by Aaron "1-iron" Garry - 05/10/2005
Vijay Singh tops Jim Furyk and Sergio Garcia in a playoff at the Wachovia Classic in Charlotte, NC. In doing so, Garcia becomes only the fifth player in PGA Tour history to dismantle a six-shot lead heading into the final day, while Singh collects win No. 3 this year, in addition to $1 million in cash. If you rolled the dice with "1-iron" this week, you probably made a bit of dough to spend on your Mom. Vijay was my No. 3 pick this week, while Mickelson (No. 1 pick - T7), Woods (No. 2 - T11), and Furyk (No. 12 Pick - T2) rounded out the money-making selections from yours truly. If you didn't ride my coattails this week, maybe you had the wherewithal to take Giacomo as a 50-1 long shot between the twin spires in Louisville at the Derby.
If you didn't catch the coverage, Woods was two-stroked for his gallery moving and damaging a fence at the 10th hole, which turned his 69 into a 71 and effectively dropped him out of any sort of contention. Mickelson closed nicely with a 66, but managed to play the Par 3-17th in +7 for the week with another double bogey on Sunday. It was Garcia's tournament to lose, and Furyk and Singh simply caught him on Sunday. Garcia made some crazy decisions as he came down the stretch, but still managed to fire 72 while Furyk and Singh laid 66s out to pasture to force the playoff.
"1-iron" was very impressed with Quail Hollow CC and the Wachovia Classic. The CBS crew, a fantastic field, a great golf course, and golf-crazy galleries guarantee a fun weekend of golf. The Wachovia certainly did not disappoint.
The tour heads to Dallas for the Byron Nelson Classic, known in some hip-hop circles as the "By-Nizzle." Defending Champion Sergio Garcia will now have to fend off the demons in his head to have any chance at repeating. "1-iron" wonders where the "Wachovia Meltdown" leaves young Sergio. Is he young enough (25) to be able to shake this off and move on, or do we have another David Duval on our hands? Sergio keeps it pretty loose on the course, and seems to have a nice head on his shoulders - but the thing that has me believing he'll survive this is how he keeps a nice work-life balance. Golf is a big part of Sergio Garcia, but the broads, beers, and karaoke (See his performance of "Mustang Sally" at the Wachovia) are side passions that keep him happy and relaxed. With such a balance, "1-iron" believes Sergio will be back strong in the very near future.
Speaking of Karaoke, the Uptown Cafe in Dallas would be a great spot for Sergio to crank out another rendition of Mustang Sally. At about midnight each weekend, Wayne and Joel get the place rocking with karaoke favorites - so you never know what crazy Spaniard is liable to show up and croon.
As far as the rest of the Byron Nelson Classic - you could not ask for a better field. Not since Augusta have we seen a field this competitive. Retief and Ernie return from their US Tour sabbaticals, and we get a complete look at the entire Big 5. Last year, Garcia edged Robert Damron and Dudley Hart in a playoff with Tiger, Tim Herron, and Duffy Waldorf one shot out. The Byron Nelson Classic is played over two courses, and the scores should be reasonably low, as the Texas heat hasn't fully hit its stride yet. four of the Big five have won the Byron Nelson Classic in the past eight years (Goosen hasn't), so any of them are a good bet.
18 Shots for the Byron Nelson Classic
6 Who Will:
1. Tiger Woods (4/1): Bank on this one. T3 last year at the Byron Nelson Classic. T-11 last week at Wachovia and a win at the Masters. Everyone else plays for second this week.
2. Robert Damron (Field 5/1): 2001 Winner and 2004 Runner Up, the guy loves this tournament. Two Top 25s this year, his game is starting to come around.
3. Vijay Singh (6/1): Ho-hum, here he is again. three wins, zero missed cuts, $5 Million in earnings already this year. Whew. Go get 'em big Vij!
4. Phil Mickelson (8/1): If Lefty stays at the Four Seasons, he'll get into that monster breakfast buffet. That's worth 1-2 shots per round. Lefty won in 1996 and was runner-up in 2000. He's there this week.
5. Scott Verplank (30/1): T11 at Wachovia and six Top 25s this year. His game is rounding into form. 2001 Runner up at the Byron Nelson Classic.
6. Ernie Els (8/1): 1995 Byron Nelson Classic Champion and fresh off three Worldwide wins including two weeks ago at the Asian Masters in China. 67-62-68-65 as he dusted the Eurasian field in Shanghai.
6 Who Can:
7. Trevor Immelman (100/1): Sleeper pick but his 65 at Augusta got "1-iron" going.
8. Retief Goosen (14/1): No. 1 on the European Order of Merit and T3 at the Masters. The "Grey Goose" will either be too hungover to play or he'll set the field on fire.
9. Luke Donald (20/1): The English Lion finished T3 at the Masters and has seven top 25s this year. He's got the game to join the "Big 5" - all he needs now are the wins.
10. Mark Hensby (100/1): Up and down year, but T16 at Wachovia asks us to take a flyer on this feisty Australian.
11. Bob Estes (100/1): T17 at the Players Championship and 9/10 cuts made. He's another longshot, but he's a Texan playing not far from home.
12. Jim Furyk (18/1): T2 last week from the 12-spot on this list. Let's give him another run. The wrist is healed and his game has too.
6 Who Won't:
13. Heath Slocum (Field 5/1): Six missed cuts and nothing higher then T23 this year. Heathcliff Huxtable has a better shot at a win in the Byron Nelson Classic this week.
14. Stewart Cink (40/1): four Top 10s and hasn't missed a cut this year. "1-iron" doesn't like the three-week layoff. He'll be back but not this week.
15. Hal Sutton (Field 5/1): Here's his results this year: Cut, Cut, Cut, W/D, DNS. What other acronym can we chalk up for the Byron Nelson Classic? We'll fall back on CUT.
16. Duffy Waldorf (125/1): It's tempting to ride his T4 last year, but don't. Just because he Jackson Pollack's his golf balls doesn't make him a contender this week. Nothing higher then a T19 at FBR this year spells his destiny this week.
17. Nick Price (60/1): T7 last year and a T22 at Wachovia. However a final round 77 and a reduced schedule worry "1-iron."
18. Zach Johnson (75/1): 80-80 Cut at Wachovia. The wheels are officially lying on I-35 somewhere.