it out, but when he did, the diagnosis was clinical depression. The years it affected him most were 2006-07.

In those two seasons, Bowditch started 52 events on the PGA and Web.com tours. He missed 31 cuts, withdrew five times, was disqualified five more times and earned 11 paychecks.

Bowditch was off the PGA Tour from 2008-10, but played on the Web.com Tour, improving each season. When asked about that on Sunday, Bowditch preferred not to talk about his past, saying it made him the man he is today.

That man battled through tough conditions to win the AT&T Byron Nelson in wire-to-wire fashion this weekend. Rain the first two days threw the tournament schedule off and forced officials to change a par-4 hole into a par-3 due to flooding.

The victory was Bowditch's second on the PGA Tour as well as in the state of Texas. He also win the 2014 Valero Texas Open.

Though his mind may be clear of the demons from earlier in his career, Bowditch has struggled to find consistency. Since the start of the 2011 season, he has made 58 cuts in 117 PGA Tour starts. He has just one withdraw in that span, but it was his first since the 2007 season.

In 2011 and 2013, he was on the bubble for keeping his PGA Tour card as he finished 125th and 124th, respectively, on the FedExCup points list. The top 125 keep their card for the following year.

Thanks in part to his win in San Antonio last year, Bowditch ended 59th on the points list, playing in three of the four FedExCup playoff events. He is on a similar path now as he soared to 16th on the points list with his victory over the weekend in Irving, Texas.

The win at the TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas was extra special considering he married his wife at the resort.

With his personal life going well and two wins in the last 15 months, Bowditch has his game on the right track. Let's hope they stay there.

TIRED MCILROY MISSES ANOTHER CUT

Playing five events in consecutive weeks, spanning from San Francisco to London, took its toll on Rory McIlroy. He won the two of the first three tournaments, finished eighth in the other, but ended the run with a pair of missed cuts.

In his first win in San Francisco, McIlroy played 121 holes over five days, including 69 holes spanning four matches over the final two days at the WGC- Cadillac Match Play Championship.

After that grueling week, he flew to Florida and finished four strokes off the pace at the Players Championship. McIlroy caught his wind in North Carolina and cruised to a 7-shot win thanks to a third-round 61 at the Wachovia Championship.

McIlroy then headed to overseas for the European Tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship and the Irish Open, where he also served as host. The travel, albeit in private jets, caught up with the world No. 1 as he missed the cut at both by four strokes.

People frequently try to compare McIlry to Tiger Woods. He has this many wins by this age, while Woods had this many. McIlroy already has more missed cuts in his career than Woods has in his. Whatever the comparison might be, they are generalizations.

The comparisons are fun for argument's sake, but they are not realistic, and McIlroy said so himself. In an interview two weeks ago, McIlroy said, "I'll never be able to do for golf what Tiger did. He was a phenomenon, he brought so many more people into the game because of his background and how he started on tour and everything."

Comparisons aside, no one needs to worry about McIlroy and his missed cuts quite yet. He has two weeks off to rest and prepare for the U.S. Open. If he plays poorly at Chambers Bay, which is hosting its first major, then we can raise the level of concern slightly.

McIlroy will be fine. These two weeks were just blips on the radar.

MINI-TIDBITS

* Adam Scott has lured longtime caddie Steve Williams out of retirement. Williams will be on the bag for the remaining three majors and the WGC- Bridgestone Invitational.

* The officials at the NCAA Men's Golf Championship have been more forceful than their counterparts on the any of the major golf tours. Officials penalized four players, three of whom were in the same group, for slow play in the third round. There had been warnings the first two days, but no penalties until the third round.