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Retribution and Bear Claws…uhh…Bear Traps

Seven short days ago I was wrapping away on these keys, bemoaning the bad hand the fates had dealt my daughter at the Northern Trust Open.  All four picks from her D&D dartboard session had failed to make the cut and she earned the big bagel…the very first “epic fail” (as my kids would call it), since we’ve been doing Fantasy Picks for CanadianGolfer three seasons ago.

Fast forward one week…and guess what the hell happened – Epic Failure Squared.

Or maybe, since I was the victim this time around, that should read Epic Failure Cubed.

Yes, Fantasy golf fans…all four of my guys; Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Geoff Ogilvy and Ian Poulter turned out to be tragic mistakes.  At least as much as being so woefully wrong, whilst on the public record, can be considered a tragedy.

It was like Donald, Garcia, Ogilvy and Poulter (4 guys with stellar track records in the Match Play format) all got together over a few pints to count their cargo carriers full of cash and decided they’d collectively soil themselves last week…just to have a few laughs at my expense.

I’m sure people like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Donald Trump and the rest of their ilk are used to being wrong  on a grand scale (since they’ve had so much vigorous practise at it)…but this is a new thing for me.  And I really don’t care for it friends.

And by the way, if you’re wondering which of the characters I mentioned is going to win the Republican nomination this year, the answer is; “none of the above.”

Nope, that group of ass hats has collectively done enough damage to one another during the past several months than none of them has any appeal to their party…or to most of the American voters.   They’ve succeeded in eviscerated each other to the point of no return. 

Not that any of these rocket scientists really had to do a lot of work to crush the others who are, or were in the running.  Most of these clowns have done a splendid job of self-imploding without the help of anyone else…just by speaking in public and letting people see how they think.

They’ve intentionally lied, distorted the tiniest of issues into doomsday prophecies, sewn seeds of widespread panic, twisted logic into mindless babble, taken ridiculous positions on clear-cut issues for the sake of being contrary and thrown themselves on and off the bible (depending on where they’re speaking and to whom)…so that almost everyone would have an impossible job of taking them seriously, let alone voting for them.

Their only appeal now is to the hard of thinking faction (known in some circles as their “base”). 

It’s Jersey Shore with delegates and the Kardassians with hanging chads (or would that be “hung” Chads?)

Regardless of what happens in the upcoming primaries, or on “Super Tuesday” the Republican Party has a pack of duds on their hands…completely incapable of winning an election at any level.  And you know what?  The party doesn’t really want any of these clowns to represent them in November…not even with the promise of a shiny new moon base!

So instead, look for some unsullied “white knight,” some “voice of reason” that we haven’t heard from yet, to suddenly and unexpectedly ride to the forefront over the coming months…and start grabbing up all the attention (and delegate support). 

Two names spring to mind; Christie from New Jersey and Bush from Florida.

Both would be very strong choices…with Bush probably being the better of the two, based on his temperament and accomplishments.  The only problem he has is in his unfortunate blood relationship with a certain village idiot we’ve all come to know.  Can Jeb Bush possibly overcome the crippling stigma of his last name and be a serious contender?  Only time will tell.

But between now and whenever that happens, the rest of us can sit back and continue to be completely disgusted, and at the same time, vastly entertained by this three-ring circus…safe in the knowledge that no body of people could possibly be large enough and stupid enough to actually put any of these people in power.

Meanwhile, back on the 19th hole, I have some own repairs to do to my reputation as a cunning prognosticator of outcomes on the golf course.  After picking 3 winners in the first 6 events or the season, a stunning zero for four last week doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, does it? 

Just call me “Moon Base Newt.”

Results – The WGC Match Play Championship

Derek’s Picks D&D (Daughter & Dartboard)
Luke Donald

T33

 $                 45,000 Zach Johnson

T33

 $                     45,000
Sergio Garcia

T33

 $                 45,000 Keegan Bradley

T17

 $                     95,000
Geoff Ogilvy

T33

 $                 45,000 Simon Dyson

T33

 $                     45,000
Ian Poulter

T33

 $                 45,000 Charl Schwartzel

T17

 $                     95,000
This Week’s Total  $               180,000 This Week’s Total  $                   280,000
Season Total  $            5,779,193 Season Total  $                1,525,772

My only saving grace this past week, is that everyone who qualifies to play in WGC events, is guaranteed to walk home with a paycheque, just for showing up. 

It’s good to be the King…or one of his 63 Princes!

The Honda Classic

This week, the PGA Tour heads south east, to begin the “Florida Swing” portion of the season.  The left coast is now just a memory…and it’s time to reset everyone’s clocks and expectations and see how recent skills and accomplishments are applied to the other side of the country.

That might sound odd, but if you look back at year’s past you’ll find that more than a few guys on Tour really shine out west…and then see all of their potential shrivel up and fade away once they strike off for the “Sunshine State” (much like many of its citizens).  For whatever reason, there seems to be a lot of golfers who specialize in certain time zones and can’t take their game, intact, elsewhere.

