Monday, February 27, 2012

The Limerick Summary: 2012 WGC-Accenture Match Play

Winner: Hunter Mahan

Around the wider world of golf: Angela Stanford won a 4-woman playoff to take the HSBC Women's Champions on the LPGA; Mami Fukuda won the Miyazaki Ladies Open on the LAGT; Anirban Lahiri of India won the SAIL-SBI Open in a playoff on the Asian Tour; and John Huh beat Robert Allenby in an 8-hole playoff to get his first win at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, the PGA Tour's alternate field event this week.

Mahan picks up his 2nd WGC win

I may start calling him Hunter Mayhem. He certainly wreaked mayhem on the field at the WGC-Accenture.

And especially on one Rory McIlroy.

That's no knock on McIlroy by any means. I don't think any of us question that he's the best golfer in the world right now. (He'll be debuting at #1 in my RGWR today.) But Rory simply didn't have his best stuff this week. He ran hot and cold every day, even without the letdown after beating Lee Westwood in the semifinal match. I still don't think he was in the right frame of mind this week; my suspicion is that he already has magnolias on his mind.

Of course, we all know what Hunter had on his mind. Behold the Nome putter! (Click the photo to see more pics at the Golfwrx site.) Apparently Hunter's been having some problems with lining up his putts and this putter fixed them. I suspect this little baby will be on his mind -- and in his bag -- for quite some time.

Ping Nome putter

Hunter certainly used this putter -- as well as his other clubs -- to clean up at the WGC-Accenture. He picked up steam all week, taking out Zach Johnson, Y.E. Yang, Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar, Mark Wilson, and Rory McIlroy -- a murderer's row of match players if ever there was one. He's come a long way from that tearful defeat at the 2010 Ryder Cup.

Helen Ross did an article for PGATOUR.com that covers the mindset changes Hunter has made to become a tougher player. In it she writes:
Mahan, who moved from 22nd in the world to ninth on Sunday, cracking the top 10 for the first time in his career, said he began to see a turnaround toward the end of last year. Take his playoff loss to Bill Haas at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola with the FedExCup's $10 million bonus on the line, for example.

"I think ... my reaction there probably surprised a lot of people," Mahan said. "But it was because I found out that I played great and there's no reason to be upset. There's always good in every day. If you play bad, there's probably some good you can find out and something you can learn from. And that's what I do."
That optimistic attitude is something weekend golfers can learn from as well. If Hunter can learn to do it when he makes a living from the game -- and knows his failures will be seen by millions of people around the world -- surely we can handle a few scruffy shots played for fun.

For some people, the biggest news this week was that the Golf Boys have another video planned... and even an entire album. But I'd say this Golf Boy already has a big hit on his hands. Don't be surprised if we see some more before the year's over. I'd be really surprised if Rory's the only player thinking about magnolias right about now.

So this week's Limerick Summary is dedicated to a guy who's learned how to handle the pressure of big time match play and has a bag full of big game to prove it:
Oh, oh, oh… Hunter has hefted
The trophy. His play was so deft it
Could win anywhere.
Augusta, beware
If Hunter's game stays where he left it!
The photo came from the front page of PGATOUR.com.

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