Dustin Johnson wins the Hyundai Tournament of Champions

Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

Well, it may have taken five days and a Tuesday finish, but the 2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions is finally over. Dustin Johnson came away victorious, despite a few scares in the final round.
What happened?
For days, it looked like we wouldn’t see a conclusion at all to the first tournament on the 2013 PGA Tour season, with heavy winds postponing play for the first three rounds of the event. After sensibly shortening the event to 54 holes, they played 36 yesterday and completed the final 18 this  afternoon. For the most part, Johnson was at the top of the leaderboard, holding a share of the lead after the first round and taking a three shot advantage over Steve Stricker heading to today’s finale.
Despite the three shot lead, it didn’t look at all certain today. First, Brandt Snedeker came charging, playing his first six holes in 5-under par before bogeying the next three. His decent run on the back-nine netted him a solo third. Then, Stricker got back within one with some solid play of his own, but it was Johnson who let him back in. Johnson bogeyed the ninth, and after making birdie on 12, he double bogeyed the 13th. This streak led Stricker to get within a shot, but Johnson would chip in for eagle on the 14th and added a pair of birdies down the stretch to seal it at -16. Click here to view the final leaderboard.
Other notes on Johnson from the win:

  • His 53.3% driving accuracy was last in the 30-man field, but he did end up 2nd in both driving distance and GIR. (Courtesy: Mike McAllister)
  • The win moves Johnson into 12th in the Official World Golf Rankings.
  • It’s Johnson’s 7th win on the PGA Tour, and oddly, he’s won the last three events that have been shortened to 54 holes.

Lastly on Johnson’s play this week, what was interesting was his course management. Stricker touched on this in his post-round interview with SI’s Stephanie Wei:

Of course, this is nothing new with Johnson. His course management has always been one of his weak points, but Stricker’s right that in some ways it can be a positive. Johnson won’t get phased out there when something goes wrong, which is a pretty important thing to have as a golfer.
Non-golf related scoring news
So, apparently Johnson is dating Instagrammer/”actor”/”golfer”/mermaid Paulina Gretzky. Good to see that he’s caught a break after dating Amanda Caulder and Natalie Gulbis. I’m sure the two will have LOTS to talk about. For his part, Johnson is playing the unconfirmed confirmation card:

The stupid thing Johnny Miller said this week
I’m hoping this will become a regular feature of the tournament recaps this season, and with Miller, there should be plenty of candidates. It figures that this starts off with a big one, and we’ve got video:

The audio is kinda difficult to hear thanks to the crazy wind, but Adam Fonseca of SBNation has the full quote:

“You just can‘t stay over the putt that long, you got to get in there, line it up and hit it,” Miller said as Poulter danced his way around the putt. “He surely doesn’t have the Tom Watson attitude so far, he’s afraid he’s going to hurt himself and that would probably set the game back 20 years.”

The part I like about it is the five or six seconds of dead air after the comment before Dan Hicks steps in. Someone obviously told Poulter about the comment, so he fired back on Twitter:

It’s not the first time Poulter and Miller have gone at it, and it probably won’t be the last. Both are at fault here though. Poulter, as he’s wont to do, was being dramatic both on the course and on Twitter, and the idea that he asked Miller to say that to his face without, you know, saying anything to Miller directly is laughable, but Miller’s “set the game back 20 years” remark is a little out of bounds. Everyone was frustrated by the situation at Kapalua this week, from the fans to the players to the broadcasters, and predictably, nothing was mentioned on the broadcast yesterday. My guess is cooler heads prevailed, but don’t expect either guy to change at any point soon. They both definitely contributed to the blowing wind at Kapalua.
Tough start for Kyle Stanley with Nike
It’s tough to judge players in these conditions, especially with all of the stops and starts this week, but Kyle Stanley was certainly hoping for a better performance this week in his first tournament as a member of the Nike Golf family. Stanley’s final round 72 was decent, but opening with a 78 and an 80 isn’t what he or Nike wanted to see.
Tantrum of the week: Bill Haas
Bill Haas is one of the most mild mannered players on the PGA Tour, but he had a tough week. As most players saw, Kapalua’s greens can be a little inconsistent at times and getting the speed right was difficult. Haas is an average putter by PGA Tour standards, but this week, he finished last in putting and didn’t make one over 7.5 feet. After missing another short one on Tuesday, Haas did his best Lionel Messi impersonation.

Been there.
Stricker perseveres through pain
We know Steve Stricker is severely cutting back on his schedule, and despite finishing second this week, we got a good glimpse at one of the reasons why. Yes, Stricker wants to spend more time with his family and work on his new foundation, but the man is in serious amounts of pain when he plays. He’s got nerve trouble, and was having problems with the entire right side of his body all week. The Plantation Course is a tough walk as it is with the undulations, but combine that with Stricker’s health and all of the starting and stopping, and it’s amazing that he played as well as he did. It’s never good to see a player lying down in the middle of the fairway to stretch, but that’s exactly what Stricker had to do in the second round to stay loose. If I had to bet, we’ll see more of Stricker than he lets on, but the man clearly needs to get healthy. Unfortunately, it means that we won’t get to see one of the best in the world very often anymore.
Sergio takes the week off and plays poker
So, Sergio Garcia was eligible to play at Kapalua by way of his win at the Wyndham in August, but he chose not to attend. He was keeping himself busy though, as he played in a $10,000 poker tournament in the Bahamas.
The PGA Tour stays in Hawaii this week, as the Sony Open gets underway in just two days, while the European Tour plays the third tournament in their schedule, with the Volvo Golf Champions from South Africa.

1 Comments on “Dustin Johnson wins the Hyundai Tournament of Champions”

  1. Pingback: King Louis reigns in South Africa | AdamSarson.com

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