May 01

Winners, Losers and Danger: The Week in Golf

Stacy Lewis, Jason Duffer, Bubba Watson, Se Ri Park,

What an interesting week it was in the world of golf, from a weekender’s unexpected round to disturbing injuries and breakthrough wins for two on the men’s and women’s tours.

Both events on the LPGA and PGA tours were cliffhangers this week, and it was difficult to know which player one should root for. On the women’s side, Stacy Lewis came through with a win at the LPGA Mobile Classic, holding off supergirl Lexi Thompson, who went on a birdie binge, almost taking advantage of a Lewis misstep. Lewis, who started the back nine with a three stroke lead, needed some heroism of her own to clinch the title, and did it by birdieing the 16th and holding steady down the stretch. Exhausted in the club house, she expressed gratitude that she didn’t have to play any more holes.

Lewis was a spectacular amateur, and a four-time All-American from Arkansas. She’s only won twice on the tour in addition to making the Solheim team, but she sure has picked good weeks to show her best stuff.

Last week, I wrote about how close Jason Dufner has come to getting over the hump, and that article must have been exactly what he needed (let me dream here, ok?). Thrilled to see him win, especially in a playoff, historically not a good venue for Jason, I was only sad to see that the victory had to come over Ernie Els. Maybe if I write an article for him this week, he’ll break through again as well. It all came down to a two-foot putt, and if you’re an amateur golfer who plays a lot, you know how many nightmares such a putt is good for.

Next week, the likeable golfer is getting married in Auburn, Alabama, but unfortunately, the honeymoon will take place at the Players Championship at TPC. One thing is certain, however. When they do have time to take a real one, Dufner will be able to afford it. If he wins the Players, he’ll be able to afford it several times over.

Edwin Watts Golf

It was gratifying to see these wins, but the week was filled with trouble as well.  Bubba Watson, a man I’d always taken as a nice guy, hit motorcycle shop owner Radd Leonard in the back of the head on the 2nd hole of TPC. Watson’s shot drew blood, but the fan, as loyal as any golden retriever, declined treatment and followed Bubba the rest of the round.

Se Ri Park, Hall of Fame LPGA player, slipped on a flight of stairs, and is termed as “out indefinitely. For a competitor like Park, “out” is bad enough, but “indefinitely” has an ominous tone. We wish her a speedy return.

Christian Sevaer, winner of the ’04 Spanish Open is fighting off elbow pain from a broken bone suffered years ago playing on such hard surfaces. He has been forced to skip the Volvo and the Ballantine’s. John Daley suffered a similar injury in that part of the world recently. I often wonder, between space age clubs and such surfaces, if we’re not raising the danger level of the game. I honestly don’t think hickory shafts were all that punishing by comparison. It would make an interesting study.

In the “odd news” department, seventy-five year old Albert Miller’s round was even worse than that, and he’ll take some lessons to improve his driving, if he’s wise. At a water hazard in Lake Ashton in Florida, a nine foot alligator leaped out of the water and dragged him into the pond. Friends helped free him, as he was in the grip of the creature and in up to his waist.

And who knows if French Open winner Thomas Levet will get to play the Spanish Open at all this week. For the second straight week, his clubs have failed to arrive. The first time, in Seoul, he missed the cut, but at least Spain has cleared the alligators from the water hazards. Congratulations  for a great week by the triumphant, and the survivors.


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