Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition, our writers weigh in on Jimmy Walker's "business trip" to Hawaii, Matt Fitzpatrick’s surprising decision and another big week for the LPGA.
I ran into Erin Walker – wife of Jimmy – outside the scoring trailer after the final round at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. When I asked how her week had been, I expected a few tales of Kapalua's beautiful scenery during a relaxing vacation.
Instead, she lamented her husband's close calls on the greens and left me with a tip: He really likes playing Waialae, which is better suited to his game.
This shouldn't come as a surprise, but she knows her stuff. The Walker family traveled to the Aloha State not for fun in the sun, but on a business trip. Jimmy's victory at Waialae proved that's the right attitude to have. – Jason Sobel
Stereotypes just don’t work in golf. Waialae Country Club, dubbed for years as a short-hitter’s ballpark that caters to the fairway-and-greens set, featured an eclectic leaderboard on Sunday that included winner Jimmy Walker and Harris English, who ranked inside the top 35 in driving distance last year on the PGA Tour, alongside Jerry Kelly and Marc Leishman, who ranked outside the top 100 in driving.
Conversely, last week at Kapalua, widely shoehorned as a big-hitter’s paradise, the winner Zach Johnson came in at a diminutive 153rd in driving distance last year. The only absolutes in golf are that the best player normally takes the hardware, regardless of the stereotypes. – Rex Hoggard
U.S. Amateur champion Matt Fitzpatrick’s decision to leave Northwestern after just one semester on campus still leaves this scribe unsettled.
Maybe college golf wasn’t for him. Maybe the school's rigorous workload was too much to handle. Maybe he hated the winter cold. Maybe he sincerely felt that he was better off committing himself full-time to amateur golf, even if both he and his family extolled the values of a quality education in case, you know, golf didn’t pan out.
Whatever the case, it’ll be worth monitoring when the world’s No. 1-ranked amateur plays, and where he plays, and how he plays. It’d be a shame if such a precocious talent became yet another cautionary tale. – Ryan Lavner
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan has done a nice job collecting pearls in the rebuilding of the tour, collecting shiny new tournaments and corporate sponsors with some staying power.
Now, with this week’s announcement of the Race to the CME Globe, he has a nice thread to tie all those pearls together. The race connects all the tour’s events in a more meaningful way than the CME Group Titleholders could.
The LPGA is a more interesting tour with the Race to the CME Globe, even if we have to endure the continuing scourge of points in golf. The race will be measured through points won in events. Points are so counterintuitive to golf. Whenever points are used to measure performance in this sport, there’s confusion and controversy.
Whether it’s world-ranking points or FedEx Cup points, there’s usually a lot of head scratching figuring out who has to do what to win, or to move up.
Money and strokes are the purer ways to measure performances in golf, but they’re harder to manipulate for resets and races. For better or worse, points are apparently here to stay in golf. We'll just have to get used to it. – Randall Mell