This time last year a fourth alternate in the field at the Wells Fargo Championship named Derek Ernst was u-turning his car on I-85 from a Web.com event in Athens, Ga. to Charlotte, NC.
A few days later, he was winning that event over Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy.
Here's what Ernst's year looked like in terms of finishes:
T59, CUT, CUT, CUT, CUT, CUT, T47, 1, CUT, T46, T57, CUT, CUT, T44, CUT, CUT, T57, CUT, CUT, CUT, CUT.
That has to be on the short list of the strangest years in PGA Tour history. He played 21 tournaments, made seven cuts, had one top 25, one top 10, and one win (and they were all the same tournament).
Much of the same this year:
CUT, CUT, T61, T69, 30, CUT, CUT, CUT, T69, CUT, T33, CUT, CUT, CUT, CUT, T34.
So in the last two seasons Ernst has played 37 tournaments and been cut from 24 of them. He has two top 30s and one was in a tournament in which only 30 golfers played.
And somehow he's the defending champ at the Wells Fargo Championship this week.
I have no answers.
Ernst is a 250-1 longshot to win at Quail Hollow again this week. The same as Charlie Wi, Wes Roach, Will Wilcox and a host of other no-name golfers.
He was the 1,207th ranked golfer in the world at the time of his win last year. A guy named Neven Basic is the 1,207th ranked golfer this year.
In a lot of ways Ernst defending would be more improbable than his initial win.