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On Self-Restraint and Pressure-Free Golf

According to my feeble memory, this weekend marks the fifth time that Tiger Woods has pulled out of a golf tournament in the last several years.  If only he could have used that kind of restraint in his personal life, he probably wouldn’t have gotten into the mess he’s in now, in the first place.

Bah dum bah…try the waffles folks.  And don’t forget to tip your waitress…a nice Mercedes and a couple million in hush money will probably do…for now.

(And by the way, if you had to leave a golf tournament with a leg that was so sore you were afraid you’d damage it further, wouldn’t you be in the passenger seat?  I know it was supposed to be the left leg…but still, it does make one go “hmmmmmmm”)

WOW…what a tournament…what a week!!!

It’s almost becoming redundant to say that, but every week this year on the PGA Tour has just gotten better and better, hasn’t it?  More drama, more close finishes, more spectacular shots, more heroic come-from-behind charges. 

It just keeps on getting greater every week.  And at this point, i think the PGA Tour should give some serious thought to updating their slogan, “these guys are good” to something a little more timely like “Did we say these guys were good???  Hell, these guys are unbelievable!”

In the immortal words of Olson Johnson, from Blazing Saddles, “now who could argue with THAT?”

Big bucks and a big impressive trophy were on the line at the WGC Cadillac Championship this week folks…and the game’s biggest and best put on a hell of a great show!

How about Rory making his huge Sunday charge; going 5 under par through six holes at the turn?  How about big Bubba Watson, shooting the lights out for 3 straight days, then starting off Sunday by throwing 4 cream pies in his own face (4 over through 7 holes)…and then making a heroic, go for the gusto comeback on the back 9?  How about Justin Rose keeping his cool and dissecting the Blue Monster while it was eating up the weak and spitting out the meek…and while the world’s very best were breathing down his neck? 

The action was fast and furious all day…and with two or three holes still to play, the tournament could have legitimately gone to any one of half a dozen or so guys making a move.  Now THAT’s entertainment!

Meanwhile, we interrupt our coverage of the World’s #1 golfer making his heroic charge for a second consecutive title and the heavy hitters he’s fighting against, to go to our “eye in the sky” chopper and watch a car drive down the highway for several “thrilling” minutes.

Real nail-biting stuff that would have put me into an inst-coma, if my blood pressure hadn’t risen so high!  Please!!!

Results – The WGC Cadillac Championship

Derek’s Picks D&D (Daughter & Dartboard)
Rory McIlroy

3

 $               516,000 Keegan Bradley

T8

 $                   165,000
Lee Westwood

T29

 $                 67,500 Branden Grace

T35

 $                     60,500
Phil Mickelson

T43

 $                 55,500 Garth Mulroy

T29

 $                     67,500
Matt Kuchar

T8

 $               165,000 Chez Reavie

T35

 $                     60,500
This Week’s Total  $               804,000 This Week’s Total  $                   353,500
Season Total  $            7,658,134 Season Total  $                1,903,554

Rory continues to amaze, doesn’t he?  Even after everything he’s done in the past 2 week, he still put on a phenomenal charge and almost took another one.  Yup…he’s a keeper, for sure! 

The Transitions Championship – Innisbrook Copperhead Course

This week the Tour travels down the road to Palm Harbour, Florida for the Transitions Championship…formerly the PODS Championship…formerly the Chrysler Championship. 

It almost seems like this tournament has had as many champions as they’ve had sponsors in the past 5 years!

This was the site of Gary Woodland’s official “Coming Out” party last year.  The big-hitter was a virtual unknown until just weeks before, when he came from nowhere to lose in a playoff to fellow unknown Jhonattan Vegas at the Hope.  And it only took him another 5 more tries before he locked up his own first victory on Tour. 

Is anyone else thinking Kyle Stanley light here?

This year, Woodland is back to defend…and a bunch of the Tour’s best are showing up to give him a serious run for his money, while they do some final prep for Augusta.

Derek’s Picks

Luke Donald – Even though I waxed poetic about him for several paragraphs in last week’s column, I made the decision not to take Donald at the WGC Cadillac.  Call it stupid, call it inspiration, call it a hunch…but it just didn’t feel, to me, like he would hoist the trophy last week.  It somehow seemed too soon after he’d lost his World #1 crown for him to re-gain it.

 And, once play got underway, I was suffering from a case of “overlooker’s remorse” for most of the tournament, because the bugger did almost exactly that!

Despite what my gut was telling me, Donald performed like the Luke of old for most of the week at Doral…and turned in a sharp 276, to finish T6th in the event.

So, since he’s in the field this week, I’m not going to leave him on the curb again…and he’s at the top of my roster for Innisbrook.  His T6 finish here at the Transitions 2 years ago, just makes that decision all that much easier to make.

Webb Simpson – If the WGC Cadillac Championship had been a Friday-Saturday event, Webb Simpson would have been right in the hunt with his fabulous back-to-back rounds of 66.  Unfortunately, those great scores were bookended by an opening round of 75…and an even worse closer of 77! 

My friend Pokey would call them, “elephant’s bum rounds…high and stinky.”

Regardless of how he played in half of his rounds last week, I still like Simpson for this week’s event on the Copperhead Course.  First, playing in the Transitions is a much different kettle of fish and isn’t much like trying to compete in the rarified air of a WGC event.  The field is loaded with mere mortals this week…and so a young fellow, even one with the results and talents of a Webb Simpson, wouldn’t let the idea of going up against just the world’s best get to him (if that were ever the case to begin with).

