Shane Bacon

Steve Stricker, world number two, highlights rips and shanks

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf

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On a rainy weekend in Los Angeles, play kept on a-going, and the Northern Trust Open gave us our first big name winner of 2010. Who leads Riviera's rips and shanks?

Rips

Steve Stricker: At one point in the third round, it looked like Stricker was going to run away with this thing, but the second highest ranked player in the field made it interesting for a while on Sunday. That didn't stop him from claiming his first win of 2010, and his fourth win in nine months. Can we say hottest golfer alive? Stricker just leapfrogged Mr. Mickelson as the second-ranked golfer in the world.

Luke Donald: Sure, Donald didn't go home with a trophy on Sunday, but the Englishman was in need of contending. He hasn't won on the PGA Tour since 2006, and has gone through a wrist injury, but for European fans, Donald was once the "Next Big Thing." An early-season finish like this might help vault him back to the form we were used to.

Paul Goydos: Talk about a good week. First he was named assistant captain for this year's Ryder Cup, even though he's never played in one before, and then he went out Sunday and shot a 6-under 65 to gain a tie for fifth.

The Riviera Grounds Crew: This tournament shouldn't have finished when it did, but the superintendent and grounds crew in Los Angeles should get a few days off after what they were able to accomplish. Torrential rains on Friday didn't stop play, and the course, which should have been underwater, was playable almost the entire weekend. Great job, guys.

Shanks

Phil Mickelson: He was trying to become the first three-time winner of the Northern Trust, but after an eagle on the first hole of his third round, never got it going. Lefty played the final 35 holes 4-over par, and has the new putting stroke (30 putts per round) in desperate need of a makeover. Again.

Anthony Kim's Sunday: No word on whether Kim was out until 4 AM on Saturday, but his game sure looked like it.

Stephen Ames: Being a PGA Tour golfer is a lot of things, but a whiner isn't one of them. Ames, playing in his fourth tournament of 2010, withdrew because of the rain, admitting, "I don’t play golf for money. I play golf for fun, and this is not fun.” Listen, you have the best job in the world, you opened with a 68, and you're in Hollywood. Just because it's raining doesn't give you the option to just pull out because you're wet. There are a ton of alternates that would have gladly played in a hurricane for a chance to make a weekend cut. Withdrawing because it isn't fun is weak and insulting to other golfers wishing for a chance to be out there.

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