Monday, April 2, 2012

Mahan Wins for Second Time This Season

Hunter Mahan won the Shell Houston Open this weekend largely in part to his magnificent putting on Saturday.

Mahan sank 173 feet of putts Saturday to shoot 65only two shots behind the leader Loius Oosthuizen. On Sunday it only took a 1-under, 71, performance to take the tournament from Oosthuizen who shot a 3-over, 75.

Mahan held off Karl Peterson by one shot to seal the victory. He looks to use the momentum from the tournament this weekend to carry over into next weekend's Masters Tournament.

“I’m playing good. I’m glad I’m going to Augusta, it’s really a special place and I’m looking forward to going there," Mahan said.

Many legends are born at the Masterswhere one shot can propel you into the history books, and one shot can ruin your dreams. Look for the Masters in 2012 to be a special tournament.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tiger Woods Wins First Tournament since 2009

Tiger Woods' drought from winning a PGA event is over.

Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the seventh time in his career.

Walking up to the 18th green Woods was applauded by an enormous crowd all anxious to witness Tiger's triumphant return to the level everyone has grown to expect. Wearing his Sunday red shirt, Tiger gave a fist pump and shed the burden of not winning on tour for nearly two and a half years.

"It does feel good," Woods said. "It feels really good. A lot of hard work."

 The victory vaulted Woods back into the world's 10 top-ranked players for the first time in almost a year. Many oddsmakers have listed Woods as their odds-on favorite to win the Masters Tournament in two weeks.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Luke Donald Regains World Number One

In a round where it appeared that everyone wanted to win the event, it seemed most of the field was in contention closing out the day, but it was Luke Donald, however, who won in a four-way playoff between himself, Jim Furyk, Bae Sang-Moon and Robert Garrigus.

With Donald's victory, it proped him back into the No. 1 spot in the World Rankings.

"I was a lot more nervous the first time [about becoming the No. 1 golfer in the world]," Donald said, "That certainly wasn't my focus. I was just focused on trying to win the tournament, and it worked out."

A big story on the day was Ernie Els, who needs a win before the Masters tournament to be eligible to enter the tournament.

Els was a par away from making the final playoff a five-way playoff. Els failed to convert a 4-foot par save and bogeyed the hole to fall one shot short of the playoff. Els will have to win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational or the Shell Houston Open to qualify for the Masters.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Justin Rose Wins at the WGC Cadillac Championship

In a day filled with drama, it was Justin Rose who came out victorious.

Rose shot a final round 70 which was good enough to surpass Bubba Watson who had an unpredictable round. Rose finished 16-under and had to wait for Watson to finish his round to determine if he was victorious.

Watson blasted a great shot from the rough on the 18th hole to give him a birdie putt inside of 10 feet. However, Watson failed to make the birdie putt to force a playoff and Rose was victorious.

In Rory McIlroy's first tournament as the World's No. 1 finished in third place behind Rose and Watson.

Rose is now looking to win his first major.

“If you look at the tournaments I’ve won and now a World Golf Championship, the progression is really, really nice. The only thing that really is the next level up is a major,” Rose said.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rory McIlroy Wins, Becomes New World No. One

Only a week removed from a defeat by Hunter Mahan, Rory McIlroy won the Honda Classic at PGA National. The win moved McIlroy No. 1 in the World Rankings.

The final round included brilliant performances from Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood. Woods would shoot a 62 while Westwood shot a 63. Woods started the day 9 back of McIlroy but came storming up the leaderboard to land in a tie for second.

Rory McIlroy on Tiger's move up the leaderboard:

“I wasn’t really paying much attention until he made that eagle on 18, I heard the huge roar. And it definitely wasn’t a birdie roar. That’s when I knew that he probably got to 10.”

Being 10-under par and only 2 shots behind McIlroy who still had not come to the most difficult three-hole stretch (15, 16, 17) the PGA Tour has to offer. Known as the "Bear Trap," this section of PGA National plays more than a stroke over par for the three-hole stretch.

Getting out of those three holes only one over is something to be proud of. McIlroy entered the 15th hole with a two-shot lead, he would walk off the 18th green with the same. He was only one-under on his final round, but he handled the pressure of becoming the world No. 1 with ease. Former No. 1, Tiger Woods, didn't help make his cause any easier.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mahan wins WGC Accenture Match Play

Hunter Mahan won his second World Golf Championship title adding to his two PGA victories. His path to victory was not an easy feat. Mahan faced many of the world's best. Mahan defeated former Masters Champion Zach Johnson, former PGA Champion Y.E. Yang, Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar, Mark Wilson, and U.S. Open Champion Rory McIlroy. His opponents had an average World Golf Ranking of 27.33 and included the World's No. 2 and No. 5. Mahan's opponents have a combined total of 31 PGA victories and a combined total of  $113,830,353 career earnings. 

