Wow if you didn’t watch the final round yesterday at Torrey Pines and the Farmers Insurance Open, you should smack yourself. The play was stellar, except for a certain player whose initials are TW. For some reason, the first few weeks of this season have been more exciting by a long shot, over these same first weeks of any season I can recall in the last few years.
Tiger Woods looked like he might have found part of his missing game the first two days of the Farmers with two rounds of 69. But rounds of 74 and 75 on the weekend may contradict that thought.
A look at Tiger’s stats tell us why he is playing mediocre golf. None of the statistical areas tracked show any top percentages against the field. The most glaring percentages are his putting and that shows on the course. The putts it seems Tiger always used to make are not dropping. He averaged 1.917 putts for Sunday’s round with 32 putts. In overall putts per greens in regulation, Tiger was 63rd. Ho hum stats, ho hum results.
Jhonnatan Vegas has a new big fan, me. This guy is working on locking the PGA Tour rookie of the year award only four weeks into the season. I like Vegas’ fire, his game is solid and the intense look in his eye is very fun to watch. The sky is the limit on this guy.
Jhonnatan (Johnny) Vegas had a chance to win or go into a playoff with Bubba Watson, but his 5-iron on the last hole found the drink. The announcers said the contact wasn’t solid, resulting in the lost yardage. I differ. I watched the super slow-mo of that shot. The club contacted the ball dead center. But if you looked around the club at impact there was a bunch of water flying, splashed by the club’s impact with the ball. That water must have affected the shot. The announces said it was sand. Far be it from me to call the announcers wrong, but that didn’t look like sand to me.
Despite the dropped shot on the last hole, Vegas notches a T3 to go with his win last week. He stands atop the leaderboard in FedEx Cup points, a big and pleasant surprise.
It seems like people either love Phil Mickelson or hate him. Personally I have no reason to hate him since I’ve never met the guy or gotten any vibe that he’s doing anything other than playing great golf and enjoying it.
Phil shared the lead much of the day on Sunday but made three bogeys on the round. This is typical of Phil, a roller coaster of bogeys and birdies. Usually he has a lot more birdies than bogeys. The birdie on the last hole was the story.
On the 18th hole, Phil flared his drive left into some fairly deep rough. An overhanging branch looked to block his way and even if it didn’t, getting home in two was very risky. But Phil has always had the gambling mentality on the course, right? Not yesterday. He chose to lay up on his 2nd shot, leaving 72 yards to the hole. He would have to hole that shot out to force a playoff. This was where the entertainment was at its best.
Phil walked all the way to the green from his ball, 72 yards away. He examined the tier in the green as if reading a putt. He was going to use the tier to try and roll that 72 yard shot back into the hole for eagle. Even more amazing than that, is that he had his caddy Bones run up and tend the flag. I thought that was very cool. How good are you when you are 72 out and know that the flag stick will do you more harm than good?
“About 10-12-14 times a year I end up hitting the pin with a wedge and it ricochets all over the place, and I didn’t want that to happen. I wanted to fly it in, possibly. Or I wanted to skip it past and maybe bring it back in.” ~Phil Mickelson on his eagle attempt on the 18th Sunday at Torrey Pines
Phil hit the shot and it landed about eight inches left of the hole. He nearly flew it IN the hole. It bounced forward a bit and spun back right at the hole. The greens were a bit slower because of the rain and his ball came to rest a little short. He nearly did make that incredible shot. Despite the fact that the shot didn’t go it, it was still one of the best shots I’ve seen.
Solo 2nd place for Phil, one shot back.
Just as I’m becoming a big Vegas fan, I’m a huge Bubba Watson fan. I have been for a while now, but my “fanhood” is growing weekly, especially since Bubba and I exchanged some words on Twitter.
Bubba’s play this week, especially in the final round was clutch. This guy is only getting better.
Sunday he hit some great shots and kept playing aggressively. He knew he’d have to make birdies to win and he did it.
Bubba’s 18th hole was impressive, except for the 2nd shot. He crushed his drive down the middle like he had been all day, considerably over 300 yards on most of them. The 2nd shot flared to the bunker left of the green, short sided. An up and down would be very tough with the tier of the green and having no green to work with.
Bubba hit a nearly perfect sand shot which didn’t quite trickle all the way down to the hole because of the wetness from the rain. He had a slick and tricky downhill birdie putt which he drained dead center. That birdie made the difference between a win (his 2nd) and a playoff with Phil.
In true Bubba fashion, he came to tears again at the end of the round.
How cool is Bubba Watson?
A while after Bubba’s win, there were hundreds of people congratulating him on Twitter. Bubba took the time, and still is, to individually thanking each person who sent him congratulations. There are no doubt hundreds.
So how cool is Bubba Watson? Cool.