McIlroy’s Monday Triumph
Rory McIlroy won for the third time in 2012 at the BMW Championship, surviving the pressure of some of the world’s best for a one-stroke Labour Day victory. On a day when some of the U.S. Ryder Cup team hopefuls – Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker – and some longtime team members – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson – were giving chase, the 23-year-old Ulsterman stood his ground despite some uncharacteristic mistakes. McIlroy is now the front-runner for Player-of-the-Year honours, and leads the FedEx Cup into the second-to-last playoff event this week. McIlroy joined the aforementioned Woods as the only three-time winners on the PGA Tour this season, and, if it had not been for McIlroy’s untimely slump during a key stretch of the year, he may have even more titles. McIlroy was able to hold off the former British Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen who shot a blistering 63 on Sunday to leapfrog most of the field. A pleasure to watch the pairing of McIlroy-Oosthuizen, which, as Gary Van Sickle from Sports Illustrated says here, could be the start of another long-term rivalry between to young major champions.
Ever since 2008, when Paul Azinger totally revamped the selection process for U.S. Ryder Cup captains, it seems as though the talk about who will be Captain’s Picks has been drawn out longer – done scientifically of course, to make sure to select to the players who will be going into the matches playing the hottest golf. But, the past two editions of the bi-annual competition have not come down to this much scrutiny into the eleventh hour. Who will be picked, and who will be left off this year’s team? It seems as though Steve Stricker is a lock to join the team, he’s consistent, a great putter, a veteran presence and a wonderful partner for Tiger Woods. He’s also been playing pretty good golf all year long – hard to find a reason not to pick him. Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker have both played great golf the last couple of weeks to prove that they are coming in hot, an advantage for Davis Love – this year’s captain – to see how things have played out the last few tournaments. This now leaves three players in line for the fourth and final pick, Hunter Mahan, Jim Furyk, and Rickie Fowler. Although my gut says Furyk – another veteran player, and, he did go 5-0-0 in the 2011 President’s Cup – I’m going to say that Love picks Hunter Mahan. Mahan finished ninth in points, has two wins on the year, and will be ready to extract revenge after costing the team the cup in 2010.
A great showing from Ottawa-native Brad Fritsch on the Web[dot]com Tour this week. Save for one poor round – Saturday’s one-over 72 – Fritsch was dialed-in and was in contention for most of the week. Instead, he finished t-2, making his largest paycheque of the year. A couple more finishes like this week’s, and he’ll be well on his way to earning his 2013 PGA Tour card…This past weekend was the inaugural Patriot Golf Day in Canada in support of the True Patriot Love foundation – supporting members of the Canadian military and their families – a wonderful cause, and it will be interesting to see the results, especially considering the perfect weather…The Canadian Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship kicks off this week in Vancouver, American Rob Couture defends…The inaugural Great Waterway Classic begins Thursday at Smuggler’s Glen Golf Club in Gananoque It’s the final stop for the 2012 Canadian Tour and should be a great event on a great course…
BMW Championship heads to Crooked Stick
The PGA Tour heads back to Crooked Stick for the first time since the 1991 PGA Championship, won by then-unknown John Daly. It will be interesting to see the changes done in the 20-odd years since Daly’s PGA triumph on the Pete Dye masterpiece. The BMW Championship is the third leg of the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs, and only the top 70 have advanced this far – before another cut to the top 30 to play in the Tour Championship. There’s no cut to the event, so even more motivation to get to this event for some of the guys who are fighting for a tour card for 2013. Two Canadians – David Hearn and Graham DeLaet – remain in strong positions to get to the Tour Championship (ranked 58th and 60th respectively; will play together for the first two rounds at the BMW) but will both need very good showings this week. I really like Bud Cauley or Bo Van Pelt this week. Both have been on an impressive top-10 streak through 2012, but neither have got over the hump. No time like the present.