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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Limerick Summary: 2011 CMN Hospitals Classic

Winner: Luke Donald

Around the wider world of golf: This was a week for impressive wins and hometown heroes. Yani Tseng won her 7th LPGA event (and 10th worldwide victory) this year at home in the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship; Sergio Garcia returned to the winner's circle at his home course by winning the Castillo Masters on the ET; Frances Bondad got her first LET victory at the Sanya Ladies Open; Shiho Oyama beat Paula Creamer in a playoff at the JLPGA's Masters GC Ladies (the Constructivist has details); and Gavin Coles, after a wicked string of MCs earlier in the year, won the Winn Dixie Jacksonville Open on the Nationwide Tour, pretty much guaranteeing that he'll be on the Big Tour in 2012.

Luke Donald holds one of the most collectible Disney sculptures around

Yani Tseng and Sergio Garcia both made some serious news this weekend, but the folks down at the House of Mouse still managed to steal the headlines. I just have one question: If winners go to DisneyWorld to celebrate, where do you go if you're already IN DisneyWorld when you win?

In Luke Donald's case, I guess you go home and paint the nursery. Mama's expecting any day now. I guess it's appropriate that he won the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.

Forgive me if I gloat a little here. Back in my January 2011 Ruthless Golf World Rankings post, I ranked Luke Donald #10 and wrote this:
Luke Donald: 1 win. Donald makes this list on the strength of the 9 Top 5s he's posted since February -- almost one per month! Given that he doesn't have the length of players like Westwood, this is just an amazing display of precision. He's another player who's been recovering from injury... and who may be on track to break out in 2011. I'll be really surprised if he doesn't post at least one important win this year.
Hmmm... sounds like I may have been on to something. (Dances wildly around the room for several minutes, screaming "I'M THE MAN!" at the top of his lungs.) Seriously, I felt really good about Luke's chances but this... this is just far beyond anything I imagined.

All Luke did was step up and grab 4 worldwide wins -- 2 on each tour, and he did it by posting low scores in the final rounds. Not only did he get 2 wins on each tour, but he got both stroke and match play victories on each tour -- including a WGC and a BMW, which he got by beating both of the previous world #1s before him. In fact, he's been #1 in the world for half the year, longer than anybody since Tiger... and his points lead just keeps growing. He has a ridiculous number of Top5s; Webb Simpson has only 3 besides his 2 wins -- the media's been comparing Top10s, which doesn't nearly tell the tale (tail?) of what Luke's done.

Then he came to Disney because it was his only chance to win the money title. The only way he could do it was to win the dang thing, and he did it by playing all 4 days paired with the guy he had to beat and then shooting 30 on the back 9 to seal the deal. Even Webb admitted that Luke's play was more than he expected.

And now Luke's snagged both the PGA Tour money title and the Vardon Trophy for lowest adjusted scoring average. It's hard to believe he won't get POY as well.

Plus, as if all that weren't enough, he's in position to be the first player in history to win the money title on both the PGA and ET in the same year. (Tiger wasn't a member of the ET when he was leading money winner on both tours. And Tiger doesn't play as much as Luke does, so Luke did more of that tiring travel than Tiger ever does. As Big Daddy Darth would say, "Impressive. Very impressive.") So Luke will probably win Worldwide Player of the Year as well.

All that remains is for him to get a major. I'm not betting against his chances next year.

I guess this really does count as a breakout year for him. Thank you, Luke Donald, for making me look like a genius.

Forgive me for ignoring all the other great storylines that happened this week. It's just that it's so unusual for a "normal" guy who (1) hits it a normal distance and (2) can only rely on good fundamentals to make his scores to step up and say, "I'm good enough to win, and I've got the guts to do it." In that sense, Luke Donald is the poster child for what I want you weekend players to get from this blog. I hope you're listening!

So this week's Limerick Summary is dedicated to "the mouse that roared." And no, it ain't Mickey:
Folks thought that Luke was a mouse;
Now he's king of the Big Mouse's house!
The irony's funny—
He'll need all that money
For doctor bills, diapers, and spouse!
The photo came from the front page of PGATOUR.com.

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