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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Limerick Summary: 2011 Waste Management Phoenix Open

Winner: Mark Wilson

Around the wider world of golf: Thomas Bjorn won the Commercialbank Qatar Masters for his 11th career title on the European Tour, moving into the Top 60 on the OWGR and qualifying himself for the WGC–Accenture Match Play; and Yani Tseng won the ISPS HANDA Australian Women's Open on the LET, moving up to #2 on the Rolex World Rankings.

Photo of Mark Wilson from PGATOUR.comAfter several days of frigid temperatures, a cancelled Wednesday pro-am, two four-hour delays due to frost on Thursday and Friday, nearly two full rounds of play on Sunday, and a Monday finish that went to a playoff, Mark Wilson proved that he thrives in tough situations -- just like he did three weeks ago when he won the Sony Open after monsoons resulted in a 36-hole Sunday finish. If he can just manage to win one in fog, he'll have completed the Triple Crown of Watergolf!

And like most of the tournaments so far this year, it turned into another exciting finish. After Phil, Rickie Fowler, and Bill Haas stumbled during their final rounds, and Vijay Singh posted -16 as play ended Sunday, it came down to Wilson, Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey, and Jason Dufner. All of these three players are the kind of guys you like to see win on Tour.

Gainey, who I've been pulling for ever since his Big Break days, was clearly nervous but holding it together pretty well until the 17th hole Monday morning. He said he had a good warm-up and felt good about his driver, but it let him down on the drivable par-4 17th. The ball drew too much, rolled down the shaved bank to the left and hit a hazard stake before bounding into the water. He admitted he was thinking too much about the ball rolling back into the pond during his recovery shot; his chip never made it over the green's false front. It did roll back into the water, resulting in a triple that ended his chances of winning. He still finished T8 and will be at Pebble this week.

Dufner continued his good play from the last three years by shooting -2 on the last three holes to post -18. He also led the field in putting this week. He's never won, but it's only a matter of time if he keeps playing this well. This wasn't his time, however; Wilson parred the last hole to force a playoff, then birdied the 2nd playoff hole to win.

You may remember that Mark called a 2-stroke penalty on himself after his caddy inadvertently gave information to a fellow competitor at the 2007 Honda Classic, the tournament that ultimately became his first win. At the end of a bad 2010, Wilson needed a good finish at Disney just to keep his card. He finished in 6th place, squeaking into 123rd place on the money list.

Now, after 5 tournaments -- and he's only started 3 of them! -- Wilson has 2 victories and leads both the FedExCup race and the money list. In addition, he leads the Scrambling stat and is 3rd in GIR, having hit just under 80%. And you might not believe it, but he's only T70 in putts per round. That's not bad though, folks -- when you hit a lot of greens, you generally have more two putts.

I heard them say Wilson's hero is Ben Hogan, and some of the commentators remarked on how much like the "Iceman" he was. So this Limerick Summary pays tribute to the first two-time winner of the year. Don't worry, it won't be a chilly reception:
He’s two out of five for the season
And there’s no need to search for a reason:
Though conditions may change,
Mark has ice in his veins
And a golf swing that won’t commit treason.
The photo is from PGATOUR.com.

3 comments:

  1. Too bad for Tommy "Two Gloves". We followed him for a few holes. If you think his swing looks violent on television, you should see it in person. It would have been a great story. BTW...Did you see the footage of his dad's swing. He's a two-glover as well.

    It was good to see Vijay do well. I watched him on the putting green after round two. He stayed out there for about an hour just grooving 5 footers. Hopefully he can contend in a few more tournaments this season.

    Good job by Mark Wilson. Too bad he's a Packers fan. Go Bears!

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  2. lol - another good one, Mike - but there's a change that needs to be made to get it right. Wilson is two for THREE this season. He didn't play Kapalua or Torrey Pines.

    Adds a little extra pop to his season.

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  3. Dex -- I was glad to see Vijay play well too. Hopefully he's over his knee problems this year.

    Court -- I did mention that he only started in 3 tournaments earlier in the post... but we're 5 tournaments into the 2011 season, and that's what I was referring to -- he's won 2 of the first 5 tournaments this year.

    If he wins at Pebble this week, it may be that fog victory I mentioned! ;-)

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