Jimmy Walker runs away in Hawaii
After letting the win get away from him last week at Kapalua, Jimmy Walker rebounded in a big way on Sunday at Waialae, repeating as the winner of the Sony Open with a dominating nine stroke victory.
Walker entered the final round with a two shot lead over Ryder Cup teammate Matt Kuchar and for the first portion of the day, it wasn’t a slam dunk for Walker in any way, as he started off with seven straight pars, allowing a slew of players to get closer to the top. Birdies on four of his next five holes would put Walker in control of the tournament though with no one else making a push. Kuchar, as consistent as they come on the PGA Tour, failed to make a birdie for the first time since the opening round of the 2012 Valspar and Walker closed it out with birdies on three of his last four holes for good measure. Just a wholly dominating performance on the weekend, as Walker was a combined 15-under par over the final two days of the event.
- 1. Jimmy Walker -23 (66-66-62-63)
- 2. Scott Piercy -14 (67-67-66-66)
- T3. Harris English -13 (66-69-65-67)
- T3. Gary Woodland -13 (70-65-65-67)
- T3. Matt Kuchar -13 (65-63-68-71)
What The Win Means For Walker
Last week was a tough one for Walker, who really looked like he was in complete control at the TOC before stumbling in and eventually losing to Patrick Reed in a playoff, but after winning here last year, you knew that he was comfortable with the layout even though he’s not really known as much of a precision player, which is usually the type of guy who does well at Waialae. It’s pretty obvious that we’re going to be seeing a lot of Walker going forward, and even though the driver length gets the bulk of the attention with him, he’s an absolute menace with the putter.
I still kinda struggle with the idea of him being a serious major contender, mostly because he’s still a little too wayward from the tee for my liking, but with how good he is out of the rough, that’s less of a concern and if he keeps putting like this, there’s no course that he shouldn’t be able to win on. Johnny Miller said on the broadcast that we could be looking at Rory McIlroy’s big contender for player of the year in Walker, and aside from the fact that Miller was talking about the POTY on January 18th, he’s not completely crazy, but I would like to see him win a bigger event on tour before immediately putting him in the conversation with guys like Rory. So far, he’s won this event twice, the Frys and the Pebble Beach Pro-Am over the last 18 months and that kind of run is great, but outside of Pebble, we’re not talking about great fields and even that is muted by the 5 1/2 hour rounds played with guys like Kid Rock.
I’ll say this though: there’s no real way to quantify it, but Walker bouncing back the way he did from last week is pretty special and not something that you see with a lot of players. If you didn’t think so already, Jimmy Walker is definitely a player to watch.
By now, I’m sure most of you who are reading this are aware of the incident surrounding Robert Allenby, but for those who aren’t, Allenby missed the cut on Friday and was at a wine bar with his caddie and a friend. When the other two weren’t around, Allenby was allegedly kidnapped and assaulted, eventually getting dumped six miles away from the bar and not really having any recollection of the event. His credit cards, cash and phone were all stolen as well and at the end of it, he looked like this:
Apparently he’s working with the PGA Tour and local authorities to determine who did this, but I think I can speak for everyone when I say that I’m just happy that he’s okay from what everyone can tell. There won’t be a crazier story in golf for the next little while, I’m sure.
After Scott Piercy hit his approach into the rough at the par-3 17th, cue Johnny Miller:
- Notables to miss the cut: Graham DeLaet, Brendon de Jonge, Tony Finau, Angel Cabrera, J.B. Holmes and Geoff Ogilvy.
- Stephanie Wei has the story behind Matt Every’s DQ for using a bent 4-iron.
- 16-year old Kyle Suppa made the 36-hole cut, but was dropped after 54 holes, but he impressed a lot of people. Sure fire way to know he’s just 16? TaylorMade hat, Puma shirt and the Oakley belt.
We’re finally back on real golf hours next week as the PGA Tour is back on the mainland at the birdie fest that is the Humana Challenge, where Phil Mickelson will make his 2015 debut.