Welcome to the Half-Pregnant Open

Q:  When is an officially-sanctioned PGA Tour golf tournament not really an official anything PGA Tour golf tournament?

A:  When it’s the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic.  That’s when.

I touched on the status of this tourney in last week’s article…and mentioned how it had to be added to the golf pool that I run at the 11th hour…because of its’ recently upgraded status as an “officially sanctioned” and co-sponsored PGA Tour event.

Somewhere along the way I confessed to being caught with my pants down over the oversight.  You’re welcome for that visual.

And that’s where the adventure began.  Fast forward to the end of round 3 and I get an e-mail from one of our golf pool members, with the following note:

Derek; What the hell? Pulled this off “Should a member of the PGA TOUR win the inaugural CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia, it NEITHER counts toward an official PGA TOUR win, NOR official TOUR money. In addition, it will NOT yield a 2-year exemption. All players in the field WILL earn Official World Rankings points.”

So does this event give points to our pool? Seriously confusing!

After a season chock-full of goofy rulings (Johnson and Imada, the latest) and flip-flopping on tournament rules after they had been imposed (Furyk in round #1 of the Playoffs), this latest adventure brings the question of how legitimate the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic actually was.  Naturally, this controversy also called into question whether we should count it in our pool.

And the “official” ruling on the golf pool went like this: “Based on all of this information, there doesn’t seem to be any legitimate excuse to be made for including the CIMB results in the Hacker’s Golf Pool.  I’m not sure what the value of the phrases “officially sanctioned” and/or ”co-sponsored” have for the PGA Tour…but if they have determined that prize money earned doesn’t count AND that there are no 2-year exemptions earned from winning the event (like every other tourney)…then it seems the tourney has little or no value at all…other than adding to the player’s bank accounts.”

And so, the tournament that didn’t count, then did count…didn’t count once again.  Call me John Kerry.

I’m pleased to say that all the e-mail I received from pool members over the embarrassing reversal and re-reversal has been supportive…and that my car doesn’t seem to be in any danger of starting extremely loudly some morning.  They’re good folks…and they respond very well to logic.

Getting back to the focus of this article though, predicting golf tournament winners is what we’re supposed to be all about…and, with the assumption that winning this thing would actually mean something, my spawn and I did make some fearless forecasts for the event, which should now be reviewed.  So, here’s how my daughter and I did in our selections for the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic:

Derek’s Picks D&D (Daughter & Dartboard)
Ernie Els T5 $        237,500 Ricky Barnes T11 121250
Luke Donald T3 $        403,000 Tim Petrovic W/D
Martin Laird T3 $        403,000 Mardan Marmat T5 237500
Thongchai Jaidee T29 $          59,500 Chih-Bing Lam 39 51000
This Week’s Total $     1,103,000 This Week’s Total $        409,750
Season Total $   11,368,294 Season Total $     7,033,760

Sweet!  Three of four in the top 5 for me!  And I’m claiming temporary insanity on the Jaidee selection.  At the time it seemed like I was picking him for a host of very logical reasons…but I realize, in hindsight, that I must have been subliminally influenced by the appearance of the word “thong” in his name.  (See what I did there?  Hindsight?)

Being the hot-blooded, frost-bitten, sex-starved (i.e. married) Canadian boy that I am, I do love thongs!

Before moving on to new business, I also have to say that daughter’s tosses were pretty decent this week.  She couldn’t possibly have known that the calories burned up to land one on Petrovic’s name were wasted…but two of her other shots were pretty good.  And the dart that landed on Marmat’s name was truly inspired!  I wouldn’t have taken him with a couple of handfuls of choices available to me.

Alrighty then…onward and upward folks.  Or, to put a finer geographic point on the whole thing, let’s go northward and a touch eastward!

This week the World Golf Championships hit Shanghai, on the coast of mainland China, for the HSBC Champions event.  Sheshan International Golf Club is the host site.

Derek’s Picks – WGC HSBC Champions

Ernie Els – Els was a very good pick last week at the CIMB…and I think he makes an even more solid selection for this week’s WGC event in China.  So, I’m gonna dip into the Els wells one more time.

