Around the greater world of golf: Thomas Björn staged what may be a rebirth of his career with a win at the Euro Tour's Estoril Open de Portugal, his first win in four years; Akane Iijima won her 5th JLPGA tournament at the Suntory Ladies Open (the Constructivist has details here); and we're still waiting for the LPGA to dry out enough to finish the LPGA State Farm Classic. I'm personally thrilled to see Cristie Kerr and Anna Nordqvist tied at the top -- especially after I said they had the most to gain with a win this week! OK, sometimes I get lucky... UPDATE: Cristie Kerr won Monday morning.)
You have to love the St. Jude organizers. We complain about family connections in business, and who do they get as a sponsor? Smith and Nephew! You gotta love that! ;-)
As you may know, St. Jude is not only the patron saint of hospitals, but also of lost causes. At one time, not so many years ago, many would have considered Lee Westwood a member of his congregation. Having been in the top 10 of the World Rankings for over 180 weeks between 1998 and 2001 (thank you, Wikipedia), and ranked as high as #4, he plummeted completely out of the top 250 (I think he ended up between 270 and 280) and considered giving up the game entirely.
Now of course, he's back. He's #3 with a bullet and probably the best player without a major. He's been Top 3 in the last 3 majors, but he just can't seem to get over the hump. So when he decided to play Memphis, what happened? He almost didn't get in... because FedEx didn't want a UPS-sponsored player in the field wearing a UPS logo. (The bad publicity resulted in a "policy change.") And then, after leading two rounds, Lee finished Sunday 3 strokes off the pace of Robert Garrigus, who has never won. Lee didn't see what was going on... all he knew was that he was told he "might want to hang around."
In the end, Garrigus made a triple on 18, putting him and Robert Karlsson into a 3-way playoff with Westwood... and after 3 holes, Westwood had his first PGA Tour win in over a decade. He will certainly go to Pebble Beach as one of the favorites. (Before you feel too bad for Garrigus, remember that this is his best-ever finish on tour, and the money will go a long way toward nailing his tour card for next year. That's not a bad deal either!)
This was such an all-around feel-good weekend that I decided to have some fun with this week's limerick:
The saint known for loving lost causes
Wrote Westwood a few escape clauses.
Though sponsored by “Brown,”
The good saint smiled down
As Lee snatched it from defeat’s jawses.