Golf Claps & Silent Treatment: Worldwide Weekend
Oh, to spend Halloween playing Pumpkin Ridge, the famed Oregon club whose Witch Hollow and Ghost Creek courses scare the knickers off the heartiest golfing souls.
Instead, we’re summing up this weekend’s action from the pro tours while waiting for the trick-or-treaters to trickle in.
Luckily, there’s plenty to report. Golf’s global reach was apparent as a slew of U.S. stars battled in Malaysia and Rory McIlroy won a non-official but highly lucrative event in China, where Taiwan’s Yani Tseng continued to terrorize her so-called competitors.
We’ll make this week’s rundown quick. Gotta slip into our Carl Spackler costume for tonight.
Bo Van Pelt: The 36-year-old has quietly become one of the PGA Tour’s steadiest performers, but has had trouble closing the deal when in contention. He practically slammed it on Sunday, winning the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia by six shots. Van Pelt’s final-round 64 earned him a cool $1.3 million and a big shot of confidence from beating Camilo Villegas, Vijay Singh, Robert Allenby and other stars in the Asian Tour event.
Sergio Garcia: It’s fitting that on Halloween, we’re comfortable declaring this of the former poltergeist: He’s baaaack. Garcia followed up his victory at the Castello Masters with another at the Andalucia Masters, beating countryman Miguel Angel Jimenez by a shot. Home cooking has been kind to Garcia, who became the first Spaniard to win a stroke-play even at storied Valderrama.
Rory McIlroy: The international man of mystery pocketed $2 million – golf’s biggest payday – by fending off Anthony Kim in a playoff at the Shanghai Masters. It didn’t get him any closer to Luke Donald’s No. 1 world ranking, but the win confirmed that McIlroy remains plenty hungry following his U.S. Open triumph.
Yani Tseng: The game’s top female made the most of her own trip to China, winning the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open for her 11th worldwide victory this year. That includes a pair of majors and marks Tseng the clear choice as golf’s most dominant player, regardless of gender.
450-yard par 4s: For the first time ever, average driving distance on the PGA Tour eclipsed 290 yards for an entire season (290.9 to be precise). To put that in perspective, Lee Janzen’s average tee shot in 2011 was 290.1 yards. In 1993, the year Janzen won his first of two U.S. Opens, he averaged 257.1.
He was 29 then. He’s 47 now. Frightening how much equipment has changed, isn’t it?