Golf News Summary and Commentary - January 26, 2015

With a final round 67, Bill Haas won the Humana Challenge by one stroke over Matt Kuchar (67), Charley Hoffman (64), Brendan Steele (64), Steve Wheatcroft (67) and South Korean Park Sung Joon (65). Kuchar has a chance to force a playoff on the 72nd hole with a 10 foot putt for birdie, but it just missed.

This is Bill Haas’ sixth Tour win, and his second at the Humana. Given that, I don’t know why Haas isn’t included in more conversations about golf’s best players. Haas was sidelined much of 2014 with a wrist injury, but this win seems to signal that he’s back.

Miguel Angel Jimenez won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai with birdies on six of the final nine holes. It is his second Champions Tour victory in less than a year.

Given that the Mechanic is still competitive on the European Tour—Jimenez won the Spanish Open last year and the Hong Kong Open in 2013—it’s not surprising. And it points out an interesting (but not unexpected)  aspect of the Champions Tour—that players tend to “graduate” from the regular Tour, quickly become successful, then nearly just as rapidly, fade from contention.  At age 50, competitive players like Jimenez thrive against players in their late fifties and older. The success lasts until they are themselves in their late fifties and a new crop of fifty-year-olds now dominate. The major exception to this has been Bernard Langer, who at 57 still seems as competitive as ever.

I think the trend will only become more pronounced in the future, as a generation of fit, athletically powerful players transition to take advantage of the relatively easier pickings on the Champions Tour.

Meanwhile the Robert Allenby kidnapping saga continues to unravel. I nearly posted a piece here on GolfBlogger just after the story first broke expressing my doubts. I thought it sounded like a bizarre cover story for something else less nefarious, but perhaps more embarrassing. Then after writing the piece, I deleted it. I wanted to give Allenby the benefit of the doubt.

Finally, during the Humana broadcast, I was interested in President Clinton’s take on golf as a Presidential pursuit. In reply to an oblique question about Obama’s golf habit, Clinton argued that “golf is about the best therapy a president can have.” He noted that being on the course for four hours or soallows you to take your mind completely off your troubles. If you don’t, he said, you won’t play very well. Still, he conceded, he often couldn’t clear his mind until he was five or so holes in.

To that, I’d add that golf is a great therapy for anyone. I find that the course is the only place in the world where no one wants anything from me.

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