Regardless of how many times it happens, hearing a non-golfer say he or she enjoys reading my column every week makes my day (no need to mention .44 Magnums here).

Hearing those words from my cousin Paulette the other day was especially nice — as is my cousin. Nice enough that she would not have said a word if she didn’t like my work.

OK, what she really said was she reads this column every week and also the one “that woman does about TV commercials and things like that.” She couldn’t immediately recall the name; together we found it. “Cathy Gillentine,” said I. “That’s it!” she exclaimed.

My cousin knows her television, but, to my knowledge, she has never held a golf club.

In my mind, being mentioned along with Ms. Gillentine is a treat. I hope my cousin doesn’t, from time to time, refer to me as “that guy who writes about golf.”

THUMBS UP

Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa stood in the 18th fairway at the 3M Championship on Sunday, waiting and watching as crowd favorite Bryson DeChambeau, the “Mad Scientist,” rolled in an eagle putt to leapfrog the pair and take the clubhouse lead.

To win the title outright, one of them would have to make an eagle to leapfrog DeChambeau while the other failed.

If both made a birdie, there would be a three-way playoff — the first playoff on the PGA Tour in 28 events.

Wolff played first, and his 6-iron from about 225 yards (yes, 225 yards) drew a bit more than planned, leaving his ball just off the green and 26 feet from the hole.

Morikawa’s 5-iron shot was seeking the pin but a bit long; not a sure thing, but for sure a better look at eagle.

In case you missed it … so did Morikawa, after Wolff boldly rolled in his 26-footer.

Wolff’s win is the story. But, caught on camera was a story within the story. Knowing that Morikawa’s putt was significantly more makeable than his own and with each of them seeking a first PGA Tour win, he gave his competitor a thumbs-up gesture in recognition of the quality of his shot.

That’s like applauding one’s opponent for hitting a walk-off home run.

Wolff is 20 years old, and this was only his third tournament as a professional. He now has a two-year exemption on Tour and an automatic invitation to the 2020 Masters, the Players Championship and the PGA Championship.

The $1.15-million payday should cover his student loans. The sportsmanship he displayed is priceless.

Morikawa’s half million bucks is alright for a kid who a couple of months ago was playing college golf.

Meanwhile, the “Mad Scientist” was left to try to figure out what had happened.

I love this game.

THUMBS DOWN

A Golfweek report last month detailed an incident in Santa Maria, California, which “began during an argument at a golf course” and ended with a shooting and fire that killed three people.

The story says the two men involved in the argument had a long-standing feud. There was no suggestion that the argument was specifically golf related. One victim was found dead in the clubhouse; another died on the clubhouse grounds. Both had been shot.

Be safe, on and off the course.

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