Monday, March 21, 2005

Has Vijay Lost that Closing Touch?

Hard to believe that the once (and likely future) invincible Mr. Singh has successfully grabbed defeat out of the mouth of victory for the SECOND straight week. Let’s give credit where its due this week, however, to Kenny Perry.

As I predicted, he held on – which is rare. Not his holding on, I mean an accurate prediction from yours truly! Under the circumstances, Kenny played a great round, firing a two-under par 70 under brutally intense pressure. But Perry is no stranger to success – the mild mannered and well-liked Kentuckian has won all the major Invitationals – Colonial, Memorial and now Bay Hill. Very solid.

It is puzzling how Vijay made such a fatal error with a seemingly routine seven iron approach. With water on the right and tied for the lead, take your four and get to the playoff. Why he felt he needed heroics is a mystery. According to Singh the wind confused him and he should have selected a six iron. Well, duh! For a guy who manages golf courses meticulously this was a major fumble.

I have no doubt that Vijay will present himself well in this year’s majors and near-majors. The Players Championship provides possibly the best field of the season and you can bet that Vijay will be ready. Heck, he is throwing a dinner party tonight (I guess my invitation got lost in the mail!) and could easily throw out some ‘tainted’ mayo for the chicken fingers. That would take care of a few contenders!

The PGA tour starts in earnest on Thursday at the TPC of Sawgrass. I am no fan of Pete Dye or of this course. Island greens are an atrocity, unless the hole actually existed BEFORE man arrived. That being said, the stadium course sets up for great golf theater (just ask Len Mattiace) and should be a dazzling competition.

But the real harbinger of spring is down at sleepy Augusta in two weeks. Ben Hogan used to tune up at Seminole for the competition and this year’s tournament will be a great one. I can’t remember when so many players have performed at this high a level. And to boot – we will enjoy this Masters in high definition (or at least I will on my new TV!) Buckle your seat belts and think about the dogwoods and azaleas – it’s just around the corner, baby!

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