Sneds' 69 holds up
As Tom Petty wrote, “the waiting is the hardest part”. On Monday, Brandt Snedeker was reduced to a spectator, waiting to see if his posted clubhouse lead would hold up. When final-round play resumed, Snedeker sat in a tie for 2nd with K.J. Choi at -6, one shot behind Jimmy Walker who was playing the 11th hole with Choi. Winds had switched directions from the previous day where PGA Tour officials had moved tees to compensate for the weather, leading to an even more difficult golf course. Within the first few shots of Monday’s finale, it became apparent that it was a race to the clubhouse, and Snedeker was going to be tough to beat. Choi stood the best chance but missed a long putt on 18 to fall 1 short of Snedeker at -5.
The final round bloodbath of the Farmers will go down in history as one of the toughest of all time. The scoring average was 77.9, the highest final round score since the PGA Tour started keeping the statistic in 1983. A total of 23 of the world’s best failed to break 80, and final round leader Scott Brown shot an 87 to fall to a t49 in the tournament.
This marks Snedeker’s 8th career win and 7th since 2011, a total that puts him behind only Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods.
The biggest party in golf
This week, the tour heads to Scottsdale, AZ for the Waste Management Open at TPC of Scottsdale. The course is most famously known for its “Coliseum”, the par 3 16th, where fans rage and players are cheered, heckled and booed depending on their play (and reputations), leading to moments like this:
The 2015 championship served as the coming-out party for young star Brooks Koepka, who won the championship by 1 over Hideki Matsuyama, Bubba Watson and Ryan Palmer. And they are all back this year along with red hot Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and FedExCup leader Kevin Kisner.
Hardboiled Picks to Click
Stat of the week:
TPC Scottsdale’s desert layout benefits players who have command of their shots. Key statistics are strokes gained tee to green and proximity to the hole.
Stud: Graham DeLaet
Fresh off his Twitter spat with Patrick Reed, DeLaet goes to a venue where he has had success, finishing t7th in 2015 and t2nd in 2014. Last year, he ranked in the top 5 in strokes gained tee to green. Delaet comes in hot having made 4 straight cuts, including a 9th place finish at the Sony Open… also, that beard...
Sleeper: Martin Laird
The long-hitting Laird comes in after a top-ten finish at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open, where he led the field in greens in regulation and finished second in strokes gained tee-to-green. Last year, Laird finished t5th, ranking in the top 20 in strokes gained tee-to-green.
The annual Dubai Desert Classic is known for enticing the world’s best to play through large appearance fees. This year, Dustin Johnson made headlines by turning down the oil tycoons’ lofty proposal of $2.5 million just to show up!
Editor’s note: Still waiting to hear back on my request to play in Dustin’s place.
With or without Dustin, the tournament goes on and doesn’t lack star power with Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson serving as the headliners and favorites. Each are past champions - Rory with titles in ‘09 and ‘15, and Stenson in ‘07.
Other big names in the field include Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood and heralded American amateur Bryson DeChambeau, who looks to build off his play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship that saw him holding the lead after the first round.
Jim Furyk’s lingering wrist injury isn’t lingering anymore. On Monday, Jim Furyk decided to undergo surgery on his left wrist, which he injured last September during the FedEx Cup. The surgery is expected to keep Furyk out for at least three months. While golf fans will miss Furyk’s propensity to rack up top 10’s, they won’t miss the constant slo-mo’s and detailed analyses of his unique swing.
The Wednesday Workout
One of the keys to a great golf swing is the ability to rotate your upper and lower body separately of each other. For this week’s workout, try this stability exercise that stresses lower body movement and flexibility.
Lydia Ko is back in action at the Coates Golf Championship.
Ollie Schneiderjans and his Web.com crew head to South America.
“Party on Grass” billboard causes controversy in Scottsdale.
Ten weeks and counting… Our early Masters preview.