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Weekly 18: Golf's unusual week in Hawaii ends with lesson in perseverance

What a strange week at the Sony Open.

It began with Jordan Spieth making an uncharacteristic quadruple-bogey, found PGA Tour players taking cover after a false-alarm missile launch and seemingly wouldn't end, as it took Patton Kizzire six playoff holes to defeat James Hahn.

This edition of the Weekly 18 starts with Kizzire's recent run of success -- and what it could mean to others in a similar position.

1. Kizzire should serve as an example to every young golfer who might be discouraged watching guys like Justin Thomas and Spieth win major championships in their early 20s. Like so many others, Kizzire has always had the talent, but at 31 he's just now blossoming into a player who can win on any given week. With two victories in his past four starts, he's the latest in a long line to prove that age is hardly a determining factor in establishing when -- or if -- a pro will finally start to peak.

2. With the win, Kizzire becomes the first player in the 2017-18 season with multiple titles. How impressive is that? Consider this: The only players to win more than once last season were Thomas, Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama, Dustin Johnson, Marc Leishman and Xander Schauffele. That's some pretty good company.

3. I can't get enough of the Hahn story. Less than a decade before reaching the PGA Tour, he was a shoe salesman. While playing the mini-tours, he was down to literally nothing in his bank account. On Sunday, he posted an 8-under 62, then went a half-dozen extra holes before losing a chance to win his third title in three seasons. If that doesn't leave you rooting for the guy, try this: Minutes after this loss, he told reporters, "I'd rather lose by 100 than by 1. I hate losing."

4. In the days before both the wraparound schedule and social media, the Sony Open was one of the biggest events for spawning new headlines each year. You'd have developmental tour climbers and Q-school graduates (yes, back when Q-school meant a card) playing in the big leagues (often for the first time) while equipment deals and new caddie formations were announced on the crowded Waialae practice green. These days, of course, rookies have already been indoctrinated into tour life during the fall events and most news has been previously tweeted out by the newsmaker. It doesn't make the Sony any better or worse than a decade ago. Just different.

5. For the sake of every sane golf fan, I was kind of glad to see Thomas, the defending champion, finish "only" T-14 this week. Why? Because none of us should be subjected to the inevitable outrageous hot takes that would have occurred if Thomas won with Jim "Bones" Mackay on the bag. You know it would've happened, too. Despite employing one of the best caddies in Jimmy Johnson, some people would've wailed about JT sticking with Bones. Silly situation averted.

6. Thomas, an Alabama product, and Kevin Kisner, who played collegiately at Georgia, had a friendly-yet-highly-publicized little wager on the national championship game. When the Crimson Tide won in dramatic fashion, Kisner knew that he'd have to wear an Alabama jersey for one hole -- while competing alongside Thomas, no less. The fact that he honored the bet was cool, but auctioning off the jersey to raise money for charity afterward was even cooler.

7. Great note from the PGA Tour media staff: Brian Harman has now competed in 185 official tournaments since 2012, which is nine more than any other player. Perhaps more notable is the fact that the past five of those starts -- all this season -- have each resulted in top-10 finishes, including a T-4 at Waialae this week. Playing nearly every week can't be much fun when things aren't going well, but it must be a blast when they are. In related news: Harman will indeed compete in this coming week's CareerBuilder Challenge.

8. The most memorable moments of Spieth's week occurred during his penultimate hole on Thursday, as he hit nearly every limb he could find on his way to making a quadruple-bogey without a penalty stroke. What won't be remembered as much is that he played his next 55 holes in 11-under par to finish in a share of 18th place. It certainly wasn't his best stuff, but then again, the world's best players don't want to have their best stuff three months before the best tournaments begin. If nothing else, those last three days should give Spieth some momentum as he moves forward into the meatier part of his season.

