PGA Tour Rookie Derek Ernst Wins the Wells Fargo Championship- Who the Hell Is Derek Ernst? #CueVerneLundquist

I’m not ashamed to say that I watch an obsessive amount of golf on television.  I’m also not ashamed to say that before this week I had never heard of Derek Ernst.  Oh, I had seen his name I suppose in the list of last year’s PGA Tour Q-School graduates, but couldn’t have picked him out of a lineup of other Derek Ernst’s in the United States (assuming there are more than one).  

Derek’s victory on Sunday reminded me of that classic line by Verne Lundquist in Happy Gilmore where Happy hits a monster tee shot and drives the green on a par 4, to which Verne remarks, “What a shot by Happy Gilmore..(covers the mic to turn to his broadcasting partner)…who the hell is Happy Gilmore?”  (see below for audio) Classic stuff.  Anyway, as Derek Ernst was hanging around the leaderboard on Sunday, and then birdied the 72nd hole to post 8-under and earn his spot in a playoff, there certainly were millions of other golf fans asking that same Verne Lundquist type question- just who in the hell is Derek Ernst?

Verne Lundquist- “Who the hell is Happy Gilmore?”

Well, Derek Ernst is a PGA Tour rookie, who graduated from UNLV last year and earned his Tour card via Q-School last fall.  In fact, Derek was the only player to go through all three Q-School stages and successfully earn his Tour card (others were exempt into either the second or final stage).

Coming into this week, Derek’s best PGA Tour finish of the year was a t-47th at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, which followed five consecutive missed cuts.  In fact, before this week, Derek had only made three total cuts on the PGA Tour in his career…although of course he had just eight total starts up to this point.

Also coming into the week, Derek was ranked 1,207th in the Official World Golf Ranking, just ahead of Michael Phelps.  Ok, just kidding on the Phelps reference of course, but crazy how or why they even have the OWGR stretch that far.

Derek’s college teammates nicknamed him “stripes” for the way that he consistently stripes the ball off the tee…and when it mattered most, Derek did just that.  Standing on the tee of the first playoff hole (the brutally tough par 4 18th) after opponent David Lynn had pulled his tee shot onto the bank of the deep rough of the hazard bordering the fairway, Derek didn’t shy away from the toughest tee shot on the course.  He stepped up, went through his normal routine, and went balls out hard at his driver and striped it right down the gut.  Three strokes later, victory was his.  Mighty impressive veteran-like stuff from the 22-year-old.

No matter the where he was ranked, or the fact that he had never finished inside the top 40 in a PGA Tour event in his career or that his name made all of us pull a Verne Lundquist type moment, Derek Ernst is now a PGA Tour champion.

We may all want to forget the condition of those brutally grass-less, muddy, bumpy, squishy and poopy greens this week, but we all now won’t forget Derek Ernst.

Hello Wells Fargo Championship trophy.  Hello $1.2 million check.  Hello 2 year PGA Tour exemption.  Hello PLAYERS Championship invite.  Hello Masters invite.  Hello job security.

Yes, hello and congrats from all of us to Derek Ernst on a job well done.

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

Verne Lundquist

Who the hell is Derek Ernst? Winner of the 2013 Wells Fargo Championhip, bitch (Bob Barker voice)

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