Golf Claps & Silent Treatment: CMN Hospitals Classic

October 24, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Entertaining News, Golf News, Pro Insider, Spy Blog 

All hail Luke Donald, the undisputed No. 1 golfer in the world.

Luke Donald

Luke Donald

Finally.

Technically, Donald has stood atop the world golf ranking since May 29, when he unseated fellow Englishman Lee Westwood. But there’s been plenty of clamor in the meantime, his critics arguing that Donald hadn’t done enough to earn the top spot.

Nevermind that no one else had, either, since Tiger Woods abdicated the throne last year. The major-less Donald, who went five years without a PGA Tour win (2006-2011), was an easy target.

With his incredible come-from-behind victory at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in Orlando, Donald silenced the doubters. Six straight birdies and a closing 64 were his polite way of saying “Shut up,” in proper King’s English, of course.

As a bonus, Donald leapfrogged Webb Simpson to claim the tour’s money title with a cool $6,683,214 on the year. That’s even more impressive when you consider how much he plays overseas. In fact, Donald’s in position to win the European Tour’s money race as well, which would make him the first person to take both in the same year.

Yeah, he’s No. 1.

Now on to our cheers and jeers, golf style, for the weekend that was:

Golf Claps

Luke Donald: Did we mention that he played alongside Simpson for all four rounds of the CMN? Or that Donald was two shots behind his playing partner, and four shots off the lead, with eight holes to go?

Disney trappings aside, this was a gutsy performance. It may just have locked up PGA Tour Player of the Year honors, too. Donald was one of seven players with a pair of wins this season (not counting two in Europe) and by far the most consistent of the bunch.

The lone missing piece to his resumé remains that elusive major. At age 33, his time is now.

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia: While Donald was busy stamping his signature on the 2011 season, Garcia marked his resurgence complete with an 11-shot victory at the Castello Masters. The Spaniard thrilled a home crowd with a final-round 63 to lap the field, dedicating his win to the late, great Seve Ballesteros.

Having emerged from the oblivion that was 2010, Garcia may be poised to finally fulfill the potential he flashed as a teenager and 20-something. Welcome back, El Niño.

Silent Treatment

David Duval and Ben Curtis: A pair of former Open Championship winners, Duval and Curtis failed to earn exempt status for the tour in 2012. Duval, who seemed to be inching (ever so slowly) back to something like his old form, slipped to 152nd on the money list by missing the CMN cut. Curtis did likewise to finish 149th for the year.

Golf Claps & Silent Treatment: JT Shriners Open

October 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Entertaining News, Golf News, Pro Insider, Spy Blog 

Technically, that’s the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Cool host. Wonderful cause. The title? Not what you'd call headline-friendly.

Good thing the winner’s name is. That would be Kevin Na, who earned his first tour victory to the delight of punsters everywhere. Well, you’d have thought so, anyway. We were pretty disappointed at the ho-hum headlines posted after Na’s win, so here’s our contribution:

Kevin Na wins Justin Timberlake Shriners Open

Kevin Na

Na, Na, Na, Na… Goodbye to Tour Veteran’s Long Winless Streak

Sorry, that’s the best we could do on deadline.

Luckily, Na himself showed a lot more moxie under the gun. With Nick Watney breathing down his neck on Sunday, Na birdied 15, 16 and 17 at TPC Summerlin to pull away and win by two.

Think his nerves were wracked with that precious first win within grasp?

Na.

On to this week’s cap-tips and eye-rolls, otherwise known as…

Golf Claps

Kenny Perry: A quick detour to the Champions side, where Perry won the SAS Championship carrying the heaviest of hearts after the passing of his sister, Kay, Saturday night. Her death came two years to the day after Perry’s mother was taken by the same disease, breast cancer, and Perry nearly withdrew. Instead, he heeded the advice of his father, who told Perry to “go out there and represent Kay today.”

Perry did his sister proud, claiming a one-shot victory thanks to a clutch eagle on 17. “I felt like I had some help there,” an emotional Perry said afterward. “Excited to win, but I’d rather have my sister back.”

Kevin Na: The 28-year-old ensured that the 16 he recorded at April’s Valero Texas Open won’t be his claim to fame for 2011. A notorious slowpoke on the greens, Na made every second count Sunday, especially on 17. When his 42-foot birdie putt toppled into the hole, it effectively ended Na’s eight-year, 211-event Tour winless streak.

Here’s hoping he keeps it up; we want a few more cracks at that headline.

David Duval: The enigmatic one made a rare appearance on the leaderboard, finishing T23 despite taking double-bogey on the 72nd hole. Duval has made just nine cuts in 21 events this season, but we’re still rooting for a return to form. Hey, anyone with the guts to come out to his fellow Tour players – as a Democrat, that is – shows the kind of courage that’s all too rare these days.

Silent Treatment

Tim Herron: We love “Lumpy” as much as the next golfer/couch potato, so it was painful to watch his chances of winning the Shriners drown on No. 16. The double-bogey cost him a shot at winning for the first time since 2006, but he still holds a place in our cholesterol-clogged hearts.

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