Now that the start to the 2013 PGA season is in the record books, and the tour moves on to Florida, and leading up to the big weekend at Augusta, I think you have to look at the West Coast Swing as being a huge success story. Through the eight events up to, and including The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships, we came away with eight American winners.
With The Sony Open, and Humana Challenge excluded, the lions share of the eight tournaments were fielded with world class players challenging week in and week out for an early win in the young season. The strength of the field seemed to build each week leading up to the Match Play event at Dove Mountain. Having to qualify for this event with world rankings, of course brings the best in the world, but strong fields were had, starting at the Farmers at Torrey Pines, and continuing through the Northern Trust Open at Riveria.
Two of the biggest names on the PGA Tour, Tiger Woods, and Phil Mickelson, picked up winner’s checks at Torrey Pines, and Scottsdale respectfully. Brandt Snedeker probably played as well as anyone on the swing that included tournaments in Hawaii, California, and Arizona. After finishing runner-up two weeks in a row to both Tiger and Phil, got his win at the mecca of West Coast golf, Pebble Beach.
Russell Henley stepped up to flex some rookie muscle with a win at The Sony Open, and old timer Brian Gay won Mr. Clinton’s tournament in the desert in a playoff. Home town boy John Merrick , who was born, raised, and went to college in Southern California won The Northern Trust Open at Pacific Palisades. He took home the largest check in his life, and an invitation to play against the best in the world at the Masters. Dustin Johnson won the 2013 debut event on Maui.
During the the West Coast swing, we were able to test every type of weather delay Mother Nature could throw at the PGA. We had wind that pushed the TOC into a Tuesday finish, a Saturday at Torrey Pines where the sun was missing, and a blizzard at Dove Mountain. There was some rain along the way, but that’s a normal problem, and not worth mentioning.
As the tour now heads East to test the Bear Trap this next weekend at Palm Beach, 2012 FedEx Cup winner, Brandt Snedeker has a strangle hold on the 2013 FedEx Cup point standings. He has 1282 points, which is good for a 471 point lead over second place Matt Kuchar. With his win at Dove Mountain on Sunday, The Kuch jumped 21 spots. Phil Mickelson has third place with Hunter Mahan, and Brian Gay rounding out the top five. Tiger Woods has dropped to 10 place since his win at Torrey Pines.
The Honda Classic will begin the Florida swing this next weekend with action starting Thursday morning at the Jack Nicklaus designed PGA National Golf Course in Palm Beach. Rory McIlroy will be on hand to defend his 2012 title against a large field of top players including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson. Brandt Snedeker should be back in action after taking some time off to heal his bruised ribs, so we should be set for another great weekend of professional golf.
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