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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Can the New #1 Win It All?

Well, I came close with my picks for Saturday's matches at the Accenture. Although only one of my four actually won, it turned out to be pretty close.

Y.E. Yang was probably my biggest disappointment. If you were watching, it was pretty obvious by the 2nd or 3rd hole that he wasn't in a "good place" to compete, if you know what I mean. He got upset early on, although he did put up a fight before losing 2&1 to Matt Kuchar.

Luke Donald simply walked over Ryan Moore 5&4. But Ryan shouldn't take it personally -- Donald then walked over Kuchar 6&5. I believe I heard that Donald said he wanted to finish both rounds Saturday in just 24 holes. He took 27.

On the other side of the draw, Jimenez lost 1up to Kaymer. Taking Kaymer a full 18 was no small accomplishment for the oldest player in the field, so I felt pretty good about that pick.

And then there was Bubba. Say what you want, Bubba gained some respect Saturday. He was 5dn after 10 in his match with J.B. Holmes, then came all the way back and won it in 19 holes -- probably the biggest comeback in the tournament's history. Then he faced Kaymer and took him 18 before finally losing 1dn. Bubba played 9 hours of golf Saturday and nearly pulled that off as well. Again, hard to feel bad about that pick!

So now it comes down to Luke Donald vs Martin Kaymer. By just making it to the finals, Kaymer has secured #1 on the OWGR... a position many (me included) feel he has legitimately held for several months already. But if Donald wins the Accenture, he'll jump up to #3.

Everybody's picking Kaymer, but I'm picking Donald to win it all. I think he's finally back from his wrist injury and -- very importantly -- is confident that the wrist is strong and that his game is back. Last week's missed cut at Riviera was his first tournament in 3 months. I'm calling that rust. Kaymer is longer, but Donald is more accurate... and with bad weather predicted today, I'm putting my money on Donald playing from the fairway.

We'll see if Cool Hand Luke validates my faith in him.

Of course, this tale of #1s wouldn't be complete without a quick trip to Singapore. After the 3rd round I didn't give Yani Tseng much of a chance to come up with her 5th win in a row. Imagine my surprise when I pulled up the leaderboard and saw she was only 1 stroke back with 9 holes left! I had to stay up and see what would happen.

Apparently the winds have continued to wreak havoc on the field. There were very few low scores being posted -- I saw a lot of +3, +4, and +5 scores on the board. Yani shot -4 on the front 9, but bogeys on 10 and 12 took some wind out of her sails. She birdied 12 to get one back, but that left her 2 back of Chie Arimura (who fell back to even on the day) and left her 4 back of Karrie Webb. Webb also bogeyed 10, but posted 4 straight birdies on 11-14 against Tseng's par stretch there.

In the end Yani was just too far back to catch Webb. She finished up in 3rd, 2 strokes behind Arimura and 3 behind Webb. Still, 4 wins and a 3rd in 5 starts isn't a bad way to start your reign as #1 in the world, is it?

Webb took down the LPGA #1. Can Donald do the same on the PGA? Stay tuned!


  1. I was SURE that Kaymer was going to go into that final relaxed and ready to let the shaft out. He was going to bomb Donald off the course. I was shocked when he kept pulling the 3-wood against Donald's driver. I thought that having the pressure off from reaching the #1 spot, he would be breathing easier than against Watson and playing his best.

    OH well - can't take anything away from Donald - over the whole week, he stayed in his game better than anybody else.

    Great play from Webb - and you have to like that Tseng didn't just coast in figuring she was too far back to win.

  2. It looks like we've got some good #1s on both sides now. Should be an interesting next few months!