More Fun Than Watching Paint Dry
All you can ask for during a nondescript tournament on the PGA Tour schedule is that the cream rises to the top of the leaderboard on Sunday afternoon. Last year as the Valspar we watched (*cough* suffered through) Kevin Na and John Senden battle for Fed Ex glory and points. Not this year, oh no my friend. The 2015 Valspar (a paint company, BTW, not a Viagra knock off like my wife thought) had all the cream in the field right where you want it.
Fifty four hole leader Ryan Moore grabbed a big lead early with an eagle at the 6th hole. Playing companion Jordan Spieth made bogey at the same hole, albeit by making a big 12 foot putt, and the tournament was Moore’s to lose. For the umpteenth straight week on tour the Saturday night leader didn’t win on Sunday. Moore’s sloppy play made catching him on the back nine ‘doable’ for the threesome of Spieth, Sean O’Hair, and Patrick Reed. If you watched you saw the 3 hole playoff that ensued when all previously mentioned players besides Moore finished the Valspar Championship with a -10 total.
Jordan’s game wasn’t perfect, far from it in fact, but the 21 year old never gives away a shot. He grinds like a 43 year old journeyman who’s had to go through Q-school 4 times. Spieth missed greens and fairways, then made birdies from the rough and pars from impossible greenside situations. There were one putts galore. And he didn’t make a bogey from the 6th hole on. Saying he was clutch would be an understatement.
With Patrick Reed in the clubhouse at -10, Jordan missed the green right at 17 short-side. He hit a flop shot that FIGJAM would have been proud of nearly stone dead and saved par. At 18 his drive found the fairway bunker and his 2nd shot came up well short of the green. He needed another big flop shot to save par. The 3rd stroke was decent, but it left him with a tricky 12 footer to tie Reed and O’Hair who was also now in at -10 having played in the group in front of Moore and Spieth.
Jordan of course canned it. The 3 man playoff carried on with all pars at 18 and then the long par four 16th. After tee shots at 17 there didn’t appear to be too much of an advantage for anyone, but Spieth ended the tournament in style with this bomb from 28 feet.
Hard to believe that this is only his 2nd ‘tour’ win. His victory at Tiger’s tourney in December doesn’t count. Nor does his win in Australia from late 2014. Even harder to believe…..he now has more wins than Rickie Fowler.
During the broadcast NBC talked about how Jordan holds the Valspar fairly near and dear to his heart. In 2013 he got in the event off a top 10 showing in Puerto Rico. He needed to make enough money in Tampa to gain temporary membership having used up his capped amount of sponsor exemptions. His solid play down the stretch on Sunday in 2013 got him his card. Now that he’s a winner in Tampa you can expect him to show up year in and year out. He also kept the class flowing in his post round comments when hee credited his caddie first and foremost. Can you imagine Bubba ever doing that? I suppose that is simply reason 1076 as to why we like Mr. Spieth. Now where can I get one of those sweet belts (pictured twice above)?
Villain Patrick Reed was just as deserving to win in Tampa, and his short game was perhaps even better than Spieth’s. His up and down on the first playoff hole from a buried lie in the bunker was an all-timer. For this guy to shrug off the haters and bull shit ongoing witch hunt about his college antics and play like this shows you how mentally tough he is. I don’t think he had his A-game either as he couldn’t hit a fairway to save his fat ass.
As Mr. Sobel states, there’s something about Reed (and Jordan Spieth for that matter) that allows them to be clutch, get the ball in the hole when it counts, etc. Whatever it is, I am personally not familiar with it in my game. I also took note today that Reed genuinely seemed to be enjoying the competition on Innisbrook’s Copperhead golf course, especially in the playoff. When Jordan made his winning putt, Reed was all smiles. Perhaps his only mistake of the day was wearing a white belt. Big boys with waste lines like his can’t pull that off. The 36-squared rule applies here. Size 36 and under waste and 36 years old and younger: those are the rules of the white belt.
For Sean O’Hair, I’m sure the day didn’t end as he would have liked, but he played his ass off. He has to be excited about where his game is. He hasn’t won in four years but could end that drought next week as he’s played very well at Arnie’s tournament before. For Ryan Moore, he keeps knocking at the door. He’s past due, but a foul ball or a clunky short game seems to keep doing him in in Sundays. This was a perfect course and event for his game. Even though he’s playing well, none of the next 3 events really set up well for him.
The Future Mrs. Spieth???
Maybe. Who knows? I can’t tell how dialed in this kid is to strange puss because golf seems to be the only thing he cares about…..well that and his beloved Cowboys and Longhorns. This is girlfriend Annie Verret. She’s a Texan. She’s accompanied Jordan to the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup over the last two seasons.
Psycho looking dog, but cute girl. Seems young and innocent. She will probably make a great 1st wife. I can’t believe I haven’t discussed her here before. Do you think she’ll force him to get hair plugs? Dude is balding quickly. That’s ok, he’s 21 and has $10 million already in the bank (in earnings only).
Shot Of The Day
Spieth’s winning putt probably should win the Shot of the Day, but I hate giving it to a putt no matter how big it is. Moore’s aforementioned eagle at the 6th was too damn pretty to pass up so it takes the cake.
Was the eagle a jinx? Moore was +2 over his last 12 holes from there on in. Ouch.
Can You Smell That?
No, I’m not asking you to try Google Nose to get a whiff of my flatulent, I’m wondering if you can smell the blossoming azaleas down in Amen Corner. We’re 23 days away from ceremonial tee shots, pimento cheese sandwiches, and the first major of the year. Not feeling it? Try again.
Goose bumps. And the feedback from someone’s old record player makes it even better.