Mahan won a total of 37 holes and conceded only 17 in his win.

With Mahans victory he postponed McIlroy's quest for No. 1 and improved himself to No. 9 in the World Rankings. Mahan will take the next week off, while Rory McIlroy will compete at the Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida to gain the title of the world's best.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bill Haas Wins in a Playoff Thriller

A small piece of advice for anyone who has to face Bill Haas in a playoff. If he makes a poor shot on the second hole, he is playing you.

Bill Haas wins at the famous Riviera Country Club for his fourth PGA Tour victory. It was also his second victory via playoff.

Haas, defending 2011 FedEx Cup champion, defeated Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in two playoff holes. All three were in awkward spots after their tee shots on the 10th hole, a short, drivable par 4.

Haas, playing first, elected to aim to the middle of the green instead of getting it close to the flag in order to have a putt for birdie. Mickelson's shot rolled off the green into a bunker on the back side. Bradley's shot stopped on the fringe behind the hole about 8 feet away.

Haas, being further away from the hole, putted first and sank a 42-foot birdie to for Mickelson and Bradley to make their shots in order to continue in the sudden death playoff. Mickelson mis-hit his shot from the bunker eliminating him from contention. Bradley's putt, however, appeared to be tracking the hole but it lost speed and dove short of the hole to make Haas the victor.

The thrill didn't begin in the playoffs however. After making his first and second 3 putts of the tournament, Phil Mickelson went on to birdie the 18th hole with a spectacular putt to send the crowd into a frenzy. Keegan Bradley, having just watched the putt and congratulating Mickelson, then had his own birdie putt to join him in the playoff. Bradley went on to make his putt and the crowd went wild again.

Haas is not unfamiliar with difficult shots on the second hole of playoffs. In the 2011 Tour Championship, Haas hit an amazing shot out of the water on the second playoff hole against Hunter Mahan to save par and force a third playoff hole, which he would win and become 11 million dollars wealthier.

Always assume Bill Haas will make a great shot during a playoff— even if it is the second hole.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Phil Mickelson Wins with an Amazing Round

"What a round. Are you kidding me?"

Amy Mickelson said it best as her husband, Phil Mickelson, came off of the 18th green at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

I could not have said it better myself.  Without a doubt. What a round!

Phil Mickelson entered the day 6 back, chasing Charlie Wi who was 15 under to start the day. Mickelson shot 8-under while Wi shot even par to give Mickelson the 2 shot win. Mickelson's game showed up in every way today. His ball striking was superb, but his putting was even better.

Twice in the round Mickelson left himself in awkward situations and ended up leaving himself putts of 32 and 38 feet to save par. In a classic Phil Mickelson fashion, he sank both of those putts to have a bogey free round.

Taking a 3 shot lead into the final hole, Mickelson's caddy, Jim Mackayor as he is more widely known, "Bones"talked Mickelson out of using his driver.

Mickelson has often stated the tee shot on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach is one of his most feared shots. Electing to use a 4 iron on his first two shots, Mickelson put himself into a terrific position to get on the green to make par and force Wi to make an eagle to tie. As with the rest of Mickelson's round, he expected more. Positioning himself to around 5 feet from the pin setting up a birdie putt on the last hole to win the tournament.

At age 41, Phil Mickelson has shown he is still capable of wowing everyone, including his wife.

"Are you kidding me" indeed.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Disaster Leads to Success for Kyle Stanley

The 2012 PGA Tour Waste Management Open concluded yesterday. After a tragic finish in the previous week for Kyle Stanley, who lost a 3 stroke lead on the final hole and lost a playoff against Brandy Snedeker, came an amazing victory only a week later. This victory earned him his first tour win and has allowed him to get an invitation to play in the Masters at Augusta National in April.

Stanley's victory came at the expense of Spencer Levin who shot 4 over par on the final day to lose his lead. Errant drives down the stretch led to his demise. One of his drives went into a cactus bush in which he used his putter to remove his ball. He received a thorn in his side for his effort, only to have his next shot come up short of the green and land in a water hazard.

The Waste Management Open boasts one of the most entertaining tournaments year in and year out. With the famed Stadium Hole, number 16a par 3 that is entirely enclosed inside of a stadiumthe result is loud cheers for good shots and even louder boos for shots that are not so fortunate.