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Monday, April 4, 2011

The Limerick Summary: 2011 Shell Houston Open

Winner: Phil Mickelson

Around the wider world of golf: The Great Ruthlesski smiled smugly as Stacy Lewis came from behind to grab her first LPGA victory -- and first major -- at the Kraft Nabisco Championship; Tom Lehman won the Mississippi Golf Resort Classic on the Champions Tour; Zuzana Kamasova became the first Slovakian winner on the LET when she won the Lalla Meryem Cup; and David Horsey won the Trophée Hassan II in a three-way playoff on the ET.

Photo of Phil from a greenside bunker on the 8th
Click the photo to read the LA Times summary.

What will Phil do next? Just make the bookmakers scream bloody murder, that's all.

You see, the last thing a bookmaker wants is heavy betting on the most likely player to win the Masters. Guess what started happening mere minutes after the final round of the Shell Houston Open?

It was bad enough that Phil tied the course record on Saturday with a 63, which was also the best round of the day and his best round in two years. It almost certainly started a buzz in the betting community. But then he follows it up with a 65 -- again the best round of the day and easily the best weekend for him in that same two-year period. Did I mention that he won the Masters during his "slump"?

He also jumped all the way up to #2 in the FedExCup points race. For all the gloom and doom about Phil's game, he's actually been playing better than he did last year before the Masters.

BTW, did I mention that he won last year's Masters during his "slump"?

It wasn't as if Mickelson just waltzed his way into the winner's circle, even if he made it look that way. (Does Phil waltz? Perhaps Phil will do "Dancing with the Stars" next.) Scott Verplank, whose lifelong struggle with diabetes has sidetracked his career several times, came in second and once again showed just how good a player he is when he's even slightly healthy. Newcomer Chris Kirk (no relation to James T.) chalked up the best finish of his short career to tie Verplank. Steve Stricker knocked the rust off his game pretty quick and even Padraig Harrington showed up in time for the Azalea Festival we like to call the Masters.

Did I happen to mention that Phil once won a Masters after winning the week before, and that he's never been out of the Top 10 there when he's won the week before (3 times)?

Look, I don't want to paint Phil as the savior of golf. Quite frankly, I've enjoyed seeing some new blood on the leaderboard and, if ratings are any indication, most golf fans have too. But I agree with Johnny Miller, Dan Hicks, and all the other commentators I've heard talk about it -- all major sports seem to thrive best when there are one or two dominant players that those up-and-comers are trying to displace. Phil's win, especially the week before the Masters, is one of the best things that could happen to golf.

But perhaps the most fascinating aspect of it all is that Phil finally leapfrogged Tiger in the world rankings -- in fact, he's now #3 again. Why's that so fascinating? Because now he's only .68 points behind Westwood and 1.16 points behind Martin Kaymer. If he could somehow win the Masters next week... !

Wow... could Phil somehow defend his title at the Masters next?

Welcome to the 2011 PGA Tour, where Phil is Phil and the bookies are nervous.

Today's Limerick Summary salutes the resurgence of Lefty and the start of a very interesting week at Augusta:
The father of golf thrills, Phil Mickelson,
In past months played more like a fickle son.
Now bookies are fretting—
The gamblers are betting
And Phil's who they're putting their nickels on!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's really great job by Mickelson.Well done.Good playing and it's a wonderful post to know about Mickelson.Amazing share to help many golf learners.

    ReplyDelete