Weekend Wrap: Monday Finish

mciloryace

McIlory missed the cut

PGA TOUR
The Honda Classic
Dates: Feb. 26-March 1
Venue: PGA National Resort & Spa (Champion Course), Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

What a wild weekend, and MONDAY it was on the PGA Tour.  Coming into the Honda Classic the golf world was buzzing because this tournament marked the first PGA Tour start of 2015 for the world’s #1 golfer, Rory McIlory.  The only buzz for McIlory though, was his flight out of Palm Beach late Friday, after he missed the cut.

Ian Poulter looked to be in control with a 3-shot lead in the 3rd round.  Poulter wilted and produced the worst shot in golf, en route to dunking some FIVE balls in the water over the weekend.  Despite all the swimming, Poulter only missed the eventual playoff by one stroke.

At the end of regulation two players were left standing tied for first, Padraig Harrington and unknown Daniel Berger.  After tying the first hole of the playoff, Berger found the water on the par-3 17th while Harrington stuck his approach to around three feet.  That was a role reversal as Harrington had dunked his regulation shot.

Harrington finished in style, with his first win on tour since the 2008 PGA Championship, while Berger gained respect and some notoriety.

LPGA TOUR
Honda LPGA Thailand
Dates: Feb. 26-March 1
Venue: Siam Country Club Pattaya (Old Course), Chonburi, Thailand

After top five finishes in three of her last four events, Amy Yang found the winner’s circle at the 2015 Honda LPGA Thailand. Yang edged out Stacy Lewis, Yani Tseng and Mirim Lee by two shots.

“I don’t know what just happened, Yang said with a smile. “I still can’t believe I did it today.” ~Amy Yang

EUROPEAN TOUR
Joburg Open
Dates: Feb. 26-March 1
Venue: Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club (East & West Courses), Gauteng, South Africa

The rankings do apparently work. The highest ranked player in the field at the Joburg Open was Andy Sullivan, who closed with a final round 66 to win his 2nd event in two months. The other win came at the South African Open Championship in January.

Sullivan came into the final round three strokes behind, but a front nine score of 32 with five birdies helped him leapfrog (ahem), to the top of the leader board.

With the win, Sullivan guaranteed a spot in the Open Championship at St. Andrews.

Weekend Preview

mciloryacePGA TOUR
The Honda Classic
Dates: Feb. 26-March 1
Venue: PGA National Resort & Spa (Champion Course), Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 2-6 p.m. (Live) / 9 p.m.-1 a.m. (Replay)
Friday 2-6 p.m. (Live) / 9 p.m.-1 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday 1-3 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 p.m. (Live, Spotlight Coverage) / 7 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)
Sunday 1-3 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 p.m. (Live, Spotlight Coverage) / 7 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern):
Saturday 3-6 p.m. (Live)
Sunday 3-6 p.m. (Live)

Headlining the field: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Billy Horschel, Patrick Reed and Russell Henley.

LPGA TOUR
Honda LPGA Thailand
Dates: Feb. 26-March 1
Venue: Siam Country Club Pattaya (Old Course), Chonburi, Thailand

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 1-5 a.m. (Live) / 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Replay)
Friday 1-5 a.m. (Live) / 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday 1-5 a.m. (Live)
Sunday 1-5 a.m. (Live)

Headlining the field: Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis, Shanshan Feng, Michelle Wie, Suzann Pettersen, So Yeon Ryu, Hyo Joo Kim, Karrie Webb, Lexi Thompson and Anna Nordqvist.

EUROPEAN TOUR
Joburg Open
Dates: Feb. 26-March 1
Venue: Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club (East & West Courses), Gauteng, South Africa

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 7-9 a.m. (Live) / 5-7 a.m. (Tape delay)
Friday 7-9 a.m. (Live) / 5-7 a.m. (Tape delay)
Saturday 5:30-9:30 a.m. (Live)
Sunday 5-9:30 a.m. (Live)

Headlining the field: Darren Clarke, George Coetzee, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Edoardo Molinari, S.S.P. Chawrasia, Andy Sullivan, Gregory Bourdy, Alex Noren and David Horsey.

