Around the wider world of golf: Amy Yang won the Honda LPGA Thailand on the LPGA; Darren Fichardt won the Joburg Open on the ET; and Trent Phillips and Skylar Thompson won their respective categories at the Dustin Johnson World Junior event.
It wasn't Rickie's first win with a 54-hole lead. It was just his first PGA Tour win with a 54-hole lead.
But it wasn't Rickie's prettiest win either, and I suspect there will continue to be criticism of him for that reason. All the work with the driver over the first three days will likely be forgotten since it deserted him on Sunday. He finally closed out a PGA Tour 54-hole lead but he still shot over par. There will be those who say that this win was handed to him.
Let me speak out for Rickie in today's post.
To those who say he didn't play well on Sunday, I say that NOBODY played well late on Sunday. True, Jhonattan Vegas shot a 64. But he shot it early, before the main winds came, and that blistering round got him all the way up to T4. In other words, he hadn't played well enough to be a factor in the first place.
One day of good play doesn't offset three days of bad play for anybody. Rickie played well enough that he won by four shots with an over-par final round, and nobody else did. Rickie earned this win.
Fans and media often criticize Rickie for not winning enough, as if it were easy to win an event. They say he just doesn't try hard enough, because you can do anything if you just set your mind to it. So if everybody just set their minds to it, we would have 156 winners each week, right?
Obviously not. If winning was as easy as some would like to believe, we wouldn't waste our time celebrating victories. Winning is hard and it doesn't happen very often.
And I don't care how much you try to compartmentalize things, emotions affect everybody at some time or other. Rickie's learning how to handle them, however; we can see it in the increased number of victories he has posted in the last few seasons. And this is his earliest US win in a season to date.
So maybe Rickie isn't setting the world on fire right now. But he's gradually learning to come through at the end, and he's keeping his wits (and nerves) about him enough to make 57 of 57 putts inside 7 feet. In my book, that's well worth a Limerick Summary!
On Sunday, the Bear Trap was sprung!The photo came from this page at usatoday.com.
And Rickie's composure, undone
By inaccurate drives,
Somehow kept hope alive
Till his putter could get the job done.