The NLU triple crown (Riviera-Augusta-Muirfield) remains intact, as Gerry Lester Watson Jr. went into someone’s backyard on the 15th hole to ruin his chances at taking Jack’s tournament. Bubba got away with absolutely everything for 68 holes, but alas this was a 72 hole competition. It doesn’t actually even seem possible for these shots to happen, but Bubba never ceases to amaze me with his shotmaking. His fatal flaw appears to be that he seemingly only has one speed, and that came back to bite him on #15. Kevin Na went absolutely HAM on Sunday, coming out of nowhere to post a 64 for -13, and then sat around for hours and watched it hold up. In the end, Hideki Matsuyama took home his first PGA tour title at the age of 22 after annihilating a woman with his second shot in the playoff:
Geting hit with golf ball leaves dimples on this woman's leg pic.twitter.com/CbPfYtQlbz
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) June 1, 2014
1) Overall, it was a marvelous week at Muirfield. Jack didn’t get the big name winner he wanted, but we got to see Matsuyama’s official arrival to the PGA Tour. There aren’t many guys out there that have more talent than the youngster from Japan, and the Spieth-Matsuyama fake rivalry that we’re in desperate need of just got another shot in the arm. This win isn’t going to resonate with the casual golf fan, but casual golf fans we are not. What Matsuyama lacks in charisma and appeal to the unwashed American masses, he makes up for with oodles of confidence and stones the size of Jack’s ego. Ian Poulter can’t be happy about this development.
2) This loss is gonna stick with Gerry, and it should. The par 5’s were child’s play for him all week, and he shot himself in the foot by playing them +1 on Sunday. As someone who unabashedly roots for the worst possible outcome every time he hits he a shot, not even I could fathom that he would hit a ball OB right on #15. Internally all week, I told the NLU guys that Gerry’s bomb and gouge style was going to bite him somewhere around these parts, and it finally did. That being said, this is still The Year of Bubba, and here is why that concerns me…
3) …Bubba is, without a doubt, the top American player in the world right now (calm down Patrick Reed). Week by week, the Ryder Cup picture for the U.S. team gets murkier and murkier, and Bubba is the only player that seems to be showing out nearly every time he tees it up. To put it as nice as I possibly can, Bubba ain’t exactly the most popular guy in the locker room. If we’re counting on him to be The Guy on this team, then we won’t be doing much counting points-wise come Sunday, as a massacre is looking likely. A Ryder Cup on foreign soil is as hostile as an environment can get when it comes to golf, and while Gerry likes to give off the impression that he’s like Happy Gilmore, he’s actually closer to Colin Montgomerie when it comes to the rabbit ears. I could honestly envision Ted Scott throwing the flag through a Brit’s heart if he gets a photo snapped of him during a practice swing, prompting an international crisis with one of our biggest allies!
4) Soly was out on the course all week, and comes in hot with this take: The more I think about it, the more parallels I see with Bubba Watson and Happy Gilmore (Scott Langley played the role of “Lafferty, Daniel”): Unconventional swing, longest hitter out there, ratings driver, confrontational with patrons, and brings out the casual fans in droves. It’s almost a guarantee that when a Bubba supporter asks for my take and I tell the truth, he’s completely flabbergasted and confused. “How can you hate Bubba!?” Make no mistake about it, Gerry has a ton of fans. And I mean a TON of fans. The plebeians literally cannot get enough of this guy. We need storylines in golf right now, and I don’t mind Bubba playing the villain, but I wish more people saw him for the fraud that he is instead of blindly rooting for him because he’s unconventional. How people can watch his body language for five hours, during a good or bad round, and come away with a favorable impression is beyond me. Never envisioned a scenario when I’d sound like Shooter McGavin yelling “KICK HIM OFF THE TOUR, DOUG!” But here we are. (A Bubba fan actually mooned me on the course this week. Yeah. B-U on one cheek, and sure enough, B-B-A right there on the other.)
