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The Back 9

Today we are introducing two new regular columns, the first of which is called “Front 9”. It will have a half-brother called “Back 9”. Each column will appear regularly and the topics will be varied with random thoughts on the game. The “Front 9” will always have at least 5 (see; majority) positive happenings in the game (feel free to agree or disagree with any) and surprisingly the “Back 9” will have at least 5 things that we see in a not so good light. To shake things up a little, we begin our new columns with a “Back 9”.

Welcome to the first edition of the “Back 9”.

1.       This past weekend all-time greats, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer, playing a 3-man Scramble, came in second in the second annual 3M Oil & Gas Greats of Golf Challenge.  Nicklaus is 73, Player is 77 (and looks 30) and Palmer is 83. Their massive following suggests that everyone still loves “The Big Three” and that they are most certainly, enduring legends.

2.       Vijay Singh got a free pass with the whole Deer Antler thing (we had written extensively about this in February). Not sure how the PGA Tour can possibly justify not punishing the Fijian in some way. He clearly (openly admitted) violated a Tour Drug policy and is getting off scott-free. Why have a policy and rules and then not enforce them when they are violated?

3.       American star, Christie Kerr won her 16th LPGA Title beating Suzann Pettersen on the second extra hole in a playoff at the Kingsmill Classic. At 36, Kerr may be approaching the twilight of her playing career but still has an outside chance to get into the Hall of Fame (1 point for every LPGA Tour win, 2 for a Major and a further 1 for Player of the Year). Kerr has won two Majors so that gives her now, 18 points needing 7 more to qualify.       

4.       Padraig Harrington used a long putter in competition in the first two rounds at Quail Hollow and proceeded to shoot 80 in the first round and 75 in the second round to finish dead last. We have one question “Why, Padraig, why?” (Well actually that’s two, but we would like them both answered).

5.       Fred Couples and Colin Montgomerie were both enshrined into the Golf Hall of Fame last night.  Couples with one Major to his name, Monty with none. Both selections would seem to be pushing the eligibility criteria to the very brink.

6.       Despite all the efforts of the PGA Tour to make it a Major Championship (thereby becoming the ‘fifth Major’), this weekend’s Players Championship has never really cut the mustard. Does anybody look forward to these four days the way that we await, the Masters, US Open, the Open Championship or the PGA Championship?

7.       22-year-old Tour rookie, Derek Ernst won this past weekends’ Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. Ernst was only playing in his ninth PGA Tour event and before winning, he was No. 1,207 in the Rolex world rankings. He was driving his car to compete on a Web.com Tour event when he got the phone call that there was a tee time for him at Quail Hollow (he was the fourth alternate). Just proves that not all last-minute travel changes are bad ones.

8.       Phil Mickelson SHOULD have won at Quail Hollow. Lefty, who had control of the event pretty much from the start, did not get up and down for birdie, when just off the green on the par 5, 15th, and then made careless bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes before missing a birdie putt on his last hole that would have at least gotten him into the playoff. Such is the way of it for “Phil the Thrill”.

9.       36-year-old Australian journeyman professional, Brett Rumford has just won back-to-back tournaments on the European Tour. Two weeks ago he won the Ballantines Championship before winning the China Open this past weekend. Move aside, Adam Scott, this makes Mr. Rumford Australia’s hottest golfer.