March 12th, 2012 by Tyler Pringle
TPC Blue Monster at Doral certainly lived up to it’s name over the weekend. The course swallowed up golf balls in it’s many water hazards, pushed good shots wayward with high winds, and offered unforgiving lies in deep bunkers and thick bermuda rough. Local bomber Bubba Watson was the man to catch heading into the final round, but he ultimately unraveled with wild shots throughout Sunday. The steady play from Englishman Justin Rose was just enough to edge out the field and win his first WGC event.
Here are our key takeaways from the weekend’s event.
Paul Casey owes his Caddie
This is just another example of why golf is a cruel, unfair game. For a bit of back story, Cadillac was offering a new ride to anyone carding an ace on the par 3 13th, and Casey had already agreed to give it to his caddie should he be lucky enough. Well, sure enough, Casey jars it from 166 yards out and his caddie loses his mind. Only one problem- Casey ace’d the wrong hole.
Despite having Cadillacs parked on virtually every par 3 tee box, only the 13th hole was up for the free car. Casey knocked it in on the 15th. So despite his caddie’s exuberant celebration, nobody won a car. His caddie probably wasn’t even happy for Paul. It’s just another sick, twisted joke that golf plays on us.
Tiger’s Health is Still in Question
Everyone was feeling really good about the state of Tiger’s game. After shooting a career final round low 62 last week, we believed the former world No. 1 was beginning to regain his form. A major reason for his struggles his last two years has been his health, particularly in his knees and his Achilles. Well, it seems the Achilles issue has resurfaced and it forced Tiger to withdraw from the tournament as he started his back 9 on Sunday.
Cadillac couldn’t have been pleased seeing one of the tournaments marquee players head for the exits, especially in his hi-end Mercedes.
What this means for Tiger in the long term, we’ll still have to wait and see. Injury will prevent him from maintaining his practice schedule and continuing to hone his new Sean Foley swing. However, limited full swing practice might help Tiger focus more energy on the aspect of his game that seems to really be holding him back at the moment- his putting.
Rory is the best, hands down
Rory did a great deal to cement his status as the world’s top player over the weekend. There has been quite a bit of talk about how long he will hold the spot, who will be next to take it, and if he can handle the pressure. With an impressive Sunday charge, which included a hole-out for eagle from a greenside bunker, everyone on Tour is looking at him as the favorite in any tournament he tees it up in.
He certainly has the talent, but what was most impressive over the weekend was his grit. Even though he came up just short, he charged back on Sunday to put himself in a position to win. Don’t expect him to give up his #1 spot any time soon.
Bubba gives the tournament away
For all the hoopla surrounding big-hitting Bubba and his pink driver, he really let the tournament slip through his fingers on Sunday. Despite spraying it all over the place off the tee, he still had a chance to force a playoff with Justin Rose on the 18th.
Make no doubt about it, when Bubba is on he can beat anyone in the world. He hits it farther than anyone in the game off the tee, so if he can just get it in play he’s hitting shorter clubs into greens. The problem is, when he’s not on, he doesn’t have the reliability in his game to grind it out. If he’s not totally in sync with his swing, he misses enormously and has difficulty with damage control. Even on the 18th with the tournament on the line, he hit a wild hook off the tee and found himself in tough spot for his approach. However, in typical Bubba fashion, he hit a miraculous shot to give himself a good look at birdie. His putt however missed on the low side of the hole and he had to settle for 2nd.
With a lead going into Sunday on a very tough course, par would have certainly won him the tournament. But in his typical aggressive fashion, he continued to pull driver and hit huge cuts and draws, and consistently found himself in trouble. With his length off the tee it’s a wonder why he didn’t go to 3 wood or iron off the tee to get the ball in play. After all, he can hit a 3 iron farther than some guys on Tour hit a driver. Next time he finds himself in this position, lets hope he eases of the gas a bit and trusts that even par will be good enough to win.
What do you think were the top stories from over the weekend? Share them in the comments section below!