2013 - WEEK 25: Jun 17 - Jun 23
ASIAN TOUR AUSTRALASIAN TOUR ONEASIA CHAMPIONS TOUR
LPGA TOUR LADIES EUROPEAN TOUR JLPGA TOUR
PGA Tour - The Players Championship - Tiger Woods (275)
OneAsia Tour - GS Caltex Maekyung Open - Hyun-Woo Ryu (274)
LET - Turkish Airlines Ladies Open - Lee-Anne Pace (289)
JLPGA Tour - World Ladies Championship - Hiromi Mogi (279)
Symetra Tour - Symetra Classic - Laura Kueny (210)
Twenty-two-year-old PGA Tour rookie Derek Ernst was headed for the Web.com event in Athens, Georgia on Monday morning when he received a phone call telling him he’d made it into the field at the Wells Fargo Championship as the fourth alternate. Six days later, he flushed a 192-yard 6-iron to four feet at the 72nd hole, coolly drained the putt to tie England’s David Lynn at eight-under-par 280, then defeated Lynn on the first hole of sudden death to record one of the least likely victories in recent Tour memory. But the entire week had an offbeat feel at the Quail Hollow Club as overcast, often rainy weather dominated and a set of rebuilt greens failed badly, prompting the absence of regular attendee Tiger Woods, among others. It was also offbeat in that unlike many a maiden win, Ernst, a 2012 UNLV graduate, did Sunday battle with several very big names, most notably 54-hole co-leader Phil Mickelson, who also held a one-stroke lead with three to play before bogeying the 16th and 17th, then narrowly missing a 20-foot birdie putt at the last to tie. Also falling by the wayside were world number two Rory McIlroy (one shot off the lead before double-bogeying the 12th, ultimately tying for 10th), Robert Karlsson (who needed a birdie to tie at the last, but bogeyed to share fourth), Lee Westwood (tied for the lead before making three bogeys over his last seven holes) and Nick Watney, who also shared the lead early before bogeying four of his final 13 holes. Lynn, however, held it together, playing Quail Hollow’s tough closing threesome in a cumulative four-under-par for the week - but ultimately falling on the 18th when it served as the first playoff hole, where he lost to a regulation par. Though Ernst had missed short birdie putts at the 14th and 16th coming home, he rallied to birdie the 18th when it was most needed, claiming his first PGA Tour victory in only his ninth career start...............A patient Brett Rumford waited nearly six years between his third and fourth European PGA Tour victories, but he would wait only seven days between his fourth and fifth. Entering the final round of the Volvo China Open with a one-shot lead over Finland's Mikko Ilonen, the 35-year-old Perth native proceeded to birdie three of his first six holes to open up a comfortable lead, then added three more birdies at the 12th, 13th and 14th holes to build an insurmountable one. Meaningless bogeys at the 15th and 17th were all that marred an otherwise flawless Sunday performance, with his closing 68 leaving him four clear of runner-up Ilonen (whose 71 was marred by three back nine bogeys) and five up on young Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, who posted weekend rounds of 66-68 over the long Binhai Lake layout. First round leader Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands, who hung around the lead all week, came home in 69 to claim solo fourth. For Rumford, who became the first Australian since Jack Newton in 1972 to claim back-to-back E Tour wins, the victory jumped him to 76th in the OWR, marking a climb of over 170 spots in two short weeks. Also notable were the performances of two of China's cadre of young amateur stars, led by 16-year-old Ze-Cheng Dou, who first became the seventh youngest player in E Tour history to make a cut, then added rounds of 72-73 to finish T33. Gaining even more attention, however, was 12-year-old qualifier Wo-Cheng Ye, who became the circuit's youngest-ever participant but missed the cut with room to spare after carding rounds of 79-79...............In a week which saw only two players