When a participant in a Tour event dies during the tournament — that is, actually on the tournament course during competition – don’t you think that the tournament should at least be put on hold for the day to allow players and caddies to recover, not to mention out of respect for the deceased?
In better news, the Players Championship took place this weekend. On the front nine, it was shaping up to be the tournament of the year, with Kaymer, Spieth, Furyk, Garcia, Hearn, Molinari, Rose, Westwood, Walker, and McIlroy all looking like potential winners at one point or another. But Martin Kaymer ran away from the field on the back nine, at least until the rain delay. In case you missed it, we’ll tell you what happened.
Let’s hit the links.
Hole #1: Caddie Dies, Tour Plays On
Ian McGregor, on the bag for Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth, collapsed and died on the ninth hole at the Madeira Islands Open. Play resumed after a delay and a minute of silence in tribute to the fallen looper. That strikes me as a bit crass. If there was ever a reason to What would the tour have done if it had been a player? Daniel Brooks won the 36-hole, fog-shortened (not caddie’s death-shortened) tournament on the first playoff hole. [Link]
Hole #2: Kaymer Hangs On
Martin Kaymer has showed up again on the PGA TOUR. Kaymer hasn’t won since the 2010 PGA Championship. In fact, he’s only had seven top ten finishes in the last four seasons. But this week at Sawgrass, Kaymer was, indeed, a player. Despite making double bogey on the first hole following a rain delay during the final round, Kaymer held on to win the Players Championship by a stroke over a charging Jim Furyk. [Link]
Hole #3: Spieth’s Sunday Back-Nine Swoons
Many of us are expecting Jordan Spieth to win a big tournament, and probably a major, very soon. But his record on Sunday this season is not good. This week’s Players Championship marked the second big-time event this year where Spieth looked to be in position to win but failed to break through and actually backed up. At the Masters he couldn’t make birdies when he had to and at Sawgrass he couldn’t make pars. No worries, we think. He’s young and has plenty of time to win, but this trend (though short) is a little troubling. [Link]
Hole #4: Fifth Major? Maybe Not
Of all the candidates for the “fifth” major, the Players Championship might have the best claim. With perhaps the best field in golf (the TOUR Championship might have an argument there) and a well known, distinctive course, the Players has a reasonably credible claim to the title “Fifth Major.” Here’s the problem: there are four Majors. There were four when Bobby Jones won the grand slam and there are four now. And that’s OK, the Players Championship is a very important tournament. Everyone gets that, even without calling it a major. [Link]
Hole #5: Golf Helps Autistic Teen
This story will make you feel good about your sport: Read how golf has helped a teenage boy with autism to come out of his shell. [Link]
Hole #6: Who Should Be Number One?
Charlie Woods, son of Tiger, has played more golf than his old man, who is still number one, at least for this week. [Link]
Hole #7: Sammy Freed
Sammy the Squirrel, who gained fame with Davis Love, and on Tiger Wood’s shoulder at the 2013 Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village, was back in the news this week. Apparently, he wasn’t freed when we thought he was last fall, but spent the winter in “rehabilitation.” Seeing that last winter was among the worst in recent memory (and that he spent time in the arms of Lindsey Vonn and Nicki Stricker), he is one lucky squirrel indeed. [Link]
Hole #8: Never Mind
A day after assessing Justin Rose a two-stroke penalty, the PGA TOUR took it back. While playing a chip during the third round, Rose thought his ball had moved, but after reviewing the incident on a nearby giant video screen, he determined that it had not and played on. After the round and before Rose could sign his card, a PGA TOUR official asked Rose to review it again. They both agreed that the ball did not move. Then a European PGA Tour official called in to say that he thought the ball had moved. Rose was assessed the penalty, then the TOUR determined that, while the ball did move, the movement may not have been discernible to the naked eye and was only visible on high definition slow motion. Therefore, Rose did not commit a penalty and got his two strokes back. [Link]
Hole #9: Hackers, Take Solace
Ever hit a terrible shot? Sure, we all have. Ever do it in front of thousands (and numerous TV cameras) at the 17th during the Players Championship? Richard H. Lee hit two totally weekend hacker-level shots on Sunday, wrecking a mini-charge. [Link]