The Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship has been around since 2001 but many people that love golf don’t know about it. The video below is a nice overview of the championship.
I learned about it because I follow Paige MacKenzie on Twitter and Paige is the captain of the 2013 United States team. Paige is also a former Spirit International competitor. I watched the last hour of coverage on Thursday and Friday online and really enjoyed it. I wish I could have seen more but it is impossible to watch this type of event during a work week. You can watch it Saturday (November 2, 2013) via the live webcast at the Spirit International Website.
There are only four players for each country (20 Countries represented by 2 men and 2 women). It may be a small field but the golfers are some of the best young players in the world and it is a nice preview of what we can expect to see in the coming years on the professional tours. Past Spirit International competitors include US stars like Brandt Snedeker and Paula Creamer; as well as international stars such as Jason Day, Charl Schwatzel, Lorena Ochoa, and Ya-Ni Tseng. As they say, the list goes on and on.
The format is interesting because they have multiple competitions which include:
International Team- combined best ball of the men’s team and women’s team.
Men’s Team- Best ball of two players (four ball stroke play)
Women’s Team- Best ball of two players (four ball stroke play)
Men’s Individual- Most holes under par.
Women’s Individual- Most holes under par.
So you can cheer for your favorite country, men’s team, women’s team, and individuals. I want the United States and Canada to do well because I have lived in the United States most of my life and feel an allegiance to the US; but I was born in Canada and I have a soft spot for athletes from Canada. I hope that Brooke Henderson (a young Canadian golfer whose career I follow) does well. I am happy to report that as of the end of the second round Brooke is in first place for the Women’s Individual competition.
The United States is leading the overall competition. Check out the Leaderboard to see the other country standings. And if you can’t watch the live webcast then the next best thing is following the championship updates on twitter @thespiritgolf.
UPDATE (November 3 2013) – USA wins overall and Brooke Henderson wins Women’s Championship. See all results at the Spirit Website.
The Transitions Championship ended with a sudden-death playoff which was won by Luke Donald. The big payoff for Donald was returning to the #1 position in the world golf ranks. Rory McIlroy sure had a short run at #1 but I’m sure he will be in that position again. Actually, I think the world number one position will change hands quite a few times this year. There are just too many outstanding players within reach of number one.
My picks did not do well this week. Here are the results:
(1) Charl Schwartzel — Schwartzel missed the cut. I can’t believe he played so poorly (shot a 76 on the Thursday and 73 on Friday) Just goes to show how difficult it is to maintain a consistent level of golf week after week.
(2) John Senden — Senden finished tied for 38th. He had a great first round score of 66 but then shot 70,70, and 73. You can’t shoot three rounds in the 70’s and be in contention.
(3) Padraig Harrington — On Thursday, as bad as Schwartzel played, I was thrilled with Patty’s play. Harrington shot a 61 (10 under par). He shot a new course record! Then day two came and the “luck of the Irish” left him — he shot a 73. When all was said and done on Sunday, Harrington was tied for 20th.
(4) J. J. Henry — My “what the heck pick this week.” I had hoped for a top 20 finish (because Henry tied for 20th at the Transitions Championship last year); but no such luck. Henry finished with an overall score of 285 (Tied 66th).
So one common theme for all my guys — they all had one round when they shot a 73. Not a good thing to have in common.
Here we go with the third tournament in the “Florida leg” of the PGA Tour. The Transitions Championship is being played at Innisbrook Resort – Copperhead · Palm Harbor, Florida. It is a PAR 71 course and looks more like a course in North Carolina than Florida.
Here are my picks for this week:
(1) Charl Schwartzel — Schwartzel is from South Africa and won the Masters last year. He tied for 4th last week at the Cadillac and tied for 5th at the Honda Classic. I’m hoping he will have a good week and win the Transitions Championship.
(2) John Senden — Senden is from Australia and also playing well this year. In the five events he has played, he has 3 top 10 finishes (including a tie for 6th place last week).
(3) Padraig Harrington — I have been a fan of Harrington for years and I’m hoping that picking a player from Ireland is a good strategy; after all, Saturday is St. Patty’s day! Yes, I would have picked Rory McIlroy but he is taking the next three weeks off to get his “rest” before the Masters.
(4) J. J. Henry — My “what the heck pick this week.” Henry has not played well this year but last year he tied for 20th at the Transitions Championship. I am hoping for another top 20 position this year.