Oh man, Texas?! The Florida swing turned out to be pretty swell, even sans Tiger and with Rory just kind of puttering along. But now we gotta spend two weeks in … Texas? The Florida swing is when the Masters buildup reaches a fever pitch. Just when we’re all excited about Augusta, we have to suffer through two tournaments on ho-hum courses with so-so fields. The schedule maker isn’t just cruel, he’s the Marquis de Sod.
1. Matt Every. This character might be my new favorite player: funny, honest and, oh yeah, clutch.
2. Hyo Joo Kim. It’s a big deal to win your second LPGA event at 19. To do it at one of the tour’s marquee stops by outgunning Stacy Lewis in a Sunday shootout? Macho.
3. Daniel Berger. Meister Berger, a 21-year-old by way of Florida State, is having a heckuva rookie year, with Bay Hill being his fifth finish of 13th or better since the start of the year.
4. Marco Dawson. Winless in 421 starts on the PGA Tour, this ultimate journeyman won his first senior tour title in Tucson. The Champions Tour remains sport’s ultimate mulligan.
5. PGA Tour stuffed shirts. It’s been 22 years since the last slow-play penalty on Tour, but the army of overpaid vice presidents in Ponte Vedra Beach are taking on the really important issues: the color of caddie shorts. It’s good to know the stewards of our game have their priorities straight!
1. Henrik Stenson. When he’s playing well, he makes the game look so easy it’s a joke. But for all of his success, the Stense remains very fragile emotionally, and his self-immolation on the closing holes at Bay Hill was graphic evidence of how quickly it can get away from him.
2. Harris English. For months he’s been on the verge of playing his way into the Masters field but can’t quite get it done. Bay Hill was the latest slippage as a weekend 72-75 sent English tumbling down the leaderboard. It won’t be easy to be the only Georgia Bulldog on the outside looking in at Augusta.
3. Brooks Koepka. Everyone’s favorite Masters dark horse WD’d from Bay Hill with a rib injury. Hopefully he won’t drive down Magnolia Lane on Jesper Parnevik’s Segway.
4. Parnevik. His senior tour debut was heavily hyped, but he finished a mere 42nd, which is more or less where he’s finished every tournament for the last decade on the PGA Tour. Then again, how can you not root for a guy who named his daughter Pebble Beach?
5. The “double eagle.” This nonsensical term appears to be on its way out after not one but two albatrosses were recorded at Bay Hill. However, as soon as someone makes a 1 on a par 5 we’ll be happy to reinstate it.