Abu Dhabi- It feels likes months ago the world was waking up at 3:30 am to watch the number one and number two player in the world square off for the first time in 2013.
In reality, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods were eliminated from the Abu Dhabi championship just three days ago.
This tournament will be remembered for what could have been. People wanted to see the big names of the golf world, instead they watched the number one, two and five players of the world choke.
I think it is safe to say that most people are happy for Jamie Donaldson. He seems like a nice enough guy. However, the story is Justin Rose, who entered Sunday with a two stroke lead. Golfing a -1 throughout the day, the above mediocre performance was not near enough for him.
Choking continued throughout the day to be honest. David Howell and Thorbjorn Olesen had huge troubles while putting. Howell, who entered the final round as a huge underdog but worked his way all the way to the top of the leaderboard, four putted 13. Howell was recognized as one of the top putters in all of golf. Things like that just should not happen to players like him. But when a player enters the big stage, both good, and bad, things can happen.
For Olesen, it was not so much about one bad hole. It was more of a collection of failures to make the big putt when he needed it the most. Olesen continued to have opportunities to make himself relevant on Sunday. But he just was not able to clinch. The ball would narrowly miss, and sometimes it was never close.
Donaldson star moment was on 14 and 15. At the start of the hole, he was tied with Rose. After the two birdies he picked up he was in control. Both putts were what you consider testers. They were makeable putts but nothing that you could expect. However, he read the greens perfectly during his time on them, and curved the ball perfectly. It was a work of beauty, nevertheless almost undone by a mind numbing brain fart that almost led to him handing the tournament to Rose.
Up by two, all Donaldson needed on the 18th was a par. It would have closed the door on Rose, as the 18th is virtually protected from any eagle attempts. However, on his third shot he put his ball on the green, but watched as it rolled further and further away from the hole.
That was fine. All he needed to do was two putt for the championship. It seemed simple enough. The straight-forwardness of the hole was easily seen. However, it was it’s simplicity that caused Donaldson to go for birdie.
He rolled the ball far too hard for someone trying to protect a two stroke lead. And as the ball missed far left, it continued to roll. It made what could have been an easy putt for the win into a tester for par. A test that he failed. It opened the door wide open for Rose, who had golf aggressively due to him being behind by so far. Rose had a chance, and it probably should have gone done. But like the rest of his day, it just did not fall for him.
On his fourth shot of the hole, his putt looked great. However, it rimed out, and the champion was Jamie Donaldson.
Next week we go to Qatar for the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. See you there.
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