The Florida Swing, spring training and the run-up to the Masters all begin this week which means the West Coast Swing must be over. On the redeye home from Arizona we combed the notebook for highlights from the Left Coast.
-Like clockwork a rookie always emerges from the “Swing,” but Jhonattan Vegas was something special. A week after winning the Bob Hope Classic Vegas took his title chances to the final hole at Torrey Pines. Even after dumping his second shot in Devlin’s Billabong the Venezuela native was beaming, “It was a great day.”
-Torrey Pines is among the top 5 walks on Tour and this year only reinforced that truth. Players may not love the South Course but the seaside muni is a great spot to kill a few days between Hawaii and Los Angeles.
-An interview with Ryan Moore that started, “Ryan, can I ask you a quick question?” The reply: “Let me ask you a quick question?” Tough crowd.
-A breakthrough, and breakdown, for Bubba Watson at Torrey Pines. On another note, the $490K he pocketed for making it to Sunday’s consolation match at the Match Play could almost pay for the watch a sponsor gave him valued at $575K.
-Phil Mickelson is now 0-for-the West Coast since the 2009 Northern Trust Open. We remember the days when Lefty carved out a Hall of Fame career solely on the Left Coast (17 of 38 Tour titles have come out West).
-Three years ago Torrey Pines week caddie-yard legend Steve Duplantis wondered into traffic and was hit by a taxi and killed. We stopped at the spot where it happened late one night. Still very sad.
-The chance I drove to the top of Dove Mountain for the last time. Tour officials are quiet about the future home of the WGC-Accenture Match Play, and Tucson still seems to be the leader in the clubhouse, but between Dove Mountain’s remote location – 20 minutes from the middle of nowhere – and the desert, everything hurts you in the desert, there’s a chance . . .
-A frenzied Match Play Wednesday begat a quiet weekend. No disrespect to winner Luke Donald or runner-up Martin Kaymer it’s just the nature of match play. Maybe once a year is plenty.