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Monday, February 20, 2012

The Limerick Summary: 2012 Northern Trust Open

Winner: Bill Haas

Around the wider world of golf: She's baaack! Yani Tseng reminded women's golf who really rules their universe at the Honda LPGA Thailand; Lindsey Wright won the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open, which counted on both the ALPG and LET; Jbe Kruger got his first win on both the ET and Asian Tours at the Avantha Masters (that's in India); Skip Kendall won the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship, the first tournament of the year for the Nationwide Tour; and Kenny Perry just ran away with the ACE Group Classic on the Champions Tour, which I guess means he finally got his equipment changes sorted out.

Bill Haas gets his fourth

Yesterday I believe I predicted some insane finishes. Boy, were they ever!

Sergio Garcia (one of the players I picked last month to play well this year) shot the low round of the week, a 64, to finish T4 in his first US start of the year. Keegan Bradley (another of my picks) entered the final round tied with Mickelson for the lead. Nobody could separate themselves from the field.

And then Bill Haas came from seemingly nowhere to post the lead in the clubhouse, forcing both Mickelson and Bradley to birdie the 18th. I think the 18th had seen maybe 6 birdies all day... until Phil and Keegan both birdied it! The three men went out to play the 18th again, and Keegan nearly birdied it again... but all three settled for par and headed for the drivable 10th.

It's always the short holes that seem to blow everybody's mind, isn't it? Maybe course architects should pay more attention...

Anyway, all three missed the green but only Haas missed it in the correct place. Even then he didn't try to go at the hole; he left himself a 40+ footer for birdie. Phil had to go at it and couldn't hold the green -- sorry, no 2-in-a-row this time, Phil. Keegan played from a bunker and left himself a makeable putt from just off the putting surface.

It might even have been an easy putt if Bill Haas hadn't sunk his long putt first. Dead in the heart, people -- a pretty sight. And Keegan again barely missed his putt, giving Bill his first win of the year and fourth of his career.

One thing from the 2012 season should have become very clear to us all by now. While analysts question Tiger's changes to his game and the loss of his "aura of invincibility," the fact is that the game has changed dramatically since Tiger first came on the scene... and Tiger's the reason. Now, over a decade later, Tiger's approach to the game isn't the exception. Golfers are in better shape and have gained confidence in their own abilities. Sheer length means nothing anymore -- just look at the world #1. It's hard to come back after you've had a single bad round, especially if you expect your opponents to have a bad round and help you. (Unless the leader's a "noob" on Tour. You might have a chance then.)

No, the game belongs to the golfers who have the mental toughness to deal with a less-than-perfect game. This week that man was Bill Haas, so this week's Limerick Summary salutes the man who Haas it all:
Another big vict'ry for Haas;
He played without strategy flaws.
Poor tee shots by Bradley
And Phil ended badly
But Bill drained his putt. Loud applause!
The photo came from the front page.

1 comment:

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