Weekend Wrap

Bubba Watson is defending champion this week...

Bubba Watson moved to #2 in the world rankings this week

PGA TOUR
Northern Trust Open
Dates: Feb. 19-22
Venue: Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, California

Quite an entertaining weekend at the beautiful par-71 Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California.  The Northern Trust Open produced some great golf, first by some of the older competitors in the field like Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen.  Goose had the lead as the final around approached, but a final round 75 derailed his hopes for a victory.

At the end of regulation three players were tied at 278, six-under-par.  A playoff between Dustin Johnson (fresh off a leave of absence from golf), Paul Casey, and literal unknown James Hahn.   Hahn was ranked 297th in the world before the event.

That ranking just went up.

On the 3rd playoff hole Hahn dunked a 25 foot birdie putt for birdie to close out his first PGA Tour win, and more importantly capture the spoils that go with it.  One of those spoils is a trip down Magnolia Lane at the Masters Tournament.

New ranking for Hahn is 86.

Another move in the rankings was that of Bubba Watson.  The unorthodox lefty-bomber has moved to #2 in the world behind Rory McIlory.

lydiakoLPGA TOUR
ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open
Dates: Feb. 18-21
Venue: Royal Melbourne Golf Club (Composite Course), Melbourne, Australia

Speaking of rankings, the very young Lydia Ko took her world #1 ranking down under for the Women’s Australian Open.

In historic fashion, Ko’s final round -2 71 (yes that’s correct, a par 73) was good enough for a two shot win over Amy Yang.   Ko’s total for the weekend was an impressive 9-under on a composite course put together for the event.

Not bad for a 17-year-old.

miguelangeljimenezEUROPEAN TOUR
Hero Indian Open
Dates: Feb. 19-22
Venue: Delhi Golf Club (Lodhi Course), New Delhi, India

Who is the hottest golfer on the European Tour right now?  With two wins in three weeks one might argue Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri holds that distinction.

Lahiri won the Hero Indian Open by beating S S P Chawrasia in a playoff by making birdie on the par-5 18th hole while Chawrasia failed to make par.

Lahiri moves to #34 in the world from #39 last week.

Weekend Preview

Bubba Watson is defending champion this week...

Bubba Watson is defending champion this week…

PGA TOUR
Northern Trust Open
Dates: Feb. 19-22
Venue: Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 5-8 p.m. (Live) / 8:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday 5-8 p.m. (Live) / 8:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-9 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 7:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)

Headlining the field: Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Sergio Garcia, Jordan Spieth, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, Hideki Matsuyama, Fred Couples and Davis Love III.

lydiakoLPGA TOUR
ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open
Dates: Feb. 18-21
Venue: Royal Melbourne Golf Club (Composite Course), Melbourne, Australia

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday 11 p.m.-2 a.m. (Live) / 1:30-4:30 p.m. (Thursday replay)
Thursday 11:30 p.m.-2 a.m. (Live) / 1:30-4:30 p.m. (Friday replay)
Friday 11:30 p.m.-2 a.m. (Live) / 3-6 p.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday 9 p.m.-2 a.m. (Live) / 3-6:30 p.m. (Sunday replay)

Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Na Yeon Choi, So Yeon Ryu, Jessica Korda, Shanshan Feng, Karrie Webb, Charley Hull, Ai Miyazato, Chella Choi, Minjee Lee and Cheyenne Woods.

miguelangeljimenezEUROPEAN TOUR
Hero Indian Open
Dates: Feb. 19-22
Venue: Delhi Golf Club (Lodhi Course), New Delhi, India

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Tape delay)
Friday 5-7 a.m., 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Tape delay)
Saturday 5:30-9:30 a.m. (Tape delay)
Sunday 5:30-10 a.m. (Tape delay)

Headlining the field: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Arjun Atwal, Anirban Lahiri, Jeev Milkha Singh, Siddikur Rahman, Daniel Chopra, S.S. P. Chawrasia and Jyoti Randhawa.

