Monday, January 25, 2010

This Week in Golf

PGA Tour – The Farmers Insurance Open rolls into San Diego this week to play the breathtaking Torrey Pines Golf Course. Phil Mickelson will make his 2K10 debut at his hometown event, and he will serve as my pick to win. The three-time champion of this event is coming off a two month break from the professional game, but he was playing stellar golf when he finished last fall. He won the two big tournaments with Woods in the field. In August he took the TOUR Championship at East Lake. Then in November, he played with Tiger in the final round and still won in China. With Dave Stockton’s putting tips, Phil could win five plus titles this year. I expect a lot from the People’s Champion. And since I know every reader watches my picks like a hawk, my sleeper in San Diego will be the journeyman Michael Allen. This stockbroker turned hard-ridden pro golfer turns 51 years old on Sunday, and I can think of no better birthday gift for a tough luck veteran than his first PGA Tour victory. He claimed his first Champions Tour win in his debut at the Senior PGA Championship last year. As the Bobby Scales of golf, the late-blooming Allen is playing every regular Tour event he can get into and enjoying every shot. During his first two decades of professional golf, Allen bounced back and forth between the PGA Tour and challenge tours about every other year. He annually visited Q-school, but stuck it out. His breakthrough year came in 2004, and he has not played the Nationwide Tour since. His only big time professional victory in America is the Senior PGA, but I would bask in a Michael Allen PGA Tour win. CBS begins its weekend golf coverage with McCord, Feherty, and the gang broadcasting from Torrey Pines.

European Tour – The European Tour travels up the Arabian Peninsula to the Qatar Masters this week. Another top notch field has assembled in the Middle East to play for the prized giant clam (Note: Golf’s Unique Prizes 12/09/09). Seven of the top fourteen players in the world are scheduled to tee off at the Doha Golf Club. American Kenny Perry, a surprising entry, will join Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, and last week’s winner Martin Kaymer. I foresee Sergio breaking out of his slump with a victory on Sunday. He played well the first couple rounds in Abu Dhabi, and he is yearning to end his drought that began in November 2008. Another Spaniard, Pablo Martin will serve as my sleeper pick. The Golf Channel will bring you the Qatar Masters.

Last Week Recap – What entertainment! This weekend’s golf pinnacle shined just as Brett Favre was throwing away the Vikings’s trip to Miami. Tom Watson, who led the elite Champions field all week at Hualalai, sank two short birdie putts on the final holes to out duel rookie Fred Couples by one stroke in the Hawaiian sunset. Over merely 54 holes, Watson finished twenty-two shots under par! The rhythmic, effortless swings of Tom and Freddy in paradise may lull Grandpa Birky to sleep, but the drive to win was evident in both competitors even at the ages of 60 and 50 respectively.

Even farther away than Hawaii in the opposite direction, young Martin Kaymer sank the hopes of Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy with his 72nd hole birdie for the Abu Dhabi Championship.

The Bob Hope Classic was a disappointment from the weak field to the deluge of rain midweek. Monday was the redeemer, though. Jay Hass’s son, Bill, won the tournament Monday afternoon with a birdie on the 90th hole to win by one shot over three more seasoned competitors. Congratulations to the Hass family who experienced another win at the Bob Hope 22 years ago! This event may struggle to stay on the schedule, though, if a title sponsor or a big name player does not come to the rescue next year. A Monday finish in January at a lesser-known tournament does not make for very high ratings. Tim Finchem is looking forward to San Diego.

Jim Thorpe – I want to give a shout out to my boy, Jim Thorpe. In troubling news this weekend, Thorpe was sentenced to one year in prison as a result of not paying nearly $2 million in income taxes. This guy’s helicopter swing is symbolic of how he goes about life, his way. Thorpe is a lovable character that I have enjoyed watching since he stormed onto the Champions Tour in 1999. I expected more out of him than these actions, but money and gambling have been vices for Jim his whole life. They say no one is a better player when money is on the line than Jim Thorpe, and I believe this former Morgan State running back will hold his own just fine in prison even at 60 years of age. Jim, I am disappointed, but I look forward to watching you win the $2 million you owe the government when you get out.

1 comment:

  1. Stockbrocker turned pro-golfer stories are a dime a dozen, like actors trying to be musicians.

    I expect a picture of the winner with the giant clam in next week’s update!

    The real crime is that you can be sent to prison for not paying taxes… go Ron Paul!


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