It’s been a rollercoaster of a sporting weekend. Full disclosure-I didn’t get to witness much of the playoff at Scottsdale, owing to a small game of football that started at the same time. Tom Brady has that effect on me though. I digress…
We saw the good and bad in the Middle East. We sadly didn’t see Tiger get past Friday morning, let alone the weekend. Not making the cut is one thing, but having your body give up on you like this is excruciating to watch. Surely, it will get to the stage where people will give up on watching Tiger like this. The youth, as they have no attachment to him in comparison to Rory or Jordan, and the elders of a certain vintage, like this writer, who can’t watch the greatest simply hack around like someone who barely deserves a tour card. I did say that the task he wanted to undertake was ambitious. Being the competitor he is, I applauded him for diving into such a packed schedule.
The caveat I had at the time has to a certain extent come true. I posed that if he got off to a bad start, that with such a short turnaround, that he would only gain negative momentum on this swing. Now, we realize that the lengthy lay off was for nothing. Aside from that, it did highlight an exceptional display from one Sergio Garcia. He has his detractors, myself included, but he put on a clinic in ball striking, showing off that generational talent he possesses. He led the field in fairway to green percentage, with a phenomenally good 82%.
He barely needed a short game! His kryptonite, his putting, wasn’t exposed, as he did everything necessary to hold Henrik Stenson at bay, which says all you need to know. Both are Tigers contemporaries, yet they still have a freedom about their swing.
They don’t possess as many majors between them, or never will, but they will be on tour playing competitive stuff for another while yet. Graeme McDowell was best of the Irish, finishing thirteenth in a strong field. The former US Open champ put in solid rounds, but errant drives foiled his charge. There is no fear of him losing a card, but for his ranking he needs more performances. Getting into the top fifty is massive for him to play WGC events, and make money for himself. He is trending upwards but is still at the behest of invites to tourneys.
Paul Dunne on the other hand is just concentrating on holding on to his card, as he makes cuts and shows decent form. On to Scottsdale, and speaking of men that need a rankings boost, we turn to Offaly’s own.
Shane Lowry put in a decent weeks work, finishing in the top twenty in a packed field, including many of the world top fifty. This is the magic marker that Lowry must ascent to. He hit the lofty heights of world number nineteen only six months ago. Sadly, the US Open has had a damaging effect on him, and he needs to turn it around. More success leads to higher standards, and Irish golf is at such a great footing now, that we are moreish for others to win. And win. And win. The Waste Management serves as a great counterpoint to traditional Tour events.
The boisterous nature of the event is fantastic, even to a relative traditionalist like myself. (I’ve never been accused of being a conservative, least of all by my very self) Even though sixteen is a tad overhyped, it does have a great atmosphere. It has been scribed enough by better minds than mine, so I will park it there. Sadly, while flicking to see Matsuyama in action, cameras and microphones picked up the dumb comments that seem passible in the current climate. Not being a downer, but I do feel that anyone guilty of these should be hoisted to the nearest officer of the law and carted off for a hefty fine. It is simply not acceptable and if they really want to “grow the game” they would do well to nip this in the bud. Not being precious about all this.
Other sports suffer the same fate, but I would adopt a zero excuse policy with them too. Cheers to Hideki though. Yet another great display down the stretch, overcoming Webb Simpson, in the play off of the Waste Management. Though he gave himself enough problems with a messy up and down in regulation play.
An Byeong Hun will feel he left it after him too, adding a few shots to his round on the back nine. But he didn’t exactly do an Atlanta on it. Too soon?