10 Things I Think & More
by Jeff Skinner
1. Fifteen year old Lydia Ko is one amazing teenager. She just added her third win in a professional tournament at the New Zealand Women’s Open. But she’s still an amateur and has no plans to turn pro until after college. Oh yea, she won the U.S. Women’s Amateur last year too. It doesn’t seem to matter to her whether there is money on the line or not.
2. Rocco Mediate comes out blazing in his first Champions Tour event. His sizzling course record 61 on Saturday put him in the lead to stay. Rocco’s move to the Champions Tour will be mutually beneficial. The Tour can always use a personality like Roc and he’ll flourish there.
3. It was great to see Retief Goose back out on the course. Goosen is coming back from back surgery this past September for a replaced disk. Three rounds in the 60’s and a T9 at Pebble is a good way to start a comeback.
4. It can get a bit tedious on Saturday at Pebble when CBS shows so much celebrity coverage. Unfortunately this crop of “celebs” can’t hold a candle to Bing and his friends from back in the day.
5. So Dustin Johnson is playing with his latest flame’s dad, Wayne Gretsky. Now Gretsky is no hacker on the course and they had a real good shot at making the cut for the top 25 pro-am teams. However, Johnson didn’t make the professional cut so he would have been playing on Sunday only for his amateur and not for a paycheck. I would have loved to see that. The DJ/Gretsky team actually tied for the last slot of teams to make the cut but were closed out of the final by a tiebreaker.
6. Philly Mick misplayed the 18th on Saturday with his driver and his feet. He pulled his tee ball left onto the rocks and headed down to find it. Unfortunately his Callaway’s slipped out from under him on a slick rock and he landed on his butt. It surely was an undignified way to finish his round and by that time he was out of the tournament.
7. There would be no dancing for James Hahn this week but the rookie is off to a good 2013 season. He already has two top 25’s and has earned over $350,000.
8. There is more than one way to be a winner on the PGA Tour. Brandt Snedeker ranks 152nd on the Tour in driving distance, last year he was 108th. Last season he led the Tour in strokes gained putting and in a young 2013 he is 25th. But this season he leads in birdie average, is second in scoring average, first in par breakers, first in par fours, eighth in par fives and thirteenth in par threes. That translates into first in top ten finishes and first on the money list. He gets it done.
9. Patrick Reed had a good finish at Pebble with a tie for seventh. Last season he was the champion of the Monday Qualifier and he and his fiancé drove to tournament after tournament and she was on his bag. Some things have changed: they got married last fall.
10. Pebble Beach looked amazing in the sunshine on Sunday and I love how they still call it a “public” course. Let’s see, $595 greens fee, $80 caddie fee and a $40 tip totals $615. How many “public” golfers can afford that?
11. Vijay Singh made it through the week with a T50, a “no Comment” and a chat with the commish. I know Finchem needs time for some due diligence but if Singh doesn’t get suspended for a significant period something is really wrong. Doug Barron could have used the same consideration. He never had a chance to talk to Finchem.
12. Mike Weir has been battling injuries for two years and he thinks the worst may be behind him. In 2011 he made two cuts and last year failed to make any weekend action. This was his second made cut of the season in five attempts and while it’s not another green jacket he is heading in the right direction.