28 May 2012
Only Ben Hogan has accomplished the feat of winning both the Byron Nelson and the Colonial, Texas’ two top events, in the same year. Jason Dufner, who idolized Hogan and patterned his swing after Hogan’s, nearly became the 2nd. Going head to head with Zach Johnson throughout the weekend, in what turned out to be a two man battle to the wire, perhaps it was only the fatigue of a straight month at the top that kept Jason out of the winners circle.
A BIG CONGRATS TO ZACH JOHNSON on his first victory following a long dry spell. It was really good to see this great guy and dad, back on top of his game. On the 14th hole on Sunday, Zach pulled off a fairway bunker shot to a water guarded green while Jason, from a far better lie on the same hole, came up just short and wet! And that was the defining difference in this head-to-head duel.
This battle was great theater. We wondered who would flinch first. And even after Jason dunked that shot on 14, he battled back to within just a short putt from a tie, when Zach, in the excitement of the moment forgot to remark his ball on the 18th green, thus incurring a two stroke penalty.
Normally, it is proper etiquette when a player asks you to move your ball mark for that same player to remind you to move it back. Gentleman that he is, I’m sure Jason, disappointed in coming up short on just a couple of shots, felt badly about not reminding Zach! And I’m sure Zach’s caddie, caught up in the moment of a victory dedicated to his father who had just passed, felt bad as well. And I’m sure that Zach, caught up in the moment of his first victory in 2 years, felt negligent, if not stupid, for not remembering to remark his ball.
But all is well that end’s well. No harm – no foul! Thank goodness the 2 stroke penalty Zach incurred, still left him with a one shot margin of victory. I don’t know how either player would have collected himself if they’d had to go into a playoff.
Our CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR AWARD this week goes to Jason Dufner who very nearly had his name placed in the history books next to that of his idol – Ben Hogan! Had he pulled off the feat of winning the Byron Nelson and the Colonial back-to-back, Feinstein would be writing a book about the similarities of their struggles to get to the top!
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