Backspin Natalie Finally Wins


Editor's Note: In Backspin, the editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T!: Natalie Gulbis was having her most trying year as a professional coming into the Evian Masters. An ongoing injury had limited the amount of events she had entered, as well as forcing her to withdraw from two of her last three tournaments. But time heals all wounds -- and so does winning. Gulbis earned her first-ever LPGA Tour title by defeating Jeong Jang on the first hole of sudden death.
BackspinThis win happily means the end of comparisons to Anna Kournikova - someone who is all style and no substance. This win will also help get some detractors off her back, and will give the LPGA Tour even more reason to use her as a promotional tool. And it certainly won't hurt her swimsuit calendar sales.
OH, CANADA: Jim Furyk became the first player since Jim Ferrier in 1951 to successfully defend his title in the Canadian Open. Furyk used a birdie-par-birdie-ACE start Sunday to propel himself to his first win of the season and the 13th of his PGA TOUR career.
BackspinFuryk received plenty of applause just for showing up to defend his title. And he received a nice big check ($900,000) and another trophy for doing so. This was a big victory for Furyk, who had four top-3s on the year - and no wins - entering this week's event. He puts himself in position to win so often that it can be very discouraging when he repeatedly doesn't get the job done. This time, however, he took care of business.
OH, MIKE: Mike Weir, Canadas favorite golfing son, tied for 34th in his National Open. Weir, who has never won the Canadian Open -- and never really had much success in it -- admitted to being disappointed in his performance, saying he 'expected more' this past week.
BackspinWeir missed a big opportunity to impress this week. Not just his home fans, but International Presidents Cup captain Gary Player. The Presidents Cup will be contested in Montreal in approximately two months, and Weir still resides outside the top 15, with the top 10 automatically qualifying. Some feel Weir deserves a free pass into this years competition, seeing that it is being held in his home country. Player, however, says hes not ready to punch that ticket.
NERVOUS VICTORY: Tom Watson Sunday added a third Sr. British Open title to his five Open titles on the regular tour. Watson won at Muirfield, site of his 1980 Open Championship victory, defeating Mark OMeara and Stewart Ginn by a single stroke.
BackspinIt shouldnt have been that close. Watson led by three playing the final hole, but made double-bogey after hitting driver into a pot bunker. Watson had two double-bogeys on the inward half, and had three in his back-nine meltdown at the U.S. Senior Open a month ago. At the British Open, Sergio Garcia whined about having to play against more than just the field. Wait until he has to battle the field, plus 57-year-old frayed nerves.
NICK'S BIG DEBUT: Nick Faldo made his Champions Tour debut at the Senior Open Championship. After a solid start on Thursday, Faldo faded, finishing in a tie for 14th. In a post-round interview with ABC Sports, he made it clear that this was not the beginning of a new competitive career.
BackspinMuirfield, the site of two of Faldo's three Open Championship wins, looked to be the perfect fit for his senior debut. His opening round 3-under 68 no doubt revived his competitive juices as he found himself tied for the lead. However, difficult, windy conditions stymied his game and showed the obvious rust that comes along with talking about golf and not playing it.
WIE A BIT WOBBLY - AGAIN: Michelle Wie opened in 73-71 and was just seven shots off the lead as the ladies went into weekend play at the Evian Masters. The good play was short-lived, though, as Wie went 16 over par on the final two days to finish third-to-last among those making the cut.
BackspinWie came to France hoping to possibly turn the corner on what has been an awful year thus far. Her second-round 71 marked the first time she had broken par since the final round of this event a year ago. She then followed that with yet another round in the 80s, replete with five bogeys and FOUR double bogeys. Undaunted, she will be back at it this week at the Ricoh Women's British Open.
BIG WIN, SMALLER STAGE: Andres Romero cruised to a three-shot victory at the Deutsche Bank Players' Championship of Europe. His win was set-up by a flawless third-round 63 that included five birdies and two eagles.
BackspinYou might remember Romero, the little-known Argentine who almost crashed the party at Carnoustie two weeks ago. Instead of letting his meltdown on the 17th hole that ultimately cost him the Open Championship get him down, the 25-year-old Romero bounced back in splendid fashion with his maiden European Tour title. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. And richer. He collected $810,000 for his triumph and a five-year tour exemption.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Hunter Mahan recorded three eagles in his first round at the Canadian Open, two of which were hole-outs from the fairway; Jeff Sluman was tabbed once again as vice-captain of the U.S. Presidents Cup team; Chris Thompson fired an opening-round 60 in the Nationwide Tour; Cory Whitsett won five consecutive holes en route to an 8-and-7 victory over Anthony Paolucci to win the U.S. Junior Amateur; On the girls' side, Kristen Park beat Ayaka Kaneko, 4 and 3, to become the fourth-youngest winner in the history of the U.S. Jr. Girls Amateur.
BackspinMahan became the first player to record three eagles in a round on the PGA TOUR in 2007 and the 21st player to accomplish the feat since 1980; This will be the third straight time Sluman will assist the Golden Bear at the biennial Presidents Cup; Unfortunately for Thompson, after flirting with a 59 Thursday, he shot a not-nearly-as-impressive, even-par 71 Friday and lost a lead he would never regain; Park was competing for the first time ever in a match-play format.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Canadian Open
  • Full Coverage - Evian Masters
  • Full Coverage - Senior Open Championship