break par for 72 holes over a short-but-difficult Nagoya Golf Club layout, 29-year-old Michio Matsumura carded weekend rounds of 69-67 to claim his third career Japan Tour victory at the 44th playing of The Crowns. Beginning the final round two shots out of the lead, Matsumura climbed to the top with an outgoing 31, then balanced two birdies against a bogey and a double bogey coming home, his 278 aggregate being just enough to edge 21-year-old phenom Hideki Matsuyama (who sandwiched birdies at the 16th and 18th around a crucial bogey at the 17th) by a single stroke. Third place was shared by 26-time Japan Tour winner Shingo Katayama (the 54-hole leader before closing with a disappointing 73) and Australian Steve Conran, who closed with rounds of 68 and 70. In an event played here since its inception, Matsumura's winning total equaled Hirofume Miyasi's victorious score in 2007 - the highest aggregates since T.M. Chen's came home on 280 in 1983...............After beginning Sunday's final round one shot off the lead, Austria's Bernd Wiesberger closed with a near-flawless 67 to claim the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters, edging Hall-of-Famer Ernie Els by a single stroke. Around the lead all week, Wiesberger carded three 67s (plus a Friday 72) overall but was pursued doggedly by Els to the end. Indeed, the reigning British Open champion matched Wiesberger's eagle at the 12th hole to remain one behind, fell two back when Wiesberger birdied the 16th, but ultimately failed to draw even at the par-5 18th, carding a birdie when an eagle was required. Third-round leader Daisuke Kataoka took solo third after closing with a two-under-par 70, while Thai star Thonchai Jaidee road a Sunday 69 to solo fourth, five shots off the pace...............Forty-seven-year-old James Kingston, three years removed from his last victory, holed a 12-foot par putt on the second hole of sudden death to defeat Ruan de Smidt and capture the Investec Royal Swazi Sun Open, his 11th career Sunshine Tour triumph. In an event contested with Modified Stableford scoring, Kingston and the 23-year-old de Smidt both accumulated 45 points during regulation play, with Kingston doing so by carding 21 birdies and two eagles over 72 holes. Tying for third, one point out the playoff, were Darryn Lloyd and Mark Williams, the former making a clutch birdie at the 71st hole to give himself a chance, then lipping out a potential winning chip at the 72nd and missing the three-footer coming back, losing a chance to make it a three-way playoff. The event's 54-hole leaders struggled badly during Saturday's closing round, with 25-year-old Michael Hollick managing only a single point (ultimately tying for fifth with James Kamte) and 13-time Sunshine Tour winner Jean Hugo (who trailed Hollick by three) actually losing a point, to fall all the way to a T16.
PGA Tour - Wells Fargo Championship - Derek Ernst (280)
European Tour - Volvo China Open - Brett Rumford (272)
Japan Tour - The Crowns - Michio Matsumura (278)
Asian Tour - CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters - Bernd Wiesberger (273)
Sunshine Tour - Investec Royal Swazi Open - James Kingston (45 Pts)
LatinoAmerica - Arturo Calle Colombian Open - Timothy O'Neal (268)
LPGA Tour - Kingsmill Championship - Cristie Kerr (272)
JLPGA Tour - Cyber Agent Ladies Classic - Sakura Yokomine (206)
Champions Tour - Insperity Championship - Esteban Toledo (210)
Web.com Tour - Stadion Classic at UGA - Brendon Todd (205)
E Challenge Tour - Montecchia Golf Open - Brooks Koepka (261)