Next, he has some results here folks.  In last year’s event he finished at 14 under par, just one stroke out of a playoff with Gary Woodland.  And the year before that, he posted a T13 finish…on only his second appearance on the course.

Five events into the 2012 season, Simpson has already posted 2 top 10 finishes.  That, combined with the happy thoughts he should have for this event, based on past experiences, gives me a good buzz for his chances to do very well this week.

Charl Schwartzel – In a few week’s time, Schwartzel will be moseying down Magnolia Lane to don his green jacket and assume his duties as defending Master’s Champion.  THAT’s a hell of a lot of pressure to contend with folks…and I’m not talking about agonizing over what kind of food you’re going to serve to the living legends of the game at the Champion’s Dinner.

As soon as he strolls onto the Augusta property, he’s probably going to be facing some of the biggest pressure he’s ever faced in his career…which is why I REALLY like his chances this week. 

Think about it; he’s under just about zero pressure to do anything at all this week.  No expectations, no drive to win…just a walk in the park to sharpen up the game and stay competitively fit before the “big event” starts in a few weeks.  It’s almost in the same category as playing golf against a guy who is injured, or suffering from a crippling hangover.

And in my books, that’s what makes him one of the most dangerous guys in the field this week…and that’s why I’m taking him.

Nick Watney – I was really torn on who to choose for this last spot on the roster.  There were so many candidates I had on my first draft list that it was extremely hard to trim it down to a single guy.

After a slow start to the season, Matt Kuchar is back in form and coming off consecutive top ten finishes in his last two events (both WGCs).  KJ Choi has posted some excellent results here, including solo 2nd two years ago, T6 in 2007 and a win back in 2006 (when it was the Chrysler Championship).

In the end, my final vote went to Watney.  He finished with a very respectable 280 to tie for 17th last week at the WGC Cadillac…his third top 20 of the season.  But it’s how he’s performed at Innisbrook in the past three years that puts the biggest check marks in the Watney side of the ledger.

His T13 here last year is a pretty good start.  His 4th place finish the year before that is even better.  Sprinkle a T12 in 2009 into the mix and you begin to develop a feeling that this course brings out some pretty good things in his game.  And this week I have a good feeling about Watney.

Well then, my tank is officially empty for the week. Now let’s see what dastardly deeds my daughter cooked up on the dartboard to thump the old man this week;

D&D’s Picks (Daughter & Dartboard):

  •        Bud Cauley
  •        Matt Jones
  •        Brendon Todd
  •        Mark Wilson

And that’s all for this week folks.  As always, thanks very much for reading…and playing along with the silliness.  And enjoy the tournament.  If this season continues the way it has every week so far, it should be another barn-burner!

Cheers,

Derek

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derekaubrey

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  • For a guy who won the U.S. Open on a broken leg, Tiger now can’t walk 9 more holes on a sore achilles. To me, this begs the question nobody seems to want to ask. What was Eldrick in Rehab for? Is it 5 tournaments he’s withdrawn from since the ‘fire-hydrant’ incident, or since rehab? I’ve always been curious as to why, to the best of my knowledge, the rehab issue hasn’t been touched. Where is that Wikileaks guy when you need him? At least he has the guts to go after the information. Kelly Tilghman can break a guy’s balls for smoking a joint, but WILL NOT utter a word regarding Eldrick’s rehab.

    • Thanks very much for reading…and for taking the time to post your comment Steve.

      I think the whole rehab issue is one that couldn’t be held up to scrutiny…and probably shouldn’t be. Digging into something like that, even for a guy as unpopular as Woods is for a lot of people, is like kicking a guy when he’s down…and anyone (media or otherwise) who would dare to go there would become a pariah. And probably rightly so.

      Someone who is legitimately entered into rehab, deserves every chance to turn their lives around and get on the right path.

      But, the whole question of whether Woods’ rehab experience was legit or not is something I’ve doubted from the start. Rehab for what exactly…sexual addiction? Please.

      I’m not buying that at all. It just smells too much like a third-rate PR company trying to rehabilitate someone’s tarnished reputation in a hurry, by making them appear contrite and repentant. Woods had about half a billion dollars of potential alimony money on the line…plus tens or hundreds of millions worth of endorsement deals in jeopardy the moment he was caught with his pants down.

      I think that was his REAL motivation for going into rehab…to spin doctor his appearance and not for self-improvement.

      As far as the media not breaking his balls, there’s a simple answer to that; they’re still betting on a Tiger comeback and are hedging their bets so they can still have access to him when/if his game does return. Woods is tough enough for the media to access and deal with on a daily basis, let alone when you’ve been black-listed for something you’ve said about him in the past that he didn’t like.

      And, in my opinion Kelly Tilghman didn’t break Matt Every’s balls even one little bit when she asked about his pot arrest and suspension. She merely asked the guy about the most noteworthy event in his career…which is exactly what her job is. She gave him a golden opportunity to give a great answer to the question (which he’s had almost 2 years to create)…and then get back in the good books of the PGA Tour, his fellow players and potential sponsors with a few well-thought words.

      Kelly threw him a gift question (that he should have been begging her to ask)…and he completely blew the opportunity.

      It was not her fault he coughed up a furball and looked even worse afterwards. (For more on this story, go back into the archives and see what I wrote in my article called “Kelly on the Telly…and Where’s Bob” from Jan. 18th)

      Thanks again for reading…and writing!

      Cheers,

      Derek

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