Weekend Wrap

PGA TOUR
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Dates: Feb. 12-15
Venues: Pebble Beach Golf Links; Spyglass Hill Golf Course; Monterey Peninsula Country Club, Pebble Beach, Calif.

Many fans love the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. This is a fun PGA Tour event featuring great golf stars, but celebrities as well. The celebs particiapate in the Pro-Am portion of the event, interacting with the crowd and having a general fun time. Fans get to see athletes, actors, business personalities, musicians, all hack it up on the beautiful Pebble Beach Golf Links. Most of the swings are bad, but the times are good.

As scenic and beautiful as Pebble is, it does not prove to be difficult for the tour pros. Most finish double digits under par and this year’s winning score was -22.

Jim Furyk put on birdie barrage on Saturday and took the overnight lead. But a final round 74 kept him winless on tour since 2010.

Brandt Snedeker’s final round five-under-par 67 was enough to cruise to a three-shot win. “Sneds” had not hoisted a winner’s trophy since 2013, and since then has battled injury.

Nick Watney finished in second while three players finished tied for third: Dustin Johnson, Pat Perez, and Jason Day.

miguelangeljimenezCHAMPIONS TOUR
ACE Group Classic
Dates: Feb. 13-15
Venue: The TwinEagles Club (Talon Course), Naples, Fla.

At the conclusion of regulation play, two players were tied for the lead in the ACE Group Classic, Bart Bryant and Lee Janzen.  Bryant vaulted up the leaderboard with a stunning final round 62 at Twin Eagles Club Talon Course in Naples, Florida.  Janzen’s final round -5 wasn’t quite as impressive, but it apparently left him with enough mental and physical energy to perform well enough in the playoff.

Janzen’s par on the first playoff hole was enough to notch the win for the recently turned 50 player from Austin, Texas.

EUROPEAN TOUR
True Thailand Classic
Dates: Feb. 12-15
Venue: Black Mountain Golf Club, Hua Hin, Thailand

The colorful Miguel Angel Jimenez was one of many big names in action at the True Thailand Classic.  Jimenez (pictured) was in the hunt, but a final round 73 derailed his hopes for victory.

After beginning the tournament with a round of 71, eventual willer Andrew Dodt carded three consecutive rounds of 67 to edge out fellow Australian Scott Hend by one stroke.  For the tournament Dodt carded 19 birdies against only three bogeys.

Weekend Preview

Jordan_SpiethPGA TOUR
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Dates: Feb. 12-15
Venues: Pebble Beach Golf Links; Spyglass Hill Golf Course; Monterey Peninsula Country Club, Pebble Beach, Calif.

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 3-6 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-9:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)
Friday 3-6 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-9:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-11 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 7:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)

Headlining the field: Last week’s winner Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed, Jim Furyk, Billy Horschel, Dustin Johnson, Ernie Els, Hunter Mahan, Ian Poulter and David Duval.

CHAMPIONS TOUR
ACE Group Classic
Dates: Feb. 13-15
Venue: The TwinEagles Club (Talon Course), Naples, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday 12:30-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 1-3 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday 3-5:30 p.m. (Live) / 11:30 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday 3-5 p.m. (Live) / 1:30-3:30 a.m. (Monday replay)

Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Rocco Mediate, John Cook, Paul Goydos, Jay Haas, Kirk Triplett, Corey Pavin, Peter Jacobsen and Gary Koch.

miguelangeljimenezEUROPEAN TOUR
True Thailand Classic
Dates: Feb. 12-15
Venue: Black Mountain Golf Club, Hua Hin, Thailand

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 6-11 a.m. (Tape delay)
Friday 5:30-10:30 a.m. (Tape delay)
Saturday 6-10 a.m. (Tape delay)
Sunday 5:30-10 a.m. (Tape delay)

Headlining the field: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Thomas Bjorn, Peter Uihlein, Anirban Lahiri, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Thongchai Jaidee, David Lipsky and Arjun Atwal.

