Sixteen year old Lydia Ko won her first tournament as a pro this past weekend. Ko has potential to be the next great female player. Normally, I think a win by such a young player should be treated with some skepticism. Ko, however, is the real deal. She had previously won four professional tournaments as an amateur. That’s five professional wins by age sixteen, including two straight Canadian Women’s Open. Her best finish in a Major came last year with a second in the Evian.
Her ascent is unmatched, I am sure.
At the end of the spectrum is Angel Miguel Jimenez, who at 48 years 318 days became the oldest player to win on the European Tour. Jimenez’s win at the Hong Open also was his thirteenth win in his forties. The record that Jimenez broke was his own. He was 48 years and 318 days old when he won the 2012 Hong Kong Open.
Jimenez strikes me as the anti-Vijay. I can’t imagine that he continues to win by out-exercising and out-practicing his opposition.
Zach Johnson’s win this past weekend in a playoff over Tiger Woods gets him into the Top Ten in the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time. Jason Day was shoved out to #11.
Johnson’s victory at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge was remarkable. Tiger was up by four shots with eight holes to play. On the eighteenth hole, Johnson hit his eight iron into a hazard, then hole out on a chip after the drop. That forced a playoff. Johnson played the first hole even par, and Tiger missed a five footer to match.
That never would have happened with the Old Tiger. Eldrick is, however, not the Old Tiger—and hasn’t been since his mojo was broken by Y.E. Yang at the 2009 PGA Championship.
The Golf dot Com panel repeats what I’ve been saying for a couple of years about Tiger: his putting is letting him down. Old Tiger struck fear into the hearts of his opponents by getting the ball on the green anywhere with in twenty feet and then holing out double breakers. Now the rest of the Tour knows that Tiger may very well give it away on a five footer. He’s lost a bit of the psychological edge that he used to win all those Majors in such convincing fashion.
An interesting article from the BBC calls 2013 the year that got away from Tiger.
On a more personal level, I’m afraid that the golf offseason has officially come to Michigan. The thermometer was in single digits this morning, and the high today is supposed to be 18. That leaves me looking for ways to keep my game alive for the next ten to twelve weeks. On many days, I’ll putt on the carpet with a ball returner, swing a weighted club, or practice in the garage with a golf swing trainer, such as the Gold Flex to develop tempo and swing plane. Mostly, however, I read and dream.