The Hyundai Tournament of Champions—Finally—Happens…

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Forty degrees and raining in the city of Reading is the perfect time to write about golf. One can be envious, but I’m beyond that; golf reminds me how beautiful the outdoors can be—even on television—so why should I be jealous?

The Hyundai Tournament of Champions—finally—happened, as the headline states, yet it cannot be overstated how crazy the last week-end of golf was.

Before we even get to the marvelous play of a certain PGA pro—Dustin Johnson to be exact—I’ll rehash both sides of the golf event, the covering of it (my part), and the participating in it (the players’ part).

[Editor’s note: The author doesn’t cover the weather delay that heavily because he did that in his prior column entitled “PGA FedEx Cup Column Coming Forthwith.” This can be found on ChatSports’ ChatGolf Facebook page (check it out), or it can be read on this writer’s very-own page (check that out, too), with a little bit of hunting.]

Covering 18 holes of golf over the course of one day can be a daunting task, a war of attrition or a labor of love. My view on this is one of the last two options, but 36 holes can only be described as the first one, maybe with a sprinkling of the other two.

Playing 36 holes in a day—54 in two—shouldn’t be glanced over, for you don’t get points for showing up; you only get deducted for mere participation. One instance of letting down your guard in golf could result in a missed put, a short approach shot, or a drive that is slightly off the fairway. And all these things made winner Dustin Johnson’s play more amazing.

The Challengers…And the Reasons They Were Only That

Dustin Johnson had two challengers of import during the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, and although they got their own portion in this column, I need to mention why they didn’t hold the trophy yesterday: They didn’t think they could.

Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not a mind reader, but hearing the interview involving Brandt Snedeker after he finished his Final Round told me one distinct fact: He didn’t think he had a shot all day, so he just went for the best he could. You need to keep those thoughts to yourself, or simply talk yourself out of such self-doubt—especially as a golfer.

The other potential victor was Steve Stricker, who happened to be paired with Johnson for the Final Round at the Kapalua Plantation Course in Hawaii. Unlike Snedeker, however, Striker lost the tourney not in his mind but on the course. Stricker looked lost on the greens—even worse than Keegan Bradley, who putted awfully all day—so Stricker had issues with his putter, and therefore he took himself out of it because of the mere reason that all day he could not finish holes, no matter how well he played from tee-to-green. More noteworthy than Steve Stricker finishing second, moreover, was the fact that he hit every green in regulation on Tuesday’s Final Round in Hawaii.

The First Winner of 2013’s FedEx Cup: Dustin Johnson

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DJ took the lead when play officially began on Monday, and he never looked back, nor did he even appear capable of losing it after he fell behind a few times.

Furthermore, during Round Two on the same day, he played better than Round One, so the field became aware of the frontrunner. Like a presidential race, a lead is hard to lose when one’s opponents aren’t capable of gaining ground; no matter how small a lead, the up-hill climb under said criterion seems insurmountable.

Johnson had a two-shot lead through 14 holes amidst the second round of play, and that was before the real magic occurred: On Hole 18.

After two incredible shots (Hole 18 is a Par 5), the leader had a chance at an eagle—and then he sunk it. I know this with the ut-most certainty because after it happened, I wrote, “This tourney is his—Johnson’s—for the taking.” Sometimes you get things right, too, I guess.

Johnson had hit 33 greens in regulation for 36 holes, so he was on a role, such a role, I should add, that the momentum carried into the Tuesday finish.

On Tuesday, through 15 holes of golf, Dustin Johnson was in command with a three-shot lead over Steve Stricker—his partner for the duration—and then Johnson had the luxury of two-putting the closing three holes. And he won by four shots.

This makes the rest of 2013 an inevitable disappointment, at least, until the Masters, for they never disappoint anyone with a pulse.

And now, Bob Dylan…


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