Jimmy Walker hangs on at Pebble
Jimmy Walker entered Sunday with a huge lead at Pebble Beach, and he wouldn’t give all of it up, winning by a single shot over Dustin Johnson and Jim Renner.
When you go into a final round with a six shot advantage, you don’t usually have to do much to walk away with the victory, and Jimmy Walker wasn’t going to try and do anything that would put him in too much danger. If he went around the course in roughly level par, he was going to be very difficult to catch and that’s pretty much what he did on the front nine. The back nine however was a different story, with Walker making bogey on 10, 12, 13 and 17.
Dustin Johnson and Jim Renner were already in the clubhouse at 10-under par, and all of a sudden, Walker’s lead was cut to one as he got to the 18th tee. He took the conservative approach, hitting an iron at the par-5 18th, but sent it into the right rough. After hacking one out, and putting his approach onto the green but a fair distance away, Walker had two putts to close it out. This was his first attempt:
Not exactly what you want to see coming back, and it looked very possible that we were looking at more golf, with a three-way playoff. Walker had other ideas though.
Six shot leads are a very nice thing.
- 1. Jimmy Walker -11
- T2. Dustin Johnson -10
- T2. Jim Renner -10
- T4. Jordan Spieth -8
- T4. Kevin Na -8
What The Win Means For Walker
Well, at this point, we’re done talking about Walker as a potential Ryder Cup player and as a borderline PGA Tour star. He’s going to be on the American squad at Gleneagles, and this run that he’s on is more than just a little streak that you see from time to time. Three wins in eight starts, especially after not winning anything in your first 180+ tournaments is a stunning turn and he’s quickly become a force on the PGA Tour that should be looking to contend in major championships.
It’s already his third win of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, having come away victorious at the Frys and the Sony Open, which puts him in pretty heady company. Tiger Woods was the only player to win more than three times on the PGA Tour in 2013, and here we are in February and Walker has already put three on the board. First in the FedEx Cup race by a lot, another big move in the Official World Golf Rankings, plus another $1 million plus in the bank. Not a bad run.
For those of you who subscribe to the floodgates theory, Jimmy Walker should be the guy you bring up in every discussion you have moving forward.
D.A. Points’ DQ
Late on Friday night, Jason Sobel tweeted out that he had talked to 2011 champion D.A. Points and that he was disqualified from the event. This story followed, and on Saturday, we were able to see visual evidence of what the actual infraction was:
Rules are rules, yes and Points should have known that this wasn’t allowed. I mean, it seems like this happens at least once a year where a player gets DQ’d for using some form of training aid on the tee when there’s a long wait, so you’d think that the players would be aware.
The PGA Tour did nothing wrong with enforcing it either, but the fact that it was another fan call-in that resulted in the DQ, which I’m sure made that person’s day, doesn’t sit well. Throw in the fact that if Points had used a regular item from his bag, say a headcover instead of that green sponge ball, he would have been okay, and it makes the rule seem even more ridiculous.
Ask yourself this: Was Points, who was tied for 60th at the time, really helping himself here?
The TV Coverage
For the most part in the early going of the 2014 golf season, the TV coverage has been pretty good with very little to complain about, but as usual, this tournament is the absolute worst when it comes to presenting a passable television product. So much focus on the amateur “celebrities” in the field means that we see less of the real players, all for the sake of showing Kid Rock pull hook one 124 yards into the greenside trap.
Making things worse was the Saturday coverage where the entirety of the broadcast was on Pebble Beach, completely ignoring the other two courses in the rotation. Shockingly, this happened when Phil Mickelson was actually making a charge, and he wasn’t shown at all, but hey, we got plenty of Andy Garcia and Chris O’Donnell. Throw in the fact that the usual 30 minute break between Golf Channel and CBS’ coverage on the weekend exists and you’ve got the single worst tournament to grace the airwaves all season.
We also had Kelly Tilghman and Brandel Chamblee discussing shrinkage on Golf Central, so there’s that.
GIFs of the Week
- Other notable finishes: Hunter Mahan (6th), Graeme McDowell and Pat Perez (T7), Patrick Reed (T13), Phil Mickelson (T19), Padraig Harrington (T27), Jim Furyk and David Duval (T35), Kevin Stadler (T45) and Chris Kirk (T61).
- Notables to miss the cut: Freddie Jacobson, K.J. Choi, Mike Weir, Vijay Singh, Mark Wilson, Trevor Immelman, Bo Van Pelt, Geoff Ogilvy, Brandt Snedeker and John Daly.
- Notable MDF’s: Rory Sabbatini, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Jason Day, Retief Goosen and Rafael Cabrera-Bello.
- It took the final group on Sunday three hours to get through the front nine. I know the amateurs didn’t help things this week, but that’s utterly ludicrous and even though those in charge of the game have promised to fix slow play, there’s no sign of it changing any time soon.
- Quick note on two other winners from Sunday. Congrats to George Coetzee for finally getting his maiden win on the European Tour after years of close calls, with several top-10’s and three career runner-ups. The win also gets him into the Open Championship field for the fourth time in his career.
- Cheyenne Woods, who you may know as Tiger’s niece, also picked up a win at the Australian Ladies Masters for her first win as a professional. The reaction on Twitter has already been one of “she can really help grow the game and become a superstar”, and while I agree that Woods can be a big deal, I hope that people don’t put too much on her.