Golf Claps & Silent Treatment: Wyndham Championship

August 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Entertaining News, Golf News, Pro Insider, Spy Blog 

“D’oh!” – Homer Simpson.

“Dough!” – Webb Simpson.Webb Simpson

That’s dough, as in a $936,000 check the latter collected for winning the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C. Cash is sure to keep rolling in for the talented 26-year-old, whose victory looks like the first of many.

Simpson – Webb, that is – had been building up to his moment all season. He carried a pair of runner-up finishes and a slew of top-25s into the event, which he calmly won with a bogey-free 67 on Sunday.

He’s now earned more than $3.6 million in this, his third full season on Tour. Something tells us he won’t be working at the nearest nuclear plant any time soon.

On to our weekly round-up of those we applaud, and those who left us appalled:

Golf Claps

  • Elongated putters: Here we go again. By using a belly putter, Simpson became the third consecutive winner relying on a flat-stick that doesn’t fit traditional dimensions. Long putters were once considered a last resort for aging pros with shaky hands and achy backs; not anymore. Simpson (26), PGA champ Keegan Bradley (25) and WGC-Bridgestone winner Adam Scott (31) are a long way from the Champions Tour.
  • Carolina golfers: Simpson was raised in Raleigh and played college golf at Wake Forest. Third-place finisher Tommy Gainey hails from the “other” Carolina – Bishopville, S.C., to be exact. Carl Petterson, a Swede who played at North Carolina State, tied for fourth while Tar Heel State standard bearer Davis Love III posted a solid T12. Nothing like a little home cooking.
  • Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington and William McGirt: Your final qualifiers for the FedEx Cup are a pair of three-time major champs and… Some other guy. McGirt is a Tour rookie with just one top-20 all year, but he slipped into the 125th and final spot with a T52 showing in Greensboro. By the way, McGirt is from Fairmont, N.C.

Silent Treatment

  • Ernie Els: Yep, the Big Easy lands on both lists this week. The silence is for Els’ final-round 72, a 2-over dud that dropped him from contention to a tie for 30th. Gotta say, we miss watching that Sinatra-smooth swing when things get tight on the weekend. Here’s hoping Ernie regains his form soon.
  • Justin Leonard: The longtime stalwart played his way out of the FedEx Cup with a bogey on the 72nd hole. Good for McGirt, bad for Leonard, a 12-time winner who missed the playoff series for the first time since its 2007 inception.
  • The two-gloves look: Sorry, Tommy Gainey, but the only thing worse than watching a pro wield a long putter is watching one wear a pair of gloves. Looks like you’re about to grab a hot pan from the oven.

Golf Claps & Silent Treatment: PGA Championship

August 15, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Entertaining News, Golf News, Pro Insider, Spy Blog 

Pat Bradley’s nephew, Keegan, claimed the 93rd PGA Championship Sunday with a stirring playoff victory at Atlanta Athletic Club.

Who’s Pat Bradley, you ask?

An LPGA Hall-of-Famer who won six majors and 31 tournaments from 1976-1995. But enough about her.Keegan Bradley

Sunday was all about Keegan, author of a remarkable comeback after a triple-bogey on the 15th hole. The lanky rookie from Vermont outlasted Jason Dufner to become just the second player since Francis Ouimet in 1913 to win a major on his first try.

When the name Francis Ouimet is invoked, you’re talking serious history.

Like Ouimet’s U.S. Open victory over Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, Bradley’s was big for the U.S. of A., snapping a six-major drought for Americans.

Before we get to this week’s Golf Claps and Silent Treatment, a quick look at how our darkhorse picks fared. The verdict: meh. While four of five made the cut, none finished better than T56 (Ricky Barnes). Hey, there’s a reason they were darkhorses.

On with the awards…

Golf Claps

  • Keegan Bradley: Can you say “baby-faced assassin”? Bradley’s chances appeared to drown when he skulled a chip into the water on par-3 15th. But he rebounded with birdies on the next two holes, made a gutsy par on 18, then bettered Dufner by a shot in the three-hole playoff. Bravo, Mr. Bradley.
  • Jason Dufner: Having missed four consecutive cuts and being, well, Jason Dufner, the 34-year-old journeyman was farther under the radar than a burrowing mole. But Dufner’s unerring driver and cucumber-cool demeanor served him well until back-to-back-to-back bogeys dropped him into a playoff. Still, golf gained a new appreciation for this tobacco-chewing, college-football-loving everyman from Auburn. War Eagle, indeed.
  • The long putter: It pains us to say, but the darn thing done good. Again. A week after delivering a win for Steve Williams, er, Adam Scott, the long putter was a flat-out weapon for Bradley, whose birdie bomb on the 71st hole will live forever in highlights.
  • Atlanta Athletic Club: Abused by players and pundits for its penal, strategy-killing design, the course got the last laugh by producing Sunday’s high drama. That wasn’t enough, though, to keep us from giving it the…

Silent Treatment

  • Atlanta Athletic Club: With fairways and greens hemmed in by water and sand, the course gave golfers two options for each shot – straight and straighter. The antithesis of strategic golf and worthy of the scorn it received from Phil Mickelson, among others.
  • Tiger Woods: Actually, Woods gave galleries a lot to cheer about in the form of eight birdies. Unfortunately, he nixed those with five double-bogeys and exited after rounds of 77-73. See ya next year, Tiger.
  • Rory McIlroy: He gets more of an under-the-breath ouch than stone silence, but it’s hard to imagine what the U.S. Open champ was thinking Thursday when he took a full whack at his ball against a tree root. Since the resulting wrist strain prevented McIlroy from contending, let’s hope young Rory isn’t in for a career full of injurious setbacks like a certain someone else we know…

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