Rickie Finally Conquers
It wouldn’t be a Waste Management Phoenix Open if Rickie Fowler wasn’t in the hunt and he wasn’t trying his best to come up short. And give Rickie credit, he tried his darndest to blow the 4 stroke lead he entered Sunday with. He even mixed in some very creative ways to come back to the field. I do not know how that ball started moving on its own after Rickie placed it and it was stationary for a couple minutes. But it does make me wonder if a ProV1x would have started rolling? If you put that weird triple bogey aside, Rickie managed to hang on and get his 5th PGA tour victory.
Rickie barely beat Brandon Grace by 2 shots after Grace hit it in the water on 17off the tee to ruin any chance he had of putting the pressure on Rickie and probably winning because you just knew Rickie was going to wilt away if it was tight on the last couple holes. BDR (or SDR depending on who you are) took home $1.27 million this week with the win and one of the better trophies for mantle displaying. A nice glass trophy with a real Kachina spin on the design will look great on any mantle.
The weather was something else on Sunday or so the announcers wanted you to think. There was rain yes, but it was off and on. The wind was also a big talking point but after I did the conversion the wind was gusting to the equivalent of a calm southern Saskatchewan afternoon at 24km/h. I will never not get a kick out of the announcers saying how strong the wind is when it is just a regular day here. Never the less, the conditions did make for a weird scoring Sunday in a tournament guys usually lick their chops on when teeing it up on hole one. The top 10 echoes that pretty well.
What a dog’s breakfast of a top 10. There were big guns like Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar, JoHn Ram, Bubba, Xander and course horse Gary Woodland in there. But you also had Branden Grace, Chez Reavie, Chris Stroud and Sung Jae Im. Which I guess is probably what the PGA wants to see. You wouldn’t know that though given their coverage on Sunday. From what they showed on TV, I figured only 6 players played 18 holes (Rickie, Kuchar, JT, Woodland, Grace, Bubba) and the rest of the field only played 16 because that is all they showed all day. Xander shot the 2nd lowest round of the day (3 under LOL) and jumped 16 spots in the standings to get into the top 10 and no one knew about it. Come on PGA!
It was a tough week for the Canadians this week after some pretty good recent results on tour. PGA journeyman David Hearn was the top finishing Canadian of the week in a tie for 33rd. Hearn was on the first page of the leaderboard after round 1 but fizzled away as the week went on. The cut making machine Adam Hadwin did just that, made the cut but a tournament bookended with 72’s makes it tough to cash a big cheque. Nick Taylor missed the cut by one. It’s a damn shame there isn’t a strokes gained from Mario kart wins stat because then Nick would be raking. Status pending FOTP Mac Hughes also missed the cut after having a good week at Torrey Pines last week. Finally, Blair Hamilton also missed the cut. I don’t know who that is but hard luck Blair, keep on grinding.
Some other notable finishes this week included: Hideki Matsuyama tied for 15th. I throw around the term course horse a lot, but this guy has to be disappointed in a T15 finish considering his dominance in this event over the past few years. Byeong (Ben) An shaved his greasy moustache and finished tied for 20th. I will let the readers decide if that means he should bring it back or leave it gone. Denny McCarthy made headlines a couple days at the WM Phoenix open, not for great play or anything. He was actually given a 2-stroke penalty under the new rules of having his caddy help him line up a shot. The problem was his caddy was nowhere near him when he addressed and hit the ball. The video went viral and had the golf world buzzin. A day later Denny was back in the news when the PGA rescinded the penalty strokes. I guess common sense does prevail sometimes.
As most of the readers will know, I am a big William Horschel fan but that guy wore a GD hoodie on Sunday and I can’t let that slide. Come on William, you are better than that. That is Billy league stuff. In related news, Billy Horschel shot the low round of the day Sunday in said hoodie. College amateur Matt Wolff and his goofy swing finished tied for 50th. It looked like he was going to take this tournament by storm with a 4 under 67 on Thursday. He got worse as the tournament went on, but I’ll give him a pass because he better have been partying all week since he cannot claim any of the prize money anyways.
Cam Champ is really starting to make me look like an idiot. Early on in the silly season I proclaimed him to be the next big thing and since then he has been the definition of mediocre. T67 this week to go along with a T73 and a MC in his last tournaments. Yuck. Anders A. Albertson missed the cut this week. Pretty clever move by the PGA to get the fans off the scent. Stay woke guys, Triple A doesn’t exist.
Other notable guys who missed the cut were Phil Mickelson, hopefully this wipes that smug look off his face and Lucas Glover (November 12, 1979 – February 1, 2019) RIP Lucas. The TFCO award of this week goes to Whee Kim. This course is known for being a track that the players just eat up and Whee managed to shoot 14 over in the two rounds he played which was 27 strokes worse than what Rickie Fowler shot to lead the tournament after 36 holes. Woof.
Wrap It Up
That about wraps up another week in the PGA tour. It should be noted a lot of the big names were playing overseas again the week and my boy DJ got his 20th worldwide win. He beat Haotong Li by 2 strokes to take home a cheque about one third the size of the cheque Rickie cashed. Not sure what the appeal is to play in some of these overseas tourneys if the big money isn’t there. Especially in Saudi Arabia with all the negative press that place is getting. Speaking of negative press, Sergio Garcia had a tough day at the office in that tournament. It started with a temper tantrum in the sand trap and ended with him being disqualified after damaging 5 greens in a row. Not a good look but I would also like to find out who the narcs were.
Coming up this week, we have a fan favorite tournament on the PGA tour – the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am. However, it probably won’t be that fun to be in attendance this week with the forecasted weather. And on the European tour, we got a “it’s 2019 guys” event with the European tour and LPGA teaming up for the ISPS Handa Vic Open where men and women both compete on the same course but not against each other. Baby steps. I will be back next week to recap all of that.