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Weekly 18: 'Certain' wins with a dash of stunning developments

Justin Thomas's fifth win of the year left the reigning PGA Championship winner and FedEx Cup champ a bit spent -- and who could blame him after playing tournaments in nine of the past 12 weeks in a row? Park Ji-ho/Yonhap via AP

Another win for Justin Thomas, another win for Sergio Garcia and another win for Bernhard Langer.

Just so this edition of the Weekly 18 doesn't feel like a rerun, there were a few extraordinarily weird things that happened in the game this week, too. Let's get right to all of 'em.

1. Marc Leishman hit one of the best shots of the inaugural CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges at the most opportune time, a towering approach on the par-5 final hole that set up a two-putt to get him into a playoff. And so it speaks volumes about the way Thomas played the hole in that he didn't one-up Leishman. He two-upped him. Thomas hit a 5-wood from 236 yards into the wind in regulation, somehow leaving it below the hole to set up a two-putt birdie of his own to reach the playoff. Then on the second playoff hole, with Leishman already in the water, he did it again, taking dead aim at the flagstick. I still think Dustin Johnson is the most powerful of the elite players today, Jordan Spieth is the most cerebral and Rory McIlroy is the most dangerous. But I love Thomas' innate mindset to step on the gas pedal and step on the throats of his competition when he gets into these situations. He owns a flair for the dramatic that suits him well.

2. One year ago, Thomas was 23 years old and the 35th-ranked golfer in the world, an impressive stat on every level. Now, though, we can look back and see that was just the beginning of bigger things. In his past 25 worldwide starts, Thomas owns a half-dozen wins -- and that doesn't even include his FedEx Cup title or Player of the Year award. The residual effect is that he's now the world's third-ranked player, behind only Johnson and Spieth. Based on his recent run and how the OWGR formula works, Thomas might move higher on that list before he ever drops lower.

3. Just how good has Thomas been for the past three months? Try this: In his past seven starts, he owns three wins and a runner-up. Here's another: He has played those 28 rounds in a combined 66-under. One more: His scoring average during that span is 68.64. Sooo ... that's how good he has been.

4. Following the final round of the CJ Cup, Thomas looked absolutely wiped after playing nine of the past 12 weeks. And he admitted he was, too. Interviewed on the final green, he said, "I officially have nothing left in the tank at this moment." I tweeted that quote, and it led to my favorite Twitter reply of the week, courtesy of former PGA Tour and Web.com player Scott Gardiner (@gards76): "Last time I played 9 of 12 I make similar statement! I officially have nothing left in the BANK!"

5. Pat Perez followed last week's win in Malaysia with a T-5 in South Korea, a continuing chapter in one of the game's best stories during the past year. It was only 19 months ago that Perez underwent shoulder surgery, which could have meant the beginning of the end for a player of his age. Instead, the time off only served as greater motivation. He has won twice since the surgery and now, at 41, is ranked inside the world's top-20 for the first time in his career. That's all-world stuff for a no-nonsense guy who's perennially on the game's all-interview team.

6. On Nov. 17, 1968, NBC cut away from the exciting conclusion of a New York Jets-Oakland Raiders game to show the scheduled movie "Heidi," which famously resulted in the contest being forever remembered as "The Heidi Game." U.S.-based fans who stayed up late to watch the end of the CJ Cup were victim of a similar snafu. At 2:30 a.m. ET, just as Thomas and Leishman were heading back to the 18th tee for the second playoff hole, the Golf Channel satellite lost its feed, instead showing a replay of the final hole of regulation from about an hour earlier. By the time the telecast was able to fix the issue and show the decisive second playoff hole, the result was no longer in doubt, as Thomas had already clinched the title.

7. That problematic conclusion notwithstanding, I don't know what U.S. ratings were for what was largely a middle-of-the-night affair to those watching in this country. What I do know is that the viewers who were watching got treated to a venue -- The Club at Nine Bridges -- that played really well on TV. Scenic vistas, steep elevation and vivid hues helped provide the telecast with some stunning eye candy from Jeju Island.

8. In fact, watching this week's CJ Cup, I was reminded of something I heard about Liberty National during the Presidents Cup: It might not be a great course, but it is a great venue. There's a significant dichotomy between the two -- and professional tournaments, with 99.9 percent of the spectators watching at home instead of on-site, would often prefer the latter over the former.