Weekend Wrap

TorreyPines_32PGA TOUR
Farmers Insurance Open
Dates: Feb. 5-8
Venue: Torrey Pines Golf Course (North Course, South Course), La Jolla, Calif.

The biggest story of the week at Torrey Pines, perhaps even the biggest story of the year so far, was the withdrawal of Tiger Woods after 11 holes.  Woods cited back problems coming up with a catch phrase, citing problems getting his “glutes activated” which had fed golf jokesters plenty of new butt joke material.

Meanwhile the tournament continued on, despite fan and media interest.  When the final regulation hole was completed, four golfers stood tied for first place: J.B. Holmes, Harris English, Jason Day, and Scott Stallings.

It took two extra holes for Jason Day to capture his third win on Tour. Day will move to 4th in the world golf rankings and should be one of the top favorites coming into the 2015 Masters.

LPGA TOUR

Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic
Dates: Feb. 5-8
Venue: Ocean Club Golf Course, Paradise Island, Bahamas

Paradise in the Bahamas…

The LPGA Tour is full of rookies with great potential. One said rookie carded her first LPGA Tour win on the first hole of a playoff against Sun Young Yoo and Ariya Jutanugarn. South Korean Sei Young Kim was nervous over the birdie putt, but kept control and dunked it for the victory.

“Just before the last putt I was super nervous, but I was fine.”

Fine indeed.

CHAMPIONS TOUR
Allianz Championship
Dates: Feb. 6-8
Venue: Broken Sound Club (Old Course), Boca Raton, Fla.

Paul Goydos needed to birdie the last hole in the Allianz Championship to close out the victory. That, opportunity surfaced on a final round day where as many as nine players had a share of the lead.

A fine chip on the finishing hole left an easy birdie for Goydos, who collected a winner’s check of just over a quarter million dollars. Not bad for a three day weekend of golf with some “senior” players. The win marked Goydos’s second on the 50-and-over tour.

EUROPEAN TOUR
Maybank Malaysia Open
Dates: Feb. 5-8
Venue: Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (West Course), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

LAHIRI, Anirban Lahiri captured his first European Tour victory in Malaysia by overcoming a five shot deficit in the final round.

That fantastic run and consequent victory vaults Lahiri into a great position in the golf world, from being out of the Masters picture to in. That move comes as a result of moving from #73 in the world rankings to #40.

Top 50 also qualifies Lahiri for some other large events, such as the World Golf Championships.

Tiger Woods Withdraws at Torrey Pines

TigerWoodsIf there was a week which Tiger Woods fans thought would be a great opportunity for a comeback and a great showing, this was it.  Torrey Pines is the stage which has produced eight Tour wins for Woods, including his last major victory, the U.S. Open in 2008 when he defeated Rocco Mediate in an amazing playoff.

Last week Woods missed the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, suffering from what most experts called the “chip-yips.”  “Yips” are usually associated with putting, where one has an uncontrollable, even jerky or spastic and uncontrollable motion.  The yips are a curse for golfers, ruining even the easiest of shots.  For one of, if not the greatest golfer in the world to have any form of yips is hard to fathom.

Coming into Torrey Pines, Woods told the press he was hitting the ball as good as he did at the peak of his career in 2000.  That’s quite a statement.  Many argue no player has ever hit the ball more pure, and more consistently than in that period of time for Woods.

Woods started the first round with a bogey Thursday, and it didn’t get much better from there.  His driver was very inaccurate and his chipping woes still surfaced, despite one chip-in.  As the round wore on, so did Tiger’s back.  Toward the back nine Tiger’s playing partner was picking up his tees and he was moving “gingerly” as quoted by countless members of the press.

By the 11th hole Woods was unable to continue and withdrew from the event.  The scene was crazy as press and cameramen swarmed Woods as he left the course and packed up his car.  In a post round interview Woods cited back pain and his inability to “activate” his glutes.  In order to support his back, Woods relies on strong muscles in the surrounding areas.

Those muscles were apparently not strong enough.

Where Woods goes from here is unknown.  He will certainly be eyeing the Masters, but his eligibility to play in many other events is in jeopardy since dropping out of the top 50 in the world rankings.  The next few months coming into April, Masters month, should be quite interesting.

Weekend Preview

TigerWoodsPGA TOUR
Farmers Insurance Open
Dates: Feb. 5-8
Venue: Torrey Pines Golf Course (North Course, South Course), La Jolla, Calif.

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 8 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)
Friday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 9 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)

Headlining the field: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Jason Day, Billy Horschel, Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley, Jimmy Walker and Brooks Koepka.

lydiakoLPGA TOUR
Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic
Dates: Feb. 5-8
Venue: Ocean Club Golf Course, Paradise Island, Bahamas

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Live)
Friday 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Live)
Saturday 3-5 p.m. (Live)
Sunday 3-5 p.m .(Live)

Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Michelle Wie, Stacy Lewis, Na Yeon Choi, Inbee Park, Jessica Korda, Ai Miyazato, Lexi Thompson, Paula Creamer, Anna Nordqvist and Suzann Pettersen.

CHAMPIONS TOUR
Allianz Championship
Dates: Feb. 6-8
Venue: Broken Sound Club (Old Course), Boca Raton, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday 7-9 p.m. (Tape delay) / 3-5 p.m. (Live streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Saturday 5-8 p.m. (Tape delay) / 2-5 p.m. (Live streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Sunday 5-8 p.m. (Tape delay) / 2-5 p.m. (Live streaming on Golf Live Extra)

Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Corey Pavin, Rocco Mediate, Jay Haas, Tom Lehman, John Cook, Michael Allen, Peter Jacobsen, Gary Koch and Fred Funk.

miguelangeljimenezEUROPEAN TOUR
Maybank Malaysia Open
Dates: Feb. 5-8
Venue: Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (West Course), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tournament Airtimes On Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 2-5 a.m. (Live, following Midnight-2 a.m. tape delayed)
Friday 4:30-9:30 a.m. (Tape delay)
Saturday 6-10 a.m. (Tape delay)
Sunday 6-10:30 a.m. (Tape delay)

Headlining the field: Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Victor Dubuisson, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Stephen Gallacher, Matteo Manassero, Peter Uihlein, Danny Willett and Paul McGinley.

Weekend Wrap

TigerWoodsPGA TOUR
Waste Management Phoenix Open
Dates: Jan. 29-Feb. 1
Venue: TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Course), Scottsdale, Ariz.

What a week in professional sports.  The Super Bowl was a super game yesterday, coming down to the last few seconds.  Seattle made a questionable offensive call on 2nd and goal to go from around the one yard line which will forever be questioned.  New England intercepts the pass and seals the four point win.  The Super Bowl was in Phoenix, along with the largest sporting event Arizona sees on a yearly basis with regards to attendance, the Phoenix Open.

Attendance ballooned to record levels early in the week as the former world #1 and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods had unexpectedly entered the field, following a crazy week where a photographer accidentally knocked his front tooth out in Italy.

Tiger struggled to a first round 73, then blew up with his worst round as a professional in the 2nd round, an 11-over 82.  82. Tiger Missed the cut and was tied for last place after Friday’s round.

The top of the leaderboard featured a player who managed some fine golf. After starting with a so-so round on 71 on Friday, Books Koepka improved every day for the rest of the tournament.  Friday’s 68 was followed by a Saturday 64, and a closing 66.  Under pressure the 66 was an excellent round of golf, enough to hold off the hot playing Ryan Palmer, Bubba Watson, and Kideki Matsuyama who were one shot back.

mciloryaceEUROPEAN TOUR
Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Dates: Jan. 29-Feb. 1
Venue: Emirates Golf Club (Majlis Course), Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Meanwhile on the other side of the planet, the current world #1 Rory McIlory was trying to break a streak of runner-up finishes at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

McIlory’s final round of 2-under 70 wasn’t stellar by his standards, but it was enough to secure a three-shot victory over Swedish golfer Alexander Noren.  A second place finish is not bad for the 654th ranked golfer in the world.

The European Tour now leaves their desert swing, moving on to Malaysia for the next event.