The Match Play Championship is easily the biggest win of Steve Stricker's career, and it could be one to unleash the potential so many saw five years ago when he won twice on the PGA Tour.
For practical matters, the victory assures Stricker of a job for the next three years with a full exemption. That's important since his struggles in 2000 left him 113th on the money list and in danger of a return to Q-School.
The win also gives him an opportunity to get into The Masters, if he can maintain one of the top two spots on the money list for nine weeks. It also puts him into next year's Mercedes Championship and well on his way to a berth in the Tour Championship in October.
It also means a huge confidence boost for a player who missed 10 cuts in 21 events last year and hadn't made a cut since July. He began 2000 by shooting par or better in 13 or his first 14 rounds, but only did it 16 times the rest of the year.
His victory also gives him the early lead on the 2001 money list, marking the first time since the last week of January last year that Tiger Woods has not been on top.
It also means the man who played the best for a single day ended up champion. In the third round, Stricker was 9-under over 13 holes during a 6-and-5 drubbing of Justin Leonard. That gave him confidence to grind out victories in the quarterfinals and semifinals when his game wasn't as sharp.
For Pierre Fulke, his performance virtually assures a spot on the European Ryder Cup team in September and gives him a big jump in the race for the Order of Merit. With the exception of majors and two other WGC events, no other European Tour events come close to purse size.
-- Greg Robertson
ESPN Golf Online