Well, once again the Mickelson-Woods match up we were promised, fizzled. As in, neither was still playing on Sunday—Mickelson because his back acted up and he withdrew and Tiger because he went nine-over during a seven-hole stretch and missed the secondary cut. [bonus link] Still, Torrey Pines did not disappoint. The top of the leaderboard was packed on Sunday, with the winner in doubt until the very end. The Euro Tour went to triple overtime to choose a winner. And the LPGA event came down to an up and down for birdie on the final hole. All and all, a pretty good week.
Coming up next week, hope you like desert golf, the PGA TOUR will be in Scottsdale for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and the Euros will tee it up in U.A.E. at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Like the Champions Tour, the LPGA needs about a month to recover from their debut event so we'll pick those two tours up later in February.
But we don't have to wait to hit the links, so let's do it.
Hole #1: Stallings Wins at Torrey Pines
Scott Stallings edged five players by a stroke in a hotly contested Farmers Insurance Open. Just after the final group made the turn, there were no less than 19 players within two shots of the lead. The Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson story line turned into a MC-DNF (Tiger missed the secondary cut after shooting 79 on Saturday) and a WD (Phil withdrew before the third round with back spasms). [Link]
Hole #2: Number 5A, Calling Tiger a Cheater and Immediately Back-Peddling
Noted apologist Brandel Chamblee has released his list of the five worst developments in golf over the last 50 years. [Link]
Hole #3: Sergio Wins the (Qatar) Masters
A birdie on the third playoff hole gave Sergio Garcia the Qatar Masters title, a year after getting clipped on the 72nd hole by Chris Wood's timely eagle. And just how many Euro tour events are now named "Masters"? Six. [Link]
Hole #4: Cruelty, Thy Name Is Golf
If you ever want to punish yourself by repeatedly watching a putt lip out, or if you don't like Tiger Woods and would enjoy watching his putt lip out repeatedly, here you go. (Actually, they should have used the horseshoe lip out from Saturday's round.) [Link]
Hole #5: Korda Wins the Bahamas LPGA Classic
Twenty-year-old Jessica Korda holed a six-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to beat Stacey Lewis by a stroke and win the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic in Paradise Island, Bahamas. Her four on the par five eighteenth included putting her third shot from behind the green under cables held by an official and a TV announcer. (She also had a full out sh@#k on Saturday, but we don't need to talk about that now.) [Link]
Hole #6: A Big Idea to Boost Play
Mark King, the CEO of TaylorMade Golf, wants to address the issue of declining participation in golf by making the hole bigger, actually over three-times the size of the current hole. King theorizes that a 15-inch hole would make the game faster, because more putts would be made, and would make the game easier for the average player. The thought of all our lip outs and near misses dropping is appealing.
Hole #7: Grip It and Eat It
Yes, you read that right. John Daly has put his name on pizza that will be marketed as an alternative to the typical hotdog-at-the-turn. Courses that sign up will be provided with pizza ingredients and more to make the stuffed-crust pies. And, every pizza box comes with a John Daly ball marker! Hmm, wonder how snarfing down a pizza on the tenth tee is going to affect our back nine… [Link]
Hole #8: PGA Merchandise Show Is a Big Deal Again
Some 1,000 companies, including 200 first time exhibitors, helped make the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show make a bigger splash than it has in some time. Callaway brought a tank, and TaylorMade showed up with a 30,000 square foot exhibit booth and dropped an estimated seven-digits on the show. Loft up, indeed. [Link]
Hole #9: The Curling-Golf Connection
The Norwegian Olympic Curling Team will be sporting loud pants again when they compete in Sochi. How does this relate to golf? The pants are made by Loudmouth Golf, the company that makes John Daly's memorable golf attire. [Link]