I hate to throw around the word “choke,” but that’s just what Steve Marino did. Marino needed only to shoot an even par 71 to get into a playoff, which was actually slightly above the average round today(70.87).
Marino was about .3 strokes better than the average player in the field today so a 70 or 71 should have been within reason. Of course he lipped out on every putt, rolled into every bunker, and found every hazard possible so he fell way down the leaderboard.
On the bright side, Marino was ridiculed by the CBS announcers for all kinds of mechanical flaws, despite the fact that this is probably the first(maybe second if you count Zurich) that CBS has actually put Marino on TV.
Ready to pounce
Tiger Woods is absolutely ready to dominate in the next few tournaments, or at least he is giving off that vibe. Ball-striking wise Tiger played better than anyone this week including Heath Slocum. There were two main differences with Tiger and Slocum this week. One, Slocum had some highlight 20-25 foot putts that fell and Tiger didn’t. Over four rounds of Golf, that is mostly luck.
The second is, Tiger is MUCH MUCH more capable of replicating a great ball-striking week than anyone else on tour. I think his ball-striking has returned to a level where it was last year, his putting has just been abnormally weak the last few weeks. Similar to how he made everything at Buick and Bridgestone, where he has played many times, Tiger really made nothing at courses he had played far less frequently at Hazeltine and Liberty National.
Tiger is coming back to courses he has played before and I would bet there will be a lot less of those misread gestures* that he keeps making. If that is the case expect him to make everything one of these next three weeks and run away with a tournament.
*The idiots on TV keep claiming that Tiger is both the greatest green reader on tour and has the best stroke on tour. One of these is clearly wrong right now. He is either not reading greens right, or not hitting the putts how he wants to. This is impossible to tell, but it looks to me like Tiger is misreading a ton of putts based on his reactions.
The bottom line here is that Tiger is the only golfer in the world that doesn’t need to have the insane putting week(like the one referenced here in the “putt for dough” stat section*) like all other tour pros do to contend.
*This title is another example of people not understanding what shooting a low score in golf is all about. If you ask me would I rather lead the tournament in greens or putts every week and I could only do one, THE OBVIOUS ANSWER IS GREENS. You will make a lot more money that way, ask Brad Faxon. I may have to say this every week until people listen, but the THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WINNING AND T-5 IS OFTEN PUTTING, BUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONSISTENTLY PLAYING WELL AND ADAM SCOTT IS BALL-STRIKING AND HITTING GREENS. Simple as that.
The Amazing Steve Stricker
No one will talk about this, because Steve Stricker has a pretty boring game, but so far in 2009 he has been better than anyone in the past two years except Tiger. That means Phil, that means Sergio, that means Padraig, That means Retief, that means ANYONE else.
Here are the top 20 seasons in the past two years.
Obviously 2009 isn’t over yet, but what Stricker is doing at 42 is pretty impressive. Even over all the tournaments I have since the beginning of 2008 only Phil Mickelson has been a legitimate challenge to Stricker as the second best player in the world.
The Makings of a comeback:
When Ernie Els had tied for the lead after 15 holes, I was wondering why exactly he was ~160-1 by my 2 year numbers. The I realized exactly why.
Els needed to
a) Shoot a great round. Check.
b) have the leaders shoot poor rounds. Check. Sounds crazy but Goydos was only slightly below field average and Marino was above it, so when the course average 70.8 today, odds are one of them would have shot at least EVEN par.
c) make up a lot of ground on a lot of people. Coming from so far behind there is really a lot of strokes to make up on a lot of people. Tiger excluded, there just isn’t that great of a difference between the other big names and the more anonymous but still above average tour pros. Put it this way, Even someone like Heath Slocum would be a favorite over Ernie Els for one round if given 2 strokes.
Why I’m glad Steve Marino didn’t win
Aside from embarrassing himself on Sunday,
Number one on my list is Steve Marino, although after a successful Open Championship he is not as surprising anymore. Marino, I think is tailormade for Liberty National and TPC Boston and that’s where I think he will do some damage.
Steve Marino: My original logic was wait for next week when Marino will compete against a stronger field at a course that suits his game more. Actually that applies to Boston, too. Now that I think about it, I’ll probably be on Marino for the next three weeks assuming he doesn’t catch fire. The “Marino will have more value next week” line of thinking wasn’t enough for me to risk a breakthrough win here or pass a good bet, so: