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Monday, January 10, 2011

The Limerick Summary: 2011 Hyundai Tournament of Champions

Winner: Jonathan Byrd

Around the wider world of golf: Looks like Louis Oosthuizen's ankle is completely healed. He picked up his third European Tour win in a three-way playoff at the African Open. Louis will be jumping into my Top 5 this week as he now has 3 wins in the last 12 months, which includes the Open Championship. The 2011 golf season is officially underway!

Photo of Jonathan Byrd

Regardless of where you stand on the "best in the world" argument that the OWGR usually sparks, there is one thing you can't deny: Right now, Graeme McDowell is the man! His blistering bogey-free final round of -11 — a round that could have easily been -14 — proved, if it was necessary, that the man is truly a force to be reckoned with. Players making their first appearance at Kapalua aren't supposed to play that well!

Alas, G-Mac fell a little short, posting -23 for a solo third. The kona winds took their toll on everybody in contention except for Jonathan Byrd and Robert Garrigus. (Garrigus really needs a cool nickname, like G-Mac or J-Byrd.) It truly was the kind of match play that makes for good TV — an animated bomber, the longest player on Tour, facing off against a quiet strategist who averages between 30 and 40 yards less off the tee.

And neither faltered coming down the stretch. Each had a chance to win on the 18th — Garrigus missed an eagle putt and Byrd a birdie putt. The two went to a playoff and parred the 18th, so it was back to the 1st hole... and that's where things turned. Byrd could only par the hole, but Garrigus missed a short one to extend the playoff.

It's hard not to root for Robert Garrigus, especially since the big hitter has such a great view of life. That optimism came through as he talked about how much confidence this 2nd-place finish gave him. Hey, it's hard to have it much better than a win and a 2nd in your last two tournaments!

Unless you're Jonathan Byrd and your last two finishes are wins, both in playoffs. If he keeps playing this solidly, he could end up being a player to watch in 2011. He's going to be in the majors now and, as we found out last year, it only takes one good week at a major to change your life. Just ask G-Mac!

This week's Limerick Summary pays homage to a player with a classic-looking swing by tipping its hat to another classic — the Beatles' Norwegian Wood:
As Garrigus came to the playoff’s end
He and Jonathan struggled to putt it in.
But soon Rob would find
He had been left behind—
This J-Byrd had flown on the kona win.


  1. Hmmmm - ok :-) I like the kona wind - but was there a kona blowing on Sunday ?

  2. I thought I heard them talking about the kona when the broadcast started. At any rate, J-Byrd had to play through the konas during at least two rounds.

    Is there no room for poetic license anymore? ;-)