Entering the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with three consecutive top-10 finishes uner his belt, 26-year-old Billy Horschel had to be figured among the pre-tournment favorites – and with opening rounds of 67-71-66, he entered Sunday’s final round two shots behind 54-hole leader Lucas Glover. The former University of Florida All-American edged closer by birdieing the par-4 5th and then, after the first of the afternoon’s two weather delays, surged to the front by recording six straight birdies on holes 7-12. A bogey at the 15th injected a bit of drama and, after a birdie at the 16th, Horschel came to the par-5 18th needing a birdie to win. But after a solid tee hot, the day’s second wether delay disrupted play for nearly an hour – after which Horschel calmly returned and, staring his maiden PGA Tour victory in the eye, calmly holed a 27-footer for a course record 64 and the title. Finishing second was D.A. Points (who himself had edged Horschel – by the same one-shot margin – a month earlier in Houston) while Kyle Stanley closed with a 67 to take solo third. On a day which saw most of the contenders go low, overnight leader Glover never really got it going, bogeying the par-5 seventh and ultimately coming home with a one-under-par 71, and a tie for fourth. Widely rated among the more consistent ball-strikers on Tour, Horschel narrowly missed keeping his card in 2011 when a final-round 75 at the McGladrey’s (where he’d held the halfway lead) followed by an MC at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic left him outside of the top 125, and he’s been climbing back – quite successfully – ever since...............In one of the more up-and-down final rounds in recent European Tour history, Australia's Brett Rumford claimed his fourth career E Tour title (but his first since 2007) in a three-way sudden death playoff with countryman Marcus Fraser and Scotland's Peter Whiteford at the Ballantine's Championship in Korea. Rumford began Sunday's final round two behind 54-hole leader Alexander Noren but quickly launched himself into contention by playing the Blackstone Golf Club's front nine in six-under-par 30. Adding a birdie and a bogey, he reached the 71st tee in the lead before carding a disastrous double-bogey six, then parring the 543-yard 18th, a hole he'd birdied in each of the first three rounds. But when neither Fraser nor Whiteford could do any better at the last, it was on to sudden death at the very same 18th hole - where Rumford, seemingly reeling from his late collapse, promptly carded an unlikely eagle, bettering his opponent's twin birdies to claim the title. Noren surrendered his one-shot Saturday lead with a bogey at the par-4 2nd and ultimately derailed his challenge with double-bogeys at the 10th and 13th, his closing 74 leaving him in a five-way tie for 6th, four strokes out of the playoff. Closer were the young Frenchman Romain Wattel (who closed in 69, to caim solo 4th) and 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, who birdied three of his final five holes to claim solo 5th, on 280. The event drew a somewhat limited field, perhaps due to recent political tensions on the Korean peninsula - the reason, at least, that was cited by American's Dustin and Zach Johnson for their last-minute withdrawal from the championship...............Though already a winner of thhe 2011 Visa Taiheiyo Masters while still an amateur, 21-year-old Hideki Matsuyama made history again at the Tsuruya Open, carding birdies on his final four holes to overtake American David Oh and claim his first Japan Tour title as a professional by a single stroke. Also the low amateur at the 2011 Masters, Matsuyama carded rounds of 69-63-68-66, but needed his late-round heroics after playing his first 14 final-round holes in only one-under-par. Despite the potentially historic nature of Matsuyama's win, however, he will forever share the week's limelight with 66-year-old Japan Tour legend Jumbo Ozaki, who carded one of the greatest competitive rounds ever played on Thursday, bogeying the 18th for a nine-under-par 62. Though he would ultimately add rounds of 72-72-76 to tie for 51st, Ozaki's epic nine-birdie, one-eagle effort was good enough to beat the field by three, and surely represents the first time in a major tour event that any player has bettered their age by as many as four shots. For the 2011 Hall-of-Fame inductee, truly legendary stuff.
