Heroes & Zeros: Northern Trust Open

February 24, 2015
Lydia Ko.jpg

Each week, Sports Illustrated senior writer Alan Shipnuck riffs on the top headlines in golf. Last week was a treat for the DVR-savvy golf fan, and this week is packed with an excess of starpower with Rorymania in Florida and Michelle Wie & Friends in Thailand. There’s even the new European Ryder Cup captain pegging it in South Africa, if you’re into that sort of thing. That’s the great thing about the moveable feast that is pro golf: every week brings something different to savor.


1. Lydia Ko. People, there is a once-in-a-lifetime talent in our midst. Plenty of room left on the bandwagon.

2. The Honda. OK, you can now officially get excited about the Masters. A big field has convened to kick off the Florida swing and the frenzied run-up to Augusta. Here’s Jooohnnny!

3. Riv. This classic course looks great in any conditions but it was particularly fascinating as a firm, fast, fiery test. It was utterly fitting that when sudden death reached the 10th hole the action suddenly resembled chess as much as golf.

4. James Hahn. Forget the goofy dance, this guy can play, and what a breath of fresh air he is. Here’s hoping he’s not a one-hit wonder like, well, that guy Psy.

5. Dustin Johnson. Yes, he made a ghastly bogey on the par-5 71st hole and then missed two ensuing do-or-die putts, but overall his game looks sharp after a long time away. Of course, DJ has teased us plenty of times in the past — where he goes from here is one of the more intriguing questions in golf.  


1. Retief Goosen. He looked like the Goose of old … the final round of the 2005 U.S. Open, to be exact.

2. Tiger. No Honda, no Doral, no bueno.

3. Sergio. He gave away the tournament by playing the final six holes in three over par. The sad thing is that absolutely no one was surprised to see it happen.

4. Back9Network. 24 hours of golf a day without actual golf? It’s not a surprise this fanciful idea failed, only that it took so long.

5. Jordan Spieth. Three top-10s in four starts is a tidy way to begin the year but this kid still needs to become a more proficient closer. Bogeying the 72nd hole to miss a playoff by one stroke is not exactly a step in the right direction.

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