Luke Donald's match play performance astounds the more you read about it and consider that people actually think this is a format that rarely identifies a worthy champion.
Donald played 89 holes during his six matches this week. He never trailed at any time. He never had to play the 18th hole -- and he only had to play the 17th once. He produced 32 birdies, seven more than anybody else. He was rarely threatened. He rarely faced moments of true adversity.
Steve DiMeglio notes that it was the fewest number of holes a champion has had to play in the event and shares this from Donald:
"It's been a long time since I've won in the U.S. To beat the top 63 players in the world is very gratifying," Donald said. "It's been an amazing week. I had a lot of good things happen, made a bunch of birdies, never trailed. Kind of one of those weeks where a lot of things went my way."
The way Donald performed at the year’s first World Golf Championship, he could have collected two Tour titles. For the week he birdied 32 of 89 holes, hit 74 percent of his greens in regulation, 66 percent of his fairways and one-putted a staggering 46 times. By any measure, a commanding performance.
Hoggard also reports on the morning snowfall tally: one inch.
The snow had melted when they teed off, although dark clouds on the horizon loomed. Sleet began falling when the championship match reached the third green, and play was stopped when sleet covered the fourth fairway.
"Do we have to keep playing?" Kaymer asked chief referee Mark Russell.
Kaymer, who purchased a snood to wear around his neck, pulled it up over his mouth and looked like a real Western gunslinger (except for the pattern of flies on fish hooks). Donald took out his blue-and-white umbrella and crouched beneath it.
After about 10 minutes, when the fairways turned from white back to green, play resumed.
Rich Lerner says it's not just about Donald, but all of Europe's last year:
Let’s review the staggering 12-month European run: Ian Poulter defeats Paul Casey in an all-England final at last year’s Accenture Match Play; Graeme McDowell wins the U.S. Open; Kaymer the PGA Championship; Europe wins the Ryder Cup; Lee Westwood ascends to No. 1; and again, at this year’s Match Play, we get another all-European final with Donald and Kaymer, with Kaymer becoming the new No. 1, and with three Euros taking up the next three world ranking spots. Thorough.
Paul Mahoney shared this first tee humor from the Commish:
PGA Tour chief Tim Finchem was waiting to greet the European finalists on the first tee. He did his best to put on a brave face. "If only I had a nickel for everyone that googled 'snood'," Finchem whispered in reference to Kaymer's fly-fishing scarf.
Shipnuck: So much happens during Match Play week that it's tough to recall some of the fun stuff. What's your favorite moment of the week? I'll go with Paul Casey's stink-eye to Jason Day when forced to putt-out an 18-inch putt. Second choice is watching Fowler give Phil the back of the hairbrush. Too bad Rickie lost the next day — that coulda been a defining performance.
Lipsey: Tiger's drive into the abyss on the first extra hole against Bjorn and his shockingly wobbly post-match interview.
Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: I vote for Mark Wilson's rally from two down with three to play to beat Dustin Johnson. Also, it was nice to see Y.E. Yang show signs of life.
Herre: I was talking about this with Gary — whose Match Play story will appear in this week's first-ever PGA Tour Confidential standalone issue of SIGOLF+ — earlier today: Once you get to Saturday's telecast, the Match Play showcases one thing magnificently, and that's how SLOW some of these guys play. Geesh, hit the ball already!