First, he’s riding a mini-wave of success and showing some welcome regained form after finishing 5th last weekend in Malaysia.  Secondly, he has some positive history on this golf course…finishing just one stroke behind Phil Mickelson’s 272 winning total in 2009.

I also still like the fact that Ernie is one of the most-traveled players in all of golf.  Jetting from place to place sounds glamourous and exciting (and it is), but it can also demand a hefty toll in terms of jet lag and butt lag and a drain on your brain.  The farther you travel, the longer it takes to get your skills tuned in…unless you’re really used to it.

Being the big, easy globetrotter that he is, Ernie is probably the person in the field most uniquely suited to acclimating to a new international scene and getting in tournament form in a hurry.

Phil Mickelson – I know all the reasons NOT to pick Mickelson for this week’s tournament…but I just can’t help myself, I’m going to go with him anyway.

True, his form has been shaky at best since his top 5 finish waaaay back at the US Open.  True, he had umpteen opportunities to wrest the World’s #1 title away from Eldrick this year…and failed pretty spectacularly each time.  True, he’s now dropped to #4 in those rankings.  True, he’ll likely finish the year outside of the top 5 on the Money List for the first time in a very, very long time.

And yet despite all of that, I’m still going to add him to my roster this week anyway.

Call me nuts, but I think it’s really hard to bet against this guy in China.  His record speaks for itself; in the past three years he’s finished 1st-8th-1st.

Plus, I have some really bad wiring in the back of my head that makes me think that now that Phil doesn’t have to contend with the idea of knocking Woods off the top of the golfing hill, he’ll be able to unclench his mental kiester and get his head back into winning some golf tournaments again.

Graeme McDowell – After taking a well-deserved post-Ryder rest, Graeme makes his return to competitive international golf this week…and I’m making McDowell one my picks to grab the glory at the HSBC Champions.

True, he did play in the Grand Slam, but to me that event is more like going out for a fun Saturday round with the boys than it is being thrust into the competitive cauldron of a full-on, high-stakes golf tournament.

One of the true shining stars at this year’s Ryder Cup in Wales, McDowell simply has to be riding a competitive high right now.  He’s 10-feet tall and bulletproof.  He’s Neo with a 9-iron…and an Irish lilt loaded with wit and charm.

His soft-spoken manner and superb sportsmanship also make him a really easy guy to cheer for…and I will be cheering McDowell on this week.

Lee Westwood – Westwood goes into the history books as the guy who finally knocked Tiger off his long-standing run at the top of the World Golf Rankings.  And he did it from the comfort of his living room…surrounded by friends armed with champagne.

That’s not to say that he didn’t earn his spot at the pinnacle of golf. He did…in spades.  Westwood has been the most consistent and consistently successful golfer on the planet in the last year and change.

It’s just that he didn’t earn the #1 spot this week with an actual win.  In fact, he wasn’t even playing this week.  His past achievements and the calendar simply caught up to the weird reality of the ranking system…and presto! he’s number one.  Yes him…the guy over there on the chesterfield with the glass of Bollinger’s.

As soon as you see Westwood, it’s apparent that he isn’t a guy who is full of himself.  He’s soft-spoken, respectful…a genuinely nice guy.  You can bet he’s thrilled to be #1, especially after literally plummeting off the face of the earth a few short years ago.  What a great story!

You can also bet that he’s really motivated right now to prove that he IS, in fact the best…and to shut up all the naysayers who are already whining on-line (in sickening droves) that he isn’t really the World #1.

My money is on Westwood to shine this week in China…and prove to the world that he deserves to be king of the mountain.  Winning the HSBC would be a perfect way to punctuate his fantastic achievement.

And now that I’ve had my say, let’s see how daughter did on the dartboard this week:

D&D’s Picks (Daughter & Dartboard)

  • Stuart Appleby
  • Louis Oosthuizen
  • Peter Hanson
  • Simon Khan

And that’s all for now folks. Have a great week!



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