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Monday, November 1, 2010

The Limerick Summary: 2010 CIMB Asia Pacific Classic Malaysia

Winner: Ben Crane

Around the greater world of golf: Graeme McDowell won the Andalucia Valderrama Masters on the European Tour (which means Lee Westwood will take the #1 spot on the OWGR this week); Na Yeon Choi defended her title at the LPGA Hana Bank Classic, which I think will bump her into the Top 5 on the Rolex World Rankings ahead of Yani Tseng (I suspect Jiyai Shin will be the new #1, ahead of Cristie Kerr); Ron Spittle won the AT&T Championship in a one-hole playoff over Jeff Sluman on the Champions Tour; and Brendan Steele won the Nationwide Tour Championship in a four-hole playoff against Colt Knost (both will make it to the PGA Tour in 2011).

A change in the RGWR: Although my Ruthless Golf World Rankings pay attention to the OWGR, I've made no secret that I pay more attention to the last 12 months and that, while consistency matters, wins are more important. With Graeme McDowell's win at Valderrama, my world rankings take a decided turn from the mainstream by bumping McDowell to #2 and dropping Lee Westwood to only #3. (I already had Martin Kaymer at #1.) Kaymer has won 4 tournaments including the PGA and McDowell now has 3 including the US Open; that's way better than Westwood's single win and "good showings" in the majors. And since both have won since their majors on great courses (Kaymer at St. Andrews and Carnoustie, McDowell at Valderrama), I don't think there's any question who's performed better this year.

Once known only for playing at a glacial speed (and for a brief encounter with speedy Rory Sabbatini), Ben is rapidly (ha ha) becoming known for his sense of humor. Of course, by now you've seen Ben's "workout video":

which has been hailed as one of the best PR moves yet on the PGA Tour.  Well, if the "middle of the now" is where you win tournaments, Ben Crane has truly found his spot... and sped up a bit in the process. After taking a snail-like 4 1/2 years between wins -- from July 2005 to January 2010 -- it seems Ben has decided to pick up the pace.

And I don't just mean his pace of play, although he's done that also.

Leading when he entered the last round of the CIMB, he stumbled a bit with three bogeys on 12, 13, and 14... and the field didn't quite know what to do. Some faltered coming down the stretch, but a large number -- including Martin Laird (again!), Brian Davis, Luke Donald, Robert Allenby, Ernie Els, and Ricky Fowler -- went "straight for the snake shaker" (as Ben put it in his video) and let that desire for a win loose. In fact, Davis posted a birdie-eagle-birdie finish! It looked Ben's hopes might be dashed.

But Mr. Fitness wasn't done. He stepped up to the tee at 15, drove the par-4 green, and sank the putt for eagle. A birdie on 18 sealed the deal, and suddenly Ben Crane had two wins in one year.

And so today's Limerick Summary celebrates the man who has slowly but surely found a way to "experience the Zone." Wonder where I can find one of those sledge wands... ?
Crane’s workout skills may be debatable,
But his golf skills are quite validatable.
His two wins this year
May cause rivals to fear…
At least if the ball is inflatable.


  1. How about Alexis Thompson coming in second in a men's mini tour event down in Florida ? (of course, that's stretching the definition of "mini tour" to its limit. I think it was a one or two round tournament for some dink "tour" where you might make a thousand dollars for the win. She was just looking for some competition and a tournament to play...but a good result all the same)

  2. But -- if the rumors that Lexi plans to petition the LPGA for membership next year are true -- it certainly didn't hurt her case any. I've played in a couple of those two-day events, and a lot of the players are guys who normally play the Hooters Tour, etc., when they can't get in a bigger event. I suspect she beat a pretty good field -- certainly a field you would expect to beat a typical woman golfer. (Not that Lexi's typical. ;-)

  3. I'm not convinced that it's Lexi pushing for this exemption - or even her family. Probably just this distrust for lawyers (aka "agents") who see dollar signs with a client.

    If it is the family pushing for this, it's pretty easy to see why. They're only giving her six tournaments a year - not really enough to stay sharp. She could play some DFT events, and a few with the mini tour guys, but maybe this is a sign that they are starting to see why turning pro early and skipping the big list of amateur events can be a bad thing.

    Oh ! Found the men's tournament story. (seems odd saying "men's tournament" since the men don't exclude the women. "Men's" tournaments are always open to the best available players - it's the women who are exclusionary.

  4. My understanding is that Lexi did indeed do this purely to get some competitive practice. I suspect the LPGA will see the logic of creating a new "tier" for young players like her. I don't mean granting full membership per se, but granting more exemptions to those who prove they can compete at this level, perhaps by measuring them against the money list.

    For example, since Lexi made enough money in her few starts to rate a card were she old enough, perhaps the Tour could give her 9 or 10 starts instead of the standard 6. This would give them more chances to play competitively without having to play a full schedule, but it would also give the Tour a concrete requirement (the money total) to sort out the "may be good enough later" from the "certainly good enough now."

    It wouldn't stop the kids from turning pro early, but it would eliminate the question of Tour membership. If you're good enough, you qualify to play 10 events instead of 6, and perhaps good play in those 10 events would automatically give you your first year Tour card when you're old enough.

  5. The point in Mell's article is that, according to the rules as they stand right now, she did not make enough to get a card as a non-member. her "official" earnings were a little over $21k because many of her starts were either overseas or in fields smaller than 75 players. If she were old enough, she wouldn't get a card because of this rule.

    That's an interesting way of doing it with the "if you do this with 6 starts, you get a few more" idea. You need to write it up and send it to Michael Whan.

    I'd like to see her try some 4-spots. They can't limit her starts if she goes out and Monday qualifies.

  6. I just might do that... but how do I contact Michael Whan?

  7. Well, I submitted my suggestion through the "feedback" email address -- that looked to be the best option.

    I guess now we'll see if they think it's workable.

  8. Cool - I hope it gets to Whan's desk. It seems like a really good alternative to the system in place now.