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Monday, March 12, 2012

The Limerick Summary: 2012 WGC-Cadillac Championship

Winner: Justin Rose

Around the wider world of golf: George McNeill won the PGA Tour's alternate event, the Puerto Rico Open (Ryo Ishikawa's runner-up finish secured him temporary membership on Tour, so we'll be seeing him more often); Mardan Mamat won the PGM-CCM-Impian Masters on the Asian Tour; Paul Haley II won the Chile Classic on the Nationwide Tour; and Bo-Mee Lee won the Yokohama Tire PRGR Ladies Cup on the JLPGA (the Constructivist has the details).

Justin Rose gives his son a trophy

Justin Rose remarked about how often his son asked him if he won the trophy this week... and how often he had to say no. This week he got to say a big yes.

And it's probably appropriate that the tournament sponsored by Cadillac -- who enjoys poking fun at racing car legend Ferrari "borrowing" Cadillac technology -- should have come down to a drag race. The final win, place, and show positions were in doubt until the very last hole!

Once Bubba stumbled right out of the gate (should we follow the racing analogy and say he spun out in turn one?) it looked as if Keegan Bradley might take the checkered flag. But he too flamed out. Both Peter Hanson and Charl Schwartzel ran hot for a few laps before hitting pit row for good.

In the end it was the steady pace of Justin Rose who proved he was built to win. Bubba put on a final lap spurt with two classy shots on the 18th... and then couldn't sink the putt to force a playoff. (Perhaps this is the golf version of NASCAR's Subway Fresh Fit 500 last week, when Denny Hamlin won after Kevin Harvick ran out of fuel on the final lap.)

Of course, most of the challenges to the lead we expected never materialized since the big guns were too far back. Tiger ended up out of the race completely with a bad wheel, having injured his left Achilles tendon again. In the end Rory McIlroy had to play the Tiger this week, coming from nowhere just as Tiger did to him at last week's event.

Rory, of course, copied his childhood idol and came up a couple of shots short. (However, Tiger placed and Rory could only show. But he's young yet.) Let's hope he doesn't strain his Achilles before the Masters as well.

If you look at just his PGA Tour wins, Justin Rose only has four. But what a four they are! He's won at Muirfield Village, Innisbrook Aronimink, Cog Hill, and now Doral. This WGC is definitely the biggest of the four, and he can say he beat all of the other members of the OWGR Top 50 at the same time. Even the majors struggle to make such a claim at times.

My favorite factoid about Justin -- learned this weekend -- is that he has the number 99 on his golf balls. He says 9 is his wife's favorite number, so he figured two of them would be twice as lucky. But the irony is that 1999 -- his first full year as a pro -- was also his worst year ever, as he missed the cut in all of his first 21 events from 1998-99. You gotta love a golfer with a sense of humor like that!

So this week's Limerick Summary salutes the one racer who kept firing on all cylinders down the home stretch at the WGC-Cadillac. Welcome back to Victory Lane, Justin!
This time it was Rory left chasing
While most found the Monster erasing
Their leads, one by one.
But under the gun
'Twas Rose running first, Bubba placing.
The photo came from the World Golf Championships site.

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