Disclaimer: Instead of the weekly Recap, I will be changing up my segment to the stock report. I will still focus on the previous tournament, but instead of a broad segment on the tournament as a whole, I’ll take a look at some of the biggest movers of the week, much like the stock market. Hopefully this change up will be successful and give the readers a more entertaining way to put the last weeks tournament to rest! Without further ado…
Kevin Kisner: The most obvious choice of the week, as Kiz put on a ball striking clinic at Austin Country Club to go with his always solid putter to win his first World Golf Championship. Kisner is an absolute bulldog on the course, and has repeatedly said he doesn’t fear anyone out there. What makes Kisner so special is his ability to play his game, no matter the circumstance. He rarely gets rattled, and almost never beats himself. Not only is that a great formula for Match Play, but it’s a great formula for majors as well. Given his ability to play well in the clutch, I don’t think anyone who watches golf would be surprised to see him in the mix of any major. We’ve had the chance to meet Kisner a few times, and he’s one of the easiest dudes to root for on tour and definitely one of our favorites to follow. Search Kiz on twitter and you’ll see why. Dudes a stud.
Lucas Bjerregaard: LB was a name that few recognized at the beginning of the week. Even though he was ranked in the top 60 in the world, very few people expected him to make a run at the Match Play, especially once he was put in Justin Thomas’ group. However, he showed some serious game this week, going 3-0 in pool play, and eliminating Stenson and Woods before falling to the meatball on his way to a 4th place finish. Lucas has serious distance off the tee, and he flashed a dangerous flat stick this week in Austin. A man who has had consistent success in Europe may be getting more comfortable in the states. I think a successful match play against some of the biggest names in golf is a great way to introduce yourself to the USA. With the confidence to play against the big boys and a berth in the Masters, we could be seeing a lot more of Lucas Bjerregaard on weekend leaderboards.
Henrik Stenson: The Ice Man rounds out our names of trending up this week. Henrik showed signs of life in Tampa with a t-24, and followed that up by steam rolling through the “Group of Death” with a 3-0 group play record. Despite falling to the aforementioned LB in the round of 16, Stenson is a man to watch moving forward. He said he played some of his best rounds of the year during group play, and he isn’t a guy that beats around the bush. One of the best iron players in the game, don’t be shocked to see Henrik start lasering 190 yard 6 irons to inside 10 feet regularly here soon.
Rory Mcilroy: But, he went 3-0 in the group play?? True, and he looked great in the process. However, the match versus Tiger was a bit concerning. Without beating around the bush, Rory seemed to be tight for majority of that match. He mounted a mini-charge on the back nine, but the disaster at 16 ultimately did him in. There was no doubt a bunch of nerves running through both players, but given Rory’s recent run, I expected him to come out and play his usual style. It could be meaningless, but with the rumblings of another chance at the career Grand Slam in a week, Rory fans did not want to see pressure affect him that much. He was the hottest player on tour coming in, and played 18 poor holes to 72 great ones, but I think there is a chance this loss creeps in with the monumental pressure of trying to close out Augusta.
Justin Thomas: As pointed out by our DK expert Sam Scherman, Thomas seems to be losing a step with his iron play recently. After losing strokes in the prior two tournaments, he failed to advance out of the group stage in Austin. The man is always a threat wherever he tees it up, but I would trend lightly until he finds the groove back with his scoring clubs. When he is on, such as he was earlier this year there a few better in the world when it comes to approach shots. Thomas driving is usually consistent but the putter can be a bit streaky. If he wants to contend in the upcoming majors he will have to dial in those irons again.
Jason Day: Yeesh. J-Day, a guy who has had great success at Match Play, got handed an 0-3 record this week. Besides a hot start against Furyk, Day looked pretty poor all week and even showed signs of distress from his lingering back injury. I loved what a saw from Day early in the year, and expected a great year from him, but a lot of that is put on hold right now. Given his injury history, Day is always an unknown to make it through a season and sometimes an event. His ability with the putter will always give him a chance when his long game is competent, but I don’t plan on backing Day in any of the big tournaments coming up until he shows he can be consistently injury free for a stretch.
Honorable Mention: El Nino and El Cheapo – Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar got into a pretty funny argument during the knockout rounds this week. After missing a putt to win the hole, Garcia pulled an amateur move and quickly hit his next shot backhanded, lipping out to technically tie the hole. Kuchar alerted the official of the situation, and because Kuchar didn’t have time to formally concede the shot, Garcia lost the hole. In typical Sergio fashion, he was complaining and asked Kuch to throw the next hole. In typical Kuch fashion, he played the nice guy card of not “wanting to win the hole this way but uniwlling to change the outcome”. Now I am no Kuch fan, especially after what he did to Tucan, but I do side with him in this argument. Sergio made the mistake, and in golf, the rules are the rules. Sure he would have conceded the putt, but these boys are out here to get a win. No one is going to willingly throw a hole unless a crazy scenario happens. Sergio should have manned up and taken the hit for his boneheaded mistake. It may not help save what’s left of Kuch’s image, but as we’ve come to know recently, That’s Kuch.
What a special week in Austin, and a great champion prevailed. As we get closer to major season, it is great to see so many big names play well. Let’s survive Valero and get ourselves to Augusta! Til’ next week folks.