9. Jimmy Walker missed the cut at Waialae, site of his two past victories, but there was still a bright side to just his second start since last August. Before the opening round, Walker reported that he's finally feeling better after a lengthy bout with Lyme disease. Which is important, considering how much it affected him. "I think last year was a huge deal because I had no energy; I just couldn't go out and practice," he said. "There were so many times when we'd finish a practice round [and say], 'Hey, let's go in and eat. If I go sit down, I can't stand up. I won't be able to get up out of the chair. Once I'm down, I'm down.' The worst part was just not being able to play with the kids and just be like a normal person. I've always been full of life and energy and running around, and I just didn't have any of that. You just kind of lose yourself in the disease a little bit, because it just sucks the life out of you."

10. Kudos to the PGA Tour for recognizing the simultaneous accomplishments of J.J. Henry and Charles Howell III, as each of the veterans competed in his 500th career event recently. Too often, we -- and I'll use that pronoun to collectively include all of us -- only recognize the achievements of superstars and winners and those consistently near the top of leaderboards. Longevity gets overlooked, but in a game that rewards performance, continually succeeding and avoiding injury enough to make 500 starts shouldn't go unnoticed.

11. I really liked this from Henry, part of a tweet after the pre-tournament celebration for No. 500, which sounds like something that should be written on a poster in executive boardrooms around the world: "Longevity and consistency in whatever you choose to do is what we all strive to accomplish." Amen, brother.

12. While I'm patting backs, let me address the Brad Fritsch news from this week. After unwittingly taking a banned substance that was part of a supplement for his new weight-loss program, Fritsch self-reported the violation and was suspended from the PGA Tour for three months. Unlike athletes in other sports, he didn't deny it or deflect the blame or issue an appeal. He owned it. Fritsch publicly told his story, explained what happened and apologized. It recalled Bobby Jones getting credit for calling a penalty against himself, then famously saying, "You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank." True enough, but I'm going to go ahead and praise Fritsch anyway.

13. Chris Paisley won his initial European Tour title at the BMW SA Open Championship on Sunday -- and it all might be credited to a timely caddie change. For the first time, the 31-year-old Paisley had his wife, Keri, on the bag for him this week. "She doesn't know that much about golf, but she knows me really well and she knows when I'm going a little quicker than I usually do or getting a bit tight," he said afterward. "Coming up the last fairway with her next to me was just incredible."

14. Some pretty awful news from the Sony Open this week. On Friday evening, Blayne Barber went to dinner with his brother, Shayne, and caddie, Cory Gilmer. Not long after they'd said their goodbyes for the evening, Gilmer collapsed and hit his head. He was rushed to the neurological ICU, where Barber reported the next day that he was still in "the critical stage."

15. I traded text messages with Barber after Sunday's final round as he was on his way to see Gilmer in the hospital. "I think he's stable, but long-term damage is a concern," he told me. "The swelling in his brain needs to go down." Barber also said that Gilmer's parents were expected to arrive in Honolulu shortly after our conversation. Obviously, a terrible story which we're all hoping will have a positive ending.

16. Less than three hours before the first tee time of the third round in Honolulu, cellphones started issuing an emergency alert regarding an inbound ballistic missile threat to Hawaii. Thankfully, the warning proved to be a false alarm, as that information was released 38 minutes after the initial report, but it was undoubtedly a scary 38 minutes for competitors, officials and others who were gearing up for the round, but found themselves scattering for shelter in hotels.

17. Rain. Wind. Sleet. Even snow. There have been plenty of reasons for PGA Tour events to be delayed over the years. I've got to believe that if this alert was issued three hours (or more) later, this would've been the first tournament to be delayed for a potential missile threat in, well, quite a long time.

18. There's a reason I wrote "PGA Tour" not "professional golf" tournament. As I was reminded after Saturday's scare, just four months ago, the ANA Open on the Japan Golf Tour was not only delayed but evacuated when North Korea launched a ballistic test missile. The second round later resumed after a 45-minute suspension of play.