Just ask Jhonattan Vegas about making the transition away from Greenwhich Mean Time Minus 8.  (There are many other golfers this phenomenon applies to, but he’s the freshest example in my head…and I’m too damned lazy to look up any more for you).

Derek’s Picks

Rory McIlroy – After failing to seal the deal in his match against Hunter Mahan last week at the WGC, many would write off Rory as a lost cause this week.  Too tired, to bummed, too weary of the media to get zoned in and compete again at the highest level so soon.

And that’s what a lot of respected golf wags said last year when he arrived at Congressional to play in the US Open…after puking up a round of 80 and blowing a very comfortable lead at Augusta.

McIlroy has shown us over the past year that he’s resilient.  He’s also deadly talented, totally fearless and young enough not to give a rat’s O-ring what anyone else has to say about him or his game.  He just wants to win.

I can’t offer any significant Honda Classic stats from years past to justify this pick.  It just feels right this week to take Rory to dominate the field on PGA National…in the same way that it felt so right that he won The US Open last year after his epic crash-and-burn at The Masters.

Sang-Moon Bae – Only a very small handful of guys will have walked away from the WGC Match Play Championship feeling truly satisfied with the way they finished in the event; Hunter Mahan and Paul Lawrie are the “big name” guys with the most to celebrate.  Mahan won the thing and Lawrie continued his impressive 2012 charge to become golf’s “comeback kid,” by finishing T9.

If you asked them over a few drinks, the rest of the guys in the field would probably tell you that they were underwhelming and disappointed with the way they played last week.  Even McIlroy, Wilson and Westwood would have walked away unhappy, despite the fact that they finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th, respectively.

But the guy who probably has the most reason to feel truly great about his showing in Arizona last week…and the most optimistic about his chances this week, is Sang-Moon Bae.

Bae started off the tournament by waxing Match Play giant Ian Poulter 4 and 3 in Round #1.  He followed that up by beating Master Champ Charl Schwartzel 1-up…and then John Senden 1-up.  It wasn’t until he ran into the Rory McIlroy juggernaut and lost 3 and 2 (to the guy that everyone was convinced would win the whole event) that Bae showed any signs of weakness.  And not much weakness at that!

For most of last week at Dove Mountain, Bae was “the little engine who could.”  And that can only help to bolster his confidence coming into the Florida swing this week.  There are no past year stats to back this up…it’s all gut.  But I do like his chances to do well this week at The Honda.

Y.E. Yang – The Honda classic has been very good to Y.E. Yang…and very bad.

In the 4 years he’s been playing here, he’s won the event (2009) and finished second (2011).  He’s also missed the cut (2010) and finished almost dead-last on the weekend (T72 in his first crack at it in ’08).

And his results so far in 2012 are almost a perfect reflection of his past showings at Palm Beach Gardens; 4 events, 2 cuts, one top 25.  And that one top 25 was his T17 showing last week in the WGC Match Play, when he was thumped 5 and 3 by Hunter Mahan in the second round.

All in all, not a very impressive start to the season for Yang. 

The reason I’m taking him this week is that he’s just too damned good not to get things turned around…and soon.  He’s coming into this event relatively refreshed, after his early dismissal at Dove Mountain…and with some past successes to feel good about on this track in Florida.

The name Yang might not leap out as an obvious choice in the field this week, but I like his chances to do well here and kick-start his season.

Camilo Villegas – Take almost everything I just said about Y.E. Yang, modify it ever-so-slightly, and you also have my rationale for taking Villegas this week in Florida.

Palm Beach Gardens has been good to Villegas…and it’s been cruel too.  In the past six years he’s finished 1st (2010), second (2007), 24th (2008) and 31st (2007).  He also missed the cut last year and in 2009.

If you’re a fan of symmetry and serendipity then you’re like to say his good-bad-good-bad record here the past 4 years screams out for a “good” showing this year.  (Symmetry is nice…and I do like saying serendipity, even though it’s not very manly sounding)

Villegas is also off to a 2012 start that is well below what we’ve come to expect from him.  T19 at The Hope, T22 at the Farmer’s, T73 in Phoenix and cut at the Northern Trust.  He didn’t play last week.

And, like Yang, I think he’s just too good not to do better with all the skills he brings to every event.  Given his past peaks here, I think he has a good shot to get his hands on another winner’s cheque this week at PGA National.

And now that I’ve had my rant for the week, let’s see what my daughter managed to cook up with her latest tosses at the dartboard;

D&D’s Picks (Daughter & Dartboard):

  •        Bobby Gates
  •        Bo Hoag
  •        Chris Kirk
  •        Jimmy Walker

And that’s all for this week folks.  As always, thanks very much for reading and playing along…and enjoy the tournament!

Cheers,

Derek

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