Matt Kuchar was able to post a Sunday 64 to edge Luke Donald by one and take the 2014 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town.
Luke Donald entered the day with the lead, but it was quickly seized by Kuchar who started his day with an opening nine 30, and at points, actually had a three-shot lead. Donald and Ben Martin would apply some pressure though, and when Kuchar got to the par-3 17th, the lead was down to one when he hit this approach:
Lee Westwood won by seven shots this morning in Malaysia at the Maybank Malaysian Open. It’s his 40th career win as a professional, but his first since June of 2012 at the Nordea Masters, an extremely long time for a player of his record and ability. This one means a lot for Westwood, as the former world number one will move back into the top-30 in the Official World Golf Rankings thanks to this win.
The last couple of years have been interesting for Westwood. He moved to the United States and took up full time membership on the PGA Tour, fired longtime caddie Billy Foster and others in his group, had a few more close calls in majors, reunited with Foster and now, finally has another win.
No one has ever questioned Westwood’s ball striking ability, and even though he hasn’t won that major championship yet, having 40 career wins proves that he’s not your regular, run of the mill professional. His short game though, particularly the putter, has been from the outside looking in anyway, the real reason why Westwood has struggled at points in his career. Now though, through work with new coach Mike Walker and with Foster back on the bag, he’s starting to feel comfortable again and a lot of that has to do with his newly improved short game, telling James Corrigan after his round today that, “The difference is I’ve got a short-game now.”
Golfers by nature tinker a lot with their games, even when they get to the top of the world like Westwood has, which always seems absolutely crazy to me, but this recent round of changes appears to have started to pay off. He played well in Houston, with four rounds at par or better and then got into the top-10 at Augusta last week before coming here and winning despite never playing the course before. Perhaps the most important thing about this run for Westwood, and Paul McGinley, is that it helps propel him further up the Ryder Cup points list.
Westwood has played on every European Ryder Cup side since 1997, and has put together a pretty stunning record, especially in the team portion. We saw last year what happened at the Presidents Cup when Fred Couples had to make difficult decisions regarding older players who had represented the Americans several times in the past, and when he decided to leave Jim Furyk off of the team, which was the right call, it wasn’t exactly the most comfortable of situations.
The last thing that McGinley wants is to have to make a decision regarding a player like Westwood or current RBC Heritage leader Luke Donald. The ideal situation would be to have those two qualify on points, giving McGinley the ability to choose from lesser known veterans and young players like Stephen Gallacher, Joost Luiten and Jonas Blixt. Even Sergio Garcia poked fun at Westwood this morning after the tournament was over.
Make no mistake: Westwood desperately wants to win a major, but he’s also been on the record that the Ryder Cup means just as much to him as those major championships do. If Westwood does indeed have a short game now like he suggests, it’s possible that the best is yet to come from the 41-year old, and while the win today doesn’t guarantee his spot at Gleneagles in a few months, it’s the best indication we’ve had from him that he fully intends on representing Europe for the ninth time in his career.
When Fox announced that they had acquired the rights to all USGA events for twelve years beginning in 2015, the biggest talking point was who was going to replace NBC’s Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller as the broadcast team for the U.S. Open. It appears that we now have our answer, as Fox superstar Joe Buck has been tabbed as the lead play-by-play man according to the Sports Business Daily and he will be joined as previously rumoured by two-time Open Championship winner Greg Norman, who will serve as the lead colour commentator.
I thought it was possible a few months ago that Buck would be considered for the job, and to be honest, it was probably the best move for Fox. Here’s why it makes sense, what we should expect to see and how Fox can really make all of it work.
Pablo Larrazabal is a personal favourite of mine. Even though he isn’t very well known to golf fans in North America, he’s one of the best players in Europe and he’s never short on showing emotion. If you’re looking for a PGA Tour comparable, think of him like a Spanish version of Billy Horschel.
Larrazabal is in Malaysia this week for the Maybank Malaysian Open and during the second round, he was attacked by a massive amount of large hornets.
He talked to the media after his round and had this to say:
“They were three times the size of bees,” said Larrazábal “They were huge and like 30 or 40 of them started to attack me big time. I didn’t know what to do. My caddie told me to run, so I start running like a crazy guy, but the hornets were still there, so the other players told me to jump in the lake.
“I ran to the lake, threw my scorecard down, took off my shoes and jumped in the water. It was the scariest moment of my career, for sure. I’ve never been so scared.”
As usual, the Masters came and went far too quickly and now we have to wait 360 days before seeing Augusta National again. Bubba Watson’s win might not have been the exciting end that we’ve seen so often at the Masters, but the tournament was still pretty special. Before we move on to Harbour Town this week, here are my final thoughts from the first major of the 2014 men’s golf season.
Jordan Spieth put up a good fight, but in the end, it wasn’t enough as Bubba Watson was able to claim his second green jacket in three years at the 2014 Masters. My full day recap is available at theScore.
We could be looking at an historic round of golf on Sunday at Augusta National, as 20-year old Jordan Spieth looks to become the youngest ever winner of the Masters. My third round recap is posted at theScore.
Bubba Watson was able to play some brilliant golf on Friday at Augusta National, while a ton of big names will be heading home for the weekend after missing the cut. Click here to read up on all of the action from day two at the Masters.
It was a pretty fun and entertaining day at Augusta National, as Bill Haas turned in the round of the day with a 68, followed closely by three major champions in Adam Scott, Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen. My first round recap is available at theScore.