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Monday, February 28, 2011

The Limerick Summary: 2011 WGC—Accenture Match Play

Winner: Luke Donald

Around the wider world of golf: Someone other than Yani Tseng won on the LPGA! Karrie Webb took the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore; Mathew Goggin won the Panama CLARO Championship, the first Nationwide Tour event of 2011; and Johnson Wagner won the PGA Tour's alternate field event, the Mayakoba Golf Classic, in a playoff against Spencer Levin.

Photo of Luke Donald at Accenture
Click the image to read the wrap-up.

The repercussions of this WGC were already being felt throughout the golf world. Merely by making it to the finals, Martin Kaymer had assured the end of Lee Westwood's brief -- and some would say uneventful -- reign at the top of the Official World Golf Rankings. It would be the first time since 1992 that 3 Europeans had topped the OWGR. A Kaymer win would be his 5th in the last year and his 7th in 2 years, thus proving his right to claim the title many of us (me included) awarded to him a couple of months or so ago.

But, as usual, there was a second story bubbling just beneath the surface. The other finalist, Luke Donald, could make a bit of history himself. If he could beat the newly-crowned #1, Donald would vault to #3 -- his highest position ever -- and make it 4 Europeans atop the OWGR.

But Donald had a few demons to conquer. While he has won 5 times in his career -- the latest just last year at the Madrid Masters -- he hadn't won on the PGA Tour since 2006. He'd been through wrist surgery, a slew of 2nds, and so many Top 10s that he had still managed to reach #9 in the world despite not playing for 3 months. In fact, he was coming off a missed cut in his 2011 debut at Riviera last week.

You wouldn't have believed it to watch him play this week. He became the first man in Accenture history to win without ever playing the 18th in a match. Few of his matches even went past the 14th! He never trailed an opponent in any match all week. And he did it despite wind, snow, and hail.

Cool Hand Luke -- an appropriate nickname, given the weather this week -- went 3up against Kaymer, lost it all, and regained it to win 3&2. This WGC is the biggest win of his career. Will it kickstart Luke's own run to the top of the golf world's heap? We'll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, this week's Limerick Summary salutes the world's newest member of the OWGR Top 5:
The OWGR is rocking
But this change was certainly shocking!
New Number 3, Luke,
Has shown he's no fluke—
Look out, Number 1! Guess who's knocking?