Monday, April 2, 2012

The Limerick Summary: 2012 Shell Houston Open

Winner: Hunter Mahan

Around the wider world of golf: The expected coronation of Yani Tseng never materialized. Instead, after a wild day of scrambling, Sun Young Yoo grabbed her first LPGA major in a playoff at the Kraft Nabisco. (Poor I.K. Kim never knew what hit her.) Digvijay Singh got his first Asian Tour win at the Panasonic Open India; Thorbjørn Olesen got his first ET win at the Sicilian Open; and Ritsuko Ryu won the Yamaha Ladies Open on the JLPGA. (The Constructivist has the details.)

Hunter Mayhem strikes again!

When Hunter won the WGC-Accenture Match Play a few weeks ago, I dubbed him Hunter Mayhem because of all the damage he was doing to the field. It appears that he likes the name!

It's not that Hunter is doing anything spectacular. In fact, he shot a miserly 1-under 71 in his win at the Shell Houston Open. And yet no one else within range of the lead could do any better.

Louis "King Louis" Oosthuizen looked to be back in form -- he's been trending well the last few months -- but squandered his 3rd round lead with a 4-over final round. The only man to make a real run at the title was Carl Pettersen (who lives in NC, btw) and the best he could come up with was a 71 as well. It just wasn't enough.

So how did Hunter Mayhem become the first 2-time winner this season, leap to the top of the FedExCup points race, and grab enough world ranking points to become (projected) the new #4 in the world?

It's simple. Hunter has been coming up big in the short game and putting departments lately. It started when he added that new Ping putter to his bag at the Accenture (I included photos of it in the Limerick Summary post referenced earlier) and it's continued with some Mickelsonesque (is that a word?) chipping this week. And, according to PGATOUR.com's wrap-up report, Hunter credits his sports psychologist Jim Murphy for helping him enjoy the game more.

Easy job. The guy's the only 2-time winner on Tour so far, one of those is a WGC, and he's won nearly $3mil this year just on the PGA Tour. How hard can it be to enjoy the game? Take the money and run, Jim! Smiley Faces

He "enjoyed himself" on a course set up to play as much like Augusta National as possible, I should add. That's something we shouldn't overlook here. Hunter's headed for the Masters with 2 wins -- including that WGC -- and a full head of steam. Does that make him a favorite over Tiger, Phil, or Rory? (We probably shouldn't overlook Lee Westwood either.)

Probably not... but I wouldn't want to tell him that.

So this week's Limerick Summary salutes the newest "big thang" (that's Deep South slang, for those of you not from the southeastern US) on the PGA Tour... and the total lack of respect the betting houses will probably give him this week at Augusta. Not that I think that's very smart:
H. Mayhem is back with a vengeance!
He clearly no longer plays defense
When he's near the lead…
But no one will cede
Him a win at the Masters in deference.
The photo came from the front page of PGATOUR.com.

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