7 Things We Learned from the PGA Tour's West Coast Swing
The West Coast swing of the PGA Tour is the traditional opening segment of the tour season and features sunshine, warm temperatures, scenic vistas and some great venues.
Spectacular golf is always a part of the festivities, and occasionally, there are some non-traditional things like snow covering the golf course (which happened at the World Golf Championship-Accenture Match Play Championships).
Here's a list of seven things we learned from this year's West Coast swing.
Tiger and Phil Back-to-Back
Because of the limited schedules that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson play, the chances of seeing them win on consecutive weeks are extremely small.
But when Woods put another beatdown on Torrey Pines and Mickelson lit up TPC at Scottsdale again, it’s a special sort of thing. It reminds us that the top two American golfers are still forces when they’re on their games.
Brandt Is Good, Very Good
Just to make sure there was no doubt as to the validity of the end to Brandt Snedeker’s 2012 season (winning the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup and earning $4.9 million), Snedeker made the cut in his first five starts, winning once and finishing second twice.
The red-haired dude is the best player in the game at the moment and shows no signs of slowing down, having already won $2.8 million.
It gets windy sometimes in Hawaii.
And then sometimes it gets really, really windy like it did in January when the Hyundai Tournament of Champions was held at Kapalua Plantation.
Yes, it played havoc with the schedule, but the season-opener finally ended and nobody was harmed.
Look out for Russell
Russell Henley can play and is not one of those guys who gets nervous when he has a chance to go low.
This 24-year-old took the PGA Tour by storm when he went 63-63 in his first two rounds as a professional in the Sony Open.
Three of his first four rounds were 63s and nine of his first 12 rounds were in the 60s.
He’s slowed down since, but he gave notice that he’s going to be around.
Match-Play King Matt Kuchar
Matt Kuchar may well be the best match-play competitor the United States has and he’s a pretty good stroke-play guy as well, having won five times.
A major championship would round out his career nicely, wouldn’t it?
Give Kuchar all the props.
The man gets it going when it’s time for match play.
Maybe he’s a bit overlooked as an elite guy because he really hasn’t been much of a factor in the majors, his best finish coming last year in a tie for third at the Masters.
Maybe he’s a late bloomer.
Finchem Sets the Stage for Messy Battle
The proposed ban on the anchored putting stroke is going to become a very, very messy thing.
With the salvo fired by PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem last Sunday saying his organization would oppose the pending ban of the anchored putting stroke, the game is really on.
A war, or maybe said more gentlemanly, a battle of wills, between the dominant professional tour and the United States Golf Association and Royal & Ancient is something from which nothing good will come.
This is way beyond opening a can of worms.
This is a barrel of worms.
And with the European Tour coming down on the side of the ban, what a mess.
Deer Antler Spray? Really?
Honestly, deer antler spray.
I thought I had heard of a lot of wacky things, but that takes the cake.
So this is one of those things that helps with injury recovery, right?
A guy like Vijay Singh should be allowed to continue to use the stuff with the hope that it might recover the personality he lost many, many years ago.
I guess it just goes to show you that while golfers practice hours and hours for years to become better at their job, at the same time, people are constantly working on ways to shortcut that process and allow rules to be circumvented.