What's the best way to win a tournament in Sweden by seven strokes? Start with a lead of 11 strokes.
Over this past weekend, the Nordea Masters at the Bro Hof Slott Golf Course in Sweden turned into one of the most brutal exhibitions of professional golf you'll ever see, particularly at the island-green 17th above. (Island-green 17th ... that's reminding me of something, but I can't place it.) Alexander Noren won the tournament while shooting a 77 -- yes, you read that right -- but only because he had an 11-shot lead going into Sunday.
The story of the tournament, though, was that horrific green there, swept as it was by those terrifying Swedish winds. (Are Swedish winds terrifying? I dunno. Works for me.)
How rugged was that 17th? This: "I said it doesn't matter how I play up to that, I just have to survive 17 and I did," Noren said. "I've never seen wind like this in Sweden. Every hole was super tough and even downwind it was hard to choose the clubs."
Many weren't quite so lucky. Second-place finisher Richard Finch triple-bogeyed the hole. But wasn't the worst score, not by a long (or short) shot. The hole played to an average of 4.34 on Sunday. Every possible score from 2 to 12, except 10, was scored on the hole; the unlucky 12 belonged to Fredrik Andersson-Hed. He finished with a 90 on the day; Alastair Forsyth had the record nine-hole score of 51.
Wow. Suddenly makes all that griping about Sawgrass seem rather quaint, doesn't it?