Monday, 25 August 2008

The Barclays Play-off


Garcia and Singh again smack perfect drives off the 18th tee, both looking supremely confident. Sutherland repeated his wayward drive though this time, 50 yards short of the other two and even further right. He cracked his second with a four iron to an almost identical position as he’d had in his 72nd hole. Could he repeat his miracle pitch. Garcia drifted left but on the green with a powerful nine iron, Vijay found the heart of the green but both had about 26 feet. Sutherland had a much harder lie this time around though, and found the fringe and is out of the equation now.

Sergio putts first after long deliberations as to who was further away, finally settled by a dude in a green shirt in a tower who does the distances for the PGA Tour Website pointing at Garcia. It’s almost the same as the putt Paul Casey had on 18, the only one that we’d seen holed of any distance all day and the result is exactly the same. He’s blowing kisses to Faldo in the commentary box, sending him into a fit of blushes. The pressure is piled on Vijay but he’s a real big time player- No Ben Curtis. He steps up to the plate and drains what is a remarkably straight 26 footer, dying into the hole. Only six birdies on 18 all day, and two huge ones come along at once.


Off to the 17th then. Sergio doesn’t manage to repeat his amazing drive on this hole an hour before, only a foot or so inside the hazard line, Vijay whacks a beauty, straight down the middle as they say. Garcia needs a low hooky running shot to get near the green but it doesn’t hook at all. He pushes it way right and it finishes dead behind a huge tree.

Vijay hits another fantastic second shot, though from his reaction you could never tell as he claps his hand on top of his head. He maybe just doesn’t believe how sweet he’s hit it. He’s 20 feet away again for eagle.

There’s a bit of consternation as to the ground around where Garcia’s ball landed, it’s adjudged to be abnormal ground – some mole burrows there or something. No one can work it out but the chief official is convinced it's not right. He gets a drop off to the right of the tree and he now has a shot at the green. He chases it out and is just short of the green in three. He’ll need to hole his chip if this is going to a third hole. The chip is good but it stays above ground, rolling by on the left edge. Vijay has two from 20 feet to win and nudges it again to two inches, just as he did in regulation play and he’s won The Barclays. Not only that but he’s sitting pretty at the top of the Fedex Cup standings. Vijay is certainly back on form after a year of so so results by his high standards. He’ll be a tough man to catch now as the play-off go on.

And it’s more heartache for Sergio, already the bridesmaid at the USPGA a few weeks ago, it seems he's never the bride.

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