Sunday, May 29, 2011

Watson Snags Senior PGA Championship

A number of weeks ago I reviewed Tom Watson's new book, The Timeless Swing. Little did I realize then how prophetic it would turn out to be. The 61 year old Watson defeated David Eger on the 1st playoff hole to capture the 82nd Senior PGA Championship at Valhalla. Eger fashioned a superb 67 to Watson's final round 70 to close a 3 stroke deficit at the start of the final round and force the extra hole. They both finished regulation play at -10. Truth is, both missed relatively easy putts on the 72nd hole that if either one had dropped, the playoff would have been unnecessary. It seems no one is immune to major championship pressure.Eger found a fairway bunker with his tee shot, while Watson split the fairway. Advantage Watson. Eger was forced to lay up and Watson's 2nd shot on the par five nestled in a greenside sand trap. Watson calmly played out to about three feet for a birdie and the win. When asked about the winning putt he responded, "Why dawdle. I didn't take much time with the putt. I took one practice stroke and figured, 'Let's get this over with"'.      

Kiyoshi Murota battled back problems stemming from the 3rd round to capture solo 3rd at -9. Hale Irwin, at 65, almost 66 years young, threatened throughout the event. His tough final round 73 placed him in 4th alone at -8. Full Field Final Scores

Watson has indeed proved that a solid, repeatable golf swing can be enjoyed for life. It would be hard not consider him a contender at this year's Open Championship. I'm not Watson's age, but I'm a lot closer to it than Rickie's or Rory's. Guess I'll keep playing.

Swing hard, look up,

Friday, May 27, 2011

Resurgent Sergio Shares Halfway Lead at HP Byron Nelson Championship

Infected fingernail be damned, Sergio Garcia posted a 2nd consecutive 66 to tie Ryan Palmer for the lead after the 2nd round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship. No slight on the Spaniard regarding the injury. Something inflamed under a fingernail would hurt like hell. Gripping a golf club would be one of the worst things you could throw at it. I'm positive I couldn't endure it at half his swing speed. Garcia's return to form had much to do with his putting success. 27 and 28 putts through two rounds are a marked improvement. His confidence from 10 feet in was in direct contrast to the distaste he's shown for those in the recent past. Tee to green, no one's questioned Sergio's ability. Like many, it's the flat iron that's determined his fate. Known as a bit of a brooder, I detected a slight attitude shift in Sergio's play. I saw him smile during today's round. Step in right direction.

Palmer's 65, 67 for a -8 total were remarkable in their own right. He and Garcia were three clear of Tim Petrovic at -5 and four in front of Nick Watney, Joe Ogilvie, Chad Collins, and Scott Piercy. Amateur and high school senior Jordan Spieth was at -3 and impressed all for the second year in a row. Spieth's dilemma for tomorrow is that his latish tee time is in direct conflict with his high school graduation. Something tells me he'll be collecting the sheepskin in absentia. Can't blame him. Final 2nd Round Scores

The weekend in Lord Byron's event should be compelling. If it continues to rain here in Biblical proportions I'll be watching. You should as well.

Swing hard, look up,

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Toms Blinks, KJ Choi Takes Players Championship

David Toms picked the worst possible time for his first miss inside of 5 feet this week. His 3 1/2 foot miscue on the 1st playoff hole gave KJ Choi the 2011 Players Championship trophy. About an hour earlier, Paul Goydos was in the clubhouse at -11, Choi had laid up on the par five 16th. Toms elected to go for it from 240 with a hybrid yanked from his bag. He found water and the accompanying bogey, while Choi made par. All tied. On the first go around on 17 Choi birdied from 10 feet to Toms par, giving him a one stroke advantage into the tough 18th, where only three birdies had been carded all day. Toms' best drive of the day found what was probably the only fairway divot, but he hit a spectacular shot to about 20 feet and dead-centered the putt to force the playoff after Choi's up and down par. His aforementioned miss on 17 closed the deal for Choi. Both players had finished 31 holes for the day after a rain delayed Saturday. They had logged about 12 hours of course time. Graeme McDowell, the third round leader by 1, grabbed an anchor and plummeted 32 spots on the board after an unfortunate 79. Final Full Field Scores

I'm of the strong opinion that TPC Sawgrass is a tricked up mini-putt course and a crapshoot for determining winners. The tour leading 1.7 million dollar purse and lavish exemptions for the winner is certainly a factor in attracting what's always a strong field. I just hate to see players penalized for good shots. Happens a lot here. Still, it can be tolerated once a year and has the reputation for supplying drama. I just don't see it as the 10th major, much less the 5th.

It was great to see a rejuvenated David Toms and KJ, a couple of 40 year olds, duke it out on Sunday. Nice going KJ. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Swing hard, look up,