The Byrd is the word
Johnathan Byrd is on a roll. He has won the last two PGA Tour tournament he has started in, both in playoffs. That is quite a turnaround, since he wasn’t even sure he’d keep his tour card at the end of the 2010 season. He punched his ticket to Kapalua and the Hyundai Tournament of Champions with an unbelievable win in Las Vegas by making a hole in one in a playoff to win at the end of 2010.
“I can’t sit here and not think about where I was toward the end of the season last year, fighting for my card. I’m just thankful, I’m overwhelmed, I’m grateful. All of the above.” ~Johnathn Byrd
Byrd entered a playoff with the tour’s longest hitter, Robert Garrigus. Garrigus missed a par putt on the 2nd playoff hole which would have extended the playoff to a 3rd hole.
The fact that Robert Garrigus was even in that position, given the story of his journey to that point in his life, is also amazing. Garrigus had overcome substance abuse problems and gone through rehabilitation. To be that low in one’s life, then bounce back to such a high level on the PGA Tour is an amazing feat.
Graeme McDowell was one of those players who I mentioned yesterday would need to shoot a serious lights-out score to contend. He did just that, tying the course record of 62 and bringing himself into the mix. Graeme had a birdie putt on 18 which wasn’t terribly long, which would have put him into the playoff as well, but that one did not fall.
Steve Stricker made bogey on the 1st hole, which when combined with the birdie Byrd made on the same hole, put him two shots back right out of the gate. He couldn’t quite shoot a low enough score to win or get into the playoff, a two under 71. Still, I love watching Stricker’s great short game and his simple and beautiful mechanics.
This coming week the Tour stays in Hawaii for the Sony Open. This will be the first “full field” event of the season. Even John Daly is on his way down there to tee it up. At the Sony there always seems to be some interesting story relating to a player who was invited like Tad Fujikawa or Michelle Wie. I wonder what this year’s story will be? It will be fun to watch.
Final Hyundai Tournament of Champions Leaderboard
|x- won playoff|