THE USPGA Tour got back to business last week with a dramatic conclusion to the Sentry tournament in Hawaii on Sunday.
Two-time major winner Colin Morikawa headed into the final day as 1/6 favourite carrying a six-shot lead.
He moved eight shots off John Rahm when the Spaniard bogeyed the first hole. So who won the tournament? Rahm, by two shots.
He made eight birdies from the second hole to the 14th and then caught Morikawa with an eagle at the 15th. That is some golf.
Morikawa began to duff and thin chips and made three bogeys in a row. A birdie on 18 wasn’t enough to close down Rahm, who has now won three of his last five tournaments, including the Spanish Open and the DP World Tour Championship. He is 9/1 to top the FedEx Cup standings at the end of the year (Rory is 7/1 to retain that title).
The PGA action stays in Hawaii this weekend, but neither Rahm, Morikawa, nor a raft of other top-25 players will be taking part.
Hideki Matsuyama (18/1), Jordan Spieth (16/1), Sungjae Im (14/1), and Tom Kim (12/1) are the bigger names, with the Japanese swinger back to defend his title after chasing down Russell Henley in a play-off last year.
Other past winners of this event returning to the field include Henley, Matt Kuchar, Patton Kizzire, Jimmy Walker, Ryan Palmer, and Zach Johnson.
The DP Tour returns this week with a team event that has drawn the ire of the Ballesteros family.
The initial Hero Cup in Abu Dhabi pits Britain and Ireland (Power and Lowry will play) against a European selection in a format the same as the Seve Trophy, which ran from 2000-13. B&I, led by Tommy Fleetwood, are 4-5 favourites, with Europe available at 11-8.
IT was with great sadness that we received word of the passing of Paudie Palmer on Sunday morning.
Although I never met my fellow Echo sports columnist, I have relations from his tiny home place of Blackwater in Kerry and always imagined we would have plenty to talk about if we did cross paths.
It is fair to say that, like many other sports fans across the county, I nearly feel that I did know Paudie, as a long-time reader of his always original pieces for this paper and especially for his voice, which accompanied many a car journey or filled the kitchen on the weekend.
His commentary of the 2002 Munster football final was broadcast loudly by me to an entire internet cafe in the wee hours in Seoul, and I’ll always recall him describing some good play by Fionán Murray that day as “he’s like a cheetah going crazy”.
We’ll miss those unique turns of phrase, the camaraderie he had in gantry with the likes of John Fintan Daly and many others, and his ability to transfer atmosphere across the airwaves the way only the best radio commentators somehow manage.
His tragic passing will be devastating to his family, friends, and colleagues, but I hope his immense contribution to the GAA world and the joy he brought to so many will offer some solace to those who are grieving his sudden loss in the days, months, and years ahead.
THERE was a time when we couldn’t stop winning the Eurovision. Back in the 1990s, when we won four out of five, there were serious discussions that we should enter a bad song, as RTÉ couldn’t afford to keep hosting it. That all seems long ago now, and we haven’t won since 1996.
We are 50/1 with some firms to end that losing streak this year, although some are quoting 20/1. Why so short, considering public voting almost ensures we aren’t in with a twist and shout’? It’s probably because one of the six Irish contenders this year comes from Public Image Limited, a band fronted by ex-Sex Pistol Johnny 'Rotten' Lydon. Their entry will be among those performing on theon Friday, February 3, for selection for the May contest. Lydon’s mother is from Cork and the song ‘Hawaii’ is a ballad for his wife Nora, who is living with Alzheimer’s. It could resonate with viewers.
WE’VE already advised the Chiefs for the SuperBowl, so instead take Matsuyama at 18/1 to retain the Sony Open.