Grand theft, based on the purse size. Nick Watney's 18th hole birdie gave him the victory at the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines. Watney squeezed out his win over 3rd round leader John Rollins. Rollins had a three shot advantage heading into today's final round play, but he ballooned to a final round 74. Watney's 68 left him at -11 for the tourney, followed by Rollins at -10, and Camilo Villegas, who despite being tied for the lead early in today's round, ended tied for third place with Lucas Glover at -9. Villegas carded a 72 for his final round. Young Australian Matt Jones fired a 64 today to leap from 36th to a tie for 5th place. For the record, Phil Mickelson finished in a tie for 42nd. An inauspicious start to Mickelson's year, especially at a course he favors.
Torrey Pines has been in the spotlight three times in the last year between the usual Buick tour stops and last year's US Open. It seems like I know the course as well as my local dog track. John Rollins yanked his 2nd shot on the par 5 18th into the left bunker and a nasty downhill lie with the green sloping to the water. That allowed Watney's birdie for the win. I found my eyes wandering to the front right of the green where Tiger Woods sunk his 72nd hole, playoff forcing putt against Rocco in last year's US Open.
With Buick dropping Tiger Woods and all of the automakers in the throes of a dramatic sales slide, it would appear that auto manufacturer sponsorship bucks will be tough to come by. Nevertheless, it seems that Hyundai alone was able to boast a sales increase in January. Woods in a Hyundai Accent? If that happens will things have really hit bottom?