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.