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Monday, December 9, 2013

The Limerick Summary: 2013 Northwestern Mutual World Challenge

Winner: Zach Johnson

Around the wider world of golf: Miguel Angel Jiménez had the record as the oldest winner on the ET; with his win at the Hong Kong Open, he pushed that record even farther! Thomas Björn won the Nedbank Golf Challenge, also on the ET; Pornanong Phatlum won the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on the LET; Lydia Ko won her 5th pro tournament (and 1st as a pro) at the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters, co-sponsored by the KLPGA and Taiwan LPGA (this tournament is where a number of the LPGA players were this week, and the Constructivist has details); and Yusaku Miyazato (Ai's brother) won the Golf Nippon Series JT Cup on the Japan Tour. Also, GC signed a TV deal with the Asian Tour, so we'll actually get to see some of those events over the next 10 years.

Zach captures a tiger of his own

Tiger and Company clearly decided to give Sherwood Country Club a fitting sendoff. After 14 years as the World Challenge's host, it certainly deserved something nice.

But I'm not sure anybody was prepared for the drama and surprises they got.

Both Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar thought they had a chance to win when Tiger bogeyed 14 and Zach parred it, but neither could avoid bogeys on the way to the clubhouse. They needed help from both of the frontrunners but got none, so they finished a distant 3rd and 4th, respectively.

By the time they reached the 15th tee, only Tiger and Zach Johnson had a realistic chance to win the title. Tiger led by a single stroke, and both parred the 15th. Then the fun began.

Zach nearly holed his third shot on the par-5 16th. Both he and Tiger birdied.

Zach nearly holed his tee shot on the par-3 17th. He birdied, Tiger parred, and the two went to the par-4 18th tied for the lead.

That's when it got a little wild.

Zach hit the fairway, Tiger found the rough. Tiger tried a draw from the rough with the ball below his feet, and didn't get enough on it. He ended up in the deep greenside bunker, leaving Zach with a straightforward approach... which, inexplicably, Zach shanked into the water fronting the green.

And then Zach holed his wedge from the drop zone for a par, leaving Tiger to scramble for par to force a playoff... which he did. And in the playoff Tiger left his ball in the bunker again but couldn't get it up and down this time.

Those who understand the arcane workings of the OWGR say Zach will probably jump to #9 with this win. (It may not be an official PGA Tour win, but it DOES get official world ranking points.) And next year the World Challenge will jump all the way across the country to Florida and its new home, Isleworth. But Zach's mighty leap over the host of the final World Challenge at Sherwood is going to be talked about for quite a while.

Back in 2011 Tiger beat Zach by a single shot at this event. This week Zach returned the favor, and receives his very own Limerick Summary as a reward:
Tiger went out to win his own tourney
And he brought Zach along for the journey.
At the end, both got edgy;
Zach gave him a wedgie
And Tiger’s hopes left on a gurney.
The photo came from the tournament's homepage at PGATOUR.com.

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