Friday, December 2, 2011

Chevron World Challenge

I've been watching the Chevron World Challenge this week.  So far, though a small tournament, it has been pretty entertaining.  Yesterday, the winds were very strong.  KJ Choi went on an amazing run of 5 straight birdies to start the round and ended up 6 under total.  Tiger Woods birdied 4 of the first 5 holes, but finished 3 under.  Today, Tiger and KJ were paired with each other, with Tiger coming out on top at the end of the day at 8 under par, including eagles on the Par 5 2nd and 11th holes.  KJ was matching him shot for shot, until both players arrived at the Par 3 15th hole.  Tiger and KJ both proceded to hit shots directly at the daunting pin location, and both came up short in the water.  Tiger hit a beautiful 8 iron shot that got caught up in a gust of wind which knocked it from the air.  KJ then proceeded to hit his shot from the drop zone into the water and made a quadruple bogey 7.  Tiger hit his 3rd shot to 8 feet but missed the bogey putt low and finished with a 5.  All this time, Matt Kuchar was quietly moving up the leaderboard with a solid 67, to tie Tiger for the low round of the day.

Now time for my 5 thoughts so far from the tournament...

1.  Tiger Woods is swinging the club really well.  It finally looks as though the "reps" he has been talking about have paid off.  The first 14 holes of today's round was a clinic in clean play.  The flop shot he hit at 13 was one of the best shots I have seen.  His short game is coming around and I think the Nike Method putter is finally making the putts the old Scotty used to make.  I believe he will continue to make strides.  Now he has to hold it together tomorrow, which he did not do at the Australian Open after leading through 36.

2.  Gary Woodland has one of the best swings on tour.  He hits it a mile but does not look like he is swinging out of his socks.  And his swing is so traditional and hits all the correct positions.  Look for him to have a huge year this upcoming year, and be a possible dark horse contender for the Ryder Cup team.

3.  The golf course is not designed to be played in this kind of wind.  Jack Nicklaus is notorious for designing courses with forced carries to every green and pin position.  In this kind of wind, players would love to hit low shots that cut through the wind and roll up to the pin position.  However, this definitely has brought much more shotmaking in to the rounds.  Hopefully the wind will remain like today, and stop swirling as much.

4.  The golf announcers make much too big of a deal about Tiger's new shoes.  They are a pair of shoes that get the job done.  He hasn't slipped at all swinging with them and he is swinging harder and freer than he has the last couple years.  What's gonna be next?  The announcers talking about a fitted vs. non-fitted cap?

5.  KJ Choi may be the steadiest player in the game today.  The guy never gets rattled.  He plays the same demeanor at all times and never seems to get upset or overly excited.  Some may take that as boring, but he gets the job done.  If I was making the kind of money he does I could be as boring as a rock but I wouldn't care.  Look for him to contend and possibly win his first major this year, especially at the Masters where that kind of play is vital.

Well, that's all for now.  Tune in to the Chevron World Challenge tomorrow and Sunday for some good entertainment.

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