Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘webb simpson

The Distance Between Your Ears

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If you’re an avid golf fan, you’re probably experiencing a combination of elation and depression this particular Monday, following the dramatic finish of the 2012 U.S. Open held at the Olympic Club Lakes Course in San Francisco these past four days.

First, let me send out my hearty congratulations to first time major victor and 2012 U.S. Open Champion, Webb Simpson.

Though Webb has certainly had a strong showing these past couple of years on the PGA, his was not a name widely circulated as being a likely victor for this year’s championship.

And though he wasn’t widely featured on the telecast coverage through the first three days of the tournament, he slowly crawled his way up the leader board and yesterday cemented his +1 victory over fellow golfers, Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell.

McDowell, who won his first U.S. Open at Pebble Beach two years ago, held fast to the bitter end, but his final putt wandered just a little too much to the left to earn a playoff with Simpson.

And Furyk, the grinder’s grinder, played steady and firm until that wayward hooked drive on hole 16 at Olympic, also sending his second U.S. Open Championship hopes into the rough along with his uncooperative Srixon ball.

But boy, what drama. If Shakespeare had the occasion to write about golf, he would have gotten at least a sonnet or two out of these past four days of play.

First, there was Tiger Woods’ return to rare form on day one and two, only to see him fade away into the pack with his early six over par on the first several holes yesterday.

Then there was this year’s Cinderella story, committed University of Texas (the new NCAA men’s golf champions, after a forty-year drought) golf aspiree and 17-year-old wunderkind, Beau Hossler, whose grace-under-pressure and whimsical but lethally accurate iron play left everyone wanting more. Standing ovations abounded for “the kid” by the crowds at Olympic, a kid from whom we will certainly hear a lot more and (I hope), soon.

But for my money, the real victor of this year’s U.S. Open was the Olympic Club course, and, of course, the fans.

Olympic played like a great U.S. Open course should — it seemingly brought the best players in the world to their knees, and forced them to play smart and steady golf in order to arrive on top.

That’s the kind of golf Webb Simpson (and a few others) played, and it’s the kind of golf that keeps golf fans coming back for more.

And, after Rory McIlroy’s pummeling of Congressional at last year’s U.S. Open, it was time for the U.S.G.A. to return to the essence of what makes a great U.S. Open — the matching of the best players in the world with the most challenging, but fair, golf course and playing conditions imaginable.

This year, they delivered in spades, and so did Webb Simpson.

Congrats to them both — it was a victory well deserved!

Written by turbotodd

June 18, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Steve Stricker, Mr. Comeback

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Steve Stricker is one of my favorite golfers.  I’m not sure why.

Steve Stricker shot a 4-under, 69 to win the first PGA Tour event of the 2012 season in Kapalua, Hawaii. It was his eighth PGA Tour win since turning 40.

Maybe it’s because he’s about to be the same age as me.

Or maybe it’s his calm, cool demeanor.

Perhaps it’s just because of his sheer love of and commitment to the game of golf: He hits balls out of the side of a heated trailer near his home in Madison, Wisconsin during the winter recess.

Leading into the 2012 PGA Tour opener, the Hyundai Tournament  of Champions played Friday through Monday at the Plantations Course in Kapalua, Hawaii, I decided to watch the coverage from tee to green because it was the season opener (All the players invited had to have won a PGA event last season)

I also was just interested in seeing the beast that is either of the courses in Kapalua, but in particular the Plantation course.

Also little known to non-golf fans, Steve Stricker was having some medical issues towards the end of last season.  He’d had some tingling in his fingers and a weakened left arm, and was concerned he might have to have surgery to address the disk problems with his C6 and C7 vertebrae.  Not good news if you’re a professional golfer.

Fortunately, they didn’t have to go to that extreme, and instead Stricker was able to get the problem addressed with a cortisone shot to the neck.

Yes, you heard me right, the neck.

In any case, whatever Stricker did, it worked. Even though last year’s winner Jonathan Byrd took an early lead, by round two Stricker was in control, although not running away, with the tournament.

His drives stuck largely to the middle of the fairways, his putts fell from all distances, and his short game was like watching someone throw darts at the center target at the local pub — and hit the bullseye nearly every time. Save for some errant fairway sand falls, shots also out of which were pure Stricker mastery, the winter golf in Stricker fell away like the shedding of a snakeskin, and he left the 20-something flatbellies pitching in his wake.

Yes, Byrd stayed close on his heels, and Webb Simpson gave him a good day of competition, but it was never enough.

And considering the length of the course, 7411 yards from the tips…well, it’s just a remarkable thing for a 44-year old golfer with nerve problems to have the nerve to take on those young guns and win, and that’s precisely what Stricker did.

Congratulations, Mr. Comeback.  Well done.

If that’s any indication of how the 2012 PGA Tour is going to go, I can’t wait for the action to begin at the Sony Open this weekend in Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

Written by turbotodd

January 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm

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