PGA Tour - Zurich Classic of New Orleans - Billy Horschel (268)
European Tour - Ballantine's Championship - Brett Rumford (277)
Japan Tour - Tsuruya Open - Hideki Matsuyama (266)
Asian Tour - See European Tour (Above)
LatinoAmerica - Roberto de Vicenzo Inv. Copa NEC - Jose de Jesus Rodriguez (271)
LPGA Tour - North Texas LPGA Shootout - Inbee Park (271)
JLPGA Tour - Fujisankei Ladies Classic - Miki Saiki (202)
Champions Tour - Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf - Brad Faxon & Jeff Sluman (193)
Web.com Tour - South Georgia Classic - Will Wilcox (273)
E Challenge Tour - Challenge de Madrid - Francois Calmels (204)
Symetra Tour - Guardian Retirement Championship - Christine Song (211)
Having grown up in Portrush, Northern Ireland, Graeme McDowell is no stranger to playing golf in a stiff breeze – an advantage which came in handy during a windblown final round of the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head’s famed Harbour Town Golf Links. On a day which saw winds gust as high as 30 miles per hour, McDowell began play four strokes behind 54-hole leader Charley Hoffman, then methodically played himself to the top of the board with birdies at the 5th, the 11th and – in what appeared a potentially decisive blow – the par-4 16th. However, the 2010 U.S. Open champion would card his only bogey of the day at the long 18th, leaving the door open for Webb Simpson to potentially steal victory with a 22-foot birdie putt at the last. But two putts later, the pair was headed back to the 18th tee for a playoff, which would end somewhat anticlimactically when McDowell two-putted from 15 feet for a routine par that Simpson, the reigning U.S. Open champion, couldn’t match. Two shots out of the playoff (and tied for third) were Kevin Streelman (who closed in 72) and Luke Donald, who mounted the day’s one real charge by carding four early birdies before eventually falling back – though his 69 joined him with McDowell and Russell Henley as the only players to break 70 under the difficult conditions. Hoffman, who began Sunday one stroke ahead of Simpson, struggled home with a 77, going out in 36 but coming home in a disappointing 40, led by a watery double-bogey at the par-3 14th. Despite being played the week after The Masters, the event drew a notably strong field, with 22 of the world’s top 50 players entered – and McDowell citing his missed cut at Augusta as a primary motivator for his fine overall play...............In an epic battle of attrition that lasted long enough to tie the all-time European Tour record, France’s Raphael Jacquelin sunk a five-foot birdie putt on the ninth playoff hole to deafeat Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer and claim the Spanish Open at the seaside El Saler Golf Course in Valencia. The victory, Jacquelin’s fourth on the European Tour but his first in over two years, was sparked by a second-round 66, allowing him to gain a tie with less dominant closing rounds of 73-71. But the event (which drew a limited field due in the week following The Masters) will long be remembered for the playoff, which was contested entirely over El Saler’s 466-yard par-4 18th, and which initially included Chile’s Felipe Aguilar, who bowed out on the third extra hole. Save for the birdies which elimated Aguilar, both Jacquelin and Kieffer carded all pars until the Frenchman hit a wedge to five feet and holed the clinching putt – on his 10th playing of the hole in a single afternoon. The 22-year-old Kieffer, a Challenge Tour winner in 2012, was making only the 10th start of his rookie E Tour campaign, but logged his second top-10 finish. Just missing the playoff was 54-hole leader Marc Warren of Scotland who, playing with a bad back, managed to retain his lead into the late going before bogeys over four of the final five holes left him in a four-way tie for fourth, one-shot behind the leaders. The only previous E Tour event to extend to nine extra holes was the 1989 Dutch Open, whose playoff included winner Jose Maria Olazabal as well as Roger Chapman and Ronan Rafferty...............In one of the more impressive bounce backs in recent golfing memory, 43-year-old Angel Cabrera, fresh off his heartbreaking playoff loss to Adam Scott at The Masters, made the 4,600-mile flight home to Cordoba, Argentina – and promptly won the 82 Abierto OSDE del Centro. Obviously exhausted, Cabrera opened with rounds of 72-72-76 and sat well back in the pack before eagling the 72nd hole en route to a closing 64 over his home Cordoba Golf Club layout. His 284 aggregate was just enough to draw even with Rafael Gomez (who himself birdied the 18th), with Cabrera winning the ensuing playoff with a birde on the first extra hole. It was Cabrera’s eighth win in this venerable domestic event, including a run of three straight from 2005-07...............Forty-three year old veteran Yoshinobu Tsukada recorded his first career Japan Tour title at the Token Homemate Cup, closing with weekend rounds of 