Week in Review
Luke Donald wins on command at Disney to take the PGA Tour's money title and probably wrap up its player of the year award in the process
If the recipe for winning calls for Tabasco, as the noted iron chef Johnny Miller suggested earlier this year, Luke Donald applied it liberally on Sunday.
He turned up the heat at the most propitious time, on the back nine of his quest to punctuate his greatest season with a money title and came away with a victory and probably PGA Tour player-of-the-year honors as well.
Donald won the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, the tour's season finale, on the strength of six straight birdies to open the back nine.
"Fortunately, I timed it pretty well to go on that run when everything was on the line," Donald said. "This was a tremendous year for me. I think I answered a lot of critics' questions, to come in here knowing I have to win and coming up with the goods when I needed to."
The principal question for the No. 1 player in the World Ranking had been this: Why don't you win more? Johnny Miller asked it several times this year, beginning in February.
"He hasn't been real good in his career at winning tournaments," Miller said. "This is his 200th PGA Tour start with two wins...There is a recipe for winning and some guys never quite find it. They leave out the Tabasco or something."
His victory was only his first at stroke play in more than five years on the PGA Tour. But he won twice this year (the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship was the other) in the U.S. and twice on the European Tour, and is a good bet to become the first to lead both tours in earnings in the same year.
More impressively, he won on demand, a rare accomplishment in a game that saddles even the best players with considerably more losses than victories. Donald was playing this tournament only in pursuit of the money title and needed no worse than a runner-up finish, and probably a victory, to overtake Simpson.
That he did so emphatically underscores the fact that his results have finally aligned with his skills.
YANI TSENG, HO HUM
Another week, another victory for Yani Tseng, this one by five shots in her native Taiwan, at the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship 2011. It was her seventh victory on the LPGA and 10th overall this year.
"I wish this year would never end," Tseng said. No kidding. That said, the year will end -- the LPGA has two more tournaments -- but her reign is likely to continue unabated for years to come. She's only 22.
CLASH OF THE EGO?
The first thing to remember in the wake of Rory McIlroy's decision to end his association with agent Chubby Chandler is that there is no team in I.
Remember Team Tiger? It was a fallacy. When caddie Mike (Fluff) Cowan seemed to be garnering too much attention and enjoying it, he was gone. Agent Hughes Norton? Sports psychologist Jay Brunza? Instructor Butch Harmon? Gone, gone and gone.
We don't know the genesis of McIlroy's decision, but it's not a stretch to conclude that ego was a participant in it. Chandler's oversized personality in concert with the success of his clients elevated him to celebrity (recall talk of the "Chubby slam" when his clients, including McIlroy at the U.S. Open, won the first three legs of the Grand Slam). Maybe McIlroy chose to disassociate himself from Team Chandler.
The media loves a feud, meanwhile, which explains why this received so much attention last week. But does it matter who his agent is? It doesn't take a salesman to sell Rory McIlroy. He sells himself. Ego is simply part of the package.
WELCOME BACK, SERGIO
Sergio Garcia, ever the enigma, won the Castello Masters by 11 strokes, playing the last three rounds in 63, 64 and 63. It was his first victory in two years and came on the one-year anniversary of the two-month hiatus he took last year in an effort to resuscitate his flagging desire and interest.
It was a remarkable display of precision golf that won't necessarily solve the riddle of Sergio. It serves only as a reminder of what might have been over the last decade had he fulfilled the role of foil for Tiger.
IT'S A WRAP
The PGA Tour season concluded with the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, which produced its usual assortment of successes and failures, a few of which are noted here: