Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bubba Reigns at Torrey Pines!

What a weekend at Torrey!  I figured there is no better way to wrap up the first weekend of HGO's existence by sharing some thoughts about the final round at Torrey Pines today -- one of golf's great venues.

-Bubba ball was in full effect today!  First of all, he seems to genuinely be one of the greatest guys on tour.  Granted, I am limited in my evaluation by what I read in the press and what I hear and see from him on Twitter (@bubbawatson) but he just seems like a great guy who works hard, lives right and plays the game with passion and a great will to win.  I think I first became a Bubba fan after his loss to Martin Kaymer in the PGA Championship playoff, and everything that has happened since just keeps making me love the guy even more!  I hope he has a huge year -- and the way he is playing, he can.  If he tightens up his short game and keeps the flat stick in check, he could really be poised to have a monster year.  And it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.  He has such a powerful swing -- it may not be like watching Bobby Jones' flawless motion, but it sure generates awesome power.  I mean, he went Driver-wedge on the 13th hole today, which was listed on the card as over 600 yards.  I guess uncorking a 363 yard drive helps!

-Jhonny Vegas' hot run at the table came to an end on 18.  Caught a little too much grass with the five iron and ended up in the pond fronting the green in his bid to try to catch Watson.  But even with rolling a craps on 18, he is still the best story coming out of the PGA Tour season thus far.  He has a likeable personality and a really pure, fluid golf swing.  He seems as if he will be lurking around the leaderboard on weekends to come this year.  He obviously also has the best name around!

-It was a little anti-climactic, with all of the talk about Tiger leading up to this weekend (and after his opening 69s on Thursday and Friday), to have the Sunday coverage start with Tiger on 17.  Tiger had a good start but faded on the weekend as he battled his new swing changes.  But it was his first tournament of the year, and while his progression this year may not be as linear as his success has been in the past, he is moving in the right direction.

-There were a couple of shots out of the rough today by the leaders that demonstrated 1) what the USGA was trying to do with the change in the groove rule last year and 2) how the pros have to alter their approach to hitting shots out of the rough with the new grooves.  Mickelson hit a masterful approach on 10 out of the rough where he landed the ball short of the green and allowed the ball release to within about 15 feet of the cup.  Bubba hit a similar approach on 15.  The commercials are right...these guys are good!

-HDTV and advances in TV technology really enhance golf broadcasts.  The super X-mo swing analysis is an awesome tool to help show us mere mortals toiling away on the public links how the golf swing should look  on a step by step basis.

-What was up with the commercial lead-ins with the guy hitting the ball under the tree, into the sunset and out into the ocean?  I mean, I hope he was using range balls, because with golf balls as expensive as it is today, my man was spending some serious cash there...

-The very Un-Mickelson lay-up on 18.  You usually don't hear the words "Mickelson" and "conservative play" in the same sentence, but that is exactly what could be heard around the 18th on Torrey Pines this afternoon.  I can't criticize Mickelson for not going for the green there.  He didn't have a great lie in the rough and there was a tree not too far ahead of him.  With the pin front left, tucked perilously close to the drink, it would have been nearly impossible to get it anywhere close from that predicament.  Not that impossible has ever stopped Phil before.  It was a little strange, however, that he decided to lay up without knowing what Watson did on 18.  But perhaps that is just the final piece of the puzzle confirming that Phil knew he just couldn't get it close from there.  He did make the finish interesting though.  Having Bones run up to the green to tend the pin on a 72 yard shot was awesome...and then he almost made it!  Can you imagine the scene?  That would have been unreal.

A great weekend of golf -- and a great start to the HGO blog!  Please come back often, spread the word, and join in the discussion!

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