Heroes & Zeros: Valspar Championship

March 16, 2015

Each week, Sports Illustrated senior writer Alan Shipnuck riffs on the top headlines in golf.


1. J-Spy. Now that’s what I’m talking about! You can’t become a superstar with a bunch of top-10s. Now that Spieth is learning to close, the sky’s the limit.

2. The Valspar. That was the liveliest Sunday of the year by far, full of great recoveries, outrageously clutch putting and a handful of compelling protagonists. More, please.

3. So Yeon Ryu. The 2011 U.S. Women’s Open champ dusted Inbee Park during a taut final round to take the World Ladies Championship in China. Not a nice thing to do to your best friend, SYR.

4. Patrick Reed. Love him or hate him, there’s no denying this guy adds a lot of spice to a leaderboard. That 72nd hole birdie was all-world … and then he topped it with a crazy up-and-down to stay alive in sudden death. Onions.

5. George Coetzee. What’s better than winning your second Euro Tour event? How about doing it on your home course, where as a 10-year-old you won a junior event two decades earlier.


1. Ryan Moore. Dude, when you hole out a shot from the fairway on Sunday to take the lead, it means you’re destined to win. How dare you ruin the storyline by making four back-nine bogeys!

2. Tour dads. It’s weird, and sad, that among the three guys in the Valspar playoff, only Jordan Spieth still talks to his old man.

3. The Bay Hill setup. I’m already hearing grumbling that, per usual, the rough is way too long and the greens way too firm. Copperhead just showed how much fun a challenging but playable setup can be. C’mon, Arnie! No one likes hack-out, defensive golf … unless it’s the U.S. Open, and Bay Hill ain’t that.

4. Derek Ernst. Three bogeys and a double on Sunday sent him tumbling down the leaderboard, all the way to 17th place. Still, this was his second career top-25 finish, the other being a victory at Quail Hollow in 2013, which is looking more and more like the most unlikely win in recent Tour history.

5. The Ping rap video. That chorus will haunt your dreams for days.

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