Tuesday Tee-Off – May 22

Duf Man says, “Make it a Double”

What a few weeks it’s been for 35-year-old Jason Dufner. Late April in New Orleans, he finally captured his first TOUR event after 164 attempts – including a loss in the 2011 PGA Championship to Keegan Bradley – and then he took a week off to get married. Although he struggled at the Player’s Championship one week later (he was in the honeymoon phase, obviously) he bounced back and won again this past week at the HP Byron Nelson Classic. His laid-back demeanour has captured the hearts of many new fans across the golf world, and his hot streak couldn’t have come at a better time looking towards next month’s U.S. Open and the Ryder Cup in September. Is Dufner the overall best American golfer in the world? I’d say that distinction still belongs to Hunter Mahan, however, hard to argue against Dufner playing the best of anyone in the world right now. Out of the top-25 golfers in the world (Dufner is no.14 – who saw that coming?) he joins Mahan, Steve Stricker, Keegan Bradley, Luke Donald, and Bubba Watson as the only golfers with a two-win season the past three years. Although the casual ‘sports’ fan would love to see another dominating streak like the Tiger Woods of old, golf fans across the world are enjoying the parity, and the fact that there are so many strong golfers at the top of their games right now.

Morgan Pressel meets her match

At the LPGA tour’s Sybase Match Play, Pressel won the 12th hole to go 3-up in her match against Azahara Munoz. However, a TOUR official met the pair on the 13th tee to assess  Pressel with a slow-play penalty and an automatic loss of hole (because it’s match play. Had this been stroke play, it would have been a one-stroke penalty). ‘Slow play’ seems to be the topic du jour across all golf tours around the world. Last week at the Player’s Championship, the media and other players were stirring the pot regarding Kevin Na’s slow play (including re-gripping, copious practice swings, etc) and the fact that he wasn’t penalized. I’m not in favour of how close in proximity this slow-play penalty was called on the LPGA after all the uproar on the PGA Tour – it almost gives off a “look at us” mentality and media stunt (because no one is talking about the golf, they’re all talking about the penalty) – but a rule is a rule. The fact that it was actually enforced is a positive. It will be interesting to see if the powers-that-be on the men’s tour follow suit.

Be like Mike

My eyebrows raise slightly with excitement each time I read that Mike Weir gets granted an exemption and will be in a particular PGA Tour field week-by-week. However, there hasn’t been much to be excited about of late. Weir has missed the cut in every event he has played so far this year and it’s not even close. He hasn’t even broken 70. This past week at the HP Byron Nelson, Weir shot 75 in the first round, giving himself at least a shot to crawl back and make the cut. However, a second round 83 dashed any chance at that, and he ended up in a tie for last place out of the 160-man field. Bob Weeks arguably knows Weir better than anyone in the media and writes a good post about Weir’s struggles here. Most telling may be that Weir was off for seven months because of surgery to his elbow and has only played in eight tournaments since the comeback. As Tiger says, “it’s a process,” but hopefully Weir manages to turn things around soon.

Texas Take Two

The Tour shifts west about 40 minutes from Irving, Texas to Fort Worth, Texas for this week’s Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Last year, David Toms got over the heartbreak he suffered at the Player’s Championship in his loss to KJ Choi to take the victory. The Texas wind will definitely be a factor again this week sweeping across the par-70 layout. The last three PGA Tour winners are in the field this week – Dufner, Matt Kuchar, and Rickie Fowler – along with Hunter Mahan, who many are saying is a perfect fit to get his third win of the year.


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