With Tiger's Northwestern Mutual World Challenge wrapping up this weekend, most of the top golfers will be heading home this week or next to spend time with friends and family over the holidays.
But there is one more big tour golf event for 2013. This week the European Tour holds the second edition of the Nelson Mandela Championship, which will start a day early and finish Saturday in observance of the state funeral for its namesake. This year's event was briefly in doubt due to the Mr. Mandela's passing, but the organizers decided that it would be more of a tribute for the tournament to go on. The championship will benefit one of Mandela's dreams - to build a world-class children's hospital in South Africa. To that end, all profits from the tournament will go to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust.
But now, for the week that was... HtL links you up with Zach Johnson's shocking win, a first-of-(probably)-many titles by a 16-year-old pro, and much more.
Hole #1: Woods Just Misses Sixth Win of 2013
It looked like Tiger Woods was sure to win his sixth Northwestern Mutual World Challenge. But the top-ranked golfer in the world saw his four-stroke lead with eight to play slip away and then missed a four-foot putt on the first playoff hole, letting Zach Johnson take the last World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club. On the last hole of regulation, Johnson basically shanked his approach into the hazard from the middle of the fairway and had to hole out from the drop zone to stay even with Woods, who got up and down from the greenside bunker. [Link]
Hole #2: World Challenge Heading East
Since he couldn't win at Sherwood, Tiger is taking his charity event to Florida. Just kidding. The tournament is moving to Isleworth CC in Orlando for 2014, but the relocation is intended to make recruiting a quality field easier. Of this year's field, nine of the 18 live in Florida, while none live in California. [Link]
Hole #3: Ko Gets First Win as Pro
16-year-old Lydia Ko won the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters on Sunday in Taiwan. It was her first victory since turning pro, though she won four pro events as an amateur. [Link]
Hole #4: Bjorn Rides Eagles to Win
Thomas Bjorn eagled two of his last nine holes enroute to a seven-under 65 and a victory in the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa. Jamie Donaldson and Sergio Garcia finished T2. Players and spectators alike observed the passing of Nelson Mandela during the tournament. [Link]
Hole #5: Jimenez Defends Hong Kong Open Title
"The World's Most Interesting Golfer," Miguel Angel Jimenez successfully defended his Hong Kong Open Title in a playoff with Stuart Manley and Prom Meesawat. Jimenz (49) birdied the first playoff hole to break his own record as the oldest player to win on the European Tour. [Link]
Hole #6: Phatlum Rallies Past Lewis
Pornanong Phatlum birdied the final two holes of the Dubai Ladies Masters on Saturday for a one stroke win over runner-up Stacy Lewis. [Link]
Hole #7: Ice Storm vs. Driving Range
If the suspense is killing you, let's just say that the ice storm won. [Link]
Hole #8: Green Takes Q-School in Record-Setting Fashion
Jaye Marie Green set an LPGA Q-School record by shooting 29-under to win by 10 strokes. Her worst round was a four-under 68. Her best was 10-under 62. [Link]
Hole #9: Dare We Whisper "Dynasty"?
TaylorMade teams finished one-two as the company scored its second Industry Cup title in the fourth iteration of the event, becoming the first company with two wins. Callaway and Titleist have also won the cup in past years. The Golfweek Industry Cup pits golf company employees against each other. A 150-pound associate research scientist named Grant Martens won the long drive contest for Titleist with three final round drives of more than 312 yards. He specializes in finite element analysis of golf clubs, which we suspect has something to do with hitting the ball really far. [Link]