Weirs short game was better than Mark Hensbys when it counted. Weirs off-season, replete with memories of a singles conquest in Montreal over Tiger Woods in the Presidents Cup and now the win at Frys, will be a sweet one.
Its been a long time coming, Weir said afterward.
And for Mark Hensby, its been a long time gone. His story is a very different one from Weirs. But it is one worth examination.
Of all the professional golfers Ive ever covered and written about, Mark Hensby is one of them.
And, yes, if you missed the nuance, its hard not to damn Hensby with faint praise.
And thats because this enigmatic and hardscrabble Aussie is so difficult to figure.
Stoic? Hensby repeated after finishing second and being asked about his demeanor. I have no idea what that means. Do you have a dictionary?
Is Hensby the sometimes brilliant player who fired a sizzling 61 at the Frys Friday in Arizona? Or is Hensby the bubblehead who forgot to file his application and missed the deadline for gaining entry into this years Q-school?
Was Hensby dead-on or a loose cannon two years ago when he slung mud at the figurative shrine of Greg Norman, the patriarch of modern Australian golf?
I cant see why Greg Norman isnt doing anything, Hensby said of the man voted Australias Golfer of the Century. To me, he should be doing a little bit more to make sure it (the Australasian PGA Tour) doesnt go downhill.
Among other Aussies, Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby'were quick to defend Norman against Hensbys attack. Allenby characterized Hensbys comments as pretty sad.
This is the same Hensby who regularly slept in a car in the parking lot one winter near Chicagos Cog Hill No. 4 so he could practice at that facilitys heated hitting bays when they opened.
There is no questioning Hensbys heart. And much of what rolls around inside his head is worth listening to if, for no other reason, than his voice is so ... well ... different.
Hensby arrived at Grayhawk Golf Club this week ranked No. 151 on the money list. By the time he made the turn Sunday, he held a share of the lead with Weir.
By the end of the day of the day he had earned $540,000 and secured his playing privileges for 2008. No Q-school necessary after all.
Almost forgotten now is the incident at Bay Hill two years ago when Hensby ran out of golf balls.
It was embarrassing, Hensby said at the time, after pumping the last Titleist in his bag out of play on the last hole of his first round. What was I going to do?
Because his caddie hadnt replenished his supply overnight when the first round bled into Friday because of a rain delay, he found himself out of ammo. And because the partners in his grouping used different golf balls than his, he couldnt borrow one.
The media treated his withdrawal as an amusing development. But privately, many of Hensbys fellow players considered his faux-pas to be inexcusable.
Meanwhile, Hensbys lone visit to Grayhawk before this week was to attend fellow Aussie Geoff Ogilvys wedding there. On Thursday, by his own account, he didnt hit a fairway until his 10th hole.
Going into this week Hensby was still looking for his first top 10 of the year and had seen his world ranking drop to No. 345. This from a player who had climbed into the top 30 in those rankings and won $2.7 million as recently as 2004 to finish No. 15 on the money list. The highlight was a victory at the John Deere Classic. In 2005 he played on the International side in the Presidents Cup.
Injuries slowed his progress after that and when he missed half the cuts of the events he entered last year he basically disappeared from most peoples golf radar screens.
To me it doesnt matter, Hensby said bravely Saturday when pressed about his Q-school blunder. If I play well, I dont have to worry about it. If I dont, Im not going to go to Q-School.
Sunday, Hensby played better than everybody except Weir. They will be dancing in the streets north of the border at golf courses all across Canada this week. But down under, its hard to know if many people took very much notice of the guy who came second and now safely ranks No. 99 on the U.S, money.
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