Monday, March 26, 2012

The Limerick Summary: 2012 Arnold Palmer Invitational

Winner: Tiger Woods

Around the wider world of golf: Karen Lunn won the Lalla Meryem Cup on the Ladies European Tour; Nick Cullen got his first pro win at the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open, co-sanctioned by OneAsia and the Japan Golf Tour; Fred Couples picked up another Champions Tour victory at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic; Michael Hoey got his 3rd ET win in a year at the Trophée Hassan II; Pei Lin Yu won the Yumeya Championship on the LAGT; Yani Tseng picked up win #3 of 2012 at the LPGA's Kia Classic; and Casey Wittenberg picked up his first win at the Nationwide Tour's Chitimacha Louisiana Open.

Tiger with his newest trophy

Guess who's back in the official winner's circle?

I won't repeat all the facts and figures that have already been repeated endlessly in the aftermath of his win (and will probably be run into the ground during the next week). I'll just refer you to the PGATOUR.com wrap-up report by Larry Dorman. It also includes video of some of Tiger's best shots.

But Sunday was a commentary of sorts on the state of modern golf. Fred Couples, arguably the most popular (and dangerous) player on the Champions Tour, got another win. He was joined by Yani Tseng, who simply tore the Kia Classic field apart much as Tiger did at Arnie's place on her way to her 3rd win in 5 starts. And now the Big Cat has returned to the competitive forefront just in time for the Masters.

In fact, apparently Tiger has already been talking privately about the "Big Four," the 2012 Grand Slam, as a real possibility. Whether you believe it or not, the fact remains that Tiger's play over the last few months has backed up his claims that the "Foley swing" was just what he needed to be competitive again.

Personally, I'm still blown away by the fact that Tiger is leading in the Total Driving stat. Years ago he reportedly told Fred Funk, at that time the most accurate driver on Tour, that one day he'd be as accurate as the Funkster. If that day has come, heaven help the rest of the field!

I'm glad to see that Graeme McDowell is finally coming back into form, despite his stumbles on Sunday. And as good as Tiger may become, I believe there are several -- SEVERAL -- of Tiger's former "mice" (as well as some newbies) who won't fall into his clutches so easily this time.

But one thing is certain: The Big Cat's no longer away, and the mice will be forced to play if they want any cheese from here on out. No one -- and especially not Tiger -- will have any excuse going forward.

Yes indeed, 2012 just got a whole lot more interesting.

So today's Limerick Summary is dedicated to the once-beloved Cat we buried out in the Pet Sematary a couple of years ago. He's back... but he looks much better than Stephen King predicted!
Despite a few shots in the woods,
At last Tiger showed us the goods.
But with one in his pocket
And "Four" on the docket
There'll be no more woulds, coulds, or shoulds.
The photo came from the API tournament page at PGATOUR.com.

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