My Five: Most Meaningful Victories

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My Five: Most Meaningful Victories

December 27, 2010

Photo By: Hunter Martin/Getty Images

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Photo By: Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Photo By: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Photo By: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Arjun Atwal wins the Wyndham ChampionshipThe 37-year-old's first career victory was redeeming on several levels. Having just lost his playing card a month earlier after coming off a medical exemption for shoulder injuries, Atwal won the final tournament of the regular season and became the first Monday qualifier to win in 24 years. The win earned him a two-year exemption, and made him the first player born in India to win on tour. Perhaps most importantly, it turned the page on the trauma from a 2007 car crash in which a driver trying to race Atwal was killed, and which required a year-long investigation. Tiger Woods' regular practice partner at Isleworth can share some lessons about adversity.

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Robert Garrigus wins the Children's Miracle Network ClassicAfter the 33-year-old triple-bogeyed the 72nd hole at Memphis in June to drop into a playoff he lost, Garrigus seemed destined to return to golf's shadow land. Instead, Garrigus, who has battled substance abuse problems, struggled but hung tough. Needing a high finish in the season's final official event in Orlando, Garrigus put together a clutch 64 in the fourth round to win by one. The tour's leader in driving distance the last two years is someone to watch.

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Rocco Mediate wins the Frys.com OpenWith his playoff loss to Tiger Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open looking more and more like a bittersweet last hurrah, the 47-year-old with the bad back was looking at a return to Q-School until he called up some unlikely 11th hour magic. Playing his small bore game to the hilt as he led wire to wire, Mediate four times holed out full iron shots for eagle, including a perfectly struck 117-yard wedge shot that found the bottom of the cup on the 71st hole. After making a five-foot par putt at the last to win by one, the always effusive one declared, "Do you believe what just happened out there? I have a job again."

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Tim Clark wins The Players ChampionshipAfter years of being known as the best player without a PGA Tour victory, the South African finally closed the deal on the most dangerous course in golf. His finishing 67 on the TPC Stadium Course was the low round of the day and a model of the kind errorless ball striking that distinguishes Clark's game. Still, for a 35-year-old who has struggled to make clutch putts in his eight career runner-up finishes, the 10-footer for par he made on the 72nd hole to provide the winning margin was the most satisfying stroke.

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Jim Furyk wins the Tour ChampionshipFuryk has long been a money machine and major champion, but he has always toiled in the shadows of bigger names with flashier games. At East Lake, the 40-year-old gutted out his third victory of the season, salvaging the win with a boldly nipped sand shot on the final hole. The victory cemented Furyk as the tour's Player of the Year for the first time, and started the drum roll for eventual induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame. With his 16th career victory, Atlanta was the place Furyk, whose funny swing too often obscures a very full tool box, finally got his due.

Photo By: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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