The Front 9-Edition 6
1. The season’s first Major Championship, the LPGA Tour’s Kraft Nabisco Championship in Palm Desert, will be the last one for title sponsor, Kraft Nabisco. LPGA commissioner Mike Whan insists that the iconic event will remain at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course, regardless of who the new sponsor will be. Nabisco has been the principal sponsor of the event since 1982, but logic would suggest that there will be willing sponsors to take over what is the Tour’s marquee event.
2. 2-time Major Champion, John Daly, made an octuple-bogey 12 on the par 4, 16th hole in Friday’s second round of the Valspar Championship en route to a career high score of 90. Daly was playing on a Sponsor’s exemption, which still routinely come his way, because of his appeal to fans (more people come to watch-especially if there is a chance of a crash of Daly proportion). He is currently the world’s 582nd ranked player and has had only two Top Ten finishes on the PGA Tour in the last 8 years. The hope that many have had for the 47 year old to make a comeback in the last few years appears to be heading into a Long John sunset.
3. “43”. The answer to the question “how old do you feel?” that 21 year old sensation, Jordan Spieth gave last week.
4. 2014 has been a very bad year for Tiger Woods so far. Earlier this week a Miami-Dade jury found ETW, Woods’ company, liable “for deceptive and unfair trade practices” and awarded damages of $668,000 to golf memorabilia retailer Bruce Matthews with Gotta Have It Golf. Of greater concern for Woods though, must be the state of his back after flare-ups caused him to withdraw from the Honda Championship during the last round and he was crippled by back-spasms during the final round at Doral last week. Woods has not yet announced if he will play in next weekend’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, an event that he has won eight times.
5. 31 year old Spanish player, Alejandro Canizares, ran away with the Trophée Hassan II at the Golf Du Palais Royal in Morocco this weekend. After opening with a sensational 10-under par 62 that included a bogey, Canizares never relinquished his stranglehold on the tournament and cruised to a five shot victory. It is his second win on the European Tour. Canizares is the son of former Spanish star, Jose Maria Canizares, and was the 2003 NCAA Champion while attending Arizona State University.
6. Also in Morocco, 17 year old English sensation, Charley Hull, won her first professional title at the Ladies European Tour’s Lalla Meryem Cup in Agadir. Hull came from 5 strokes behind overnight leader, France’s Gwladys Nocera, shooting a 9-under par 62 to force a playoff with the Frenchwoman. Hull birdied the first hole of the playoff to capture her maiden victory. Hull recorded five runner-up finishes last year in her inaugural year on the LET and also claimed the “Rookie of the Year” award. To cap off her amazing season in 2013, Hull was one of Europe’s stars in their victory in the Solheim Cup.
7. And while we are on the subject of “going low”-Today marks the thirteenth anniversary of Annika Sorenstam’s historic, 13-under par, 59, in the second round of the Standard Register Ping at Moon Valley CC in Phoenix, AZ. The since retired Swedish legend is still the only female professional to break golf’s mystical numerical barrier.
8. If the United States Ryder Cup team were being selected now, the following players would not be part of the 9 players automatically on the team: Matt Kuchar, Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker, Jim Furyk, Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods. While the Cup matches are months away (as are the selections) it prefaces some of the dilemmas that US Captain, Tom Watson, will have later in the year.
9. The recent dominance of 20-something players came to an abrupt halt today on the PGA Tour when 42-year old John Senden won the Valspar Championship on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook. It is surprisingly only the second PGA Tour victory for the elegant swinging Australian who last won in 2006 at the John Deere Classic. Always known as a superb ball striker, it was ironically, his short game that won the day for him as he made one clutch putt after another to outlast Kevin Na by one shot. Saving his best for last, Senden tamed the terrifying ‘snake pit’ (the demanding last three holes at Copperhead) by birdieing the 16th and 17th holes before making a solid par on the 18th.