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Monday, February 3, 2014

The Limerick Summary: 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open

Winner: Kevin Stadler

Around the wider world of golf: Kind of a slow week for golf. Stephen Gallacher became the first player ever to defend at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on the ET, and Mi Hyang Lee won the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open on the LET. And the Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII.

The Lesser Walrus takes his place with Dad

No one can settle on a nickname for Kevin Stadler. For the time being, I'll just call him "the Lesser Walrus." He's got a ways to go before he's on a level with his dad, Craig Stadler aka THE Walrus (no, not the late John Lennon), but he's made a start.

It's been a long haul for Kevin. Although he's won several times on the Web.com Tour (one of those wins came on the same day as a Champions Tour win for his dad) and once on the Euro Tour, he's had trouble getting past the runner-up stage in PGA Tour events. And with Bubba Watson starting the final round 2 shots ahead of him, on a course that suited a long hitter like Bubba, things didn't look that good for him on Sunday.

Until Kevin birdied the first 3 holes. And for most of the day it looked like it was between Bubba and Kevin... until around hole 15. Then it seemed like it was anybody's tournament for the taking. In the end only Graham DeLaet made a real run -- he finished just one off the lead -- and it came down to Kevin and Bubba on the 18th hole.

Neither player had displayed particularly stellar play over the back 9 -- they were all over the course, dumping balls in the water and the sand, and Kevin even managed to get a ball suspended in air on cactus spines -- but somehow they were tied at -16 on the 18th tee. Kevin played the hole as well as possible, hitting the fairway, sticking the ball fairly close to the pin, and two-putting for par.

For Bubba it was less tidy. He missed the fairway wide right, then hit the ball long into the rough, leaving a downhill lie to a fast green. His chip didn't come off as he planned but he left himself a longish putt for par... which he missed. But it was that kind of hole -- Ryan Moore, the third member of the group, saw his birdie putt make a full 360° lap around the rim before stopping a couple of inches away.

In the end, a very pleased Lesser Walrus waddled up to accept his first PGA Tour trophy. (Okay, maybe "Lesser Walrus" isn't that great a nickname. I'll work on it.)

At any rate, I am very pleased to give Kevin his very first Limerick Summary. After all, when Kevin tees it up at Augusta with his dad in April, that will be yet another bit of father-son history for the Stadlers:
When Bubba fell prey to disasters,
It sent Kevin straight to the Masters
Where he’ll play with his dad—
The first time we’ve had
Such a pair. That’s prime stuff for broadcasters!
The photo came from the front page at PGATOUR.com.

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