Grading the Northern Trust Open and John Merrick's first PGA win
Jeremiah Wooding, hole No. 10, and Charlie Beljan's celebrations all get high marks.
|John Merrick got the job done in a playoff at Riviera on Sunday. (Getty Images)|
There was a lot of drama on the back nine of the Northern Trust Open but UCLA graduate, John Merrick, who was born 45 minutes from Riviera in Long Beach, Calif., prevailed in a two-hole playoff over Charlie Beljan.
Merrick (a 150-1 favorite when the tournament began) shot 68-66-70-69 throughout the week and made a par on the second hole of the playoff (the famous No. 10 at Riviera) while Beljan made bogey.
Here are our grades on what was a terrific tournament:
|John Merrick's moment||
His reaction in his 74th hole of the tournament when Charlie Beljan missed a putt to tie was just amazing. You could see his face tremble a little bit before he fell into his caddie's arms. Then he broke down while being interviewed by David Feherty afterwards, saying:
I can't even put it into words right now.
|Charl Schwartzel||He didn't win (finished T3), but only Brandt Snedeker and Tiger Woodscan reasonably say they're hotter than Schwartzel right now. He won on the European and Asian Tours in December and finished second at the Joburg Open last weekend. Proof:
|Hole No. 10||It always delivers, doesn't it? From Bill Haas' bomb in the crazy playoff from last year to the leaders making a mess of it on Sunday (two bogeys and a double bogey from the top seven golfers) to the winning putt from Merrick in the playoff. The Northern Trust Open should just start the playoff here in the future.
|Charlie Beljan celebrations||
I wasn't a huge fan of Charlie Beljan this week (see below), but his putter flip/walk-off after a birdie on the back nine and then his fist pump after a birdie on No. 18 on Sunday were spectacular.
There was a 45-minute stretch on Sunday that featured roughly zero quality shots from the leaders. This led to two epic comments from our CBS announcing team (I would attribute the quotes but I'm not positive who said which one). I loved them, though:
"We need some Eagle Scouts out here to coordinate all this."
"We're going to have to Google Earth to find that ball."
Wooding became the first recipient of the Northern Trust Open's diversity exemption to ever make the cut. He went 70-74 on the weekend to finish T42, but a terrific showing regardless.
|Fredrik Jacobson attire||
There's tight-fitting, there's Phil Mickelson-fitting, and there's whatever Fredrik Jacobson was wearing on Sunday. It wasn't pretty.
Bill Haas' putt on hole No. 10 went right over the quarter ball marker of one of his partners. I have no idea why he didn't ask him to move it.
|Player autographs||After his round with Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els on Saturday, Beljan asked them to sign his visor. I'm not a fan of autographs in general, but I'm especially not a fan of having two guys you just beat sign your headgear.|
|Norm Macdonald's Twitter feed||Yes, Macdonald helped us with this column last weekend, but good heavens, his Twitter feed is like golf spam. He tweets every shot, notes every stroke gained or lost. I'm watching the tournament, Norm, you don't have to give me the play-by-play!|
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