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Monday, January 23, 2012

The Limerick Summary: 2012 Humana Challenge

Winner: Mark Wilson

Around the wider world of golf: Several tours got back in action this week. Brendon Grace won the ET's Volvo Golf Champions, his 2nd win in 2 weeks -- a month ago he was in Q-School!; Karen Lunn won the ActewAGL Royal Canberra Ladies Classic on the ALPG; and Dan Forsman won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship on the Champions Tour.

Mark Wilson gets his fifth win

Some very important people gave Hope to a struggling tournament this week.

Just last year, the future of the tournament formerly known as the Hope (thank you, Prince, for a joke that never dies!) was in serious doubt. It had no sponsor; it had no big names in the field; it had no panache.

And then the executive order came down -- "Save the Hope!"

Former President Bill Clinton and Humana signed up for long-term sponsorship. (Eight years is an eternity in pro golf.) President Clinton completely overhauled the format, called on some friends like Greg Norman, and personally contacted some big-name players like Phil Mickelson. More importantly, he showed up at the event and interacted with players and fans alike, just like Bob Hope had in those glory days so long ago.

Because of President Clinton's efforts, Mark Wilson hoisted his third trophy in 13 months, his fifth in his career. (Is it a surprise that the trophy is now called the Hope Trophy?) But it wasn't easy.

Wilson entered the final round with a 3-shot lead, but a bogey on the 3rd -- and the expected low rounds by the players behind him -- soon put him out of the lead. It looked as if his Hope was dashed. (Sorry, you're going to get a lot of bad Hope jokes today.) But then he reached the 11th and seemed to catch his second wind -- an appropriate thing to do at a tournament that's now dedicated to health awareness. He reeled off 4 birdies in the last 8 holes, including one on the 18th to dash everybody else's Hope of a playoff.

So here's to Mark Wilson and the fifth win of his career. This Limerick Summary is dedicated to him and all the folks involved, who proved that "The Hope springs eternal...":
Though briefly his lead took a dentin'
Mark's final-hole birdie putt went in.
His Hope was revived
Because new friends arrived—
Humana and President Clinton.
The photo came from the tournament page.

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