Go Low Sunday was Fun!

Last week I wrote that I was disappointed with the final round at Bay Hill.  Looking back on it I was probably too harsh on the finish and didn’t give Martin Laird enough credit for hanging on to win the tournament after basically falling apart early.  He grinded his way back on a very difficult course that gave all the players a tough time.  It was a gritty performance by Laird, but something about the finish didn’t sit well with me.  It didn’t have any luster.  It was bland in the sense that players were not hitting many clutch shots in crunch time.  It seemed that players were succeeding by being just slightly not as bad as the guy behind him.  It reminded me of the U.S. Open last year where players dropped down the leader board all Sunday and Graeme McDowell hung on all day with out doing anything overly brilliant.

I don’t want to take anything away from either of those wins, but this weekends Sunday finish blew the doors off of the Bay Hill finish.  It had everything I love in a golf tournament finish.  The crowds were rowdy and created an atmosphere that breeds great golf shots.  You could almost feel it watching on TV.  It was clear early in the round that it was going to be a shoot out down the line.  Phil and Verplank never game the other ground until the very end of the tournament.  There was also an added element of guys coming up the leader board with low rounds.  Kirk seemed unflappable and was very impressive even though he didn’t come out on top.  Stricker shot three rounds in the 60’s to finish T4.  Kim showed some signs of brilliance along with Harrington and Mahan.  There were a lot of familiar names on the top side of the leader board, but it didn’t matter in the end.  Phil was simply in the zone.  Watching him in attack mode with a chance to win was phenomenal.  You could see the focus in his eyes that he was in the zone and wanted to win badly.  It will be hard not to have him as a favorite this week to win the Masters after seeing the state of his game.

Everything about his weekend performance was impressive.  Maybe even more impressive is Phil’s demeanor and class in winning.  His interview after the tournament was gracious to the fans in Houston while still remaining focused on this upcoming week at Augusta.  Probably the most impressive part of his interview was the fact that he was done answering questions, but noticed a reporter still had a question and he sat back down to answer one more after saying, “I’m sorry did you still have a question?”  Classy sums it up, but it is heightened even more after seeing how cryptic and cold Tiger is in all of his interviews.  You also don’t see that kind of behavior in the NFL press room or the NBA press room for that matter.  It makes me love this game even more.  Great weekend for golf!

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