9. Speaking of the Presidents Cup, I don't believe there's an official date by which the PGA Tour must name the next captains. The last announcement occurred in April, which means we're likely still six months away. While Ernie Els seems like a slam-dunk for the International side, the next U.S. captain could be a little trickier. If we're to read the writing on the wall, the immediate future of U.S. captaincies -- both Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup -- rests in the hands of the six-man committee that has largely taken ownership of the team in recent years: Davis Love III, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. These are the men who will be consulted on the next captaincy and it's difficult to believe they'll offer suggestions of outsiders to take over.

10. Here's where it gets a little sticky: It appears that nobody -- not the potential captains themselves and certainly not the PGA Tour or PGA of America -- wants to double-up, taking on the role of captain for both teams at the same time. That would seemingly eliminate Furyk as the next Presidents Cup captain while he's serving in that role for next year's Ryder Cup, and possibly Stricker, who seemingly has the inside track on leading the team in his home state of Wisconsin in three years.

11. That leaves four choices. There's Mickelson and Woods, neither of whom, it appears, is ready to abandon hopes of playing on these teams and take on a captaincy this soon. Then there's Love and Couples. Just by the process of elimination, it feels like one of them could be back in that familiar role when the next Presidents Cup captain is announced.

12. For what it's worth, once he's ready to cede a roster spot, Mickelson is going to be a brilliant captain. It wouldn't surprise me if Mr. Popularity claimed the role in perpetuity, essentially serving as ongoing captain until he retires from the position or is fired from it, much like the coaches of a U.S. national basketball or soccer team. And yes, I believe Tiger would be just fine with that. He loves the strategy and intricacy of pairing players together and plotting them against opponents; he enjoys the camaraderie of the team room. But most of all, he likes being one of the guys instead of being The Guy. As an assistant captain, he accrues all of the benefits of being a captain without doing the dirty work -- namely, two years of public relations for the event and multiple daily interview sessions during it.

13. Maybe I'm extrapolating way too much here, but it isn't hard to see the current six-man committee lording over the U.S. team for the next two decades until the likes of Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas are ready to take over. That doesn't mean a guy like Zach Johnson can't someday take over the reins, but he'd be brought into the mix gradually and with the assistance of this current crew.

14. Here's an inarguable fact about professional golf: If you always win tournaments with "Masters" in the title, you'll be living a pretty sweet life. Since sliding his arms into the sleeves of a green jacket in April, Sergio Garcia hadn't claimed another win -- until Sunday, that is, when he posted a final-round 4-under 67 to win the AndalucĂ­a Valderrama Masters by a stroke. At the tournament contested in his native Spain and benefiting his foundation, Garcia dedicated the victory to his new wife, Angela, and their baby. The couple is expecting early next year.

15. Bernhard Langer is flat-out amazing. The man gets all of the fine wine analogies after carding eagle on the final hole of the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, yet another in a long line of remarkable post-50 achievements. With two tournaments remaining in the PGA Tour Champions season, Langer owns the inside track on his ninth money title in the past 10 years. The only one he didn't win? That would be 2011, when Tom Lehman edged him out.

16. There were two uncommonly weird things at this week's PGA Tour Latino America event. The first is that the Peru Open was shortened to 54 holes because of a nationwide mandate that everyone in the country -- including foreigners -- was required to be indoors between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday for a national census, preventing tourney organizers from contesting the final round. The second is that this wasn't even the strangest story of the week.

17. No, the strangest story took place on the KLPGA. During the KB Financial Star Championship, players found it difficult to distinguish the difference between the fringe and the green, leading to two of them being penalized for the innocent indiscretion, four others absolved, then an uproar from others for the inconsistency. The end result? The KLPGA wiped out the entire round and started anew the next day, and the official presiding over the kerfuffle resigned in the aftermath.

18. I had the good fortune of hanging around Congressional Country Club for a few days this past week. The Blue Course was a beast, the golf (by me, at least) was predictably discouraging and the membership was outstandingly hospitable. I wasn't there for "The Bruce," the early-week tournament that garners stars from golf and other entertainment avenues, but heard plenty about the event which raises money for ALS in the name of former caddie Bruce Edwards. Congratulations and good work to all those involved.