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Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Golf Scene Turns Volatile

This week's golf has gotten really interesting, really fast. I thought the halfway point might be a good time to check out where we are.

But first let me get this out of my system: "OH MY GOD TIGER WOODS IS LEADING A TOURNAMENT FOR THE SECOND DAY IN A ROW!"

There. I feel much better now.

Sean Foley will soon be elected Emperor of the World, I suspect. Commentators are beginning to say nice things about Tiger's swing again, and Tiger has played well two days in a row (65-66, in case you're interested) while other good players are also playing well. It helps that those players are Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, and Luke Donald. That's important, I think; it doesn't mean a lot if Tiger beats players who aren't playing well. If his swing holds up in a truly competitive tournament -- even if it's only 18 players -- that's certainly a sign that he's getting back on track.

There was some talk that Tiger could win the Chevron and retake #1 in the rankings -- at least until the end of the year, when Lee Westwood would retake it by virtue of points dropping off the back end of the rankings.

Well, as a great man once said... screw that. Westwood has posted his own 68-64 in his first two rounds at the Nedbank Golf Challenge (formerly the Sun City tournament) and is 3 shots ahead of his nearest competition. Do you think a new little rivalry may be brewing between these two? Could be a fun 2011!

And then there's the ladies. The LPGA Tour Championship is different from most. Whereas the PGA lets only 30 players in, and the European and Nationwide tours let 60 in -- and on all 3 tours they all play in all 4 rounds -- the women start 120 players, cut to 70 after 2 rounds, and then cut to 30 after 3 rounds.

Madness is a wondrous thing, don't you think?

However, Orlando has also discovered a madness of its own. The temperatures have dropped drastically -- it's 40° in the morning and 60° in the afternoon. The winds are up. The rounds are going slow and they have to be finished at 7am the next morning.

To make a long story short, it looks like only Cristie Kerr and Na Yeon Choi have a realistic chance to take POY from Yani Tseng.
  • The leader is Amy Yang at -7.
  • Miyazato and Shin will probably make the first cut, but just barely -- they're 15 off the lead at +8.
  • Tseng is +4, but she's got such a lead that it may not matter if she misses the final round.
  • Pettersen is +2, and Choi -- the only player with an opportunity to sweep all the awards -- is 7 back at even.
  • Kerr is T5 at -2, and she has to win to have any chance of taking POY honors.
Things should get pretty interesting on all the tours this weekend... it looks like everybody has something important to play for. While the golf this month may seem less important, remember what happened last year:

After it became clear that Tiger was out for a while, Chevron invited a last-minute replacement who rushed around the world to take the spot. That player made enough world ranking points to get into the majors... which got Graeme McDowell off to the best year of his career.

A lot of momentum for 2011 could get going this week. Volatility pays, folks.

4 comments:

  1. Tongue in cheek aside - can you blame the commentators for saying nice things about Tiger's swing ? It looks SO much better now that he's gotten that Haney mess out of there. Better balance, much smoother, fewer moving parts...even with the Hank Haney "Magic grip".

    LPGA needs to move the Tour Championship further south - maybe to Miami or Naples. This global warming is making a mess of things. ;-)

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  2. About Haney... I've got something for you to watch for tonight when they show his Academy show. In all the previews I've seen, Haney's swing looks very upright and not flat at all. I'm wondering if he'll say anything about that.

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  3. I'll keep an eye out for it. But as we've seen, they haven't exactly been picking the highlights of the shows to use in the commercials.

    Have you initiated your core today ? (lol)

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  4. My core is too frozen to initiate... we're having our first snow of the season today. I need to thaw my core!

    Hmmm... would that mean I'm striving for better convection in my swing? ;-)

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