63-69 to cruise home four strokes ahead of Koumei Oda and Kunihiro Kamii. Traditionally the post-Masters opening tournament of the Japan Tour, the Token Homemate this year followed the circuit’s two earlier overseas excursions, and was the first event to produce a Japanese champion, with Tsukuda beginning the day one shot behind Kamii before grabbing the lead with an outgoing 32. The 2012 Order of Merit winner, Koumei Oda, closed with 67 to finish five shots in arrears and share third with fellow veteran star Tori Taniguchi and Korea’s I.J. Jang. Also notable was the performance of highly touted 21-year-old prospect Hideki Matsuyama, who closed with Sunday’s low round (66) to tie for 10th in his first Japan Tour event as a professional...............With his five previous Sunshine Tour victories all coming in playoffs, 32-year-old Jake Roos surely would have felt comfortable had the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open gone to sudden death. But in the end, Roos’ clutch closing 67 would prove just enough to end play in regulation, as third-round leaders Darren Fichardt and Francesco Laporta – who began Sunday four ahead of Roos – could only manage cloing 72s, and finished one shot in arrears. A triple-bogey eight at the third hole effectively derauiled Laporta’s hopes while Fichardt’s outgoing 38 would prove his undoing – though both men would, in the end, miss putts to tie at the 72nd green. Roos, meanwhile, birdied three of his first six holes to get back into the race, then pulled in front with three more birdies at the 13th, 15th and 16th. Doug McGuigan (who closed with 66) and Lindani Ndwandwe (70) tied for fourth while Jaco Ahlers (68) took solo sixth. Also noteworthy was 13-time Sunshine Tour winner Desvonde Botes, who carded Sunday’s lowest round (65) to climb into a tie for seventh.
PGA Tour - RBC Heritage - Graeme McDwell (275)
European Tour - Open de Espana - Raphael Jacquelin (283)
Japan Tour - Token Homemate Cup - Yoshinobu Tsukada (275)
Sunshine Tour - Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open - Jake Roos (274)
LatinoAmerica - Abierto OSDE El Centro - Angel Cabrera (284)
LPGA Tour - Lotte LPGA Championship - Suzann Pettersen (269)
LET - South African Women's Open - Marianne Skarpnord (69)
JLPGA Tour - Banterin KKT Ladies Cup - Miki Saiki (212)
Champions Tour - Greater Gwinnett Championship - Bernhard Langer (206)
It took 80 years, but the Land Down Under finally found itelf a Masters champion.
Thirty-two-year-old Adam Scott, whose last starring appearance on the Major championship stage was a tragic meltdown at the 2012 British Open, rallied with a closing 69, then stared down 2009 Masters winner Angel Cabrera in sudden death to claim both his first Major title and – in a strange quirk of long-time golfing futility – Australia’s first-ever Green Jacket. Scott was a relatively late arrival to the storyline, but his thrilling triumph lent a good taste to an event which might otherwise hae been remembered for a bizarre Tiger Woods rule infraction (see below) that would surely have led to eternal controversy had Woods somehow managed to claim the title. Instead it became a splendid Masters Sunday – save for the afternoon’s steady rain – in which several players at various times seemed a likely winner. Woods, for his part, never truly progressed beyond the edge of contention, bogeying the 5th and the 7th to fall nearly out of touch, then coming back with four subsequent birdies – not quite enough to really make his voice heard. Early on it was Brandt Snedeker who appeared strong, carding the rare birdie at number one and looking very much in control of his game before bogeys at the 4th and 5th began a slide that would ultimately see him home in 75, tied for sixth. Then it was Cabrera’s turn, with tap-in birdies at the 2nd and 7th giving him a two-shot cushion, a lead he would surrender with bogeys at the 10th and, alas, the par-5 13th. This opened the door for Scott’s fellow Australian Jason Day, who began his round birdie-eagle (the latter off a holed bunker shot and the 2nd), then eventually moved into the lead with three straight birdis at the 13th, 14th and 15th. But with his nation’s first Green Jacket now well in site, Day stumbled at the par-3 16th (failing to get up and down from just off the back fringe) and the 17th, where his hopes died in the front greenside bunker, leaving Day to eventually claim solo third, two strokes out of the playoff. Enter Adam Scott, who’d frustratingly missed a number of putts early on but quietly moved into position with birdies at the 13th and 15th. Believing a birdie at the last would be enough to win, Scott calmly drained a 20-footer for three and looked for all the world a champion – but Cabrera was still to be reckoned with. Having clawed back into the mix with a clutch birdie at the 16th – and knowing he needed another at the last to tie – he delivered an epic blow, stuffing a 7-iron to three feet, and it was on to a playoff.
