Friday, 26 February 2016

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

PGA National was indeed a bear yesterday at the Honda Classic, with the stroke average for the field at more than two shots over par.  Nevertheless, we were treated to the good, the bad, and the ugly as the players tried to negotiate the wind and avoid the water.

Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler played together and, for the most part, put on a fine exhibition of ball striking.  It was fun to watch, and the two obviously enjoyed being paired together.  Sergio had his ups and downs, holing out for an eagle, making birdies, and throwing in a few bogeys to share the lead with past champion, Michael Thompson, at five under.

Rickie was solid as a rock, playing a bogey-free round and coming in one shot back.  Had he not hit so many edges on the greens, he might have shot a fabulous round instead of just a really good one.  Fowler, of late, looks to be playing the best golf of the Fab Four, who haven't really been exactly all that fabulous for the past month or so.  He seems to be brimming with confidence, and ready to make the next step to Major champion, something much easier said than done with the number of talented players these days vying for the honour.

Rory, on the other hand, was just plain ugly.  Despite majestic driving, his iron game was spotty, his bunker play poor, and his putting atrocious as he carded a two over 72, missing a tiddler on the last hole to add insult to injury.  I have to admit that I agree with Brandel Chamblee.  Rory's infatuation with the gym has him following the same path Tiger took; and it certainly isn't doing much for his short game.  I find it rather telling that the latest Nike commercial with Rory shows him in the gym istead of hitting balls.  Maybe he'll prove us naysayers wrong and have a big year and an injury-free career from here on in, but lately his head just doesn't seem to be in the game.

It's early days, but if the wind keeps blowing, we might just see Sergio and Rickie battling it out for the title on Sunday.  Rickie looks really strong.  Sergio looks happy.  And we should be treated to some exciting golf.