Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Is Trump International Puerto Rico challenging enough for the PGA Tour?

Golf fans are creatures of habit and are therefore are used to watching a regulation four rounds of tournament golf on the usual Thursday through Sunday without interruption. When that schedule goes awry, viewers tend to scatter and abandon their proclivities for other more regularly scheduled programming.

So went the tale of the 2010 Puerto Rico Open. Weather delays forced fans who normally would have been swept up by the drama of "must see" golf television to comfortably burrow into their strato-loungers and follow the WGC-CA Championships where Ernie Els did not disappoint.

As golf writers desperately searched for inspiring stories by following veteran John Daly (T24), one overlooked yet newsworthy rookie, Derek Lamely, was surging up the leaderboard.

Although Lamely won on the Nationwide Tour in 2009, his name is not yet synonymous with the big draws because it takes time and many attempts to get noticed and some positive press. Although he m/c'd his last three out of four events Derek has made four out of eight cuts on the PGA Tour this season.

Even more impressive, looking at Tour stats, Derek not only turned in the second lowest final 36 holes on the PGA Tour this year with a 15-under 129 but fired a course record 9-under 63 in the third round. His 19-under 269 total is a tournament record. Last year Derek finished tied for thirteenth after entering the event as a Monday qualifier.

Derek Lamely made Trump International golf course look easy!

Congratulations to Derek Lamely on his breakthrough win! With his full exemption on the PGA Tour through the 2012 season, does he now have enough confidence to take on Tiger Woods?

As Derek Lamely admitted after his win, "I'm still a rookie out here, even though I just won."

2010 Puerto Rico OpenIn spite of rainy conditions at the 2010 Puerto Rico Open an estimated 30,000 people attended the event at Trump International Golf Club. Barry and I spent much of our time tweeting and taking pictures from the Banco Popular and Puerto Rico Tourism skyboxes, as well as from areas around the 14th and 18th holes.

2010 Puerto Rico Open

More images of the 2010 Puerto Rico Open at Trump International Golf Club can be seen on our Flickr page.

Golf for Beginners would like to thank Puerto Rico Tourism as well as Banco Popular for their hospitality during this exciting PGA Tour event week.


Jochi said...

Good recap. But did no quite get the answer to the question that was posed by the title. After seeing the action out there and looking at the scores. Circumstances and results leave no doubt it was challenging enough. That is, despite aprox 12 inches of rain that week. (Has anyone looked if this was a record at a PGA Tour stop?) I believe it was amazing that the tournament rounds were completed. I was not most of the time in the skyboxes, slurping the coladas of the Tourism Co. but rather at different spot following the action. They had a much better field of players at the PR Open this year, and the competition was fierce. So definitely this was a competitive course. Even the weather conditions varied from the deluges at the beginning of the week, to windy conditions, to the calm and humid conditions of Sunday (not felt in the air conditioned skyboxes), and splendid extended play on Monday. All around, despite tough circumstances the course played
better or, at least as well, as the PGA could expect under the circumstances. I bet with such varied weather and a better field of players each year, it will prove to be quite challeging in the future as well.

Anonymous said...

The title was meant to be rhetorical, I think, based upon following the tournament, the golfers in the mix, Doral as a stop during the same week and the eventual winner.

I think this is a tough course because the PGA Tour doesn't pick just any golf course when it decides on a stop.

Conditions made it even more challenging but, that being said, I think that the PGA Tour utilized two tour events, one at Doral and one at Trump.

Why didn't the top seed of PGA Tour players golf at Trump while the "B" level play at Doral?

Stacy Solomon said...

Considering Derek Lamely fired a course record (he's just a rookie) and there plenty of mid-level golfers making scores, I would consider the question answered but I leave it up to the reader to add comments.

The challenge of any golf course lies in making par.

If it is an easier course, it should then follow that golfers should score better. Add to that fact rainy conditions and it seems to me that it should be harder to score.

Jochi said...

Considering that they had over 12 inches of rain, the PGA Tour, as in any other tourney, will adjust rules and flag placements accordingly to make the experience of playing the tournament and scoring not be an unsurmountable. That is one possible reason for the lower scores.

I agree this is a new tournament that deserves to vie for the top players in the future without sharing the limelight with Doral.