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Monday, August 9, 2010

The Limerick Summary: 2010 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

Winner: Hunter Mahan

Around the greater world of golf: David Frost ripped up the field with a 61 (winning by 7 strokes!) to get his first Champions Tour win at the 3M Championship; Jhonattan Vegas won the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open on the Nationwide Tour; Sophie Gustafson won the Ladies Irish Open on the LET; Dori Carter won the Pennsylvania Classic on the Futures Tour (the Constructivist has details on the ladies -- LET here, Futures here); and Bill Lunde won the Turning Stone Resort Championship, the alternate-field event on the PGA.

It was supposed to be the Gunfight at the OK Corral -- three towering legends, locked in a duel for the title of Top Gunslinger on the planet. Would Phil finally take down Tiger... or would Lee Westwood pull of the upset and take the title himself? Who would remain standing after the smoke cleared?

As it turned out, the only casualties were the expectations of the spectators expecting a battle for the #1 spot. (Well, there was that guy Tiger hit with a golf ball...) Lee had to withdraw Friday with an injury, Tiger fired a 77 on Sunday, and Phil fired a 78 to blow the opportunity. Fortunately, there were no barns at Firestone Country Club -- the deafening silence as ball after ball MISSED their broad sides would only have increased the level of discomfort among the players. Even Ernie Els, who re-emerged after a 64 on Saturday, could only muster a 76 in the last round. Where were all the gunslingers?

Hunter Mahan pic from FootJoy.comThank God for the young guns! They came thundering out of the pack to take over the show, posting 65s and 64s as they trampled the 54-hole contenders. And leading the pack was Hunter Mahan, whose 64 guaranteed him a 2-stroke win over Ryan Palmer. Except for one wild shot at the par-5 16th, which airmailed everything and resulted in a free drop from a flower bed (he still got his par), he played darn near immaculate golf. When you hit 82% GIR and only take 25 putts, that tends to happen.

How did my picks do? Well, the Molinari brothers both finished over par -- at 5- and 1-over, alphabetically. Louis Oosthuizen did me proud, shooting a final-round 65 to nab a T9 finish, as did Rory McIlroy who shot 4 rounds of 69 to tie Louis.

Still, none did as well as Hunter, and he rode off with some pretty big prizes (aside from the trophy and $1.4 million). I think I got them all correct:
  • One of only 3 Americans with multiple PGA wins this year (the other two are Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk)
  • One of only 3 under-30 Americans with 3 PGA wins (I think the other two are Anthony Kim and Sean O'Hair)
  • One of only 3 under-30 golfers with a WGC win (Tiger and Geoff Ogilvy being the other two)
  • 7th in FedEx points
  • #2 on the Ryder Cup list
He's due to get his own wanted poster pretty soon!

So, as Hunter rides slowly off into the sunset (well, I guess Whistling Straits is actually more of a northbound thing, but go with me on this one), we tip our ten-gallon hats in salute and offer up a Limerick Summary to the new sheriff in town:
Does nobody want to be “Top Gun”?
Low-caliber play reigned in Akron
Till gunslinger Mahan
Fired true (well… some prayin’)—
Guess sometimes your best shot’s a young’un.

5 comments:

  1. Considering that there are only 5 multiple winners on the PGA Tour, and the world's best are PGA Tour players, and 3 of the 5 multiple winners are American, I'd say that's about right.

    Kind of tough to figure this season. You'd think someone like Mickelson would step up and see this as an opportunity to really cash in on the money list since Tiger isn't around to win his usual 6-10 tournaments...but he's turned back into Mickelnuts. The rest just shows me that the PGA Tour is very deep and a lot of guys are capable of winning on any given week.

    Low-caliber play ?

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  2. From the big boys, Court. Only two of last week's Top 10 in the world -- #4 Stricker and #5 Furyk -- finished in the top 10 at Bridgestone. The young guns were the ones who "won the showdown."

    Besides, "low-caliber" fit the shootout motif better. ;-)

    As for Mickelson... I think he wants #1 more than he's admitting. I don't see anything wrong with that -- according to TGC, he's been second more weeks than the next three (Faldo, Norman, and Els) put together, all of whom eventually reached #1 -- but I think it's affecting his play as he gets closer to it. He may have to try and put it out of his mind so he can focus on just playing.

    Maybe the challenge of a major is what he needs... HEY! What do you know -- we have one of those this week! ;-)

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  3. Faldo and Norman never had to face up to a dominant force like a Tiger Woods. Faldo might have been able to pull a Singh or Duval, but not Norman. (come to think of it - wouldn't a Faldo - Tiger period in their prime have been a lot of fun to watch ? Faldo had the will to win...unlike Mickelnuts.

    When was Els #1 ? And I'm a big Ernie fan !

    Nah - no Mickelson this week, either. He's like so many other guys who win when things fall in place. He doesn't make things happen, and wins just don't seem to come in bunches like they do/did with Woods. No consistency.

    I believe you that Mickelson would like to be #1..."want" may be too strong a word. If it falls in his lap, he'll take it - but he is lacking something...or maybe he knows what kind of microscope HIS life will be under if he makes it to the top spot. He has the Mr Clean veil on right now - but he's had his share of rumors in the past that were never followed up on because Tiger was a bigger story.

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  4. First... Ernie was #1 for 9 weeks. That's on the home page of the Official World Golf Rankings site; there's a list of all the players to reach #1 and how long they held it near the bottom of the page. I don't know if he held them all at once, but I think he originally got there after winning the 1997 U.S. Open at Congressional.

    For the record, I don't think Phil will win next week. All I meant was that playing in a major might take his mind off the whole #1 thing.

    I'm gonna have to pick a new winner for the PGA this week, since I had picked Westwood to win it back before the U.S. Open. I think I know who I'm going to pick, though. I'll post it later this week. (Although, given how well my picks have done this year, I might do just as well if I stayed with Westwood...)

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  5. How about that - I had no recollection of Ernie being #1. Pretty cool...and no...I'm not changing my name to Clinton after that answer. :-)

    Good idea picking a new winner. It's a shame Westwood is hurt like this. The more I read about it, he could be down for a while. Wouldn't mind seeing him with a shot at #1. He was looking like he was getting over his nerves in majors at Pebble and St Andrews. I'll give Westwood more credit for consistency than Mickelson, that's for sure.

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