Both men got up-and-down from just shy of the 18th green on the first extra hole before Cabrera narrowly missed a 15-footer for birdie at the long par-4 10th. Having drilled a 6-iron to 12 feet, Scott then coolly sunk the clinching putt – with a helpful read from ex-Tiger Woods caddie Steve Williams – to set of a nationwide celebration on the other side of the world. For Scott it was a relatively quick redemption after 2012’s British Open collapse. For Australian golf, it was 80 years in the waiting.
Should Tiger Woods have been playing golf on the weekend?
There is, perhaps, no definitive answer to that question because ultimately it comes down to how one inteprets the spirit of Rule 33.7, a 2011 revision under which "a penalty of disqualification may in exceptional individual cases be waived, modified or imposed if the Committee considers such action warranted." Rule 33.7 was spurred heavily by Padraig Harrington’s disqualification from the 2011 Abu Dhabi Championship after he putted a ball which he was unaware had moved a fraction of an inch after he’d replaced it, then DQ’d because the violation was confirmed after he’d signed a thus incorrect scorecard; the rule would seem to be intended to protect an innocent player from being banished based upon circumtances of which he was essentially unaware. In one sense, that standard might well be used to justify Woods not being disqualified, because had Augusta’s Competition Committee correctly penlized his 15th-hole Friday drop upon first reviewing it (instead of later deciding that perhaps they really had to after Woods announced on national television that he had, in fact, dropped his ball two yards away behind the appropriate spot), the issue of an incorrect card would never have arisen. This is, undeniably, a fair and logical interpretation of events, and thus seems a reasonable decision.
But there is alternative point of view – and this one points to two reasons why Woods should have been sent packing.
The first reason lies in how a Committee opts to interpret the phrase “in exceptional individual cases” – or, more directly, what one considers to be the spirit of the rule. Padraig Harrington was DQ’d for signing a scorecard which failed to reflect a rules violation which he could not reasonably have known had even taken place. He was truly a man caught in an unfortunate situation. Woods, on the other hand, attempted to gain a competitive advantage (a slightly longer shot that he felt more comfortable with) when he mistakenly believed that he could drop his ball two yards further back. He was not, of course, attempting to cheat – but he was knowingly attempting to improve his lot in violation of the rules, an entirely different situation from the unwitting golfer snagged by circumstance.
Which leads us to the second reason, the fundamental notion that, very simply, the player is responsible for knowing the rules. Being unaware that a violation has inadvertently taken place (as in Harrington’s case) is one thing; creating the violation because one did not properly understand the rules is, it seems to me, something altogether different. There may be an element of splitting hairs here, but I find myself guided by the words of USGA Executive Director Mike Davis who, at the time Rule 33.7 was announced, stated: “Ignorance of the rules will not in this particular case get a player off disqualification, if he breaches a rule, doesn't include the penalty, and then returns a scorecard.”
Would it have been fair to Tiger had the Committee, after making their mistake, disqualified him? Not really.
But it would, I believe, have been fairer than failing to protect the rest of the field from his violation – and the unfortunate administrative failing which followed.