Monday, January 25, 2010

Watson's Magic Spoils Couples' Champions Tour Debut

Score one for the "over 60" set. Ageless Tom Watson birdied the last two holes to scratch out a one shot win over Champions Tour rookie Fred Couples in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship held at Hualalai Resort Golf Club in Kaupulehu-Kona, Hawaii.

In what was essentially match play on the back nine, Watson stuck his tee shot to six feet on the tricky par three 17th hole and erased Couples' tenuous one shot advantage by making the birdie putt. On the closing 18th he hit a remarkable approach shot to four feet from the right rough and calmly sank the birdie to seal the victory. The rest of the field notwithstanding, Watson beat a man in Couples who is fully capable of winning on the regular tour. Despite being outdriven by an average of 50 yards or so, Watson proved the adage that "It's not how, but how many". Superb iron and hybrid play put Watson close for birdies and his earlier in the tourney shaky putting came around and clinched the win.

With the win Watson proved his near win in last year's Open Championship was no fluke. He and Couples ripped up the course with Watson finishing at -22 for the three rounds. Couples was one back and remarked that he didn't finish often at 21 under and lose. Michael Allen was four back in solo third at -18. 64 year old Hale Irwin closed in 5th at -14. It just shows that these old guys, given a short course with just a hint of rough and smooth greens, can still put the ball in the hole in short order. Couples averaged over 320 yards per drive for the event, showing he still has a few starts left on the big tour. Watson proved he's worth watching whenever he plays and will gain this Average Golfer's attention in the 2010 Open Championship. Nice to still be able to watch a legend perform at the highest levels.

I haven't exactly been keen on the Champions Tour of late, but the injection of new blood, ala Couples, Pavin, Lehman, and possibly Kenny Perry may sway my opinion.

Til' next,

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