First, I need to mention that the ladies got their year started this week. Ai Miyazato won the Honda PTT LPGA Thailand event over Suzann Pettersen with a great 63 in the final round. I have to give the Constructivist props for calling this one, as he may be Ai's greatest fan right now. You can read his play-by-play of the final round here. (Let me also give a shout-out to TGC for making sure their Friday coverage, delayed though it might be, was aired in full before Tiger's broadcast.)
Likewise, Bernhardt Langer beat John Cook at the Allianz Championship in dramatic fashion, holing out a plugged bunker shot on the first playoff hole. And Cameron Beckman won the Mayakoba Golf Classic, the opposite Tour event down in Mexico. Congrats to them all!
People who don't care for match play cheated themselves out of a great event this week. The WGC-Accenture lived up to its billing, despite Tiger's press junket and Phil's absence.
For perhaps the first time in the history of the event, there were more international players than American players in this tourney. And the internationals made it clear that it wasn't an accident. Only one American, Stewart Cink, made it to the quarterfinals... and Paul Casey sent him packing with his fourth consecutive 5 & 4 win. Garcia, Villegas, Casey, and Poulter -- it's hard to say this wasn't a marquee group, even though there were no Americans! (Despite Patricia Hannigan's protests to the contrary.)
Poulter dispatched Garcia 7 & 6, but it was the farthest Garcia had ever gotten in this tourney -- well done, Sergio! And after a blistering semifinal between Casey and Villegas, which took two days and 24 holes, we found ourselves in an all-English final between Paul Casey and Ian Poulter. (Camilo won the consolation match.)
Unfortunately for Casey, who is almost recovered from a rib injury sustained last year (at which time he was #3 in the world), Poulter was quite literally "in the pink" and it showed. (Well, except for the white shoes. What's up with that, Ian?) Casey played way better than I expected after having to finish the semi early Sunday morning, but he had to be tired going into the 36-hole final. Ian drained a long putt to win on the 34th hole, handing Paul 2nd place for the 2nd year in a row. (Geoff Ogilvy did the deed in 2009.)
In the end, Ian Poulter won 4 & 2, giving him his first PGA Tour win, making him the first Englishman to win a WGC event, probably moving him to #5 in the world rankings... and making the following limerick possible. Quite an accomplishment!
Internationals turned gladiatorial
As they gave the U.S. a tutorial
About playing to win –
And then Poulter chimed in
That the true victor’s prize is sartorial!