Edition 1496
13 October 2018
Edition: 1496

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Missing at Wentworth

by Neil Connolly, in Sport · 31-05-2018 14:19:00 · 0 Comments

When watching this week’s events both Stateside and Domestic, it could be said or asked why the flagship of the European Tour’s season had so many European ‘star’ players missing.

Missing at Wentworth

But then when you actually analysed the field it became apparent that wasn’t the case. There were only a couple of ‘Major’ players missing. These most notably being Sergio, Stenson, Rose, and Rahm. Rory was present, Fleetwood present as well as Casey. The former and the latter both crossing the Atlantic for the event.
Maybe it was because we are so used to seeing Rory compete against the big names that when he was leading at the halfway stage, by four shots, it looked like the field were going to have to resign themselves to a battle for second place. Surely Fleetwood and Horsfield were not box office enough to give Rory a run for his money? Then Rory stumbled, letting the rest of the field catch up over the weekend, letting some players who could play 72 holes catch him and pass him.
The most memorable quote, for me, from the television coverage was on the ninth green, when he missed a putt from eight foot for birdie; he spun the putter in the air, one of those 360 degree spins, where the putter grip is caught after one revolution. Quite a slick manoeuvre, showing the onlookers that he may have missed the putt, but he still has a lot of coordination present. Yet he totally missed the putter on its return circle to the hand, leaving it to bounce around on the green. This giving Richard Boxall the opportunity to dryly observe, “he is missing everything today.”
Where Rory had compiled an impressive total of 12 under after two rounds, Molinari was five behind heading into the weekend. A 66 to Rory’s 71 put them on level terms going into the final round. Molinari showing that Saturday really is moving day.
Waking up on Sunday most people would have thought that McIlroy had posted his bad round for the week (if only one under par was our bad round!) so he would come out fighting with a sub seventy and put the rest of the field to the sword. Nope, didn’t happen. Molinari played a faultless, much like his swing, first twelve holes in four under with Rory treading water on level par, four shots behind with six holes to play. Too big a lead for the Northern Irishman to overcome, leaving him in a lacklustre second spot.
Other notable performances were hard to spot; Alex Noren showing again that Wentworth is his kind of track, but apart from that the big names didn’t really contend in a way which gave the event its elevated status.
Which leads us to the other side of the pond where Justin Rose showed once again why he is one of the hottest players on the planet. Having to play in the Colonial, due to a quirky PGA Tour rule change, where if you have not played in 25 qualifying events during the preceding year, you have to play in an event which you haven’t played in over the past four years. Due to his diary commitments, this lead him to having to choose between playing in the Colonial and missing BMW or withdrawing from the Scottish Open and playing in the John Deere Classic. The latter being more troublesome for a player based in Florida and ranked in the top 50 in the world. So he chose to leave Wentworth out of his schedule and put the Gullane Scottish Open in, leaving him two weeks on the East Coast of Scotland.
In hindsight it looks like he made a good choice. Thomas Bjorn probably would have liked to have seen Rose striding around the West Course, but now he is Ranked number 3 in the World behind Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas. One would think that he will be certainly eating croissants at the end of September.
Rahm, Sergio and Stenson must have had their reasons for a week off. It is the Memorial at Muirfield Village next week. I just remember a time when Wentworth’s PGA Championship had more pull.

 

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Edition 1496
13 October 2018
Edition: 1496

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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