Luke Donald’s win at The Accenture Match Play Championship created a theme on Sunday, a theme of streaks being broken. In claiming his first win on the PGA Tour since 2006 (an astonishing statistic given his talent) Donald not only ended his own winless drought, but also ended Brent’s at an incredible 35 consecutive tournaments (and 51 calender weeks). Brent now sits alone in fourth place, a distinction he has not held since midway through the latter half of last season. ‘Team International’ is within striking distance of third place, and Brent can only hope that this big week was the jump-start that his team needed.
It proved to be another solid week for James, as he racked up a smooth 175 points and 3 top tens. Kaymer is already showing his value (a second place finish worth 75 points) as a free agent pickup and the duo of Kaymer and McIlroy could prove deadly at this year’s majors. Nick Watney continued his stellar play, notching his fourth top 10 in four tries. Rickie Fowler took out teammate Phil Mickelson in the second round to cash in a top ten of his own, and Rory rounded out the roster with a disappointing 2nd round loss to Ben Crane. Things are still smooth sailing for the league leader.
If there is anything The Beast specializes in, it’s blazing trails, and boy was he blazin’ this week when he used the league’s FIRST EVER Mulligan! Jason Day was the lucky recipient, squeezing out a top 10 before falling to J.B. Holmes in the third round. Beast’s other top 10 for the week came from former-free-agent-pickup-turned-consistently-elite-performer Matt Kuchar, who won the consolation match to secure himself a solo third place finish. Much like The Beast, Kuchar appears to be getting better with age, and if his team keeps up any kind of consistency this year, he will surely end up near the top of the standings.
Despite a second consecutive 105 point week, Fuchs can’t help but be kicking himself for leaving the red hot J.B. Holmes on his bench. Had he played Holmes (who was coming off of three straight weeks of 20+ point showings) he could have earned himself another 40 points, a top 10, and he’d still be sitting pretty in second place. But top 10s from Ryan Moore and Hunter Mahan mean he’s still tight on The Beast’s tail though, and with his ‘all business’-like attitude, blue skies are ahead for our Swan Riverian friend.
And now we come to Brent. I’m not used to writing about him this high up in the wrap up, so i may have to take a minute to compose myself….there we go. It’s the first time in a while that Brent has had a week worthy of celebration, and was it ever! A league-high 210 points relieved a little bit of sweat from our ex-basement dweller, and shot him all the way up into 4th place. A stunning week of absolutely impressive golf landed donald in the winner’s circle, and landed brent 150 big ones from the perennial bridesmaid. Although the rest of his team was somewhat pedestrian (aside from a top 10 by Ogilvy, who didn’t really face much competition), the points from the win were enough to ensure our favorite little farm market reporter will have something to brag about for the next five or ten years.
Dave’s internationals were getting a lot of hype coming into this week, however it was the lone American played by Dave who ended up performing. Bubba Watson had to go through Bill Haas and Geoff Ogilvy, before coming back from a huge deficit against J.B. Holmes to earn himself a spot in the final four. He fell to Kaymer in the semi-finals, and lost to Kuchar in the consolation, but Bubba still proved his worth with a nice 45 pointer. Many of Dave’s other weapons did not fare as well however. #1 seed Lee Westwood lost in the second round to Nick Watney, while the ever-awesome Iron Goose took an early exit in the first. McDowell provided a useful start with 35 points and a top 10, but by his standards that is a bit of a letdown. Dave is really counting on these WGCs for big point totals, and his performance this week was definitely a bit of a downer.
Speaking of downers, Bryce has dropped all the way down to last place. With an abysmal week of just 30 points, it’s definitely time for the 1997 Oscar nominee to hit the panic button. Not one of his players made it past the second round, and he doesn’t appear to have anyone on his team who can be counted on for consistency at all. That’s a big surprise for someone who started the season with arguably the leagues best keepers. Let’s see what he can do now that the ‘Tiger rule’ has officially been abolished.
1. James – Kaymer’s production is just a bonus to an already solid roster.
2. Fuchs – Still had a great week, even with 60 points on his bench. Stringing together some excellent weeks.
3. Brent – It remains to be seen whether this week was the truth, or just a fluke. But I’ll give him his fifteen seconds of fame.
4. Beast – 4th in the power rankings is certainly not a bad thing in this case. Looks to be back on track after a small hiccup.
5. Dave – He’s had a couple of good weeks in a row, but with as little as Goosen, Westwood and McDowell play, they need to put up better point totals in big weeks like this.
6. Bryce – He was on cruise control for the first couple of weeks, but he’s had a Charlie Sheen-like meltdown since then.