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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Limerick Summary: 2011 Deutsche Bank Championship

Winner: Webb Simpson

Around the wider world of golf: Most players got their wins early so they could take Labor Day off... if they were playing, that is. The LPGA and Champions Tours were off last week. But Gary Christian got his first win at the Mylan Classic on the Nationwide Tour; Thomas Björn got his second win in as many weeks (his third this season) at the Omega European Masters; Caroline Hedwall won the UNIQA Ladies Open on the LET (that's her third win this season, not counting the PowerPlay Golf tournament); and Li-Ying Ye got her first win at the Golf5 Ladies on the JLPGA. (The Constructivist has the details here.)

Webb thanks God for his win

Perhaps we should nickname Webb Simpson "the Prince," after Niccolò Machiavelli’s best-known book, Il Principe (yes, that means "The Prince" in Italian). The book has long been considered a guide for those who seek to gain and hold power. It was once considered radical because it didn't shy away from bluntly saying that you may have to be ruthless and even act immorally to keep that power once you have it.

In fact, that's where we got the term "machiavellian." Old Nick became a bit of a pariah in his time because of that book.

No one would accuse Webb of being machiavellian -- at least, not in the traditional sense of the word. He called a penalty on himself earlier in the year which probably cost him a victory. And The Prince recommends that a ruler encourage religion in his followers while abstaining himself. Some of Webb's detractors have given him a hard time for his very obvious Christian faith. That's one of the reasons I chose the picture here -- Webb isn't afraid to 'fess up to his faith.

In any case, old Nick would not approve.

But I'm sure Nick would approve of what we've seen at the Wyndham and now at the Deutsche Bank -- Webb striding confidently down the fairways, mercilessly crushing any player in front of him on the leaderboard, winning gracefully... but winning decisively, nevertheless.

I've been less than complimentary of belly putters, and I'm not about to change my stance. All things being equal, a good feel putter will beat a mechanical player with a belly putter more times than not. BUT if you're going to be a mechanical putter, I'll certainly concede that the belly putter is the best way to do it -- better even than the broomstick. Webb has certainly proven he can wield one with authority (ah yes, Machiavelli was big on authority), using it to hand out beatdowns his opponents won't soon forget.

So Webb Simpson now enters the rarefied air of those Tour players with two wins and two runner-ups this season. Granted, he'll have to wait at least another few months for a major, but if he plays his cards right he just may pick up another victory, Player of the Year, and perhaps an extremely large bank account in the meantime.

It's good to be the king... or the prince, as the case may be.

So this week's Limerick Summary salutes the new monarch of the FedExCup playoffs. He's not committing hari kari with that putter shaft he's got stuck in his gut... but his opponents may wish he was:
Though Webb sticks a shaft in his belly,
It's clear that he's not full of jelly.
He rises to battle
And never gets rattled—
He's ruthless, like Nick Machiavelli!
The photo came from the front page of PGATOUR.com. Knowing how things change, it probably won't be there when you check later!

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