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Friday, January 21, 2011

Schwartzel Again?

Yes, Charl Schwartzel is at it again. No sooner did he win again in Africa and get some love from me about his swing than he jumps right back into the fray, this time in Abu Dhabi. He sits on top of the leaderboard after a first-round -8.

Not that Charl is the only guy looking good in the desert. Padraig Harrington -- you remember him, don't you? -- is in second, one shot back. To watch him play Thursday, you wouldn't believe he's had so much trouble over the last couple of years. He looked really confident out there, for the first time in a long time.

Martin Kaymer is T6 at -5. The commentators said he had made a swing change but it looks more like he's just trying to learn a new way to draw the ball, since I didn't see him use it on every swing. Kaymer's standard swing is a fade.

Lee Westwood is T15 (-3), which isn't too bad this early, and he has no worries about losing the #1 ranking this week. In fact, I heard that that he may not need to worry for a while, since he'll only lose a single Top 10 finish off the back end of the ratings period during the next two or three months. His swing looked pretty solid after a few weeks off.

Phil Mickelson is all the way back at -1, tied for 41st. It's not that Phil played badly -- he had two birdies and one bogey -- he just didn't get anything going.

But frankly, I think the real story here is the continued good play of G-Mac, who's tied for third at -6. At this point I'm not so sure he cares how anybody else is playing, as he put on another of his patented runs and birdied his last five holes! McDowell plans to take some time off next week, so it'll be interesting to see how he plays after his break... but I'm not ready to bet against him having another great year.

And maybe a great week as well. Schwartzel's got his work cut out for him.


  1. and he's STILL not hitting fairways. huge misses to the right.

  2. It finally caught up with him in the third round. Kaymer's looking awfully good now!