March 18 2012
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Luke Donald did something very unusual on Sunday. He won a tournament in which he never held the solo lead during regulation play. Donald birdied the 10th and 11th holes to get to 13 under, then parred his way in. Meanwhile Ernie Els and Jim Furyk could not hold onto their leads. At one point, six players shared the top spot at 13 under. The playoff whittled down the field to four and Donald said he had a "perfect" number for a 7-iron from 157 yards, which he converted into a 6-foot birdie putt. Donald missed just one putt inside of 7 feet the entire week.
Prediction: Peter Hanson should consider a job in sports forecasting. The Swede finished his round at Noon and predicted a scored of 13 under would win, and he thought Donald was the man to beat. Considering that Donald had yet to tee off and started play three shots off the lead, Hanson was spot on with the prediction.
Speed bump: Jim Furyk knows why he did not win this tournament -- he never could get the speed on the greens in the final round. Despite holing a bunker shot for eagle at the first and a 30-foot bride at the fifth, Furyk could never gain any momentum because he left putts short. At the 13th hole, he three-putted from the fringe, then at the 14th Furyk left a 12 1/2-foot putt short. They say speed kills and it killed Furyk's chances of winning.
Mini-Me: Robert Garrigus switched from one of the shortest putters on TOUR to one of the longest. He gave up his 28-inch putter named "Mini-Me"and switched to a long putter. It was that long putter that failed him in his birdie attempt in the playoff. The short putter has not been totally discarded. Garrigus lets his 18-month-old son Robert practice with his "Mini-Me" putter.
Alignment: Scott Piercy knew why he struggled in Saturday's round. He could not get properly aligned. Piercy had trouble getting square over the ball but corrected that in the final round and shot 62. It's said PGA stands for "position, grip and alignment." Piercy had all three working on Sunday.
Rising Moon: Sang-Moon Bae fell one shot short of winning his first PGA TOUR event but might have been the most impressive putter in the field. He had putting rounds of 27-25-25-26 putts. If you look at the blade of his putter there is a mark the size of a dime where he consistently strikes the ball. Ken Duke played with the young Korean the first three rounds and did not hesitate with his endorsement. "Sang-Moon Bae is going to be a very, very special player."
Give me a drink: I hope they turn on the sprinklers tonight at the Copperhead Course. On Thursday, the fairways were lush and the greens receptive. That all changed as the tournament proceeded. By Saturday afternoon, there were brown spots in the fairway and the grass was crunchy as players walked the golf course on Sunday. The entire golf course needs a good long drink of water.