by Jeff Skinner
1. Paula Creamer’s winning 75 foot eagle putt may be the most exciting moment of the year so far. And her emotional reaction only added to it. It’s been a long time coming and a shot in the arm for her and the LPGA.
2. Russell Henley’s victory at The Honda Classic wasn’t pretty, in fact it was mighty ugly down the stretch, but Henley has the stuff to win a lot of tournaments.
3. Was the all the hype about The Bear Trap overblown? I don’t think so but they have to add 18 to it. Holes 15, 16 and 17 were tough yesterday but 18 was pretty bloodstained yesterday also.
4. All hail The Honda Classic at PGA National. It looked like a major championship out there yesterday. Mark Rolfing of NBC/Golf Channel said it felt like a major over those final holes.
5. Rory McIlroy spit the bit in the final round yesterday but two things about Rory. First his 5 wood into eighteen from 245 yards to 15 feet would have been the shot of the year if he made the putt and went on to win. Second, proving that yes, he has matured since last year’s walk off here, he stood there and did an interview immediately after play was done and spoke to the media afterward. He owns his game and himself and that’s maturity.
6. Tiger Woods’ withdrawal seemed to overshadow the tournament for awhile. But when Rory, Henley, Knox and Palmer started throwing up on themselves things got painfully interesting.
7. Another injury problem for Tiger continues a pattern of his heavily muscled body possibly breaking down. With all his training and working out is it possible he overdoes it and carries too much muscle?
8. Between Father Time, injuries and scheduling, it is possible that we have seen the end to the Tiger versus Phil match up. Mickelson missed the cut, Tiger struggled then withdrew and we all know their schedules rarely intersect other than the majors. Ah, but there is still the FedEx Cup Playoffs. We can only hope but maybe it’s time we all move on from that.
9. The Golf Channel featured Tiger’s range session prior to yesterday’s final round and he looked to be striping it. He looked healthy but he is good at hiding his injuries. A small but amazing little tid bit: as Tiger was hitting his driver he would walk 5-10 yards up the range to retrieve his tee as they flew up range with each swing. Just like us, Tiger likes to conserve his tees, I mean do you think he is paying for those things? I thought it comical.
10. Jhonattan Vegas is back from shoulder surgery after missing all of 2013. His final round wasn’t great but he is playing well and it’s good to see him back and healthy.
11. Plain and simple PGA National is one tough golf course. Eight under par puts you in a playoff…that’s a major championship score.
12. Rory’s meltdown was difficult to watch as was the play of all of the playoff participants over the final holes. But we sit at home each week and watch these guys play incredible golf. Yesterday wasn’t great from a golf shot perspective but it certainly was entertaining. For Russell Henley it puts him on track to be one of the good young American golfers destined to take over the PGA Tour. For Knox and Palmer, anytime you are in the mix it makes you better golfers and they both have plenty of talent. For Rory, I am sure he wishes he was able to close it out but yesterday wasn’t a total loss. You learn more from your failures than you do from your successes and Rory showed us that yesterday. He owned his mistakes and said he’ll try and put them aside and be ready to win this week. It’s easy to forget he’s 24 years old and still a very young man. His actions after he failed to win yesterday show us that he’s grown up quite a bit from last year’s Honda debacle.
13. Is it me or are those TaylorMade SpeedBlade commercials with those puppets a bit creepy? Who comes up with these ideas? Maybe it is cheaper to use puppets instead of the real golfers but come on guys.