Noh Means Yes
Outside of Matt Kuchar’s win last week at the RBC Heritage there hasn’t been a ton of excitement on PGA Tour Sundays over the last month. When Saturday rounds were completed in New Orleans it appeared to me the leaderboard was set up to provide the final round action we’d been waiting for. Yes, Seung-Yul Noh had a two shot lead on the field, but 22 year old kids that have never won on tour and have yet to make a bogey for the week are bound to have some issues putting a tournament to bed. And with players like Justin Rose and Keegan Bradley giving chase, how could the tournament not end with excitement?
That whole theory noted above pretty much went to shit when two things happened. First, the wind came up in a big way. The golf course that had been a bird(ie) sanctuary for 3 rounds now wasn’t giving the players anything except for a few down wind par 5s. Second, Seung-Yul Noh played too well to let anyone catch him. Noh made a few mistakes, but typically bounced back with a birdie on the next hole to get his dropped shot back. That’s why he’s ranked number 1 in the PGA Tour’s ‘bounce back’ stat.
The only guy that really had a chance to catch Noh was Keegan Bradley. Keeg’s bid to win in NOLA went to hell on the 6th hole when he pulled his tee shot into the hazard. He proceeded to barf all over himself the rest of the hole as well when he missed a short putt and made a triple bogey. Ball game. Noh’s win is the first for any player on tour in 2014 that isn’t from the United States or Australia. He has no weaknesses in his game and appears unflappable.
Sounds a bit like Jordan Spieth, doesn’t it? I actually like Noh’s swing and overall game more than Spieth’s. Both are set to make a killing playing golf for the next 15 years or more. However, Noh might be too calm for his own good. Today that was an asset and it always will be under the pressure of trying to get your first win. For the long term, I think Spieth’s competitive fire is what will set him apart from players like Noh.
A first win is a big deal for any professional golfer. For Noh, this week was an even bigger deal as he was playing with a heavy heart due to the recent ferry tragedy in his home country of South Korea. In very broken English, Noh did his best to tell the golf media what this meant to him and his homeland. He explained it in some fashion by saying that South Korea needed some positive energy and he hoped his victory in New Orleans could provide it.
No offense to Noh, but I wasn’t rooting for him to win today (I wasn’t rooting against him either). I was hoping to see American Keegan Bradley get back to the winner circle. It’s been a while since his last victory and I’d like to see him jump up the U.S. Ryder Cup standings by getting a win. He needs to make that team if Tom Watson’s boys have any chance to beat the Euros this fall. I also would have liked to have seen girlfriend Jillian Stacey run out on to the 18th green to greet him after he won. According to her Tweeter, Jillian sneaked into New Orleans to surprise Keegan by watching him play today.
After Noh’s opening bogey and Bradley’s subsequent birdie at the 2nd hole the two were tied for the lead. CBS had just come on the air and the stage was set for Keegan to do his thing and for Jillian to show her…… ummmmm……….face. Instead, as I previously noted, Bradley made triple at the 6th and was pretty much done after it. Even when Bradley did hit good shots he got fucked. He must have found 2 or 3 of Pete Dye’s pocket sized pot bunkers on various holes that essentially led to half shot penalties (or worse) by being in them. He also had multiple power lip-outs that aided in his effort to shoot 75 and drop from T1 to T8.
I blame Bradley’s shoes. Seriously. Look at those fucking things. As you likely know, Bradley is a huge fan of Boston area professional sports teams. Bradley has been wearing Michael Jordan brand shoes for the last 6 months or so. Nike recently made him the pair you see below because Bradley’s Boston Bruins of the NHL are one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. To show his support, Keegan wore his special yellow, black, and white Jumpman golf shoes in New Orleans over the weekend.
Those are fucking hideous. I’m all for similar designs like that in most cases, but these shoes with Bradley’s traditional red shirt make him look like Ronald McDonald. And why is a golfer wearing a basketball player’s shoes to begin with? Perhaps next football season we’ll see Aaron Rodgers wearing a Tiger Woods inspired football cleat.
Shot Of The Day
After a few weeks of being missing in action, I’m bringing back the Sunday Shot of the Day for this week. Last week was too obvious (Kuchar’s hole out to win). Other weeks didn’t have great shots to pick from. This week I was tempted to go with Robert Garrigus’ 374 yard bomb at the 18th hole. That’s ridiculous. But Bobby Swamp Ass didn’t figure much into the final outcome of the Zurich Classic even after posting a final round 64. That monster drive is out. Instead I went with Seung-Yul Noh’s approach shot at the 16th hole.
In that wind to that pin location the shot was huge. Noh had just made bogey at the 15th hole. His stiff approach at 16 allowed him a chance to make the tricky birdie putt (also in the highlight) and have a more comfortable lead playing the final two holes.