Russell Henley won a four-man playoff with a birdie on the first extra hole (the par-5 18th) after every player involved tried his damnedest to not win the tournament in regulation. Henley doubled #15 (coming off birdie at #13 and #14) after pushing his iron shot into the lake, then later ‘Mahan’d’ (too harsh?) a chip on #18 when it appeared he needed to get up-and-down to get to 9-under and join McIlroy in a hypothetical playoff. Speaking of McIlroy, he stumbled to a final round 74 when it looked like he was going to coast to his 7th PGA Tour win. He doubled #16 by chunking his approach shot into the agua from a fairway bunker, bogeyed #17, but then hit the shot of this young year into #18 (GIF below) that left him 13-feet for eagle to move to 9-under. He missed the putt, obviously, steadfast in his refusal to take the trophy. 9-under had become good enough to win because earlier Ryan Palmer made bogey on #18 after lying two in the fairway with a wedge in his hands and 115 yards to the pin. Finally, the fourth playoff participant, Russell Knox, seemed overjoyed just to be in the playoff–as he should have been–he made a very ugly double at #14 and failed to card a single birdie on the back-nine Sunday.
What is ‘War of Attrition,’ Alex?
1) This is what we had teed up earlier in the day:
All the Rory narratives should stop now, but I doubt they do. A confident, surging Rory was basically all that was missing from an otherwise amazing 2013 season (5 Tiger wins, incredible class of major winners, Horschel-Spieth emergence, etc.). What he did in 2012 seems so long ago after last year’s sub par season and media over exaggeration of it, but this weekend we were reminded how much fun it is to watch him swing a golf club.
Uhhh, oops. PGA National was showing its teeth today (played an average of ~2 strokes tougher than Saturday), so perhaps we cut Rory a little slack for his struggles, but man, didn’t see that 74 coming. Thought for sure after he stuffed the aforementioned 3-wood into #18 that the putt was going to be in the heart and the tournament his, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. What does this mean going forward? Nothing most likely. Although it is fresh meat for scribes who need a narrative between now and the Masters. Bottom line is the guy has two majors and armfuls of international trophies already–I think we can probably just chalk this up as a shitty day. No need to prognosticate on how this affects his Green Jacket chances. In the end, an over-abundance of time with the future in-laws probably was the cause of death for Rory this weekend (NBC mentioned multiple times how Rory’s parents and Caroline’s parents were there to watch all the action).
2) #17 at PGA National > #16 at TPC Scottsdale (*ducks*). Seriously though, I don’t remember the set up of this hole being nearly as bad ass in previous years as it was this year. It doesn’t have quite the closed in, arena-style feel that the 16th at Scottsdale has, but the #17 at PGA National is actually a challenging hole, with real girth and big number possibilities. Playing into the prevailing wind, over water, with huge galleries (they announced about 10k or so on the hole per day) almost surrounding is about as pressure packed as it gets. This hole is all substance, whereas the 16th at Scottsdale is all about that kegger vibe, awesome spectator experience, and the shenanigans the players pull to get in the good graces of the crowds (you’re not seeing Lefty chuck footballs into the crowd at the Honda–though we obviously wouldn’t be opposed if he felt compelled). As far as substance goes, this hole also beats #17 at Sawgrass. The Florida bankers and frat scene finally caught up to their west coast ‘Zona bros in something other than blown out hair, haterblockers, and fake blondes!
3) Russell Henley did this for some reason? (courtesy of www.adamsarson.com aka the GIF Factory)
4) Rory gave us one of the most bad ass shots of the year, sticking it on 18 from 245, leaving himself a 13-footer for eagle and the win (and does anyway in the game have a better follow-through right now?). The shot lost a bit of luster when he missed the putt, but it still got me out of my seat:
Rory, very conscious of the fact that golfers can never properly execute a high-5 with their caddie, went for the self-five. The guy has clearly been there before:
(GIF’s courtesy of Adam Sarson, again)
5) Some sneaky back-door top-10’s for Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald, despite basically none of their shots being shown live over the weekend. Brendon de Jonge began the 3rd round one off the lead only to have his rig absolutely highjacked and sold for scrap. His t-63 has to leave some scar-tissue. Former Navy Lieutenant Billy Hurley III finished solo 5th and one shot out of the playoff, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I did not see a single one of his shots. But at least NBC had a 5-minute run down of the Olympic sports.
6) The Tiger WMD will be covered to death. As someone who has been through their share of back problems, I can attest that golf is impossible if your back is hurting. Yes, he shot 65 the day before, but a back injury CAN absolutely happen overnight, or even mid day. You can call him a lot of things, but a quitter is not one. Clearly Tiger is not where he needs to be in “The Process”, but I won’t be worried until he struggles at Bay Hill. If he was winning right now, everyone would be pointing how it’s “not a major”, so we can’t kill him when he’s not winning.
7) The Bear Trap lived up to its reputation. Throw in the reachable (but not cupcake) finishing hole, and you’ve got one of the tastiest finishes on the entire tour. Besides the tee shot on 16, there isn’t a single shot that you don’t want to see how a player handles. Rory’s double on 16, subsequent bogey on 17, and near eagle on 18 perfectly embodies what you would love to see out of a finishing stretch of holes. Kudos to tour officials for the organization of the track.
How Our Picks Fared
Overall a disappointing week. Had some guys well positioned going into the weekend, especially a few lotto tickets, but no one made a serious run over the weekend. Shocked how poorly Schwartzel played, and Horschel’s MC was a kick in the gut (which means we’ll probably triple down on him).
- Graeme McDowell – T46
- Rickie Fowler – T24
- Lee Westwood – T46
- Patrick Reed – T24
- Luke Guthrie – T24
- Chris Stroud – T12
- John Senden – T46
- Charl Schwartzel – MC
- Billy Horschel – MC
Oil Spill of the Week (Presented by BP)
Usually we like to reserve some space in our recap to needle Zach Johnson, and his 2nd hole of the tournament being our ‘Oil Spill of the Week’ certainly would fit the bill, but in reality, we’re including him here simply because of how he bounced back. After dumping two balls in the water (thus unlocking the pgatour.com poop brown scorecard square), ZJ played the rest of his round 7 under. Seven birdies, ten pars, no bogeys, no doubles, no triples, one quad. Just your run of the mill bogey-free 67.
Video of ZJ’s water troubles:
NLU Shot Tracker of the Week
Brendon de Jonge was recently named a starter on the OL of NLU’s All-Pigskin Team, and he almost had an entire football field between him and Rory’s drive on the 10th hole on Saturday (hey, ya hear about that new Wal-Mart they’re building?). Rory got him by EIGHTY-SIX YARDS. Different ballgame, ya’ll. We expect more out of our big ugly’s, especially since Rory is our punter. De Jonge’s ass is on notice.
The Blue Monster had its teeth sharpened in the offseason, as Gil Hanse redesigned TPC Doral under the watchful eye of Donald Trump. A ridiculous field is scheduled to appear there, but if you know us even a little bit, you’ll know the majority of our focus will be on the Puerto Rico
Cash-Grab Open. Big week coming up. Can’t wait!