The biggest problem with writing a Friday column is that it is too late in the week. It is too late to make predictions for the next upcoming events and the past week is already old news. Well, this week I don't care. Last weekend was such a spectacular weekend of golf that I have to say something about it.
First up obviously is the big event, the Accenture Match Play at La Costa Resort, which is one of my favorite tournaments of the year. David Toms played probably the most spectacular golf I have ever witnessed in my life. Every area of his game was absolutely stellar. Along the way were some pretty entertaining matches too, Toms vs. Scott, Goosen vs. Poulter, Goosen vs. Campbell, and on, and on. This year perhaps more than any other before the differences between match play and stroke play were pushed to the forefront. Add to the on-course entertainment with Nick Faldo's funny and colorful insight in the broadcaster’s booth and you have a winning combination.
Next stop, the LPGA tour, where 15-year old Michelle Wie was two strokes away from making history and winning her first professional event. Jennifer Rosales is a bright, young star on the LPGA and played some very good golf this past weekend but Wie stole most of the attention and deservedly so. After three rounds of 70 and ending up in a tie for second place, it would seem that Wie is on the verge of breaking into the winner’s circle. With Annika Sorenstam hinting at an early retirement in the next couple years is there any better candidate to pass the torch to?
Next we move across the Atlantic to the Nationwide Tour event, the New Zealand PGA Championship. The Nationwide Tour doesn't receive very much press but these guys are so close to making the big circuit, and many future champions can be found out here right now. The New Zealand PGA Championship featured a thrilling playoff that was eventually won by Peter O'Malley. You may remember O'Malley as the 64th seed who knocked Tiger Woods out of the Accenture Match Play several years' back, so it just goes to show that these guys really do have game.
Why stop there; next stop the Champions Tour. The Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am had fifteen players finish within five strokes of the lead. Unfortunately it was another rain-shortened event but Hale Irwin won again just to reinforce his dominance of the senior tour. At the ripe old age of 59 this guy just doesn't seem to slow down.
Last but not least, The Chrysler Classic of Tucson. Kevin Na, the youngest player on the Tour and looking for his first win, birdies 18 to get into a sudden-death playoff with Geoff Ogilvy (also searching for his first tour win) and Mark Calcavechia; the wily veteran trying to win a few more times as his career winds down. A great contrast in players and a great event to watch. At the age of 21 Kevin Na showed that he won't back down and isn't afraid to win. For such a young player to birdie the last whole knowing you need it to get into a playoff is huge. Na is one more player to add to the growing list of young stars and in time I'm sure he will collect his fair share of trophies.
Although we are only two months in to 2005, the action has been non-stop. Every week it seems there is another big story to talk about; whether it's Tiger, Phil, Toms, Na, or Wie. With most of the big names committed to play the Blue Monster this weekend I'm sure we won't run out of stories to talk about anytime soon.
See you again next week,