Pressure on as top stars feel the cut
Back at the USPGA Padraig Harrington was explaining how he could put behind him the disappointment of missing out on the chance of winning a big tournament.
"You know the great thing about golf?" the three-time major champion said. "There's always next week. As soon as I started hitting balls on the range here it was all about this week, what happened before is gone."
This was in the wake of the eight at the 16th that cost him the chance of beating Tiger Woods in the WGC event at Firestone, ironically the start of a run of largely self-inflicted near misses that is still continuing.
But it is probably this mentality that keeps sane the majority of professional golfers. It helps them to rationalise disappointments and ruinous moments they'd love to have over again..
There's always next week and another chance to make up for failure. It's a comfort blanket.
But now we are at the stage of the season where for an increasing number of players on the PGA Tour there isn't that "next week".
The play-off guillotine is falling on a weekly basis and now we're down to the 70 trying to squeeze into the 30 who will ultimately chase the $10 million FedEx Cup prize to be decided at the season-ending Tour Championship.
This play-off finale to the American season is starting to capture the imagination. It's taken a couple of years worth of tweaking with the points system to come up with the kind of cut-throat drama that generates fan interest beyond the majors.
At the Deutsche Bank event in Boston where Harrington surrendered another winning chance and Steve Stricker prevailed, intrigue abounded and it wasn't all centred on the top of the leaderboard.
Suddenly a 26th place finish for Sergio Garcia had something on it. His closing rounds of 67 and 68 meant more than the prize money he would accrue because he was able to secure his top 70 berth and survive another week.
Others were less fortunate. Two Britons perished, Greg Owen and Justin Rose are out of the running - Rose missing out on a trip to Chicago by fully 15 places in the FedEx listings.
And the consequences of finishing 85th on that list are pretty far-reaching for Rose, a player who in 2007 climbed to number six in the world. Since then it's been all downhill and now he has tumbled out of the all-important top 50.
Rose started the year inside the leading 20 but now he is ranked 57th and his global schedule straddling the PGA and European Tours with guaranteed spots in the majors and WGC events is in some jeopardy.
The 29-year-old isn't alone in suffering this sort of decline where the "next weeks" have failed to yield a significant improvement in fortunes. Contemporaries like Adam Scott (53), Trevor Immelman (66) and Charles Howell (110) know exactly how Rose is feeling.
It is hard to pinpoint exactly why this should be. These are players who have had struggles with injuries but they must also feel like Icarus - having soared to the heights of the game only to have their golf ultimately melt under the demands of trying to stay in such rarefied territory.
Camilo Villegas and Anthony Kim are showing signs of perhaps suffering similarly despite currently holding top 20 berths.
These are all players from a generation that many expected to produce a genuine rival to Tiger Woods and the truth is none has been able to mount any such challenge.
Instead it has been the likes of Harrington, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and now Steve Stricker who have provided the opposition for the world number one. Those and a smattering of unheralded figures like PGA Champion YE Yang who have sporadically risen to the challenge.
So why have the likes of Rose and Scott been unable to arrest such worrying declines this year? Both are fantastically rich young men and are set for life. It goes with the territory if you break into the world's top ten.
"They have to go back to the basics that got them there," says Nick Bradley, who was Rose's coach until they split after the US Open in June.
Bradley is convinced this is the way Woods approaches his golf. "He might have $100m in prize money but he's still out there working as hard as ever.
"For him it's all about the golf," says Bradley, who is making a study of the world number one's methodology. "You've got to look at the Tiger Woods formula and as long as he's alive I'd love to stick him in a laboratory to find out exactly how he goes about everything."
Bradley isn't surprised the likes of Harrington and Stricker are enjoying success in the Woods era. "Grounded and humble people," is the way he describes them.
But for those who have gone backwards, Rose's ex-coach feels there is a need to "reset the dial".
"When they've had a successful year, what they have to do is make a critical decision. Stick the money in the bank and mentally go back to zero for the next year and see where your competitive DNA takes you from there," he said.
Rose and Scott have little choice as they seek to reclaim the place in the upper echelons of the game their talents warrant. Rose is no stranger to rebounding - he climbed 120 places in 20 months to reach number six in the world.
And the thought of not being able to dictate the nature of the "next week" - which is the reality of life outside the top fifty is not a happy one for either player.