Such a shame that glory for Matt seems a bit flat
22:40 GMT, 14 May 2012
What's gone wrong with the Players Championship A few years ago it compared favourably with the Masters.
Successive wins for Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson brought with them an excitement that had been missing a month earlier during dull wins at Augusta for the likes of Trevor Immelman and Angel Cabrera.
Now the roars have returned every Sunday to the Masters while the Players has thrown up a hat-trick of winners all cut from the same mould.
Same same, but different: Matt Kuchar claimed victory in the Players Championship
Like Tim Clark and KJ Choi before him, this year’s winner Matt Kuchar is a fairways and greens man who gets the job done through consistency rather than flair.
Alongside Saturday’s pantomime villain Kevin Na, it made for perhaps the flattest weekend’s viewing we’ve seen all year. Why this has come about is a little course tweaking in both instances.
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At Augusta they’ve made it a touch easier, thus loosening the reins for the adventurous players, allowing them to play their shots in the knowledge there’s an escape route if they just fail to pull them off.
That’s how you get winners like Bubba Watson.
At Sawgrass now, there’s no margin for error. You only have to miss a fairway by a couple of feet to be in trouble.
The greens are invariably protected by a thick lining of rough, thus nullifying the skill and imagination of the short game artists.
Maybe this is fair enough. Why should everything be set up in favour of the great flair players It just seems a shame given the passionate crowds the event attracts and the brilliant trinity of finishing holes.
This year they cut the rough down a little, and let’s hope they cut it down a little more next year.
Nobody wants to see the McIlroys and the Mickelsons having things all their own way. But neither do you want them feeling like they can’t deliver.
Don't miss it
The Big Miss has proved a huge hit with the book-buying public of America. The controversial tome written by Tiger Woods’ former coach
has been flying off the shelves, with more than 228,000 hardback sales.
Big booking: Hank Haney's tome on Tiger Woods has been flying off the shelves
‘A money-making exercise,’ raged Woods when it was published in March and he certainly got that right.
Offering an interesting insight into
the mind of the Tiger, there have been seven reprints already, netting
its author an estimated $1million.
Perhaps Haney could get Woods to have another dig before the paperback comes out and make him a further million.
Caddie Waite’s the Westwood pick
As you can imagine, Lee Westwood hasn’t been short of offers since it was confirmed he would be without his regular caddie Billy Foster for the rest of this season owing to the latter suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury.
The man he has chosen is experienced
Australian Mike Waite, who caddied for Kiwi Michael Campbell when he won
the US Open in 2005.
Leen on me: Lee Westwood has had a big decision o make about his caddy
Westwood’s manager Chubby Chandler was sitting in the press centre on Friday when he took the call from Waite. Three days later, Waite was glad he rang, for based on current form, 10 per cent – the usual caddie quota – of what Westwood earns is a better rate of pay than the Prime Minister’s.
What happens to Foster if Westwood and Waite team up to win a major this summer ‘Billy will be back on the bag the moment he is fit again,’ said the loyal Westy.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
‘I actually think we might want to experiment with penalty shots for players who play slowly. But I don’t think it will make any difference.’
Is there anybody in the world who agrees with that comment from US Tour commissioner Tim Finchem No, didn’t think so.
Don’t experiment, Tim, implement it. Tiger Woods wants it, Luke Donald wants it, in fact everyone with half a brain wants it to speed the game up. Golf in threeballs on Thursdays and Fridays is so slow it’s all but unwatchable.
Troubled waters: Ian Poulter won last year's Volvo World Match Play Championship
Once a staple of the autumn calendar at Wentworth, the Volvo World Match Play Championship was relaunched last year in Spain, but it already faces an uncertain future following this week’s edition.
The first thing will be to persuade Volvo to carry on supporting it, which won’t be the easiest task given the tournament has failed to attract any of the world’s top eight players.
Assuming the sponsors can be persuaded to stay on board, the next thing will be to find the event another new home, for it won’t be held at this week’s troubled venue Finca Cortesin anymore.
‘I can see it moving around Europe,’ said Guy Kinnings, golfing supremo for IMG, who organise the event.
Let’s hope he sees another date as well. Being sandwiched between marquee events on both sides of the Atlantic just doesn’t work.