5) Soly again: Overall, the tournament was one of the best ever from a viewing perspective. A non-Tiger year means smaller crowds, yet the leaderboard was packed with big names, and the weather was absolutely perfect. I spent most of the weekend following my boy Kyle F’n Stanley, and despite the 80-76 on the weekend, it was a treat. Every week we see the leaders on the weekend telecast, and it kind of numbs you as to what life is like on the PGA Tour. When watching coverage, you forget about the guys out there grinding trying to make a living, dudes fighting demons to lift themselves out of the wilderness and keep their cards. You forget about the caddies dependent on the paychecks, the valuable FedEx Cup points, and the personal pride involved in exerting maximum effort when you’re 17 shots off the pace and teeing off at 8am on Sunday morning. The biggest takeaway from being on site is that it’s about 1% as glamorous of a life as it appears on TV, and this is the best of the best when it comes to the game of golf. For every guy in the field this week, there are thousands of mini tour players living paycheck to paycheck. Respect the hustle.
6) A lot to talk about leaderboard-wise. World No. 1 Adam Scott came strong until some Sunday back-nine miscues. Great to see Jason Day back bouncing around (OBVI). Steve Stricker looked sharp in only his sixth event of the year (somehow he hasn’t missed a cut yet), and is trending in the right direction for the summer stretch – quality over quantity! Thorbjorn Olesen found some form. Horschel’s a hot putter away from making noise. Els looked WAY too solid. Chris Kirk battled back from a terrible Saturday back nine for a T4. I could keep going – there were that many intriguing guys in the mix this weekend. And most notably, Kevin Na is up to 10th in the FedEx Cup and is a win away from beating down the door to a Ryder Cup appearance. This is something I’m totally rooting for, as that is ready-made entertainment!
7) After he fired back-to-back 66’s, I went all-in on Paul Casey in the Friday night quick-hitter and may have gotten a little jolly with the expectations I set out for him (i.e. this trophy, Ryder Cup glory) but he is by all means “back.” It was painful to watch him fight his tempo all weekend (as you could tell listening to his coach, Peter Kostis) and he had some rabbit ears going on at certain points on Saturday, but I look forward to see him earning his card for next year. At the end of the day, Paul Casey’s doing JUST FINE…..
Future Mrs. Casey
8) Lastly, can Rory go ahead and take a week off, rest up, and then conquer the rest of the 2014 season?
How Our Picks Fared
- Brendon Todd – T8 – Keeps on balling out.
- Charl Schwartzel – T8 – Underwhelming final round, ballstriking on point.
- Jim Furyk – T19 – Steady all week, back to his old self.
- Bo Van Pelt – T19 – 66 on Saturday lifted an otherwise mediocre week.
- Ryan Moore – T19 – final round 73, started w/ 3 bogeys, closed with 2 bogeys. Just couldn’t get it going.
- Gary Woodland – T57 – Really disappointing weekend showing. Was right in the mix heading into Saturday afternoon.
- Kevin Chappell – MC – bogeyed 18 on Friday to miss the cut on the number
- Justin Rose – MC – called a double-hit penalty on himself to also miss the cut on the number
We had four picks firmly in the mix on the weekend, but no one that really threatened on Sunday. This feels like a win for us since we latched on to the Matsuyama bandwagon awhile ago.
Oil Spill of the Week (Brought to you by BP)
As previously noted, the Bubba drive on 15 that cost him the tournament was easily our oil spill of the week. This went off of Shot Tracker!
NLU Shot Tracker of the Week
We just destroyed him for the last 1,000 words, so we have to dap his tee shot on one, which sent twitter into a frenzy. A clean 363 yards down the pipe with the lead off the opening tee: Bad. Ass.
#TourSauce of the Week
Chesson Hadley got very saucy after holing a chip on 11 on Saturday. I couldn’t fit the finger snap into the vine, but this was special:
Chesson Hadley with some extra soupy #TourSauce (via @bachy333) https://t.co/TibF70fMOd
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) May 30, 2014
The tour heads to Memphis for a pretty generic event on a relatively tough course (particularly compared to other TPC tracks). Featuring smallish greens and only two par 5’s, TPC Southwind rewards ballstriking, and as such serves as a solid tune-up for the US Open. Conversely, with many top players taking the week off, it’s a great opportunity for some of the guys on the bubble to find some magic and roll that into the ripe stretch post-US Open stretch of tournaments that will offer more opportunities. The biggest reason I’m excited for this event – Harris English returns to defend his title and hopefully reverse his recent form.