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Monday, August 23, 2010

The Limerick Summary: 2010 Wyndham Championship

Winner: Arjun Atwal

Around the greater world of golf: Peter Hanson won the ET's Czech Open in a playoff against Gary Boyd and Peter Lawrie; Ai Miyazato won the LPGA's Safeway Classic, retaking the #1 spot on the women's world rankings; Fred Funk won the JELD-WEN Tradition, the fourth major on the Champions Tour; Virginie Lagoutte-Clement won the Aberdeen Ladies Scottish Open on the LET; and Akiko Fukushima won the CAT Ladies event on the JLPGA. You can read about the ladies JLPGA event over at Mostly Harmless.

You know, we always rag TGC when they make mistakes so I want to give them a shout-out this week for some choices they made. The LPGA was on the West Coast, so they were able to broadcast it live and they actually stayed late Saturday and Sunday to cover the end of Ai Miyazato's rounds. (They didn't stay for the last few groups Saturday, but they did see the leader into the house.) And Sunday they did some hopping back-and-forth to give a little coverage of the Wyndham and still broadcast the Czech Open playoff. The coverage wasn't always smooth, but they made the effort and I think that deserves a little applause.

The play at the Wyndham wasn't always smooth either. Players would shoot lights out for nine holes, then struggle the other nine... like Lucas Glover, who posted a 29 on the front side (six birdies, five of those in a row), only to go three-over (with no birdies) on the back nine.

Arjun Atwal with Wyndham trophy
The picture comes from this article at Golf365.com.

Arjun Atwal was the guy to beat. Arjun's troubles over the past few years are well-documented, but the big news this week was that even winning wouldn't get him into the FedEx Cup. Seems that he lost his card after his medical exemption for shoulder problems ran out earlier this year, and non-members of the Tour aren't eligible. He Monday-qualified for the Wyndham, and went into the final round with a three-shot lead.

In the end, the only guy to challenge him was David Toms. Dealing with shoulder problems himself, Toms posted a six-under 64 (par was 70) to reach -19. But Arjun was up to the task, posting three-under to reach -20 and take the tournament in regulation.

Some of you young-uns might not know it, but the Wyndham is a tournament with a long history. It may be best remembered as the Greater Greensboro Open (aka the GGO), first played back in 1938. This is where Sam Snead set the PGA records for most wins at a single tournament (8) and oldest winner of an official event (just short of 53 years old in 1965). Arjun also made history with his win, becoming the first Indian-born player to win on the PGA Tour, and he'll be playing at the Masters next year regardless of the FedEx Cup snub. He's the first Monday-qualifier to win in about three decades, and he nabbed himself a two-year exemption on the Tour. And if I've read things properly, last week Arjun was #450 in the world; this week he should jump to #230... and he did it all in my backyard! After a long dark period, things look to be improving for Arjun Atwal.

Here's a salutatory limerick for the newest first-time winner on Tour:
Congrats to our champion Arjun!
He’s India’s first, and enlargin’
His stature on Tour.
His card now secure,
It’s up the world rankings he’s chargin’.

4 comments:

  1. Atwal got a nice assist from Scott McCarron when McCarron duffed his chip shot to just outside of Atwal's ball, giving Atwal the perfect read for his par putt. They caught Toms in the locker room making the comment, "He probably paid for that one." Something along those lines.

    Toms was kidding of course. I just thought it was funny. I like Toms as a player, but it was good to see Atwal win, especially coming from the Monday qualifier. Proof positive that anything is possible.

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  2. I agree. Like I said, Arjun's had a couple of rough years. It's nice to see him break through like this.

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  3. Good stuff, Mike...and I hope you're right about his rise up the ladder.

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