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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Limerick Summary: 2017 Zurich Classic

Winner: Jonas Blixt/Cameron Smith

Around the wider world of golf: Haru Nomura won the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout on the LPGA; Yusaku Miyazato won The Crowns on the Japan Golf Tour; Shiv Kapur won the Yeangder Heritage on the Asian Tour; Matt Atkins won the El Bosque Mexico Championship on the Web.com Tour; and Alexander Levy won the Volvo China Open on the ET.

Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith with Zurich trophy

Zurich wanted something that would revive an event that was struggling, despite its location in New Orleans, due to its place in the schedule. They got that, and more -- a gripping event where players posted unbelievable scores in tough conditions.

And they got a playoff in the bargain, where two very hot teams had to hang around for an extra day to settle the score. The teams of Kevin Kisner/ Scott Brown and Jonas Blixt/Cameron Smith had sunk chips and putts from everywhere with apparent ease during the event proper, despite the tough conditions, leaving their competition to grind their teeth in frustration.

Unfortunately, the playoff wasn't nearly as gripping as the tournament. Perhaps -- and I suspect this is indeed the case -- the players simply burned themselves out in the 72-hole crucible created by 20+mph winds, heavy rain and unpredictable breaks for dangerous lightning. It's the only reason I can find for the lack of birdies in Monday's playoff -- four men play four holes (three par-5s) and they can only muster one birdie.

The drain was evident when young Cameron Smith, getting his first win and a precious two-year exemption, was unable to even tell Dottie Pepper how happy he was. Overcome with emotion, he had to let partner and two-time Tour winner Jonas Blixt do the talking.

While the end may not have been as thrilling as we would have liked, it's pretty clear that Zurich hit a home run with this one. Will it have staying power? It's hard to tell, but the event's uniqueness -- and desirable perks -- may very well do the job.

True, the newly-revamped Zurich Classic doesn't offer a trip to the Masters. But it DOES offer a Limerick Summary, just like any other event. And that's what really matters, isn't it?
Four days battling high winds and rain
Still wasn't enough to restrain
The hot putters of Blixt
And his young partner Smith…
But the playoff was much more mundane.
The photo came from the tournament wrap-up page at PGATOUR.com.

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