ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — If there aren’t many Coronas left at The Dunvegan Monday morning, you can thank Sean Crocker for that. He’s the champion at this week’s Hero Open, held just up the street at the Fairmont in St. Andrews.
Corona is Crocker’s drink of choice and the Dunvegan, locally known as The Dunny, is his pub of choice. As he showed up on Sunday, the chalk board at the entrance was ready for him: “Congrats Sean Crocker,” in yellow chalk. “Hero Open Champion!” How could he walk past that? Truth is, Crocker never walks past The Dunny; he always gets sucked in. At least that’s what he told me Sunday evening, a couple hours after Corona No. 1.
The 25-year-old DP World Tour star has had many good nights in there. Some of them he’s paid for later. But there was plenty that was endearing about the champion celebrating in town among the fans. He was doing exactly what you would be doing, right? None of us really know that winning exhale he’s feeling, the one that consumed him on TV right after he sealed the deal. But we’d all like to.
“Winning a golf tournament is not easy,” he said, minutes after the final putt dropped. “And Eddie [Pepperell] did not make that easy for me, either. Hoo. I’m lost for words here.”
Crocker hasn’t celebrated a win in a long time, so you can understand him not having the words. This is one of the rarely talked about aspects of pro golf. Players like him win in junior golf all the time. They win a bunch in high school and win scholarships to universities, just like Crocker did to Southern California. But the higher up you go, the less winning there is.
According to Wikipedia, the unofficial documentarian of golfers outside the Top 100 in the world ranking, Crocker snagged a win at the 2016 Monroe Invitational in upstate New York. Then he added a 2017 win amateur event in Italy. Since then? Nothing. As he said, winning golf tournaments is hard.
A handful of giddy pals encircled Crocker at the Dunny, including his caddie Steve Pettit, and Ewen Ferguson, a Scot and fellow DP World Tour player. Ferguson got his first win in years at the Qatar Masters in March. It was his first win since his days at the University of Texas, alongside Scottie Scheffler, who notably hadn’t won on Tour before February — after which he won again, and again, and again. These wins, they’re not easy. Which is why we celebrate with Coronas. Scheffler celebrates with Burger House, his go-to spot in Dallas. He beat Crocker back in the 2016 NCAA Championships, 1 Up.
Crocker was born in Zimbabwe and is based in West Palm Beach but spends most of his professional year traipsing Europe. We laughed when I pointed out that you can take the boy out of America but you can’t make him drink Guinness. “This is the only thing I drink, but the funny thing is everyone is drinking it,” he said.
He began his evening on one of the stools at the bar but was there long enough to move to a four-seater in the middle of the pub. His Marlins cap was pulled tight, but with the blonde hair flowing out the backside, everyone knew where the winner was. I asked him what’s his next stop was after tonight. “Wales, next week,” he said. The show goes on. “But that might be a rough week. Expectations are low.”
We’ll see about that.