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Archive for February, 2007

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Stenson wins match play

“I don’t remember when I was this tired.  I’m too tired to be happy almost,” were the words out of Henrik Stenson’s mouth after winning the WGC Accenture Match Play tournament this weekend.  Winning a WGC event is the closest you can get to winning a major without actually winning one, which has propelled Stenson to a career high world ranking of fifth.

 

Stenson through the years has been fairly underrated.  In the past he had major problems with his driving of the golf ball, but the rest of his game was strong.  Last year he played a lot over in Europe and not so much in the states but when he was seen in the states he made it known.  Ironically, the only other Swedish golfer that is known world wide is a female by the name of Annika Sorenstam; the number one female golfer in the world. 

Stenson will be carrying the momentum from this largest win of his career into the Honda Classic this coming weekend where Luke Donald will be defending his title.  

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Tiger 

O’Hern defeats Tiger

The number one player in the world Tiger Woods was eliminated this past Friday in the third round of the WGC Accenture Match Play tournament.  Woods’ slayer was a highly underrated Aussie by the name of Nick O’Hern.  Ironically O’Hern has eliminated Woods in the same round two years ago in this same event.  Very few players have the ability to keep up with Tiger, let alone defeat him, especially in match play, Tiger’s specialty. 


Sweden’s Henrik Stenson won the tournament this afternoon but does not take over the golf headlines this weekend.  Tiger’s steak coming to and end took over the headlines.  Also from the news and television side of the events of the week, I can guarantee you that a lot fewer people watched the coverage of this huge WGC event due to Tiger not being in contention.  I can tell you for sure that I didn’t watch, I made sure I saw the end of the championship match though.   

 

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Match Play Madness

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Match Play Madness

 

After two rounds of play at the WGC Accenture Match Play Tiger Woods is cruising, but where are all the other top players?  Tiger knocked off JJ Henry and Tim Clark in casual fashion but players like Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Phil Mickelson, and Jim Furyk have already been eliminated, Els in the first round!  When players like these exit a tournament it not only destroys the vibe at the event itself, the rating for television decrease as well.  The Golf Channel is luck Tiger is still in there!  A normal week on the PGA Tour players, granted they make the cut, play all for rounds.  This week Tiger could have been out on Wednesday! 

Today Tiger faces Nick O’Hern an old rival that knocked him off in the third round a couple years ago.  Nick has looked very well this week beating Lucas Glover and Rory Sabbatini.  Tiger has been on his “A” game all week and is not showing any signs of let down.  Tiger is 25-5 in match play events which is absolutely incredible for this format.  He is the strong favorite and only needs 2 more wins to get into the final.  Today should be awesome!

 

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Tiger

Tiger’s Prerogative  

 

Is Tiger Woods too good for the PGA Tour?  Well granted that he is the number one player in the world he has to be at least good enough.  Tiger began his 2007 season playing only once in the states and once overseas in Dubai.  He has already deposited a win into his back pocket in two tries.  Yea, he is good but until you win every match you play in you are never too good for the PGA Tour, the best players in the world. 

 

The new season long points race, The FedEx Cup was intended for players, not only Tiger, but everyone to play in more tournaments.  So far we have not seen this out of Tiger.  Last year Tiger played in the Nissan Open (which was this past week) but failed to attend this year.

 

I think the main reason Tiger has started his season out slightly slower despite The FedEx Cup points race, is because his wife is now pregnant.  Sometimes fans forget that even superstars like Tiger or athletes from any sport are just like us, human.  Athletes perhaps have it tougher than anyone else because they are in the spotlight, especially Tiger.  For example, after the US Open last season Phil’s 2006 season was over, he didn’t play in anymore tournaments.  That did not make headlines for more than a week or so.  If Tiger did something like that there would be a huge commotion about why he isn’t playing and what he is doing.  I think people have to understand that Tiger is just as human as everyone else but just has a talent for getting a white ball into a hole in fewer strokes than most, it is simple as that.  As Tiger would say, “it is what it is.”

                                                                                                                       

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Playoff win for Howell

Howell 

Howell defeats Lefty in playoff 

 

Well you could not have asked for a better tournament this weekend.  Charles Howell III came back from a three stroke deficit to defeat the number four player in the world Phil Mickelson in a sudden death playoff.  Phil had a one stroke lead going into the 72nd hole but came up short on his approach on the par four and was unable to get it up and down for par.  Three thrilling playoff holes later Phil failed to get his ball up and down for par surrendering the win over to Howell III.

 

This was only Howell’s second win of his career and for sure the biggest of his career.  Howell has gotten so close so many times in his career but has not been able to close tournaments out, so this win has to be a huge confidence booster for him. 

Mickelson and Howell were not the only ones to deliver excitement this weekend.  Rich Beem and Retief Goosen scored a hole in one on the par three 16th hole.  Also, the top 10 finishers consisted of 5 out of the 8 top ranked players in the field.  This top ranked players have a quick turn around for the next week starting this Wednesday is the WGC Accenture Match Play where the top 64 players in the world will go head to head in match where we will find Tiger in the mix for the first time in about a month. 

 

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    Deepest field of season

 

Starting Thursday we will see the strongest field of the 2007 season at the Nissan Open at
Riviera.  11 of the top 13 players in the world will tee it up tomorrow morning including Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia making their 2007 debuts in the states.  Big names like Ernie and Sergio are both very global players making most of their appearances over seas, but this season they plan on playing more in the states because of the new FedEx Cup this season.  The FedEx Cup is a season long points race with a 10 million dollar prize!

 

As if last weekend wasn’t exciting enough it is Wednesday and I am already excited for this weekend in golf.  With so many of the top names you don’t know which one to focus on.  I am sure on television they will follow Mickelson’s group because he is also playing with Els.  I am a huge Tiger fan but you have to interested in other top players as well because those are the ones chasing him, it is fun to find out what they are missing compared to him.  I can’t wait for this one!

                                                                                                                     

 

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Phil

Phil moving up rankings

 

Phil Mickelson has picked up his first win of the season this past weekend at the AT&T National Pro-Am.  Even with a double bogey on Sunday he shot a 6 under par 66!  I don’t know about you but that last time I got a double bogey on my round I shot a 90!  There is no doubt about it; Phil is back on his game after his end of the season blow up to end his 2006 campaign.  This win for Phil has moved him from sixth to fourth is the world rankings inching closer to Tiger who is number one.  Watching Phil play like he did yesterday got me excited for the next time he runs in to Tiger who unfortunately.  The next time this will happen is the WGC Accenture Match Play in 2 weeks.  The match play events are very exciting.  They mimic that of college basketball’s March madness.  Although before the match play there is the Nissan Open at Riviera.  Again Tiger will not be playing in this event but he will be well rested for the match play where he has not faired too well in his past couple attempts losing in the 2nd round each time.  The match play is very important for Tiger because his 7 tournament win streak is still intact and of course he would love to extend that.   

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