Okay, so I’m supposed to be continuing the discussion about pace of play, but you know what? I’m going to take my time with that one. Get it?
So, what are we going to talk about instead? I know, let’s take a minute or two to review last weekend’s World Match Play Championship.
Burning Topic #1: Hunter’s Hat Brim
Yep, you read that right. There was a bit of a buzz in the golf blogosphere about the lack of curvature in the brim of the cap worn by our newly crowned World Match Play champion. Evidently, some people thought it inappropriate for Hunter to go gangsta when it comes to his lid. Hey, he took the tag off!
Best moment of the Match Play tournament:
Somewhere on the back nine of his match against McIlroy, Lee Westwood’s drive bounced and wound up coming to rest down the back of a woman’s sweater. With the match hanging in the balance, Westwood had the wit to ask if she wouldn’t mind moving another 250 yards closer to the hole:
Match Play format as entertainment
I don’t think I’m making this up, but I seem to remember hearing one of the announcers comment about the “unusual” format of match play. Really? What does he think most of us are playing every weekend?
But a more interesting aspect was this: I could swear that I saw a lot more emotional reaction from the players last weekend than during the medal play competition we usually see on television. I saw, or at least I thought I saw, more displays of disappointment when shots went astray or putts didn’t drop than I do in stroke play where players strive so hard to keep a lid on their emotions. Instead I saw the sort of grimaces and gestures that the rest of us display when we sense that the little battle that each hole represents is not going our way. And I loved it!
Golf and redemption
The story lines that we anticipate are not always the ones that emerge. Sunday’s final did not turn out to be the coronation of the new Boy King of golf. Rory will have to wait a bit longer. It wasn’t the Second Coming of T. Woods either. Instead, golf offered up something even better: a redemption story. Sixteen months earlier Hunter Mahan faced a golfer from Northern Ireland, Graeme McDowell, in match play in Ryder Cup and he hit the Chunk Heard ‘Round the World. Last Sunday he faced another Ulsterman and triumphed. Good stuff. One of the cool things about the sport is that it offers you chances to redeem yourself. You can screw up a shot, and if you’re lucky, you get a second chance with a similar shot later in the round. One of the great satisfactions of golf is taking what you learned from that earlier experience and executing the shot well the next time around. Hunter just lived that out on a much bigger stage.