PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Wes Short Jr. returns home after first win since 2014
Wife excited about trip to Hawaii
September 04, 2019
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- September 04, 2019
- Wes Short went to the driving range with his granddaughter, Briar, after getting home from Canada.
Less than 48 hours after emerging as the surprise winner of the PGA TOUR Champions Shaw Charity Classic, Wes Short Jr. was back home in Austin, Texas, not exactly in the midst of a wild celebration.
No, the 55-year-old Short was on the range at his home course, babysitting his granddaughter, Briar.
“She’ll be 3 on Friday,” Short said. “She wants to hit balls. She’s not making a full swing yet, but she’ll follow through a little bit. It goes about 8 or 10 feet. She likes to putt and put them in the hole, but she mainly likes to go for a ride in the golf cart.”
Short would love nothing more than to see her blossom into a golfer. He thinks it would be pretty neat to play 18 with her someday.
Short has become a stalwart on the Champions Tour, but this was just his second victory and his first since his rookie year in 2014 at the Quebec Championship. And it came in the most unlikely fashion, as he hit a 3-wood a bit thin from the fairway on the par-5 18th and watched it hit a rock in the water hazard in front of the green, bound onto the green about 45 feet from the hole. He cozied the first putt to about 3.5 feet, and -- though admitting “it looked a whole lot longer” – calmly buried the winner.
“When I hit it I was trying to aim a little farther left and I hit it just a hair thin,” Short said. “But I thought it was over the water for sure. When it started coming down I was like, ‘That’s coming down pretty quick.’ I didn’t see it hit the rock. I saw it fly up in the air, and I couldn’t tell which way it was going. Then I saw it land on the green and was thinking, ‘Man, that’s a pretty good break.’”
The wild finish at 18 wasn’t over. Short had come to 18 tied with two-time defending Shaw Charity Classic champion Scott McCarron and Tom Gillis. McCarron was on the range staying warm in the hopes of a playoff after rolling in a 45-footer of his own for eagle at 18 just moments earlier.
Short was in the final group with Gillis, who had laid up to 75 yards on 18. But he dumped the short approach shot into the pond fronting the green, meaning Short needed only to two-putt to win.
It was a satisfying victory for Short, who has finished inside the top 30 in the final Schwab Cup standings in each of his four full seasons on PGA TOUR Champions but was struggling so far in 2019. He was 44th in the Schwab Cup standings heading to Canada, but he finds himself in a robust 19th now.
Short credited his play off the tee for his turn of fortune. One of the longer hitters on tour (top 10 in driving distance from 2015-2018; 18th this year), he said he has had trouble hitting fairways of late.
“My iron play has been really good for the last month, but I’ve been hitting it so poorly off the tee you can’t really shoot for pins when you can’t spin the ball,” Short said. “This week I was able to stay away from my weakness, the driver, on a lot of holes. I hit some hybrids, some 3-woods.
“I drove it really well on the holes you have to drive it well. I think No. 15 is the hardest driving hole on the course, and I birdied it two out of three times. I hit good drives on 18 every day, too.”
Short led the field in greens in regulation at 81.48%. Along with his second PGA TOUR Champions win came the Shaw Charity Classic white cowboy hat, which Short admitted was his first despite being a native Texan and said Briar likes it, and an invite to the Mitsubishi Electric Classic at Hualalai. That’s a perk no player underestimates, playing in the limited field season opener.
“My wife has been wanting to go to Hawaii and we finally can,” Short said. “A couple of years ago I lost in a playoff (to Woody Austin at the 2016 Mitsubishi Electric Classic). I called her and she said, ‘That was Hawaii right there.’ I said, ‘How about that $200,000 difference between first and second?’ She said, ‘I didn’t care about that. I wanted to go to Hawaii.’”