Monday, February 8

Jimenez Outduels Westwood in the Desert

2010 Omega Dubai Desert Classic Recap
Winner: Miguel Angel Jimenez
Score: 11 under, 277 (70, 67, 68, 72)
Quote: “Like a good wine, with age, I get better and better.”
Fact: Favorite Cuban cigars are Partagas and Cohiba.
Thought: A good short game cures many ills.

I THOUGHT LEE WESTWOOD had it. I really did. Westwood birdied the final hole to tie Miguel Angel Jimenez and force a playoff at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. He then ripped a drive down the 18th fairway while the shorter-hitting Spaniard poked his tee ball into the rough and had to lay up on the par-5.

Jimenez barely cleared the water fronting the 18th green with his third, a wedge, while Westwood chipped on. Westwood misfired on his birdie and the crafty Spaniard got it up and down. The two men and their caddies hopped onto golf carts and rode back to the 18th tee for another go.

OK, I knew Jimenez would win. The Golf Channel had delayed coverage. I had already seen a tweet from an Aussie friend announcing the results. But I wanted to see how it happened.

It happened because Jimenez is a resourceful player with a clever short game, including a reliable putter. And because Westwood couldn’t birdie the reachable 18th hole on two consecutive tries in the playoff. The Englishman must be kicking himself.

On their second trip down 18, Jimenez again found himself in trouble, bunkered behind the green in three shots. He came out long and had to hole a medium-range putt to stay alive. The unflappable 46-year-old ran it in. On the third playoff hole, the long par-4 9th, both players missed the green. Westwood failed to get up and in for his par. Jimenez rapped home a four-footer for the win. Three playoff holes, three one-putts, one victory cigar.

“I have been coming to Dubai for many years and had a few chances to win and now I have it,” Jimenez said about his 16th European Tour title. He has won nine times since turning 40.

Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee finished alone in third, missing a short birdie putt on the final hole to miss the playoff by a shot.

Tour Notes

· Tom Watson finished in a tie for eighth at Dubai.
· PGA Tour: Steve Stricker won the Northern Trust Open.
· The PGA Tour heads to the Monterey Peninsula for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
· The LPGA Tour season begins in two weeks in Thailand.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: Perez/Flickr)


UKWendy said...

When Lee missed both his putts on the first two play-off holes, I just Miguel would win. What a cool final putt from him to do so.

Dubai Expat said...

It was such a shame that Westwood missed the putt on the 18th on the 4th round. He made such a good effort at it and came really close but Jimenez deserved it after that!